Which makes one wonder: What in the world were 39 of the 222 who voted thinking about when they didn’t vote Alabama’s Barrett Jones first team Al-Southeastern Conference?
Of course, two of the record number of voters selected Auburn to win the championship. And one picked Ole Miss.
The reported count of media representatives registered for SEC Media Days in Hoover this week was 1,100, so a “turnout” of 222 voters is hardly representative. Nevertheless, it would be hard to argue with most of the final determinations.
But does anyone think that Reese Dismukes of Auburn, P.J. Lonergan of LSU, or T.J. Johnson of South Carolina is going to be bragging about being pre-season second team All-SEC center? They didn’t exactly keep up with Bama’s Jones. last year’s Outland Award winner as the nation’s best offensive lineman and winner of the Jacobs Award selected by SEC coaches as the best blocker, received 183 votes. Dismukes, Lonergan, and Johnson got eight each to tie for second team. Patrick Lewis of Texas A&M can boast that he was third team. He got six votes.
Of course, Jones is playing center for the first time. But after being an all-star guard and the top lineman in the nation as a tackle, it would be difficult to predict anyone would be better at center.
A few years ago at the media days event, the SEC head coaches were grilled, one-by-one, by a Florida journalist as to which one didn’t vote Tim Tebow pre-season All-SEC first team. (It turned out to be South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier, who claimed to have turned the task of voting over to one of his minions.)
Full disclosure: I didn’t vote. The vote has to be in on Wednesday, which means most voters are making their selections before hearing from about half the league’s coaches and players.
The first team offense included two other Alabama offensive linemen, guard Chance Warmack and tackle D.J. Fluker.
South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore top vote-getter with 201.
Bama was represented on the second team offense by Eddie Lacy, overall the third-leading choice at tailback behind Lattimore and Knile Davis of Arkansas.
A.J. McCarron, the offensive most valuable player in the Crimson Tide’s 21-0 win over LSU in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome, was third team behind runaway quarterback choice Tyler Wilson of Arkansas and Aaron Murray of Georgia.
A prediction: Next spring’s NFL draft will provide a hint that Tide tight end Michael Williams was voted too low when he was picked third team behind fellow seniors Philip Lutzenkirchen of Auburn and Chris Gragg of Arkansas.
Alabama had only two selections on the pre-season first team defensive squad, but there are no complaints about the media vote. There are very good defenders in the league who have proved their mettle. At the end of the season, no one will be surprised if Bama doesn’t again have the best team defense, but for now the only two members of the first team are inside linebacker Nico Johnson and safety Robert Lester.
The Tide did put four men on the second team – nose tackle Jesse Williams, end Damion Square, inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, and cornerback Dee Milliner.
Although Alabama did not have any additional players voted high enough to make third team defense, and had no selections on special teams (punter, placekicker, return specialist, and all-purpose), the Tide managed to have 12 named to the three All-SEC teams – five first team, five second team, and two third team. LSU had seven first team (including Tyrann Mathieu first as both a defensive back and return specialist), three second team, and three third team, a total of 12 men and 13 positions.
Barrett Jones was the overall third-leading vote-getter, one behind Mathieu.
The predicted order of team finishes was predictable.
The sportswriters and broadcasters picked LSU to win the Western Division with 139 first place votes and Bama following with 72, Arkansas (6), Auburn (4), Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss (which had the overall lowest point total, but 1 first place vote).
In the East it was Georgia (132 first place votes), South Carolina (72), Florida (12), Missouri (2), Tennessee (4), Vanderbilt, and Kentucky.
LSU was picked to repeat as SEC champion with 129 votes. Alabama was the second biggest vote-getter with 65. Georgia had 14, South Carolina 6, Arkansas 4, Auburn 2, and Florida and Ole Miss 1 each.