CANTON — The coaches liked Ohio Northern slightly better than the media at the recent Ohio Athletic Conference Media Day at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
The Polar Bears were picked to finish fourth by the conference’s coaches, while the media picked ONU fifth.
Northern garnered 52 points from the coaches vote, as national runner-up Mount Union was chosen to win the conference, reeling in 81 points and nine first-place votes. The Polar Bears collected 171 points from the media, and the Purple Raiders had 259 points and 26 first-place votes to sit atop that poll, as well.
“I think you learn some things when you’re an old dude,” 16th-year head coach Dean Paul said. “One thing I think you learn is, it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen. There have been times where we’ve been nationally ranked inside the top 10, and we finished in the middle of the conference. There have been times when we were not ranked at all, ranked preseason in middle of the conference, and we finished in the top 10 in the country.”
John Carroll was chosen to finish second in the conference in both polls, tallying 71 points and one first-place vote in the coaches poll and 233 points and one first-place vote in the media poll. Baldwin Wallace checked in at No. 3 in both the coaches and media poll with 70 and 214 points, respectively.
The Polar Bears finished the 2018 season with a 5-5 overall record and 4-5 mark in OAC play. ONU tied with Heidelberg for fifth place in the conference standings.
Ohio Northern opens the 2019 season traveling to Denison Sept. 7 at 7 p.m.