SEC Coaches: Arkansas Will Win the Conference, Vanderbilt Takes the East

Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina in the running for the East; LSU, Mississippi State runners-up in the West

It might not get quite as much press as when they do this on the football side -- okay, it doesn't get quite as much press as when they do it on the football or basketball side -- but the SEC sports information directors head coaches have made their choices for the tops of each division and the conference as a whole. There's not much surprising there.

Overall, Arkansas is the runaway favorite -- clocking in with nine first-place votes among the coaches. Vanderbilt has three, Kentucky gets one (a scenario that would have seemed literally insane a couple of years ago) and LSU gets the other. You will note the distinct lack of the two SEC East powers there.

1 Arkansas
2 LSU
3 Mississippi State
4 Ole Miss
5 Texas A&M
6 Alabama
7 Auburn

And the SEC coaches join the Arkansas bandwagon. While I'm still wrestling with the idea of Arkansas as a favorite nationally, I can't think of any reason not to see them as a favorite in the SEC West; they're a very good team. Texas A&M is in for a rougher reception in the SEC West than the Big 12, where the Aggies came in second each of the last two years. The two non-Arkansas votes for first place here go to LSU and Mississippi State.

1 Vanderbilt
2 Florida
3 Kentucky and South Carolina
5 Georgia
6 Tennessee
7 Missouri

That's a mighty steep dropoff for South Carolina -- though they've progressively lost several of the players that were part of the 2010-11 run to consecutive College World Series titles. And that Ray Tanner guy got kicked upstairs. But the Gamecocks did get one of the two first-place votes not going to Vanderbilt, with the other going to Kentucky. Aside from that, there's not overly much to argue with here; the bottom three are more likely than not to be the bottom three, it's just a matter of which order you think the top four will shake out.

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