TULSA, Oklahoma – The preseason media poll for Conference-USA was release Friday, and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane has been picked to finish second in the West division.
The Hurricane received eight first-place votes and finished behind only Houston, which had 12 first-place votes. TU narrowly edged past SMU, which was followed by Rice and a tie between UAB and Memphis for fifth place.
Tulsa and SMU tied for the regular season title in the West last year, but SMU advanced to the conference championship game. Houston was picked to leapfrog both schools because of the return of quarterback Case Keenum, who missed the majority of last season with an ACL tear and received a medical redshirt.
The Golden Hurricane finished last season 10-3 and will begin the season with nation's fourth-longest current winning streak of seven games. It returns 10 starters on defense and seven on offense.
The overwhelming favorite to win the C-USA East remains Central Florida, which won the conference championship game last year. The Knights moved on from there to beat Georgia in the Liberty Bowl – their first bowl win in school history – and finished the season ranked in the AP Top 25.
UCF garnered 20 of the East's 24 first-place votes, while Southern Mississippi received the other four.
The preseason poll was administered by the Tulsa World and tabulated the votes of 24 people, with each school in the conference represented by one print reporter who covers the team and one radio representative.
Conference-USA West Poll
1) Houston (12 first-place votes) … 127 points
2) Tulsa (8) … 117
3) SMU (4) … 116
4) Rice … 60
5) Tulane … 42
6) UTEP … 42
Conference-USA East Poll
1) UCF (20 first-place votes) … 139 points
2) Southern Miss (4) … 122
3) East Carolina … 93
4) Marshall … 65
5) UAB … 61
6) Memphis … 24