SEC Media Days: The Circus Has Arrived

Imagine hundreds of reporters packed in a nice hotel for three days with 36 college football coaches and players, many of them wary of the media.

Then, add a room full of sports talk radio hosts and make them sit next to each other for several hours.

And just for good measure, throw in a bunch of football-crazed Alabama fans who don't mind waiting in a hotel lobby to get a picture with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.

This is the circus that will take place inside the Wynfrey Hotel over the next three days, as the Southeastern Conference holds its annual football media days in Hoover, Ala.

Perhaps nothing announces the arrival of the college football season like the SEC Media Days. Coaches and players will talk. Reporters will ask questions. And everyone will leave knowing that the start of fall camp is only a couple of weeks away.

Here are five things fans can expect from the SEC Media Days.



Superman Returns For Encore

He has two national championships on his resume. He has a Heisman Trophy. And he's the SEC's unquestioned star.

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow will be back in Hoover, in front of league media and adoring fans. He'll sign autographs, smile for the cameras and forecast his chances of winning a second Heisman and the Gators' odds of winning another national title.

But a more pressing Tebow question could dominate the obvious ones: Which coach didn't vote for Florida's signal-caller when the Coaches Preseason All-SEC team was announced last week? The quarterback missed out on being a unanimous pick by one vote.

The culprit hasn't been revealed. So getting to the bottom of the shocking mystery should be big news at the Wynfrey Hotel.



Kiffin Is In The House — Look Out

New Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin has kept the Volunteers in the national spotlight in an unorthodox way: By running his mouth.

Kiffin has ticked off several coaches (see Florida's Urban Meyer) and been scolded by the SEC in the months since replacing departed coach Phil Fulmer. He has been brash. He has been bold. And he has been, in many minds, pretty stupid.

Kiffin will make his SEC Media Days debut on Friday and will have plenty of eyes and ears on him. Will the former Oakland Raiders coach say something else that will become bulletin-board material for opponents? Or will he think better of it, considering how much Tennessee's offense has been ravaged by offseason injuries?



Let the Rumors Fly

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is retiring? Florida's Urban Meyer is heading to Notre Dame?

The summer is a time when rumors spread fast, especially about a coach's future at his respective school. The SEC Media Days give coaches a chance to finally squash the talk that they plan on going anywhere after the season.

There has been speculation that Spurrier might finally hang up his visor and retire after the 2009 season. And Meyer can't seem to avoid the rumor that he plans to leave the Gators and accept what he's described as his "dream job" — being Notre Dame's coach.

Spurrier and Meyer can expect to be asked about their futures from reporters. And just when they're done answering, they'll probably be asked about the rumors again.



Rebel Hype Is Nutt-y

Florida is the unquestioned favorite to win the SEC championship this season. There's no need to debate it. But expectations also are high for a program that isn't used to the notoriety.

Ole Miss has become the trendy pick to dominate the SEC Western Division and challenge the Gators for the league title. The Rebels return most of their stars from a nine-win team in 2008, are projected as a top 10 team and have been showered with praise.

Are Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt and the Rebels capable of living up to the hype? Or are they destined to be a disappointment?



The World Wide Leader

Every school wants national exposure. It just so happens that the SEC has put itself in a position to be seen by millions of fans on a weekly basis.

One of the hottest topics at this week's SEC Media Days will no doubt be the league's new TV deal with ESPN, which will go into effect in August.

The deal is the most lucrative in the history of college athletics, with ESPN paying reportedly $2.25 billion over the next 15 years for the rights to every SEC home football game.

That's a lot of money for the schools. That's a lot of eyes on the SEC. And that's plenty of reasons for the league's coaches to get excited.



SEC Media Days

At Hoover, Ala.

Today's Schedule

x-Mike Slive 12:35-1 p.m.

Arkansas 1-3 p.m.

Vanderbilt 1-3 p.m.

Mississippi State 3-5 p.m.

Kentucky 3-5 p.m.

Thursday's Schedule

z-Rogers Redding 8:20-8:30 a.m.

Alabama 8:30-10:30 a.m.

Georgia 8:30-10:30 a.m.

Ole Miss 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Florida 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Friday's Schedule

Auburn 8:30-10:30 a.m.

South Carolina 8:30-10:30 a.m.

LSU 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Tennessee 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

x — SEC Commissioner

z — SEC Coordinator of Officials




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Get frequent updates throughout the day from the SEC Media Days at twitter.com/NWAOnlineHogs.

HOG BLOG UPDATES

The Morning News' Alex Abrams and Robbie Neiswanger will provide more notes, notes and items of interest on the Hog Blog, nwahogblog.com.

NEXT WEEK

We will preview every SEC team with player profiles, newcomers to watch and much more starting Monday.

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