FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – The Huntingdon College football team enters the 2018 season as the preseason favorite in the USA South Athletic Conference.
With the release of the USA South coaches' poll on Wednesday afternoon, the Hawks are ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll for a fourth straight season. Huntingdon received seven first-place votes and totaled 49 points.
"I think being ranked No. 1 is a sign of our program's success. I don't want us to be picked anywhere other than No. 1 and I'm glad we have the respect of the other coaches in the league," Huntingdon head coach Mike Turk said. "But, we have a lot of work to do before the season begins. We have a lot of holes to fill at some key positions and we have to iron that out quickly in order for us to live up to this billing."
Huntingdon, the three-time defending conference champion, enters the season with the opportunity to become just the second USA South football team to win four consecutive conference titles. Former conference member Christopher Newport won four straight titles from 2001-2004.
Behind the Hawks, Maryville is ranked second in the preseason poll with one first-place vote and 38 points. Averett is third with 37 points, North Carolina Wesleyan is fourth with 28 points and LaGrange is fifth with 27 points.
Rounding out the poll are No. 6 Brevard (23 points), No. 7 Methodist (15 points) and No. 8 Greensboro (seven points). Brevard, which is reclassifying from Division II, is eligible for the USA South preseason poll and the USA South regular-season championship but will not be eligible to represent the conference in the Division III playoffs this season.
Huntingdon opens the season at Guilford College on Sept. 1.
2018 USA South Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Huntingdon (7 first-place votes), 49 points
2. Maryville (1), 38 points
3. Averett, 37 points
4. N.C. Wesleyan, 28 points
5. LaGrange, 27 points
6. Brevard, 23 points
7. Methodist, 15 points
8. Greensboro, 7 points