http://www.atlanticuniversitysport.c...20190822i50rwg

Aug 22, 2019
(HALIFAX, NS) – The five AUS football coaches are undecided in who will be the top team in the Atlantic conference in 2019.

The Acadia Axemen, Saint Mary's Huskies and reigning champion StFX X-Men all received 13 points in the voting to tie for first place in the third annual AUS football pre-season coaches poll released today.

This marks the third year for the AUS football pre-season coaches' poll, which is voted on by the league's five head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams.

The Acadia Axemen, who lost in the AUS semi-final last season following third place finish with a 5-3 record. The Axemen received two first place votes and 13 total points in this year's poll.

The Acadia program is led by Jeff Cummins, who heads into his 17th season as Head Coach. Acadia's most recent Loney Bowl wins came in 2017, 2012 and 2011.

Acadia has only missed the post-season once in 16 seasons under Cummins.

The Saint Mary's Huskies, coming off a 7-1 regular season and a first-place finish in 2018, also received 13 points and two first place votes in this year's poll.

The Huskies, under fourth-year head coach James Colzie III, lost to the StFX X-Men 33-9 in the AUS final last season. SMU will look to return to the Loney Bowl final for the third consecutive year.

Saint Mary's has claimed the Atlantic conference banner a league-leading 23 times since 1960 but haven't hoisted the Jewett Trophy since 2010. They are also most recent AUS school to make an appearance in the Vanier Cup (2007) and the last Atlantic conference football team to win a national title (2001 and 2002).

The reigning AUS champion StFX X-Men, also garnered 13 points in this year's coaches' poll, including one first place vote.

The X-Men are chasing a fourth conference banner in the past five seasons when league play kicks off this weekend.

StFX posted a 6-2 regular season record in 2018 to finish second in the standings before defeating Acadia 33-10 in semi-final play and Saint Mary's by a score of 33-9 in the Loney Bowl.

The X-Men are led by reigning AUS coach of the year Gary Waterman who is entering his 11th season as head coach.

The Mount Allison Mounties, who have now missed the post-season in 2017 and 2018, received seven points from the head coaches to rank fourth in the 2019 poll.

Mount Allison finished in fourth place with a 2-6 record last season under first-year head coach Peter Fraser.

The Mounties previously appeared in four consecutive Loney Bowls from 2013-2016, raising the Jewett Trophy in both 2013 and 2014.

The Bishop's Gaiters, heading into their third season of AUS football, received four points in the voting.

Bishop's finished 2018 with an 0-8 regular season record.

Head coach Cherif Nicolas returns for his third season as head coach.

Prior to joining the Atlantic football conference, the Gaiters had claimed five RSEQ conference championships, the last of which came in 1994.

They last qualified for the RSEQ post-season in 2013 when they finished in second place with a 6-2 regular season record.

2019 AUS Football Pre-season Coaches' Poll

(First-place votes in parentheses):

T1. Acadia (2), 13 pts.
T1. Saint Mary's (2), 13 pts.
T1. StFX (1), 13 pts.
4. Mount Allison, 7 pts.
5. Bishop's, 4 pts.

The 2019 regular season gets underway Saturday with a pair of games. Mount Allison will travel to Antigonish to play StFX to kick off the season at 2 p.m. while Bishop's will travel to Wolfville, N.S. to face Acadia in a 3 p.m. start.

The Saint Mary's Huskies have a bye in Week 1.

For the full 2019 AUS football schedule, click here. http://www.atlanticuniversitysport.c...ule?confonly=1

All games will also be webcast live at www.AUStv.ca.