SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The Southern Conference football coaches have tabbed Appalachian State as the preseason favorite to win the league crown in 2010. It is the fifth year in a row the league's coaches have chosen ASU as the preseason favorite.
The Mountaineers, who have won five consecutive SoCon crowns including a shared title with Wofford in 2007, received seven of nine first-place votes in the balloting. The Mountaineers return 20 starters this season, including nine on offense, seven on defense and four specialists.
After finishing the 2009 season with a 9-3 mark and a trip to the NCAA Playoffs, Elon was selected second in the coaches' preseason poll. The Phoenix, under the direction of fifth-year head coach Pete Lembo, earned two first-place votes and received 58 total points. Elon returns record-setting quarterback Scott Riddle, who was named the league's preseason Offensive Player of the Year by the coaches.
Furman led a pack of four teams separated by just five points. The Paladins were slotted third (41 points) after finishing 2009 with a 5-3 mark in league play. Samford (39) was selected fourth, just two points behind Furman and two ahead of Chattanooga, which was tabbed fifth. The Mocs finished 4-4 in league play last season, their best finish since 1998. Russ Huesman returns to Chattanooga for his second season after earning the league's Coach of the Year Award in 2009.
Wofford was chosen to finish sixth in preseason balloting. The Terriers return nine offensive and defensive starters from last season. Georgia Southern came in seventh place with 25 points. The Eagles are under the direction of new head coach Jeff Monken who previously served as an assistant at GSU from 1997-2001.
The Citadel (14) was picked eighth while Western Carolina (11) rounded out the poll.
2010 SoCon Football Preseason Coaches Poll
Place School (First-place votes) Points
1. Appalachian State (7) 63
2. Elon (2) 58
3. Furman 41
4. Samford 39
5. Chattanooga 37
6. Wofford 36
7. Georgia Southern 25
8. The Citadel 14
9. Western Carolina 11
NOTE: Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team