INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, coming off a down year in 2014, were picked to finish fifth in the Pioneer Football League regular-season race in a preseason vote of the league’s coaches, the League office announced Tuesday, July 28. The University of San Diego was tabbed to win the PFL.
The PFL will announce its preseason All-PFL teams, Wednesday, July 29, followed by a preseason coaches teleconference, Thursday, July 30.
The upcoming 2015 season marks the 23rd year for the Pioneer Football League – the nation’s only non-scholarship, football-only NCAA Football Championship Subdivision conference. The league will feature 11 teams each playing an eight-game schedule to determine the league champion and recipient of the automatic bid to the 2015 NCAA FCS Championship.
Defending champion San Diego again received the coaches’ nod to win the 2015 PFL title, but the coaches also predicted an exciting race. The top three teams in the preseason poll were separated by just three points.
The Bulldogs, led by head coach Jeff Voris, will see redshirt senior quarterback Matt Shiltz return after an injury-shortened 2014 in which he passed for 1,329 yards and 10 touchdowns in just over five games. Butler also returns redshirt sophomore running back Sam Schrader after ranking third in touchdowns in his first season. Senior offensive lineman Michael Demos returns after earning All-PFL First Team honors a season ago.
Defensively, Butler returns six of its top seven tacklers, including redshirt junior linebacker Sean Horan (80 tackles). Redshirt senior punter Brian Akialis returns after being named a second-team All-PFL honoree last season.
The Bulldogs open the 2015 campaign Saturday, Sept. 5 at Indiana State. The home opener is slated for Saturday, Sept. 12 when Butler hosts Franklin. PFL action begins Sept. 26 when Campbell visits the Butler Bowl for Butler’s Homecoming Weekend.
Pioneer Football League
2015 Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. San Diego (7) 89
2. Dayton (3) 87
3. Drake (1) 86
4. Campbell 71
5. Butler 59
6. Stetson 54
7. Marist 50
8. Morehead State 40
9. Valparaiso 37
10. Davidson 22
– First-place votes in parentheses.
– 10 points awarded for a first-place vote, with one point less for each succeeding place. (Maximum score = 100)
– Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
– Jacksonville not included in preseason poll due to league penalty.
Chris Fultz is a senior writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISR and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter
Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer and the Butler Athletics beat writer for the Indiana Sports Report. Chris Fultz is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler University Athletics and has full media access.
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