HOOVER, Ala. — Florida's defense may be its biggest question mark entering the season, but apparently the SEC media have faith it's going to be better than last season.
Or maybe it's the Tim Tebow/Percy Harvin factor. Either way, the Gators were the league media's surprise pick Friday to win the SEC championship. Auburn was the SEC West pick.
But you may not want to put too much stock in it. More than 700 media members attended this week's SEC Media Days, but only 70 voted on the preseason All-SEC team.
Among that 70, Florida was named champion on 36 ballots, Georgia 18, Auburn 13 and LSU, Tennessee and Ole Miss one each. The Gators, Bulldogs and Vols were selected 1-2-3 in the East. In the West, Auburn was named first on 48 ballots, followed by defending national and league champion LSU (21) and Ole Miss.
Florida had the most first-team selections, five, followed by LSU and Tennessee with four each. There were no unanimous selections, but Harvin was the leading vote-getter with 68 votes. Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes had 65 votes. Other Gators on the first team: QB Tebow, TE Cornelius Ingram and return specialist Brandon James.
Taking the high road: It seems Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville has decided to let bygones be just that when it comes to his relationship with former assistant and new Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino. At least in public.
In 2003, Tuberville was in the midst of a 7-5 season (after starting the year No. 6) when Petrino, who was coach at Louisville, secretly met with then-Auburn president William Walker and then-athletic director David Housel and two boosters, two days before Auburn's game against archrival Alabama, about possibly becoming Tuberville's successor. Tuberville said Friday that he has no hard feelings and never blamed Petrino.
"This is a business. I understand that," Tuberville said. "We all get caught up in certain scenarios. That's just part of it. Bobby and I have talked many times since then."
Garcia return? Former Jefferson standout Stephen Garcia may still have an opportunity to salvage his career at South Carolina, coach Steve Spurrier said.
Garcia was one of Spurrier's most heralded recruits in 2007, but two arrests, on charges of underage drinking and vandalizing a professor's car, and a citation for underage drinking have derailed his attempts to become the starting quarterback.
Garcia was suspended from the university in March after being cited for underage drinking and having a fire extinguisher go off in his dorm room, but Spurrier said there's a chance he'll be allowed back this fall.
"The university is handling his situation," he said. "(Garcia) had a bunch of requirements to do this summer. From what I understand, he's done just about all they've asked, or everything. … Somebody will tell him when to come, if he's fulfilled those requirements."