Florida picked to finish second in SEC East; Tide tabbed to win title

Florida coach Jim McElwain
Coach Jim McElwain looks to lead the Florida Gators to their third consecutive SEC Eastern Division title this season. [Gary Cosby Jr./GateHouse Media Services]

HOOVER, Ala. — Even with back-to-back SEC Eastern Division titles in their pocket under Jim McElwain, the Florida Gators still have their doubters around the league and among the media.
The Gators are picked to finish second in the division behind Georgia in the media’s preseason predictions that were released Friday, the day after SEC Media Days.
The Gators received 96 first-place votes and 1,526 total points, ranking behind Georgia, which was predicted to finish first in the division with 1,572 points and 138 first-place votes.
Alabama was picked to win the SEC Western Division with 225 first-place votes and 1,683 points. The Crimson Tide were also picked to win their fourth consecutive SEC title, collecting 217 points in the voting process.
McElwain seemed to anticipate earlier in the week that the Gators likely would not be the media’s favorite to win the division. They weren’t the previous two years, either.
“Will somebody at least say we exist? That would be nice, I guess, right?,” McElwain said.
Florida’s two first-team members are senior cornerback Duke Dawson and junior offensive lineman Martez Ivey, while the four second-teamers are wide receiver Antonio Callaway, defensive lineman Cece Jefferson, punter Johnny Townsend and place kicker Eddy Piniero. Receiving third-team mentions: tight end DeAndre Goolsby, defensive lineman Jabari Zuniga and safety Marcell Harris.
Florida opens the season Sept. 2 in the AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, against Michigan at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or robbie.andreu@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.

(1st Place votes in parenthesis)
School Points
Georgia (138) 1572
Florida (96) 1526
Tennessee (3) 998
South Carolina (5) 897
Kentucky 869
Vanderbilt 554
Missouri 388
School Points
Alabama (225) 1683
Auburn (13) 1329
LSU (4) 1262
Arkansas (1) 796
Texas A&M 722
Mississippi State 633
Ole Miss 379

School Points
Alabama 217
Auburn 11
Georgia 6
Florida 3
South Carolina 1
Vanderbilt 1
Arkansas 1