“A preseason poll is simply a prediction based on the past performances and we don’t have a history just yet,” head coach Steve Englehart said. “I did not expect us to be voted ahead of the teams that have a rich history with the Gulf South Conference.”Defending NCAA Division II National Champion Valdosta State and defending GSC Champion West Alabama are predicted to finish in a first-place tie. Both institutions received three first-place votes and two second-place votes for a total of 32 points.
North Alabama is expected to finish third, Delta State is slotted for fourth and West Georgia is predicted to finish fifth.The league’s head coaches voted in the poll. Teams received five points for a first-place vote, four for a second-place vote, three for a third-place vote, two for a fourth-place vote and one for a fifth-place vote. The head coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
The Panthers will kick off for the first time on September 7 at 7 p.m. ET against Stetson at Palm Bay High School’s Pirate Stadium. The game is one of six home contests on FIT’s upcoming schedule. FIT will play its first-ever GSC game in front of a national TV audience on CBS Sports Network against West Alabama. The game is scheduled for Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. ET at Pirate Stadium.