When Ashland University's football team opens the 2018 season, it will do so in one of the top first-week contests in NCAA Division II.
In the 2018 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Preseason Division II Coaches' Poll, released on Monday (Aug. 13), the Eagles are slotted No. 15. Ashland will begin the new campaign on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field vs. No. 4-ranked Indiana, Pa.
Of the 10 opponents on the Eagles' 2018 schedule, four are in the AFCA preseason poll – IUP at No. 4, Ohio Dominican (Sept. 8 on the road) at No. 23, Ferris State (Sept. 29 on the road) at No. 8, and Grand Valley State (Nov. 3 on the road) at No. 10.
At the end of July, Ashland was chosen to finish third in the 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Football Preseason Poll. So far this offseason, in NCAA Division II national preseason polls, AU has been picked 10th by College Football America, 13th by Street & Smith's and 15th by Lindy's.
In 2017, the Eagles finished 11-2 with a first-round D-II postseason home win and a GLIAC championship. Ashland ended the campaign ranked 10th in the final 2017 AFCA Division II Coaches' Top 25 poll.
Since the AFCA took over the Division II poll in 2000, Ashland has been in the Top 25 on 69 occasions, including preseason.