The general consensus around Athens was that Georgia would fly under the radar this season and maybe surprise some folks by getting back to the SEC Championship game a third consecutive year. But no surprise is in the making now, as the Bulldogs were not only the pick of SEC media to win the Eastern Division again, but an overwhelming favorite.
Georgia received 149 votes to win the East in voting at SEC Football Media Days this week (AJC employees do not participate in such polls). That was nearly twice as many tallies as South Carolina (75) and almost 10 times what Florida received (19).
Georgia coach Mark Richt said he was not taken aback when his team got the nod.
“Well, I knew it was going to be us, Florida or South Carolina,” said Richt, who is entering his 13th season with the Bulldogs. “I knew it was going to be one of us. I think it’s a tough call this year in particular with those three teams. And then you just never know what Tennessee will rise up and do, or anybody for that matter.”
Nevertheless, not as many folks are expecting the Bulldogs to win the overall SEC Championship. That distinction went again to Alabama, which got 182 votes. UGA had the second-most with 38, and the Gamecocks had 18.
Those expecting the Bulldogs to make it back to Atlanta for a third consecutive year must be expecting a huge season from the Georgia offense, as no UGA players were listed on the media’s preseason All-SEC first-team defense. Sophomore linebacker Jordan Jenkins and junior cornerback Damian Swann were included on the second-team defense and senior defensive end Garrison Smith on the third team.
Meanwhile, six UGA players were included on the three All-SEC offensive teams, including sophomore tailback Todd Gurley and senior tight end Arthur Lynch on the first-team squad. Tailback Keith Marshall and offensive guard Chris Burnette were second-team All-SEC, and quarterback Aaron Murray and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell were third team.
Lynch, a senior who has flown under the radar most of his time in Athens, was surprised to get the first-team nod.
“It’s good affirmation considering my career started off kind of slow and me being kind of a blocking tight end,” he said. “It’s definitely an honor and obviously we’ve had success at Georgia at the tight end position. I think you play tight end at Georgia you get publicity. Hopefully, they’ll be saying the same thing in four or five months.”
No decision on kicker: The punishment for Marshall Morgan has yet to be determined, Richt said. The sophomore place-kicker was arrested on July 2 for boating under the influence of alcohol.
Morgan’s fate will be decided by UGA’s “comprehensive action committee,” a panel of senior administrators who will make a recommendation to Richt and Athletic Director Greg McGarity.
“A lot of vacations between Greg and me and other people,” Richt said. “We just really haven’t been able to hook up together on that.”
Long’s eligibility uncertain: Richt confirmed for the first time that senior Austin Long is in jeopardy of losing his eligibility. Richt would not go into details other than to say, “He is going through some academic stuff right now.”
Richt said offensive lineman Kolton Houston remains ineligible due to the presence of an NCAA banned substance in his system. The Bulldogs have not given up, however. Houston’s bio is included in the 2013 media guide, and Richt said Houston is still tested regularly.
Quote of the day: “I told the team we’re in a race to be in midseason form by Game 1. That race started back in January. … We know it’s coming. We’ll be ready.” – Richt on UGA’s difficult early-season schedule.”
