WHITEFISH, Mont. — Defending Frontier Conference football co-champion Southern Oregon University will enter its second season as a conference member once again looking to out-perform preseason expectations after the league's coaches predicted the Raiders to finish third this season.
The Raiders tied Montana Tech with an 8-2 record to share the 2012 conference title, with Tech claiming the league's automatic bid to the national playoffs. Southern Oregon qualified as an at-large team and advanced to the NAIA quarterfinals. They were No. 5 in the final poll.
Southern Oregon defeated Montana Tech and Carroll during the final three weeks of the 2012 regular season, but those two teams were ranked ahead of the Raiders in the 2013 poll.
Montana Tech claimed four first-place votes, Carroll got three and they both had 43 points and go into the season as conference co-favorites. Southern Oregon landed the final first-place vote and totaled 40 points.
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
Southern Oregon's season-opening opponent, Rocky Mountain, tallied 34 points to rank fourth. The Raiders will host Rocky Mountain on Aug. 31 at Mel Ingram Field in Grants Pass for the 2013 Kickoff Classic.
Montana State-Northern was picked to finish fifth (22 points), followed by Eastern Oregon (18), Montana Western (17) and Dickinson State (7).
The Raiders will host Montana Tech on Oct. 5 and will visit it in Butte in the final game of the regular season on Nov. 16. Southern Oregon will travel to Helena, Mont., on Nov. 2 to face Carroll.