It’s going to be a wild day in Birmingham

Birmingham–Wednesday’s first session of SEC Media Days was relatively calm. But here are a few nuggets I’ll bring your attention:

SEC, ESPN invade Big Ten, Big 12 Country. The SEC and ESPN finally began to reveal some details about their television plan for the fall. One of the things it revealed was an SEC Network that will be produced by ESPN at its regional production center in Charlotte. That network will show the early game on Saturdays and will include other extensive programming on the SEC.  But here is what’s interesting in that deal. The network will reach into the territory of aother conferences, including the Big Ten and Big 12,  where stations have been cleared to telecast SEC football. It’s just another example of how the SEC is using this new deal to spread its brand throughout the country. Its competitors cannot be pleased.


The Commish warns his coaches–again. Commissioner Mike Slive said he has had another discussion with his head football coaches about their behavior. This one dealt with secondary recruiting violations. Simply put, if coaches are intentionally committing secondary recruiting violations because the penalties are viewed as relatively minor, eventually there is going to be some price to be paid. “What we don’t want is coaches weighing the risk/reward and making a conscious decision to commit the violation,” said Slive. “Secondary violations happen inadvertently. We know that. But to commit them intentionally is not proper conduct.” Without telling me the specific schools, Slive said that schools and coaches who have shown a pattern in secondary violations have already been restricted in their recruiting activities. Guys, the commissioner is serious about this.


Beyond that, we had:

 Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson, who is trying lead the Commodores to a second straight bowl for the first time in school history.

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks, who will make history if the Wildcats go to their fourth straight bowl in 2009.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, who was much more upbeat than he was at this event a year ago. It looks like he has a chance to go to a bowl.

New Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, who will be picked a solid last in the SEC West when the media votes on Friday. The former Florida offensive coordinator could really use a Tim Tebow in Starkville. He might have one in the making with incoming freshman Tyler Russell of Meridian, Miss. “I tried to get him (Tebow) to come with me,” Mullen said. “There were some young ladies on our campus who wanted that as well. No luck.”

So all in all, Wednesday was just a warm-up for today, which will have as much star power packed into one day as any single session in the history of this event. SEC officials told me late Wednesday that just under 600 media people showed up for the first session. That number today could eclipse 1,000.

“It is going to be pretty wild in here,” an SEC official told me. “But it’s a good thing.”

Consider this lineup:

In the early morning session we have Alabama and Georgia. The Alabama head coach, regardless of who it is, is always a rock star at this event. Nick Saban has taken that sizzle up several notches. He’ll have offensive lineman Mike Johnson and linebacker Rolando McClain, who is one of the best in the country.

By comparison, Georgia and Mark Richt will be the low key entry into this session. New quarterback Joe Cox will get the largest media exposure of his career. I’ll be anxious to see what is written about the senior from Charlotte. DT Jeff Owens is back after injury. He is a favorite of the media because he knows football and he is funny.

The second half of the morning will feature Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, whose team is getting a lot of love to win the SEC West for the first time since the league went to divisional play in 1992. The question Nutt will get the most is whether or not his team can handle the pressures of being EXPECTED to do great things. The Rebels have a shot because of quarterback Jevan Snead, who is also here.

And to top off this day we’ll have Florida, the defending national champions, and the two players many believe will allow the Gators to defend that title. Quarterback Tim Tebow who, along with Peyton Manning, is the biggest rock star to hit his event in my time of covering it, will make his last appearance at SEC Media Days. That is just hard to believe.

Linebacker Brandon Spikes, who could have turned pro but wanted to come back to pursue another national title, will represent Florida’s very talented defense.

And of course there will Florida coach Urban Meyer, who will certainly be asked to declare once more that he is not going to Notre Dame–ever! The man has a chance to win his third national championship in four seasons.

So there you have it. Today is going to be one of the more special ones that we’ve ever had at SEC Media Days. It will be hectic but it will be fun. When I finish with my assigned duties, I’ll come back this afternoon and recap the day.

Until then I have a homework assignment for you. Pick a player or pick a coach who will be before the media today. If you could ask them just one question, what would it be?

