Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions. It's the third straight year the Hornets have been picked to win the East, and they've fallen short the first two times. The picks were announced Friday. Alabama State received 93 points, just two more than Alcorn State, followed by Jackson State (72), Mississippi Valley State (40) and Alabama A&M (34). Southern beat Jackson State 34-27 in double overtime in last season's championship game. The Jaguars' 95 points topped Prairie View A&M (88), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (66), Texas Southern (50) and Grambling (31). Arkansas-Pine Bluff quarterback Ben Anderson is the preseason offensive player of the year for the second time. Alabama State linebacker Kourtney Berry was picked to claim defensive honors.