In recent years, much has been made of the reporters covering Southeastern Conference Media Days having a less-than-stellar record in predicting the champion in the upcoming season.
After hearing from all 14 head coaches and 72 players, not to mention having conversations with one another in the four-day event in Hoover, the journalists have struggled, as have some of those coaches whose teams were predicted to win the title.
Only five times in the 24 polls since 1992 – three times in the last 20 years – has the media prediction been correct.
Perhaps a sense of history – not the history of the preseason poll – had something to do with this year’s poll having Alabama as the overwhelming favorite to win the 2016 conference championship.
That history would include recent history, Bama winning in both 2014 and 2015, and in all-time history, the Crimson Tide having won 25 championships, equal to the total of the next two teams (Tennessee 13, Georgia 12).
It may also have had something to do with Alabama having Nick Saban as head coach for a 10th year, and with Saban and the Tide being predicted nationwide to be in the hunt for Bama’s 17th national championship and fifth in the Saban Era.
One thing notable is that an all-time high 331 reporters in attendance at SEC Media Days participated in this year’s preseason poll.
Of those 331, there were 223 votes cast for Bama as the likely champion.
Alabama received 246 votes to win the SEC Western Division, while Tennessee was the favorite to take the East with 225 votes.
The prediction for the SEC Championship Game winner had Bama followed by LSU with 59 votes, Tennessee with 29, Georgia with 7, Florida with 5, Ole Miss with 4, and Texas A&M, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas with 1 each.
Auburn, the favorite of the media last year, finished 2015 as last in the SEC West and the Tigers did not receive a vote for the championship this year.
In division voting, Alabama’s 246 first place vote total and 2,220 points was followed by LSU (76 and 1,984), Ole Miss (5-1,479), Texas A&M (3-1,130), Arkansas (1-1,047), Auburn (0-890), and Mississippi State (0-518).
Tennessee had 225 first place votes and 2,167 points as the favorite to win the East, followed by Florida (57-1,891), Georgia (45-1,860), Kentucky (0-933), Vanderbilt (2-810), Missouri (0-807), and South Carolina (2-800).
Points were awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.