Schultz’s Digi-Blog goes to SEC Media Daze

I have been to several media days in sports. But there really is none quite like the SEC’s. What can you about an event that’s so big it lasts three days! And for what — post-spring, pre-practice interviews? SEC Media Days still draws close to 1,000 media members, even in this economy, at at time when I’m being asked by editors whether I planned to supersize my drive-thru meal on the way home, because, well, that they won’t cover. (Employee of the Year potential: I stole a free banana from the lobby and ate that on the way home.) But I do have this cool little camera now that allows me to take pictures and spend less time trying to think of words. Unfortunately, technical difficulties prevented me from posting this earlier. And for anybody who tells you Alabama has come a long way in the last 100 years, they’ve never experienced the wireless at the Wynfrey Hotel. But here you go: The first in a series of Schultz’s Digi-Blogs. You see what I see. Fortunately, you don’t smell what I smell — like these Bama fans below who’ve been waiting in the hotel lobby since 7:30 a.m., hoping to get a glimpse of a football coach or a left tackle. They didn’t move. For hours. It was a Thursday. I can’t verify their employment at this time.

♦♦♦

OK, not everybody was an Alabama fan. These very nice people root for the team in Athens. That’s Wendy Penland on the left from Watkinsville (husband Robert is in the back with the hat). Next to her are Dan Gurley and daughter Geny-Kate, Tona Hitson and her four children and Jim Beatty (with his two kids). All except the Penlands actually live in Birmingham. A little outnumbered, I suspect.

GeorgiaFans

♦♦♦

The guy on the left, I think you know. Here he is relaxing in a room with a dozen of us just before he went into the massive press conference room. Have to say: While Richt seldom gets flustered even in bad times, he was as calm as I’d ever seen. No wonder. None of his players have been arrested and nobody has hounded him about what it feels like to be ranked No. 1. When I asked him about it, he responded: “It’s been different in a lot of ways this summer. It’s been a blessing.” Shameless self-promotion department: Read more here.

MarkRicht

♦♦♦

This is the Bulldogs’ new quarterback Joe Cox, who is not very tall and not very experienced. But he has been waiting his turn and people seem to think he’ll be an accurate passer and a good leader. I honestly have no idea. But if he can stay this calm while trying to outscore Oklahoma State in the opener, Georgia will be fine.

JoeCox

♦♦♦

Here’s Georgia defensive tackle Jeff Owens (left), doing a video blog. I chose not to sue for copyright, in part because he’s bigger than me. Here he is interviewing Alabama’s Mike Johnson. Johnson seems very happy. Maybe because he’s recalling the “Blackout” game.

JeffreyOwens

♦♦♦

I know this will shock you but even professional sports journalists don’t know everything. Some stuff we have to look up. This is the old school way: media guides. Every team has one. They’re also on CD now and most of the information can be found on websites. But I still like the book because, well, I’m old. Plus you get this great juxtaposition below: Note how the Georgia guide to the right: Uga VII clearly is not happy about being forced to look at Florida’s national championship ring.

MediaGuides

♦♦♦

“Yes, Ms. Wallace, I went to all of the news conferences. Yes, I was right there when he said that. Yes, I have it EXCLUSIVELY! No, I would never take a quote off the quote sheet.”

Quotesheets

♦♦♦

So you think the media gets pampered? This was the extent of the buffet: A chip display. And as you can see, it was empty when I got there.

PotatoeChips

♦♦♦

“To Bubba. My No. 1 fan. Roll Tide! Sincerely yours, Beelzebub.”

NickSaban

♦♦♦

I’ll give this to Nick Saban: He spent time in the hotel lobby signing autographs for everybody — which is even more impressive when you consider this crowd he had to work through before getting to the front door. (Saban’s back there some where.)

WaitingSaban

♦♦♦

I lost track of how many news conferences Tim Tebow did Thursday. Sorry to say, I only went to three: one to listen to and the other two briefly for photo ops. And no, I wasn’t there when some Bozo asked him if he was a virgin and was saving himself. I don’t know who it was. But I can’t guarantee you it was no friend of mine. I know this because my friends only ask women that. (By the way: I heard the audio. Tebow was classy to the end. He laughed and answered: “Yes I am.” After more extended laughter in the room, he said, “I think you all are stunned right now.”) Add, “How to respond to moronic media inquiries,” to his list of mad skills.

Tebow

♦♦♦

Here’s Tebow again, this time getting ready to sit down for a TV interview with — WHO?!? Former Bulldog David Pollack?!? Isn’t there some kind of rule against that? But doesn’t Pollack look all spit-shined and stuff now as a budding multi-media star? When he was a player in Athens, I remember him coming to press conferences in pajama pants and a T-shirt and his hair looked like he combed it with a blender.

