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SEC Media Days 2014: Coverage from college football's biggest convention

The annual biggest non-sports thing in college football is set for July 14 through 17 in Hoover, Alabama. SB Nation is in the house and will have everything you do and don't need to know.

  • Live
31 Total Updates since July 13, 2014
  • Important 29
  • Updates 7
  • Articles 24
  • All Updates 31

The thing Spurrier still takes seriously

We love Steve Spurrier as a character. But his ability to win like he has at South Carolina is his greatest trick of all.

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Nick Saban's 10 best comments at Media Days

How grumpy was Nick Saban after a two-loss season? Quite.

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Rebels want to love Atlanta, Nashville

Can Ole Miss capitalize on two early season NFL stadium games, both on and off the field?

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Interviewing UGA player on his 'Star Wars' film

A Georgia wide receiver made a 26-minute epic "Star Wars" fan film set on his college campus. So let's talk to him about it.

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Richt defends UGA's tough drug policy

The Bulldogs suspend a lot of players, in part because their rules are stricter than their peers'.

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Auburn fans showed up on Alabama day

Nobody shows up for a meaningless event quite like Alabama fans in the lobby at SEC Media Days.

Except for Auburn fans after their team beat Alabama in one of the greatest games in sport history, of course.

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Bama, Auburn top media SEC poll

Alabama had nine first team All-SEC picks and is favored to win the conference.

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Live SEC Media Days coverage here

You can watch SEC Media Days on your TV (ESPNU) or online (Watch ESPN or the SEC's website) -- here's the complete schedule for all that stuff.

You can also follow along via social media. To make that easier for all, we're maintaining this Twitter list, which includes people covering the scene in Hoover, sites dedicated to covering all 14 teams, serious and official SEC accounts, and jokes and such. We'll also be adding more people to it as the week goes on.

Follow along!

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Bielema and Pinkel trade jabs at Media Days

Arkansas has an underrated rivalry with LSU, but the Razorbacks don't really have a definitive rival. Until now?

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Why is LSU playing in Houston?

LSU football has a commitment to neutral-site games. But with one of the best home field advantages in all of sports, are paycheck kickoff games really worth it?

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Playoff bowl process isn't *that* confusing

If the Orange Bowl has the third team from the Big 8 on the seventh year and Notre Dame has at least 50 Catholic players, Oklahoma is playing in the Blockbuster Bowl!

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Mizzou preaches patience, not stars

The Tigers are one of the most successful programs in the country despite recruiting at a lesser level.

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The perfect SEC Media Days sign

Is this Alabama bar welcoming fans of SEC media? Is it acknowledging how many SEC media members are shameless homers? Is it just missing an ampersand? None of these questions matter. It's perfect.

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SEC explains new targeting rule

The NCAA's new targeting rules, established for 2013, were a disaster. Defenders were automatically ejected and penalized 15 yards for hitting offensive players about the head and shoulders -- but the ejection could be overturned upon review, while the penalty stood, even if the player was found to have not actually targeted.

It was dumb, everyone hated it, and it's changing now.

SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw explained the rule's 2014 tweak at SEC Media Days.

No more 15-yard penalty for a non-penalty, as the NCAA proposed earlier in the year.

This is at least an improvement. College football has to get head injuries under control, but poorly conceived and implemented rules don't really help anybody.

But don't worry! There's already a new rule for you to get mad about all season long!

In other excitement:

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SEC Media Days recaps for each coach

We'll keep adding to this list of head coach rundowns as we venture through the four-day event, with a new batch every day. This will include writeups by those we have on the scene (SBNation.com's Steven Godfrey, along with SEC site Team Speed Kills and Texas A&M site Good Bull Hunting) and those covering their teams from afar.

Auburn's Gus Malzahn

Of course, The Big News is Malzahn's decision not to bring starting quarterback Nick Marshall, who was scheduled to attend before being cited for weed days ago. Whether this is an actual punishment is for you to decide, as is whether being cited for weed is a thing deserving of punishment.

Malzahn did announce rising star defensive end Carl Lawson will miss most of the season due to ACL surgery, confirming an offseason worth of concerned rumors.

The defending SEC champion's coach spent most of his time awkwardly trying to sound concerned about the Grave Moral Mistake made by his young man while also trying to not really talk about it.

Good Bull Hunting

As they look forward to the 2014 season, the entire group of Auburn Football personnel on hand at SEC Media Days were wearing lapel pins bearing the number 43. The pins are a way for them to honor the past in former Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen who passed away on June 29, 2014. Coach Malzahn made it clear how special Lutzenkirchen was to him and the Auburn Tiger family. Auburn is working with the family to honor Philip, and they plan for that to continue for a long time to come.

