Despite Losing Russell & Co., LSU Popular Pick in SEC

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) - Despite losing four players in the first round of the NFL draft and its offensive coordinator, LSU is the pick to capture the Southeastern Conference football crown this fall, easily outdistancing defending national champion Florida.

All-America defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey said "We're just as talented as we were last year."

That team included Number one overall N-F-L draft pick JaMarcus Russell at quarterback and three fellow first-rounders, receivers Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis and safety LaRon Landry.

Plus, offensive playcaller Jimbo Fisher left for Florida State, tailback Alley Broussard quit on Tuesday because his "heart was no longer in it" and prized quarterback prospect Ryan Perrilloux's status on the team remains uncertain after an arrest in May.

For some programs, all that might add up to a rebuilding year. The Tigers' biggest issue right now might be dealing with huge expectations after back-to-back eleven-win seasons and a Sugar Bowl rout of Notre Dame.

They received 54 of 80 first-place votes from reporters who cover the SEC. Florida got only seven, edging Arkansas (five) and Auburn (four), followed by Alabama (three), South Carolina (three), Tennessee (two) and Georgia (two). The Gators were picked to win the Eastern Division, LSU the West.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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