Southeastern Louisiana gets nod in Southland preseason football polls

LAKE CHARLES — To absolutely no one’s surprise, Southeastern Louisiana University was voted Wednesday to repeat as Southland Conference football champions by the league’s coaches and sports information directors.

SLU, which returns 15 starters from a 2013 team that went 11-3 and claimed the SLC title with a 7-0 mark, was tabbed as the team to beat again when the league held its media day. The Lions also reached the quarterfinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in its first appearance.

SLU, which has 58 lettermen returning for coach Ron Roberts’ third season, was a near-unanimous pick. The Lions garnered nine first-place votes — one fewer than the maximum — from the Southland’s 11 coaches and tallied 99 points.

Coaches and SIDs could not vote for their own team.

In the SID vote, SLU had 10 first-place votes and 100 points, while McNeese was second in both polls with 92 and 89 points, respectively.

Northwestern State was picked to finish fifth and Nicholls State was ninth in both polls.

The poll results weren’t a surprise considering SLU and McNeese State dominated the preseason all-conference teams that were announced by the league last week.

Led by quarterback Bryan Bennett, Southeastern had four first-team picks on offense and five on defense. McNeese had seven first-team picks — four on defense and three on offense.

Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.

SOUTHLAND COACHES POLL

(Number in parentheses indicates first-place votes)

1. Southeastern Louisiana (9) 99 points

2. McNeese State (2) 92

3. Sam Houston State 79

4. Central Arkansas 70

5. Northwestern State 59

t6. Stephen F. Austin 52

t6. Lamar 52

8. Abilene Christian 36

9. Nicholls State 35

10. Incarnate Word 21

11. Houston Baptist 10

NOTE: Coaches could not vote for their own team.

SOUTHLAND SPORTS INFORMATION POLL

(Number in parentheses indicates first-place votes)

1. Southeastern Louisiana (10) 100 points

2. McNeese State (1) 89

3. Sam Houston State 78

4. Central Arkansas 72

5. Northwestern State 61

6. Stephen F. Austin 55

7. Lamar 45

8. Abilene Christian 39

9. Nicholls State 36

10. Incarnate Word 20

11. Houston Baptist 10

NOTE: Sports information directors could not vote for their own team.