Heard In The Halls, Day 3: No love for Clowney?

Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 5:29 p.m.

HOOVER, Ala. — The SEC preseason teams as voted by the media came out Thursday morning and the real stunner wasn't that Alabama was picked to win the West or Georgia to win the East. The real stunner was that there were 20 people who voted who didn't select Jadeveon Clowney. One national writer went to social media to try to find out the identity of these men or women by asking them to reveal themselves. This isn't as big a deal as when one coach didn't vote for Tim Tebow in 2009 (it was famously Steve Spurrier), but it was surprising. It was also surprising that the defending Heisman Trophy winner received less than half of the votes for the quarterback position. Maybe if he had a quiet offseason it might have been different.

*One of the things that has been annoying about SEC Media Days is the number of so-called journalists asking questions while wearing team hats or shirts. The logos have been almost non-existent this year in the hallways at the Hyatt Regency. Every time I would ask someone in the SEC about it in the past, they'd say, “It's a free country.” And nobody from the league will say they tried to put the kibosh on it this year. It's not a big thing for you, but it kind of bugs the writers.

*I came here searching for answers and found some concerning the selection committee for the new four-team playoff. The feeling is that nobody who covers a team could be asked because it would be a conflict of interest. And that if some were asked, there is no assurance that they would be allowed to by their news organizations. Kind of like when the Associated Press pulled its poll out of the BCS because it didn't want to make the news, just report on it. So now we're going to have current athletic directors, former administrators and perhaps some former media members on the committee.

*Nick Saban's arrival echoes into the ballroom at the Hyatt Regency because there are so many Alabama fans down in the lobby waiting for him (one was wearing a hat fashioned after a national championship ring). You could hear a loud “Roll Tide” cheer even in the closed ballroom when the coach entered the front doors to sign some autographs. It kind of sounded like a tornado. Other than the Alabama fans, it wasn't the usual circus in the lobby during the week.

*There is a real art to making your way from the ballroom to the bathroom. For the rookies, it's easy to get trampled by a horde of men and women carrying cameras and backing up as a coach is making his way from one interview room to another. The veterans keep an eye out for the wave of the rude. It's almost like being on the sideline for a football game and a play comes your way and you know it might not be the most masculine thing in the world but you start backing up. A new element has been added this year to the obstacle course — young women with small cameras on their shoulders walking through the halls texting. Gotta dodge them.

*Ran into Dari Nowkhah of ESPNU during one of his breaks from the coverage and asked him who his favorite interview has been during SEC Media Days. He said he really likes talking to Bret Bielema because the new Arkansas coach is so laid back. He also liked talking to Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.

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