SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Georgia Southern has been selected the Southern Conference's preseason favorite in balloting conducted by the league's media. The Eagles (254) edged Appalachian State (249) by just five points, the smallest margin in the poll between the top two teams since ASU topped Marshall by just six points in 1996.
The Eagles received 15-of-30 first-place votes, while Appalachian State garnered 13 first-place nods.
Coming off an appearance in the FCS Quarterfinals, Wofford was picked third with 215 points, including two first-place votes. Chattanooga was slotted fourth (180), while Furman, under first-year head coach Bruce Fowler, was tabbed fifth (143).
Jason Swepson takes over at Elon (116) as the Phoenix were picked sixth in preseason balloting. Samford (92) came in seventh place, while Western Carolina (56) and The Citadel (45) rounded out the poll.
The 2011 Southern Conference football season begins Thursday, September 1 when Western Carolina visits Georgia Tech. The league's eight other teams hit the field Saturday, September 3, including a conference game between Georgia Southern and Samford.
2011 SoCon Football Preseason Media Poll
School (First-place votes) Points
1. Georgia Southern (15) 254
2. Appalachian State (13) 249
3. Wofford (2) 215
4. Chattanooga 180
5. Furman 143
6. Elon 116
7. Samford 92
8. Western Carolina 56
9. The Citadel 45