The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team will open the 2018 season ranked #2 in the country in the D3football.com Preseason Top 25 Poll, a spokesperson announced Thursday.

This is the 16th season of the D3football.com Top 25, which is voted on by media members, coaches and Sports Information Directors across all four regions of NCAA Division III football.

Polls will be released weekly following each of the 11 weeks of Division III regular season, with a final poll coming after the Division III football championship game.

Defending national champion Mount Union grabbed the top spot with 24 first place votes and 623 total points. UMHB received one first-place vote and totaled 587 points.

Cru Acting Head Coach Larry Harmon said it is a nice reward for their players and coaches to be highly ranked going into the season.

“We will have to replace some very good football players from last season, but we are excited about the team we have coming back and are anxious to get back to work,” Harmon said. “We always have high expectations for our program, regardless of where we might rank in the polls.”

The Cru finished the 2017 season at 14-1 and fell to Mount Union 12-0 in the Stagg Bowl.

The team had made its second straight appearance in the national title game and won the ASC with a 9-0 league mark.

UMHB expects to return five offensive and five defensive starts from that team, along with 42 total letter winners this season.

The Cru will open the 2018 season with a non-conference game at Albright (PA) College on Sept. 9.

Rank

School (No. 1 votes)

2017 record

Points

1

Mount Union (24)

15-0

623

2

Mary Hardin-Baylor (1)

14-1

587

3

St. Thomas

11-2

549

4

UW-Oshkosh

12-1

548

5

Linfield

9-2

488

6

Brockport

13-1

453

7

North Central (Ill.)

10-2

442

8

Frostburg State

11-2

419

9

Wesley

10-2

397

10

Hardin-Simmons

9-2

353

11

St. John's

9-2

351

12

UW-Whitewater

7-3

322

13

Wartburg

12-1

284

14

Wittenberg

10-1

263

15

Washington and Jefferson

11-1

224

16

UW-Platteville

7-3

210

17

Delaware Valley

12-1

208

18

Wheaton (Ill.)

8-2

195

19

Johns Hopkins

9-2

181

20

Trine

11-1

175

21

Illinois Wesleyan

9-2

146

22

Berry

11-1

137

23

Case Western Reserve

11-1

102

24

Franklin and Marshall

10-1

52

25

RPI

8-3

49