BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – Notre Dame College was unanimously voted as the preseason favorite in the 2023 Mountain East Conference Football Poll, the league office announced on Monday afternoon.
The Falcons have won at least a share of the last five Mountain East Conference football titles, including outright championships in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022. Notre Dame finished the 2022 season with a 9-3 overall record, including a 9-1 mark in MEC play to win the league title. Notre Dame also earned the No. 5 seed in NCAA Super Region 1 and lost in an opening-round thriller to Ashland, 20-13, in the 2022 NCAA Football Playoffs. Notre Dame will be faced with replacing record-setting quarterback Chris Brimm and linebacker Nate Moore, the 2022 MEC Defensive Player of the Year, this season.
Frostburg State was picked second in the preseason voting with 88 points and the remaining first-place vote. The Bobcats won a share of the 2021 MEC Football title before finishing third in the standings in 2022 with a league mark of 7-3. Frostburg State returns several playmakers on offense, including quarterback Graham Walker, running back Sean Aaron and wide receiver Jordan Marcucci, while having to replace All-American offensive lineman Gottlieb Ayedze up front.
Charleston was voted third in the MEC Preseason Poll with 74 points. The Golden Eagles went 6-4 in league play a season ago and return several pieces from last season’s high-scoring offense, including MEC Offensive Freshman of the Year running back Chavon Wright, quarterback Javone Howard and wide receiver Marquan Herron.
Concord finished fourth just behind Charleston in the preseason voting with 72 points. The Mountain Lions finished second in the MEC standings a year ago with an 8-2 record in league play. The Mountain Lions return a number of pieces from their record-setting offense a season ago, including quarterback Jack Mangel, running back Thurlow Wilkins, wide receiver Kris Copeland and offensive lineman Bo Rowland. CU will have to replace All-American and record-setting receiver Jarod Bowie on the outside.
Glenville State was slotted fifth in the preseason voting with 54 points. The Pioneers won four of their final five games last season and finished the year with a 7-4 overall record (6-4 MEC).
UNC Pembroke (50), Wheeling (49) and West Virginia State (45) occupied the next three spots in the preseason poll with just five points separating the three teams. Fairmont State (38) was picked to finish ninth in 2023, followed by West Liberty (25) and West Virginia Wesleyan (10) rounding out the poll.
The 2023 MEC football season gets underway on Thursday, Aug. 31 with a slate of eight non-conference games. The week one action will continue with three more games on Saturday. Conference play will begin on Thursday, Sept. 7 with UNC Pembroke at West Virginia State, Concord at Charleston, and Fairmont State at West Liberty.
|2023 MEC Football Preseason Poll|
|Rank||School (First Place Votes)||Voting|
|1.||Notre Dame College (10)||100|
|2.||Frostburg State (1)||88|
|8.||West Virginia St.||45|
|11.||West Va. Wesleyan||10|
* Coaches not permitted to vote for own team