TIDE PICKED

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - TOM MUR­PHY

by me­dia to win SEC crown.

HOOVER, Ala. — De­fend­ing SEC cham­pion Alabama was the over­whelm­ing choice to de­fend its league ti­tle in vot­ing by me­dia mem­bers at SEC me­dia days re­leased Fri­day by the con­fer­ence.

The Crim­son Tide re­ceived 217 first-place votes from the 243 vot­ing me­dia mem­bers. Auburn was a dis­tant sec­ond with 11 first-place votes, fol­lowed by Ge­or­gia (6), LSU (3) and Florida (3). Arkansas, South Carolina and Vanderbilt re­ceived one first-place vote each.

Alabama, which went 14-1 last sea­son be­fore fall­ing to Clem­son 35-31 in a dra­matic Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off cham­pi­onship game, also was picked to win the Western Divi­sion by a handy mar­gin over Auburn. The Ra­zor­backs were se­lected fourth, im­me­di­ately be­hind LSU, and fol­lowed by Texas A&M, Mis­sis­sippi State and Ole Miss.

Ge­or­gia was picked to win the East by a nar­row mar­gin over two-time de­fend­ing divi­sion cham­pion Florida. The Bull­dogs tal­lied 1,572 points to the Ga­tors’ 1,526.

Ten­nessee was se­lected to fin­ish third in the divi­sion, fol­lowed by South Carolina, Ken­tucky, Vanderbilt and Mis­souri.

Arkansas had only two se­lec­tions on the All-SEC teams, first-team cen­ter Frank Rag­now and third-team quar­ter­back Austin Allen, who fin­ished be­hind Alabama’s Jalen Hurts and Mis­sis­sippi State’s Nick Fitzger­ald in the quar­ter­back vot­ing.

Hurts was one of nine first­team se­lec­tions for the Crim­son Tide. He was joined by re­ceiver

Calvin Ri­d­ley, of­fen­sive line­men Ross Pier­schbacher and Jonah Wil­liams, de­fen­sive line­men Da’Ron Payne and Da’Shawn Hand, line­backer Rashaan Evans and de­fen­sive backs Minkah Fitz­patrick and Ron­nie Har­ri­son.

Ge­or­gia had four first-team se­lec­tions, led by tail­back Nick Chubb. LSU placed tail­back Der­rius Guice and line­backer Ar­den Key on the first team, ty­ing Texas A&M — re­ceiver Chris­tian Kirk and safety Ar­mani Watts — with two picks each.

Five SEC East teams — Ken­tucky, Mis­souri, South Carolina, Ten­nessee and Vanderbilt — had no first­team picks, along with Mis­sis­sippi State.

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