Last Modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012 8:23 PM
First the good news for LSU: The Tigers were a fairly overwhelming choice by the media to win both the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division and the overall league championship.
Now a more sobering thought: The media has correctly predicted the SEC champion only twice in the past 16 years. The other 14 years the media’s choice didn’t even win its division.
But there is this: The last time the media predicted the Tigers to win the league — 2007 — the Tigers not only lived up to the conference hype, they went on to win the national championship as well.
That was also the only other time since 1992 LSU had been predicted to win it.
This time, head coach Les Miles wasn’t exactly running away from the prediction.
“If we take it a day at a time, a game at a time, try not to get too far ahead of ourselves, I think our football team can achieve greatly,” Miles said. “I can tell you they’re looking forward to it, coming off last year.”
If the media is correct, the SEC title would be a repeat for the Tigers, although last year’s conference title was soured somewhat when LSU lost a rematch with Alabama in the BCS national championship game.
Alabama will likely be LSU’s biggest stumbling block again.
Of the 222 voters, 139 had the Tigers winning the SEC West, with 129 of them predicting LSU to go ahead and win the overall title.
Alabama received 72 votes to win the West and 65 to win the overall title. Arkansas was a distant third, followed by Auburn and newcomer Texas A&M.
Georgia was picked to win the SEC East with 132 votes, although the media expects the West Division superiority to continue — the Bulldogs got only 14 votes to win the overall title.
South Carolina was picked second in the East, followed by Florida and newcomer Missouri.
LSU also had the most players on the preseason All-SEC team with 13, and the most on the first team with seven.
The Tigers had two of the four first-team defensive linemen, Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, as well as filling out half the secondary with cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reid.
LSU’s only offensive first-teamer was offensive tackle Alex Hurst, Brad Wing was the first-team punter and Mathieu was voted the top return specialist.
On the second-team LSU had offensive lineman Chris Faulk and center P.J. Lonergan along with placekicker Drew Alleman.
Third-team Tigers were running back Spencer Ware, defensive tackle Bennie Logan and cornerback Tharold Simon.
Alabama was second with 12 All-SEC selections, including five on the first-team.
LSU’s 13 overall selections is the second most ever, trailing only the 16 that Alabama had last year.
This year’s leading vote getter was South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, with 201 of the 222 votes.
• Overall — 1, LSU, 129 points; 2, Alabama, 65; 3, Georgia, 14; 4, South Carolina, 6; 5, Arkansas, 4; 6, Auburn, 2; 7, (tie) Florida, Ole Miss, 1.
• Eastern Division — 1, Georgia, 1,434 points; 2, South Carolina, 1,358; 3, Florida, 1,045; 4, Missouri, 797; 5, Tennessee, 718; 6, Vanderbilt, 598; 7, Kentucky, 266.
• Western Division — 1, LSU, 1,449 points; 2, Alabama, 1,379; 3, Arkansas, 1,093; 4, Auburn, 827; 5, Texas A&M, 653; 6, Mississippi State, 554; 7, Ole Miss, 261.
• First-Team Offense — QB, Tyler Wilson, Arkansas; RB, Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina and Knile Davis, Arkansas; WR, Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee and Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas; TE, Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn; OL, D.J. Fluker, Alabama, Alex Hurst, LSU, Chance Warmack, Alabama and Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M; C, Barrett Jones, Alabama.
• Second-Team Offense — QB, Aaron Murray, Georgia; RB, Eddie Lacy, Alabama and Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt; WR, Ryan Swope, Texas A&M and Justin Hunter, Tennessee; TE, Chris Gragg, Arkansas; OL, Larry Warford, Kentucky, Chris Faulk, LSU, Alvin Bailey, Arkansas and Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State; C, Reese Dismukes, Auburn, P.J. Lonergan, LSU and T.J. Johnson, South Carolina.
• Third-Team Offense — QB, A.J. McCarron, Alabama; RB, Onterio McCalebb, Auburn and Spencer Ware, LSU; WR, Emory Blake, Auburn and Tavarres King, Georgia; TE, Michael Williams, Alabama; OL, Kenarious Gates, Georgia, Xavier Nixon, Florida, Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee and Elvis Fisher, Missouri; C, Patrick Lewis, Texas A&M.• First-Team Defense — DL, Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina, Barkevious Mingo, LSU, Sam Montgomery, LSU and Corey Lemonier, Auburn; ILB, Nico Johnson, Alabama; OLB, Jarvis Jones, Georgia and Sean Porter, Texas A&M; DB, Tyrann Mathieu, LSU, Eric Reid, LSU; DB, Robert Lester, Alabama and Bacarri Rambo, Georgia.
• Second-Team Defense — DL, Jesse Williams, Alabama, John Jenkins, Georgia, Damion Square, Alabama and Devin Taylor, South Carolina; ILB, C.J. Mosley, Alabama; OLB, Alonzo Highsmith, Arkansas and A.J. Johnson, Tennessee; DB, Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State, Dee Milliner, Alabama, D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina and Matt Elam, Florida.
• Third-Team Defense — DL, Sharrif Floyd, Florida, Dominique Easley, Florida, Bennie Logan, LSU and Nosa Equae, Auburn; ILB, Jon Bostic, Florida; OLB, Cam Lawrence, Mississippi State and DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina; DB, T'Sharvin Bell, Auburn, E.J. Gaines, Missouri, Prentiss Waggner, Tennessee, Tharold Simon, LSU, Trey Wilson, Vanderbilt and Charles Sawyer, Mississippi.
• First-Team Specialists — P, Brad Wing, LSU; PK, Caleb Sturgis, Florida; RS, Tyrann Mathieu, LSU; AP, Dennis Johnson, Arkansas.
• Second-Team Specialists — P, Steven Clark, Auburn; PK, Drew Alleman, LSU; RS, Onterio McCalebb, Auburn; AP, Bruce Ellington, South Carolina.
• Third-Team Specialists — P, Dylan Breeding, Arkansas; PK, Cody Parkey, Auburn; RS, Andre Debose, Florida; AP, Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State.