Tennessee State University has been picked to finish fourth in the 2009 Ohio Valley Conference championship race in a preseason poll of the OVC Head Football Coaches and Sports Information Directors. The 2008 Tigers finished the season with an 8-4 overall record (5-3 OVC) for a fourth place finish. Junior safety Eugene Clifford was the lone Tiger named to the OVC Preseason team.
For 2009, the TSU offense must replace seven (7) starters, but the defense will return eight (8) starters from the OVC leading defensive team. The hard-hitting Clifford finished the year with sixty-one tackles (42 solo) with 3 interceptions (81 yds) and 2 fumble recoveries. Joining Clifford will be sophomore LB Rico Council, last year’s tackle leader (67) along with sack leaders in junior Marcus Broxie (6) and senior Kellen Woodard (5).
Tiger players report to camp on August 8, 2009 to prepare for the eleven-game 2009 season which opens September 5, 2009 against rival Alabama A&M in the John Merritt Classic. TSU will honor the 1982 football team at this year’s JMC. After the home opener, TSU will hit the road to play at the Southern Heritage Classic (9/12) against Jackson State, then to Baton Rouge, LA against Southern (9/19) and then Atlanta, GA to face Florida A&M (9/26) in the Bank of America Classic before wading into the OVC season beginning in October.
OVC 2009 Predicted Order of Finish
(Selected by OVC Head Football Coaches and Sports Information Directors)
1. Eastern Kentucky (10 first-place votes) 105
2. UT Martin (4) 92
3. Eastern Illinois (2) 89
4. Tennessee State (1) 74
5. Murray State (1) 61
6. Tennessee Tech 35
7. Austin Peay 33
8. Southeast Missouri 33
Note: Jacksonville State is not eligible for the OVC Championship (NCAA APR penalties) and therefore is not ranked.
(7 points awarded for a first-place vote, 6 for second, etc. – Coaches and SID’s could not vote for their own teams)