Eastern Illinois picked to finish first in OVC, EKU second

Eastern Kentucky football coach Dean Hood
Eastern Kentucky football coach Dean Hood

Eastern Illinois was tabbed the favorite to win the Ohio Valley Conference football title, followed by Eastern Kentucky.

That's just fine with Colonels Coach Dean Hood after EKU was made the pre-season favorite a year ago.

"They haven't got it right since we (came) in the league in 2008," Hood said of the predictions.

Results of the poll of league head coaches and sports information directors were released Monday at Nashville during media day activities.

Eastern Illinois picked up 12 of 18 first-place votes and totaled 122 points. EKU netted four first-place votes and 114 points.

Murray State was selected to finish sixth along with Tennessee Tech, as both teams received 53 points.

Eastern Illinois senior wide receiver Erik Lora was selected as Pre-season Offensive Player of the Year, while Tennessee State junior cornerback Steven Godbolt III was named Defensive Player of the Year.

Tennessee State topped the pre-season all-conference team with seven picks, followed by Eastern Illinois with six and EKU with four.

All four of the Colonels named play defense — lineman Shawn Shupperd, linebackers Anthony Brown and Ichiro Vance, and back Brandon Stanley.

"We're a little more veteran, especially when you look at our front seven," Hood said of his team's defense. "On the back end, we've got a lot of young guys that stepped up in the spring and looked good."

Murray State's Walter Powell was selected all-conference wide receiver and as return specialist, and teammate Jaamal Berry was picked at running back.

Four Buckeyes disciplined

Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer has disciplined four players for legal problems, including suspending leading-scorer Carlos Hyde from all team activities in the wake of an alleged assault against a female over the weekend in Columbus.

In addition, star cornerback Bradley Roby, who was arrested in Indiana for an altercation with a security guard at a bar this past weekend, will not represent the Buckeyes at this week's Big Ten media days. He was one of the players initially selected to speak to reporters at the annual event.

Freshmen recruits Marcus Baugh, a tight end, and defensive lineman Tim Gardner were also disciplined on Monday.

"I have a clear set of core values in place that members of this football program are constantly reminded of and are expected to honor," Meyer said in a statement issued by Ohio State late on Monday afternoon. " ... I expect our players to conduct themselves responsibly and appropriately and they will be held accountable for their actions."

Hyde, a 6-foot, 242-pound senior from Naples, Fla., rushed for 970 yards on 185 carries last season, second best on the team behind quarterback Braxton Miller, and was the unbeaten Buckeyes' leading scorer with 17 touchdowns and 102 points.

Cancer survivor invited to Ann Arbor

Brady Hoke invited the young Ohio State fan who named his cancer "Michigan" to see the Buckeyes play the Wolverines.

Michigan's coach has offered Grant Reed tickets to this year's matchup between the two rivals in Ann Arbor. A Michigan spokesman confirmed that Hoke called Reed and his family Monday.

Columbus TV station WCMH reported the 12-year-old Reed finished his final chemotherapy treatment a couple weeks ago. Reed's father, Troy, told the station his son gladly accepted Hoke's offer.

When Grant was diagnosed with cancer less than two years ago, he chose to name his disease Michigan. He wanted to beat it — and he has.

Clemson picked to win ACC

Clemson and Miami are the pre-season favorites to win their respective divisions in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd is an overwhelming selection as its pre-season player of the year.

The Tigers received 102 first-place votes in the Atlantic Division, well ahead of the 18 reigning league champion Florida State got.

Miami had 65 first-place votes in the Coastal, ahead of Virginia Tech's 27 and North Carolina's 22.

Clemson then received 95 votes as the eventual ACC champion.

Boise, Fresno top MWC poll

Boise State and Fresno State are projected to finish on top of the two new divisions of the Mountain West Conference this season.

The Broncos are picked to finish first in the Mountain Division, while the Bulldogs are the favorites in the West Division among members of the media who cover the league's teams. It is the league's first season of divisional play.

The two division leaders will meet in the inaugural Mountain West championship game, set for Dec. 7.