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Florida Is Heavy Favorite To Capture SEC Baseball Title

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-- The University of Florida has been predicted to win the 2016 Southeastern Conference baseball championship as voted by the league’s 14 head coaches in the 25th-annual preseason poll. The Preseason All-SEC First and Second Teams, as determined by the head coaches, were also announced.

Florida, the nation’s consensus preseason No. 1 team, garnered 13 votes to claim the SEC title, while Vanderbilt earned one vote. The Gators featured a pitching star, A.J. Puk (pictured), who could be the No. 1 pick in this summer's MLB amateur draft.

Florida was predicted to win the SEC Eastern Division, while Texas A&M was the favorite to win the SEC Western Division.

Since 1996, the SEC has named a regular season champion as well as a tournament champion. Prior to 1996, the tournament champion was considered the SEC champion.

Points were compiled on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for each division. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team, and each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.

For the second consecutive year, two Preseason All-SEC Teams were selected by the SEC head coaches, and ties were not broken. Eleven of the 14 schools were represented on the All-SEC teams with Florida leading the way with seven total selections. Texas A&M garnered four selections, while Arkansas had three. The Gators also claimed an SEC-best six first-team accolades.

The 2016 regular season for SEC teams begins Friday, with conference play set to begin March 18.

A total of seven SEC teams qualified for NCAA Regionals in 2015 and conference teams comprised half of the College World Series field. Ten SEC teams are ranked in at least one poll to begin the 2016 season.

2016 SEC Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll

Eastern Division

1. Florida (13) - 91

2. Vanderbilt (1) - 78

3. South Carolina - 54

4. Kentucky - 53

5. Missouri - 47

6. Georgia - 32

7. Tennessee - 30

Western Division

1. Texas A&M (8) - 85

2. LSU (5) - 79

3. Arkansas - 65