Alabama, Florida Picked as Division Winners in SEC Preseason Media Poll

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2020

HOLD FOR SATURDAY, MAY 23- In this May 20, 2020 photo provided by the University of Alabama, football head coach Nick Saban and the school's elephant mascot, Big Al, wear masks on the university campus in Tuscaloosa, AL. Health officials are worried that Alabama's coronavirus caseload is increasing and residents aren't guarding against COVID-19 as it opens its casinos, church and more. Saban recorded a video promoting the use of face masks and social distancing. (AP Photo/Kent Gidley, University of Alabama via AP)
Kent Gidley/Associated Press

Alabama is the overwhelming favorite to win the SEC title this season in the conference's preseason media poll, receiving a whopping 77 votes. That puts the Crimson Tide well clear of Georgia and LSU, which received seven votes each.

While Alabama is tipped to win the Western Division with 660 points, Florida (624 points) beat out the aforementioned Bulldogs (613 points) as the pick to win the Eastern Division. 

Alabama also had the most players named to the preseason All-SEC teams with 13 total players and eight on the first team (running back Najee Harris, wideouts DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, offensive linemen Alex Leatherwood and Landon Dickerson, defensive lineman LaBryan Ray, linebacker Dylan Moses and defensive back Patrick Surtain II).

LSU was second with 10 players selected to the preseason All-SEC teams, followed by Georgia with nine.

The 2020 season may be something of a revenge campaign for the Crimson Tide after they failed to reach the College Football Playoff for the first time since its inception in 2014. They also didn't at least tie for the Western Division crown for the first time since 2011, as LSU and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow bulldozed through college football.

Alabama also lost the Iron Bowl to Auburn. Losing to LSU and Auburn in the same season and missing the playoff? By all accounts, it was a disappointing season in Tuscaloosa.

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Much of the Tide's 2020 season will come down to the quarterback play of Mac Jones, who has experience after replacing Tua Tagovailoa for four starts last year. He'll have plenty of weapons at his disposal and talented linemen to protect him with five first-team preseason All-SEC selections on the offense.

Yet again, the Crimson Tide are loaded with talent. Barring another Burrow-like ascension from one of the league's other top teams, Alabama deserves its perch as the conference favorite.