Dooley’s Dozen: 12 most intriguing storylines for SEC media days

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Someone asked me the other day if I will miss going to SEC media days. And the truth is that I will, but not all of it.

I will miss seeing so many friends, both in the media and the SEC. I will miss sitting around at dinner with the hacks finding out what is really going on at the 14 SEC schools. I will miss the social hours and the buzz of the main room.

I won’t miss the long days, overpriced hotel beers and fans disguised as media members.

There is this myth that SEC media days are the unofficial start of college football season. It certainly gets us fired up, but when Billy Napier gets on that University Athletic Association plane Wednesday afternoon to come home, it will still be 44 days until the opener.

Media days is still talking season, but I also refer to it as the SEC clambake because it is like a reunion of sorts for people who pay the most attention to America’s League.

I hope everyone has a blast. I’ll be watching. And for this Dooley’s Dozen, we’ll talk about the 12 storylines that I will be paying the most attention to.

Is the SEC staying put at 16?

Marc Weiszer/Athens Banner-Herald

After the USC-UCLA bolt to the Big Ten and considering what happened last year, there is going to be more talk about realignment than anything else. And you never say never. But I think the SEC is good at 16 teams (eventually) because the value of adding teams doesn’t make any sense unless it is Notre Dame (which won’t happen).

Does the media get angry Nick?

Vasha Hunt/AL.com

We love us some angry Nick Saban. I know that a lot of people are anticipating a steel cage match between Saban and Jimbo Fisher, but they take the podium 48 hours apart. Still, Saban has a lot of things he is not happy about and it makes for great theater when he gets steamed.

What does Sankey say about getting NIL under control?

Syndication: USA TODAY

It will be much talked about and the commissioner will likely address it, but I am not sure he has any more answers than anyone else. It will be interesting to see if he wants a uniform code of conduct with NIL for the league or calls on his coaches to be more careful.

Who’s on second?

Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel

We all know that Alabama will be picked to win the West and Georgia to win the East. And that some lunkhead will vote for a team that has no chance just to be different. But who will be picked second in both divisions? My bet would be Tennessee in the East and Texas A&M in the West. We’ll see.

Can South Carolina and Tennessee keep it going?

David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

The Vols went 7-6, but averaged 50 points a game in their last three and scored at least 34 in nine games last year. South Carolina won its bowl game and three of its last five and killed it in the transfer portal. The two coaches shared the first [autotag]Steve Spurrier[/autotag] Award for first-year coaches. Does either team take the next step?

How does Billy do?

Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun

We don’t expect anything spectacular out of Napier in his first try at SEC media days and it’s not like it is THAT hard to spend the day talking to the different roomfuls of people. But anybody who has heard him speak knows that you come away impressed.

More heat – Jimbo Fisher or Bryan Harsin?

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Fisher has no fear for his job, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some heat on him after his second .500 SEC season in three years and then pulling in the No. 1 recruiting class. The only coach anyone thinks might not be at the clambake next year is Harsin, who barely survived his first season at Auburn.

The somewhat Magnificent Seven?

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

There are 14 teams and seven bringing quarterbacks. The reason only half of them are bringing their most important player is there are still a lot of jobs up for grabs. Those who are in Atlanta will still get the most attention.

Any news on new schedules?

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Probably not. The SEC can’t get together on this (although any eventual news will be announced as a unanimous decision) and part of the reason there is no hurry is because it is still three years until Texas and Oklahoma come on board. Still, it will be discussed as much as any subject.

How many questions does Anthony Richardson get about his nickname?

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Richardson was going to get them before during his first major press conferences and his camp put out a statement Sunday night that AR-15 is no longer a brand because the quarterback doesn’t want to be associated with gun violence. The questions will still come and it is a chance for Richardson to be the star of these media days.

Forget Georgia. Can Bryce Young repeat?

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It’s more likely Georgia repeats as national champs than Young as the Heisman winner. We have had only one repeat winner – Archie Griffin – in part because the voters look for reasons not to vote for the same guy (see: Tebow, Tim 2008). Young may be the preseason favorite, but it’s a flawed system.

What accent does Brian Kelly use?

Andre Broussard/Special to The Daily Advertiser

Who the heck knows? He’ll get questions about the fake Cajun accent he used in Baton Rouge and maybe he’ll go full Ed Orgeron. That would be entertaining.

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