TULSA CHOSEN AS PRESEASON C-USA WEST FAVORITE
July 17, 2013
IRVING, Texas - Defending Conference USA Champion Tulsa Golden Hurricane has been chosen as the preseason favorite in the West Division, while East Carolina was the pick in the East Division of Conference USA.
Tulsa received all 14 votes to win the West Division, followed by Rice, Louisiana Tech, UTEP, North Texas, Tulane and UTSA in the West Division. In the East Division, East Carolina was followed by Marshall, Middle Tennessee, UAB, Southern Miss, Florida Atlantic and FIU, as voted on by the C-USA Coaches.
"It's a nice preseason mention for our fans to get excited about, but it only matters where you end up at the end of the season. We have a lot of work ahead of us if we're going to repeat as Conference Champions against a formidable league schedule," said Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship. "We know just how good Rice and Marshall will be this season just from our games a year ago, and they both return a lot of starters. East Carolina is new to our league schedule this year, but what they did last year and what they have returning, you can see why they're the pick in the East Division. Our West Division will be extremely competitive with newcomers Louisiana Tech, North Texas and UTSA, not to mention Tulane in the second year under coach Johnson and UTEP with new coach Sean Kugler.
Five Tulsa players earned preseason all-conference honors, including offensive lineman Jake Alexander and Stetson Burnett, linebacker Shawn Jackson, safety Demarco Nelson and punt returner Trey Watts.
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH EAST DIVISION Pts 1. East Carolina (11) 95 2. Marshall (2) 82 3. Middle Tennessee (1) 70 4. UAB 54 5. Southern Miss 40 6. Florida Atlantic 28 7. FIU 23
WEST DIVISION Pts 1. Tulsa (14) 98 2. Rice 76 3. Louisiana Tech 72 4. UTEP 46 5. North Texas 39 6. Tulane 31 7. UTSA 30
(first place votes in parantheses)
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