SC, Ithaca Headline Empire 8 Preseason Poll
, August 31, 2004 – Ithaca College and first-year member Springfield College tied for the top spot in the 2004 Empire 8 Football Pre-Season Coaches Poll.
Four different teams received first place votes as the Bombers earned three, the Pride collected two, St. John Fisher College and newcomer Norwich University each earned one. This year the top team in the Empire 8 will earn the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.
Ithaca and SC each received 43 points while St. John Fisher College tallied 39 points including one first place vote - good for third in the pre-season poll. Norwich placed fourth with 29 points and one first place vote. Alfred University (20 pts.), Hartwick College (18) and Utica College (8) closed out the poll.
Five of the seven Empire 8 members have qualified for post-season play in the past two seasons and the conference is 4-1 in post-season play during its brief two-year history.
Both Ithaca and SC have received a handful of pre-season honors this summer. The Pride ranked fifth in the nation in the D3football.com pre-season poll and 14th by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette. The Bombers were ranked 13th in the nation in the D3football.com pre-season poll and 10th by the Football Gazette. St. John Fisher also received consideration in the D3football.com poll. The Pride travels to St. John Fisher and Ithaca on Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, respectively.
Ithaca, which advanced to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals in 2003, has won the Empire 8 crown the past two seasons but was closely challenged each season. In 2001, the Bombers edged out Hartwick for the top spot by virtue of their 19-18 in over the Hawks. Hartwick went on to win an ECAC Bowl game that fall. Last season the Bombers topped St. John Fisher 20-19 after erasing a 19-7 deficit in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals finished the '03 season with a win in an ECAC Bowl game.
2004 Empire 8 Football Pre-Season Coaches Poll
1. Ithaca College (3 first place votes), 43 points overall
1. Springfield College (2), 43
3. St. John Fisher College (1), 39
4. Norwich University (1), 29
5. Alfred University , 20
6. Hartwick College, 18
7. Utica College, 8
For the complete conference schedule and real-time results throughout the year visit www.Empire8.com.