FERRUM, Va. – Huntingdon is the team to beat.
The USA South preseason football poll was released on Thursday during the conference’s media day, and Huntingdon was picked to take the top spot.
Huntingdon received six of the first-place votes, and Maryville and Methodist had the other two first-place votes.
LaGrange College was picked to finish fourth in the eight-team conference.
All eight head coaches in the conference voted in the poll.
Huntingdon, which is under the direction of 12th-year head coach Mike Turk, finished tied for second with Maryville in the conference last season with a 6-2 record.
Maryville was picked to finish second, and Methodist was close behind in third.
After LaGrange College in the poll were North Carolina Wesleyan, Averett, Ferrum and Greensboro.
LaGrange College finished 5-5 overall last season, and it was 3-5 in the USA South.
This will be LaGrange College’s fourth season in the USA South.
The Panthers’ best performance in conference play came in 2013 when they went 5-3.
The Panthers are heading into their second full season under head coach Matt Mumme.
Mumme took over as head coach for the final three games of the 2013 season and he led the Panthers to a 2-1 record, including a two-game winning streak to end the season.
“This is a tough conference,” Mumme said on Thursday during his turn at the podium. “I would love nothing more than all of us to go out and win a bunch of games and see a couple of teams rise to the top and go into the playoffs and start putting the USA South on the map.”
The conference winner earns an automatic invitation to the Division III national playoffs.
After opening with three non-conference games, LaGrange College will begin its USA South schedule on Oct. 3 against Averett.
1 – Huntingdon
2 – Maryville
3 – Methodist
4 – LaGrange
5 – N.C. Wesleyan
6 – Averett
7 – Ferrum
8 – Greensboro
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports