Wildcats not getting respect

NMU football team picked to finish ninth in GLIAC

Northern Michigan University offense player Devontae Stine, right, runs after the ball pursued by defenseman Karim Thomas during the annual spring game Saturday afternoon, April 8, 2017, at the Superior Dome. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

BAY CITY — The Northern Michigan University football team went through a lot of changes in the offseason and as a possible result of that, it is predicted to finish near the bottom of the GLIAC in 2017.

In the GLIAC preseason coaches poll that was released yesterday, the Wildcats (3-8, 3-7 GLIAC) were picked to finish ninth overall in the 10-team football league with 19 total points.

NMU fired head coach Chris Ostrowsky shortly after last season and replaced him with Ferris State co-defensive coordinator Kyle Nystrom. Nystrom had previously served as an assistant coach and interim head coach at Central Michigan.

In addition to the big coaching change, Northern is also searching for a starting quarterback for the first time in quite a while now that Shaye Brown has graduated. Those two things probably played a big role in the Wildcats’ placement in the poll.

Grand Valley State edged out Ferris for the top spot as with 77 points, while the Bulldogs had 75. The Lakers won the GLIAC last season, while FSU finished as regional champion. NMU lost badly to both programs last year.

Ashland took third place with 67 points followed by Wayne State (54), Saginaw Valley State (41), Michigan Tech (38), Tiffin (37) and Northwood (32).

After some departures from the conference, the GLIAC did add one new program and that is Davenport. Not only are the Panthers new to the league, they are also new to the NCAA as they are only in their second full season as a varsity program. Not surprisingly, Davenport was picked to finish last in the league with 10 points.

Northern opens its season Saturday, Sept. 9 at Angelo State (Texas), which is followed with a game at Ferris on Sept. 16 and the home opener Sept. 23 against Davenport.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.