In what would be magnificent theater, one group of individuals associated with the SEC expect South Carolina and Alabama - with legendary coaches Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban - to meet in the conference championship game in December.
The Gamecocks and Crimson Tide were picked by the 14 football sports information directors to win their respective divisions, according to a poll conducted by al.com. South Carolina received five of the seven first-place votes among SEC East sports information directors, earning 35 points. Alabama also received five first-place votes to win the SEC West.
South Carolina was voted the third most likely team to win the SEC championship this season with 134 points, behind first-place Alabama (164 points) and runner-up Auburn (152). The Gamecocks were picked ahead of Georgia, which finished fourth with 131 points. The Bulldogs were picked to finish second in the SEC East with 30 points.
Individual ballots were not disclosed.
A South Carolina vs. Alabama matchup in the SEC championship would be made-for-TV action. It would also rekindle some recent memories of the two programs. In their last matchup, a No. 19-ranked Gamecocks team beat No. 1 Alabama 35-21 at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The recognition also continues what has been a theme this offseason. Even after losing quarterback Connor Shaw and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the Gamecocks face high expectations. South Carolina has already cracked the top 10 of Athlon and the Sporting News' preseason polls.