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College football conference media days, very briefly explained

Your annual mid-July reminder that football is coming soon.

NCAA Football: SEC Media Day Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

In mid-July, typically one of the quietest parts of the college football offseason, comes the media circus of conference media days. They’re the annual media appearances of coaches and players from each conference, and they’re another sign that actual football is getting close.

Think about those multi-day work conferences that you go to with lots of meetings, presentations, talking, and appearances. It’s basically that, but with football stuff, and members of the media in button downs and khakis and lanyards are asking the questions.

This is pretty much the first media availability for coaches and players since spring football.

News about player suspensions or injuries usually come out. Some coaches, such as Will Muschamp, will filibuster for 10 solid minutes by rattling off their entire rosters. You’ll hear the general coach-speak about how the offense and defense are developing. Sometimes announcements about conference television or streaming networks come out at these, too. Coaches hope to get through the event without saying anything actually interesting.

There’s some light spiciness, though.

Sometimes coaches make claims about conference superiority. Steve Spurrier was famous for delivering one-liners about his rivals at these, and a few other coaches have tried to carry on his comedic legacy. And sometimes a school that rhymes with Shmole Shmiss is in the middle of an exciting lawsuit.

For players, it’s a pretty fun experience, even most of the questions they have to answer won’t be all that interesting. There are always some silly moments, though. For example, one year Auburn’s kicker talked about dragons.

Watching your team’s entire performance might be a bit boring, but chances are something at least relatively significant will come out about your team.

Fans do attend these things, having gone six months without football so far. Nobody comes out quite like Alabama fans.

And then the media people who cover your team’s conference will try to give your coach a very serious GRADE about his performance and whether or not he properly handled the tough questions about extra point tactics from the Dubuque Farm Review Quarterly for Kids.

Each conference’s is slightly different.

SEC: A 78-day event (it’s only four at the moment, but it’ll get there), and easily the one that gets the most attention, in terms of TV exposure and fan attendance (at the begrudging of non-SEC fans). It moved to the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta this year, but it used to take place in a very cold hotel in Alabama that was weirdly connected to a damn mall. Over the course of the 293-day event, this is the only thing that happens every year that anyone notices:

Big 12: Essentially two days of commissioner Bob Bowlsby annually deflecting realignment/expansion rumors. There probably will also (still) be talks about that 2014 Playoff snub, and oh yeah, and all of the mascots have a dance-off:

Big Ten: A competition between head coaches to see who can say fewer words than Kirk Ferentz (spoiler alert: no one beats him).

ACC: This thing used to be held at this nice golf resort, including a coach, player, and media golf tourney. It’s since moved to downtown Charlotte. Either way, it’s much less stuffy than the SEC or Big Ten events. There’s stuff like this incredible photo booth:

Pac-12: It’s really chill and laid back, just like the media day’s location in California — there’s even conference-themed corn hole! Maybe a head coach will show up and play!

Look how fun this looks!

Serious media business!

It’s also just one day, the extreme opposite of the SEC’s 2,414-day extravaganza. Sometimes Mike Leach dresses up like a pirate, too.

AAC: Half of the coaches won’t be there in a year, after they get better jobs at bigger schools. It’s in Rhode Island, so just know that everyone present is running on endless chowder at the annual clam bake.

All the others! The other non-powers have their own media days, as do lots of leagues in lower levels and even individual schools like BYU. They’re lightly attended and minimally broadcast, but fans of those schools appreciate them all the same.

They all have unique names too. There’s the ACC and Big Ten Kickoff, the AAC Summer Kickoff SEC, Big 12, Pac 12, Sun Belt Media Days, the C-USA Media Kickoff, and so on.

2018’s FBS conference media days schedule

Most conferences stream their media days live on their websites and social platforms.

SEC

  • July 16-19
  • SEC Network/WatchESPN
  • Atlanta, Ga.

ACC

  • July 18-19
  • Charlotte, N.C.

American

  • July 24
  • Newport, R.I.

Big 12

  • July 16-17
  • Frisco, Texas

Conference USA

  • July 18-19
  • Irving, Texas

Sun Belt

  • July 22-23
  • New Orleans

Big Ten

  • July 23-24
  • Big Ten Network
  • Chicago, Ill.

MAC

  • July 23-24
  • Canton, Ohio

Mountain West

  • July 24-25
  • Las Vegas

Pac-12

  • July 25
  • Pac-12 Networks
  • Los Angeles, Calif.