Mark Henninger, claimed their second league title last year in what was the school's sixth year of intercollegiate football. N.C. Wesleyan received five of eight first-place votes and 45 points. Head coaches are not allowed to voted for their teams in the balloting. Averett University, which finished second to the Bishops last year, was tabbed second with 41 points and two first-place votes. Christopher Newport University (CNU), which has won the conference title outright once (2008) and shared it on five other occasions (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006), was picked third with 40 points and one first-place vote. Three of Ferrum's four conference losses last season were to each of the teams picked above the Panthers in the poll. Greensboro (N.C.) College and Maryville were tied for fifth, each with 21 points. Shenandoah University was picked seventh with 20 points, followed by Methodist (N.C.) University in eighth with eight points. Six of the league's eight schools have either shared or won the conference championship outright since the USA South added football to its intercollegiate roster in 2001. Greenboro and Maryville, which joined the USA South as a football-only member in 2005, are the only schools not in this grouping. Also since 2001, the first year automatic berths in the NCAA Division III playoffs were extended to conference champions, only Ferrum, CNU, N.C. Wesleyan and Shenandoah have represented the league in postseason play. Panthers head coach Dave Davis begins his 17th year at the helm when Ferrum opens its season Saturday, Sept. 4 at home against instate rival Emory & Henry College. All eight league teams open their seasons that day against non-conference opposition.
League play begins Saturday Oct. 2, and for the second year in a row conference games will take place over a period of seven consecutive Saturdays.
Thus, no USA South team will have an open date once league play begins.
2010 USA SOUTH ATHLETIC CONFERENCE FOOTBALL COACHES' POLL
1. North Carolina Wesleyan (5) 45
2. Averett (2) 41
3. Christopher Newport (1) 40
4. Ferrum 28
5. Greensboro 21
5. Maryville 21
7. Shenandoah 20
8. Methodist 8