Who's Your Favorite

There are already more pre-season polls and predictions than one can shake a stick at, and at the end of the week there will be another set of predictions when the pre-season media voting to predict the outcome of the Southeastern Conference football season will be revealed. Individually, most of these rankings are no more than conversation fodder, but as a whole they can set the stage of expectations for the coming season.

Two trends appear on the top 25 listings from CBS SportsLine, CollegeFootballNews.com, Athlon Sports, Lindy's, Sporting News, Street & Smith's, Phil Steele's and SEC Football preview.

Besides Southern Cal topping each publication's list and being the overwhelming consensus number one pick throughout the country, these Top 25 lists depict a Southeastern Conference that is expected to be a wide open race with four consensus top 25 teams.

LSU, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and Georgia are in top 25 of each of the publications listed above.

Alabama is listed in four sets of the rankings: CollegeFootbalNews.com, Athlon, Lindy's and Phil Steele. The Tide is ranked as high as 16th (Athlon) and as low as 25 (Phil Steele). The Tide is 21st in CollegeFootballNews.com and 22nd in Lindy's. It should also be noted that the SEC Football Preview lists only a top 20.

No other SEC schools appear in any of the publications' rankings.

LSU ranks well ahead of Auburn in every publication's list, so if voting at media days follows that trend it is safe to assume LSU will be the predicted SEC Western Division Champion ahead of Auburn and Alabama. Alabama will be a cinch for third-place in pre-season voting unless more media than expected side with Athlon, who has the Tide ranked four sports ahead of Auburn.

Expect Arkansas to be listed fourth in the West followed by Mississippi State, with Mississippi bringing up the rear.

Tennessee is the highest ranking team in four publications (CBS Sportsline, Athlon, Sporting News, Street & Smith's) while LSU is the top-ranked SEC squad in three lists (CollegeFootballNews.com, Phil Steele and SEC Football Preview).

Lindy's has Florida at No. 4 in its pre-season poll, two spots higher than the next closest SEC team. Media voting in the SEC Eastern Division side will be very close between Florida and Tennessee in that division. Urban Meyer's public perception since taking the helm of the Florida program has been created almost flawlessly. That image might be enough for Florida to surpass Tennessee and become the odds-on favorite to win the Eastern Division, but either way it will be a close vote.

But this year won't be Fulmer's first barbecue, and the coach might get a boost in voting by attending the event this year. Tennessee is most likely to be picked first in the East in pre-season voting.

Spurrier-mania notwithstanding, Georgia will probably be picked to finish third ahead of South Carolina in fourth, followed by Kentucky and Vanderbilt.

The media voting will be revealed on Friday, the last day of SEC Media Days.


BamaMag Top Stories