The University of Toledo football team has been picked to win the West Division of the Mid-American Conference by the members of the league's media contingent. The annual preseason poll was released today at the conference's annual football media day held at Ford Field.
"I think it gives us some validation here in late July that our hard work is paying off," said head coach Jason Candle."But where you start doesn't have any indication of where you'll finish. The goal is to be one of the last teams standing and make it back here to Ford Field in December. That being said, it's good that our players have that validation for the hard work they've put in during the offseason."
The Rockets received 15 first-place votes and 127 total points in the poll, while also receiving seven votes to win the 2019 MAC Championship, second only to Ohio (13 votes). Toledo's 127 points were more than MAC West foes Western Michigan (112) and Northern Illinois (103). The Bobcats led all MAC teams with 144 points in the poll, and Miami (107) and Buffalo (100) rounded out the top three in the MAC East. Other teams receiving MAC title votes were WMU (two), NIU, (one), and Central Michigan (one).
Toledo is coming off a 7-6 season in 2018, which marked its ninth consecutive year of attaining bowl eligibility and ninth straight year with a record above .500.
The Rockets return 14 starters (seven offensive, five defensive, two special teams) and 50 letterwinners from last season's team. Among those returning this season are 2018 All-MAC honorees Reggie Gilliam (tight end) and Bryce Harris (center), leading rusher Bryant Koback, and senior defensive leaders Kahlil Robinson and Jordan Fisher.
Toledo opens its 2019 campaign with a visit to SEC foe Kentucky on August 31, before returning to the Glass Bowl on September 14 for the home opener against Murray State. To order tickets, stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office, located in the Sullivan Athletic Complex at Savage Arena, go online at UTRockets.com or call 419-530-GOLD (4653).