Despite losing a program record 14 players to the NFL draft and returning just six starters, LSU didn’t drop dramatically among the Southeastern Conference landscape for the 2020 season which kicks off Saturday.
The Tigers were predicted to finish second in the SEC Western’s Division and were tied with Georgia among teams expected to challenge Alabama for league’s overall supremacy in a preseason poll of media covering the league.
Alabama garnered 77 votes to capture the SEC’s championship played Dec. 19 in Atlanta with LSU and Georgia each picking up seven votes. The Tigers are both the reigning CFP national champions and SEC champions after defeating the Bulldogs, 37-10, last season.
The media, which has only successfully predicted the league’s champion seven times since 1992, made Alabama a prohibitive favorite to win the SEC West with 86 first-place votes and 660 points.
LSU was next with eight first-place votes and 489 points followed by Auburn (488), Texas A&M, a tie between Ole Miss (238) and Mississippi State and Arkansas (121).
Florida is the pick to win the SEC’s East, receiving 53 first-place votes and 624 points and edged second place Georgia with 43 first-place votes and 613 points.
Tennessee (434), Kentucky (405), South Carolina (287), Missouri (224) and Vanderbilt (101) rounded out the rest of the division.
LSU also followed Alabama’s league-high 13 All-SEC selections with 10 players picked to either the league’s preseason first, second or third teams.
Headlining the Tigers’ entries was sophomore All-American cornerback Derek Stingley who was chosen to the first team defense along with senior safety JaCoby Stevens.
Stingley also had the rare distinction of being selected to the second team as an all-purpose player and third team as a return specialist.
LSU didn’t have any players selected to the first team on offense, but junior wide receiver Terrace Marshall and junior offensive guard Ed Ingram each landed on the second team, while graduate transfer linebacker Jabril Cox was also on the second team defense and sophomore placekicker Cade York on the second team special teams unit.
Senior offensive tackle Austin Deculus, LSU’s lone returning starter from a year ago, was a third team choice on offense along with freshman tight end Arik Gilbert.
Senior Glen Logan was a third-team pick at defensive line as was senior punter Zach Von Rosenberg on special teams.