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SEC Media Days: Kiffin Gets Nice

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Lane Kiffin ran the anchor leg today, and reporters crowded the room to hear Lane Kiffin launch into a 40-minute diss track of a speech against every other coach and team in the SEC ... a rant that never happened. ↵

↵Kiffin came to the podium with his SEC ballot in hand to show that he did indeed vote for Tim Tebow for 1st team All-SEC, in addition to 10 other Gators he put on his ballot. He predicted Florida would win a national title, called a Heisman for Tim Tebow, said Urban Meyer was quite nice to him at the SEC coaches' meeting in Destin, and passed around a basket of delicious, fresh-baked cookies Layla baked that morning. ↵

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↵He could have used a better backdrop photo, though. It looks like they caught him mid-belch in that one. ↵

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↵In short, Kiffin in person was likeable, contrite, funny, and simultaneously apologetic about his offseason comments, casting the entire thing as an attempt to generate buzz surrounding the Tennessee program. ↵

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↵⇥"I have not loved everything that I've done. I have not loved everything that I've had to do. But in my opinion it had to be done." ↵
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↵For those who wanted him to accuse Nick Saban of keying his car in the parking lot or some other late-day drama, they got zilch out of Kiffin, who was too busy divulging Ed Orgeron's official Red Bull consumption (Up at 4:00, three cans down by 4:20 a.m.) his father's manic work habits (the Bucs had an office set up for him to watch SEC film on vacation,) and generally being a blustery but unflappable presence on the podium. He didn't even flinch when a reporter asked a truly thorny question about what the recruitment of Daniel Hood said to the victims of sexual assault. (Read more in a circumspect evaluation of the Hood case here.) ↵

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↵He got the toughest questions of the day and performed well, certainly avoiding any serious gaffes, and definitely disappointing a press crew hoping for a spectacle to highlight an otherwise bland series of press conferences. As hyped-up as the final showdown between Kiffin and press corps was, the major story from SEC Media Days came in its first thirty minutes in the presentation of the league's deal with ESPN. The deal is months old now, but seeing the logo and finally letting the reality of the Mouse's commitment to the SEC sink in means one thing: while the SEC may or may not be the best football conference by sheer quality, it will certainly be the most monied, and is approaching the financial status of being what the English Premier League is to European soccer, a corporate entity with reach far beyond its geographical borders. One thousand reporters all snagging box lunches might seem like child's play in six years if the growth curve for SEC Media Days continues its Himalayan climb upward. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.