Panthers third in HCAC football poll

HCAC Football Poll

Franklin, 79 (7)

Mount St. Joseph, 67 (2)

Hanover, 62

Bluffton, 48

Defiance, 41

Rose-Hulman, 38

Manchester, 34

Anderson, 21

Earlham, 15

Hanover College's football squad has been selected to finish third in the battle for the 2012 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship.

The Panthers, in the program's first season under Steve Baudendistel, received 62 points in the preseason polling of the HCAC's nine head coaches.

Hanover was 5-5 overall one year ago. The Panthers posted a 5-3 mark in league games and finished second in the Heartland Conference standings for the second consecutive season.

Franklin College recorded seven of the nine available first-place votes and tallied 79 points to earn the top spot in the coaches' poll. The College of Mount St. Joseph (Ohio) placed second with 67 points, including two first-place votes.

Hanover will open its 2012 campaign Saturday, Sept. 1, on the road against Illinois College. The contest will start at 1 p.m. CT in Jacksonville, Ill.

The Panthers’ home debut will be Sept. 8 against Wabash College at L.S. Ayres Field. The game will begin at 1:30 p.m. and marks the first of three consecutive home dates for the squad.

Hanover’s first Heartland Conference tilt will be Sept. 15 at home against Mount St. Joseph. After a bye week, Baudendistel's squad will host the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Sept. 29 in the annual Hall of Fame Game.