The annual circus known as SEC Football Media Days—the unofficial start to the college football season—kicks off on Tuesday, July 17 at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala.
The annual event routinely provides us with anything from real news, such as commissioner Mike Slive's "State of the Conference" speech last season to questions about Tim Tebow's virginitiy...and everything in between.
This season's edition of SEC Media Days won't feature several SEC stars, including LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, Missouri quarterback James Franklin and Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers.
Does that mean that SEC Media Days will be a dud?
There will always be something that defines Media Days, and rarely do the players who are in attendance have anything to do with it. These players are coached on what to say, and—perhaps more importantly—what not to say.
The story lines that arise in Hoover often have to do with overall college football landscape, like realignment; or the major news stories dominating the headlines in college football, which is what spurred Alabama head coach Nick Saban's pimp comments from 2010.
Besides, the purpose of SEC Media Days has shifted dramatically since its inception. The event used to be a place for reporters covering other teams and members of the national media to get to know players and coaches better, and gather information to use throughout the season.
That's not the case anymore.
The 24/7/365 news cycle that exists nowadays gives everyone access to that information all the time.
The event now serves as a Super Bowl-style media event for members of the media to congregate, share ideas and hopefully have a little fun asking questions to the players and coaches. Those questions sometimes generate news items, but that's only part of the equation.
SEC Media Days are now more of a convention than a press event.
The lack of star power is a bit disappointing. I sure would like to ask Mathieu and McCarron about their Twitter war from earlier this summer, and find out how Lattimore is recovering his knee injury. But their absence is only a minor disappointment.
Having players that are comfortable with the media, willing to have a little fun, and will be honest and forthcoming is more important. That's usually why players are selected these days, and that's the reason that SEC Media Days won't be a dud in 2012.