LSU by a landslide

Reporters covering 2007 SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., believe the Tennessee Vols are destined to spend another year chasing the Florida Gators in the Eastern Division.

Today's annual Media Days balloting produced no major surprises. The LSU Tigers got 63 of a possible 80 votes to win the Western Division, while Auburn placed a distant second with five votes. Arkansas placed third and also got five first-place votes. Alabama picked up seven first-place votes but placed fourth, followed by Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

The defending SEC and national champ Gators got 41 first-place votes to rank No. 1 in the East, with the second-place Vols getting 16 votes. Georgia (12 first-place votes) was third, followed by South Carolina (11 first-place votes), Kentucky and Vanderbilt.

LSU also was a runaway winner in balloting for the SEC's overall title, getting 54 of the 80 votes that were cast. Florida was picked on seven ballots and Arkansas on five. Auburn got four votes, Alabama and South Carolina three each. Tennessee and Georgia picked up two votes apiece.

The closest thing to a surprise was Bama being picked a lowly fourth in the SEC West. Media Days routinely draws far more reporters from Alabama than any other state, so that could be a reflection of the supposedly strained relationship between new head man Nick Saban and media who cover the Crimson Tide.

Three Tennessee players made the media's preseason All-SEC first team – linebacker Jerod Mayo, safety Jonathan Hefney and punter Britton Colquitt. Erik Ainge was the second-team quarterback behind Kentucky's Andre Woodson. LaMarcus Coker was a second-team running back behind Arkansas's first-team duo of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.

As expected, talent-rich LSU led everyone with eight players on the preseason All-SEC team. Upstart Kentucky and Florida contributed six each. Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee placed five players each. All five of Arkansas's picks were first-teamers, with McFadden being the only unanimous All-SEC selection.

Apparently eager to cover something other than Barry Bonds' controversial pursuit of Henry Aaron's home run record and Michael Vick's controversial connection with dog-fighting, reporters showed up in record numbers at Media Days. Counting non-media, 830 people showed up, shattering the record of 685 set last year.

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