A preseason poll of league head coaches predicts that the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys will finish in fifth place among 11 Gulf South Conference teams during the 2010 football season.
Arkansas Tech was 9-3 overall and 6-2 in GSC play last season. The Wonder Boys were GSC runners-up and they reached the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs in 2009.
There was a wide variety of opinion on the Wonder Boys' fortunes in 2010. One coach picked Arkansas Tech to finish second in the GSC; one coach picked the Wonder Boys to finish seventh.
In between, Tech received one third-place vote, one fourth-place vote, four fifth-place votes and two sixth-place votes. The Wonder Boys earned a total of 62 points in the balloting.
North Alabama received eight first-place votes and a total of 97 points in the voting to emerge as the preseason favorite to win the GSC. The Lions are defending GSC champions after finishing 11-2 overall and 7-1 in GSC play in 2009. UNA reached the national quarterfinals of the 2009 NCAA Division II Playoffs.
West Alabama (2nd, 84 points), Valdosta State (3rd, 81 points), Delta State (4th, 72 points) and Arkansas Tech (5th, 62 points) rounded out the top five.
Ouachita Baptist (6th, 51 points), Henderson State (7th, 47 points), Arkansas-Monticello (8th, 46 points), Southern Arkansas (9th, 26 points), Harding (10th, 24 points) and West Georgia (11th, 15 points) complete the 2010 preseason GSC football poll.
Arkansas Tech returns 10 starters --- four on offense and six on defense --- from a year ago. A total of 45 lettermen return from what was Arkansas Tech's third NCAA Division II Playoffs team since 1999.
Tech is coached by Steve Mullins (photographed). Mullins is entering his 14th season as the Wonder Boys' head coach. A three-time GSC coach of the year, Mullins is 85-54 as Arkansas Tech head coach and he owns the school record for career football coaching victories.
The Wonder Boys will begin their 2010 season on Thursday, Sept. 2, with a home game against Lambuth University (Tenn.). Kickoff at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field is scheduled for 7 p.m.