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