RICHARDSON, Texas — The Eastern New Mexico University football team is hoping recent history repeats itself in the Lone Star Conference South Division.
The Greyhounds were picked for last place in the seven-team South’s preseason poll, released on Monday by the conference office. Last year, West Texas A&M was chosen for last place and Angelo State for sixth in the poll before those teams finished 1-2 and earned NCAA Division II playoff berths.
Second-year ENMU coach Mark Ribaudo says he doesn’t put a lot of stock in prognostications.
“I really don’t care what people think of us anyway,” Ribaudo said. “I think we’re going to be a decent football team.”
In a vote of 16 coaches, sports information directors and sportswriters, WT was a narrow choice to repeat its title with 88 points to 86 for Tarleton State, 80 for Texas A&M-Kingsville and 77 for Midwestern State.
Despite that, WT had at least one vote for everything from first through seventh, as did Angelo State — which was tabbed for fifth place with 61 points.
Abilene Christian finished sixth with 36 points, while the Greyhounds had 30 points and were chosen last on nine ballots. The Hounds (5-6, 2-4 South in 2005) are trying to bounce back from their first losing record since 1997.
“I think the (division) is going to be a lot like those rankings,” said Ribaudo, who has been on ENMU’s coaching staff since 1997 and last year replaced the late Bud Elliott as head coach. “We’re not going to know for a while what’s really going on.”
In the North Division, Southeastern Oklahoma earned 12 of 14 first-place votes and was a solid favorite for the division title. The Savage Storm, which has gone 30-11 over the past four seasons, earned 81 points in the North poll to 67 for Central Oklahoma.
ENMU players are scheduled to report on Aug. 9, with practice beginning the next day. The Hounds open the season on Sept. 7 in a Thursday night contest at Northeastern State.