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John Zenor | The Associated Press | July 19, 2014

Alabama State, Southern favored

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama State is once again the popular preseason pick to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference's East Division.

Now, the Hornets hope to actually come away with the title.

Alabama State was picked for the third consecutive year to win the East by coaches, sports information directors and media members Friday at SWAC media day. Defending league champion Southern is favored to repeat in the West.

"This is the third year in a row they've picked us. Obviously it says the coaches and SIDs don't know what they're talking about," Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow quipped.

"I think it's also a blessing to know that coaches and SIDs, media, they see what you've done. They see that you've put good products together, you've got good players and good coaches. We're proud about that. Obviously we know that you still have to play the game on the field. We're looking forward to not just getting close this year but winning it and winning it all."

Alabama State has gone 7-2 in SWAC play the past three years but fallen short of the championship game.

Alabama State received 93 points, just two more than Alcorn State, followed by Jackson State (72), Mississippi Valley State (40) and Alabama A&M (34).

Southern beat Jackson State 34-27 in double overtime in last season's championship game.

The Jaguars' 95 points topped Prairie View A&M (88), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (66), Texas Southern (50) and Grambling (31).

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