ST. LOUIS — The McKendree University Bearcats have been picked to finish fifth in the eight-team race for the 2013 Great Lakes Valley Conference.
The GLVC pre-season poll was released Wednesday by the league office in conjunction with the 2013 GLVC Kickoff event, held at the Millennium Student Center on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
The Bearcats collected 25 points in voting conducted by the eight head coaches in the GLVC. McKendree finished the 2012 season with an overall record of 3-7. The Bearcats were 3-5 in their inaugural season of conference play.
Mike Babcock, who was hired in December as the 17th head football coach in McKendree football history, will have 44 lettermen -- including 13 starters -- returning from last year's squad. Babcock joined the Bearcats' program after spending five years as an assistant coach at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
With Babcock at the offensive controls, the ThunderWolves set 13 team and 15 individual offensive records as CSU-Pueblo registered back-to-back Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships. The ThunderWolves entered the NCAA Division II as the No. 1-ranked team in the national polls.
The University of Indianapolis won the inaugural GLVC football championship last year and was the near-unanimous choice to repeat as league champions in the 2013 preseason poll. The Greyhounds earned 49 points in the poll, and was followed by Missouri S & T in second place with 43 points. GLVC newcomer Truman State University grabbed the No. 3 slot in the conference pre-season poll with 37, while St. Joseph's edged McKendree for fourth place with 28 points.
Quincy was the narrow pick to finish sixth in the GLVC, one point ahead of William Jewell College which landed in seventh place. Kentucky Wesleyan College rounded out the preseason poll in eighth. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams in the poll.
McKendree will kick off its 2013 season on Sept. 7 at home against Tiffin University. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. at Leemon Field.
The Bearcats will open their GLVC slate on Sept. 21 with a road contest at William Jewell in Liberty, Mo.