(STATS) - It's possible a team with a sub-.500 record in Ivy League games last season could be the preseason favorite in the Ancient Eight.
That's how intriguing and unpredictable the title race could be in 2019.
Yale slumped to 3-4 in the league after winning the 2017 title. Last year's top squads, Princeton and Dartmouth, went a combined 19-1, but the champion Tigers lost a ton in the offensive skills positions and graduation is ravaging the Big Green's offensive and defensive lines. Also, Harvard, Columbia and Penn will help keep it a deep race.
Following is a look across the Ivy League with spring practices underway in college football:
HEAD COACH: James Perry (first season; 12-10 overall)
OFFSEASON PRIORITY: Winless in Ivy games the last two seasons, Brown seeks a turnaround under Perry, its former star quarterback who was Bryant's coach the last two years. Spring practices aren't just about implementing new systems, but also fitness because the Bears will play at a fast pace under Perry, who previously coached in the league as Princeton's offensive coordinator.
NOTABLE: The Bears ranked last in the league in offense and defense last season. Quarterback Michael McGovern was under fire as the line allowed 46 sacks in only 10 games. Leading tackler Daniel Aidman is graduating, but the next four in tackles are returning. Ironically, the Perry era will open with a visit to Bryant.
HEAD COACH: Al Bagnoli (19-21, four seasons; 253-120 overall)
OFFSEASON PRIORITIES: Columbia has to figure out quarterback after having four different starters and six players see action at the position due to injuries last season. The top three returnees are Josh Bean, who started four games, Dillon Davis and Ty Lenhart. While junior Ben Mathiasmeier returns with experience, the defense is replacing both starting safeties.
NOTABLE: The Lions are coming off back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1961 and '62. It is important to get back All-Ivy wide receiver Josh Wainwright, who suffered a season-ending injury in the first game as the floodgates opened on 25 different injured players. As a junior, defensive end Daniel DeLorenzi set the program record with 9½ sacks.
HEAD COACH: David Archer (15-45, six seasons)
2018 RECORDS: 3-7 overall, 2-5 Ivy (7th)
SPRING PRACTICES: March 20-May 1 (spring game is April 27)
OFFSEASON PRIORITIES: The offense has to replace three-year quarterback Dalton Banks as well as four starters on the offensive line. The defense will try to defend the rush better.
NOTABLE: Cornell has not had a winning season - overall or in the league - during Archer's tenure. Second-team all-league selections Harold Coles (running back) and David Jones (cornerbacks) seek banner senior seasons. The defense forced only nine turnovers last year while having a negative turnover margin for the third straight season.
HEAD COACH: Buddy Teevens (96-92-2, 19 seasons; 130-169-2 overall)
OFFSEASON PRIORITY: With the offensive line losing four starters, the Big Green have great focus there. Nevertheless, they figure to remain strong in the run game with wildcat quarterback Jared Gerbino leading the way.
NOTABLE: Teevens has revitalized Dartmouth, which has gone 8-2 or 9-1 in four of the last five seasons. The defense is retooling up front, but cornerback Isiah Swann collected an FCS-high nine interceptions while winning Ivy defensive player of the year. Junior safety D.J. Avery hopes to come back strong from two injury-plagued seasons.
HEAD COACH: Tim Murphy (174-75, 25 seasons; 206-120-1 overall)
OFFSEASON PRIORITY: With so many lost starters, the Crimson have to fill the openings and build depth after having two straight subpar seasons by program standards. However, each of last year's four losses was by eight or fewer points.
NOTABLE: The junior class could fuel the team, including quarterback Jake Smith, running backs Aaron Shampkin and Devin Darrington, and linebacker Jordan Hill, the leading tackler last season. Senior place-kicker Jake McIntyre is 30-for-36 on field goals in his career. Harvard entered the offseason on a three-game winning streak.
OFFSEASON PRIORITY: The offense is being changed by new offensive coordinator Kevin Morris, who arrived from Monmouth. The offense returns junior quarterback Ryan Glover and senior running back Karekin Brooks, who made the All-Ivy second team.
NOTABLE: While on a cultural and good will trip to China, the Quakers played the American Football League of China All-Stars in the Global Ambassadors Bowl March 9 in Shanghai (they'll still have a spring game on March 30). An already-solid secondary gets back two-time All-Ivy second-team safety Sam Philippi, who gained a fifth season after being lost in the first game a year ago.
HEAD COACH: Bob Surace (48-42, nine seasons; 66-45 overall)
OFFSEASON PRIORITY: Replacing quarterback John Lovett, the Ivy offensive player of the year almost seems impossible, but the Tigers seek the next standout in an open competition. The candidates include Kevin Davidson, who started one game last season, Zachary Keller, Cole Smith and Brevin White.
NOTABLE: Princeton finished the season ranked 11th in the STATS FCS Top 25. There are big holes at wide receiver (after losing Jesper Horsted and Stephen Carlson) and inside linebacker (leading tacklers Tom Johnson and Mark Fossati). The loss of running back Charlie Volker (1,994 career yards) is tempered by the return of junior Collin Eaddy.
OFFSEASON PRIORITIES: Yale tied for fifth in the league in total defense and was sixth in scoring defense. Improved tackling and pass coverage are a must for the unit.
NOTABLE: The 2017 Ivy champs had injury issues last season, including to quarterback Kurt Rawlings and running back Zane Dudek, but both will be back in a wildly experienced offense. Quarterback Griffin O'Connor, who only played three games, followed Dudek as the Ivy rookie of the year. The Bulldogs could have the strongest senior class in the league. They look to reverse a minus-11 turnover margin which was the worst in the league.