The Mercer football team, which will be competing in the Southern Conference for the first time this fall, was picked to finished seventh by the coaches and the media Wednesday.
In the media poll, the Bears were picked alone in seventh in front of only VMI, which is also joining the conference this season. Chattanooga was the preseason conference favorite with 29 of the 30 first-place votes. Furman, which was picked second, had the other first-place vote. Samford was third, followed by Wofford, Western Carolina and The Citadel in front of the new conference members.
In the coaches' poll, Mercer and VMI tied for seventh. The order of the top six teams was the same as the media poll with Chattanooga getting six first-place votes and Furman and Samford getting one each.
The Bears open their season Aug. 28 against Reinhardt and then kick off Southern Conference play Sept. 6 when they host Furman. Mercer head coach Bobby Lamb, who ranks eighth on the conference’s all-time wins list (67), is a former Furman player and head coach.
On the preseason all-conference team, Furman had a conference-high 11 picks, including seven first-team selections. Samford and Western Carolina each had 10 players selected.
Mercer didn't have any all-conference picks.