The Appalachian State Mountaineers are the favorites to win the 2016 Sun Belt Conference Football Championship according to the league’s 11 head coaches. The preseason selections were released Thursday in advance of the Sun Belt’s annual media day that begins Monday.

The Mountaineers received five of 11 first-place votes and tallied 114 points from the coaches. Arkansas State was picked to finish second and also received five first-place votes as the Red Wolves tallied 110 points. The Mountaineers finished second in the league a season ago with a 7-1 record in conference play and an 11-2 record overall.

Appalachian State also competed in its first-ever FBS bowl game, winning the Raycom Camellia Bowl in 2015. This year the Mountaineers will return 47 lettermen which includes 15 of 22 starters on offense and defense.

2016 Sun Belt Football Coaches Predicted Order of Finish (first place votes)
1. Appalachian St. (5) – 114 pts
2. Arkansas State (5) – 110 pts
3. Georgia Southern (1) – 98 pts
4. Georgia State – 73 pts
5. UL Lafayette – 70 pts
5. Troy – 70 pts
7. South Alabama – 62 pts
8. Idaho – 48 pts
9. New Mexico St. – 37 pts
10. Texas State – 30 pts
11. UL Monroe – 14 pts