Today is the first day of SEC Media Days, and y'all know the SEC is a football conference, so it's time to start talking SEC football. Funny enough, although many people might not know it, Kentucky is also in the SEC, and perhaps also coincidentally, has a football team as well.
Let's get right to it. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution highlights some of Mike Slive's comments:
"It’s no secret the SEC has supported a four-team seeded playoff, the four best teams, for several years starting in 2004, when an undefeated Auburn, the SEC champion, was left out of the national championship hunt. Now we have a four-team playoff. I’m often asked whether the new format is good for the SEC."
Translation: "Yes, we kicked a big, size 15 cleat right up Jim Delaney's backside. Now, we'd like to twist it around a bit."
He reiterated the guidelines the selection committee will use to choose and seed playoff teams: "won-lost record, strength of schedule, conference championships and head-to-head competition."
Translation: "At least two of the four will be SEC teams every year, and we aren't letting any pansy-scheduled non-SEC teams crash our party."
And he alluded to plans for an SEC television network. (See this earlier AJC story for background on that.) Said Slive today: "There has been a whole lot of speculation about Project X. Is it still a secret? I don’t think so. But we now call it Project SEC."
That's almost as corny as "Operation Win." I like "Project X" a lot better.
Slive said the SEC "must be ever vigilant on all issues of integrity."
I'm sure I have no idea to what Slive is referring. None.
Then, of course, there were some coaches. First, Gary Pinkel of the Missouri Tigers got all defensive:
Pinkel says there's a perception that "we play a bunch of high school teams." He says the Tigers know they have to earn respect in the SEC, but they have already played in a tough Big 12 Conference.
There you go, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation. Missouri comes from the "tough Big 12," a league that has gone 4-13 against the SEC in the last 5 years. For the record, the Big East is 8-8 against the SEC in that same time frame. For what it's worth.
Then, of course, there was Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks, via Joe Schad:
Spurrier: "It's easier to win the national championship than the SEC. Ask Nick Saban."— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 17, 2012
Take no prisoners, Vizorman! No word yet on Saban's reaction. Probably something like "It doesn’t matter what you are ranked until the end."
Then, there was Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M:
"My assessment? It's a pretty damn hard league."
That was one of three or four "damns" from Sumlin, who apparently feels pretty damn strongly about it.
Franklin certainly speaks confidently: "If you're truly the best and the brightest, where else would you go?"— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) July 17, 2012
I don't know, James. The "best" at football generally don't go to Vanderbilt. The brightest? Well, maybe, but hasn't that been the problem? Just askin'.
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That's about the highlights of Day One. We'll be back tomorrow with Day Two. I have no idea what the lineup is, although I'm sure it's out there some damn where on the Internet.
Sheesh. I'm still a couple behind Sumlin.