The Southern fried start of the 2009 college football media blitz begins Wednesday in Hoover, Ala. It's the three-day-long Southeastern Conference Media Days and this year there will be plenty of sizzle and juice.
For example, Florida coach Urban Meyer and Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin will address reporters from the same dais. Unfortunately for the reporters, the coaches will speak separately and on different days. Their paths likely will not cross this week.
Meyer, who was incorrectly called a cheater by Kiffin this offseason, will meet the media from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Kiffin likely will not arrive in Hoover until Friday, when the Vols are officially scheduled to appear. In addition to coaches, two players from each school are scheduled to field questions. Quarterback Tim Tebow and middle linebacker Brandon Spikes will represent the Gators.
According to a league spokesman, the SEC has issued about 1,000 media credentials for this year's event. That means there will be hundreds of questions asked about a dozen different ways. Here are five questions The Miami Herald will be asking:
SOME QUESTIONS 1. Who didn't vote for Tebow?
Florida's record-setting quarterback is finally a senior. He has won a Heisman Trophy, two Maxwell Awards and two national championships. Despite all the success, Tebow hasn't won over the hearts of everyone in the SEC.
Tebow recently was voted the preseason All-SEC first-team quarterback by league coaches, but it was not a unanimous selection. There was at least one dissenter. And that's very interesting, considering Tebow's credentials and the lack of top-flight quarterbacks in the SEC this season. The only other SEC passer of note is Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead, who helped the Rebels upset UF last season.
If Snead garnered a first-place vote -- and he likely did, considering he's the preseason SEC second-team quarterback -- then who voted for him? It couldn't have been Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt. Coaches can't vote for their own players.
2. How do you feel about your coach's big mouth?
Tennessee junior strong safety Eric Berry is considered one of the best players in college football. He'll need to be the best in years to keep Florida out of the end zone this season. Berry's new coach, Lane Kiffin, infuriated the reigning national champions over the offseason with accusations of recruiting violations. Berry will be on the receiving end of the payback.
Florida starting cornerback Janoris Jenkins was arrested this summer after being tasered by Gainesville police. Back-up Gators linebacker Dustin Doe, a former starter, has a court date in August for repeatedly driving with a suspended license. Will Meyer bench these key contributors at the beginning of the season?
4. Advice for Riley Cooper?
Selected in the 25th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Texas Rangers earlier this summer, Florida receiver Riley Cooper is currently in Texas attempting to earn a minor-league contract. Cooper is batting .171 in the Texas Collegiate League and doesn't know if he is going to return for his senior season with the Gators.
Meyer toiled in the Atlanta Braves' farm system for a few years before pursuing a coaching career in football and should have some sound advice for Cooper, who is a projected starter for the Gators.
5. Are we having fun yet?
Former Florida coach Steve Spurrier is entering his fifth season at South Carolina and the Gamecocks are still afterthoughts in the SEC. Spurrier, now 64 years old, is 28-22 at South Carolina since taking over for former coach Lou Holtz in 2005. Holtz lasted six seasons in Columbia before retiring to the press box. How many more years does Spurrier have left in him?