Big South Conference Football Preview

08/18/2014 6:00 PM

08/18/2014 6:01 PM

Favorite

COASTAL CAROLINA: Chanticleers return 16 starters from 2013 league co-champs, Football Championship Series quarterfinalists; ranked No. 6 in FCS coaches preseason poll.

Contender

LIBERTY: Flames return 13 starters from team that shared conference title last year with Coastal Carolina.

Dark horse

CHARLESTON SOUTHERN: Buccaneers picked to finish third in conference after a 10-win season in 2013.

Five to watch

Alex Ross, Coastal Carolina, QB, Jr. (6-foot-1, 205): Preseason offensive player of year; set 18 league single-season records in 2013.

Quinn Backus, Coastal Carolina, LB, Sr. (5-19, 215): Two-time conference defensive player of the year is NCAA active leader in career tackles (314).

Kenny Cook, Gardner-Webb, WR, Sr. (6-4, 218): Preseason FCS All-American led league in receptions (76), yards (1,008) and touchdowns (nine) last season.

Christian Reyes, Charleston Southern, RB, Sr. (5-10, 218): First-team all-conference pick last season is league’s returning rushing leader (1,254 yds, nine TDs).

Desmond Rice, Liberty, RB, Sr. (5-8, 195): Just missed out on 1,000-yard rushing season while leading Flames with 17 TDs.

Game you shouldn’t miss

Nov. 22, Liberty at Coastal Carolina, 1 p.m.: Regular-season finale could decide conference champion, automatic qualifier for FCS playoffs. Bill Kiser

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