Team preview: Birmingham-Southern

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

It has been a while since Birmingham Southern has had a team with this many new players. The Panthers lost eight seniors to graduation and 17th year-coach Duane Reboul will be handing out nine brand new uniforms when practice opens.

Your guess about the team is as good as his until they roll out the balls Oct. 15. Just this word of advice -- the last time Reboul oversaw this much turnover was 1994-95. And it worked out O.K. that season. The Panthers went 35-2 and hoisted the NAIA national championship trophy.

"I'm looking forward to seeing all of them and grouping them together for the first time," Reboul said of the newcomers. "At that time I'll have a better idea of where we are. Right now it's very difficult to have high expectations because the unknown factor is so high."

What is known is that Reboul has never had a losing season, even since the Panthers pounced into NCAA play in 2000, and into full-time Big South membership last year. Reboul may not know exactly what to expect, but the rest of the league is saying his team has the talent to again contend.