TebowPollack

♦♦♦

On the chance you didn’t get enough quality time with Tebow, you could always talk to his Mini Me.

Heisman

♦♦♦

This is what it looks like in a press conference. That’s Urban Meyer on stage. Coaches also are depicted on the screen to the left, just in case you forget who’s up there. When Bobby Petrino was on stage, everybody wanted them to switch to “Die Hard” on Channel 6 but they wouldn’t do it. Please note that nobody in the room is really paying attention to what Meyer is saying. After a while, everybody sounds the same. Each writer is just hoping somebody else asks a question so it’ll be on the quote sheet.

WorkRoom

♦♦♦

Here’s the Florida coach, Urban Meyer. Even in navigating television cameras, his focus is unbroken, his stride deliberate, his eyes spitting fire, as he makes his way across the room, through the hallway, down the escalator, out the front door of the hotel, into a Lincoln Town Car, which whisks him off to the airport, where he boards a private jet for South Bend, and . . . oops. Sorry, getting ahead of myself. Read part two in January. By the way, Meyer was asked about the rumors again. He answered but did not laugh. Maybe somebody should have asked him if he was a virgin instead.

UrbanMeyer

56 comments Add your comment

dan

July 23rd, 2009
8:07 pm

Cool Photos Jeff!

MikeInValdosta

July 23rd, 2009
8:28 pm

You get paid for this? You are my hero. Hope the banana was good

honest_abe

July 23rd, 2009
9:06 pm

82dawg

July 23rd, 2009
9:09 pm

So, did you use any quotes from the quote sheet?

La Jolla Dawg

July 23rd, 2009
9:10 pm

Jethro Tull

July 23rd, 2009
9:14 pm

SEC, your record speaks for itself: http://www.maizenbrew.com/2009/6/15/910305/with-all-that-ess-eeee-seee-speed

This isn’t from the link above:

ACC: Presenting the Facts

By. Mike Bakas

Sure, there’s no national championship contender in the league this year.

Sure, everyone and their brother who watches college football believes the SEC and Big 12 are the two strongest conferences in college football.

Sure, the winner of the ACC will have a few losses this season.

But what does all that mean? To the casual college football fan, it means the ACC is not very good and can not be mentioned in the same breath as power conferences like the SEC and Big 12.

Taking a closer look at the facts, however, indicates that not only is the ACC a strong conference but it deserves to be mentioned up there with any other conference in college football this year.

Lets start with the rankings — the simplest way to determine who’s doing what on the field this season. A look at the current Coaches Poll will show you something interesting — six of the top 30 teams are from the ACC. That’s more than any other BCS conference. The SEC is next with five, followed by the Big 12 (4), Big 10 (4), Pac 10 (3), and Big East (3).

OK, maybe rankings aren’t enough to make a legit argument. Lets move on. Lets look at things evenly. Using non conference records (source: ncaa.org) against other BCS conferences, the ACC is at the top — again. Their 10-7 record against other BCS Conference opponents is better than the SEC (5-4), Big 12 (7-8), Big 10 (6-7), Big East (6-7), and Pac 10 (5-7).

Not enough proof yet? OK, lets go to the computers — something college football puts a lot of emphasis on every year to determine its bowl selections. According to Jeff Sagarin’s conference rankings, the ACC comes in at No. 2 — again ahead of the mighty SEC and just about every other conference. The Big 12 is at the top, followed by the ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big East, and Pac 10.

I understand that some people believe that while the ACC ranks at or near the top of all the areas I just mentioned, it just doesn’t have the talent of other leagues. Because of that, I again went to the facts. This time, I went to see what the NFL people think about the players around this conference. According to Mel Kiper’s weekly player rankings, the ACC is again near the top. According to Kiper’s senior rankings for next April’s NFL Draft, six of the nation’s top 25 seniors are from the ACC — including four of the top 10! Only the Big 12 (seven) has more in the top 25, followed by the Pac 10 (5), SEC (4), Big 10 (3), and Big East (zero).

Opinions are great. Everyone has one and everyone, despite what they might say, likes hearing those of others. That explains why millions of people watch the guys on ESPN talk about all the games and it’s why thousands of people spend time daily on fan message boards around Scout.com.

Instead of sitting here and trying to tell you why I think the ACC is one of the nation’s premier conferences, I brought some facts to the table and based on my research I presented, one can conclude that the ACC is clearly one of the nation’s elite conferences.

Again, maybe it doesn’t have a national title contender. Maybe it doesn’t have a team ranked near the top like the SEC and Big 12 do. Then again, maybe that’s because the ACC is so tough that it makes it extra difficult to go through it with the same amount of success as some of the top teams from other major conferences.