Enjoy your morning and I’ll get back to you this afternoon.

Programming note: Please join me with my partners Bob Neal, Mark Schlabach, and Sandra Golden tonight for our daily “Talkin’ Football” show on CSS. We’ll have interviews with all of the coaches and players and bring you up to date on the news at SEC Media Days.  Our special guest will be syndicated radio host Paul Finebaum, recently named by the Orlando Sentinel as one of the 10 most powerful people in the SEC. It should be fun. The show airs at 6 p.m. with a replay at 11 p.m.


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81 comments Add your comment


July 23rd, 2009
11:22 am

I would love to hear some specifics on Tech’s “character standards” Brent. Please elaborate.


July 23rd, 2009
11:29 am

Charlotte, you are on fire today!
Have you seen the Jelani Jenkins footage on Youtube? He is a stud as well!

Dawg Fan

July 23rd, 2009
11:44 am

Coach Richt are you going to stop those directional kickoff”s this year?

[...] MR.College Football Previews Day 2- He talks about the SEC TV deal, commish Mike Slive reprimanding coaches for secondary violations, and a preview of the upcoming day. [...]


July 23rd, 2009
12:01 pm

Did you learn how to spell IMPERICAL at Tech? You obviously can’t conduct research any better than you spell. Georgia’s admission standards are in fact higher than the minimum required by the SEC. Where is the idiot here?

Not Disappointed

July 23rd, 2009
12:01 pm

Interesting article. I look forward to watching to the season beginning.

Ramblin Wreck!


July 23rd, 2009
12:25 pm

Tony, please tell your media cohorts that we sincerely do not give a flying hoot who didn’t vote for Tebow. Let it go. This may come as a shock to some in the media, but the guy does not have a god given right to receive votes in any kind of poll or all-star team. Coaches, media geeks, and fans are free to vote for whoever they like in these sorts of things. This is a free country and not even St. Tebow can take our freedom away from us. Thanks.

Good grief. The guy should really run for President. He’d win in a landslide with the media’s shameless backing. No doubt about it.

Right On Time

July 23rd, 2009
12:25 pm

“Paul Finebaum, recently named by the Orlando Sentinel as one of the 10 most powerful people in the SEC”


What kind of “Mickey Mouse” newspaper would do that???

He is a bamma homer through and through…

Hugh Howard

July 23rd, 2009
12:43 pm

Coach Richt. What are you doing to motivate the players to stop committing personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. these are out of hand and are killing us.


July 23rd, 2009
12:50 pm

Should be a great day Tony and will be welcoming your updates.

Here are questions I would ask a coach and a player. (1 Each)

Coach Richt: How is Reshad Jone’s progression going this summer and do you think he is ready to step up and be a leader in the defensive backfield?

Tim Tebow: How well are you adjusting to not having Dan Mullen around as offensive coordinator?

Just a few questions I would ask.


July 23rd, 2009
12:51 pm

Let that read Reshad Jones’………man my typing is bad today. :)


July 23rd, 2009
1:02 pm

In this morning’s AJC:
On the recent situation in which the coach at Carver High in Columbus “banned” Georgia from recruiting at the school: “I can’t comment on it at all [because of NCAA rules]. There will come a day I can.”
How did I miss this story?
What happened?

Hey G8RGRAD...

July 23rd, 2009
1:17 pm

..some high school hot shot from Carver-Columbus was waiting to see if he would get a better offer than at UGA; with the flurry of signings over the past week at UGA he finally realized he better sign. So he took his whole family with him to Athens so that he could commit in person. Only when he got to Athens he found out that at his position all the ’ships had been filled and that his offer had been rescinded – boy, was he embarrassed.

So, his HS coach, an Auburn man, said that UGA was no longer welcome to recruit any of his players.

Geez, Brent Cunningham...

