LOGAN - Southeastern Ohio Athletic League media are predicting the Gallia Academy Blue Devils will successfully defend their 2012 league football title this fall.
A panel of 11 sportswriters, broadcasters and Internet personnel - with each conference school represented by at least one voter - picked the Blue Devils for first place and Jackson, which won the previous two championships, for second.
The poll was again conducted by The Logan Daily News.
Gallipolis was picked for first place on eight of 11 ballots, receiving 52 out of a possible 55 points, and was chosen for second on the other three.
Poll points are awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis for first place through fifth.
Jackson (44 points) garnered the other three first-place votes. The Ironmen were selected runner-up by five voters and for third place by the other three.
Logan (30 points), which had won or tied for the previous six conference crowns before being unseated by Jackson in 2010, was picked third. The Chieftains were picked to finish anywhere from second place (by two voters) to last (by one voter) while getting five third-place votes and three fourth-place ballots.
Warren (21 points) edged Portsmouth (18) for fourth place on the media poll. The Warriors were picked third by three voters while getting four fourth-place votes and four fifth-place mentions; Portsmouth received a second-place vote, four fourths and six fifths.
If the order of predicted finish holds up, the league title will be up for grabs when the Blue Devils make their annual rivalry trek to Jackson in week 10.
Last year, the media panel's predicted order of finish was Jackson, Gallipolis, Warren, Logan, Chillicothe and Portsmouth. In actuality, Gallipolis (5-0) finished first, Jackson and Chillicothe (both 3-2) tied for second, Warren and Logan (both 2-3) tied for fourth, and Portsmouth (0-5) was sixth.
Chillicothe is no longer a member of the league, having moved to the South Central Ohio League.
The annual Southeastern Ohio Athletic League pre-season football poll, conducted by The Logan Daily News, is as follows. First-place votes are in parenthesis, followed by total points received (maximum of 55 possible points) ranked on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis:
1, Gallipolis (8) 52
2, Jackson (3) 44
3, Logan 30
4, Warren 21
5, Portsmouth 18