Tennessee and LSU, participants in last year's SEC Championship Game, have been picked by members of the media to repeat as divisional champions in 2002 at Media Days in Birmingham Thursday.
The Vols also received the media's nod for the overall SEC title with 34 votes, followed by Florida and Georgia with 17 and 16 votes respectively.
The media tabbed Georgia to finish second in the SEC Eastern Division race behind the Vols, followed by Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. UT received 41 first-place votes, while Georgia and Florida each received 19. South Carolina garnered three first-place votes.
In the SEC West, Alabama was the scribes choice for the runner-up spot behind LSU, followed by Ole Miss, Auburn, Arkansas and Mississippi State. LSU received 43 first-place votes, trailed by Alabama (24), Ole Miss (7), Arkansas (5) and Auburn (3).
Mississippi State was the only team in the Western Division without a single first-place vote.
"We've got some real challenges down the road this season," Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "There is so much not known about our football team, and I think they understand that. A lot of where we are being ranked this year is based on what we've done in the past. This team has to prove themselves.
"It's always interesting to see the perspective the media has, but then there is reality."
Tennessee, which finished 11-2 and ranked No. 4 in the final national polls, earned its third SEC East title in five years last season before losing to LSU in the 2001 league championship game.
Voting on the league race was tabulated on a 1-2-3-4-5-6 scale with 82 voters participating. Six voters did not select an overall champion.
Seven Vols tabbed All-SEC
In addition to being named preseason favorites to win the conference, UT will also leave media days boasting seven preseason All-SEC selections.
Tight end Jason Witten, wide receiver Kelley Washington and cornerback Jabari Greer were named to the 1st Team All-SEC, and offensive linemen Michael Munoz and William Ofenheusle and linebacker Eddie Moore were named to the second team.
Tennessee tied with Florida for the most representatives on the team. Vols and Gators combined to make up 28 percent of the All-SEC Team.
LSU and Alabama each had six players apiece.