The Gators continued their dominance in preseason rankings Thursday.
Twelve of 14 votes in the SEC preseason coaches poll were cast in favor of the Gators winning a sixth conference title under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan.
Coaches voted both on winners of the SEC’s East and West divisions, as well as winners for the conference as a whole.
Florida missed out on just one first-place vote in the Eastern division. UF earned 91 points based on where they finished in each individual ranking, 12 more than the next closest team.
This marks the first time the Gators were the coaches’ choice to win the conference since 2018. The 2018 coaches poll is eerily similar to 2021, with UF securing the same number of first-place votes (12) and total points (91) as three years ago.
Vanderbilt, the preseason favorite the past two years, received the only other East division first-place vote and one of the conference votes. Mississippi State, who received the second-most points in the West, earned the other conference vote.
The coaches also released their preseason all-conference teams Thursday, and it should come as a surprise to few that Florida star outfielder Jud Fabian was named to the first team. Fabian, a unanimous preseason All-American for Baseball America, is MLB.com’s eighth overall prospect for 2021. He batted .294 with five home runs, six doubles and 13 RBI in 2020’s 17-game season.
The second team included lots of orange and blue, with starting pitcher Tommy Mace, shortstop Josh Rivera and relief pitcher Ben Specht nominated for their respective positions. The three Gators outnumbered any other school on the second team. Florida was one of only two schools to have four players named to the preseason teams.
The highly anticipated 2021 Florida baseball season will kick off Feb. 19 when the Gators play their first home game against Miami in the new Florida Ballpark.
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Ryan Haley is a second-year journalism major with a sports & media specialization from Jacksonville, Florida. He grew up playing a bunch of different sports before settling on golf, following Rory McIlroy and all Philadelphia sports teams. He also loves all things fiction, reading, watching shows and movies and talking about whatever current story or character is in his head.