NASHVILLE --- First-year Tennessee State head football coach James Webster hopes that his team's Ohio Valley Conference preseason prediction of seventh place will provide incentive as his Tiger football team begins preseason football practice.
The Tigers were chosen seventh in the poll of OVC head coaches and sports information directors that was announced earlier.
"It is certainly something that we are going to tell our players," said Webster. "I am new to the league, but I think it is hard for our players to believe that there will be six teams in the OVC better than our team."
Jacksonville State is the big favorite to capture a third straight football title in 2005. The Gamecocks earned 15 first-place nods, while last season's co-runners up Eastern Kentucky and Murray State split the remaining three votes. EKU claimed one first-place vote and was picked to finish second while MSU earned two first-place votes and was chosen third. Eastern Illinois and Tennessee Tech were picked to finish fourth and fifth, respectively. Rounding out the selections were Samford, the Tigers, Southeast Missouri and Tennessee-Martin.
TSU had one representative on the All-OVC preseason team. Junior lineman Almonte Duncan is the Tiger chosen to the team. Duncan was a second team choice All-OVC selection last season.
Eastern Illinois led all schools with six players selected to the 2005 Preseason All-OVC football team in voting by the league's head football coaches and sports information directors. Twenty players who earned either first or second-team All-OVC honors a year ago were among the 26 selected to the squad. Tennessee-Martin placed five players on the preseason all-conference team, while Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Murray State and Tennessee Tech each had three players chosen
1 - Jacksonville State (15 first-place votes) - 127 points
2 - Eastern Kentucky (1 first-place vote) - 108 points
3 - Murray State (2 first-place votes) - 94 points
4 - Eastern Illinois - 81 points
5 - Tennessee Tech - 72 points
6 - Samford - 49 points
7 - Tennessee State - 47 points
8 - Southeast Missouri - 45 points
9 - Tennessee-Martin - 25 points