By Alex Norman
Well, summer is over next week. Pack up the beach balls and put the Corona’s away. There will be no need for those types of things anymore.
Hey, I know July 4th just happened. But when you look at the calendar and see that SEC Media Days are taking place next week, that means fall has arrived (even if it is approx. 700 degrees outside).
But I never want you, the good reader, to have to wait for the traditional gabfest. I’m going to break down what all 14 teams will bring to the party in advance of the event. This is what I do.
The biggest change is the venue. No longer will the event take place in the luxurious Wynfrey Hotel/Riverchase Galleria in Hoover (AL). This means that we don’t get the high comedy of families trying to navigate a hotel lobby filled with rabid SEC fans. All the Baker family wanted to do was to get some pants at The Gap!
No, for the first time since 1985, SEC Media Days will take place outside the Birmingham area. Instead, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta will be the host.
On Day 1 (Monday, July 16), we get Kentucky, LSU and Texas A&M.
The Kentucky Wildcats will talk about how this is finally going to be their year… to finish in the top half of the SEC East. Head coach Mark Stoops will also explain that he is a football coach, so please Lexington media, quit asking him about basketball.
The LSU Tigers will have Ed Orgeron grunt his way through interviews, while telling reporters that yes, he does indeed have a quarterback this season (he doesn’t).
Texas A&M brings new coach Jimbo Fisher to town. Fisher escaped a toxic situation in Tallahassee for a big bag of loot in College Station. Aggies fans are pumped up about it, but that’ll change on September 8th when Clemson comes to Kyle Field.
On Day 2 (Tuesday, July 17), we will see Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Ole Miss.
The Arkansas Razorbacks have a new coach in SMU’s Chad Morris. He will tell reporters that he can’t do worse than Bret Bielema, who went 29-34 in five seasons in Fayetteville, including a Dooley-esque 11-29 mark in SEC play.
The Florida Gators have a new coach too in Dan Mullen. He has wanted the Gators job for more than a decade, and when Chip Kelly (UCLA) and Scott Frost (Nebraska) turned them down, Florida finally called. Mullen used interest from Tennessee to encourage the Florida offer. The Gators return a good amount of talent so the cupboard is not bare.
The Georgia Bulldogs comes to Atlanta as the prohibitive favorites in the SEC East. The Bulldogs will need to figure some things out in the running back, but otherwise head coach Kirby Smart should take the mic guaranteeing a division title. The Bulldogs also have the nation’s top recruiting class ready to fill some holes with more 5-stars than an observatory.
At Ole Miss, new head coach (detect a pattern here?) Matt Luke will do cartwheels at the podium while telling the media he was as stunned as anyone that the Rebels didn’t get the death penalty for violations under Hugh Freeze.
On Day 3 (Wednesday, July 18), we will see Alabama, Mississippi State, Missouri and Tennessee.
Nick Saban will grumble his way through a press conference while saying that the quarterback competition won’t be a distraction for his team, which is trying to defend yet another national championship. He will finish by thanking the media for their efforts in promoting college football, which is always hilarious because you know he’d rather throw all the media into the pit of despair.
Mississippi State brings new coach Joe Moorhead to the ATL. The Bulldogs are a dark horse to win the division. They only face Kentucky and Florida from the East.
Missouri brings back a lot of talent, including one of the best quarterbacks in college football (Drew Lock). But head coach Barry Odom will have to explain why he hired Derek Dooley to become his offensive coordinator. Dooley was a disaster at Tennessee (4-19 in SEC play), and has never called plays at any level.
And for Tennessee, new coach Jeremy Pruitt arrives with expectations as low as they have ever been for the Vols. UT finished 4-8, the most losses ever in a Tennessee season in 2017. Pruitt has stayed mostly out of the spotlight since taking the Vols job last December. SEC Media Days will be a big moment for him.
And finally, on day 4 (Thursday, July 19), you get Auburn, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
Auburn beat Alabama and Georgia and still ended up with four losses in 2017. Gus Malzahn still has one of the best teams in the Western Division coming back in 2018.
South Carolina might be the only team capable of beating Georgia in the East. Will Muschamp has Jake Bentley back at quarterback for a third season and if that team stays healthy, the division title will be decided on September 8th when the Gamecocks host Georgia.
Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason should just go the podium and say that the Commodores have beaten Tennessee two years in a row and leave immediately. That’s all Vandy fans really care about anyway.
Football season is here… almost.