MIAMI ( – Florida International has gone from a running joke of a football team to a bowl winning team last season. Now, FIU is the preseason pick to win the Sun Belt Conference.

The high praise comes from fellow coaches in the Sun Belt Conference who selected FIU to win the Sun Belt title this year.

FIU captured five of nine first-place votes. Troy University finished second in the poll followed by Middle Tennessee and Louisiana-Monroe in a tie for third place.

The news wasn’t nearly as good for FIU’s neighbor to the north, Florida Atlantic University. The Owls were picked to finish dead last in the conference by the coaches.

FIU’s T.Y. Hilton was also selected to be an offensive player of the year, along with North Texas’ Lance Dunbar.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  1. FIUalum says:

    Go FIU! Making major progress.

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