Editor’s note: SEC Country reporter Kyle Tucker contributed to this report.
HOOVER, Ala. — The talking season is beginning in SEC Country and we already have an idea how the media will stack up the SEC teams in their pre-season rankings later this week at SEC Media Days.
SEC Country polled 11 prominent national voices to pick the SEC champion and the order of finish in the East and West Divisions prior to the start of SEC Media Days. The results reveal three heavy hitters in the SEC and a lot of uncertainty throughout the divisions.
The pick to win the SEC title was not much of a surprise, however. Our panel picked Alabama to win its third conference title in the last four seasons. The Tide also picked up eight first-place votes in the SEC West, with LSU in contention with three votes and falling nine points short of the West’s crown.
Tennessee is the heavy favorite to win the East with 10 first-place votes, with Florida and Georgia trailing the Volunteers by 13 and 17 points, respectively. Only one panelist picked a team other than Tennessee to win the division.
What’s interesting in the poll is the mishmash of teams behind Alabama and LSU in the SEC West, and the bottom four teams in the East. Three teams in the West were picked to finish last by at least one panelist.
Texas A&M was picked as high as second by a panelist but is predicted to finish fourth after counting the votes. Auburn was picked anywhere from third to seventh and Mississippi State garnered seven last-place votes.
Voting in the East was much closer behind Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. Only seven points separate the last four teams, with South Carolina picking up four last-place votes and two votes as high as fourth. Missouri edged out Kentucky and Vanderbilt by three and four points, respectively, for the fourth spot.
Check out the full results from our panel below and weigh in with your picks in the comments section.
SEC Country’s panel
- Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report
- Lars Anderson, Bleacher Report
- Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports
- Jon Solomon, CBS Sports
- Travis Haney, ESPN
- Bruce Feldman, FOX Sports
- Stewart Mandel, FOX Sports
- Peter Burns, SEC Network
- George Schroeder, USA Today
- Dan Wolken, USA Today
- Pat Forde, Yahoo! Sports
Methodology: We asked the panel of 11 to project the order of finish in each SEC division for the 2016 season. First place equated to one point, second place equated to two points and so forth. Lowest score wins.
|1. Alabama (8)||14|
|2. LSU (3)||23|
|3. Ole Miss||38|
|4. Texas A&M||48|
|7. Mississippi State||74|
|1. Tennessee (10)||12|
|2. Florida (1)||25|
|7. South Carolina||64|
Note: Two voters did not select an SEC champion.