Texas A&M-Commerce is the top choice in the North Division and Abilene Christian is the favorite in the South Division, according to the 2008 Lone Star Conference preseason polls announced Thursday.
The league's preseason polls reflect the opinions of LSC head coaches and sports information directors, plus various media representatives from throughout the region.
The 2008 football season kicks off in late August, and the LSC has 13 teams set to compete. Each team will play a total of nine countable conference games. Divisional champions will be determined by only those games against division opponents, while the overall league champion will be determined by the overall nine-game conference record, which will include division games plus designated crossover contests.
Texas A&M-Commerce is favored to win the Lone Star Conference North Division title, according to the annual preseason poll, after being part of a five-way tie at the top last season.
The Lions received first-place votes on eight of the 16 ballots cast by LSC coaches, sports information directors and various media representatives.
A&M-C, which finished 5-6 last season, totaled 82 points in the poll to finish ahead of Southeastern Oklahoma. SOSU, who has won or shared the division title for the last four years, earned four first-place votes and 71 points.
Southwestern Oklahoma (58) and Central Oklahoma (47) each received two first-place nods to finish third and fourth, respectively. Northeastern State (43) and East Central (35) rounded out the poll.
Abilene Christian is narrowly favored to win the Lone Star Conference South Division in 2008, according to the annual preseason poll.
ACU, who posted a 10-3 mark in 2007, earned first-place votes on eight of the 18 ballots to finish with 113 total points just in front of West Texas A&M's 111-point tally in the poll of LSC head coaches, sports information directors and various media representatives.
Both ACU and WTAMU advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs last season. The Buffaloes, three-time defending LSC South Division and LSC overall champion, received the most first-place votes (10).
Tarleton State, 9-2 overall last year, finished third with 91 points, Midwestern State was fourth 75, Texas A&M-Kingsville fifth 49, Angelo State sixth 43 and Eastern New Mexico seventh 22.
North Division - First Place Votes in ( )
1 Texas A&M-Commerce (8) 82
2 Southeastern Oklahoma (4) 71
3 Southwestern Oklahoma (2) 58
4 Central Oklahoma (2) 47
5 Northeastern State 43
6 East Central 35
South Division - First Place Votes in ( )
1 Abilene Christian (8) 113
2 West Texas A&M (10) 111
3 Tarleton State 91
4 Midwestern State 75
5 Texas A&M-Kingsville 49
6 Angelo State 43
7 Eastern New Mexico 22
Four Lone Star Conference football standouts earned LSC Preseason Player of the Year acclaim for the 2008 season league officials announced Thursday.
Abilene Christian running back Bernard Scott was named LSC South Division Offensive Player of the Year, while West Texas A&M linebacker Jared Brock picked up the division's Defensive Player of the Year award. East Central quarterback Marcus Johnson was chosen as Offensive Player of the Year in the North Division and Northeastern State safety Broderick Mondy was selected as the North's Defensive Player of the Year.
The league's preseason awards were selected by a vote of LSC head coaches and sports information directors, plus various media representatives from throughout the region.
Scott, a 5-11, 220-pound senior from Vernon, Texas, was the favorite on 14 of 18 ballots to earn the honor over teammate Billy Malone and WTAMU's Keith Null. Last season, Scott finished as the runner-up for the Harlon Hill Award after rushing for 2,165 yards and scoring an NCAA Division II single-season record 39 touchdowns.
Scott averaged 166.5 yards rushing per game. He scored six touchdowns in two games last season and twice broke the single-game rushing record, including rushing for 303 yards in the Wildcats' season-ending triple-overtime loss to Chadron State in the second round of the playoffs.
Brock, a 6-1, 232-pound senior from Abernathy, Texas, collected his second straight 100-plus tackle season by leading the Buffs with 100 stops, a figure that includes 47 solo tackles. Brock also racked up 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, eight pass break-ups and 10 quarterback hurries during the 2007 campaign. He earned the award with 10 votes to finish in front of teammate Brandon Swain (six votes), Eastern New Mexico's Jeremy Hibbler (one) and Texas A&M-Kingsville's Mike Martinez (one).
Johnson, a 6-1, 189-pound junior from Abilene, Texas, was voted LSC North Offensive Back of the Year and a first team All-LSC North selection after setting several school records in 2007. He set the school mark for touchdown passes in a game (six), yards in a season (2,508), yards in a game (387), completed passes in a game (39), completed passes for a season (256), attempted passes in a game (62) and attempted passes in a season (416). He completed 61.5 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for a 117.52 pass efficiency rating. He also threw for an average of 228 yards per game.
With six votes, Johnson edged out Texas A&M-Commerce quarterback Terry Mayo (five). Central Oklahoma's Ben Birmingham (two), NSU's Jarrett Byers (one) and Southeastern Oklahoma's Daniel Nichols (one) rounded out the voting.
Mondy, a 6-2, 210-pound senior from Plano, Texas, led the RiverHawks and league in tackles with 117 last season, which ranked 10th nationally. Mondy tallied 10 or more tackles in six of the 10 games including a 19-tackle effort against ECU to garner Defensive Back of the Year, first team All-LSC and to the All-Academic team accolades in the North Division in 2007.
His five votes topped A&M-C's Marcus Smith (four), UCO's Jermelle Cudjo (three), SOSU's Bernard Daniel (two) and SWOSU's Greg Franklin.