As the sun sets on the first day of my first SEC Media Days, I’m still not completely sure what just happened. Here are my ten first impressions from the event, as best as I can piece together from iPhone pictures and my Twitter timeline.
1. Chaos. Utter chaos.
I’ll be frank–I had no idea what to expect at SEC Media Days. It’s been called the unofficial kickoff to football season, a media circus, and basically, the biggest “non-event event” in the South. After one day of walking around and reporting from the team sessions, the only thing I’ve concluded is that it’s utter chaos. From raucous Radio Row to grown men smashing against each other to get a soundbite from a player, this is the sports media at its best, and in turn, its worst. There are more media credentialed for SEC Media Days than the BCS Championship Game. ESPN, Fox Sports, CSS, and every TV and radio station from across the South converges on The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover for three days of non-stop football talk.
I fully expect this place to implode when Nick Saban takes the podium on Thursday.
2. Steve Spurrier is the SEC’s crazy uncle
I used to hate Steve Spurrier. And then we finally beat him. Joker Phillips didn’t work out as a head coach at Kentucky, but we can thank him for breaking the Spurrier and Tennessee streaks. Now, I can fully appreciate Steve Spurrier for the wonderful, snarky, hysterical creature he is. He had the line of the night when talking about the budding friendship between him and Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze: “Hugh and I have a lot in common. We both play golf. We both wear visors. We both call plays.”
Ten dollars says they both enjoyed the beach bar at the Hilton Sandestin during the SEC Spring Meetings.
3. When all else fails, there will be Golden Flake, Dr. Pepper, and BC Powder
In life, three things are certain: life, death, and taxes. At an SEC event, three things are also certain: Golden Flake, Dr. Pepper, and BC Powder. For that reason, I was a little alarmed this morning when the BC Powder wasn’t spread out on the table as it was at the SEC Tournament. Rest assured, officials broke it out in the afternoon, right after Gary Pinkel’s whined about having to play Texas A&M in College Station three years in a row. Nice timing.
4. The SEC killed a forest to print this year’s media guides
I’m still surprised that that the SEC continues to print out quotes and box scores for media members, let alone has an entire room full of media guides from every school in the conference free for the taking. To be fair, this is the last year that they’re distributing media guides in print, but still. Let’s save some trees, y’all.
5. Jadeveon Clowney is a superstar
We all know Jadeveon Clowney from his monster hit against poor Michigan’s Vincent Smith last season (if you really need a reminder, click here). Along with Johnny Manziel, Clowney was advertised as one of the big stars of this SEC Media Days, and the buzz around him only grew during the day. Word spread when Clowney first started making the rounds that he had run a 4.46 40 yesterday after a workout, which is just downright terrifying when you consider he’s 6’6″ and 270 lbs. Take all your nightmares and throw them out the window, because Clowney chasing you down is the scariest thing ever.
6. If someone wears a bow tie, they’re likely from South Carolina
In my totally unscientific survey throughout the day, I concluded that the bow tie wearers at SEC Media Days likely come from the following states:
55% South Carolina
25% Mississippi (Oxford, not Starkville)
0.5% Missouri (QB James Franklin)
7. There are perks to being a woman in sports media
No bathroom lines!
8. It is f’ing freezing in this place
I don’t want to get all #firstworldproblems on you guys, but I have been freezing cold all day, and I was wearing pants and long sleeves. The main media room at SEC Media Days was about twenty degrees colder than any of the other rooms. How do media members from 14 different schools and countless national outlets bond? Bitching about being cold. I will be bringing a jacket tomorrow.
9. The Escalator of Disappointment
Media Days has become so popular that fans crowd the lobby hoping for a glimpse of their gridiron heroes coming down the escalator. Seeing the disappointment on their faces when they realize it’s just me is priceless and, yes, a little bit depressing.
10. Best Dressed of the Day goes to…
Corey Miller, aka “The Pastor of Pain,” a radio show host from Columbia, South Carolina. Miller played for the Gamecocks and had a nine-year NFL career, playing for the Giants and the Vikings. While Ole Miss players Mike Marry and Donte Moncrief were popular “Best Dressed” picks for their pink and seersucker suits, respectively, I’m going with Miller, whose pants clash fantastically with the horrid hotel carpet.
MUCH MUCH more coming tomorrow, as a whopping six teams take the podium throughout the day, starting with Johnny Football/Texas A&M at 8:30 a.m. CT and Mark Stoops and UK’s players 9:50 a.m. I’ll be covering all of it, so check back early and often.