This time last year, the Vols were picked to finish sixth in the SEC East by the voters at SEC Media Days. This year, they moved up one spot in the preseason predictions.
All the media members at the 2019 SEC Media Days down in Hoover, Alabama voted on who they think will win the SEC East and West throughout this week, and the results were released on Friday. Tennessee was voted to finish fifth in the East, marking the second-straight year the Vols have been voted to finish outside the top four in the division. Tennessee did receive one vote for first place, as did Kentucky and South Carolina. In fact, one voter picked Tennessee to win the entire SEC in 2019.
Last year, Tennessee was voted to finish sixth in the East and received one vote for first place. Instead, the Vols ended up finishing last in the East for a second-straight season, going 2-6 in conference play.
The Vols were picked to finish sixth in the East in 2018 and third in 2017. Both years saw Tennessee finish last in the division. The last time Tennessee was voted to finish fifth was in 2014, and they actually finished fourth and ended that year with a 7-6 overall record and a 3-5 SEC mark.
Tennessee hasn’t outperformed their preseason prediction from SEC Media Days since 2014. That year, the Vols were voted to finish fifth in the division, but they finished the year in fourth place in the East. In fact, Tennessee has only exceeded their preseason prediction from SEC Media Days three times over the last 11 years prior to this year. Tennessee finished better than they were predicted to in both 2010 and 2009 along with 2014.
Tennessee received 804 overall points, coming in just ahead of Kentucky (798) and slightly behind South Carolina (883).
Unsurprisingly, Georgia and Alabama were picked to win their respective divisions. Georgia received 1,789 overall points and 233 of the 260 first-place votes in the East. Alabama earned 1,813 overall points and 253 of a possible 260 first-place votes. Also unsurprisingly, Alabama was voted to win the SEC Championship, receiving 203 votes as SEC champion. Georgia received 49 votes, and LSU received three. Mississippi State, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, and Auburn all received one vote as well.
Here are the full results from the SEC Media Day predictions (first place votes in parenthesis):
- Georgia (233) – 1,789 points
- Florida (21) – 1,499 points
- Missouri (3) – 1,149 points
- South Carolina (1) – 883 points
- Tennessee (1) – 804 points
- Kentucky (1) – 798 points
- Vanderbilt – 358 points
- Alabama (253) – 1,813 points
- LSU (5) – 1,493 points
- Texas A&M – 1,268 points
- Auburn (1) – 1,090 points
- Mississippi State (1) – 769 points
- Ole Miss – 504 points
- Arkansas – 343 points