NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jacksonville State may be the happiest that Jimmy Garoppolo now is in the NFL. The Gamecocks, who lost the outright league title to Garoppolo and Eastern Illinois last year, are this preseason’s favorite in the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Gamecocks, with their third head coach in as many seasons, received 118 points and 10 first-place ballots in voting by coaches and sports information directors Monday. Two-time defending champion Eastern Illinois and Tennessee State each picked up four first-place votes.
Those three teams reached the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in 2013 — most ever for the OVC — and won four games. Jacksonville State and Eastern Illinois reached the quarterfinals.
New Gamecocks coach John Grass says that has the OVC is at an all-time high for national perception.