As the race to see who gets to play in the ACC Championship game in Tampa in a few weeks continues, just be mindful that whoever makes it there didn’t have an easy road.

T-Rav and the Eastside Grainger

July 23rd, 2009
9:17 pm

Where’s the pic of Cox with his womanhood showing? F’ing hilarious.

BurningRed/BleedingBlack

July 23rd, 2009
9:21 pm

Nice Material jeff! Apparently you had a good time. GO DAWGS

Go Vols!

July 23rd, 2009
9:26 pm

I like my blogs with pictures just like I like my books.

Billy

July 23rd, 2009
9:51 pm

go dawgs!!!!!!

Reid Adair

July 23rd, 2009
9:53 pm

This is fantastic, Jeff. I especially like the shot of “Beelzebub” signing autographs and the Tebow/Meyer shots with the virgin comments.

Too bad I didn’t know you were in town. I would have bought you a beer at least since the money-starved SEC couldn’t spring for more than chips and Dr. Pepper.

doggoneit

July 23rd, 2009
9:57 pm

how tall is joe cox

Douglas

July 23rd, 2009
10:07 pm

Jeff: you always intrigue me with your reporting…and make me laugh too…keep up the great job!

What?

July 23rd, 2009
10:09 pm

“maybe that’s because the ACC is so tough that it makes it extra difficult to go through it with the same amount of success as some of the top teams from other major conferences.”

That makes a lot of sense. The ACC is a pretty tough conference. Powerhouses like NC State, UNC, BC, and UVA have really taken the country by storm this decade. I guess that’s why they get most of the top recruits and have to schedule non-conference games like Gardner Webb to mollify their ridiculously tough schedules.

Jake

July 23rd, 2009
10:32 pm

Joe Cox is 6′7″. Ok, 6′2″, but it felt good to say it.

Jim Beatty

July 23rd, 2009
10:57 pm

Jeff, thanks for the posting the picture. Great seeing you in Bham.
Go Dawgs!
-The Beatty’s

jeffrey d

July 23rd, 2009
10:57 pm

Wow, somebody’s talking conference smack on a blog about media day? What a dork. Nice link, though Jethro. You know a website is for real when they have a 6 pack pictured in the top corner.

Great work, Jeff. You always make me laugh

Legend of Len Barker

July 23rd, 2009
10:58 pm

It’s not even good chips, either. It’s Golden Flake. Couldn’t they at least spring for the Wise?

Considering they spent all that cash on the display of Golden Flake, I’m shocked to see the Dr Pepper. To preserve the ambiance, they should have substituted RC or Sam’s Choice.

L-Dawg

July 23rd, 2009
11:00 pm

Schultzie, well done sir. I’ll tag along with you next year, and follow you around with a vendor’s tray (think bright yellow shirts at the Ted) containing boiled peanuts and pork rinds, not only to make a few bucks off the Bama fans, but to keep you full as well buddy. It broke my heart that the Golden Flake display was empty, depriving you of Dill Pickle Thin and Crispy tater chips.

Cuz

July 23rd, 2009
11:04 pm

What a way to make a living. Jeff you are my idol.

randy

July 23rd, 2009
11:06 pm

jethro tull, suck a big one!

Wayne

July 24th, 2009
12:12 am

SEC Media Days: the redneck equivalent of the Easter Passion Play…

ronkerney

July 24th, 2009
1:41 am

At least you can buy alcohol in some parts of Alabama on Sunday

ronkerney

July 24th, 2009
1:42 am

I meant in a grocery store.

scottbravesfan

July 24th, 2009
3:57 am

Good god is everyone related in those photos? And Golden Flake potato chips? What was the wal-mart brand sold out? Twenty bucks they didn’t really have Dr. Pepper in the soda display, it was probably Dr. Chek or whatever rip off no name brand that Winn Dixie sells.

UGASlobberknocker

July 24th, 2009
4:55 am

This was great ,especially the commentary, You are freakin hilarious.

Billy

July 24th, 2009
5:34 am

Very good article. Informative and funny. Good job.

bubba

July 24th, 2009
6:07 am

funny stuff good job

NikkiFree

July 24th, 2009
6:42 am

Nice read, Jeff! Your articles are always funny and informative at the same time. Keep it up. BTW, I love the Beelzebub line. LOL

deliverance

July 24th, 2009
7:31 am

SEC Media day – Worlds largest family reunion, everyone is related.

Jeff

July 24th, 2009
7:38 am

WHAAAAAAAAA is is really a disgrace that the stupid media is so focused on which coach didnt vote for Teblow as SEC First Team. Who really cares…..He is a great player- but not GOD like you would beleive everyone thinks.

