Stuart McNair

Annual Birmingham News summer SEC football poll has Alabama the favorite

Alabama predicted to defeat Tennessee to win third straight SEC championship

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Many, many years ago (70 by their reckoning), Zipp Newman, sports editor of The Birmingham News, had this idea to get the sports information directors of each Southeastern Conference athletics department to make predictions on the upcoming football season. To make it fair, he didn’t let the selectors vote for their own team or players.


For a good many of those years, the SIDs have predicted that Alabama would emerge as Southeastern Conference champion, and for good reason. The Crimson Tide football team has dominated the SEC.


To end the suspense, the newspapaer’s 2016 poll of SIDs overwhelmingly selected Coach Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide to win its third consecutive conference championship, which would be the 26th in storied Bama history.


Alabama was picked first in the SEC Western Division with five first place votes and one second. LSU was picked second in the West (and had the two first place votes Alabama didn’t get, including, obviously, Bama’s), followed by Ole Miss third, Auburn and Arkansas tied for fourth, Texas A&M sixth, and Mississippi State seventh.


In the East, it was Tennessee followed by Georgia, Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt.


In the overall voting, Alabama had 12 firsts and one second. Tennessee didn’t get any first place votes, but overall was picked second, followed by LSU (again getting the two firsts now awarded the Tide), Georgia, Ole Miss, Florida, Auburn, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt.


A tradition of The News’ summertime poll includes a preseason All-SEC team. Alabama was represented on the first team by wide receiver Calvin Ridley, tight end O.J. Howard, tackle Cam Robinson, punter JK Scott, linebackers Reuben Foster and Tim Williams, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, and safety Eddie Jackson. Guard Alphonse Johnson was on the second team.


LSU running back Leonard Fournette was selected Most Valuable Player, top Heisman candidate, best athlete, and best running back.


Tide tight end O.J. Howard was selected most underrated.


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Bama players named best at their positions were Reuben Foster at inside linebacker, Tim Williams outside linebacker, Eddie Jackson safety, Cam Robinson offensive tackle, Calvin Ridley receiver, and JK Scott punter.

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