How much love will/should Georgia get at SEC Media Days?



Mercifully, the college football preseason will officially begin on Wednesday with the start of SEC Media Days.

I can’t remember a year when we’ve had so many good story lines as we head to Birmingham/Hoover. But here are five burning questions that I’ll be trying to answer over the next three days at the Wynfrey Hotel:

1—How much love will/should Georgia get in Birmingham? And if you’re a Bulldog, should you care? Remember that a year ago Georgia was No. 1 in most preseason polls. But when the SEC media assembled last July they picked Florida. Of the 70 media votes, Florida got 36 as the projected champion followed by Georgia (18), and Auburn (13). LSU, Tennessee and Ole Miss had one vote each. Alabama, which started 12-0 and won the SEC West, did not receive a vote to win its division or win the conference championship.

Florida, ranked No. 1 in most preseason polls, should be a pretty unanimous pick to win the conference. But Georgia fans should take heart in this:  Only four times in the past 17 years has the media correctly picked the eventual SEC champion:

Year—–Media Pick—–Eventual champ



















2—Does Tim Tebow have another “speech” ready if things go wrong in 2009? Tebow’s speech in the moments after last season’s 31-30 loss to Ole Miss was so powerful that Florida has put up a plaque to honor it in the school’s football complex. So what does the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner say if Florida loses an early game this season? Florida will certainly be favored to win its first four games against Charleston Southern, Troy (although I hear Troy will have one of its better teams), Tennessee and Kentucky. After a week off, the Gators go to LSU for what promises to be a very intense football game. Tebow had better get a speech ready for after that game, just in case.


3—How will Lane Kiffin handle his first big encounter with the SEC media? Even the veteran coaches of the SEC will tell you that it was a little unnerving the first time they stood up in front of the assembled media horde at this event. Trust me when I tell you that they don’t have media blitzes like this at Southern Cal, Kiffin’s last college stop. Needless to say the new Tennessee coach has not been bashful when it comes to bringing attention to his program and getting the Vols on the minds of every high school recruit in the country. Now that it’s time to start getting ready to play, does Kiffin hold back because of his surroundings or does he let it all hang out? I say that recruiting season is over and it’s time to start thinking about the first game. I believe coach Kiffin will be a little understated this week in Birmingham.


4—Is Ole Miss for real? Ole Miss is the only team in the SEC West that has not played in the conference championship game since its inception in 1992. But a lot of people feel this is the year the Rebels finally get to Atlanta.  Four of the five magazines I use for research have Ole Miss in their preseason Top 10. The Sporting News has them rated No. 5. They have the second best quarterback in the league (Jevan Snead) and a bunch of guys who can really run. But they also lost a first round draft choice (Michael Oher) on the offensive line and a first-round choice (Peria Jerry) on the defensive line. That’s why I have them at No. 12 in my preseason poll. Ole Miss has the most favorable schedule in the division with Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, and LSU all coming to Oxford. I will be very interested to find out where Ole Miss finishes in the preseason media voting when it is released on Friday.


5—Who is going to be the surprise team in 2009? A year ago it was Ole Miss, which became the only team to beat Florida and eventually knocked off Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl. While I don’t think this team will win nine games, it looks like the surprise team could be Arkansas. The Hogs made great strides in the spring and finally have a quarterback (Ryan Mallett) who can make an SEC team sit up and take notice. Nine of 11 starters return from a very bad defense and that will keep Arkansas from having an Ole Miss-like season. But this team is going to beat somebody they are not supposed to beat. I also think they will go to a bowl game.


Programming note: I will be joining my CSS partners Bob Neal, Mark Schlabach and Sandra Golden to do our popular “Talkin’ Football” show from Birmingham during all three days in Birmingham. Starting Wednesday, the show will air live each day at 6 p.m., Eastern time, with replays at 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. the next morning. We will have interviews with every coach and break down the day’s activities. Please tune us in.


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114 comments Add your comment


July 21st, 2009
9:05 pm

m – Well said GTvet. I know we’re wasting our time with m. Others have tried…..

