Pre-Season Guesses

In our predictions about the predictions coming out of Southeastern Conference Media Days, we were far too optimistic. We expected ballots from something between 100 and 200 of the 700 registered for the three days of meetings with SEC head football coaches and top players in Birmingham. The final number was only 87 voters.

Alabama was picked to finish third in the SEC Western Division, while eight Crimson Tide players were named to either the first or second pre-season All-SEC teams.

The SEC West had LSU getting 62 of 87 first place votes and earning a clear number one position over Auburn (12 first place votes and 192 points). Bama equaled Auburn in first place votes with a dozen and had a point total of 215. Arkansas was at 377, Ole Miss 439 and Mississippi State 478 to round out the West. Second biggest surprise in the vote was Mississippi receiving a first place vote to win the West. The biggest surprise is that the Rebels also received a vote to win the overall championship.

Tennessee was selected as the likely champion both in the Eastern Division and overall. The Vols received 49 votes to win the East, for 134 points, to Florida's 29 first place votes and 161 points. Georgia got nine first place votes and was third with 202 points, followed by South Carolina at 347, Vanderbilt at 401, and Kentucky at 492.

The Vols got 37 votes to win the overall championship, followed by Florida 21, LSU 16, Georgia 6, Auburn 4, Alabama 2, and the darkhorse Ole Miss Rebels 1.

Bama placed three on first team–all defensive players, linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Freddie Roach and safety Roman Harper. Second team selections were quarterback Brodie Croyle (who tied for the second team QB position with Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler; Florida's Chris Leak was the pre-season All-SEC quarterback), center J.B. Closner, halfback Kenneth Darby, strong safety Charlie Peprah, and kick return man Tyrone Prothro.

Ryans was Alabama's top vote-getter with 76 votes. There were no unanimous selections. Auburn offensive lineman Marcus McNeill was the number one choice of voters, selected on 84 ballots. The top defensive vote-getter was Tennessee defensive back Jason Allen with one more than Ryans.

Eleven players from the state of Alabama were selected to the teams, including six on first teams. The state of Florida had eight players on the first and second teams, Louisiana seven, Tennessee six, Georgia five, Mississippi four, and South Carolina two. There were no natives of SEC states Kentucky or Arkansas named to the teams.

Out-of-conference states contributing to the all-star teams included three from Texas (two of them Tiders, Closner and Peprah), two from North Carolina, and one each from Indiana, California, and Hawaii.

Of the 11 Alabama natives on the all-star team, six play for the Crimson Tide, two for Tennessee, and one each for Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Florida. Interestingly, none for Auburn.

Incidentally, since no one put a gun to my head, I did not vote.

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