From ASU Sports
JONESBORO – Sun Belt Conference champions four of the last five seasons, the Arkansas State football team has been picked to finish second in the league’s 2016 preseason coaches’ poll.
The top spot in the poll, announced Thursday by the Sun Belt, was tightly contested as Appalachian State edged the Red Wolves for first place by just four points, 114-110. Both programs received five first place votes each, while Georgia Southern took the other in the 11-team league.
A-State collected 12 more points than third-place Georgia Southern (98), which was followed by Georgia State (73), Troy (70), Louisiana-Lafayette (70), South Alabama (62), Idaho (48), New Mexico State (37), Texas State (30) and Louisiana-Monroe (14).
The Red Wolves compiled a 9-4 overall record last season and claimed the Sun Belt title with an unblemished 8-0 mark. Sun Belt champs in 2011, 2012 and 2013 as well, A-State is the only FBS program in the nation to win four league championships over the last five seasons.
Arkansas State will begin its 2016 campaign with four consecutive non-conference games before hosting Georgia Southern Wednesday, Oct. 5, in its SBC opener. The Red Wolves are currently tied for the nation’s third longest conference winning streak at nine games.
A-State returns 13 starters, including eight All-Sun Belt Conference selections, from last year’s team that went to a bowl game for the fifth consecutive year. This year’s squad has seen five different players find a place on one of the preseason major award watch lists, including Cody Brown (Thorpe), Devin Mondie (Rimington), Ja’Von Rolland-Jones (Nagurski and Bednarik), Blaise Taylor (Wuerffel) and Warren Wand (Doak Walker).
Arkansas State will kick off its season with a home game against Toledo on Friday, Sept. 2. Season tickets for the Red Wolves’ 2016 football campaign, which includes six home games, are available for purchase. Arkansas State has strung together 11 consecutive years with a winning home record dating back to 2005 and has won 26 of its last 30 games at Centennial Bank Stadium.
Tickets may be purchased through the A-State Ticket Office, located at the Convocation Center’s lower red entrance, in person, by phone at 870-972-2781 or online by clicking the “Tickets” link located at the top of the AStateRedWolves.com home page.
2016 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Football Coaches’ Poll (first place votes)
1. Appalachian St. (5) – 114 pts
2. Arkansas State (5) – 110 pts
3. Georgia Southern (1) – 98 pts
4. Georgia State – 73 pts
T5. Troy – 70 pts
T5. Louisiana-Lafayette – 70 pts
7. South Alabama – 62 pts
8. Idaho – 48 pts
9. New Mexico St. – 37 pts
10. Texas State – 30 pts
11. Louisiana-Monroe – 14 pts