BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- South Carolina is officially the hunted rather than the hunter.
The Gamecocks were picked Friday to win the SEC’s Eastern Division for the first time since joining the league in 1992, receiving 114 first-place votes from the 177 media members voting in the SEC Media Days poll. South Carolina easily outdistanced second place Georgia, which received 38 first place votes.
Fourteen media members predicted South Carolina would win the overall league total, but Alabama was the overwhelming pick to win the conference with 98 votes. LSU (29) and Arkansas (18) also received more votes than the Gamecocks.
The bad news for the Crimson Tide is that the media has only picked the champion correctly in four of its previous 19 votes.
"I don’t understand how you come to the decisions that you come to," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "We have question marks on our team. How we address these question marks on our team are going to determine the consistency our team can play with throughout the season."
The Gamecocks begin fall practice Aug. 3.
SEC Predicted order of finish
SEC CHAMPION VOTES
Alabama (98), LSU (29), Arkansas (18), South Carolina (14), Georgia (4), Florida (2), Ole Miss (2)
Eastern Division (first place votes in parentheses)
Western Division (first place votes in parentheses)