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KANSAS CITY — The Lincoln football team was picked to finish last this fall in the Blue Tigers' return to the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

The announcement came Wednesday during the 2019 MIAA Football Media Day at Kauffman Foundation Center.

Fort Hays State was picked to win the MIAA in the coaches preseason poll, while Northwest Missouri was picked first in the media preseason poll.

In the coaches poll, Fort Hays State received six of the 12 first-place votes and 114 points, followed by Northwest Missouri, which had five first-place votes and 112 points. Pittsburg State, which took the remaining first-place vote, was third with 967 points.

Central Oklahoma was picked fourth, followed by Central Missouri in fifth. Emporia State, Missouri Western, Washburn, Nebraska-Kearney and Missouri Southern round out the top 10.

Northeastern State was picked 11th in the coaches poll, followed by Lincoln.

In the media poll, Northwest Missouri claimed 32 of the 40 first-place votes with 471 points. Fort Hays State, picked second, had seven first-place votes with 433 points.

Pittsburg State was third, followed by Central Missouri in fourth and Central Oklahoma in fifth. Emporia State, Missouri Western, Washburn, Nebraska-Kearney and Missouri Southern — which received the remaining first-place vote — round out the top 10.

Like the coaches poll, Northeastern State was picked 11th ahead of Lincoln in the media poll.

Representing Lincoln at the media day were interim head coach Malik Hoskins, senior cornerback Chavon Gross and junior offensive lineman Cyril Spells.

Hoskins, previously the Blue Tigers' offensive coordinator, took over for head coach Steven Smith, who resigned in May after two seasons at Lincoln.

"We're still in transition," Hoskins said during the media day session. "We're transitioning as far as the head-coaching position is concerned, we're transitioning as far as the type of athlete that we get in is concerned, we're transitioning as far as facilities are concerned."

This is Lincoln's first season back in the MIAA for football since 2013. The Blue Tigers had spent the past five seasons as an associate member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

"We were in the GLVC for the past few years, where we've enjoyed our stay, but I really feel like (the MIAA) is home," Hoskins said. "I know every other sport at the university is already competing in the MIAA, and this is just fitting that football is back where we belong."

Lincoln opens the 2019 season Sept. 5 at Washburn, while its home opener is Sept. 12 against Missouri Southern. Both games are Thursday night kickoffs.

For the full coaches and media polls, as well as the News Tribune's ballot, please see Page C2 in Wednesday's News Tribune.

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