What we might learn during SEC Media Days - KCTV5

What we might learn during SEC Media Days

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(RNN) – Football? Well, not quite, but it's getting close.

This week marks the Major League Baseball All-Star Break, which means the only things of note happening in the sports world are the All-Star Game, which is touted as having meaning even though it really doesn't, and the ESPY Awards show, which is touted as having meaning even though it really doesn't.

Let it never be said that the Southeastern Conference doesn't take advantage of an opportunity when one presents itself, because it is holding its Media Days event this week, which is touted as having meaning even though it really doesn't.

Nevertheless, college football is close enough that you can almost taste it, and that's mildly disturbing because I imagine a regulation college football is hard to chew.

Here is a list of 10 things we may/should/won't learn during SEC Media Days.

1. Actual football-related information. Before diving into absurd speculation, I must acknowledge that it is, at its core, a football event. By that token, there's sure to be some abstract praise of players like "strong work ethic," "good competitor," "high-motor guy" or "has a good football IQ."

There might even be some harmless BCS bashing since this is the last year under that "championship" "system." I'm also hoping for some shots at other conferences like "The Big Ten can't count," and "What do you call defense in Oregon? Yeah, I don't know, either."

And maybe, just maybe Steve Spurrier will make his annual jab at another team. Georgia suspended a safety in the offseason, but he's already been down that road. Vanderbilt dismissed four players over sexual misconduct, but that's not something that should be joked about. Ole Miss used a player who was academically ineligible, LSU running back Jeremy Hill was suspended after getting into a fight and Alabama kicked four players off the team following robberies. South Carolina doesn't play either of those teams this year, so maybe Spurrier will be emboldened enough to take passing shots at them.

Or maybe new rules will dominate the day. Players can now be ejected after receiving a personal foul penalty for targeting a defenseless player, multiple players on the same team can no longer wear the same jersey number, there must be at least three seconds left to spike the ball to stop the clock and if the clock is stopped with less than a minute to go due to injury, there is a mandatory 10-second runoff.

Let's examine those last two a little closer. Let's say your team is losing by 4 and has the ball with first and goal and 20 seconds to play. The ball is snapped and the quarterback looks for an open receiver, but he's sacked before he can throw the ball. There's 8 seconds on the clock. The team regroups at the line to spike the ball with 3 seconds left, but just as the ball is snapped, the clock ticks down to 2 seconds, and the quarterback spikes the ball. The clock stops with 2 seconds left, leaving time for one more play for the win. But that play will never happen, because under the new rule, the game is now over.

It doesn't take three seconds to snap a ball and spike it into the turf. I've seen it done countless times, and it has never taken that long. Heck, it barely even takes one. Of course, if an offensive lineman twisted his ankle and had to be helped off the field, it wouldn't matter anyway, because the other new rule says that results in the game ending as well due to a loss of time.

Will either of those ever happen? I hope not.

2. Johnny Manziel has matured. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Just the implication that "Johnny Football" may someday stop acting like an idiot is hysterical. Not that it would matter. At this point, the guy could adopt 100 beagles from an illegal puppy mill and get criticized because they aren't Labrador retrievers.

But in his defense, it's pretty much all his fault. OK, maybe that's not a defense. Either way, it's hard to enter SEC Media Days shrouded by scandal, but SEC Media Days has not seen the likes of "Johnny Football." He is a trendsetter. He breaks records everywhere he goes, including – I hope – the number of alcohol-related questions fielded in a press conference.

"Johnny Football" has been kind to the football-news-deficient offseason. He has shown up at NBA games sitting in high-dollar seats that most college kids wouldn't dare dream of affording. He has waved cash around like its only purpose is to cool him against the sweltering heat of a Texas summer. Then, despite having a seemingly large cash reserve available as readily as one of his sub-par receivers drops one of his sidearm passes, a paltry parking ticket was enough to make him ponder his post-College Station future.

And that's not even listing all the places he's popped up that have seemingly unlimited access to alcohol, fireworks and bikini-clad co-eds.

But in his defense (seriously, this time), he's 20 years old and is just acting the way many other 20-year-olds do. But he seems to be completely ignorant of the concept that he is now a celebrity Heisman Trophy winner and should probably start acting like a grownup.

When he's on the field, he's a dynamic, must-see player who has the potential to do something remarkable every time he touches the ball. I just hope he learned to read defenses as easily as he can liquor bottles.

3. Is AJ McCarron engaged? The only person who had a more active offseason than "Johnny Football" was the newest Crimson Tide sensation – who happens to be an Auburn grad – Katherine Webb. Webb was virtually unknown before Brent Musberger went out of his way to point her out at the national championship game, but less than a month later she had a job as a reporter at the Super Bowl.

That preceded an appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and a spot on the celebrity diving competition Splash. She also sat next to Donald Trump during the Miss USA pageant and stirred up speculation of a future House Divided when she was spotted wearing a giant ring.

The rumor has been denied, but that doesn't mean it won't have to be denied again.

4. Ole Miss is running a scam. Every team is probably running a scam, but only Ole Miss is making it look obvious. It was an active recruiting season for the Rebels, who turned in a stellar signing class despite being Ole Miss.

