IRVING, Texas (AP) " Two-time defending Conference USA champion Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech are the preseason picks to win their divisions again this season.
WKU won the East Division title last season for the second year in a row, then beat the West Division-winning Bulldogs 58-44 in the C-USA title game. In a preseason media vote, both teams got 20 of 28 first-place votes to repeat as division champs.
The Hilltoppers have a new coach with Mike Sanford, but also have senior quarterback Mike White, the league's preseason offensive player of the year after he threw for 4,383 yards and 37 touchdowns last season.
Middle Tennessee was picked second in the East, followed by Old Dominion, Marshall, Florida Atlantic, FIU and Charlotte. In the West, UTSA was second, ahead of Southern Miss, North Texas, Rice, UTEP and UAB.
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