The only league that can slow down the SEC–is the SEC


Birmingham—At 1:30 p.m. today Commissioner Mike Slive will kick off the SEC’s 2009 Football Media Days with his annual message on the state of the conference. This will be Slive’s eighth football media days since taking over as commissioner in 2002 and he will say that the state of the conference is very, very good.

He probably won’t say this but I will. The Southeastern Conference has been in existence since 1933 and there were a lot of great moments in the first 75 years. But competitively, academically, and financially the SEC has never been better than it is right now. And here’s the rub if you compete against the SEC: For a lot of different reasons this league is about to get even stronger.


Let us review:

**–In the 2008-2009 academic year the SEC won five national championships. It finished as the national runner-up in five other sports. So in 10 of the 20 sports that the league sponsors, the SEC finished first or second nationally.

**–Under Slive the SEC has won four national championships in football (2003, 2006, 2007, 2008) with a string of three straight. Florida is a unanimous preseason No. 1 and is favored to repeat as national champions. If the Gators win it, that will give the SEC five national championships in Slive’s eight years as commissioner. And that doesn’t count Auburn, which was 13-0 in 2004. Since Slive became commissioner the SEC has won a total of 43 national championships.

**–The upcoming academic year will mark the beginning of two unprecedented 15-year contracts with CBS and ESPN that will pump $2.8 billion (with a “B”)  into the 12 member institutions and provide unprecedented television exposure to the non-revenue sports and academics. Part of that exposure, we learned this week, is an SEC Network on ESPN that will reach into Big Ten, Big 12, and Big East country. The national interest in SEC football is that high.

**– While other conferences have had to shorten their football media days or eliminate them completely due to finances, the SEC expects over 900 media members (up from last year’s record of 836) to attend this three-day session.

But Slive, a former judge, told me that he will offer a few words of caution today. Yes, things are going very well for the Southeastern Conference.

“We should always remember that the only league that can impede the SEC’s continued ability to succeed,” said Slive, “is the SEC.”

What Slive means is that with all of this success, both competitively and financially, comes the obligation by the leaders of the SEC to practice even more due diligence. Slive’s goal when he took over was to have no teams on any kind of NCAA probation in five years. That goal wasn’t completely realized but there is no question that things are better on the enforcement front.

But with the competitive bar being raised every year and with multi-million dollar salaries at stake, there will be temptations to cut corners. Slive does not want that to happen on his watch.

“This has been one of the great periods in the history of the league,” Slive said. “I take great satisfaction in the success that we’ve had and the progress we’ve made in some other matters off the field. They go hand in hand.

“If we can keep vigilant and compassionate we can continue to enjoy what I have referred to as the golden age of our conference.”

In other words: If you’re the SEC right now, the only thing that can screw this up is you.

Slive had to have a heart to heart with his football coaches at the SEC Spring meetings in Destin. Actually, it was a lot more forceful than that. He had gotten fed up with the back biting among some of the coaches in the press and basically read them the riot act. The message was received and understood by the coaches. The basketball coaches got the same message and, with the arrival of John Calipari at Kentucky, the price of poker in that sport has also been raised considerably.

The last few years have been quite busy for Slive. First he was the coordinator of the BCS, which is one of the least popular jobs in college athletics. He just finished his chairmanship of the NCAA Men’s Basketball committee which may be the toughest, most time-consuming job in all of college sports.

While all that was going on, the SEC had another record year on the field and negotiated the biggest television contract in the history of college sports that will carry the SEC brand nationwide.

And did I mention that Slive’s daughter Anna, who ran the 2007 Final Four in Atlanta, is getting married in August? Slive said he is going to take a little time off in the coming weeks—if he can.

“I’m still waiting for summer to start,” said Slive. “But I think we’re entitled to 10 minutes of satisfaction and then we have to go back to work.”


Programming note: We’ll be doing our CSS show, “Talkin’ Football” live each day during SEC media days. Tonight’s show will feature Commissioner Slive along with the head coaches at Vanderbilt (Bobby Johnson), Arkansas (Bobby Petrino), Kentucky (Rich Brooks), and Mississippi State (Dan Mullen). Bob Neal, Mark Schlabach, and Sandra Golden will all be there to give you the inside access to SEC Media Days. Please join us. The show is at 6 p.m. with replays at 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. on Thursday.



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193 comments Add your comment

Steve Spurrier

July 22nd, 2009
7:27 am

Slive will have his hands full watching the sleeze bag Calipari. For the first time in a long time, the league is in decent shape with the NCAA, Bama not withstanding.


