The SEC Media Days are in the rearview mirror, but Alabama’s stature in the conference is so enormous, we can still see Big Al, the school’s mascot elephant, and hear “Roll Tide” from miles and miles away.
Based on the votes of the media in its prediction of how the 2017 football campaign will end, why even play the season?
The Crimson Tide is going to win another SEC championship in a runaway. Bama received 225 of 243 first-place votes to win the West Division title and 217 of 243 points to take the overall crown.
How did the SEC become so top heavy? Nick Saban has more of a stranglehold on the conference than the late, great Bear Bryant once did.
Could it be that the voting was dominated by Alabama media? Let’s hope that had something to do with it.
Alabama also dominated the media’s preseason All-SEC team with 10 first-team selections, including a quarterback, one wide receiver and two linemen on the offensive unit; two linemen, one linebacker and two secondary guys on the defensive unit; and a placekicker among the specialists.
The Tide also has six other players among the second-team and third-team honorees.
By comparison, Tennessee, which was picked by the media to finish a very distant third in the SEC East, didn’t have a single player worthy of first-team honors.
The Vols had one offensive lineman and a return specialist make the second team. They also had a punter and one wide receiver make the third team.
It kind of feels like Tennessee will be going into this season with a pocket knife.
And how do the fans of South Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Missouri feel? Their teams are picked to finish behind Tennessee.
Fans of West Division teams other than Alabama can’t feel much better, either, can they?
There is hope, however. The SEC media has been wrong before. Many times before. In fact, since 1992, they’ve picked the conference champion correctly only six of 25 times!
To their credit, the media did get it right when they picked Alabama to win the SEC title last season. So they’re going for two in a row.
But there have a couple of years when the media really had to eat humble pie. In 2015, it picked Auburn to win the championship and the Tigers finished in last place in the SEC West. In 2005, the media predicted Tennessee would take the title and the Vols stumbled to fifth place in the SEC East.
So, while this year looks like a cakewalk for Alabama, don’t throw in the towel just yet.
If anything, from Tennessee’s perspective, these unworthy Vols should now be more motivated and hungrier than ever.