WHITEFISH, Mont. — The Southern Oregon football program will look to exceed expectations in its first year in the Frontier Conference, as the conference coaches have predicted a fifth-place finish for the Raiders in 2012.
Southern Oregon garnered 26 points in the preseason coaches' poll to rank fifth. Twelve-time defending conference champion and NAIA national runner-up Carroll picked up 49 points and all but one first-place vote to lead the way, followed by Montana State-Northern (36 points), Eastern Oregon (35) and Rocky Mountain (28). Montana Tech ranks sixth (21), followed by Dickinson State (16) and Montana-Western (13).
The Raiders bounced back from an 0-3 start to finish 5-5 in 2011, SOU's first season under head coach Craig Howard. Southern Oregon finished undefeated at home for the first time in nearly 15 years and posted a 1-1 mark against Frontier Conference programs.
Southern Oregon opens the season Sept. 1 in the Medford Kickoff Classic. The Raiders will host Montana-Western at Spiegelberg Stadium.
RAIDERS SECOND — Cascade Collegiate Conference coaches expect College of Idaho and Southern Oregon to finish atop the conference standings for the seventh straight season, as the Yotes ranked first and the Raiders second in the preseason poll released Monday.
Southern Oregon has won each of the past two conference tournament titles, and the Raiders have claimed at least a share of the regular season conference crown in three of the past five years.