BIRMINGHAM — What am I doing here? That’s what I keep asking myself.
It’s mid-July — not even, technically — and I’m about to pass through the revolving doors at the Birmingham Hyatt Regency/Wynfrey Hotel to gorge on SEC football for four days straight.
And I’m not even sure if I’m hungry yet.
My internal clock is telling me I’m supposed to be on some beach somewhere, or on a boat, or just pushing a lawn mower, for gosh sakes. That’s what I’m usually doing right about now.
But noooooo. Not here in the Southeast. Not only does the Southeastern Conference want to be the biggest when it comes to, well, everything — more than a thousand media-types will be at SEC Football Media Days, as usual — but it also wants to be first.
So it is.
I’ve been coming to this kickoff deal for a couple decades now and it used to always be in the last week of July. I know because it always fell slap-dab on my wedding anniversary, which always went over well.
But with conference expansion and the desire to draw the most attention, the SEC gradually eked up its start date day-by-day, year-by-year. So this year’s July 13 start is the earliest ever, edging out last year’s July 14 and 2013’s July 16 and ’12s 17 and ’11’s 20th.
Not coincidentally, the SEC’s show gets going before any of the other Power 5 conferences. ACC Kickoff 2015 gets underway in Pinehurst, N.C., on July 20, as does the Big 12 media day in Dallas. The Big Ten and Pac-12 football fests don’t get going until the 30th in Chicago and Burbank, respectively.
And all those other shindigs last just two days. The SEC’s is a full four. They used to get it done here in three days, and that included a half-day to play golf. Now there’s not even time for putt-putt.
Not complaining, mind you. I love football, too. But I like watching it a lot more than talking about it. The Georgia Bulldogs don’t step out on Woodruff Practice Fields for another three weeks from today.
So I’m feeling a little rusty. And that’s where you guys come in.
Let us know what you’d like to learn out of these meetings. Seth Emerson, Mark Bradley and I will be on the scene all week. We’ll be blogging and news-bursting and tweeting every hour on the hour, at least. So if you have a reasonable question for a coach or player or SEC official, there’s a reasonable chance we can get it answered.
Today’s schedule starts, as usual, with the SEC commissioner, which of course is Greg Sankey for the first time this year and not Mike Slive. We’ll also hear from Auburn (Gus Malzahn, QB Jeremy Johnson, DB Jonathan Jones, LB Kris Frost), Florida (Jim McElwain, DE Jonathan Bullard, Sr., WR Brandon Powell, So., CB Vernon Hargreaves) and Vanderbilt (Derek Mason, RB Ralph Webb, So., LB Nigel Bowden, So., C Spencer Pulley).
South Carolina and Tennessee are up on Tuesday, Nick Saban and Alabama are in the house on Wednesday and Georgia doesn’t meet the press until late Thursday morning. You can check out the full schedule HERE. You can read Bradley’s primer HERE.
So let us know what you’re dying to find out. We’ll do our best to find out.