It’s that time again. The football sports information directors from around the league are providing fans with more preseason fodder in the form of SEC rankings.
The Birmingham News put out its 71st annual SEC football report this week, which includes a poll of all the league’s SIDs on several topics, including the best teams in the league heading into the season.
Each of the 14 insiders were asked to rank the teams from best to worst, and the aggregate of the results was used in a points system to determine the overall rankings. Here’s a look at the methodology:
The rankings are voted on by the league’s 14 football information directors. Points assigned on basis of 13 for first place, 12 for second, 11 for third, etc. A school could not vote for itself.
With that out the way, let’s take a look at how the teams stack up 1 to 14 based on the voting:
- 1: Alabama
- 2 (t): LSU
- 2 (t): Auburn
- 4: Georgia
- 5: Florida
- 6: Texas A&M
- 7: Tennessee
- 8: Arkansas
- 9 (t): South Carolina
- 9 (t): Mississippi State
- 11: Kentucky
- 12: Ole Miss
- 13: Vanderbilt
- 14: Missouri
Some takeaways from these rankings:
- Alabama is clearly still the team to beat in the SEC. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but no matter how many players Nick Saban has to replace on defense, the Crimson Tide will and should remain atop all of these rankings until someone else proves worthy.
- The hype on LSU and Auburn is real, and the pressure to perform for both coaches will be noticeable. Both sets of Tigers have Alabama in their sights, and the fan bases may not let them off the hook if they can’t produce a special season.
- The SEC West is still king of the league, with six of the league’s top nine teams in this poll.
- Kirby Smart’s expectations have not been lowered by what most considered a subpar Year 1 in Athens. Based on these returns, the Bulldogs are the favorites to win the SEC East.
- Florida has won the SEC East in back-to-back seasons, but barely cracks the Top 5. Still plenty of people doubting Jim McElwain.
- Vanderbilt beat Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ole Miss last season, but finds itself behind all of them in this poll in spite of returning many key pieces from a bowl team in 2017.
The rankings are sure to create much debate about the season ahead, and they give us just a little taste of what the media preseason poll may look like coming out of SEC Media Days next month.