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Media pick ’Bama to win SEC crown

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Photographs by Jason Ivester

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema yells during a game against LSU on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Fayetteville.

HOOVER, Ala. -- Defending SEC champion Alabama was the overwhelming choice to defend its league title in voting by media members at SEC media days released Friday by the conference.

The Crimson Tide received 217 first-place votes from the 243 voting media members. Auburn was a distant second with 11 first-place votes, followed by Georgia (6), LSU (3) and Florida (3). Arkansas, South Carolina and Vanderbilt received one first-place vote each.

Alabama, which went 14-1 last season before falling to Clemson 35-31 in a dramatic College Football Playoff championship game, also was picked to win the Western Division by a handy margin over Auburn. The Razorbacks were selected fourth, immediately behind LSU, and followed by Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

Georgia was picked to win the East by a narrow margin over two-time defending division champion Florida. The Bulldogs tallied 1,572 points to the Gators' 1,526.

Tennessee was selected to finish third in the division, followed by South Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Missouri.

Arkansas had only two selections on the All-SEC teams, first-team center Frank Ragnow and third-team quarterback Austin Allen, who finished behind Alabama's Jalen Hurts and Mississippi State's Nick Fitzgerald in the quarterback voting.

Hurts was one of nine first-team selections for the Crimson Tide. He was joined by receiver Calvin Ridley, offensive linemen Ross Pierschbacher and Jonah Williams, defensive linemen Da'Ron Payne and Da'Shawn Hand, linebacker Rashaan Evans and defensive backs Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison.

Georgia had four first-team selections, led by tailback Nick Chubb. LSU placed tailback Derrius Guice and linebacker Arden Key on the first team, tying Texas A&M -- receiver Christian Kirk and safety Armani Watts -- with two picks each.

Five SEC East teams -- Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt -- had no first-team picks, along with Mississippi State.

Sports on 07/15/2017

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