Vanderbilt continues to battle Tennessee for higher ground.
The Commodores were picked to finish sixth — right behind the Vols — out of seven teams in the SEC East in the league’s preseason media poll, which was announced on Thursday. LSU was projected to win league championship.
Vanderbilt, which went 6-7 in 2011 and reached the Liberty Bowl, received 598 points, only ahead of Kentucky. Tennessee, which failed to make a bowl last year, received 718 points, and four first-place votes. Ahead of both schools were newcomer Missouri, Florida, South Carolina and projected divisional champion Georgia, which garnered 132 first-place votes.
In the West, LSU collected 139 first-place votes for a decisive lead over defending national champ Alabama. The Crimson Tide, who knocked off the Tigers in the title game, placed second with 72 first-place votes. Arkansas was picked to finish third with Auburn, newcomer Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Ole Miss following.
The top eight projected teams in the conference were LSU, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas and Auburn, with Florida and Ole Miss tying for seventh.
A record 222 members of the media who voted followed the coaches’ lead and left Vanderbilt off its first team.
Running back Zac Stacy was tabbed to the second team and cornerback Trey Wilson was named to the third team but, just like in the SEC coaches poll released last week, no Commodores made the first team.
Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Missouri also did not have anyone make the first team. Kentucky was the only school with just one player tabbed to the three teams.
Tennessee had five earn preseason honors, headlined by first-team selection, junior wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers. Wide receiver Justin Hunter and linebacker A.J. Johnson made the second team and offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James and defensive back Prentiss Waggner earned third-team honors.