Bulldogs picked to finish third in East by SEC media

SEC media sized up Dominick Sanders and the Georgia Bulldogs this week and deemed them unworthy of having the ability to win either the division or overall conference championships.

HOOVER, Ala. — Somebody besides Georgia is going to wear the label of SEC East favorite this year.

The Bulldogs on Thursday were picked third by media covering 2016 SEC Football Media Days at The Wynfrey Hotel all week. Not all of the 1,000-plus members voted, however, including those representing The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and its properties. It’s the newspaper’s policy not to participate in such polls. An all-time high of 331 media members participated this year, according to the SEC.

Tennessee (9-4 last year) was picked to win the East and Alabama was projected as both the West winner and overall SEC champion. Only five times since 1992 has the SEC Media Days predicted champion gone on to win the title.

The Bulldogs were picked to win the East last year and three of the four years prior to that. But Georgia hasn’t won the Eastern Division since 2012. The Bulldogs (10-3, 5-3 SEC) finished third last year behind Florida (10-4, 7-1) and Tennessee (9-4, 5-3).

The Bulldogs, under the direction of first-year coach Kirby Smart, come into the season with question marks at quarterback due to competition and tailback due to injury. Nonetheless, they did get first-place votes from 45 members of the media. Tennessee had a commanding 225 and defending East champion Florida had 57.

SEC PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

First-place votes in parentheses.

EASTERN DIVISION

  • Tennessee (225)
  • Florida (57)
  • Georgia (45)
  • Kentucky (0)
  • Vanderbilt (2)
  • Missouri (0)
  • South Carolina (2)

WESTERN DIVISION

  • *Alabama (246)
  • LSU (76)
  • Ole Miss (5)
  • Texas A&M (3)
  • Arkansas (1)
  • Auburn (0)
  • Miss. State (0)

*Projected overall champion

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