HOOVER, Ala. - While Arkansas seniors Travis Swanson, Chris Smith and Zach Hocker were named to the all-conference team on Thursday, the Razorbacks themselves were not picked to fair very well by the SEC Media.
Two-time defending champ Alabama was picked to win the West and the Overall title, Georgia was tabbed as the Eastern Division and Arkansas was slotted to finish seventh and last in its division.
That's just fine with new head Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema.
"The lower the better," Bielema said during his speech at SEC Media Days on Wednesday. "I think our kids are carrying a tremendous chip on their shoulder. The same group that's going to vote us a certain place...is the same group that a year ago had us in the top five.
"We lost some really good players, but I tell you what, we have some players that you haven't heard of coming at you," Bielema added.
Bielema noted that people were skeptical he would win at Wisconsin when he took over for Barry Alvarez.
"Everybody has us ranked 60th to 70th in the country and the bottom half of the Big 10," Bielema said. "We went out and went 12-1. I'm not saying we're going to go out and go 12-1, but this team has all the ingredients as a head coach that can make a team win."
It is clearly something that he has taken as a challenge.
"I do know this," Bielema said. "We have a team that's very hungry, a group of coaches that are very gifted. We have a staff that is very talented and a staff to back that up.
"I do excel in situations where people think very, very little of us," Bielema added. "For those of you that want to, vote us lower. I meant that with all my heart. Then just sit back and watch."
Swanson was tabbed as the league's best center.
"I have been very privilidged to have the past five years," Swanson said. "It has been a wild ride. There have been highs and lows and that's just how life is. I never take it for granted."
Smith was tabbed as the other first-team defensive end opposite South Carolina superstar Jadeveon Clowney.
"It is really a blessing to be thought of like that, but I must give credit to those guys that came before me like Jake Bequette, who took me under their wing and guided me alomg and helped me get better when I was just coming in," Smith said. "I am really honored."
2013 PRE-SEASON MEDIA DAYS ALL-SEC TEAM (243 voters – most voters in SEC Media Days history / * - Ties)
QB - Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (119)
RB - T.J. Yeldon, Alabama (221)
RB - Todd Gurley, Georgia (206)
WR - Amari Cooper, Alabama (194)
WR - Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (106)
TE - Arthur Lynch, Georgia (148)
OL - Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (193)
OL - Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (176)
?OL - Anthony Steen, Alabama (109)
OL - Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State (88)
C - Travis Swanson, Arkansas (92)
QB - A.J. McCarron, Alabama (67)
RB - Tre Mason, Auburn (15)
RB - *LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State (12)
RB - *Keith Marshall, Georgia (12)
WR - Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss (46)
WR - Mike Evans, Texas A&M (33)
TE - Rory Anderson, South Carolina (33)
OL - Antonio Richardson, Tennessee (76)
OL - Jon Halapio, Florida (51)
OL - Chris Burnette, Georgia (50)
OL - Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee (50)
C - Reese Dismukes, Auburn (33)
QB - Aaron Murray, Georgia (52)
RB - *Matt Jones, Florida (5)
RB - *Jeff Scott, Ole Miss (5)
RB - *Alfred Blue, LSU (5)
WR - Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia (28)
WR - Jarvis Landry, LSU (19)
TE - Brian Vogler, Alabama (18)
OL - La'el Collins, LSU (37)
OL - Josh Williford, LSU (30)
OL - Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt (18)
OL - *A.J. Cann, South Carollina (14)
OL - *Zach Fulton, Tennessee (14)
C - *James Stone, Tennessee (30)
C - *Jonotthan Harrison, Florida (30)
DL - Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (223)
DL - Dominique Easley, Florida (162)
DL - Anthony Johnson, LSU (127)
DL - Chris Smith, Arkansas (56)
LB - C.J. Mosley, Alabama (231)
LB - A.J. Johnson, Tennessee (107)
LB - Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (94)
DB - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama (203)
DB - Craig Loston, LSU (135)
DB - Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida (117)
DB - Deion Belue, Alabama (77)
DL - Xzavier Dickson, Alabama (49)
DL - Ed Stinson, Alabama ( 39)
DL - Dee Ford, Auburn (38)
DL - Jeoffrey Pagan, Alabama (31)
LB - Adrian Hubbard, Alabama (66)
LB - Jordan Jenkins, Georgia (64)
LB - Lamin Barrow, LSU (29)
DB - Damian Swann, Georgia (70)
DB - Andre Hal, Vanderbilt (69)
DB - Marcus Roberson, Florida (50)
DB - Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama (36)
DL - Garrison Smith, Georgia (26)
DL - Daniel McCullers, Tennessee (23)
DL - Alvin Dupree, Kentucky (23)
DL - C.J. Johnson, Ole Miss (22)
LB - Ronald Powell, Florida (24)
LB - Tahj Jones, LSU (20)
LB - *Trey DePriest, Alabama (16)
LB - *Avery Williamson, Kentucky (16)
DB - E.J. Gaines, Missouri (34)
DB - Charles Sawyer, Ole Miss (25)
DB - Jalen Mills, LSU (22)
DB - Chris Davis, Auburn (20)
P - Kyle Christy, Florida (108)
PK - Carey Spear, Vanderbilt (100)
RS - Odell Beckham Jr., LSU (74)
AP - Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (69)
P - Cody Mandell, Alabama (54)
PK - Cody Parkey, Auburn (71)
RS - Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (62)
AP - Odell Beckham Jr., LSU (44)
P - Steven Clark, Auburn (33)
PK - Zach Hocker, Arkansas (39)
RS - Andre Debose, Florida (53)
AP - Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida (36)
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
Alabama – 182
Georgia – 38
South Carolina – 18?
Texas A&M – 4
LSU – 1
Georgia (149) – 1570
South Carolina (75)- 1474
Florida (19) – 1300
Vanderbilt – 858
Tennessee – 694
Missouri – 577
Kentucky – 331
Alabama (225) – 1681
Texas A&M (11) – 1333
LSU (7) – 1324
Ole Miss – 883
Auburn – 579
Mississippi State – 516
Arkansas - 488
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