QB - Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (119)
RB - T.J. Yeldon, Alabama (221)
RB - Todd Gurley, Georgia (206)
WR - Amari Cooper, Alabama (194)
WR - Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (106)
TE - Arthur Lynch, Georgia (148)
OL - Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (193)
OL - Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (176)
OL - Anthony Steen, Alabama (109)
OL - Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State (88)
C - Travis Swanson, Arkansas (92)
QB - AJ McCarron, Alabama (67)
RB - Tre Mason, Auburn (15)
RB - *LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State (12)
RB - *Keith Marshall, Georgia (12)
WR - Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss ( 46)
WR - Mike Evans, Texas A&M (33)
TE - Rory Anderson, South Carolina (33)
OL - Antonio Richardson, Tennessee (76)
OL - Jon Halapio, Florida (51)
OL - Chris Burnette, Georgia (50)
OL - Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee (50)
C - Reese Dismukes, Auburn (33)
QB - Aaron Murray, Georgia (52)
RB - *Matt Jones, Florida (5)
RB - *Jeff Scott, Ole Miss (5)
RB - *Alfred Blue, LSU (5)
WR - Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia (28)
WR - Jarvis Landry, LSU (19)
TE - Brian Vogler, Alabama (18)
OL - La’el Collins, LSU (37)
OL - Josh Williford, LSU (30)
OL - Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt (18)
OL - *A.J. Cann, South Carollina (14)
OL - *Zach Fulton, Tennessee (14)
C - *James Stone, Tennessee (30)
C - *Jonotthan Harrison, Florida (30)
DL - Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (223)
DL - Dominique Easley, Florida (162)
DL - Anthony Johnson, LSU (127)
DL - Chris Smith, Arkansas (56)
LB - C.J. Mosley, Alabama (231)
LB - A.J. Johnson, Tennessee (107)
LB - Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (94)
DB - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama (203)
DB - Craig Loston, LSU (135)
DB - Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida (117)
DB - Deion Belue, Alabama (77)
DL - Xzavier Dickson, Alabama (49)
DL - Ed Stinson, Alabama ( 39)
DL - Dee Ford, Auburn (38)
DL - Jeoffrey Pagan, Alabama (31)
LB - Adrian Hubbard, Alabama (66)
LB - Jordan Jenkins, Georgia (64)
LB - Lamin Barrow, LSU (29)
DB - Damian Swann, Georgia (70)
DB - Andre Hal, Vanderbilt (69)
DB - Marcus Roberson, Florida (50)
DB - Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama (36)
DL- Garrison Smith, Georgia (26)
DL - Daniel McCullers, Tennessee (23)
DL - Alvin Dupree, Kentucky (23)
DL - C.J. Johnson, Ole Miss (22)
LB - Ronald Powell, Florida (24)
LB - Tahj Jones, LSU (20)
LB - *Trey DePriest, Alabama (16)
LB - *Avery Williamson, Kentucky (16)
DB - E.J. Gaines, Missouri (34)
DB - Charles Sawyer, Ole Miss (25)
DB - Jalen Mills, LSU (22)
DB - Chris Davis, Auburn (20)
P - Kyle Christy, Florida (108)
PK - Carey Spear, Vanderbilt (100)
RS - Odell Beckham Jr., LSU (74)
AP - Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (69)
P - Cody Mandell, Alabama (54)
PK - Cody Parkey, Auburn (71)
RS - Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (62)
AP - Odell Beckham Jr., LSU (44)
P - Steven Clark, Auburn (33)
PK - Zach Hocker, Arkansas (39)
RS - Andre Debose, Florida (53)
AP - Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida (36)
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
Alabama - 182
Georgia - 38
South Carolina - 18
Texas A&M - 4
LSU - 1
Georgia (149) - 1570
South Carolina (75) - 1474
Florida (19) - 1300
Vanderbilt - 858
Tennessee - 694
Missouri - 577
Kentucky - 331
Alabama (225) - 1681
Texas A&M (11) - 1333
LSU (7) - 1324
Ole Miss - 883
Auburn - 579
Mississippi State - 516
Arkansas - 488
- Official attendance at 2013 SEC Media Days is 1,239, a new high for the event. The previous high was 1,085 in 2012.
- 243 voters Is an all-time high for SEC media days. The previous high was 222 voters in 2012.
- The top two vote-getters were defensive players: C.J. Mosley, Alabama and Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina.
- Since 2000, Arkansas’ Darren McFadden is the only unanimous selection to the SEC Media Days Team, collecting all 80 votes.
- Alabama had the most first-team selections this season with 7. Since 1992, the most players on a first-team were 9 by Alabama in 2011 and 8 by Alabama (2010) and Florida (2009).