ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs III, one of 12 Crimson Tide players named to the media's preseason All-SEC first team, breaks free during last December's 35-28 win over Georgia in the SEC title game.

This story was updated Friday, July 19, 2019, at 6:37 p.m. with more information.

some text
Georgia coach Kirby Smart, left, speaks with Alabama coach Nick Saban before the SEC title game last December in Atlanta.

Alabama and Georgia have played three classic football games this decade in Atlanta.

A fourth such occasion would not come by surprise.

Nick Saban's Crimson Tide and Kirby Smart's Bulldogs are the overwhelming picks to win their divisions this season in the Southeastern Conference. The league office revealed voting results Friday, which came on the heels of the SEC Media Days that transpired Monday through Thursday in Hoover, Alabama. The picks are based on a poll of 260 media voters.

Though Alabama and Georgia have played just once this decade in the regular season — the Crimson Tide rolled to a 38-10 triumph in Athens in 2015 — their Atlanta showdowns have created a rivalry that was discussed with regularity this week.

HOW THEY SEE IT

Predicted finish for 2019 Southeastern Conference football by divisions, based on a poll of 260 voters at SEC Media Days; first-place votes listed in parentheses.

EAST
School Points

Georgia (233) 1,789

Florida (21) 1,499

Missouri (3) 1,149

South Carolina (1) 883

Tennessee (1) 804

Kentucky (1) 798

Vanderbilt 358

WEST
School Points

Alabama (253) 1,813

LSU (5) 1,493

Texas A&M 1,268

Auburn (1) 1,090

Mississippi State (1) 769

Ole Miss 504

Arkansas 343

SEC CHAMPION
Alabama 203

Georgia 49

LSU 3

Auburn 1

Florida 1

Mississippi State 1

South Carolina 1

Tennessee 1

"The next step for us, and I don't mean this to be trite, is Vanderbilt (on Aug. 31)," Smart said. "You have to get to that point, because we don't have Alabama on our schedule. We know Alabama has been very powerful in this conference for a long time. We respect the job they do.

"I've got a lot of respect for Coach Saban and his program. I probably wouldn't be here today if it weren't for him, but I also understand that we have a really good program, too."

Alabama has been picked seven consecutive years to win the West, with this the third straight summer Georgia has been tabbed in the East.

Smart was Alabama's defensive coordinator in 2012, when the Tide held off Mark Richt's Bulldogs 32-28 in the SEC championship game. Smart was in his second year as Georgia's head coach in 2017, when the Bulldogs lost the national championship game 26-23 in overtime to the Tide.

Their third Atlanta meeting occurred last December in the SEC title game, when Alabama scored the final 21 points of a 35-28 win. All three of the Tide's victories over the Bulldogs in Atlanta — one at the Georgia Dome and two at Mercedes-Benz Stadium — were double-digit comebacks.

"Those games have been hard-fought games," Alabama junior receiver Jerry Jeudy said. "They've been very intense, but they've also been fun as well. You've always got to have your 'A' game when you play Georgia."

Alabama received 253 of 260 first-place votes in the West tally, with LSU getting five first-place votes and picked to finish runner-up. Texas A&M was pegged third, with Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Arkansas rounding out the division.

Georgia was picked to finish first in the East on 233 of 260 ballots, with Florida receiving 21 and Missouri three first-place votes. Florida and Missouri were tabbed second and third overall, with South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt rounding out the East.

In the race for conference champion, Alabama's 203 votes easily outdistanced Georgia's 49. LSU received three votes to win the league, while Auburn, Florida, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Tennessee had one each.

Alabama set an SEC Media Days voting record with 12 players selected to the media's preseason all-conference first team — quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, running back Najee Harris, receivers Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, offensive linemen Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Wills, defensive lineman Raekwon Davis, linebackers Anfernee Jennings and Dylan Moses, and cornerback Trevon Diggs, while Jaylen Waddle was named as a return specialist and as an all-purpose back.

The Tide held the previous high of 10 in 2017.

Georgia's four first-team representatives were running back D'Andre Swift, offensive lineman Andrew Thomas, safety J.R. Reed and kicker Rodrigo Blankenship.

Tennessee did not have any representatives on the first-, second- or third-team all-conference offense or defense. Marquez Callaway was named as the second-team return specialist.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

 

2019 PRESEASON MEDIA DAYS ALL-SEC TEAM

OFFENSE
First Team

QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia

RB Najee Harris, Alabama

WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama

TE Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri

OL Andrew Thomas, Georgia

OL Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

OL Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn

OL Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama

C Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU

Second Team

QB Jake Fromm, Georgia

RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt

RB Lamical Perine, Florida

WR Kalija Lipscomb, Vanderbilt

WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

TE Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt

OL Solomon Kindley, Georgia

OL Damien Lewis, LSU

OL Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms, Missouri

OL Isaiah Wilson, Georgia

C Darryl Williams, Mississippi State

Third Team

QB Joe Burrow, LSU

RB Larry Rountree, Missouri

RB JaTarvious Whitlow, Auburn

WR Justin Jefferson, LSU

WR Bryan Edwards, South Carolina

TE *Miller Forristall, Alabama

TE *Charlie Woerner, Georgia

OL Deonte Brown, Alabama

OL Ben Cleveland, Georgia

OL Logan Stenberg, Kentucky

OL Matt Womack, Alabama

C Drake Jackson, Kentucky

DEFENSE
First Team

DL Raekwon Davis, Alabama

DL Derrick Brown, Auburn

DL Rashard Lawrence, LSU

DL Jabari Zuniga, Florida

LB Dylan Moses, Alabama

LB Anfernee Jennings, Alabama

LB Erroll Thompson, Mississippi State

DB Grant Delpit, LSU

DB J.R. Reed, Georgia

DB Trevon Diggs, Alabama

DB C.J. Henderson, Florida

Second Team

DL Nick Coe, Auburn

DL Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M

DL Marlon Davidson, Auburn

DL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina

LB Cale Garrett, Missouri

LB De’Jon Harris, Arkansas

LB David Reese II, Florida

DB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

DB Xavier McKinney, Alabama

DB Kristian Fulton, LSU

DB Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State

Third Team

DL LaBryan Ray, Alabama

DL McTelvin Agim, Arkansas

DL Chauncey Rivers, Mississippi State

DL Tyler Clark, Georgia

LB Terrell Lewis, Alabama

LB Jacob Phillips, LSU

LB Kash Daniel, Kentucky

DB DeMarkus Acy, Missouri

DB Shyheim Carter, Alabama

DB Richard LeCounte, Georgia

DB Daniel Thomas, Auburn

SPECIALISTS
First Team

P Braden Mann, Texas A&M

PK Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

RS Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

AP Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

Second Team

P Tommy Townsend, Florida

PK Anders Carlson, Auburn

RS Marquez Callaway, Tennessee

AP Kadarius Toney, Florida

Third Team

P Arryn Siposs, Auburn

PK Evan McPherson, Florida

RS Jashaun Corbin, Texas A&M

AP Lynn Bowden, Kentucky

* — Indicates a tie

some text
Georgia football players, such as tailback D'Andre Swift, could soon be celebrating touchdowns on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium.

 

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT