All the media members gathered at SEC Media Days have voted on who they think will win the SEC this year, and the results will be announced later today. Three of us here at RTI were able to cast a vote along with the hundreds of other media members, and we decided to pool our votes together and see how Rocky Top Insider saw the SEC playing out this year.
Keep in mind that the picks at SEC Media Days rarely end up coming true (at least when it comes to the SEC East). Alabama is the obvious choice to win the West and the SEC by the media this year, and the final results at SEC Media Days should reflect that. It’s certainly reflected in our picks as well. But our picks, just like theirs, are just as likely to fall flat.
With that in mind, her’s how we think the SEC will be determined in 2017.
Nathanael, our editor, has Florida winning the SEC East for at third consecutive season. He also has the Vols finishing in second in the division for a third-straight season as well. He’s also not a believer in the hype around Georgia or Kentucky. Alabama will win the West and the SEC according to him.
Will, our main writing contributor, also has Florida winning the East and Tennessee finishing second for a third consecutive year. He has LSU having a disappointing season, and he doesn’t buy in to Kentucky or Georgia either.
Mason, our main photographer, has Tennessee finally breaking through and surprising people by winning the East this year. Florida and Georgia finish just behind the Vols, and Alabama will face the Vols in the SEC Championship Game and ultimately defeat them. He also has LSU finishing with a disappointing season, but he believes Arkansas will surprise this year as well.
Lastly, Ben McKee, an intern for the sports radio show The Swain Event and a part-time contributor for us, didn’t get to vote for the division winners for SEC Media Days, but he shared his choices with us regardless. Ben isn’t a believer in Tennessee at all, picking them to finish fourth in the East. He has Kentucky finishing just ahead of the Vols, and he sees Florida also winning the division for a third straight season. Alabama will win the West and the entire SEC according to him.
When you take all our selections and average them out, here is how we see the SEC playing out in 2017 (average place of finish is in parentheses):
South Carolina (4.3)
Texas A&M (3.3)
Mississippi State (6.3)
Ole Miss (6.5)
All of us agree that Alabama will not only win the West, but also win the SEC as a whole. Three out of four of us have Florida winning the East, which would make a third consecutive match-up between the two schools in the championship game. On the whole, we believe Tennessee will finish second, but Georgia will be right behind them.
Only time will tell if our overall predictions hold true. But if our predictions are accurate, Tennessee would be the first team since 1993-96 to finish second place in the East for at least three consecutive years. The last team to do it? That would be the Vols, and they finished just behind the Gators for four straight years from 1993-96.