If you look at preseason media predictions during various football conference media days, it is easy to see who many believe will be in the mix for either a postseason birth or a conference championship in the SWAC, MEAC, CIAA and SIAC.
The road to a conference or division championship, however, won’t be an easy one.
Voters say: Southern will win SWAC West.
Why will they: Even though Southern is replacing Dray Joseph who led them to a SWAC championship in 2013 with freshman Deonte Shorts, the offensive returns four starters from last year’s offensive line and are deep at running back with the likes of leading rusher Lenard Tillery, Pittsburgh transfer Malcolm Crockett and junior Jamarus Thomas. On defense, the secondary is young but returns all starters from a unit that has looked strong during fall camp to go along with a linebacker corps that returns senior linebackers Daniel Brown and Javon Allen.
Why they won’t: Starting quarterback Deonte Shorts hasn’t taken a snap under center at Southern. Although he was tabbed the guy by head coach Dawson Odums, Shorts didn’t win the job outright until nearly a week before the season. Additionally, Odums said he will go with a two-quarterback system against Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday. This might signal there still is some uncertainty at the position.