HOOVER, Ala. — There is still another day of this edition of SEC Media Days, but in some ways it kind of ended Wednesday.
After all, the parade of quarterbacks is over.
Today, the three teams who will finish this thing off chose not to bring quarterbacks. That’s OK. We probably couldn’t take much more of the confidence that was oozing out of the first nine.
The first seven teams at SEC Media Days brought quarterbacks, including one in Kelly Bryant who has never played a game for his current team. The Clemson transfer came across as humble, yet confident and impressed everyone with his story about why he chose to stay with Missouri rather than leave once the school was hit with a bowl ban.
That opened it up Monday and the quarterbacks just kept coming. Feleipe Franks was articulate and his touching story about befriending a young man with health problems showed his softer side. Georgia’s Jake Fromm had the media room buzzing because he was wearing Croakies with his sunglasses.
Hey, it’s the little things that make this week. But I digress.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow talked about the food in Louisiana beating the food in Ohio. There’s some breaking news. Kellen Mond of Texas A&M told us he believes he’s the best quarterback in the league. And on and on it went until Jake Bentley of South Carolina wrapped up the quarterback derby Wednesday.
This was not by accident. And it’s one of those things that makes even the cynical sportswriters nod and realize the SEC doesn’t just mean more, it understands more.
The Big Ten Media Days starts today and there are two quarterbacks in attendance. One of them is not Shea Patterson at Michigan. He has been to Media Days before … here in Hoover as a freshman at Ole Miss.
(The other four Power Five conferences have a total — a total — of 10 quarterbacks attending their Media Days.)
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey did not send out any kind of directive to the coaches about bringing quarterbacks. But … if you know who your starter is, it makes sense to bring the face of your program.
That even means you, Nick Saban, even though it means the throng at the Wynfrey Hyatt was already squealing and fainting at your mere presence. Bring along the guy who might win the Heisman Trophy this year and almost won it last year in Tua Tagovailoa.
“It’s not like we’re going to fine anybody (who didn’t bring a quarterback),” Sankey told me. “We just asked them to use common sense.”
Which is why we had a run of three quarterbacks Monday, four Tuesday and two Wednesday.
“I’ve tried not to do that before,” Florida coach Dan Mullen said Monday. “I got really in a lot of trouble from the SEC.”
Well, it was more like he got a phone call when he was the head coach at Mississippi State.
“Dak (Prescott) … I wasn’t going to bring him,” Mullen said. “I always brought some underclassmen or people that hadn’t done it before. His senior year, fifth year, he’s one of the biggest names in the league. How can you not bring him to media days? I figure everybody likes quarterbacks, especially if they’ve played.”
Exactly. The only thing that is a bigger draw than the free buffets and unlimited supply of Diet Dr. Pepper at these meetings is the allure of the sexiest position in sports.
How else would we know that Tagovailoa throws and shoots baskets lefty and swings a golf club right-handed?
All kidding aside, it’s not just that the SEC gets it. It’s that the SEC is also loaded at the most important position.
“It’s a good year for the quarterbacks in this conference,” said Georgia coach Kirby Smart. “I don’t know that there’s been a year where there’s been so many quarterbacks that have the experience that they have.
“That’s usually not a good sign for the defensive coordinators in this conference.”
The SEC is not only at the top when it comes to recruiting, but this is also where they come for a second chance. There could be as many as five transfer quarterbacks starting in the conference this season.
Seriously, if you were picking 10 deep at the quarterback position for an All-SEC team, the hardest part would be who to leave out.
Who is the fifth best quarterback in this league? Franks? Bentley? Whoever ends up starting at Auburn?
It will all wash out over the next four months. All I know is this could be a banner year for the banner conference.
It Just Means More … quarterbacks, that is.
— Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.