Champions of The Round Table

 
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We're right on the edge of another college football season less than two months away. But, the juices will start to flow for real Wednesday with Southeastern Conference Media Days in Birmingham, Ala.

There doesn't figure to be the kind of media hoopla that came with Tim Tebow's arrival last year, but the three-day event certainly won't be short on stories. Right off the bat it's gonna be the two big hitters, with Alabama Coach Nick Saban and Florida Coach Urban Meyer taking up their east-west battle for control of the SEC and the college football landscape. Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram will also make an appearance. New Kentucky head Coach Joker Phillipswill make his SEC Media Days debut on opening day as well.

Here's a look at some of the other hot topics that figure to come up during the week.

Conference expansion/realignment: For all the summer buildup regarding conference expansion and realignment, there were only a few slight tweaks made. And while the SEC stood pat, you know that Commissioner Mike Slivewill be grilled about the possibilities for expansion down the road.

Saban vs. Meyer: Meyer was on top of the world going into last year's Media Days, coming off a national title with perhaps the most celebrated college football player of the modern era at his side in Little Timmy Tebow. Now it's Saban who appears to be the league's big dog after tearing down Tebow and company down like an old building in the SECCG while on their way to the national title. Off-season "health issues" put another cloud over Meyer. With Tebow no longer around, can Meyer regain his spot atop the SEC perch, or will tears flow like the St Johns River once again this year?

Richt on the hot seat? Georgia Coach Mark Richt was once viewed as the league's most talented coach before Meyer and Saban arrived; now things seem to have gone a little sour in Athens. Richt's overall resume is still pretty solid: a 90-27 record with two SEC titles. But Georgia's last SEC title came way back in 05, and coming off a disappointing 8-5 season with a new sober AD on the way, "Ole Silver Britches" should be worth having a look at. If you're an Alabama fan and a stingy one you'd wish Richt all the luck in the world, ya sure don't won't to lose Kirby to the dawgs.

Dooley's debut: Nobody knows quite what to expect out of Tennessee in its first year under Derek Dooley. One just hopes and prays that no bar fight breaks out at media days.
Dooley has promised to change the culture of UT football after being forced to deal with the messy aftermath of a recent on-campus brawl involving several Tennessee players. The Vols' talent level also appears to be down, so it will be interesting to hear Dooley's presentation.

Dan Mullen and his "Bullies" will be trying to tread water in the SEC West this year, maybe even get to a bowl game under second year coach, Dan Mullen....that last name is too much like Mullet. He must feel much like an undercard having to appear on the first day with Saban and Meyer. Coach Mullen has his hands full, but something tells me the Bullies will be a better team than has been the case in prior years.
 
Arkansas is a team that has had success recruiting under Head Coach Bobby Petrino. He has had two full seasons there, and this year they look to break out and be more than just a bastard step-child, along with South Carolina in the SEC. Petrino has a full squad of upperclassmen for the first time since he's been there. Ryan Mallett is being talked about in the Heismen race this year, and he has plenty of players to throw to. I think the big question is, can they play good enough defense to get past Alabama and Georgia early....if they do look out. Arkansas could be playing in a BCS game in Jan.

On the flip side of that coin is the other bastard stepchild (South Carolina). Is Stephen Garcia and Spurrier's masterful job recruiting enough to get them past Florida and Georgia? Could be. Coach is bringing defensive players to Media Day, and he thinks he has a defense to contend with SEC powers this year. One interesting note, Garcia, actually attempted more passes (432) than any QB in the SEC last year. Mallett had (403) attempts (Ark), and Garcia's 18.38 completions per game led all signal callers in the SEC. His decision making ability is still in question.

Is getting less from Les more of the same this year? Or is it Les getting more from his players for less than his ability to coach them allows? Confusing ain't it? I should think that the LSU faithful would say if he could only tell time it would be an improvement. He has players, it's just a question of coaching them. Any way you shake it, if he doesn't show some improvement he might end up as a rue in a gumbo dish. 8-5 maybe.

Sometimes you feel like a "Nutt" sometimes you don't. What can Houston Nutt tell his Ole Miss faithful to soothe the wound from last year's disappointing results. They were so good on paper yet, they were folded up and tucked away by SEC opponents last year, and quite frankly looked like a conference USA team, rather than a SEC team.

Auburn's Gene Chizik will bring high hopes to Birmingham on Friday, his 2009 team had eight victories, almost beat Alabama who went on the win the National Championship. And they squeaked by Northwestern in a New Years Day game. Their offense should be pretty good this year. But a lack of depth especially on defense could hold Mean Gene's bunch back in the "real victory column" this year making it difficult to have a big season. But that's why they play the games, you just never know 1957 was a long time ago!

Good luck to all the coaches, and almost all the teams. Check back during the week for more updates on Media days, we will cover them and bring you the news for each day. RTR
Bot out


SEC Media Days 2010 Schedule


Date                             Teams                           Session
July 21                          Alabama                       Morning
                                      Mississippi State         Morning
                                      Kentucky                      Afternoon
                                      Florida                          Afternoon

July 22                         Georgia                         Morning
                                      Arkansas                       Morning
                                      Vanderbilt                     Afternoon
                                      South Carolina             Afternoon

July 23                        Auburn                           Morning
                                     Tennessee                      Morning
                                     LSU                                 Afternoon
                                     Ole Miss                         Afternoon
 

    By: iRobot