July 22nd, 2009
7:28 am

where is m telling us that all the above is crap and the ACC and Tech is the only real deal ( yawn).
The tumble weeds continue to blow across grant Field as 5.5 million citizens of Atlanta refuse to show up to watch college football there and eat free pizza and coke……….. Gotta love the SEC…..GATA…..Go Dawgs


July 22nd, 2009
7:31 am

What time is the show?


July 22nd, 2009
7:33 am

SEC will continue to dominate CFB this year. ACC will be the backburner once again. Cannot wait till 9/5/09!!!! GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!


July 22nd, 2009
7:40 am

Tech took the SEC 2 out of 3 last year. Dawgs only claim to fame is being a member of the SEC. You still have to win your own games.


July 22nd, 2009
7:49 am

JB we can just come to Athens and enjoy the smell at Septic Tank of the South in all its glory once again. The SEC is powerful yes, but they need to keep the players getting degrees not just passed to get to the next level. I will still take a degree from an ACC school over a SEC school. I want my Dr. to be from Duke over UGA.


July 22nd, 2009
8:00 am

Dear Pisser,

I have not noticed the Nerds graduation rate skyrocket like you imply….have you noticed where GT’s graduation rates are in relation to my beloved Dawgs???? Check it out. As recently as this past year the stats were posted and it was not pretty from your perspective. But I suppose you and St. Simons (45-42 HaHaHa!) have kept your head in the tickle pile a little too long.

And I really could care less where your Dr. is from…hell, mine is a Gator grad and I would not trade her for anything.

Hunting Dawg

July 22nd, 2009
8:10 am

M and St. Simons haven’t woken up yet from working the late shift as bus boys at the Varsity.


July 22nd, 2009
8:11 am

Tony, you say the SEC is “competitively, academically, and financially” better? I didn’t see anything in your article that shows the SEC is academically better. So I’m assuming the SEC is still the Special Ed Conference. Although you can apparently get free books at Bama. Maybe that’s the spike in academics you were talking about.


July 22nd, 2009
8:17 am

we are getting of to a great start this morning!


July 22nd, 2009
8:20 am

Mr. piss on a Dawg………You must go to a vet for your health care…..makes sense……


July 22nd, 2009
8:20 am

Success sure breeds jealousy.


July 22nd, 2009
8:21 am

Graduation rates don’t mean squat. Who do you think has a better graduation rate, The Boy Scouts or the Navy Seals? Which one do you want protecting your family? It’s not how many you graduate, but want they’re learning.


July 22nd, 2009
8:22 am

Tony…how do you say this shiite with a straight face?

The sec is the most overhyped and overated conference in history. The BSbcs exists soley to give the sec a FAKE championship every year that means NOTHING.

The ACC beat the sec headup last year. In 10 regular season games, the acc won 6-4…even though most sec fans predicted the sec to win every game.

The ACC plays the sec 7 regular season games this year…including playing sec powers floriduh, alabammmer, and ugag. I will make a bet with you…..I bet the acc beats the sec at least 4 out of 7 games. If the sec wins, I agree not to post on your blog for a year. If the ACC wins, you agree to change your name on here, from Mr. College Football to Mr. sec homer-gomer, and admit that you are just a biased sec hack.


sec…blowing smoke since 1933.

Proofread much?

July 22nd, 2009
8:23 am

So in 10 of the 20 sports that the league sponsors, the SEC finished first or second nationally in 10 of them.

Gen Neyland

July 22nd, 2009
8:26 am

Anybody that remotely dabbles in college athletics knows the SEC is hard to beat in a competitive sense. All Slive has to do is put her on auto-pilot and watch the gauges. The rest will take care if itself.

Jesse Scroggins now says he’ll announce Thursday between USC West, Florida or Tennessee.

Tiger Bait

July 22nd, 2009
8:28 am


Jackets are a joke

38-3 Glad it still hurts so bad losers


July 22nd, 2009
8:32 am


July 22nd, 2009
8:36 am

To elaborate on Big Tone’s point, I think the danger lurking is the ultra-competitiveness of the league. You can’t have this many intense, great, and high profile coaches slugging it out without the temptation to cheat for an edge creeping in. I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen, but at the same time, these guys are fighting for their jobs and only a few can be ’successful’ every year. We may be creating the monster that devours us by demanding so much and having such high expectations of our teams.

