Coaches Make Tide SEC Softball Pick

Last year, Alabama won the Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament titles in softball. So is there a surprise in pre-season predictions? Not from the SEC coaches. In their annual pre-season poll, Alabama is a runaway choice to win the Western Division and (in a much closer vote) is expected to win the overall championship.

Alabama is coming off of a 52-11 season and is the reigning SEC Champion. Bama was best in vote-getting (low was best and the Tide had 10 points) to win the Western Division title. In a tight vote for the league championship, the Tide led in votes with four of 11 possible, followed by Georgia and Tennessee with three each and Florida with one.

In the national polls, Alabama is ranked No. 3 ( Softball) and No. 6 (USA Today/NFCA).

In the Western Division, No. 16/19 LSU was voted to finish second behind the Crimson Tide with 19 points, followed by Auburn with 33 points. The Arkansas Razorbacks tallied 36 points for a fourth-place vote in the division, while Mississippi State earned 46 points for fifth-place in the division. Ole Miss tallied 51 points to close out the West.

The No. 4/7 Tennessee Lady Vols, 2010 WCWS participants, were voted to win the Eastern Division with 17 points, in addition to receiving three votes for the overall SEC title. Another WCWS participant, the Georgia Bulldogs is predicted to finish a close second in the East with 18 points. The Bulldogs also received three first-place votes and are ranked No. 3 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 4 in the Softball poll.

Rounding out the East are the No. 5 Florida Gators with 22 points, the Kentucky Wildcats with 37 points and the South Carolina Gamecocks with 46 points. The Gators, the third team to represent the SEC at the 2010 WCWS, also received a vote to win the overall title.

Points for the poll were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5 basis for the Eastern Division and on a 1-2-3-4-5-6 basis for the Western Division. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

The league will begin softball action Feb. 10. The 2011 SEC Softball Tournament will be held May 12-14 at Ole Miss Softball Complex in Oxford, Miss.

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