While the Marietta College football team looks to have a very talented group of players returning this season, the team's struggles in recent years seemed to have haunted them in the 2012 OAC Preseason Coaches and Media Polls.
On Wednesday, the Pioneers were selected to finish ninth in both polls at the annual OAC Football Media Day, which was held at Double Tree Hotel near Cleveland.
Jeff Filkovski's squad posted a 2-7 record last season in OAC play, good for eighth in the conference. Overall the Pioneers were 3-7 on the year.
"I believe the polls are more of a reflection of a team's performance in years prior to the results," Filkovski said. "The top three are exactly the same. That's just how people think. We have to prove on the field that we're better than ninth."
Filkovski also pointed out that in spite of the losing record, Marietta managed to compete well with a lot of the top teams in the OAC, and that the team will use the number nine ranking as motivation.
"(The players) think we're better than that, and I think we're better than that," Filkovski said.
OAC Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Mount Union (9) - 81
2t. Baldwin Wallace (1) - 66
2t. Heidelberg - 66
4. Ohio Northern - 54
5. Capital - 42
6. John Carroll - 41
7. Otterbein - 38
8. Muskingum - 28
9. Marietta - 24
10. Wilmington - 10
OAC Preseason Media Poll
1. Mount Union (30) - 309
2. Baldwin Wallace (1) - 250
3. Heidelberg - 236
4. Ohio Northern - 234
5. John Carroll - 172
6. Capital - 148
7. Otterbein - 143
8. Muskingum - 98
9. Marietta - 84
10. Wilmington - 31
First Place votes in parenthesis
"Looking back, we were in a lot of close games with teams like Baldwin-Wallace that went 8-2. We've just got to play a little better and play mistake free football to win those games. There are some talented OAC teams. You have to play hard every week."
Marietta loses a very talented class that included quarterback Andrew Keller, lineman Tarek Nusseibeh, wide receiver Chad Walker, linebacker Dan Starr, and safety Jake Depp.
Key returners for the Pioneers include quarterback Tom Fulton, running back Tevin Dones, receivers Kirby Harris, Tannon Roberts, and Sean Munfield, lineman Gaston Hayes, David Olach, and Steve Perrin, linebacker Kadeem Corbin, and corner backs Robert Brown and Louis DiPaolo.
Marietta opens its season Saturday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. at home against Case Western Reserve.