Totally agree with the previous poster on the basketball side of the house. I used to love those UMass teams as a kid growing up, but facts are facts. Calipari has been shady at best in every stop he’s had and Kentucky and by extension the SEC really need to be careful. Having him in the fold will surely improve the quality and effort/resources devoted to basketball, but long term, he definitely needs to be watched as for all intents and purposes we will be a football conference.


July 22nd, 2009
8:45 am

Gen Neyland,

That’s interesting. I remember us working the Scroggins trail but thought we had fallen out of contention. I believe he was the recruit that said Urban stated “we’re moving away from the spread once Tebow leaves” or something along those lines. Not sure I buy that, but that’s neither here nor there. I imagine we’re a distant 3rd at this point. Interesting that he’s announcing during SEC Media days though. That’s got UT written all over it. Good luck in nabbing him.


If the BCS championship means nothing, I’m sure Tech wouldn’t go if given the opportunity. They probably should just not accept the BCS bid that comes along with winning the A(pathetic) Coast Conference if that happens.

Also, if you’re so confident about the upcoming matchups, go ahead and list them out with your predictions. I suspect writing them out might actually change your mind/prediction if they’re there in writing. Facts are fun, so put them out there and let’s have the debate.


July 22nd, 2009
8:45 am

HEADLINE NEWS: THIS JUST IN………..RB Dwyer of Georgia Tech arrested this morning for breaking into the Georgia Dome……When questioned he stated ” I was looking for the end zone”

Tony Barnhart

July 22nd, 2009
8:47 am

Thanks for the catch, Proofread much? I fixed it.

The Talkin’ Football Show is at 6 p.m. each day with replays at 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. the next morning.


[...] Congratulations!  You have survived the month-and-a-half of summertime non-news and have reached the official kickoff day of the 2009 SEC football season.We’re going to be bringing you the school-by-school headlines from around the conference first thing today… and then we’ll begin our constant updates from SEC Media Days.If ever there was a day to sign up for our Twitter feed, it’s today.  If news breaks, you won’t have to search the web to find it… we’ll bring it to you right here.It should be a fun three days.To begin our coverage today, here’s a morning catch-all of some of the bigger stories across the SEC:Fox Sports South, Sun Sports and Fox Sports Southwest are launching a weekly, one-hour studio show dedicated to the SEC that will feature Randy Cross, Charles Davis and David Pollack.  The show will be called “SEC Gridiron Live” and will air Wednesday’s at 10pm ET.The line-up for Media Days today will feature Arkansas and Vanderbilt from 1-3pm ET followed by Kentucky and Mississippi State from 3-5pm ET.  ESPNU will show most of the press conferences on their air beginning at 1pm ET.Chris Low of caught up with Dan Mullen to discuss the ins and outs of running the spread offense in the SEC.  Then he checked in with South Carolina assistant Ellis Johnson to discuss how SEC teams defend the spread.And Tony Barnhart of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that the only league that can slow down the SEC is… SEC. [...]


July 22nd, 2009
8:55 am

Wow Tony, I bet you got a nice “thrill up your leg” writing this article.

Not Disappointed

July 22nd, 2009
9:00 am

Tony, I look forward to Talking Football! Just another sign that “College Football” is in the air! Coming on FOOTBALL!!!!!!

Great article

Atlanta Gator

July 22nd, 2009
9:01 am

“Academic”—-Pardon me, sir, but graduation rates DO matter.

The undergraduate degree has become the basic academic credential in America if you want to get a job in management or a profession. Without it, there is no graduate school, no professional school, and your have a reduced spectrum of opportunities to change your family’s economic status. No, sir, graduation rates DO matter.

I know the great lengths to which my alma mater goes to assist its scholarship athletes in obtaining their degrees. Florida’s academic support program for its student-athletes is as good or better than the university’s sports training facilities. Some cynics would begrudge these kids the extra counseling, tutoring and attention that they receive. To my way of thinking, that’s part of the package of perfectly proper benefits these young people receive for giving up any semblance of a normal undergraduate life in order to represent their school in NCAA sports. Afterall, what would you rather give these kids—-a sackful of Benjamins and a new Camaro, or a real opportunity to graduate and get a meaningful job afterward?

In the future, don’t be such a cynic, and perhaps other bloggers will take your comments more seriously.

Have a nice day.

Atlanta Gator

July 22nd, 2009
9:08 am

“Academic”—-BTW, the U.S. Navy SEALS represent something like one-tenth of one percent of the entire U.S. military—-that’s why they are an “elite” commando force. If you were to hold the entire U.S. military to their standards, we would have virtually no one to defend our country.

