Football is back

And football is back! College football has officially gotten underway for your Missouri Southern Lions and in the MIAA conference. The MIAA is the premier football conference in Division II football and currently has two teams ranked in the preseason top 10, with three total ranked in the top 25.

In the MIAA preseason poll released on Aug. 4, the Lions were selected to finish 10th by the media and 11th by the coaches. By the media, Northwest Missouri was chosen to finish first in conference. The Lions head to Northwest on Sept. 10 to face the Bearcats, the highest ranked team in the MIAA at No. 6 in the country. The media picked Pittsburg State to follow at two, Central Oklahoma three, Missouri Western four, and Central Missouri to round out the top five. Fort Hays is sixth, followed by Emporia State, Washburn, Nebraska-Kearney, Missouri Southern, Lindenwood and Northeastern State.

Three of Lions’ next five opponents are ranked in the top five in the MIAA conference (Central Missouri, Central Oklahoma and Northwest). The Lions lost to all three opponents last season, and only one of those games is at Fred G. Hughes stadium this season. The remaining two games in the next five are against opponents ranked higher than the Lions in both the coaches’ and media poll (Washburn and Neb-Kearney). Both opponents are also teams the Lions beat last season by a combined score of 76-38.

The second half of the season will begin with a road matchup against Northeastern State. NSU was picked to finish dead last in both the coaches’ and media polls. Lindenwood follows next at Fred G. Hughes stadium, and then the Lions travel next door to big brother’s house at Pitt State. That game will be televised on ESPN 3. The Lions have lost five of the last six Miners Bowl games against the Gorillas.

The Lions’ final home game of the season is on Nov. 7 against Fort Hays State. The Lions will finish the regular season on the road against the Griffons of Missouri Western. Both Mo. West and FHS beat the Lions last season by a combined total of nine points.

Next up for the Lions is a showdown with the No. 6 Bearcats in Maryville. It’ll be an early season test for the new-look Lions.