CHARLOTTE, N.C. -– For the second consecutive year, defending conference co-champion Coastal Carolina has been tabbed the favorite in the Big South Conference’s annual preseason football poll for the 2014 campaign, as voted by the League’s head coaches and media panel and announced today at the 2014 Big South Conference Football Kickoff Media Luncheon at the Charlotte Marriott City Center Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.
|POS.||TEAM (FIRST-PLACE VOTES)||PTS.|
|1||Coastal Carolina (14)||104|
The Chanticleers, which became the first team in Conference history to reach the quarterfinal round of the FCS Playoffs last season, enter the 2014 campaign with 54 letterwinners returning, including 16 starters. Third-year head coach Joe Moglia’s squad finished last year ranked seventh in the final top 25 polls, went 12-3 overall and 4-1 in Conference games to receive the Big South’s automatic bid to the postseason. Coastal Carolina received 14 of 18 first-place votes cast and 104 total points to win the Big South football championship this season.
Liberty, under the direction of third-year head coach Turner Gill, is picked to finish second again to the Chanticleers in 2014. The Flames went 4-1 in the league last season and shared the conference championship with Coastal. The Flames, which return 13 starters in 2014, collected the four remaining first-place votes and 92 total points in the voting.
Charleston Southern, last year’s surprise team at 10-3 and 3-2 in Big South games in Jamey Chadwell’s first season, was picked to finish third in the poll with 65 points -- the Buccaneers’ highest standing in the preseason voting since being tabbed second entering the 2006 season. Gardner-Webb and second-year head coach Carroll McCray finished fourth in the preseason ranking with 58 points. The Runnin’ Bulldogs are coming off their most wins (seven) since the 2003 campaign. New Big South associate football member Monmouth was predicted to finish fifth in its first season in the League. The Hawks, led by 22-year head coach Kevin Callahan, went 6-6 last season as an independent. Presbyterian College rounded out the preseason voting with the sixth and final spot, as the Blue Hose and sixth-year head coach Harold Nichols received 27 points from the panel.