By analogy, you would require every college athlete to graduate with high honors in physics, chemistry, kinesiology or aerospace engineering for their graduation to be meaningful. That’s just plain silly.

Cool Coach

July 22nd, 2009
9:13 am

Hey Homer:
“…the SEC had another record year on the field and negotiated the biggest television contract in the history of college sports that will carry the SEC brand nationwide….”

SEC is already nationwide on ESPN. The network typically broadcasts primetime SEC game most Sat nights during the season.

JB: good one! How long did it take you to come up with that? Did you make it up on the way to daycare this a.m.???

[...] Tony Barnhat of the AJC blogs that the only league that can slow down the SEC is the SEC. [...]


July 22nd, 2009
9:27 am

The SEC would not be what it is today without its fans. The best conference in the country, i.e., the SEC, has the best fans!

harry dawg 73

July 22nd, 2009
9:33 am

Older Tech fans and actual Tech grads, know that Tech RAN from the SEC in the late 60s, due to the prospect of recruting greater numbers that the SEC then allowed. As an “independent” in those days, Tech could recruit far greater numbers than the SEC or any conference then allowed. See?

Once Tech fans of today know that, they realize that Tech was like their school colors ………y-e-l-l-o-w. Then, later in the mid to late 70s, Tech BEGGED to get back in the club ( SEC ) because all independents and conference schools had to recruit the same numbers. See? Tech was short sited and for engineers, not a good trait. Bad.

The ACC came along fortunately for Tech and let them into that itty bitty club. Tech fans ( real ones ) always, always would prefer games with their natural rivals of Auburn, U of T and Bama and Florida, where Bobby Dood Jr played behind Steve Spurrier. See? SEC ruled then and even now. Bobby Dodd played for the U of T. See? SEC ruled then and now.

Now you young folks know that Tech blew it and has never recovered.

You heard it here first.

Harry Dawg – UGA 73


July 22nd, 2009
9:38 am


The games are as follows:

Virginia Poly vs alabammmer
NC State vs south caroliner
Clemson vs south caroliner
FSU vs floriduh
TECH vs mippy pippy state
TECH vs vannerbilt
TECH vs jawja whiney crybaby hushpuppies

Even though you sec fools think that the sec is the greatest conference in the history of the world and that the ACC is the worst conference…the ACC will win a minimum of 4 out of 7 and prove once again that the sec is all hat and no cattle.

Recap of last year’s regular season games between the ACC and sec:

alabammer over Clemson
south caroliner over NC State
floriduh over Miami
floriduh over FSU

TECH over ugag
TECH over mippy pippy state
Wake Forest over ole missie (the team floriduh could’t beat)
Wake Forest over vannerbilt
last place Duke over bowl bound vannerbilt
Clemson over south caroliner

I was told by most sec fans that the acc wouldn’t win any of these games.

Isn’t it amazing that the worst conference in the world would do so well with the best conference in the history of the world??

Do you realize how foolish you sec homer-gomers look when the on the field action does not ever match your idiotic sec hype???


July 22nd, 2009
9:38 am

Why do you guys get the Tech fans started first thing? If you do not want to hear from them, stop goading them!

Gen Neyland

July 22nd, 2009
9:41 am

RAMBLE ON!!! : The medical world has taken an interest in the malady you referenced. It is now known as Chris Matthews Disease, or CMD. The cure is a shot of my Tennessee Creekwater Sippin’ Solvent. Makes you tingle all over and you just forget about it being localized…

Paul The Vol

July 22nd, 2009
9:42 am

ACC fan – you can scream all you want but Tony is right. This TV deal gives the SEC unprecedented exposure across the nation. Even the SEC network, which carries the games that CBS and ESPN doesn’t want, is seen as far north as New York City – hundreds of miles away from the closest SEC school.

This new TV exposure will have a positive effect on all SEC sports because so many will be broadcast nationwide. No matter what the head-to-head record may be in a sport between the SEC and another conference, the SEC has left all of them in the dust. It would not surprise me at all to start seeing schools from other conferences petitioning the SEC for admission.


July 22nd, 2009
9:42 am

Tony, get Bob Neal to tell you the story from “Football Saturday on TBS” where Van Brocklyn explained how George Rogers was able to qualify academically to get into South Carolina but couldn’t get into Georgia Tech.


July 22nd, 2009
9:44 am

you tell’em Gatorzone!!!

m is spot on once again. I’m amazed even by Tech standards what a genius he is.

