The Back Nine: Media Days leave an impression


The Back Nine comes at you feeling like football season really isn’t that much closer, but it was still great to see so many friends at SEC Media Days (and also the other media members):

10. It was a couple of months ago that SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey floated the idea of at least discussing the possibility of moving SEC Media Days away from Hoover, Ala. Somehow, the fact that he was still considering it became a story out there last week. While we like to complain about the town that sidewalks forgot, let us not forget that the media complains about things like free food, air conditioning that’s too cold and on-field injuries that delay games. We should understand one thing — if a move is made it’s to accommodate fans more than it is media. The way they are treated now is abysmal, shoved into a roped-off area in the lobby like they were making veal. Of course, nobody is making them come, but it seems that the commish is serious about broaching the subject and has Nashville, Atlanta and Dallas as possibilities. Dallas would be all about extending the footprint and turning the event into a fan experience at Jerry World. It would no longer pack the media in the way it does now. In fact, I’d bet media attendance would be cut in half. It will be interesting to see what the league decides to do or whether it’s just trying to get more from Hoover, the way it successfully did with the SEC baseball tournament.

11. OK, so here are my five not-so-hot takes from SEC Media Days:

One of the sophomore quarterbacks is going to have a struggling season. Might be Shea Patterson. Might be Jake Bentley. It’s just a feeling.

The biggest surprise of the media’s voting was having Kentucky fifth in the East. I think it was lazy voting. I’d be willing to bet a rack of ribs Kentucky does not finish fifth in the division.

Four days is perfect for what we do at this event. Three days was way too jam-packed and five would be too long and drawn out.

There were a lot of non-stories and bad questions. I half-expected someone to ask about the Kevin O’Sullivan to South Carolina non-story.

If you’re going to walk down Radio Row, you had better be prepared to stop and have a seat and put some headphones on.

12. One thing about the SEC Media Days is that I didn’t leave Hoover feeling any differently about a team than I did when we pulled into the Galleria Mall parking lot (too cheap to pay for the garage or valet). I know Alabama will be real good. I don’t think Missouri will be very good. Ole Miss is a mystery. The rest of the league feels like a bunch of X-factors. But instead of worrying about who the second-best team is, how about someone knock the Tide from their perch? That would change some of the narrative about the conference.

13. Of course, the ACC thumping its chest at its watered-down version of Media Days. If you didn’t brag after last season, when are you going to brag? We’ll see if that league can sustain it, but I can’t help but wonder two things — 1. If Alabama had held on for one more second and won the game, would the ACC be considered the best league? and 2. Would Miami be getting so much love with the same roster if Al Golden was the coach? In the end, it’s up to the SEC to wrestle back control of the perception that it is the best conference beginning with Alabama-FSU to start the season (not to mention Tennessee-Georgia Tech and South Carolina-N.C. State). There are 20 games between the two leagues and if the SEC wants to be in the conversation of best league it has to start by dispatching the ACC.

14. So who will be the first coach to get a 15-yard penalty for stepping on the field to argue a call? Some of the coaches may need a leash or perhaps one of those electronic dog fences to keep them from taking their beefs to the field. Now, THAT would be fun to watch. Will Muschamp said he has two guys assigned to hold him back and one is allowed to tackle. Place your bets now.

15. When did the NBA summer league become such a big deal? The games don’t count, the biggest news has been injuries and it doesn’t appear any of the players are being coached. When summer league basketball and the 3-on-3 league are getting this kind of attention, it just shows that we need a summer football league. I volunteer to serve as commissioner. Besides, the NFL needs some new innovations (see: USFL, XFL) to steal from before it buries another league.

16. Congrats go out to Florida golf coach J.C. Deacon, who can certainly hold his own with his talented Gator golfers. Deacon won the 71st Florida Open on Sunday, making an up-and-down birdie on the final hole at Black Diamond to win by one. He shot 15-under for the tournament. In other words, the dude can golf his ball. He’d probably be a good teammate in the 23rd Bob Dooley Invitational. Amazingly, despite postponing the tournament for more than a month, we only lost one team. I know it’s getting close (July 29) because I had one of those dreams where you’ve forgotten things you were supposed to do and it’s a disaster. Wake up!

17. The Tweet of the Week goes to Beau Bishop, a Cleveland radio host who I’ve gotten to know on Twitter — “Trying to explain tennis scoring to a 5 year old will lead you to drink.” It is a silly scoring system, one that follows tradition when tradition makes no sense. But that’s why God invented mimosas. And congrats to Roger Federer for winning his 19th major, but don’t compare it to Jack Nicklaus’ 18. Tennis and golf are truly apples and oranges. I’m not saying one is harder, just that they are way different.

18. The trip to Hoover and back was 900 miles of Sirius radio which went from The Beatles channel to Howard Stern to comedy channels and made the drive feel like nothing (especially because I was in the passenger seat). But as soon I got back I knew I needed to work on two things — the golf tournament and a new playlist:

“If We Were Vampires” by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit.

“Call It Dreaming” by Iron & Wine.

“Everything Now” by Arcade Fire.

“Honey and Milk” by Andrew Belle.

And for an oldie, “Champagne Jam” by Atlanta Rhythm Section.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at