To actually contribute, UF is clearly the team to beat because of the defense. UGA must improve drastically on that side of the ball. I can’t wait for UF vs. UT….


July 21st, 2009
9:07 pm

Glad to see SEC teams sticking together.With that said let’s get this season off on a good note.SIC-EM DAWGS


July 21st, 2009
9:13 pm

Charlotte Gator,

Tiger fans are excited about Chavis and when he was not retained by Kiffin my first reaction was I was hoping Miles would go after him. I knew we desperately needed a veteran DC and a big plus as Chavis knows the SEC. I think the D will be much improved this year. We did lose some guys on the DL but alot of players had significant time on the field the last 2 years. LSU has alot of talent there. I think one guy that will have a breakout year is Al Woods. He was highly recruited and has played alot. Harry Coleman, a hard-hitting safety will also play linebacker. Patrick Peterson, USA Today’s HS Defensive player of the Year, started last season as a true freshman. Ryan Baker is someone that will be known before too long. He is another hitter who may have been our best player on kickoffs last year as a true freshman. My main concern is keeping turnovers low. We have the skilled players to move the ball we just have to keep penalties and turnovers to a minimum.


July 21st, 2009
9:15 pm

It won’t be Arkansas, that COACH still live there.

Dawg Tired

July 21st, 2009
9:35 pm

Good discussion folks. Florida is clearly the class of the SEC right now. As for the Dawgs? Well, it is difficult to predict. Obviously the OL should be better this year. It also seems clear to me that Joe C is a good leader. He has always performed well when given the chance – see Colorado miracle finish three years ago. Will Joe C be able to do it as a starter? I think so, but admit some worry over the difficulty of the early games, especially at OK State. Getting off to a bad start could prove problematic for an unproven QB’s confidence. If successful early on, he and the team should get better with game experience. I think we’re OK at RB although we have taken an obvious hit talent wise.

As for the defense, I am very concerned about our defensive end situation. Our DTs are very good, but no defense can be really good without outside pressure on the QB in this day of explosive passing games (think OK State and no pressure from DE – not a pretty picture). Our best DE (based on the spring game) is suspended for 6 games. Our safety play has not been good lately. We lost our best cover guy to the NFL. Can the LBs and DTs make up for these shortcomings? What will be the effect of having to use LBs at DE? Can CWM get the defense to play smarter?

Will someone step up as a reliable place kicker? Hopefully Walsh returns to the form he showed early last season.

Should be an interesting season as these questions are answered. You must admit that playing in the best conference in college football is tough but mighty fun!

It is also enjoyable to be able to read and participate on these blogs when the jerk factor is kept to a minimum. I’m encouraged by the civility shown by those who obviously know something about college football.

Thanks guys!


July 21st, 2009
9:45 pm

Watch out for those Razorbacks this year. We got better and better last year after each game and we started 13 freshmens. Ryan Mallett is a top QB, that was learning Petrino’s system thoroughly last year while he had to sit out for trensferring. The defense is a year older, plus we brought in some of the best cornerbacks and safeties in the nations. For the idiot who said we have no runninbg game, Michel Smith was one of the best RB in the SEC, and we brought in 2 more top RB. plus Green, and transfer from USC. Arkansas has the best TE in the SEC and Joe Adams is a speed demon with great hands at the WR spot. I’m not saying we are going to win the SEC West this year, and you may not like Petrino, but his track record of winning as a college coach speaks for itself, and Arkansas will go bowling this year with about 8 wins.


July 21st, 2009
9:46 pm



July 21st, 2009
9:52 pm that the best you’ve got?

no dawgs/ no football, not even brainless bashing like most of the people on this board..only whining about Tonys nickname? Good grief..

Even the tech losers do better than that.

john '90

July 21st, 2009
10:12 pm

Charlotte Gator: I applaud your articulate posts. And I am a Diehard Dawg fan and grad. It’s just refreshing to read from someone who clearly “cuts through the weeds” and advances the discussion instead of drooping to drivel. That said, I’ll state the obvious: Everyone in the East will be chasing the Gators. You know, we know it and the teams know it. You guys are stacked, but anything can happen in the SEC, the greatest league in all of sports worldwide!!!!


