The Big South, like many conferences in these times, is trying to navigate the ever-changing landscape of college sports. The Big South will start a partnership with the Ohio Valley Conference next season and Bryant University will be starting their first season in the Big South Conference this fall. North Carolina A&T will be leaving after this season to join the Colonial Athletic Association.
Speaking of North Carolina A&T, the Aggies are predicted to finish first in the conference (five other teams also received a first place votes). Head coach Sam Washington stated that this isn’t new for A&T, as they’ve been favored to win before when they were in the MEAC before joining the Big South. Before A&T begins conference play they have a showdown with arch rival North Carolina Central University in Charlotte, then travel to North Dakota State the next week. The Aggies are not trying to get too caught up in the hype of playing their arch rivals to kick off the season, but did admit that having that game to kick off the season has brought an extra focus in camp.
Former Panthers safety, Mike Minter’s Campbell Fighting Camel’s are predicted to finish second in the conference this season. Campbell features the preseason defensive player of the year, Greensboro native Brevin Allen. A&T will face Campbell October 29th, which happens to be the Aggies’ homecoming. That game could very well decide the conference.
Charleston Southern and Gardner-Webb were tied for third in the preseason poll. Newcomer Bryant University was ranked 5th followed by Robert Morris at 6th. Charleston Southern feels like they can make some noise and Gardner-Webb features the preseason offensive player of the year, running back Narii Gaither. Even as the conference changes, all of the coaches expect this season to be competitive and to win the Big South this season.