Maybe this will come as a surprise, but probably not.
During SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama, where the entire football universe converged for a week to mark sort of the premature start of the sport, votes were cast for all-conference selections, plus order of finish. Who doesn’t love predictions more than a month before any meaningful practice or game has taken place?
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Of the 243 total points for SEC champion, Alabama pulled in 217. Auburn came in second with a lowly 11, followed by Georgia (6), LSU (3), Florida (3), South Carolina (1), Vanderbilt (1) and Arkansas (1). It’s a little surprising Tennessee didn’t garner at least one vote, since it seems like every year the battle cry out of Knoxville, Tennessee, is ‘this is the year we’re back,’ but Rocky Top was blanked.
There was some chatter on Twitter — when isn’t there, really? — about the Commodores actually getting a vote. When led me to another thought: When’s the last time someone was expected to get blown out and actually won the whole darn thing?
Apparently the SEC has only correctly predicted the conference champ six times since 1992 — and four times in the last 20 years
As for division predictions, Alabama, of course, was a strong pick to win the West with 1,683 points and 225 first-place votes. Auburn (1,329; 13), LSU (1,262; 4) and Arkansas (796; 1) also earned first place votes, with Texas A&M (722), Mississippi State (633) and Ole Miss (379) rounding out the West.
In the East, Georgia (1,572; 138) and Florida (1,526; 96) were relatively close. Tennessee (998; 3) and South Carolina (897; 5) also have some scribes believing they can come out of the East. Southern Miss’ opening opponent, Kentucky (869), Vanderbilt (554) and Missouri (388) rounded out the East.
Here are some highlights from the three All-SEC teams:
▪ Former Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College lineman Martinas Rankin, currently at Mississippi State, landed on the second-team offense. The only other Bulldog to earn recognition was quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, also on the second team.
▪ Ole Miss saw four players honored. Offensive linemen Greg Little and Javon Patterson both earned spots on the second team offense, while lineman Marquis Haynes was a first-team defensive selection. Kicker Gary Wunderlich was also a third-team selection.
▪ LSU pulled in eight individual honors. Running back Derrius Guice’s 223 points were the third-most by any player this year, of course earning him a spot on the first-team offense. He also was named to the second-team special teams list as an all-purpose athlete. Other Tigers selected were: OL K.J. Malone (second team), C Will Clapp (third team), Arden Key (first team), DL Christian LaCouture (second team), DB Donte Jackson (second team) and DL Rashard Lawrence (third team).
▪ Alabama, unsurprisingly, dwarfed everyone else with 16 picks. First-team selections were QB Jalen Hurts, WR Calvin Ridley, OL Jonah Williams, OL Ross Pierschbacher, DL Da’Ron Payne, DL Da’Shawn Hand, LB Rashaan Evans, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB Ronnie Harrison and P J.K. Scott; second team selections were RB Bo Scarbrough, C Bradley Bozeman and LB Shaun Dion Hamilton; third team selections were OL Lester Cotton, DB Anthony Averett and DB Tony Brown. Fitzpatrick and Ridley led all players with 232 votes apiece.
Of note: Former Arkansas running back Darren McFadden is the only unanimous selection to the first team, collecting all possible votes in 2000. ... Alabama set the record for first-team representatives with 10, eclipsing the team’s previous high-water marks of nine (2011) and eight (2010). Florida also earned eight first-teamers in 2009.
Lets get going
The SEC will finally hit the field Aug. 31 when Arkansas plays Florida A&M. Openers will run all the way to Monday that week. Sept. 2 showdowns include Georgia Southern vs. Auburn, Charleston Southern vs. Mississippi State, Missouri State vs. Missouri, N.C. State vs. South Carolina, Michigan vs. Florida, Kentucky vs. Southern Miss, Appalachian State vs. Georgia, South Alabama vs. Ole Miss, Florida State vs. Alabama, Vanderbilt vs. Middle Tennessee and BYU vs. LSU. Texas A&M and UCLA will play on Sept. 3, with Tennessee and Georgia Tech rounding out the opening weekend’s action Sept. 4.
(1st Place votes in parenthesis)
South Carolina (5)
(1st Place votes in parenthesis)
2017 PRESEASON MEDIA DAYS ALL-SEC TEAM
(Total points earned in parenthesis)
QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama (196)
RB Derrius Guice, LSU (223)
RB Nick Chubb, Georgia (211)
WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama (232)
WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M (197)
TE Isaac Nauta, Georgia (134)
OL Braden Smith, Auburn (201)
OL Martez Ivey, Florida (198)
OL Jonah Williams, Alabama (187)
OL Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama (174)
C Frank Ragnow, Arkansas (174)
QB Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State (121)
RB Bo Scarbrough, Alabama (151)
RB Kamryn Pettway, Auburn (141)
WR Antonio Callaway, Florida (152)
WR J'Mon Moore, Missouri (91)
TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina (115)
OL Isaiah Wynn, Georgia (116)
OL Jashon Robertson, Tennessee (108)
OL K.J. Malone, LSU (101)
OL Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State (101)
C Bradley Bozeman, Alabama (155)
QB Austin Allen, Arkansas (102)
RB Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt (105)
RB Sony Michel, Georgia (30)
WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina (64)
WR Jauan Jennings, Tennessee (42)
TE DeAndre Goolsby, Florida (76)
OL Lester Cotton, Alabama (96)
OL Greg Little, Ole Miss (94)
OL Javon Patterson, Ole Miss (87)
OL Koda Martin, Texas A&M (69)
C Will Clapp, LSU (66)
DL Da'Ron Payne, Alabama (196)
DL Da'Shawn Hand, Alabama (180)
DL Trenton Thompson, Georgia (172)
DL Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss (159)
LB Arden Key, LSU (191)
LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama (180)
LB Roquan Smith, Georgia (157)
DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama (232)
DB Ronnie Harrison, Alabama (156)
DB Armani Watts, Texas A&M (137)
DB Duke Dawson, Florida (137)
DL Cece Jefferson, Florida (151)
DL Marlon Davidson, Auburn (120)
DL Christian LaCouture, LSU (107)
DL Denzil Ware, Kentucky (78)
LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, Alabama (156)
LB Skai Moore, South Carolina (128)
LB Tre' Williams, Auburn (103)
DB Tray Matthews, Auburn (126)
DB Donte Jackson, LSU (123)
DB Carlton Davis, Auburn (109)
DB Dominick Sanders, Georgia (109)
DL Marcell Frazier, Missouri (77)
DL Jabari Zuniga, Florida (76)
DL Dontavius Russell, Auburn (70)
DL Rashard Lawrence, LSU (54)
LB Jordan Jones, Kentucky (91)
LB Lorenzo Carter, Georgia (82)
LB Oren Burks, Vanderbilt (58)
DB Anthony Averett, Alabama (104)
DB Marcell Harris, Florida (83)
DB Mike Edwards, Kentucky (71)
DB Tony Brown, Alabama (62)
P JK Scott, Alabama (222)
PK Daniel Carlson, Auburn (218)
RS Christian Kirk, Texas A&M (176)
AP Christian Kirk, Texas A&M (161)
P Johnny Townsend, Florida (99)
PK Eddy Piniero, Florida (106)
RS Evan Berry, Tennssee (117)
AP Derrius Guice, LSU (133)
P Trevor Daniel, Tennessee (58)
PK Gary Wunderlich, Ole Miss (94)
RS Antonio Callaway, Florida (84)
AP Kerryon Johnson, Auburn (66)