6th: Missouri Valley Football Conference
142nd: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: The Redbirds started the year 6-2 and seemingly only needed one more win in their last three games but unfortunately lost all three to finish 6-5 overall—the first season in the past four without a playoff berth.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: LB Tyree Horton was expected to again be a leader on the defense in what would have been his senior season but he was dismissed from the team by Coach Spack in what was spurred by an accumulation of events and not one major transgression. Last year, Horton topped the Redbirds with 75 tackles last season and also had 10½ tackles for loss, 3½ sacks and two forced fumbles.
Key Player: QB Jake Kolbe, who threw for 2,138 yards and a dozen touchdowns, but was intercepted 11 times and completed just 55.6 percent of his passes. He will need to perform at a higher level to lead the Redbird offense going into his senior season.
Fearless Prediction: The Redbirds have the talent to compete well in the very tough MVFC but need to play with more consistency to improve on a six-win season. If this team can do that, it will be in the playoff conversation. If not, a repeat of 2017 will likely happen in 2018.