After a conference championship to finish the 2015 season, Butler football is predicted to take the Jayhawk Conference crown in 2016, as the KJCCC preseason coaches poll was released on Friday.
Following Butler in the preseason rankings was co-Jayhawk champion Dodge City, Hutchinson and Coffeyville. Highland, Dodge City, Independence and Fort Scott finished in the bottom half of the poll.
Butler, who finished 9-2 last year and fifth in the final NJCAA poll, was the preseason Jayhawk favorite for 11 straight seasons (2003-2014) before being selected third last season. Since 1998, the Grizzlies have won 15 of the last 18 conference titles.
The Grizzlies return only two starters - sophomore linebacker Tony Jones and cornerback Octavious Morgan - but have 18 lettermen returning for 2016. Jones, who led Butler with seven sacks last year, was an All-Conference first team selection, while Morgan, the team's interception leader with six picks, was a second-team member.
"We're really young at running back and wide receiver," said Butler coach Tim Schaffner, who is in his second year as head coach and 12th overall at Butler. "We think we have some guys, but there's a lot of questions. Hopefully we can get those answered within the next three or four weeks.
Butler opens the 2016 season on the road at Fort Scott on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 7:00 p.m. After a bye week, the Grizzlies return to BG Products Veterans Sports Complex for the home opener against conference rival Coffeyville on Sept. 10.
| KJCCC FOOTBALL COACHES POLL
2016 Predicted Order of Finish
|2016 BUTLER FOOTBALL SCHEDULE|
|Aug. 27||at Fort Scott||7:00 p.m.|
|Sept. 10||COFFEYVILLE||7:00 p.m.|
|Sept. 17||at Iowa Western||1:00 p.m.|
|Sept. 24||DODGE CITY||7:00 p.m.|
|Oct. 1||at Garden City||7:00 p.m.|
|Oct. 8||HIGHLAND||7:00 p.m.|
|Oct. 15||AIR FORCE PREP||7:00 p.m.|
|Oct. 22||HUTCHINSON||7:00 p.m.|
|Oct. 29||ELLSWORTH (IA)||7:00 p.m.|
|Nov. 5||at Independence||1:00 p.m.|
|Nov. 12||at Iowa Central||12:00 p.m.|
Home games in BOLD CAPS