WATCH: Ivy League Football Coaches Roundtable
, N.J. -- Yale was picked to defend its Ivy League crown in the 2018 Ivy League Football Preseason Media Poll.
The Bulldogs, who are coming off their first outright League title since 1980, received 11-of-17 first-place votes and accumulated 129 points. Yale will be searching for back-to-back Ivy League titles for the first time since a run of three-straight from 1979-81. To do so, the Bulldogs will rely heavily on sophomore running back Zane Dudek
, who earned Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors in 2017 after becoming the first true freshman to lead the Ivy League in rushing with 1,133 yards.
The reigning League champions got the nod over Princeton, which returns 2016 Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year senior quarterback John Lovett
and finished with three first-place votes and 104 points, and rival Harvard, which received a first-place vote and tallied 99 points.
Perennial contenders Princeton and Harvard finished in unfamiliar territory in the bottom half of the Ivy League standings in 2017, but each looks to rebound behind a pair of STATS FCS Preseason All-Americans
Columbia and Penn tied for fourth place in the poll with one first-place vote and 76 points each. The Ivy League runner-up in 2017, Columbia is returning from its best League finish since 1996, while Penn is one year removed from back-to-back Ivy League titles.
The bottom half of the poll featured Dartmouth with 65 points, Cornell with 37 points and Brown with 26 points.
Over the past three seasons, 5-of-8 teams have captured an Ivy League championship—Dartmouth (2015), Harvard (2015), Penn (2015, 2016), Princeton (2016) and Yale (2017).
The 2018 Ivy League football season kicks off on Friday, Sept. 14, with six games to appear on ESPN linear networks throughout the 2018 season
. The Ivy League is coming off a 2017 campaign in which it led the FCS and ranked fourth overall in NCAA Division I with a .750 non-conference winning percentage, trailing only the SEC (.825), Pac 12 (.771) and Big Ten (.762).
About the Ivy League
The Ivy League stands at the pinnacle of higher education and Division I athletics, rooted in the longstanding, defining principle that intercollegiate athletics competition should be "kept in harmony with the essential educational purposes of the institution." Unrivaled in its legacy, The Ivy League provides the true test of academic and co-curricular rigor - fostering an enduring culture that celebrates a storied-tradition, thrives on shared values and holds paramount the academic and personal growth of students.
Consistently ranked as the top academic conference and with more national championships than any other collegiate athletic conference (287 team, 546 individual), The Ivy League showcased 98 nationally-ranked programs in 2018-19 and prides itself on sponsoring 33 sports, the highest number of any NCAA conference, with more than 8,000 student-athletes competing annually. The League's world-renowned schools - Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale - serve as the standard bearers for inspiring and transforming student-athletes to boldly take on the world's challenges and lead lives of great impact.
For more information, please visit IvyLeague.com.