Geaux SEC

July 22nd, 2009
9:44 am

I’m amused at the Tech fans pimping their team, with its ’70s vintage offense. Peach bowl game tape now available for all D-coordinators.


July 22nd, 2009
9:45 am

m, most fans do not call the ACC the worst conference, I think the Big 10 has that honor. However, they are clearly inferior to the SEC. Why don’t you just acknowledge the fact that 3 of the last 4 championships have been to the SEC? Who in the ACC has finished in the top 5 in the last 5 years? Since Miami, and FSU have fallen on hard times the only semi-competitive team in the ACC is VaTech. Granted GT is getting better, but they have not put together consistency yet.
Quit being so obnoxious and enjoy the direction the jackets are going instead of looking to bash every SEC team.


July 22nd, 2009
9:47 am

“Isn’t it amazing that the worst conference in the world would do so well with the best conference in the history of the world??”

LOL. Do so well? The ACC split its freaking games with the SEC. Do so well? That is the first time in over a decade that the ACC has not had a losing season record against the SEC. Do so well? You ACC crybabies simply cannot get this through your thick skulls can you? It is EXACTLY this kind of rhetoric that makes everyone think your conference is a complete effin’ joke. You split your games with the SEC and act like its some big accomplishment. You beat your in state rival for the first time in 8 years by a whopping field goal and act like you own them. You win 9 games and act like it was a miracle season. I could go on and on and on. No one will have respect for the ACC until you start having more respect for yourselves and raise the bar on your own programs. Then you turn around and criticize SEC teams for failing to reach the lofty goals that it has the balls to set for itself. Do you think Georgia is happy with last year’s 10 wins? HELL NO we’re not happy with 10 effin’ wins. I didn’t see any rings given out did you? We want to win championships, not go to the damn Chicken Bowl. The ACC and its crybaby fans are a total humiliating failure. What a joke that entire conference is. Have a GREAT day.


July 22nd, 2009
9:49 am

the only thing that can stop the SEC is their schedules-a 2 losss SEC champ won’t cut it and perhaps not a one loss-Penn State, USC, TX or OU could go undefeated freezing out the SEC champ-PSU s schedule is very light as is NDs (don’t laugh)


July 22nd, 2009
9:56 am

Damn m. You certainly are exhibiting an inferiority complex over this ACC vs. SEC what’s the best conference BS. Who stated the ACC is the worst conference in the world? Of the BCS conferences, the ACC is far from the worst. However, looking at the success of the SEC in BCS Championship games over the past several years, you would have to admit that the SEC has had a better success rate than the ACC. I’m a big fan of both conferences, as well as all of NCAA football. Relax and enjoy the competition. Jeez…


July 22nd, 2009
9:58 am


Put the bottle down. You don’t have a clue. Tech will beat Miss St. and that will be the only win the ACC gets over the SEC. Ole Miss will be favored by 2 td’s over Wake Forest and Vandy will destroy Duke. Clemson will go 7-5 or 8-4 just like they have been doing for the last 10 years. South Carolina will take them out easily. WAKE FOREST, DUKE, CLEMSON, NC STATE, VIRGINIA???? NICE LEAGUE!! And a down Fla St and Miami team = a joke of a conference. Its classic JV Football.

Tiger Bait

July 22nd, 2009
9:58 am

Do you realize how foolish you sec homer-gomers look when the on the field action does not ever match your idiotic sec hype???

38-3 Glad the HUMILIATION hurts so bad!


July 22nd, 2009
9:59 am

Atlanta Gator:

Your comment: ” I know the great lengths to which my alma mater goes to assist its scholarship athletes in obtaining their degrees.” You guys make Alabama and their book scandal not look so bad.


July 22nd, 2009
10:01 am

Tech beez da best teams in da intire lands. We rulez Georgias azz last year and we wills do its again dis year. You feel me, lil dawgs! Johnson is da man and da SEC aint nuthin’. Holla at ya boy, ACC men. SEC is da league of chumps not champs. Holla!

Gen Neyland

July 22nd, 2009
10:03 am

Had GT never strayed from the SEC, how would they view the ACC today..? Just wondering.

Mark C.

July 22nd, 2009
10:04 am

Nice analysis m. You conveniently left out Vandy over BC in the Music City and LSU over Tech in the Peach.


July 22nd, 2009
10:04 am

If GT stayed in the SEC they could be rivals with Vandy.

Bill King

July 22nd, 2009
10:05 am

Academically? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA You are talking about the SEC, right?