Media pick Arkansas 3rd in SEC West, predict Alabama to win conference championship

Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks during NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days Tuesday, July 19, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA (AP) — Two-time defending champion Alabama was predicted to win a third consecutive Southeastern Conference title in voting by media attending this week’s SEC Media Days.

Alabama beat Georgia in last year’s SEC championship game in Atlanta before losing to the Bulldogs in the national title game. Media picked a repeat matchup by selecting Alabama to win the SEC West and Georgia to win the SEC East in voting released Friday.

Alabama was the overwhelming pick to win the championship, receiving 158 votes. Georgia was second with 18 votes.

Voters have confidence in Georgia again ruling the SEC East. The Bulldogs received 172 first-place votes in the division.
Kentucky was picked second in the division and had four first-place votes. Tennessee was third, followed by Florida, South Carolina, Missouri and Vanderbilt.

Alabama received 177 first-place votes in the West. Texas A&M finished second in the voting, followed by Arkansas, Mississippi, LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn.

2022 SEC football Preseason Media Poll

Vote counts for teams receiving first place picks are noted in parentheses.

SEC East

1. Georgia (172)
2. Kentucky (4)
3. Tennessee (1)
4. Florida
5. South Carolina (3)
6. Missouri
7. Vanderbilt (1)

SEC West

1. Alabama (177)
2. Texas A&M (3)
3. Arkansas (1)
4. Ole Miss
5. LSU
6. Mississippi State
7. Auburn

Alabama was represented by quarterback Bryce Young, running back Jahmyr Gibbs, wide receiver Jermaine Burton and offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor on the first-team offense selected by media.

Linebackers Will Anderson and Henry To’oTo’o and defensive backs Jordan Battle and Eli Ricks represented the Crimson Tide on the first-team defense.

Auburn running back Tank Bigsby joined Young and Gibbs on the first-team backfield. LSU wide receiver Kayshon Boutte and Georgia tight end Brock Bowers also made the first-team offense.

Georgia right tackle Warren McClendon was joined by Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence, Nick Broeker of Mississippi and Ricky Stromberg of Arkansas on the first-team offensive line.

Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker and Kentucky’s Will Levis were the second- and third-team quarterbacks, respectively.

Georgia had three first-team picks on defense: lineman Jalen Carter, linebacker Nolan Smith and cornerback Kelee Ringo.

LSU’s BJ Ojulari, Auburn’s Derick Hall and Tennessee’s Byron Young joined Carter on the first-team defensive line. Jalen Catalon of Arkansas was a first-team selection as a defensive back.