Midwestern State was picked to finish fourth in what looks to be a tight race for the Lone Star Conference championship when the league released its annual preseason poll of coaches, sports information directors and selected media Tuesday afternoon.
Six different teams received a first-place vote as the top six were very closely packed, led by the favorite and defending co-champion Tarleton State.
The Texans received eight first-place votes and totaled 139 points, but were followed closely by West Texas A&M (4 first-place votes, 127 points), 2013 co-champion Eastern New Mexico (5 first-place votes, 115 points) and Midwestern State (2 first-place votes, 111 points).
Angelo State (99 points) and Texas A&M-Commerce (95 points) also received first place votes, while Texas A&M-Kingsville (49 points) and McMurry (21 points) rounded out the poll.
Midwestern State returns 48 letter winners and 12 starters off of a squad which rolled out to a 7-1 record before ending the season with losses to Eastern New Mexico and West Texas A&M.
"We're ready to go," MSU coach Bill Maskill said. "In 12 years, I don't think we've lost two games in a row. Our offseason was committed to not letting that happen again. We're anxious to get the season started and see where we are."
Angelo State junior quarterback Kyle Washington garnered preseason offensive player of the year honors after passing for 2,048 yards and 17 touchdowns while rushing for 1,102 yards and nine more scores.
Texas A&M-Commerce senior defensive lineman Charles Tuaau earned preseason top defensive honors after being credited with 59 total tackles including 25 stops for loss and 12.5 sacks.
Midwestern State opens the season by taking on Missouri S&T on Sept. 13th at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.