The 2013 college football season has unofficially begun, as more than 1,000 media members descended upon Hoover, Ala., for the 2013 SEC Media Days.
From the opening statement made by Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive all the way through the interviews with Steve Spurrier and South Carolina at the day's end, part one of the three-day media bonanza provided plenty of headlines.
Head coaches and player representatives from South Carolina, Ole Miss, Florida and Missouri all met with the media on Tuesday, with the remaining programs set to speak their piece on Wednesday and Thursday.
Slive Wants Change
The 2013 SEC Media Days began like many before them: with Mike Slive singing the praises of his own conference.
After his customary "brag bag," he jumped right in and made a number of daring statements about his vision for the NCAA.
His first point was that the NCAA hasn't successfully met the full cost of attendance for its student-athletes and that the conferences must be allowed to provide for their players.
Slive: "The NCAA has not been successful in meeting the full cost of attendance demand of our student athletes."— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) July 16, 2013
Next, Slive ripped into the NCAA's archaic recruiting regulations, as he claimed they belong in the era of Johannes Gutenberg, who invented the printing press in the 15th century.
Slive then continued, criticizing the structure of the NCAA—specifically its board of directors.
From start to finish, Slive put it all out on the table, and his comments will surely spark plenty of discussion around the national college football scene.
Will his fellow commissioners echo those sentiments over the coming weeks?
Muschamp vs. Meyer
During his meeting with the media, Florida head coach Will Muschamp took the opportunity to fire a shot at former Gators and current Ohio State boss Urban Meyer, as tweeted by ESPN's Brett McMurphy:
Muschamp on Meyer: "We appreciate our friends from Ohio making sure we're complying w/NCAA rules ...— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 16, 2013
Muschamp on Meyer (cont.): ... they certainly know a lot about NCAA rules"— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 16, 2013
Earlier this month, Clay Travis of Fox Sports reported that Meyer and OSU blew the whistle on the Gators for a recruiting violation.
Although Meyer later denied any involvement in the incident, as reported by Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun, Muschamp didn't turn down the chance to "thank" the Buckeyes for their help.
It will be interesting to see how Meyer responds during the Big Ten Conference media days later this month.
Mizzou QB James Franklin Calls Out Tigers Fans
In the most awkward moment of the first day, Missouri quarterback James Franklin was asked which SEC team had the rudest fans. He answered that his own fans at MU were the worst in the conference.
After a rough, injury-riddled 2012 season, Franklin apparently received a lot of flak as the Tigers fell short of bowl eligibility.
After his comments hit the air, the reaction on Twitter was huge and partly unexpected. While many Mizzou fans were angered, a number also agreed with Franklin.
It wasn't the smartest comment from Franklin, and not surprisingly, it caused quite a stir.
If he was looking for a break from those rude fans, it probably won't be coming for a while now.
Don't Sleep on Mizzou
Missouri didn't have the greatest first season in the SEC, but there is plenty of reason for optimism in 2013.
Not only will Franklin be returning under center, but the Tigers will also benefit from the return of their star running back, Henry Josey.
If the duo of Franklin and Josey can stay healthy in 2013, Mizzou's fast-paced offense will be in excellent shape.
L'Damian Washington "smiles" seeing Henry Josey and James Franklin HEALTHY in a backfield together for first time since 2011— Tyler Fulghum (@TylerABC17) July 16, 2013
The Tigers will also have a pair of budding stars on the outside in L'Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham.
If healthy, Mizzou will open some eyes in 2013—don't sleep on the Tigers.
Suit of the Day: Ole Miss LB, Mike Marry
Ole Miss LB Mike Marry named prime suspect in Craig Sager closet heist. pic.twitter.com/jGboD4uDOk— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) July 16, 2013
No, it isn't Easter Sunday, but Marry somehow made this pink and blue pastel suit look outstanding.
The pink jacket on blue pants is a bold move—even more bold than the statements made by Slive and Muschamp—but Marry's pink and blue plaid tie pulled it all together perfectly.
Can anyone top this look on Wednesday or Thursday?
Steve Spurrier Sounds Off
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is never at a loss for words.
On Tuesday in Hoover, the Gamecocks head coach picked on Notre Dame, called for expense money for players and sung the praises of his defensive demon Jadeveon Clowney.
First, the "ol' ball coach" said that SEC coaches, in both football and basketball, would pony up for a $300-per-game stipend if the schools couldn't afford it.
Spurrier said SEC fball & hoops coaches voted unanimously for fball & hoops players should be provided $300 expense money— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 16, 2013
Steve Spurrier says SEC coaches will pay $300/game stipend if schools can't afford it http://t.co/P26XvEQ6M4— Eye on College FBall (@EyeOnCFB) July 16, 2013
Spurrier has mentioned this idea numerous times over the past few years and took the time to hammer it home once again.
He went on to reveal that the SEC coaches voted 14-0 that Notre Dame should be in a conference full time.
Next, he continued on his hot streak, confirming that star defensive lineman Clowney did, in fact, run a 4.46-second 40-yard dash during practice.
Spurrier confirmed Clowney (as has Clowney himself) that he ran a 4.46 yesterday. "He said he's lost some weight. He's down to about 270."— Michael Haney (@Haney1075) July 16, 2013
Spurrier is known for giving some of the best interviews in all of sports, and the 2013 SEC Media Days were no different for the coaching legend.
Jeff Driskel Expects Improvement in 2013
Now entering his first full season as the starting quarterback at Florida, Jeff Driskel is ready to truly take the reins of the Gators, as he commented at the SEC Media Days.
Driskel's numbers weren't that impressive, as he didn't even break the 2,000-yard mark through the air in 2012.
However, the 6'4", 234-pound junior is expected to take on even more responsibility in 2013, a role he says he is ready for.
Driskel showed poise through a day of interviews in Hoover, often alluding to his change in attitude and the amount of respect he has earned in the eyes of his teammates.
With trips to Miami, LSU, Missouri and South Carolina all on the slate, he'll need to make that jump for the Gators to compete for an SEC title in 2013.
Fear Factor: Jadeveon Clowney
When speaking with reporters in Hoover, Clowney—the scariest man in college football—talked about a few players who are afraid of him.
He specifically talked about seeing the fear in the eyes of Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and said that Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is among three SEC quarterbacks Clowney knows are afraid of him.
Jadeveon Clowney said three SEC QBs (one being Aaron Murray) are scared of him. Along with Tahj Boyd. I tend to agree with that— Edward Aschoff (@AschoffESPN) July 16, 2013
Though he just mentioned four quarterbacks, closer to 400 quarterbacks across the NCAA are terrified of Clowney.
And if they aren't, they should be.
As a nice doggy bag for Day 1 in Hoover, Clowney provided reporters with a high-pitched impersonation of Spurrier and also tipped them off to a telltale sign of when the Ol' Ball Coach is angry.
Additionally, Clowney talked about his infamous 4.4-second 40 time and broke down how he'll approach chasing down Johnny Manziel if the two meet on the field in 2013.
The ball is now in Johnny Football's court, who will meet with the media in Hoover on Wednesday.