Team Speed Kills

Another question asked what Malzahn hopes Marshall learned from the experience. "I'm hoping he learns a lesson," Malzahn began. He never specified what he hoped that lesson would be. That was followed by a question on players using marijuana, which Malzahn avoided as if someone were actually trying to hand him a bong on national television.

Florida's Will Muschamp

Is Will Muschamp on the hot seat? He is.

He said so during his opening monologue, a scorcher that topped his own record for delivering deep roster news on seemingly every single scholarship athlete at the University of Florida.

As for what portions of that deluge really matter? Alligator Army has the distilled version.

Now, we know Florida's defense will be fine, as long as it stays healthy. What will determine whether Muschamp is back in Hoover next year to go for 51 is his latest new offense, which he says is coming along better than expected.

Good Bull Hunting

Will Muschamp spent his time deflecting questions by filibustering with a detailed reading of the Florida media guide.  We are now all intensely aware of each player's height, weight, zodiac sign, favorite fast food chain, and preferred Game of Thrones house. Like any good salesman, he pushed specifications at the customer until they couldn't remember any of their concerns about the rusted body panels. All we could think about was that recently rebuilt V8 quarterback under the hood.

Team Speed Kills

Discussion about job security is, indeed, "part of it" when you go 4-8 at Florida with one of the losses coming to Georgia Southern out of the FCS. Generally, coaches try to dodge talking about the likelihood that they'll return for the following year's SEC Media Days. Muschamp talked about it, though.

Mississippi State's Dan Mullen

Godfrey asked Mullen about the World Cup and English Premier League soccer. Do not judge us. Mullen enjoyed talking about it, and therefore it was a good question by a certain standard.

Liverpool traded Suarez to Barcelona. A lot of offensive power gone from Liverpool.

I enjoy watching the World Cup. My mom is a British citizen. She grew up in North Wales. Grew up watching that stuff, watching the soccer.

Believe it or not, as a football coach, some of our downtime is in the spring. I'm a big sports fan. My wife sometimes questions what I'm doing, but I don't mind waking up early Sunday morning and watching the premiership if you have a little bit of the break. Get a workout in, watch that 6 a.m. kick.

But the World Cup is so exciting. You see the passion the fans have, the whole country is on top of it. Unbelievable.

I do think SEC football could be compared to European soccer. The passion our fans have is equal. I'm sure I'll have a lot of European nations very upset, teams throughout the world upset. That is one of the things that makes this league so much fun, is the passion that our fan bases have for football is similar to watching the passion these European soccer teams and followings have, which is a pretty neat deal.

Team Speed Kills

I'm not a big fan of the idea of "sneaking up on people," but when you're talking about a team that isn't used to going to Atlanta -- the Bulldogs have been to the SEC Championship Game once, and they went with an 8-5 record -- ramping up the preseason buzz and shining a bright light on them is maybe the worst thing you can do.

Good Bull Hunting

The Bulldogs are also returning 30 players from last year's team who started at least one game, and Coach Mullen thinks that is going to go a long way in helping the confidence of the young guys on the team.

South Carolina's Steve Spurrier

The treasure trove is here. Click it. It's good for you.

Garnet And Black Attack has an entire StoryStream going on Spurrier being great Tuesday.

Team Speed Kills

The thing that sometimes gets overlooked about Spurrier, and part of what gives him the competitive reputation that he's earned, is that the man has a steel-trap memory about his accomplishments and records, as well as those of his team. Without thinking about it, Spurrier recalled correctly that he's 0-5 against Auburn since taking the helm at South Carolina -- and said South Carolina is 1-9 against them in school history. Close; he missed a tie.

Good Bull Hunting

There is a different vibe in the media ballroom at SEC Media Days this morning. Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks hit this room like an out-of-control chicken truck crashing into a wine bar.

Tennessee's Butch Jones

I'm not going to lie to you. I don't personally remember anything Butch Jones said. Luckily, Rocky Top Talk listened well.

Team Speed Kills

It's not that Jones predicted doom for Tennessee in 2014; it's that he gave listeners all the information they needed to predict doom and then allowed them to connect the dots.

Good Bull Hunting

I like them, despite having not actually spoken to or listened to them. They're good guys.

Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin

THE CHAMP IS HERE

And no, he's not surprised he's smashing the Longhorns on the recruiting trail.

Good Bull Hunting

A lot of folks in the media are still learning that Coach Sumlin has a very evident love for what he does in the college game. A few folks here have mentioned that Coach Sumlin comes off as arrogant in interviews. They are starting to see it's just his passion for the entire process.

Team Speed Kills

Sumlin almost seems to be doing all he can to check the conventional wisdom of the football press corps -- he brought a punter to the biggest media event of the year. How can you craft a counterintuitive think piece about a punter?

