PHILADELPHIA – Ivy League pollsters have slotted the University of Pennsylvania football team No. 2 in the Ivy League’s 2016 Preseason Media Poll, awarding the Quakers more first-place votes than any other Ivy team.
Despite racking up nine first-place votes – the most of any team – the Quakers were picked No. 2 in a poll of 17 voters, accumulating 119 points. The Red and Blue trailed only Harvard, which had seven first place votes and a total of 126 points. Brown – which finished sixth overall in the voting with 61 points – had the other first place vote.
The Quakers were well clear of third-place Dartmouth – which finished with 83 points. The Big Green were part of a three-team jumble in the middle of the poll. Right behind Dartmouth was Yale (81 points) and Princeton (79). After the sixth-place Bears, rounding out the preseason poll were Columbia (43) and Cornell (20).
Last season, Penn came from off the pace according to the preseason poll to claim the program’s 17th Ivy League championship. Last August, the preseason prognosticators slotted the Red and Blue to finish sixth – all the Quakers would do is post a 6-1 record inside the Ancient Eight with wins in their final six Ancient Eight contests to share the crowd with the preseason 1-2.
Second is the highest Penn has been predicted to finish via the Ivy League’s preseason poll since the Red and Blue were No. 1 in the 2013 poll. The last time the Quakers were picked to finish second was in 2012 – Penn would go on to best that prediction by one spot with an outright Ivy League championship.
In his second season as the George A. Munger Head Coach of Football, Ray Priore will return 38 letterwinners and 16 starters from a 2015 team which went 7-3 and posted road wins at No. 4 Villanova and No. 12 Harvard – Penn’s first season with multiple road wins at Top-25 opponents.
Headlining the returning players are five All-Ivy selections from 2015, including first-team selections quarterback Alek Torgersen and Justin Watson. They will be joined by offensive lineman Daniel Poulos – a second-team All-Ivy selection – and honorable mention selections offensive lineman Nick Demes and linebacker Donald Panciello.
Watson enters the season coming off a 2015 where he led the Ivy League in receptions (74,), receiving yards (1,082) and receiving touchdowns (nine) to finish runner-up in Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year voting and earn third-team All-American honors. Already this preseason, Watson has been named second-team STATS FCS Preseason All-American and is one of 22 players on the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year Watch List.
Torgersen led the Ivy League – and was No. 2 nationally – in completion percentage in 2015, finishing 69% of his passes. He enters 2016 with 4,794 career passing yards – No. 4 all-time at Penn – and his 35 career touchdown passes are also fourth all-time by a Quaker.
Penn opens its 2016 season on Sept. 17 against Lehigh at Franklin Field. Kickoff against the Mountain Hawks is scheduled for 5 p.m. The Ivy League home opener is slated for October 15 against Columbia as part of Family Weekend.
Season ticket packages for Penn Football are available now. Individual game tickets go on sale August 15. Tickets can be purchased at PennAthletics.com or by calling 215-898-6151. Fans can also visit the Box Office at Franklin Field between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. during August.
Voting for the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll was completed by two media representatives from each of the ancient eight institutions, along with one national media member.
2016 IVY LEAGUE FOOTBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
First-Place Votes in Parentheses
1. Harvard (7) 126
2. PENN (9) 119
3. Dartmouth 83
4. Yale 81
5. Princeton 79
6. Brown (1) 61
7. Columbia 43
8. Cornell 20