July 21st, 2009
10:38 pm

Great discussion by SEC fans as a whole and even some GT bloggers. The season is just around the corner.

1) Georgia does not deserve any love after the mental meltdowns we had last year, having to replace many of the skill positions including QB and still no solid DEs to this point. That does not mean UGA will be a doormatt, they just shouldn’t get the love (much like Bama last year).

2) Tim will not need a speech. The Gators are loaded with returning starters and the D is very deep, especially the DBs and QB. Brantley has not played much, but appears to be very capable should Tebow get hurt (and I hope he does not, he is a great player and individual).

3) Kiffin will most likely be very silent during media days, he should be preparing for the season and not pouring fuel to the fire. TN will be much better than people expect with Monte as the DC.

4) Ole Miss is a team that will draw the attention of everyone they play and ultimately this will be there downfall, not focussing on all 12 regular season games.

5) ARK is definitely a sleeper. However, TN maybe the one to pop up unexpectantly. They should have a very good running game to go along with a very solid D. Monte will coach these kids up and have them in the correct position to make plays. This team reminds me of Baltimore teams of the not so distant past that controlled the clock and played great defense. UT and ARK are the two teams that will step up and win some games they shouldn’t. With that said I hope UT loses every conference game.

Denver Dog

July 22nd, 2009
12:16 am

I would like to see Monty and Danny Ford meed again at mid field for another throwdown


July 22nd, 2009
1:31 am

i just wrote a speech for Tebow just in case. “We will just take it out on uga.” GO GATORS!!!


July 22nd, 2009
7:33 am

1) Samuel, Cox, and the Defense carry UGA to a 10-2 record (losses to Fla and LSU) Maybe better, potentially could beat either Fla and or LSU. 2) No need for talk now. If Tebow and Spikes can’t lead by example, then there is no chance for a repeat. The real key is intensity on every snap. 3) Kiffin will borrow BHO’s teleprompter and read from a Slive prepared speech. 4) Ole Miss is for real. They kicked the Gators a$$ last year and beat Texas Tech. I pick them to be the SEC West champion. Snead is one cool customer. 5) Yes, Arkansas will be good, but I think the real surprise will be Miss State with a 7-5 record (losses to LSU, Ga Tech, Fla, Ala, and Ole Miss)

Just curious

July 22nd, 2009
10:35 am

Why does everyone seem to imply the Ole Miss victory over Texas Tech was some great accomplishment when all you hear about the BIG Tway-ELVE! is that they can’t play D? 47-34, the final score, backs-up what everyone says. In fact, 47 pts was the 2nd most pts scored by Ole Miss in 2008 behind the 59-0 blowout of …. U. Louisiana Monroe.

All the SEC chest-thumping is getting a little annoying. Play the games ON THE FIELD, and determine a CHAMPION, not in the minds and wallets of the greedy, athletically lacking media & corporate sponsors.

So Ole Miss beats FL at FL, and USC loses AT Oregon State, but FL is the better 1-loss team bewteen the 2 (USC-FL), and plays for the NC. Says who? Would the Gators have beaten the Trojans in 2008 …. we’ll never know. Now, for the other two, Ole Miss & OSU. They both finished 9-4, but Ole Miss is the better team. Says who? OSU’s 4 losses were @ Stanford, Penn State, Utah, and home to Oregon. Ole Miss’ 4 losses were @ Wake Frst & Bama, and home to South Caro & Vandy. I think most would agree that OSU’s 4 losses were better teams than Ole Miss’s losses. Now, would the Rebels have beaten the Beavers had they played in 2008 …. we’ll never know. But it would have been a good 2nd/3rd round game in a playoff system!

Let’s get a playoff system in place much sooner than later before too much of the SEC “kool-aid” is consumed.