Roll Tide! War Eagle! With SEC Media Days wrapping up Thursday, media voters once again think that the SEC Championship trophy will stay in Alabam, and the champion will be determined in the Iron Bowl.
Alabama and Auburn were picked to finish No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the conference. The vote tally awarded 154 points to Alabama, and 75 points to Auburn, which was a distant second, according to reports. South Carolina came in third, Georgia was fourth, LSU was fifth, Ole Miss was sixth, and Arkansas and Mississippi State each received a point.
Despite a team with “a lot of question marks,” according to Nick Saban, Alabama’s recruiting has made expectations for the team predictable. Even with AJ McCarron gone, nobody expects the Tide to miss a beat. This shows that everybody is aware of how much Nick Saban builds around his quarterbacks and just plugs whomever he wishes in. Another loaded defense, amazing running game, stacked offensive line, and depth means it’s almost crazy to bet against Alabama being the favorite every year now.
Auburn at No. 2 is also not surprising, given how fortunate the Tigers were last year and the fact that the Iron Bowl will be played in Tuscaloosa this year. Nobody seriously considered Auburn better than Alabama last year, even after their win. But people still respect them.
Georgia falling behind South Carolina is a little shocking. Both lost their quarterbacks, and both return a ton of talent elsewhere, so on paper it would make sense to put the Gamecocks ahead since they finished higher last year. But with the injury bug that bit the Bulldogs and the amount of players back on defense, I thought the media would propel them to third or even second. They should definitely be labeled a contender with Auburn and Alabama. South Carolina is worthy of being mentioned, though, as is LSU.
Ole Miss in the conversation is a direct result of the program Hugh Freeze is building, which even he acknowledged Thursday is “exceeding expectations.” But who gave a vote to Arkansas and Mississippi State? Not to discount how good those two can be, but there’s nothing to suggest either will be in the Top 5 of the conference by the end of the year. Texas A&M and Missouri both deserved points over either team, and I think they should be put ahead of Ole Miss as well. Tennessee and Florida cold both have higher expectations than the Razorbacks and Bulldogs also, but that’s a little more even.
Alabama Talent Not Going Anywhere
In addition to being the SEC favorite, the Tide have eight first-team preseason All-SEC players, with Amari Cooper and T.J. Yeldon the leaders in votes on the team, tying its own record in 2011, according to al.com.
Auburn has the most All-SEC players overall with 13, according to The Ledger-Enquirer. In short, right now the state of Alabama dominates the SEC.
That Nick Marshall made first-team All-SEC quarterback, though, shows the type of hit the SEC took at that position. Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott and Ole Miss’s Bo Wallace are the second and third team quarterbacks, and while both could be great players, they were middle of the pack in the conference last year.
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