2022 NEC Preaseason Football Poll Says Sacred Heart To Repeat

August 3, 2022 by Courtesy northeastconference.org

Somerset, NJ — It’s been quite some time since Sacred Heart football has missed a beat.

The Pioneers dominated the Northeast Conference in the 2021 calendar year, capturing the league’s first-ever championship title in an unconventional spring campaign before defending their title in the fall.

With the start of the new football season right around the corner, the beat of the NEC circuit hasn’t changed, as Sacred Heart has been tabbed the favorite to again raise the NEC trophy for a seventh time at season’s end. The Pioneers received five-of-eight possible first-place votes to claim the top spot in this season’s NEC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

Behind the strength of junior All-American running back Malik Grant, the Pioneers, who went 6-1 in NEC play and came just shy of a FCS Playoff win last season, will look to run in back for the third straight season in 2022.

Coming off a runner-up finish in the league standings in 2021, Duquesne received the three remaining first-place tallies to take the second spot in the coaches’ preseason predicted order-of-finish. The five-time NEC champion Dukes closed the 2021 season on a three-game winning streak to finish 5-2 in the NEC and 7-3 overall.

Saint Francis U was slotted for a third-place finish in 2022, while 2019 champion Central Connecticut, which made its return to the gridiron last fall after opting out of competition during the 2021 spring season, finished fourth in the projections.

Merrimack was fifth in the poll results ahead of New York rivals LIU and Wagner, which tied for sixth. Rounding out the coaches’ preseason poll was NEC newcomer Stonehill.

The NEC unveiled the preseason poll along with a 27-member Preseason All-NEC Team as part of its Virtual Media Day on Wednesday. The on-air program was carried by ESPN3 and NEC Front Row.

1. Sacred Heart
2. Duquesne
3. St. Francis, PA
4. Central Connecticut
5. Merrimack.
6. LIU
7. Stonehill
*Merrimack and Stonehill are ineligble for the FCS playoffs during their NCAA reclassification process.

Congrove Computer Rankings
1. Sacred Heart
2. Duquesne
3. St. Francis, PA
Complete NEC Computer Rankings