BATON ROUGE -- LSU has been tabbed as the favorite to win the Southeastern Conference football title in 2007, according to the Birmingham News, which recently published its 61st-annual conference preview.
In a poll of the league’s 12 sports information directors, LSU totaled 110 points, including six first place votes, to outdistance second place Florida, who accumulated 104 points and four first place votes. Auburn and Georgia were third and fourth respectively.
The Tigers return 15 starters and 46 letterwinners from last year’s team that posted an 11-2 overall mark and finished the year ranked No. 3 in the nation. LSU capped the 2006 season with a 41-14 victory over Notre Dame in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
In the SEC Western Division, the Tigers received four first place votes and a total of 23 total points to finish one point better than Auburn. Alabama and Arkansas tied for third with 15 points, while Ole Miss was fifth with 10 points and Mississippi State sixth with five points.
Florida was tops in the Eastern Division with 23 points, including three first place votes, followed by Tennessee (20 points), Georgia (19 points), Kentucky (12 points), South Carolina (11 points) and Vanderbilt (5 points).
In the individual honors, LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey was named as the league’s best defensive lineman, while wide receiver Early Doucet was named as the runner-up for the most valuable player honor. Arkansas’ Darren McFadden was voted as the league’s most valuable player as well as being the SEC’s top Heisman candidate.
Doucet was also rated as the second-best receiver in the league behind Vanderbilt’s Earl Bennett, while Ali Highsmith was ranked as the SEC’s No. 2 outside linebacker behind Kentucky’s Wesley Woodyard.
Dorsey and Doucet, along with offensive guard Will Arnold, were named to the Birmingham News’ 2007 Preseason All-SEC team, while Highsmith along with guard Herman Johnson, defensive end Tyson Jackson, cornerbacks Chevis Jackson and Jonathan Zenon and safety Craig Steltz were all second team picks.
In all, the Tigers had six of its defensive starters named to the first or second preseason all-conference team for the newspaper.
LSU opens its third season under Les Miles on Thursday, Aug. 30 when the Tigers travel to face Mississippi State in Starkville. The game will be televised to a national audience by ESPN.
2007 Birmingham News Preseason SEC Poll
No. Team (First Place Votes) Points
1. LSU (6) 110
2. Florida (4) 104
3. Auburn 102
4. Georgia (1) 96
5. Tennessee (1) 88
6. Arkansas 61
t7. Alabama 58
t7. South Carolina 58
9. Kentucky 50
10. Vanderbilt 27
11. Ole Miss 23
12. Mississippi State 15