Preseason voting: Alabama wins SEC

HOOVER, Ala. -- It's going to come down to the Iron Bowl again this season. Or that's what the majority of the media thinks of the SEC race, as voters predicted on Thursday that Alabama and Auburn would finish No. 1 and 2, respectively.

The Crimson Tide, which finished last season with back-to-back losses, was awarded more points (154) than all other schools combined: Auburn (75), South Carolina (32), Georgia (19), LSU (9), Ole Miss (2), Arkansas (1) and Mississippi State (1).

If there's anyone who's not surprised by the finish, it's South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who raved on Tuesday about coach Nick Saban's ability to bring in the country's top recruits.

"Arguably, they've got the greatest collection of football players ever assembled for a college team," he said. "If the recruiting services are correct, and they're pretty much correct.

"So they're the favorites. They're the favorites. There's no question about that. As long as they can recruit like that, they're always going to be the favorites."

Alabama led all schools with nine first-team selections, including two of the top vote-getters in wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back T.J. Yeldon.

The only non-Alabama or Auburn players to make the first-team offense were Georgia running back Todd Gurley, LSU offensive lineman La'el Collins, Ole Miss offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil and Texas A&M offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi.

The first-team defense was highlighted by Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III and Dante Fowler Jr.; Ole Miss' Robert Nkemdiche and Cody Prewitt; and Texas A&M's Deshazor Everett.

According to the media's predictions, Alabama would meet South Carolina in the conference title game. The Gamecocks led the voting in the East with 1,895 votes, and were trailed by Georgia (1,777), Florida (1,362) and Missouri (1,263).

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