The Texas A&M-Kingsville football program, entering its fourth year with head coach Daren Wilkinson at the helm, was selected to finish sixth in the 2018 Lone Star Conference Preseason Poll on Tuesday with 104 total points in a release from the conference office following the LSC Media Days.
The poll was voted on by coaches, SIDs and media representatives from the nine football playing institutions in the LSC.
"It's about where we figured we would be," said Wilkinson. "Based on the season we had last year after leaving a lot of points on the field on the offensive side and the way we played on the defensive side and special teams.
"It gives us some incentive to work harder and to increase our efforts so that we aren't finishing sixth at the end of the year. We want to improve on that and show people we're ready to take it to the next level."
The Javelinas, one year removed from a 9-3 record and a 24-17 win over No. RV Southern Arkansas in the Agent Barry Live United Bowl, finished the 2017 season with a 4-7 mark after ending the campaign on a high note with a thrilling 38-34 win over William Jewell on November 11 behind a last-minute touchdown pass from Cade Dyal (Kerrville, Texas) to 2017 LSC Receiver of the Year Jordan Thomas (San Antonio, Texas).
"Picked sixth is not where we want to be," said 2016 LSC Defensive Player of the Year Brandon Jones (Houston, Texas). "We took a couple steps back in 2017 so we need to prove ourselves again this year to everyone in the conference to show them that getting picked sixth was not the right choice.
"It's not what we want," added senior tight end Torrey Thomas (Katy, Texas). "We're definitely going to give our best and we've been working hard this offseason to prove a lot of people wrong."
The Javelinas will begin the 2018 season with a road contest on August 30 as they square off with 2017 Defending National Champion A&M-Commerce at Memorial Stadium. The Hogs' first home game at Javelina Stadium will be September 7, with Texas Wesleyan paying a visit to Kingsville for the Hall of Fame and Champions Weekend sponsored by Pepsi.
The matchup against TWU will be the first of seven home games in 2018, as TAMUK will play four straight at home starting on September 22 against Eastern New Mexico for Hispanic Heritage Weekend sponsored by IBC Bank, and wrapping up on October 13 against MSU Texas for the Kingsville Community Appreciate Weekend sponsored by Legends at Kingsville.
The Hogs will host Western New Mexico on October 27 for the annual Homecoming Game sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, while the 2018 regular season will wrap up at home with UT Permian Basin paying a visit on November 10.