Coaches have come to SEC Media Days full of themselves because of a roster that appeared to be loaded.
Often, when we have checked in with them five months later, it wasn’t so good.
The classic example was Alabama in 2000, a year removed from an SEC championship. Mike Dubose came to Birmingham talking about a national championship. The Tide lost its opener to UCLA, then lost games to Southern Miss and Central Florida. Alabama finished 3-8 and Dubose was canned.
Three years later, Tommy Tuberville stood at the podium and talked about how much he liked his team. Turns out he was a year early. Auburn started the season ranked sixth in the polls but was shut out in its opening game by USC, then lost to Georgia Tech. The Tigers finished 8-5 and Tuberville was going to be let go before Auburn officials had a secret meeting with Bobby Petrino that was exposed.
Last year, it was Steve Spurrier who announced that South Carolina was ready to contend for the SEC title. The Gamecocks went 6-6 and failed to reach a bowl game.
The point is that it’s best not to pound your chest when practice hasn’t even started yet.
Mark Richt appears to get it. In his presentation Thursday morning, he talked about taking advantage of the moment but trying to win only the first game.
“People started talking about a national championship,” he said. “That’s too long to be chewing on that bone. I’ve told the players this preseason hype could be a blessing or a curse.”