CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CSU) -- Charleston Southern was picked to finish 4th in the Big South Conference in a preseason poll announced Thursday at the League's annual Football Kickoff Media Luncheon at the Charlotte Plaza Uptown Hotel.
Coastal Carolina, which won a share of the Big South championship and advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs last season, was tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the conference. The Chanticleers swept the Big South Preseason Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year Awards as well, with wide receiver Matt Hazel and linebacker Quinn Backus receiving the accolades.
First-year Charleston Southern Head Coach Jamey Chadwell addressed the crowd at the luncheon, as he prepares to lead the Bucs into fall camp starting next week. CSU opens the 2013 season on August 31 at The Citadel, and begins the Big South slate against VMI on October 12.
Liberty, under the direction of second-year head coach Turner Gill, is picked to finish second to the Chanticleers in 2013. The Flames went 5-1 in the league last season for the fourth consecutive year and shared the conference championship.
Gardner-Webb and new head coach Carroll McCray were picked to finish third in the poll with 58 points – the Runnin' Bulldogs' highest standing in the preseason voting since being tabbed third entering the 2008 season.
The VMI Keydets and Presbyterian College Blue Hose tied for the fifth position in the preseason voting. VMI, under sixth-year head coach Sparky Woods, is playing its final season in the Big South in 2013, while PC and fifth-year head coach Harold Nichols are looking to bounce back from last year's 2-9 finish and 0-6 record in League play.
Liberty and Presbyterian College open the 2013 season on Thursday night, Aug. 29 against two FBS opponents on ESPN3. The Flames travel to Kent State for a 6:00pm kickoff while the Blue Hose visit Wake Forest at 6:30pm. The remaining four teams open on Saturday, Aug. 31. Conference play starts Saturday, Oct. 12 and the regular-season concludes Saturday, Nov. 23, with the Big South champion receiving the League's automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs.
2013 Preseason Poll (first-place votes) -- Points
1. Coastal Carolina (9) -- 84
2. Liberty (6) -- 80
3. Gardner-Webb -- 58
4. Charleston Southern -- 39
T-5. VMI -- 27
T-5. Presbyterian -- 27
Note: points are based on a weighted system, with first-place votes receiving 6 points, followed by 5 points for second-place, and so on.