Courtesy photo

Taeron Brown heads in for the tackle during a regular season game last year. The University of Pikeville football team was picked to finish third in the Mid-South Conference Appalachian Division preseason poll, league officials announced on Aug. 2.

Bears picked to finish third in MSC Appalachian Division

PIKEVILLE — The University of Pikeville football team was picked to finish third in the Mid-South Conference Appalachian Division preseason poll, league officials announced on Aug. 2.

The poll was voted on by the coaches, who only selected within their division.

Pikeville received 27 points in the poll, making a clear cut for the top-three spots. Defending champ Reinhardt, which advanced to the NAIA national championship game a year ago, is the favorite with 36 points and six of the seven first-place votes. Bluefield is second with 30 points and the other first-place nod after a winning 6-5 campaign in 2017.

After UPIKE, the voting points drop off to just 17 where Cumberlands is slotted fourth, followed by Union picked to finish fifth, Point sixth and St. Andrews rounds out the list.

Cumberlands had one more win than UPIKE overall last season, but both finished 3-3 within the division and in the head-to-head matchup, the Bears took care of business on the road 46-32.

UPIKE opens its season on Aug. 23 at home under the lights against Keiser, which is the first of five non-divisional games to kick things off. The two teams ahead of it in the preseason picks show up on the schedule in back-to-back road games.

The Bears travel to Waleska, Georgia, on Oct. 27 to face Reinhardt and follow that the next Saturday at Bluefield.