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The annual SEC Media Days event has grown into what has become a mini Superbowl, complete with a full-fledged radio row, complete TV coverage and fans lining up for autographs. What used to be solely used as an event to prepare members of the media for the upcoming season, has evolved into a circus that would make Barnum & Bailey jealous.
Day one of the annual hoopla welcomed Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Kentucky to the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, Ala. Highlights include:
TV dates announced
The league announced the complete TV schedule for the first three weeks of the season. Due to the landmark deals announced by the SEC with TV partners CBS and ESPN, this announcement was much more anticipated than it has been in recent years, especially considering the amount of games that will be included on the ESPN family of networks, including: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN360.com, ESPN Regional Television (aka, the SEC Network) and ESPN 8, "The Ocho."
Week 1 televised games announced Wednesday include:
- The Florida Gators begin their SEC and National Title defense on September 5 at 7:00 p.m. ET in the Swamp vs. Charleston Southern on Fox Sports Net (FSN).
- New coaches on the tube: Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin begins his Vols career at 12:21 p.m. ET on the new SEC Network September 5 against Western Kentucky. Dan Mullen leads his Mississippi State team against Jackson State the same day at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Following that game on ESPNU, Auburn's Gene Chizik takes the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium at 7:00 p.m. ET.
- Vanderbilt looks to get back to a bowl game for the second straight season. The Commodores open at home at 7:30 p.m. ET vs. Western Carolina on Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS).
The quest to find the culprit
In what has become a mission of the assembled media in Birmingham, all four head coaches appearing on Wednesday, Arkansas' Bobby Petrino, Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson, Kentucky's Rich Brooks and Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, were all asked if they were the one that didn't vote for Tim Tebow as the first team All-SEC quarterback. Not surprisingly, all four said, "no."
In fact, Petrino took it a step further and added, "I'm not crazy."
He's right about that. Petrino can and has been called a lot of names over the years, but "crazy" isn't one of them.
Now, I'm no odds-maker, but I'd be willing to bet that somehow, 11 of the 11 coaches eligible to vote for Tebow (Urban Meyer isn't allowed to), will say that they voted for the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner. Hmmmm...maybe it was just a typo?
State of the league
Prior to the coaches taking the stage, SEC commissioner Mike Slive opened the proceedings with his annual "State of the SEC" speech. Among the highlights from the commish:
"I continue to be amazed by the accomplishments of our student athletes year after year. We are witness to one of the conference's most successful competitive periods in its long and distinguished history, a period that someday may be called the SEC's Golden Age."
He's calling it the Golden Age now, but reserves the right to change that moniker to a different color upon seeing all the green that the new TV contract will generate following this season.
"We are fortunate that the conference entered into its new television agreements when we did, just ahead of the full impact of the recession. The additional revenue we will generate will help our institutions maintain their all important broad based programs for nearly 5,000 student athletes who compete in our league, many of whom are the recipients of grants and aid. "
Translation: Wheewwww, dodged that bullet. Which way to the bank?
"In the Southeastern Conference, secondary violations are reported to the conference office. We review every report to determine its thoroughness and its accuracy, along with evaluating the appropriate punitive and corrective actions taken by the institution. Following that review, every secondary report is subsequently forwarded to the NCAA for final review and action, if any.
In most circumstances, our member institutions act appropriately to apply penalties and change policies following a secondary violation. However, when either a penalty or a policy is deemed insufficient, the conference has the authority and the will to apply stiffer penalties and to require additional corrective actions."
No word on whether or not this is considered a second public reprimand of Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter
Three & Out Archive:
Three & Out: SEC Media Days, Day 1 – July 22, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 16, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 12, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 9, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 3, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 30, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 26, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 18, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 15, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 11, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 7, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 3, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – February 28, 2009
Click here for the 2009 blog archive