SEC Media Days – OutKick
ATLANTA — The SEC’s first kickoff this season won’t be until Aug. 27, when Vanderbilt plays in Hawaii (10:30 p.m. EST, CBS). The SEC’s first game on the continent will be Ball State at Tennessee on Sept. 1 (7 p.m., SEC Network).
But the kickoff kickoff is Monday morning at the College Football Hall of Fame here at the Omni Hotel/CNN Center when SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey kicks off the festivities. The SEC started this in 1985 in Birmingham, Alabama, and it has basically grown every year and continues to top many weeks of lower bowl games.
LSU freshman coach Brian Kelly will follow before Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin and Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz. Three players will accompany each coach.
Alabama coach Nick Saban opens press conferences on Tuesday with Mississippi State’s Mike Leach, South Carolina’s Shane Beamer and Vanderbilt’s Clark Lee to follow.
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman, Florida freshman coach Billy Napier, defending national champion Georgia coach Kirby Smart and Kentucky’s Mark Stoops will appear on Wednesday. Auburn coach Bryan Harsin, Tennessee’s Josh Heupel and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher wrap it all up Thursday.
Here are five scenarios to look for:
1. CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT
USC and UCLA shocked the college football world less than three weeks ago when each confirmed they would make it to the Big Ten Conference starting in the 2024 season. Some writers said they had saw this coming, but no one wrote about it.
USC, UCLA MOVE IS ABOUT FOX VS. ESPN AND BIG TEN AGAINST. SECOND
The Big Ten has not been able to match the SEC in National Football Championship material as the SEC has won 12 of the last 16 crowns with four teams trumping the Big Ten in 2014 by the Ohio State. But the Big Ten are making more money and are looking to continue in their next TV deal which remains in fluid negotiation.
What will Sankey, whose league confirmed the 2025 additions of Texas and Oklahoma about a year ago, say about the conference realignment? Probably not much. He will dance around. What will Saban, a former Michigan State Big Ten coach in the 1990s, say about the conference realignment? Probably more than Sankey.
What will former Notre Dame coach Kelly say about Notre Dame football possibly moving to a conference permanently for the first time? He knows Notre Dame better than anyone. Please, Brian, say something.
It was a hot topic at the SEC Spring Meetings in early June and it will continue. Saban has long been out for nine league matches. With the SEC down to 16-20 teams by 2025 or possibly 2024, it should consider a 10-game schedule, which would finally rid the league of some of those awful late-season non-conference games.
Or do you remember Alabama versus New Mexico State and Florida versus Samford last November?
3. NIL AND THE TRANSFER PORTAL
Name, image and likeness continue to be an expensive four-letter big word, and many coaches will likely continue to find exciting new ways to criticize it. Maybe someone will call the two what they each are at their worst – prostitution and the quitter’s portal. Each will be changed significantly around this time next year.
4. NICK AGAINST. JIMBOII
Saban and Fisher each addressed their new feud at length during the SEC Spring Meetings, and that is old news. However, everyone will probably be asked again about it, and Saban will probably say he screwed up for the fourth or fifth time. And he did a lot of stupid things, insulting his best student and the one who had respected and admired him more than all the others.
5. THE 2022 SEASON
Ah yes, football. They will do it. After all the shit and the realignment of NIL and the transfer portal, which will make everything more exciting and interesting, there will be football this fall.
WHICH SEC FOOTBALL PROGRAM HAS THE MOST “JUICE”
Which SEC programs have the most juice? It’s difficult.
Will Alabama avenge their loss to Georgia in the national title game and win it all in 2023-24? Yes.
Will Tennessee really be as good as everyone says? Yes.
Will Kelly and Napier radically change things at LSU and Florida? No. Look for LSU to be picked last in or near the West and Florida no higher than third. Each has hired great coaches, but each has significant roster issues.
Here is a prediction you can count on: