More than 800 media folks from around the country have signed up for this year's gab fest, which is simply absurd. The huge turnout for this non-event is due to several factors one of which is the fact that the SEC is the best, most passionate conference in all of college football. You also have to take into consideration the point I made in the first sentence. Those of us who cover college football for a living are so desperate for something to do that we'll show up in droves for any little morsel that might come our way.
So, we'll be there for FightinGators.com, but you guys who are premium subscribers will get to sample coverage from throughout the region to get the most complete picture that will be available anywhere. There are several storylines that promise to be most interesting when the event begins on Wednesday.
Coaches in Heat ----- Both Sylvester Croom and Ed Orgeron will be asked repeatedly about their status/job security. It may not be fair, but that's show biz and these guys have to show something. Houston Nutt will try to explain how things can get so unpleasant off the field when your team just won the SEC Western Division. Phillip Fulmer will be asked how many more years (it's been eight!) he can go without winning another SEC Title. And Nick Saban will get the full rock star treatment from the insatiable Alabama partisans that overwhelm the event when the Crimson Tide Coach arrives.
Is it finally time to contend? ----- The SEC has been split into divisions for 15 years now and the bottom three of the East has been rock solid. However, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Kentucky all believe they have their best teams in years if not decades. Is 2007 the year when one of those three breaks through and make their first trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game?
Let's talk playoffs ----- A recent New York Post article claimed there is a very good chance BCS member schools will switch to a "plus-one" format in the near future. It would choose the top four teams to play for the National Title at the end of the year instead of two. There probably isn't much to it and only one person there (SEC Commissioner Mike Slive) knows anything about it, but we're bound to get everyone's take on what would be their preferred method of determining a champion.
Off-season program blather ----- One thing that is absolutely certain is that every team in the SEC has had its best off-season conditioning program EVER. Each team is closer knit than ever before. All twelve have superb senior leadership and are the best conditioned squad in school history.
Oh what I would give for one coach to say something like this:
"I must admit this is the laziest bunch of guys I've ever been around. They're fat, they're slow – except to the dining hall – and they don't seem to care about each other. Twenty-three of our players are on academic probation, and frankly I wish about half of them had flunked out. Our seniors couldn't lead a starving man to eat. The only good thing about the seniors is there are so many of them we can sign about thirty guys this year and put this nightmare bunch behind us."
Now THAT would make SEC media days worth covering! We'll do our best to get someone to say that, but I'm not optimistic.