The media throng (is it a throng? more of a hoard? the way they eat, it could be more like a swarm?) has arrived at the Winfrey Hotel for the SEC's annual Alabama & Co. Media Showcase. You may know it as SEC Media Days. We've kind of gotten a feel for these things in recent years. There's a pattern you might say.
So let's make a game out of it.
Live coverage will start at 11:30 a.m. today (CST) and run through 4:30 p.m. on the SEC Network, with 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, when LSU takes the stage. WatchESPN link available here, full schedule for the week here.
FREE SPACE: "...talk about..."
Why should you actually ask your interview subject a question? Surely he knows what you really want him to say, provided you just guide him a little.
B1: Tremendous Upside
ESPN's going to send Tom Lugenbill to this, and he can't not talk in recruiting lingo, so it's always about the upside. We all know who's supposed to be good, but that's nothing on who has the potential to do better. The room to improve. The upside, if you will.
B2: LSU's Quarterbacks
Did you know they're a question mark this year?
B3: Alabama's Mojo
It's been two whole seasons since the Tide have won a national championship, which is like two decades to the people that actually have to live in that state. It creates a sense of urgency, and in sports, you can't answer urgency without buzzwords like "process" and "mojo."
B4: Hey look! A punter!
Somebody always sends a senior punter or kicker to this thing. Amazingly, despite all the issues on offense, and let's face it, colorful punters, it's never been LSU.
B5: "I like my team"
Les Miles likes his team. That's good, because I don't think he can trade it in for a new one.
I1: Paul Finebaum
Howard Stern used to say he didn't like doing TV because he had a face for radio. And PAWWWL looks like one of his zits. But hey, let's put him on camera.
I2: New Coach Interview
Media Day is always a first impression of the newbies -- this year we have Jim McElwain at one of the league's more high-profile jobs in Florida. Will the sheer girth of the media throng rattle him? Will he run screaming in terror when he sees his reflection in Paul Finebaum's head? Let's find out.
I3: "coach ‘em up"
Did you hire a new coordinator to fix a side of the ball that was barely treading water? Is that side of the ball still filled with slow, undersized players that can't tackle the dummy, much less a living, breathing human? Don't worry, the new guy will just coach' em up! That's what he's there for!
It's the sound of the OBC cockin' back the ol' fun and gun once he has a good target.
I5: Steve Spurrier Throws Shade
Easily the best reason for media days, and it's definitely so the OBC can toss out a couple zingers. Makes it all worth it, if we're being honest.
N1: SEC Decline
Is the SEC in decline? More than half of the league be ranked this preseason. Sure, but it's been a whole two years without a national championship after seven in a row. THAT'S A CLEAR DECLINE.
N2: "Ole Miss is LOADED!"
FOUR FIRST ROUND PICKS! Sure, they lost a number of key defenders that were incredibly productive for them, their best receiver is coming back from a catastrophic injury and they have major quarterback questions, but FOUR FIRST ROUND PICKS!
You know, because every summer first-round pick pans out...
N4: Alabama Fans
Do people care enough to fashion giant helmets in the shape of championship rings? Do people care enough to bring their children, named Crymson or Bryant or Ally Bama to a media gathering (seriously, I cannot think of anything more boring than that for a young child)? People do.
N5: Dark Horse!
Is it Arkansas? Is it Tennessee? If Ole Miss is ever forced to change their mascot or team name, they should just go with Dark Horse, and then they can get some preseason love every year!
G1: New Coordinators
John Chavis and Will Muschamp were two of the biggest free agents of this offseason, with tall orders to fix Auburn and Texas A&M's respective defenses. I'm sure they can coach ‘em up.
G2: "...relative to..."
Nick Saban really, really likes to relate things.
G3: Sportswriter Track Records
The writers in attendance will be polled regarding the league's order of finish in each division. Their track record of getting this right is absurdly low, but why quit when you're behind?
G4: Golden Flake
I don't actually know if those crumbly, greasy, not-fit-to-open-a-bag-of-Zapps excuse for chips are still the official chip of the conference or just heavily associated with it. Either way, they always find a way to grab camera time.
G5: Jacob Coker
Remember when multiple ESPN pundits picked this guy to be an all-SEC QB last year? Think he comes up again?
O1: Bret Bielema vs. HUNH
Don't you people understand that ol' BERT is trying to save lives in this crusade?
O2: Auburn Family
I think it's in the head coach's contract to mention "Auburn" and "Family" in some combination at least 2.5 times per interview.
O3: Johnny Manziel
We're now two years gone from the Nasal One's last appearance in Birmingham, but you can bet he's still going to come up in conversation plenty of times. For one, the current batch of SEC quarterbacks are a little lacking in the excitement factor, and besides what else do the Aggies have to brag on right now?