Here are our preseason Big South Football Power Rankings which we will update each week during the season.
1. Coastal Carolina 0-0
The Chanticleers are coming off the best season in Big South history after advancing to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. Coastal defeated Bethune-Cookman and Montana in the playoffs before falling to eventual national champion North Dakota State. Surely Coastal lost plenty of talent from last season and the cupboards are bare? Wrong. The Chants return 8 All-Conference performers from a year ago including quarterback Alex Ross and 2-time Big South Defensive Player of the Year in linebacker Quinn Backus.
Next: @ the Citadel, 6pm
2. Liberty 0-0
Head coach Turner Gill returns 9 All-Conference performers from a year ago, but will have to replace Des Rice at running back after he suffered a knee injury this spring. Will the Flames finally get over the hump and make the FCS playoffs for the first time in school history? They certainly have their work cut out for them as they face defending champs Coastal Carolina on the beach in the season finale.
Next: @ North Carolina, 6pm
3. Charleston Southern 0-0
Under 1st year head coach Jamey Chadwell, the Buccaneers had the best season in school history in 2013. CSU started 10-1 before finishing the year with consecutive losses to Gardner-Webb and Liberty. Charleston Southern could get off to another fast start this season as their first 4 games are all at home under the brand new lights at Buccaneer Field including their first 2 games against sub-DI opponents. 1st team All-Big South running back Christian Reyes looks to build off his impressive junior campaign.
Next: vs Point, Thursday 7pm
4. Gardner-Webb 0-0
The Runnin’ Bulldogs had an up and down season in 2013. They started the year with wins over Furman, Richmond, and Wofford before losing 4 out of 5 including losses to Coastal Carolina and Liberty by a combined 66-7 score in consecutive weeks. Kenny Cook may be the most exciting player in the league, but he has never had an established quarterback to get him the ball. Cook finished last season with 76 receptions for 1,008 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Next: @ Furman, 7pm
5. Monmouth 0-0
It’s always tough to get a good read on a team that is new to the conference especially without several common opponents. Of course, FlamesNation is familiar with the Hawks as Liberty routed Monmouth 45-15 in the home opener at Williams Stadium last season. But Monmouth should be competitive with everyone in the league not named Liberty or Coastal Carolina right out of the gate. The Hawks get Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern at home, so it would not be a surprise to see them finish 3rd or 4th in the league.
Next: vs Delaware State, 1pm
6. Presbyterian 0-0
The Blue Hose have finished last or tied for last in the Big South in every season except for 2011 since they joined the conference in 2009. With their biggest competition, VMI, headed to the SoCon this year, Presbyterian should be able to grab a strangle-hold on the cellar. PC has 3 dates with FBS opponents this season – Northern Illinois, NC State, and Ole Miss.
Next: @ Northern Illinois, Thursday 7pm