July 23rd, 2009
1:43 pm

…where have you been for the past 25 years regarding UGA academic requirements for football players? Ever since the Jan Kemp debacle UGA has had HIGHER entrance requirements for football players than the minimum established by the SEC, and much higher than tht requirements of the NCAA – to say that UGA has the lowest requirements of any NCAA school is just plain stupid. Surely you just got caught up in the moment trying to defend the FACTS about the academic monitors at Tech falling down on the job! But then again, maybe you do representative of most of the Tech nation, who don’t let facts get in the way of a good theory!

Geez, Brent Cunningham...

July 23rd, 2009
1:45 pm

…oops – “maybe you ARE representative of most of the Tech nation…”


July 23rd, 2009
2:00 pm

Atlanta Gator

July 23rd, 2009
2:07 pm

If I were Urban Meyer, I would draw on a little classical history and make light of the Notre Dame rumors by concluding every statement or press conference with, “and, furthermore, I’m still not going to Notre Dame!”

Carthago delenda est!

BS Patrol

July 23rd, 2009
2:53 pm

Dawgaholic brings up Tech when the blog topic is Richt & the SEC. Just goes to show how he can’t get Tech out of his mind.


July 23rd, 2009
3:08 pm

I normally dont talk to much crap to gt fans cause I have a bunch of personal friends over there….. but since they beat us , it has been the most Ludicrous comments everywhere…blogging especially, like CMR will be gone soon, there’s a new sheriff in town, Recruting head to head now will be intensified …, dont forget 45 to 42 hahahahahahah, ONE WOULD THINK THEY ONLY WIN 1 GAME EVERY 8 YEARS…..WAIT,,,,,,THEY DO……………….

BS Patrol

July 23rd, 2009
3:18 pm

Who wears short shorts…….I wear short shorts!!


July 23rd, 2009
3:19 pm

Rolando McClain might now be my 2nd favorite SEC MLB.

(paraphrasing) “There’s an agreement not to hit Mark Ingram, but there’s no such deal with freshman Trent Richardson.”

BS Patrol

July 23rd, 2009
3:19 pm

And I can’t get jacketbackers and rusty trombones out of my mind. :)


July 23rd, 2009
3:25 pm

What the flip is a “rusty trombone”???? Never mind, I’m sure I don’t want to know.


July 23rd, 2009
4:14 pm

Ask Richt why he lies to recruits and tells them that Meyer is going to Notre Dame after this season. Ask him why such a “good Christian man” would be stoop to such a low level. Is it the heat from the fan base after being dominated by your rival? Or is the heat itself to blame for your poor record in Jacksonville? You know, cause as you say, it’s so much hotter there in the middle of the fall but Florida is used to it, that must explain the results. Yeah, that’s it, it’s global warming’s fault you suck in Jacksonville.


July 23rd, 2009
4:21 pm

I know what a rusty trombone is, Mrs. Richt gives them to me on a weekly basis.

Rebel Ace

July 23rd, 2009
4:22 pm

Ole Miss hopes it will be able to play Florida in the SEC title game. We love beating Florida.

Dawgaholic idiot

July 23rd, 2009
4:22 pm

Uga and GT recruit different type’s of players. Just another idiot dawg fan. What was the uga fla score? oops timeout

BS Patrol

July 23rd, 2009
4:33 pm


I don’t know what it is either but the poster at 3:19 & 3:18 seems to be intimate with it.


July 23rd, 2009
4:43 pm

Rebel Ace – That’s cool, cause Wake and Vandy love beating Ole Miss and Florida loves winning championships.

Class of '98

July 23rd, 2009
5:11 pm

Tony, I live in Atlanta and get all Big Ten games compliments of Direct TV and the BigTen Network.

I’ll watch Northwestern versus Iowa or whoever until the 12:30 SEC game comes on.

Are Big Ten executives really surprised that SEC games would eventually be shown in Columbus and Ann Arbor? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

The Insider

July 23rd, 2009
8:46 pm

Nick, not sure if it is Richt himself who is pushing the Notre Dame rumors but it has definitely been coming from the UGA staff and now from some other rivals. Urban is most certainly well aware of it and who, and this will fuel his fire this season. Expect to see a highly motivated coaching staff and a few lopsided scores.