I will give the Rebels credit, however, because they did win a bowl game last year and appear to be in the early stages of a successful rebuild, but it's not without its share of controversy. The aforementioned ineligible player was used in six games despite the fact he shouldn't have even been on the sideline.

Coach Hugh Freeze has tackled the controversy head-on, going so far as to challenge anyone who was aware of a violation report it. That's exactly what happened, because 85 responses were sent to the university. A majority of them were exactly the type of responses you would expect, but 31 were deemed credible enough that the university investigated the claims.

It's likely nothing will come from it, but it will no doubt be brought up at Media Days, if for no other reason than to try to prompt Freeze into going off on a crazy rant. If that happens, everybody wins.

5. What color pants Butch Jones will wear. Derek Dooley and his trousers of terror have mercifully departed the sidelines. It's unfortunate for Tennessee fans because Dooley's outrageously orange Ottoman-adorners were the only thing consistent about their football team the last two years.

A man named Butch can't wear pants like that. It's the law. So, what is he going to wear? You can't go wrong with the classic khaki and black slacks. Jones should stick to the basics.

He has to replace the Volunteers' quarterback and wide receivers, which amounts to their entire offense, and has to somehow replace the Tennessee defense with something that actually looks like a functioning defense. Dooley's spot on a the sideline is not a good place to be right now, but it can be made infinitely better right from the start if his pants get relegated to the university's cadaver research center, which is just on the other side of the Tennessee River.

6. Jadeveon Clowney is Superman. With all due respect to Robert Griffin III, Shaquille O'Neal, Dwight Howard and Superman himself, none of them have anything on Clowney.

I have a burning desire to make marginally funny jokes at Clowney's expense because of his last name, but I don't dare do it because I am terrified of him. He would have to cross two state borders to get to me, but he's planning to do that to attend Media Days, and I'm staying on my best behavior.

Even when he heads back to South Carolina, I won't dare besmirch his name because he'll be traveling to Georgia, Arkansas and Tennessee to play this year, and those are all too close for comfort. He could probably be at my doorstep in 20 seconds if he wanted to anyway, so I'm not going there.

I want him to save a school bus full of children from falling off a bridge and gently place a crashing jumbo jet on the 50-yard line of Williams-Brice Stadium to confirm what I already know.

Are you listening, Mr. Clowney? You're the best football player in the country. Please don't hurt me.

7. The best fertilizer for your lawn. What does Les Miles do in the offseason? I don't know, but he probably works in the yard. He needs to make sure there is enough grass available to eat in tense moments, and given his incompetence when it comes to clock management, there will be a lot of tense moments.

I recently bought a plant and my history with keeping living things alive isn't good, so I behoove Miles to let me know how he replenishes his game day snack supply. It might even be a good idea for Miles to offer some easy recipes so, in case of a worldwide famine or zombie apocalypse, we can all channel our inner herbivore should we need to resort to forced vegetarianism.

Anyway, that would be a lot easier than finding a way to genuinely compliment Zach Mettenberger.

8. Georgia has figured out how to win a big game. Attention Mark Richt apologists, keep dreaming.

The last time Richt was on a big stage, his team had fallen short in a big game and he walked away from a press conference miffed at the accusation that his team falls short in big games. He then came back out to re-address the media to further state his disdain for being asked about losing a big game following a loss in a big game.

Richt should at least have to field one question regarding his team's perceived failure in big games because his team fails in big games. It's been the main knock against him since he's been at Georgia. It's a perception that has evidence to support it, but also has evidence to refute it.

Georgia is the only head coaching job Richt has had, and in his 12 years at the helm, he has guided the Bulldogs to two SEC championships and an 8-4 bowl record, but he has also lost four SEC championship games, including the last three has been in.

Georgia has been one of the most consistently successful teams in the SEC over the last 10 years during the conference's rise to national dominance, but it hasn't garnered the Bulldogs an SEC crown since 2005, which was the last year the SEC champion did not win the BCS national championship.

9. Mark Stoops is delusional. Inevitably, some combination of words will come out of the new Kentucky coach's mouth implying that he thinks his team has the potential to compete against the SEC's rank-and-file.

Kentucky's AD needs to make the trip to Birmingham, wait until he says this and fire him on the spot saying "we don't employ clueless people," and walk off to go hire the only person who would leave one team for another one at this point in the season – Western Kentucky coach Bobby Petrino.

And on that note …

10. Nothing. We will learn absolutely nothing, because what you say in July doesn't mean a darn thing when you lose a couple of games in September.

Extra points: I tried to research it, but there seems to be no official tally for the number of alcohol-related questions fielded in a press conference, but I'm hereby using authority I don't have to establish the record at 12 questions fielded by Mickey Mantle.

If Jadeveon Clowney was Superman, wouldn't he reverse the spin of the Earth to go back in time to before Marcus Lattimore got injured? (Just asking, Mr. Clowney. Please don't hurt me.)

Walmart called my new plant a bonsai tree, but I don't think that's accurate. It looks like a small Christmas tree, but its needles are sharper than the spines on a cactus I used to have. At this point, I'm more concerned about it one day eating me.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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