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Sports

Vandals picked to finish eighth in Sun Belt football poll

From staff and wire reports

Idaho is picked to finish eighth among 11 football teams in the Sun Belt Conference, the league announced Monday.

The Vandals, who went 3-5 in conference play and 4-8 overall last year, earned 48 votes – ahead of New Mexico State, Texas State and UL Monroe.

The vote was close at the top: Appalachian State received five of 11 first-place votes and 114 overall, while Arkansas State also earned five first-place votes and 110 overall.

Idaho has two more years left in the Sun Belt before a scheduled move to the FCS Big Sky Conference in 2018. The Big Sky had a similarly close vote last week in preseason balloting by coaches and the media.

Eastern Washington, coming off a rare non-playoff season, was picked third by the media and fourth by Big Sky coaches. However, the Eagles, 6-5 last year, earned first-place votes in both polls.

Northern Arizona was the favorite in both polls, with Montana, Portland State and North Dakota also getting first-place votes. Montana was the second choice of the media and tied for second with PSU with the coaches.

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