Defending Pioneer Football League Champion St. Thomas Picked to Win 2023 Title

Tuesday, August 1, 2023
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations

ST. LOUIS – The University of St. Thomas, the defending Pioneer Football League champion, is the choice to win the league’s 2023 title as selected in the league’s Preseason Coaches’ poll released Tuesday and voted upon by the league’s head coaches.

The PFL will present its 2023 Preseason All-PFL Teams Wednesday.

St. Thomas received 98 of the maximum 100 points available, with coaches unable to vote for their own teams. Davidson followed closely with 92 points – putting the Tommies and Wildcats as the league’s clear frontrunners entering the 2023 season. Dayton and San Diego, perennial league favorites, were picked to finish third and fourth, respectively.

St. Thomas, which won its first PFL title last season in its second season as a league member, received eight of the 11 first-place votes and a second-place vote from two other coaches. Davidson, which finished second in the league race last season, finished second in the voting with two first-place votes and eight second-place votes.

Pioneer Football League
2023 Preseason Coaches’ Poll

 Team  Points
 1.  St. Thomas (8) 98
 2.  Davidson (2) 92
 3.  Dayton 75
 4.  San Diego (1) 73
 5.  Butler 68
 6.  Valparaiso 52
 7.  Marist 45
 8.  Drake 38
 9.  Stetson 31
 10.  Morehead State 22
 11.  Presbyterian 11
  • 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 team.

Dayton narrowly earned the league’s third-place nod, its best preseason selection since 2019, when it was picked to finish second. San Diego received the remaining first-place vote and finished fourth in the voting. Both the Flyers and Toreros begin 2023 under new head coaches.

The surprise of the league last season, Butler won’t catch many of the league’s coaches by surprise in 2023, with it earning fifth place in the preseason poll. Valparaiso, the Bulldogs' in-state rival, was picked to finish sixth.

Marist, which finished tied with Valparaiso in sixth place last season, received a seventh-place nod in the preseason poll. Following the Red Foxes were Drake (38 points), Stetson (31 points), Morehead State (22 points), and Presbyterian (11 points).

The upcoming 2023 season marks the 31st year of the Pioneer Football League. 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 NCAA FCS Championship.

The 2023 schedule gets underway Thursday, August 31, with Morehead State hosting West Virginia State before Valparaiso meets Youngstown State. The 2023 PFL race starts in Week 3 (Sept. 16) when Davidson travels to Marist.

About the Pioneer Football League

The Pioneer Football League is the only non-scholarship, football-only NCAA Football Championship Subdivision conference. The PFL is a truly national conference with members on each coast and throughout the nation’s heartland. Butler University, the University of Dayton, Drake University, and Valparaiso University were among the league’s founding members in 1993, with Davidson College, Marist College, Morehead State University, Presbyterian College, the University of San Diego, the University of St. Thomas, and Stetson University joining to form the current 11-team league.

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