The SEC Media Days are exciting and a bit ridiculous all in one, with so many sports giants in attendance like Saban, Miles and Spurrier, just to name a few.
The flashing camera lights and massive ESPN sets are impressive, while there's just enough passionate fans circling to get your blood going in mid-July. The silliness will come in the mobs of photographers and videographers swarming to get shots of players and coaches simply walking from one room to another. You would swear The Beatles were taking leisurely strolls through the Hyatt Hotel.
So what can we expect? Here's five things I'm fairly confident in.
1. Les Miles will be asked about his starting quarterback 1,000 times. The boring days of Zach Mettenberger firing those 300-yard passing games and torching opposing secondaries are now, thankfully, over. Who needs that stuff anyway? Let's get back to some good ole LSU quarterback controversy, the kind of fan unrest and squawking that consumes 85 percent of Charlie Hanagriff's post-game radio show. That's more interesting, right? Seriously, LSU's head coach will be asked ad nauseam about his kinda-incumbent signal caller, sophomore Anthony Jennings, and rising true freshman Brandon Harris. Miles will politely answer each question, but at the end of the week, perhaps even the end of August, LSU's head coach will probably not give any indication who he'll start against Wisconsin in the season opener. It would be very unlike the secretive Miles to do so.
2. Will Muschamp will be asked about being on the hot seat 3,000 times. It serves as proof there's more to being successful in the SEC than being a relentless worker and emotional shouter. Watching him evolve from a valuable assistant coach on Nick Saban's staffs at LSU to being named Mack Brown's successor at Texas (that, of course, was a very poor concept that was never executed), Will Muschamp appeared to be a rising superstar. And he indeed got the huge job at Florida. The problem is his Gators lost their final seven games of last season, including a stink-to-high-heaven 26-20 defeat to FCS member Georgia Southern. He's 22-16 overall after three years in Gainesville and even his 11-2 squad two seasons ago was a high wire act that should've lost to UL-Lafayette. The Gators must finally show some ingenuity on offense and score some points to save Muschamp's job. And the 1,200 reporters at SEC Media Days will certainly inquire about his shaky job security much more than once.
3. Mount Saban may erupt, again. Alabama head coach Nick Saban likes to talk about what HE WANTS to talk about. These topics do not include Crimson Tide players who have been arrested. With that in mind, defensive lineman Jarran Reed just got hit with a DUI and running back Kenyan Drake was arrested July 5 for obstructing governmental operations (uh, what?). Saban may field one question calmly on this topic. Steam may rise from his ears, he may bite through his own tongue and his glare may physically harm someone, but he MAY address it once. However, a follow up query will certainly be a brave venture. It is sort of like the guy who hands his wife a gym membership for Christmas. Mount Saban may indeed erupt. His voice will rise, his hands circling quickly in the air and while barking something along the lines of "I'm not talkin' about it, aight?!!" For those that have covered him for more than a decade, we know the drill all too well.
4. Steve Spurrier will put someone in their place. My dad often reminds me that he's the same age as South Carolina's legendary head coach. The 69-year-old Spurrier (dad's actually 70) is still a rock star, still saying what he wants and still kicking butt. He may never win a national or even SEC Championship with the Gamecocks, but three straight 11-2 seasons in Columbia have more than cemented Darth Visor's legacy further. And by the end of the week, Spurrier will take a playful swipe at somebody. It may be a school, it might be a coach or it might even be Justin Bieber. Regardless, it will be hilarious and everyone will laugh.
5. Stupid questions are inevitable. We've all asked them, including plenty by yours truly. Some keep you awake at night as you ask yourself, "What the heck was I THINKING?" But SEC Media Days seem to produce these clunkers in droves, like MTV continues to produce terrible teenage-based programming. Somebody in Hoover will have a great idea for "The Stupidest Opposing Fight Song" or "What Do You Like to Tweet About" story. They will then proceed to ask every player and coach such questions and the answers will be awful. They won't be interesting, funny or remotely entertaining. But that won't stop these reporters from plowing ahead. They'll simply refuse to pull the plug on the dreadful concept and the rest of us in the room will suffer.
But the pain won’t last long, because it's SEC Media Days! And the season opener isn't that far away.
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