Bluejays tabbed team to beat in 2005

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The remarkable climb of Tabor College football from obscurity to respectability took the ultimate step last Friday at the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference annual media day at the Salina Country Club.

The defending KCAC champions were picked by both coaches and media as the team to beat in the race for this season’s crown-marking the first time in school history that the Bluejays are the preseason favorite.

In the coaches poll, Tabor received nine of 10 first-place votes to easily outdistance second-place Bethel College in total points, 92-72.

In the media poll, Tabor collected 12 of 16 first place votes and received 156 total points to best second-place Friends University’s 116 points.

“For the school itself, I think it’s a real honor because it’s the first time it’s ever happened that Tabor was voted as No. 1,” Gardner said. “It’s nice people think we’re worthy of that and think enough of us to rank us that high.”

With the honor, though, comes additional pressures. Gardner said 1998 was the last time a pre-season No. 1 has lived up to its billing.

“We’re not going to do anything different in terms of our preparation though,” Gardner said.

“We have a lot of guys coming back and we won the conference last year, and that’s what this is based upon.

“These things are for the media to have fun with and talk about,” he added with a smile. “But as a coach, this is just an opinion and means absolutely zero.”

KCAC coaches poll

1. Tabor (9)* 92

2. Bethel 72

2. Friends 72

4. Southwestern 64

5. Kansas Wesleyan 58

6. Sterling (1) 55

7. McPherson 44

8. Bethany 43

9. Ottawa 38

10. Saint Mary 12

KCAC media poll

1. Tabor (12)* 156

2. Friends (2) 116

3. Sterling (1) 103

4. Bethel 98

5. Kansas Wesleyan 93

6. Bethany (1) 91

7. Southwestern 83

8. McPherson 68

9. Ottawa 53

10. Saint Mary 19

* First-place votes in parentheses

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