(STATS) - Three-time defending champion Jacksonville State was an overwhelming choice to win another Ohio Valley Conference title in a preseason vote of media members who cover the conference Friday.
The Gamecocks, who have won 24 straight OVC games dating to the 2013 season, received 13 of the 16 first-place votes and 141 overall points to outdistance UT Martin, which received one first-place vote and 120 points.
Those two teams were followed in the preseason poll by Tennessee State (112 points; two first-place votes), Eastern Illinois (96), Tennessee Tech (70), Murray State (62), Eastern Kentucky (61), Southeast Missouri (33) and Austin Peay (25).
The pollsters also selected Tennessee State senior wide receiver Patrick Smith and Jacksonville State senior defensive end Darius Jackson as the OVC's preseason offensive and defensive players of the year. Jackson won the postseason honor last season.
The OVC will release a preseason poll and an all-conference team, as voted on by its head coaches and sports information directors, at its annual media day Monday in Nashville.