Mocs Picked to Win SoCon Football Title For First Time Since 1982

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Chattanooga Mocs have been picked first in preseason polling conducted by the Southern Conference’s head football coaches. The Mocs, who earned a share of the conference championship in 2013 with Furman and Samford, earned six of the league’s eight first-place votes. It is the first time since 1982 that UTC has been picked first in preseason balloting.

 

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Furman and Samford tied for second place with 40 point apiece. The Paladins and Bulldogs both picked up a first-place vote in the polling after the two teams posted identical 6-2 records in league play last season. Last year’s Southern Conference championship was the 13th for Furman and the first for Samford since the Bulldogs joined the league in 2008.

 

Wofford was slotted fourth with 30 points. The Terriers enter their 27th season under head coach Mike Ayers and return seven starters on defense.

 

Western Carolina (24) was picked fifth. The Catamounts return 20 starters for 2014, which marks the third year under head coach Mark Speir. 

 

Mike Houston enters his first season as head coach of The Citadel after a successful three-year stint at Lenoir-Rhyne. The Bulldogs (22) were picked sixth by the league’s coaches.

 

A member of the Pioneer League last season, Mercer picked up 10 points in preseason balloting. The Bears are under the direction of former Furman head coach Bobby Lamb, who ranks eighth on the league’s all-time wins list (67).

 

VMI returns to the Southern Conference in 2014 after an 11-year absence. The Keydets (10) won seven Southern Conference championships and enter the season with seven returning starters returning on defense.

 

The Mocs were also picked to win it all in the media poll. UTC quarterback Jacob Huesman and UTC defensive end Davis Tull were named the SoCon’s offensive and defensive pre-season players of the year.

 

2014 SoCon Football Preseason Coaches Poll

 

School (First-place votes)           Points

1.   Chattanooga (6)                        48

2.   Furman (1)                                40

      Samford (1)                              40

4.   Wofford                                   30

5.   Western Carolina                       24

6.   The Citadel                               22

7.   Mercer                                      10

      VMI                                          10

 

NOTE: Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.