By ADD SEYMOUR JR.
In no surprise to anyone in the universe, Tuskegee was picked to finish first in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's West Division, in a poll of conference head coaches and sports information directors released Tuesday.
The Golden Tigers picked up 11 of 15 first place votes after finishing last season in the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs. They had the SIAC's top offense and defense last season, and return the conference's reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Osband Thompson, and experience at quarterback in new starter Jamarcus Ezell who played in all 12 games as Kevin Lacey's understudy.
Albany State has a new head coach in Gabe Giardina, but returns many of the cogs from what was one of the SIAC's stingiest defensive units. The Golden Rams had the top overall record in the SIAC East last season, but fell to Fort Valley State in a game that would have put them into the SIAC championship game.
Here is the full predicted order of finish for the SIAC East and West Divisions:
1) Albany State - 65 votes, six first place votes
2) Fort Valley State - 55, (4)
3) Benedict - 52, (4)
4) Clark Atlanta - 42 (2)
5) Morehouse - 26
1) Tuskegee - 75, (11)
2) Miles - 60, (3)
3) Kentucky State - 48, (2)
4) Lane - 37
5) Central State - 21