Ouachita first

Ouachita Baptist is the team most coaches think will win the Great American Conference football title.

The Great American Conference announced its preseason coaches football poll on Tuesday afternoon.

For the third-consecutive season, head coach Bill Keopple's Muleriders land in the top three of the rankings as the 2019 edition of Southern Arkansas football checks in at No. 3 with one first-place vote.

Coming off an 8-4 campaign that included the program's second postseason bowl appearance of the last three seasons, high expectations have become a constant within the Mulerider locker room and throughout the league as evident by SAU being slotted at No. 3 after receiving 93 total points.

SAU in Previous GAC Coaches Preseason Polls

2018 | 3rd of 12

2017 | 1st of 12

2016 | 5th of 12

2015 | 6th of 12

2014 | 5th of 11

2013 | 2nd of 11

2012 | T6 of 9

2011 | 7th of 9

Per the Great American Conference, SAU also faces multiple changes at key positions due to graduation. Quarterback Barrett Renner finished his career ranked second in league history in passing yards, touchdowns and total offense. Wide receiver Ka'Ronce Higgins became a Harlon Hill finalist after leading the conference in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. On defense, DaVondrick Lison finished as the league's record holder in sacks. The Muleriders will return experience in the secondary in Brock Floyd and Lorenzo Watkins. Both tied for the GAC lead with four interceptions.

Topping the poll is two-time defending league champion Ouachita Baptist with 118 points and eight first-place votes, while Harding filled the second slot with 113 points and three first-place votes. Behind SAU is Henderson State with 85 points and Arkansas-Monticello rounds out a Natural State-dominated top five in fifth place with 66 points; one point ahead of Southeastern Oklahoma.

Northwestern Oklahoma State (58), Arkansas Tech (56), Oklahoma Baptist (52), and Southwestern Oklahoma State (43) fill in the top ten, with East Central (23) and Southern Nazarene (20) occupying No. 11 and No. 12, respectively.

The Muleriders are two practices into this season's fall camp as they prepare for an 11-game Great American Conference regular season slate that begins on September 5 with a 6 p.m. kickoff in Bethany, OK against Southern Nazarene.

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