Media picks rematch for SEC Championship

Media members covering Southeastern Conference football have picked Tennessee and LSU to repeat as divisional champions in 2002. When it comes to the overall league crown, reporters expect the Volunteers to win a rematch with the Tigers in the SEC Championship Game.

A total of 82 voters cast ballots on the predicted order of finish in each of the SEC's division. The results are posted in the table below.

LSU is favored to repeat at Wes Division champs ahead of Alabama.

 

"It's nice to be recognized by the media, but I don't put a whole lot of stock into preseason polls," LSU coach Nick Saban said. "I think it's exciting for the fans, but what is ultimately going to determine which team wins this league is the team that plays with the most consistency throughout the conference schedule."

When asked to pick an overall champion, Tennessee (34) was picked ahead of  Florida (17), Georgia (16), LSU (4), Ole Miss (2), South Carolina (2) and Alabama (1).

It should be noted that Alabama media usually attend SEC Media Days in Birmingham in the heaviest concentration, and no steps are taken by SEC officials to ensure a balanced representation in the voting. Instead, the SEC counts on each person submitting a vote voluntarily to be unbiased in their selection.

Rank School Points
Eastern Division (First Place Votes in parenthesis)
1. Tennessee (41) 136
2. Georgia (19) 175
3. Florida (19) 197
4. South Carolina (3) 305
5. Kentucky 428
6. Vanderbilt 481
Western Division (First Place Votes in parenthesis)
1. LSU (43) 140
2. Alabama (24) 203
3. Ole Miss (7) 291
4. Auburn (3) 311
5. Arkansas (5) 330
6. Mississippi State 447

Individually, LSU's LaBrandon Toefield and Domanick Davis were both selected to First Team Preseason All-SEC on offense, while Bradie James was the Tigers' lone first team selection on defense. Toefield returns as the SEC's leading rusher after picking up a career-best 992 yards on a SEC-record tying 19 rushing TDs last season. Davis earned a spot on the first team as a return specialist. Last year, Davis led the SEC in punt returns with an average of 13.8 yards per return.

 

James ranked second on the squad last season with 113 total tackles on his way to earning First Team All-SEC honors in 2001.

 

Michael Clayton, a Freshman All-SEC pick in 2001, was named to the second team preseason offense, while junior defensive tackle Chad Lavalais and senior defensive back Damien James were both named to the second team defense.


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