Sam Houston State Picked to Win Southland Championship in 2013
LAKE CHARLES - Sam Houston State, which reached the national championship game for the second consecutive year in 2012, was picked as the favorite heading into the 2013 season as voted on by the league's coaches and sports information directors, the conference Wednesday at its annual football media day at L'Auberge Resort.
Sam Houston was picked by both the coaches and the SIDs, receiving six out of a possible eight first-place votes and 48 points total in each poll. Central Arkansas picked up a first-place vote from the coaches and the final two from the SIDs while Stephen F. Austin received the final first-place vote from the coaches. Coaches and SIDs could not vote for their own team.
The Bearkats, who claimed their second consecutive conference title last season, return 11 starters and 40 lettermen, including the reigning two-time conference player of the year Tim Flanders and two-time first-time all-conference selection Richard Sincere. Five starters return on the offensive side for the Bearkats, five on the defensive side and one on special teams.
Central Arkansas, which advanced to the Division I postseason for the second consecutive year after winning a share of the regular-season title with Sam Houston, was picked second in both polls, receiving 44 points from the SIDs and 42 from the coaches. The Bears return 20 starters and 44 letterwinners to a team that finished 9-3 last season. Leading the way for UCA is quarterback Wynrick Smothers, the 2012 offensive player of the year, and defensive lineman Jonathan Woodard, last season's top freshman in the Southland.
McNeese State, which is coming off a fourth-place finish last year, was tabbed third in both polls, garnering 37 points from the coaches and 33 from the SIDs. The Cowboys return 62 players with on-the-field experience, including 16 starters. The Cowboys will be paced offensively by preseason all-conference wide receiver Diontae Spencer and running back Marcus Wiltz.
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