COLORADO SPRINGS – Colorado School of Mines has been chosen as the favorite in the RMAC Preseason Football Coaches’ Poll released on Wednesday.
The Orediggers, who did not play in 2020, went 12-1 overall and a perfect 10-0 in RMAC play in 2019 to win their second consecutive title and third since 2016 under head coach Gregg Brandon.
This season, Mines returns 15 starters from that squad including the RMAC’s leading returning passer in John Matocha, returning rusher and preseason all-American in Michael Zeman, and leading receiver in Josh Johnston. After one of the best defensive seasons in program history in 2019, Mines also returns key pieces in preseason all-American defensive end Luke Jeter, leading tackler Kobe Brewster, and sacks leader Nolan Reeve.
CSU Pueblo, another team that did not play in 2020, was second in the poll behind Mines. Chadron State, who was 5-5 in league play in 2019 and 2-1 in 2020, was picked third, with Colorado Mesa (6-4 in 2019, 2-1 in 2020) and Western Colorado (5-5 in 2019, 0-1 in 2020) rounding out the top five. South Dakota Mines, Adams State, New Mexico Highlands, Black Hills State, and Fort Lewis make up the back half of the poll. Only five RMAC teams played games in 2020, with the conference electing to not crown a champion.
The Orediggers begin the season on Thursday, Sept. 2 hosting Western Oregon at 6 p.m.
2021 RMAC Preseason Football Poll
1. Colorado School of Mines (76/7 first)
2. Colorado State University Pueblo (70/2 first)
3. Chadron State (62)
4. Colorado Mesa (56)
5. Western Colorado (43)
6. South Dakota Mines (37)
7. Adams State (34/1 first)
8. New Mexico Highlands (31)
9. Black Hills State (23)
10. Fort Lewis (18)