SEC Media Days Storylines

HOOVER, Ala. – It's almost here. SEC Media Days always signals the inching closer of college football season, and this year is no different. College coaches and players will file through the aisles of The Wynfrey Hotel on Wednesday morning, weaving in and out of the fans in the lobby before sitting in front of 900 credentialed media.

Blink and you might miss something. Focus on all the details and you might be overwhelmed. It's hard not to be engulfed by the event. Hotel security lines tall escalators where media, coaches and players ride to the press conference area. They also stand guard of radio row, where sports talk shows from all over the southeast broadcast live.

There isn't usually a big storyline that comes out of media days. Last year, the focus was agents in the college game. The year before, it turned into a witch-hunt to find the SEC coach that didn't select Tim Tebow to the First Team All-SEC.

Without any obvious storylines that are expected to dominate the headlines this week in Hoover, here are a few stories to watch:

MUSCHAMP AND FRANKLIN MEET THE MASSES: Florida head coach Will Muschamp and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin have each had their introductory press conference at their respective schools and gone through spring practice, but nothing compares to what they'll see this week. There isn't an event they'll face in their coaching careers, outside of maybe a national championship game, with more media.

First impressions are important. They don't have much of an impact on what happens on the field this fall, but they do lay a foundation and impress or draws criticism from the media that will be covering the teams this fall. Like it or not, that's the way it usually goes.

Muschamp nailed his introductory press conference when he got the job at Florida, and there's no reason to believe it will be different in Hoover. Franklin has been praised since taking the Vanderbilt job, mostly for what he is already doing on the recruiting trail, but he was also impressive in his introductory press conference. Shining on a stage like the SEC Media Days is the next important step.

LACK OF IMPACT QUARTERBACKS: The depth at quarterback in the conference hasn't been great in recent seasons, but there have at least been elite level quarterbacks. Even besides Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton last year, there was the prototypical pocket passer with the big arm in Arkansas' Ryan Mallett to Alabama's Greg McElroy, who didn't possess big physical attributes but got the job done. There were always quarterback that could go win a game by themselves.

This year, it's tough to find a quarterback that can go win a game by himself. Georgia's Aaron Murray was voted to preseason First Team All-SEC by the coaches in the conference after throwing for 3,049 yards and 24 touchdowns last season.

Second team selection Stephen Garcia has been hit-or-miss throughout his entire career, and third team selection Chris Relf, who threw for 1,789 yards last season but is a dynamic runner.

DEFENDING CHAMPS WITH WORK TO DO: Auburn heads into this season needing to replace 16 starters from last year's national championship team. Most of the offensive playmakers have gone, and six of the top seven tacklers from last year's defense are gone, too.

Hearing Chizik's take on the situation will be interesting. The challenge is to have his team buy in all over again. After Florida won the national championship in 2006, Urban Meyer had a team of young players that wasn't able to handle success in the offseason or regular season.

Chizik now has to garner his team's attention, despite NCAA sanctions possibly looming in the future.

WHO WILL MEDIA PICK?: The media All-SEC selections always draw interest. It seems like a lock that the SEC West winner, most likely Alabama, will be predicted as the overall SEC Champion. The interesting part comes in the SEC East. South Carolina seems like the favorite on paper, but Georgia, Florida and possibly even Tennessee could make it a race.

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