Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sweet Home Alabama? Ehhh... no.

Greetings from Radio Row at the Wynfrey Hotel here in Birmingham. This is my eleventh SEC football media days that I've covered, all in this city. Where we are now is better than at the turn of the decade, when they had us downtown with nowhere to go for food at all, but it still has gotten pretty stale. The ACC media event Monday was at the Ritz-Carlton in Greensboro, Georgia. They move it around to a different high end resort every year. I'm not asking for that, just another city - Atlanta, Nashville, Tampa, New Orleans, Memphis, anywhere but Birmingham! Maybe someday - probably right after I stop covering the conference.

Since internet access issues at the ESPN Zone in Atlanta (where I did yesterday's show) kept me from blogging, here's the ACC event summary. Bobby Bowden looked like he was in good shape and seemed more energetic than the last few times I have seen him. He appears to really feel he can still coach as long as he wants - we'll see if that mood holds once FSU loses to Wake Forest again in week three. Randy Shannon still doesn't seem very comfortable in the public role of being head coach of a program. Whether he likes it or not, that's a big part of the job. I'm not sure he's the right guy to get the Canes back where they expect to be. Butch Davis, who last got them there, seems very comfortable with how things are going as he heads into year two at UNC. Tommy Bowden's Clemson team, which perpetually underachieves, is picked to win the ACC. When he was asked about their history of disappointing, Bowden fell back on the fact the media had never picked them to claim the title before and said it wasn't fair to have expected them to do that if we didn't pick them to. Left unsaid but obvious was the fact that his coaching is the REASON a lot of people didn't make that pick in the past. Nothing like trying to use your own mediocrity as a defense against criticism of it.

If someone asks you something you know won't be happening - for example, "would you divorce your wife if you had the chance to date Lindsay Lohan?" - how would you respond? I'm guessing you'd say "Of course not." Perhaps you'd even point out the question is ridiculous. What you wouldn't say is, "That's hypothetical." Unfortunately, with the topic being whether the Bucs would trade for Brett Favre, that's exactly what Bruce Allen is saying. Favre to the Bucs is a perfect Jon Gruden move - get older and add another quarterback. Sure, Favre hasn't really delivered in the playoffs for over a decade, but repeated postseason disappointments didn't stop the Bucs from signing Jeff Garcia either. This is a terrible idea - I'm sure Gruden will do whatever he can to make it happen.

At SEC media days five years ago, Florida got a ton of grief over the fact they had a giant photo of a crocodile on their media guide's cover rather than an alligator. They also had a picture of Ron Zook where a head coach was supposed to be. At least they spelled Zook's name right, though, which is more than Texas Tech was able to do with their quarterback. Graham Harrell's Heisman candidacy isn't exactly off to a flying start.

The Mountain West Conference's commissioner does everything but take out TV ads to campaign for the Pac-10's soon to be opening commissioner spot. The level of disrespect shown to his current employers for him to be saying that at their media days is off the charts. In that same article, the prospect of the Pac-10 becoming a twelve team conference is raised. In the next two years someone is going to get aggressive about changing their conference. It looks like the Big East is the most likely place for major alterations, but every BCS league could get dragged into it once things start happening.

This piece by raises questions about one of the issues leagues face when signing foreign players. In this case it's a bookie who also serves as an agent for prospects in the Dominican. Other times it's been mobsters with influence on Russians in hockey. It's tough enough to keep track of the US kids who've got trouble around them - good luck figuring out which ones from other countries do. As MLB signs more and more Latin American players this is something to keep an eye on.

Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow are the big stars here today, along with BCS winning dim bulb Les Miles. Vandy and Miss State are the opening acts. I'll be doing special appearances in my old spot on the Star 99.5 each of the three days I'm here, so tune in if you happen to have the time.

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