Looks like three-tier SEC football race

Bryan Lazare, TigerBait.com Senior Writer
Tiger Bait

On Friday, the Southeastern Conference office released the results of the balloting done by members of the media following four days of interviewing of coaches and players at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover (Ala.)

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Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

There were absolutely no surprises. Alabama was an overwhelming choice to win a fourth straight SEC championship even though its coach called this squad his youngest since 2012. Here’s a little note – that 2012 Crimson Tide team won the SEC and national titles.

Auburn was chosen to finish second – just ahead of LSU -- in the Western Division. Georgia edged out Florida in a tight vote for the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Division. Most observers felt that the competition between the Bulldogs and the Gators will be a close one.

The other nine teams in the SEC were given no chance of reaching the SEC championship game in Atlanta. Arkansas led the West also-rans – followed by Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. If these predictions are accurate, coach Kevin Sumlin will be heading out of College Station.

Tennessee led the East also-rans – followed by South Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Missouri. A third-place finish in the Eastern Division may be enough to keep coach Butch Jones in Knoxville for another season.

The preseason All-SEC team shows that there are three tiers among the 14 teams. Alabama comprises the first tier by itself. The Crimson Tide had 16 players chosen to either the first, second or third team. Alabama had ten first-team selections, a conference record.

Every position area on offense except for tight end was represented. Four of the Tide’s five starting offensive linemen received recognition. Every level of the Alabama defense had at least two players chosen, including four defensive backs.

The next tier consists of the top two teams in the SEC East and the top two teams not named Alabama in the SEC West. Florida had nine players selected followed by Auburn and Georgia with eight and LSU with seven. The Bulldogs had four first-team picks, while the other three each had two.

None of those four schools had one of the three best quarterbacks in the media voting. Auburn had five defensive players selected, while each of the other three teams each had four defensive representatives.

None of the remaining nine teams had more than four preseason All-SEC players. Tennessee had four selections with two being special-teams performers. Those nine schools combined for only three first-team choices – two for Texas A&M and one for Arkansas.


Here is a breakdown by school of the preseason All-SEC team as selected by members of the media.

EASTERN DIVISION

FLORIDA (9)

Offense

OT Martez Ivey, Jr., first team

WR Antonio Callaway, Jr., second team

TE DeAndre Goolsby, Sr., third team

Defense

CB Duke Dawson, Sr., first team

DE Cece Jefferson, Jr., second team

DE Jabari Zuniga, So., third team

S Marcell Harris, Sr., third team

Special teams

K Eddy Piniero, Jr., second team

P Johnny Townsend, Sr., second team

GEORGIA (8)

Offense

TE Isaac Nauta, So., first team

RB Nick Chubb, Sr., first team

OT Isaiah Wynn, Sr., second team

RB Sony Michel, Sr., third team

Defense

DE Trenton Thompson, Jr., first team

ILB Roquan Smith, Jr., first team

S Dominick Sanders, Sr., second team

OLB Lorenzo Carter, Sr., third team

TENNESSEE (4)

Offense

G Jashon Robertson, Sr., second team

WR Jauan Jennings, Jr., third team

Special teams

KR Evan Berry, Sr., second team

Trevor Daniel, Sr., third team

SOUTH CAROLINA (3)

Offense

TE Hayden Hurst, Jr., second team

WR Deebo Samuel, Jr., third team

Defense

ILB Skai Moore, Sr., second team

KENTUCKY (3)

Defense

OLB Denzil Ware, Jr., second team

ILB Jordan Jones, Jr., third team

S Mike Edwards, Sr., third team

MISSOURI (2)

Offense

WR J’Mon Moore, Sr., second team

Defense

DE Marcell Frazier, Sr., third team

VANDERBILT (2)

Offense

RB Ralph Webb, Sr., third team

Defense

ILB Oren Burks, Sr., third team


WESTERN DIVISION

ALABAMA (16)

Offense

WR Calvin Ridley, Jr., first team

OT Jonah Williams, So., first team

G Ross Pierschbacher, Jr., first team

QB Jalen Hurts, So., first team

C Bradley Bozeman, Sr., second team

RB Bo Scarbrough, Jr., second team

G Lester Cotton, Jr., third team

Defense

DE Da’Shawn Hand, Sr., first team

NT Da’Ron Payne, Jr., first team

ILB Rashaan Evans, Sr., first team

S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Jr., first team

S Ronnie Harrison, Jr., first team

ILB Shaun Dion Hamilton, Sr., second team

NB Tony Brown, Sr., third team

CB Anthony Averett, Sr., third team

Special teams

P JK Scott, Sr., first team

AUBURN (9)

Offense

OT Braden Smith, Sr., first team

RB Kamryn Pettway, Jr., second team

Defense

DE Marlon Davidson, So., second team

OLB Tre Williams, Sr., second team

CB Carlton Davis, Jr., second team

S Tray Matthews, Sr., second team

DT Dontavius Russell, Jr., third team

Special teams

K Daniel Carlson, Sr., first team

KR Kerryon Johnson, Jr., third team

LSU (7)

Offense

RB Derrius Guice, Jr., first team

OT K.J. Malone, Sr, second team

C Will Clapp, Jr., third team

Defense

OLB Arden Key, Jr., first team

DE Christian LaCouture, Sr., second team

CB Donte Jackson, Jr., second team

DE Rashard Lawrence, So., third team

TEXAS A&M (3)

Offense

WR Christian Kirk, Jr., first team

OT Koda Martin, Jr., third team

Defense

S Armani Watts, Sr., first team

OLE MISS (3)

Offense

G Javon Patterson, Jr., third team

Defense

DE Marquis Haynes, Sr., first team

Special teams

K Gary Wunderlich, Sr., third team

ARKANSAS (2)

Offense

C Frank Ragnow, Sr., first team

QB Austin Allen, Sr., third team

MISSISSIPPI STATE (2)

Offense

OT Martinas Rankins, Sr., second team

QB Nick Fitzgerald, Jr., second team

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