In years past, SEC Media Days provided a preseason taste just before the run-up to the season began. But over time, the SEC Meetings in Destin took on a role of their own. And that spotlight was even brighter this past week.
Here are three things that we learned
Off-season Theater Only Goes So Far
We don’t have to go into the back-and-forth spat between Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban. If this were the AEW or WWE, the SEC meetings would have probably included photos or video of a monster truck driven by an alleged A&M booster crushing Saban’s parked car.
If you wanted a confrontation of Saban and Fisher in some lobby and Destin, that’s a wish that'll have to be a figment of imaginations.
These guys may dislike each other privately, but you won’t see it spilled out publicly.
Sure, you may have some back-handed swipes made. But at the end of the day, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is not afraid to step in as the role of Fred Thompson in Days Of Thunder and invoke the threat of “Japanese Inspection.”
The current schedule alignment? Be prepared for something different.
It’s a given that with Oklahoma and Texas on the way, the schedule breakdown will change. There are all sorts of ways to accomplish that. Will it be each team having one permanent opponent each year? Maybe each team has three teams it plays each year? Will the SEC find a way to nonsensically postpone a Georgia trip to play at Texas A&M? Will it be eight SEC games or nine, and how could that impact out of conference games? Will Georgia still play Oklahoma out of conference in 2023? Who knows.
In chatter that sounds similar to the adoption of the SEC championship in 1992, there’s even a sentiment regarding of whether or not playing nine games punish SEC teams if there’s still a four-team CFP format? And if nine SEC games are in play, should the SEC stage conference championships if other conferences don’t?
That decision was kicked down the road until late summer, but at some point, something has to be settled on.
...But don’t look for Georgia to shy from tough non-conference games
Now, will Texas and Oklahoma coming to the SEC plus a possible nine-SEC game schedule make things tougher? Yes. That obviously means fewer non-conference games. Assuming Georgia still plays Georgia Tech, a nine-game schedule leaves just two openings. Should a team use those for ‘paycheck’ games against FCS opponents or still welcome marquee matchups?
Look for Kirby Smart to do the latter as long as he is in Athens.
Sure, FCS games usually guarantee wins. But in a time when the view from home is a lot more comfortable, schools have to give fans a reason to show up on campus. Playing the UCLAs and Louisville’s in Athens does that much easier than against a Samford or Kent State.