Some say that college football season begins in 46 days, but for some people it begins tomorrow as around 900 media members make their way to Hoover, Alabama for SEC Media Days.
The Southeastern Conference is the nation’s best conference and has won the last five BCS National Championships. With the nation’s best conference, comes the biggest media days for any conference as fans and media members from around the Southeast and the nation make their journey to Hoover, Alabama.
A lot of questions will be asked, a lot of news will be made, and predictions will be made during this three-day event previewing the 2011 SEC football season. For those of you that do not know, the head coach and three players from each team will be available for the media during specified time slots.
Head coach Mark Richt, quarterback Aaron Murray, center Ben Jones, and cornerback Brandon Boykin will be the representatives from Georgia.
Below is the schedule of events for the 2011 SEC Media Days.
2:00-4:50: Arkansas and Florida
4:20-7:00: Mississippi State and South Carolina
9:30-11:20: Georgia and Kentucky
11:50-2:30: Auburn and Tennessee
9:30-12:20: Alabama and Vanderbilt
11:50-2:30: LSU and Ole Miss
Here are some storylines for the 2011 SEC Media Days.
Oversigning: During the SEC Spring Meetings, all head football coaches voted to keep the 28-signee limit. However, the presidents of the schools over-ruled that vote and limited it to 25 as a way to stop oversigning. It will be interesting to hear what coaches like Nick Saban, who is in favor of oversigning, say about it.
New head coaches: Florida head coach Will Muschamp and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin will begin coaching in the SEC for the first time this year. How they have adapted to life in the SEC will be interesting along with what they expect during the 2011 season.
NCAA Issues: Auburn came under fire last year regarding the recruitment of quarterback Cam Newton, who singlehandedly led the Auburn Tigers to a national championship. A week ago, a NY Times report revealed a testy exchange between NCAA officials and Chizik at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fl. Chizik asked the NCAA why they have not announced that the investigation was over. The NCAA official responded by saying “You’ll know when we’re finished, and we’re not finished.” Another team facing NCAA issues is LSU with their dealings with Will Lyles (the same person that was involved with Oregon and Chip Kelly). While nothing might come out of either case, it will be interesting if Chizik or Les Miles has any response or opinion on these dealings.
Georgia running back concern: It has felt like every other week a Georgia running back has been suspended, transferred, or been ruled academically ineligible. However, many beleive that Isaiah Crowell will be the one in the spotlight even if Georgia had Caleb King and Washaun Ealey in the backfield. Head coach Mark Richt, quarterback Aaron Murray, and center Ben Jones will all be in Hoover, Alabama and it will be intersting to see how they view the running back position
Predictions: Coming out the final day of SEC Media Days will be the preseason All-SEC team along with season predictions selected by the media. I have already filled out my ballot and will post it tomorrow. Last year the media picked Alabama to win the SEC Championship, but they ended up finishing fourth in the SEC West. The SEC media has attempted to predict the SEC Champion the last 19 years, but they have only been right four times. Obviously, predictions are never perfect, but it will be interesting to see how the media stacks teams up.
Quarterback battles: Georgia sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray is the best returning quarterback in the SEC, and he is one of the few quarterbacks that doesn’t have any major question marks. Arkansas will look to replace Ryan Mallet with Tyler Wilson, Auburn will try to replace Cam Newton with Barrett Trotter, and Alabama replaces Greg McElroy with AJ McCarron. LSU’s position is up for grabs between senior Jordan Jefferson and transfer Zach Mettenberger. Florida will try to get better numbers out of John Bratley during his senior year with new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
Fans: Although around 900 media members will attend SEC Media Days, fans from around the Southeast will also make their trek to Hoover, Alabama. I have never attended SEC Media Days so I don’t know what 900 media members on top of hundreds of fans look like, but it will be interesting to see.
Tomorrow unofficially begins the start of the college football season, and I will be live in Hoover, Alabama covering the event. You can follow me on Twitter @Mike Reiter for live updates from the event.