Texas A&M-Commerce is the favorite in the North Division and West Texas A&M is the top choice in the South Division, according to the 2010 Lone Star Conference preseason polls announced Tuesday.
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 2010 football season kicks off in late August, and the LSC has 14 teams set to compete. Each team will play a total of 10 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 10-game conference record, which will include six division games plus four crossover contests.
With Incarnate Word joining the league in the South Division, Eastern New Mexico will be realigned to the North Division in football for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
In 2009, Midwestern State, Texas A&M-Kingsville and Tarleton State shared the LSC football title. Texas A&M-Commerce claimed the North Division crown with a perfect 5-0 mark, while Tarleton, MSU, TAMUK and West Texas A&M were the South Division co-champions with identical 4-2 marks.
Texas A&M-Commerce is favored to repeat as Lone Star Conference North Division champions, according to the annual preseason poll, after winning its last five games of the 2009 season.
The Lions received first-place votes on 12 of the 19 ballots cast by LSC coaches, sports information directors and various media representatives.
A&M-C, who posted a perfect 5-0 mark in the division last season, totaled 123 points in the poll to end up in front of Southeastern Oklahoma. SE finished second with 110 points and three first-place votes.
Central Oklahoma (95) was third with two first-place nods, Eastern New Mexico (76) was fourth including two first-place tallies, Northeastern State (63) fifth, Southwestern Oklahoma (40) sixth and East Central (25) rounded out the poll.
West Texas A&M is the top choice to win the Lone Star Conference South Division in 2010, according to the annual preseason poll.
WTAMU, who posted a 7-5 overall and 4-2 divisional record in 2009, earned first-place votes on nine of the 19 ballots to finish with 105 total points in front of Abilene Christian’s 103-point tally with three first-place tallies in the poll of LSC head coaches, sports information directors and various media representatives.
The Buffaloes were South Division co-champions and represented the league in the inaugural Kanza Bowl in Topeka, Kan.
Midwestern State finished third with 91 points and three first-place votes, Tarleton State was fourth (87, two first-place), Texas A&M-Kingsville fifth (84, two first-place) Angelo State sixth (42) and Incarnate Word seventh (20).
In 2009, MSU, TAMUK and Tarleton shared the LSC football title and were also South Division co-champions with identical 4-2 marks along with WTAMU.
The LSC continued its regular participation in the postseason with four teams – MSU, TAMUK, Tarleton and ACU - selected to play in the NCAA Division II playoffs last season.
North Division 1st TOTAL
1 Texas A&M-Commerce (12) 123
2 Southeastern Oklahoma (3) 110
3 Central Oklahoma (2) 95
4 Eastern New Mexico (2) 76
5 Northeastern State 63
6 Southwestern Oklahoma 40
7 East Central 25
South Division 1st TOTAL
1 West Texas A&M (9) 105
2 Abilene Christian (3) 103
3 Midwestern State (3) 91
4 Tarleton State (2) 87
5 Texas A&M-Kingsville (2) 84
6 Angelo State 42
7 Incarnate Word 20
Four tabbed for LSC football preseason honors
Midwestern State quarterback Zack Eskridge was named LSC South Division Offensive Player of the Year, while Abilene Christian defensive end Aston Whiteside picked up the division’s Defensive Player of the Year award. Southeastern Oklahoma running back Baylen Laury was chosen as Offensive Player of the Year in the North Division and Texas A&M-Commerce linebacker Cory Whitfield earned the North’s Defensive Player of the Year acclaim.
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.
Eskridge, a 6-4, 215-pound senior from Rowlett, Texas, completed 71.3 percent of his passes for a school record 3,295 yards last season while helping the Mustangs to a LSC championship and to their third trip to the NCAA Division II playoffs. The 2009 Harlon Hill finalist connected for another school record 29 touchdowns and threw six interceptions to earn LSC South Offensive Back of the Year honors in 2009, while leading NCAA Division II with a 180.2 pass efficiency rating.
With 10 votes, Eskridge topped West Texas A&M’s Taylor Harris (four), Angelo State’s Josh Neiswander (two) and Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Fred Winborn (one).
Whiteside, a 6-2, 255-pound junior from Vernon, Texas, was a first team all-LSC South Division selection in 2009 and ranked among NCAA Division II leaders in both sacks (9.5) and tackles for loss (14.5).
He picked up the honor with nine votes to finish in front of Tarleton State’s Lonnie Buchanan (two) and five others with one vote.
Laury, a 5-10, 185-pound senior from Forney, Texas, was a second-team all-LSC North Division pick in 2009. He rushed for 637 yards and four scores, while adding 41 catches for 355 yards and three TD’s last season.
With four votes, Laury edged out A&M-C’s Adam Farkes and Marcus Graham, who each received three votes, and Eastern New Mexico’s Jesse Poku (two).
Whitfield, a 6-2, 195-pound senior from Palestine, Texas, had a breakout season in 2009 earning LSC North Division Linebacker of the Year and first team all-LSC North Division recognition. He led the Lions with 111 tackles, including six-straight games of double digit tackles; plus he was third on the team with 13.5 tackles for minus yardage in 2009.
He earned the acclaim with seven votes to edge ENMU’s Nathan Uland (six), Northeastern State’s Nick Dobler (two) and three others with one vote.