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Penn Football prepares for the upcoming 2023 season during the Spring Game on Apr. 21. Credit: Samantha Turner

After finishing one win shy of an Ivy League title in 2022, Penn football is projected to again contend for the crown in 2023.

The Quakers were picked third in the Ivy League in a recent preseason poll, which surveyed members of the Ancient Eight media. The Quakers trailed only last year's champion, Yale, who earned 122 voting points and 13 first-place votes, and Princeton, who garnered 103 points and one first-place vote. Penn received 90 points, but no first-place votes.

Last season, the Quakers defeated both the Bulldogs and the Tigers in a season that was marked by mountainous highs and cavernous lows. After a 3-7 season in 2021, the Quakers were picked to finish sixth in Ancient Eight last season, then defied those expectations by rattling off six wins to begin the year. But an unexpected loss to Brown and a blowout defeat against Harvard derailed the Red and Blue's title hopes, making their last-second defeat of Princeton in the season finale more a matter of pride than placement.

The Quakers will miss the contributions of departed leaders like defensive end Jake Heimlicher and offensive lineman Trevor Radosevich, both 2022 first-team All-Ivy honorees who transferred over the offseason. But the Red and Blue also return a great deal of talent, including 2023 preseason All-Ivy defensive backs Jaden Key and Kendren Smith, plus All-Ivy honorable mention quarterback Aidan Sayin.

Penn's season kicks off on the road against Colgate on Sept. 16, with its Ancient Eight slate beginning two weeks later in a home matchup against Dartmouth. As the Quakers aim for their first Ivy title since 2016, every game counts.