NSU Demons via YouTube
NSU Demons via YouTube

Member schools of the Southland Conference gathered together yesterday to talk about the upcoming 2019 football season. At yesterday's media event coaches and sports information directors offered their opinions on who would fare well in the conference and what teams might want to already start thinking about next year.

The Southland Conference boasts four Louisiana schools. Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, and McNeese State. One of those schools, Nicholls State appears to be the favorite to win this year's conference championship, again.

Based on a poll released by the Southland Conference the Colonels appear to the team to beat. Meanwhile, the McNeese Cowboys were chosen by the votes of coaches and sports information directors to finish sixth in the 11 team conference.

The Cowboys will open play August 31st in Lake Charles against in-state opponent Southern University. This marks the beginning of the Sterlin Gilbert era in Lake Charles. Gilbert was named head coach for the Cowboys in December of last year. He comes to McNeese by way of the University of South Florida where he was the offensive coordinator for one of college football's most potent offensive threats.

Northwestern State won three of their last four games last season but that late-season surge wasn't enough to impress any of the pollsters. The Demons were picked to finish 10th in the league. The only team that was thought to be on the precipice of a longer season, at least when it comes to wins and losses, was Houston Baptist.

Here's the way Coaches/SID's Poll shook out. The number in parentheses is the number of first-place votes each team received.

1. Nicholls State (20)  200

2. Central Arkansas  154

3. Incarnate Word (1) 150

4. Sam Houston State  146

5. Lamar                      123

6. McNeese State       114

7.  Abilene Christian     112

8. Southeastern Louisiana 71

9. Stephen F. Austin 63

10. Northwestern State 56

11. Houston Baptist    21


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