Alabama head coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide football program walked away from this year’s Southeastern Conference media days as the favorite to win both the SEC West and a conference championship, according to the media personnel that voted on Thursday.
With 225 first-place votes and 1,683 total points, the Tide finished ahead of the Auburn Tigers – who tallied 1,329 points and landed second in the voting. Along with being selected as the conference’s elite team, Alabama had 16 players named to the 2017 preseason All-SEC Team.
Of the 10 players (media days record) that were first-team selections, the list included quarterback Jalen Hurts, wide receiver Calvin Ridley, offensive lineman Ross Pierchbacher and offensive lineman Jonah Williams on offense.
The defensive side of the ball carried defensive end Da’Shawn Hand, defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne, linebacker Rashaan Evans and a pair of junior defensive backs in Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison. Senior punter JK Scott rounded out the selections, as he was also named to the preseason Ray Guy Award watch list.
The 10 names listed surpassed Alabama’s mark of nine first-team selections in 2011.
Junior running back Bo Scarbrough and senior offensive lineman Bradley Bozeman were selected for second team All-SEC on offense, while senior linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton garnered second-team votes on defense.
Offensive lineman Lester Cotton received attention as a third-team selection, and was followed by cornerbacks Anthony Averett and Tony Brown on defense. After winning three consecutive SEC titles, the Tide is set for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta versus Florida State on Saturday, Sept. 2.