For weeks there has been a feeling that Southeastern Conference Media Days – which has gained the reputation as the kickoff to college football’s season really being here – was just around the corner. Now it is.
The annual event in which coaches and players of the 14 SEC schools – among others – go to Hoover on the outskirts of Birmingham to meet with hundreds of various media members, from national journalists to local sports talk show hosts.
The unquestioned top attraction is Wednesday when Alabama Coach Nick Saban makes his appearance. The Crimson Tide’s player representatives are center Bradley Bozeman, defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, and wide receiver Calvin Ridley.
The conference did Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze a favor. Freeze, who along with the entire Rebels football program is facing NCAA penalties for major recruiting infractions, doesn’t face the media until Thursday, and by then many of the weary journalists who were there for only one school, have made their exits.
In addition to the coaches and players, who are the main attractions, there will be a presentation by SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey to begin the event on Monday. Steve Shaw, coordinator of SEC football officials, and Rich McKay of the Atlanta Falcons and the new Mercedes Benz Stadium will speak Tuesday. Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, will be on Wednesday. Wright Waters, executive director of the Football Bowl Association, is a Thursday speaker.
Here are the coaches and players who will be in Hoover.
ARKANSAS (Bret Bielema, Austin Allen, Frank Ragnow, Kevin Richardson II)
LSU (Ed Orgeron, D.J. Chark, Derrius Guice, Christian LaCouture)
TENNESSEE (Butch Jones, Emmanuel Moseley, Jashon Robertson, Kendal Vickers)
GEORGIA (Kirby Smart, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Roquan Smith)
VANDERBILT (Derek Mason, Oren Burks, Kyle Shurmur, Ralph Webb)
MISSISSIPPI STATE (Dan Mullen, Donald Gray, Dez Harris, Martinas Rankin)
FLORIDA (Jim McElwain, Duke Dawson, Marcell Harris, Martez Ivey)
ALABAMA (Nick Saban, Bradley Bozeman, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Calvin Ridley)
MISSOURI (Barry Odom, Eric Beisel, Drew Lock, J’Mon Moore)
TEXAS A&M (Kevin Sumlin, Christian Kirk, Koda Martin, Armani Watts)
KENTUCKY (Mark Stoops, Mike Edwards, Stephen Johnson, Courtney Love)
SOUTH CAROLINA (Will Muschamp, Jake Bentley, Hayden Hurst, Deebo Samuel)
OLE MISS (Hugh Freeze, Javon Patterson, Shea Patterson, Breeland Speaks)
AUBURN (Gus Malzahn, Daniel Carlson, Tray Matthews, Braden Smith)