Five hot SEC topics

How hot are the seat going to get for LSU coach Les Miles, left, and Georgia's Mark Richt? (AP photos)

Published: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 4:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 4:59 p.m.

Traditionally (and unofficially), SEC Media Days, which begins today, signals the end of the summer and the start of the football season in this part of the country. Veteran Sun football beat writer Robbie Andreu takes a look at what could turn into five hot topics this week in Hoover, Ala.:

1. Alabama takes on the expectations

A year ago, Florida was coming off a national championship and considered a favorite to repeat. The expectations eventually seemed to wear down the Gators, culminating with the loss to Alabama in the SEC title game. Now, it's Alabama's turn to deal with those expectations. Nick Saban said in the spring that he's been thinking about this since only a few hours after the Tide's victory over Texas in the BCS Championship Game. As the Gators can attest, it's a long, tough haul carrying those expectations.

2. Urban Meyer and his health

Meyer went into some detail about his health at the SEC spring meetings in early June, but he's obviously going to be asked again Wednesday in Hoover. Meyer said in Destin he feels good, and he's ready to go. But what happens when the stress that comes with the season hits in September and October (and beyond)? People want to know.

3. Who is on (or headed for) the hot seat?

The preseason consensus is that Mark Richt and Les Miles are not on the hot seat. At least not yet. But they are considered possible candidates to hop on it if things don't go right this fall. The perception is the Bulldogs have slipped below Alabama and Florida in the league (and Richt can't seem to beat the Gators, which is a reality). And LSU is coming off back-to-back underachieving seasons under Miles.

4. Arkansas: Contender or pretender?

With quarterback Ryan Mallett and basically his entire offensive supporting cast returning, Arkansas has been getting a lot of love in the offseason. Some think this could be the surprise team in the West — and a serious challenger to Alabama and LSU. Are the Hogs ready to make that leap from pretender to contender? A lot depends on a defense that is supposed to be much-improved after faltering last season.

5. Spurrier set to make his move in season six at USC

Steve Spurrier has averaged seven wins a season and taken the Gamecocks bowling in four of his five seasons in Columbia. But he wants more — expects more. He thinks he has the talent now to challenge Florida in the East. The one thing keeping him from getting over the hump may be quarterback play. If Stephen Garcia will put in the work (and accept coaching from Spurrier), the Gamecocks might have a chance to break through this season. If Garcia struggles, Spurrier might have to accept mediocrity again.

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