NEW ORLEANS, LA (WTKR)- Expectations are always high within a team's locker room. When it comes to Old Dominion's new league, expectations are not so high from those outside the Monarch football program.
ODU was picked to finish last in the Sun Belt's Eastern Division in the preseason poll that was released on Monday afternoon. The Monarchs are opening their first season in the conference in football. Fellow newcomer James Madison was predicted to finish right above the silver and blue in sixth place.
The prediction for Old Dominion may surprise some. The Monarchs return 19 starters from last year's squad that finished 6-7 and rattled off five consecutive wins to earn a Myrtle Beach Bowl berth. ODU was the youngest team in Division I in 2021, led by Ricky Rahne who was on the sideline for the first time as a head coach.
Old Dominion is one of three Conference USA squads to make the jump to the Sun Belt for the 2022 campaign. Marshall was picked to finish fourth in the Eastern Division, while Southern Mississippi was chosen fifth in the West.
Appalachian State was the favorite in the East, with Louisiana taking the top spot in the Western Division.
Three Monarchs took him Preseason All-Conference Honors. Tight end Zach Kuntz and wide receiver Ali Jennings pulled in first team accolades, with offensive lineman Nick Saldiveri earning second team status.
Old Dominion will open its 2022 schedule on Friday, September 2, hosting Virginia Tech at S.B. Ballard Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM.