Southwest Junior College Football Poll

LINDALE, Texas - Rivals Blinn and Navarro are the co-favorites in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference in 2009, according to the coach's poll released on Thursday at the league's Media Day at Garden Valley Country Club. PHOTO - Brandon Joiner, Navarro College.

The Bucs return nine starters from a 9-3 team that won the conference championship game, ending Navarro's 10-game winning streak last season.

Navarro as 12 returners from a 10-1 team that spent seven weeks atop the NJCAA/ poll in 2008.

The 2009 NJCAA/ Poll was also released on Thursday. Blinn is ranked fifth in the nation, followed by Navarro at seventh and Trinity Valley in the 12th position.

Blinn received four first place votes, a second and one sixth in the coach's poll. Navarro received two votes for first, second and third, tying the Buccaneers with 54 total points. The poll was based on 10 points for a first-place votes, nine for second, eight for third, etc.

Trinity Valley (49 points) and Kilgore (47 points) were a solid third and fourth place, respectively. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, which garnered the only other first-place vote by coaches, is projected in the fifth spot, followed by Tyler and Cisco.

NEO is playing under the leadership of new coach Donnie Bigby and Cisco is headed by long-time assistant coach Scott Taylor.

Navarro finished the season ranked fifth in the nation, though it was shut out of a bowl appearance following the 49-24 loss to Blinn in the championship game. The Bulldogs have 16 players who saw significant playing time on defense last season, headed by First-Team Preseason All-American defensive end Brandon Joiner.

Blinn has the top-profile transfer in the country in quarterback Cameron Newton. A 6-6, 244-pound sophomore, Newton backed up Florida's Tim Tebow last year. He will provide a devastatingly positive effect for a Blinn offense that lost 2008 NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year Terrance Cain, now competing for the starting quarterback position at Utah.

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