Georgia coach Kirby Smart said earlier this week that his football team should embrace the expectations. Well, here they are.
Georgia is officially the favorite to win the SEC East, albeit a slight one, as the Bulldogs were selected first in the division in the annual preseason media poll. Florida, the two-time defending champion, came in a close second.
Georgia received 1,572 points, including 138 first-place votes, edging Florida (1,526 points and 96 first-place votes.) The two were followed by Tennessee (998 points and three first-place votes), South Carolina (897 and five first-place votes), Kentucky (869), Vanderbilt (554) and Missouri (388).
This is the fourth time in the last six years that Georgia has been picked to win the division. It met those expectations in 2012, then fell short in 2013 and 2015.
Last year, in Smart’s first season as Georgia’s coach, the media picked the Bulldogs to finish third. Georgia ended up in a three-way tie for second.
“When you come to the University of Georgia, the expectation is to win championships. That’s what we expect to do at the University of Georgia, and that’s the standard we’ll be held to,” Smart said from the podium during his turn at SEC Media Days.
Georgia also received six votes to win the SEC championship, third behind prohibitive favorite Alabama (217) and Auburn (11).
Auburn and Mississippi State, the two West division teams that Georgia faces, were picked second and sixth in their division, respectively.