EKU football picked third in OVC

NASHVILLE — Jacksonville State was picked as the pre-season favorite to win the Ohio Valley Conference one season after being banned from post-season play.

The Gamecocks finished the 2009 season with the best record in the conference a year ago (8-3, 6-1) but were forced to sit out the post-season by the NCAA as penalty for a low graduation rate.

Eastern Illinois was selected to finish second and received four first-place votes, while Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee Tech and Tennessee State each received one first-place vote.

After a vote that saw five teams receive at least one first-place nod, the Eastern Kentucky University football team was picked by the OVC coaches and sports information directors to finish third in 2010.

Eastern Kentucky was 5-6 overall and 5-3 in the OVC a year ago after winning the league title in 2007 and 2008. The Colonels return 13 starters, including eight on defense. Three of those earned pre-season all-conference honors: senior defensive lineman Andrew Soucy, senior linebacker Jordan Dalrymple and junior defensive back Jeremy Caldwell.

EKU opens the 2010 season on Thursday, Sept. 2, at Missouri State.

A pair of Murray State players were also earned pre-season honors: junior punter and kicker Kienan Cullen and senior wide receiver Marcus Harris.

The Racers, who were 3-8 overall and 2-6 in the OVC, were picked to finish in last place.

Kragthorpe replaced on Texas A&M staff

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Former Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe resigned as receivers coach at Texas A&M to tend to family medical issues, and former NFL player Troy Walters will take his place.

Kragthorpe was hired in February after the Cardinals fired him following a 4-8 record in his third season. He was the head coach at Tulsa from 2003-06.

Walters played for Minnesota, Indianapolis, Arizona and Detroit during an eight-year NFL career. He was the 1999 Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's best collegiate receiver at Stanford.

Walters was the offensive coordinator at Indiana State last year after he failed to make an NFL team in 2008. He played high school football in College Station.

Va. Tech picked to win ACC

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Virginia Tech is the pre-season favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Hokies earned 50 of a possible 98 votes from media members attending the league's two-day pre-season media event. Florida State was the runaway choice in the league's Atlantic Division and was second to the Hokies with 26 votes. In addition, Seminoles quarterback Christian Ponder was picked pre-season player of the year.

Boise State favored in WAC

SALT LAKE CITY — Boise State was the runaway favorite to finish out its tenure in the Western Athletic Conference with another league title.

The Broncos are No. 1 in both the WAC media and coaches' polls. The defending champions received eight of the nine top votes from coaches, who aren't allowed to vote for their own teams. Boise State was also the top pick in all but one of the 43 media ballots.

Broncos QB Kellen Moore is also the pre-season offensive player of the year, which is Boise State's last in the WAC before joining the Mountain West Conference.