HOOVER, Ala.‚ÄîAfter Georgia came up five yards short of beating Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game, the media that cover the league are predicting the Bulldogs will get another shot against the Crimson Tide this season.
‚ÄúOh, yeah, that would be nice,‚Äù senior defensive end Garrison Smith. ‚ÄúAt the same time, it doesn‚Äôt matter who we play. If we make it to that point, whether it‚Äôs Alabama or Ole Miss or LSU or Mississippi State, it doesn‚Äôt matter.‚Äù
Georgia is seeking its third straight trip to the title game and first SEC league championship since 2005. The Bulldogs lost 32-28 to Alabama in a classic game last season.
‚ÄúGeorgia is definitely back on the map,‚Äù quarterback Aaron Murray said.
Two-time defending national champion Alabama was the overwhelming choice to win the SEC, getting 182 of 243 votes. Georgia garnered 38, South Carolina 18, Texas A&M 4 and LSU 1.
‚ÄúI read and I hear how you all make predictions,‚Äù Alabama coach Nick Saban said. ‚ÄúIt seems a little bit crazy to try to predict what‚Äôs going to happen in a season. ‚Ä¶In the last 21 seasons, you in the media have only picked four times (correctly) to win the SEC. If I was 4-17 as a coach, I would be back in West Virginia pumping gas at my Daddy‚Äôs gas station.‚Äù
Georgia, coming off a 12-2 season, got 149 votes to win the SEC East, followed by 75 for South Carolina and 19 for Florida. Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky were predicted to be the order after the first three.
‚ÄúI knew it was going to be us Florida or South Carolina,‚Äù Georgia coach Mark Richt said. ‚ÄúI think it was a tough call this year in particular with those three teams. And you never know what Tennessee will rise up and do or really any team for that matter. It will be interesting to see.‚Äù
Nine Georgia players made the preseason All-SEC team as voted on by the media.
Tailback Todd Gurley and tight end Arthur Lynch were first-team picks.
Tailback Keith Marshall, offensive guard Chris Burnette, linebacker Jordan Jenkins and cornerback Damian Swann made the second team.
Murray, Smith and receiver Malcolm Mitchell are third-team selections.