Gen Neyland

July 24th, 2009
8:20 am

I didn’t know they had swank looking Motel 8’s over in Alabama, much less room for all those folks. Impressive…and the empty Golden Flake display had to be a part of the continental breakfast bar.

Typical Homer

July 24th, 2009
8:22 am

Schultz you exemplify everything loathsome about the ajc and it sorry excuse for journalism. I have no love for Alabama fans or anyone else in the SEC, and in fact hold the entire conference in great disdain. However, your shallow, transparent attempts to appeal to the rabid group from Athens is deplorable. Why not try doing some real reporting or research rather than deriding one fanbase just to get the mutts barking.

Gen Neyland

July 24th, 2009
8:29 am

I didn’t see many teeth in those photos either, for a minute I thought I was back home in Bristol!

Class of '98

July 24th, 2009
8:36 am

Jeff, Tebow may be a virgin, but not because you haven’t tried to change that.

Good grief you love that kid. I’m kind of embarrased for you.

SimpleDawg

July 24th, 2009
8:38 am

Hey Jethro, go blow your flute…

Schultz no journalist

July 24th, 2009
8:39 am

Requirements for Jeff Schultz’s position:

Caustic, cynical and a striking resemblance to Bozo the Clown.

heyitsme

July 24th, 2009
9:26 am

I really don’t think it was necessary to take a shot at people you don’t even know. Some of the Alabama fans in that picture were kids. I’m really thinking that some Alabama fan must have hurt your feelings and you figured since you have the media at your disposal you’d get back at them. Good job big man, you got them now. All fan bases have their bad fans that make very trashy comments, but not every fan of any certain school is all bad. Oh and just to let you know, I’m not an Alabama fan. I’m an LSU fan and no I don’t hate Nick Saban.

Mike

July 24th, 2009
9:34 am

Do SEC fans have jobs? Give me a break, I cannot think of anything more boring than going to a media day to hear canned sound bites. Losers.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 24th, 2009
9:36 am

Did you get Petrinot to do that Pig=soooyee thingy?

GOCTIDE

July 24th, 2009
9:47 am

That’s good Schultzie. Stick to the attempts at humor, your prognosticating skills are non-existent as evidenced by you blowing the Bama/Clemson opener and the Blackout. Does Tebow approve of your banana thievery?

Bart

July 24th, 2009
9:51 am

Nice pictures, but the comments are ridiculous. Do you write for a local blog in Athens or a paper in one of the biggest cities in the country? Believe it or not, all of your readers aren’t Dawg fans. Perhaps show a little class and give some of the coaches and fans of other teams a little respect even if said teams did whip your beloved Dawgs last year and are doing the same in local recruiting this year.

Big Al

July 24th, 2009
9:58 am

That Beezlebub/Saban quote was priceless. Good job Schultz. Some of you need to lighten up. Go Dawgs!

Bamafan

July 24th, 2009
9:59 am

Jeff, I like your humor about Bama fans and General Neyland comments also!! Folks need to laugh
at something everyday to make the day go by better. ROLL TIDE FOLKS!!

BigTimeTECHFan

July 24th, 2009
10:04 am

Whooa, Tebow’s back. Me Ga Tech and ACC fan, but I’m thinking the SEC rankings at he end of season will be (overall):
1. Florida
2. LSU
3. Alabama
4. Old Miss
5. Georgia
6. Auburn
7. Vandy
8. Tennesse
9. USC
10. Arkansas
11. ……………….

GOCTIDE

July 24th, 2009
11:08 am

I think the litho prints being displayed by the lady in the lobby shot may be responsible for raising Mr. Schultz’ ire against smelly Bama fans. I have this one in my basement so I recognize JPW on the left and Julio on the right…a great night in Athens, GA!

Paul The Vol

July 24th, 2009
11:13 am

Hey Jethro Tull, I’ll tell what else the ACC doesn’t have – a lot of money, power and an national TV deal to televise all of its sports.

Bama Dawg

July 24th, 2009
2:39 pm

heyitsme, obviously you don’t have to live over her with the Bammers or you might think differently. To them football exists only inside the state lines and the Bear will return some day.

BearLives!

July 24th, 2009
9:59 pm

Bama will upset florida in the SEC title game this year—mark it down. Bama’s D will stuff Tebow into a bad game and win 28-24! Bama goes to the title game!!! I’m already making reservations for Pasadena!

slim shady

July 24th, 2009
11:33 pm

Entertaining write up Schultz. What a circus!

As for the out of place comments on the ACC, why don’t you guys grow a pair and quit worrying about comparisons. Sure the ACC is a strong conference with some great teams but there will never be any fair comparisons without a playoff system so get over it. Your inferiority complex is showing…