CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- The Simpson football team has been picked fourth in the American Rivers Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, announced by the league office this week. Defending champion Wartburg has been chosen as the favorite by the coaches.
Simpson picked up 41 points in the poll, including one first-place vote.
Third-year head coach Matt Jeter returns 45 letterwinners - including 13 starters - from last year's squad that went 5-5 and finished fourth in the conference with a mark of 4-4. Simpson brings back six starters on offense and seven on defense.
The Storm bring back some notable starters from 2017, including several key defensive pieces. The defense will pair two junior all-conference safeties, Brendan Holmes and Ryan Lehr, to lead a unit that ranked third in the conference in total defense. Among the top returners on offense is running back Cam Bunting, who received all-conference honors after rushing for 1,065 yards and 11 TDs as a junior.
Simpson opens the regular season at home Saturday, Sept. 1 against Bethel (Minn.). Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Buxton Stadium.
1. Wartburg (12-1, 8-0)
2. Central (7-3, 6-2)
3. Dubuque (6-4, 4-4)
4. Simpson (5-5, 4-4)
5. Luther (6-4, 5-3)
6. Coe (4-6, 2-6)
7. Nebraska Wesleyan (2-8, 2-6)
8. Loras (4-6, 3-5)
9. Buena Vista (3-7, 2-6)