Florida will finish second behind Tennessee in the SEC East in 2016, according to the predictions of media members at this year's SEC Media Days in Birmingham. Florida finished second to the Volunteers in both total points (2,167 to 1,891) and in first-place votes (225 to 57), and only slightly ahead of Georgia (1,860 points, 45 first-place votes) in the prognostication.
Florida has not finished second to Tennessee in a game of FBS football since 2004, and has finished 18 and 24 points ahead of Georgia in its last two meetings, despite Gators quarterback Treon Harris completing a total of 11 passes over those two games.
331 media members participated in the voting, which means nothing in terms of what will actually happen on the field, but plenty in terms of how millions of people will talk about football for the next two months. The predictions are likely to either inspire or incense dozens of young men for whom what 331 slightly older people — mostly men — is inexplicably important.
Vanderbilt and South Carolina — picked to finish fifth and seventh in the East by the full slate of selectors — each received two first-place votes for the East, and a single voter installed each team as a projected SEC champion.
This suggests to your humble writer that these preseason predictions might be largely based on groupthink, shameless homerism, boundless optimism, and selective application of historical trends, rather than on definitionally unknowable truths about the performance levels of teams that have yet to practice as one unit this fall.