Hopkins, at 5th, has never been a Top 5 program, at least not in the past 20-30 years. They have come close, that 2014 team that Hobart beat in the 2nd round of the NCAA playoffs was certainly a Top 10 one for sure, but Top 5? No way.
Wesley at 8th seems high to me as well given who they graduated and they really haven't found someone to fill the role that now Green Bay Packer backup QB Joe Callahan played so well for them.
Alfred at 9th is really problematic given their QB and top offensive weapon, Tyler Johnson, is gone (recently signing with the Jacksonville Sharks of the AFL). Alfred also graduated three starting OL players as well. The Saxons defense may be tough again, especially with SR LB A.J. Licata coming back, but the rest of their spring roster shows it doesn't have a lot of SRs on it, and so starting off in the Top 10 seems questionable at best.
Stevenson at 10? It's been about a decade since a MAC champion was ranked this high, but to their credit, the Mustangs have been a strong program in a short amount of time. They finished in the 2016 season on spot below Hobart at 20th in the final D3football.com Top 25 poll, which is think is pretty accurate.
Saint Lawrence (11) has grown into a tough LL-rival for Hobart, but in spite of several close calls, they still haven't beaten the Statesmen since 2010. Add to the fact the Saints graduated a huge amount of what was probably their best SR class in the last 25+ years, and you can't take this ranking seriously. Is SR QB Sean Richardson legit? Yes, but you can't simply reload guys like All-American DL Chyron Brown-Wallace, DB/ST star James Holley-Grisham, LB Alec Dietsch, TE Mitch Gallagher and others without a little drop off.
UWW at 15? C'monman. Sure they got knocked out of the playoffs by JCU last season, but they still went 12-1 and are only two seasons away from back-to-back National Championships.
Lastly, the poll screams out with Hobart at 19th with what is a bold-faced lie in the comments. The Statesmen aren't "switching to a 4-2-5" defensive scheme. I have no idea who the author of this article / poll spoke with, but the Statesmen have been a 4-4 scheme for the past 25+ years, so I'm not sure where this comment came from?
I will say this, and maybe it'll be a future, more detailed post, but the question mark I have going into 2017 season is who will be starting at OLBs in that 4-4 scheme? Hobart has been blessed with great, all-time even, players at that position for the last 6 seasons.
Think about this - Devin Worthington '13, Nolan Toran '15, Marcus Jemison '17, Michael Harper '17 - all these guys had excellent college careers and helped lead the Statesmen defense by consistently making big plays in big games. With no starters returning back at this position in 2017, save for perhaps rising SR DB Tommy D'Antonio who played well filling in during Jemison's injuries which sidelined him a couple of times last year, I'll be curious to see who steps into these roles for Hobart's defense this fall.
The only thing I liked about this poll is the inclusion of WNE which has grown into a solid program, arguably the best in New England (at least until Coach DeWall's Endicott Gulls eventually topple them). The Golden Bears will be on a couple of LL schedules this fall and are the favorite to win the now CCC (formally the NEFC) and return to the NCAA playoffs. I would probably have WNE in the 24-25 range, or maybe "receiving votes" if I was a pollster, but I do believe they merit consideration.
You can expect to see Hobart in the D3football.com Top 25 when it's released later in July. The Statesmen got a few shout outs on the last "Around the Nation" podcast which you can check out here if you missed it.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy summer. Only two more months until preseason camp!
Thanks for reading and go ' Bart!