I'm back in Columbia after a two day visit to the ACC's Kickoff event. It's their version of SEC Media Days, only with vastly better access to players and coaches than we could ever hope to have in Birmingham. Sunday night some fellow media types and I sat at the same table for dinner with Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and his wife. The closest the SEC will ever get to that is if someone happens to eat at Shula's at the same time as some big shot is in the same restaurant. A couple of quick thoughts:
1. Every year the voters in the media poll at the ACC event pretend it's a decade ago when they vote on where to put FSU. Yet again the Seminoles are overwhelming favorites in their division, despite having been thoroughly mediocre last year. Now that Jimbo's fully in charge, things may be better on offense. It's still a squad learning a completely different defensive scheme and facing good passing teams in Oklahoma and BYU in weeks two and three. Now they'll probably be doing it without expected starting linebacker Nigel Carr, thanks to his multiple arrests in the past week. None of this is saying FSU's back to me.
2. Virginia head coach Mike London is an impressive guy in person. I thought a lot of his background coming in, and he did not disappoint. If you didn't read the Washington Post story about London's work as a police officer prior to becoming a coach that I linked here last year, you should check it out now.
3. Randy Shannon has improved as an interview subject. He's still not the life of the party, but at least some personality is beginning to shine through after Shannon was robotic the last couple of years.
4. Butch Davis can tell as many kids as he wants that nothing's going happen as a result of the NCAA's agent investigation. Lane Kiffin did the same crap at USC. The reality is he doesn't know because he can't, which is why Davis shouldn't be making the claim in the first place.
Speaking of Lane, his unwillingness to do things correctly has led to him getting sued. Turns out NFL franchises aren't big on college teams hiring guys away who are already under contract - who could have guessed? Lane has not only succeeded in getting USC sued but also ticked off an NFL guy who's a prominent alum of the school. Great way to make an impression on the new AD, especially since Pat Haden is believed not to be a fan of Lane's way of doing things. The odds are pretty good that Jeff Fisher and the Titans would have allowed Kiffin's new OC to interview for the post had they been approached honestly prior to him being hired. No team would put up with this, though. Remember when Lane was committing all his bonehead mistakes at Tennessee, and we were being told it was part of some master PR plan? Think he wants to try that spin on this debacle?
Jacksonville finally sold their stadium name, which is the good news. It's too bad it's a bank I've never heard of that does not have offices in most of the country, but you take what you can get sometimes. It's the first positive PR thing the Jaguars have had for their longterm survival in the city in quite a while, and at least it's not a dot com or a goofy sounding beer tie in like Miami did.