(STATS) - Two-time defending champion Jacksonville State was made a unanimous favorite Friday to capture another Ohio Valley Conference title in a vote by media members who cover the conference.
Jacksonville State received all 16 first-place votes and 144 overall points to outdistance Eastern Kentucky, which received 119 points.
Last year, Jacksonville State went 8-0 in conference play for the second consecutive season and finished 13-2 overall, reaching the FCS championship game for the first time before falling to North Dakota State. The Gamecocks, No. 1 in the STATS FCS Top 25 for much of the season, finished at No. 2 under coach John Grass.
JSU and Eastern Kentucky were followed in the preseason poll by Eastern Illinois (112), UT Martin (99), Southeast Missouri (66), Tennessee State (65), Murray State (56), Tennessee Tech (38) and Austin Peay (21).
The pollsters also selected Jacksonville State senior quarterback Eli Jenkins and Tennessee State junior defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko as the OVC's preseason offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively. Jenkins, who had offseason shoulder surgery, won the postseason offensive award last year. Ogundeko collected All-OVC first-team honors.
The OVC will release a preseason poll and an All-OVC team, as voted on by conference head coaches and sports information directors, at its annual media day Monday in Nashville.