Belton second, UMHB to repeat in ASC in DCTF 2017 predictions

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The rush to the stores was on last week to purchase the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football 2017 magazine.
The release of the ultimate premiere guide to each football season takes a look at all football Texas-style. The guide looks at the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans in the NFL, all of Texas’ college football, and more than 1,400 college teams.
New Texas Longhorns’ head coach Tom Herman adorns the front cover and longtime Corpus Christi Calallen head coach Phil Danaher is featured on the pullout cover.
The Belton Tigers (8-4 in 2016, 4-2 District 8-6A, D-I area finalists) were projected by DCTF to finish second in District 8-6A, behind Waco Midway (8-3 in 2016, 6-0 District 8-6A, D-II bi-district finalists). Killeen (5-6 in 2016, 4-2 District 8-6A, D-II bi-district finalists) was projected to finish third, followed by Harker Heights (6-5 in 2016, 3-3 District 8-6A, D-I bi-district finalists), Copperas Cove (4-5 in 2016, 2-4 District 8-6A), Killeen Ellison (6-4 in 2016), and Killeen Shoemaker (0-10 in 2016, 0-6 District 8-6A). San Angelo Central (12-1 in 2016, 6-0 District 2-6A, regional semifinalist) is not in District 8-6A for football or volleyball, but was projected to finish second behind Odessa Permian in District 2-6A.
Tigers’ senior defensive back Garrison Vaughn was mentioned as one of the top recruits at the position. The University of Houston verbal commit Vaughn is 6-3, 185 pounds and runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. The versatile Vaughn has been a key to the Tigers’ defense as a defensive back and special teams as a punt returner in the past two seasons on varsity.
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor was reviewed as part of the American Southwest Conference preview by the staff of DCTF. The Crusaders (15-0 in 2016, 6-0 ASC Conference Champions, Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl Champions, NCAA Division III National Champions) were projected to finish first in the ASC this season, ahead of Hardin-Simmons, Sul Ross State, East Texas Baptist, Louisiana College, Southwestern University, Texas Lutheran, McMurry, Belhaven and Howard Payne.
Head coach Pete Fredenburg’s Crusaders are 196-38 in his 19 years as head coach. During his tenure, the Cru have 14 American Southwest Conference championships and 15 appearances in the NCAA Division III playoffs. He should hit the 200-win milestone in the first part of the 2017. Should the Cru start the season 3-0 (which may be a challenge, with ASC games against Sul Ross and Texas Lutheran sandwiched around a trip to McMinnville, Oreg. to play always tough Linfield College), the opportunity may be against the Southwestern Pirates in Georgetown on September 30.
An important point stressed upon by DCTF is the return of the automatic qualifier to the ASC for the conference winner. It is something that the conference had not had in two seasons. UMHB and Hardin-Simmons qualified for the postseason with at-large bids the past two seasons.
Southwestern and TLU have joined the conference for football only, giving the ASC 10 football-playing members. McMurry completed its three-year transition to Division III and is eligible to compete for the conference title. Belhaven’s games now will count in conference standings, as the Blazers are in their final transition year to Division III.
Thirteen Texas football writers were polled for conference winner predictions. Eleven of the 13 picked Oklahoma to win the Big 12 (one selected Oklahoma State and the other Kansas State). All of the writers predicted Alabama to win the SEC. Eight of the writers chose South Florida to with the American Athletic Conference (two selected Houston, one chose Temple, one chose Tulane and one chose Navy). The writers were split on Conference USA, with Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky each getting four votes (Louisiana Tech received three votes, UTSA and Old Dominion each received one vote). Nine of the 13 writers chose Appalachian State to win the Sun Belt Conference (Troy had three votes and Louisiana-Lafayette had the other).
The writers were polled for the National Championship and Heisman Trophy choices as well. Eight of the 13 projected Alabama to win the National Championship (three selected Ohio State, one chose Florida State and the other chose Southern California).
The Heisman Trophy predictions were a bit more scattered. While USC quarterback Sam Darnold received five votes, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield received three votes, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts received two votes, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, and Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett each received one vote.
As far as the Cowboys and Texans predicted records, all of the writers projected both teams would finish .500 or better.
Zach Barnett of FootballScoop.com was the only writer to project the Cowboys to finish 8-8 and not make the playoffs. All of the other predictions ranged from 10-6 to 12-4 and make the playoffs out of the NFC East.
Two of the writers projected the Texans to finish 8-8 and not make the playoffs. All other writers projected the Texans to make the playoffs out of the NFC South and the predicted finishes ranged from 9-7 to 11-5.
Seven of the 13 writers predicted the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl LII. Two writers each predicted the Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons, one projected the Pittsburgh Steelers and one projected the Carolina Panthers.