Vanderbilt's Derek Mason

The lone new guy (he says he's the conference's only undefeated head coach, and he's correct) impressed with a --  we can say it -- James Franklin-esque show of confidence totally at odds with the Commodores' long-term football history. A defining moment: Godfrey asked him about losing most of his first recruiting class to Franklin's Penn State*, and Mason found a way to talk up the opportunities for growth provided by that challenge.

On paper, that's unconvincing, but if he can make his players believe that he believes, that's half the battle.

The defensive mind behind Stanford's shutdowns of Oregon nerded out (always a good thing) about the shifting offenses in his old and new conferences, the top two leagues in the sport. Did you ever think you'd see a bunch of SEC writers interested in hearing about Pac-12 offenses?

* Whose exit had one Vandy player spitting fire on Monday.

Team Speed Kills

The similarities between Franklin and Mason don't end with their command of the stage. Mason is going to continue the recruiting pitch that worked so well for Franklin: "getting a world‑class education and playing in the best conference in the country and winning," in Mason's words. And like Franklin, Mason has a sense of conviction when he says it.

Good Bull Hunting

Despite having a self pro-claimed team of of "probably no-name young men", the new coach feels like his team has a chance to do something special. The message was clear, "Our time to compete for an SEC East title is now."

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Butch Jones wants Alabama forever

The SEC is bent over backwards to protect a historic rivalry with a great tradition, albeit one that's more historic than great right now.

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Sumlin not surprised by Aggies' Texas dominance

Texas A&M is recruiting at the same level as the best SEC teams, but the Aggies have passed the level of their Texas neighbors.

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MSU working hard to schedule tougher

The new SEC scheduling rule won't affect many SEC teams, but it will cause a shake-up for Mississippi State.

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Spurrier's best lines from SEC Media Days

The Texas A&M-South Carolina "rivalry" becomes a forced product of realignment. Also, the Gamecocks coach hits on Clemson vs. the SEC, his history at Carolina, and Stephen Garcia's chances of making it as a media member.

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Vandy vs. the SEC's repackaged power offense

Can Vandy's defense shut down the SEC as well as its new head coach's Stanford D shut down Oregon?

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Will Muschamp's next offense and last stand

Florida has rotated offensive coordinators since Will Muschamp took over in 2011. Is Kurt Roper's new-look offense finally the answer?

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An SEC Network ad of biblical proportions

The SEC Network has unveiled a new commercial during SEC Media Days about the head football coaches of -- you guessed it! -- the SEC. Take a look, but also a listen:

That's Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around," a song written specifically about the second coming of Jesus Christ as foretold in the New Testament's Book of Revelation. On its face, the commercial is a neat play on the song's title (we guess), but given that Day 1 here in Hoover has been marked by the TBD punishment of Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall by head coach Gus Malzahn, the lyrics are a bit ... foreboding?

There's a man going around taking names

And he decides who to free and who to blame

Everybody won't be treated all the same

There will be a golden ladder reaching down

When the man comes around

As if the deification of SEC head coaches needed any encouragement. College football. It's literally now a religion!

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No announced punishment yet for Auburn QB

The Auburn quarterback was cited with drug possession days before SEC Media Days.

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Bama Ring Head Man is already here

This gent makes the rounds at SEC Media Days every year, as do billions (or so) of other Alabama fans. And this year, he's in the Wynfrey already, despite the Tide's session not scheduled until Thursday afternoon.

In 2012, our Steven Godfrey disguised himself and embedded in the Bama fan horde. He found it pleasant.

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Florida media guide cover is on (dumpster) fire

How else do you visually depict a team that just went 4-8?

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5 things the SEC wants you to know

By virtue of being good at playing college football, the SEC's also granted itself the chance to set the tone for the sport's national discourse every summer. Here are five things we'll all end up talking about until next year.

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Your SEC Media Days schedule guide

Your FAQ on what, how, who, and where (and kind of why) to follow SEC Media Days.

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SEC media guide title streak starts over at 0

The SEC had a seven-year run of national championships, which ended last season, when Auburn lost to Florida State. Maybe you've heard about this.

The effects on the conference's official annual media guide are apparent. Above is the 2014 edition, and below are the three previous, each of which gives very prominent space to the title streak.

Based on that trend, our Luke Zimmermann Photoshopped this mockup in anticipation of the SEC's eighth championship in a row:

Now the whole thing starts back at zero. Way to ruin our Photoshops, Noles.

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SEC Media Days EXCITEMENT Rankings

"Coach. Carson Whittle of the Gantts Quarry Gazette. Talk about how excited you are on a scale of 1 to 10, heading into your third season in the SEC."

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