A record number of SEC Media have spoken, and they have issued their picks for order of finish and preseason All-SEC teams.
LSU has been tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the conference with 129 votes, handily beating out second place Alabama's 65 votes. Those two are clearly the favorites, however, as third place Georgia gathered only 14 votes. Of the other conference schools, South Carolina had six votes, Arkansas had four, Auburn had two, and Florida and Ole Miss (!) had one apiece. Clearly someone was trying to pull a stunt with the Ole Miss vote, and, well, mission accomplished.
Here is how the media see the SEC West shaking out, with first place votes in parenthesis:
- LSU (139)
- Alabama (72)
- Arkansas (6)
- Auburn (4)
- Texas A&M
- Mississippi State
- Ole Miss (1)
And likewise, here is how they see the East going:
- Georgia (132)
- South Carolina (72)
- Florida (12)
- Missouri (2)
- Tennessee (4)
Neither of the two newcomers were given much of a chance to reach Atlanta in their first year, though I do agree with the aggregate opinion that Missouri has a better chance than Texas A&M does. I also find it interesting that Tennessee ended up behind Missouri despite having more first place votes. I have to say I do agree with that too; the Vols have a high ceiling and a low floor and no one has any good idea where they'll end up in that range.
Next up, the preseason All-SEC teams.
Just like with the coaches' picks, first place selections get three points, second teamers get two points, and third team picks count as one point. Up first, the offense:
Alabama and Arkansas have the most team points, but South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore had the most points of any individual player. Just like with the coaches' picks, Bama's strength is from its line while Arkansas's is from the skill positions. All three Tide players on the first team are linemen (D.J. Fluker, Chance Warmack, and Barrett Jones), while the three Razorbacks are QB Tyler Wilson, RB Knile Davis, and WR Cobi Hamilton. LSU fared well but as with Bama, it's mostly due to its big nasties. The only non-lineman the Tigers put on the offensive teams was third team RB Spencer Ware.
Also, it's really jarring to see Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt above Florida and Missouri. All of the picks among those five teams were linemen except for Vandy's Zac Stacy. The picks are also strange because no one seems to be strong at both the skill positions and up front. Alabama and Texas A&M are the only teams with multiple picks in both areas. Oddly, there also was a three-way tie for second team center. I have a feeling that doesn't happen too often.
On to defense:
This being the SEC, the clear pairs of favorites in the two divisions are the top four teams in terms of defensive selections to the preseason All-SEC teams. In fact, the order of SEC East teams on this table is almost exactly the predicted order of finish in the division, with only Missouri and Tennessee transposed. There really aren't too many surprises here, and they match up fairly closely with the coaches' picks.