Hoover, Ala. – Day one at the 2012 version of SEC Media Days at the Wynfrey Hotel featured the two newest members of the SEC.
The day opened with SEC commissioner Mike Slive giving an address to a standing room only audience of assembled media members from across the nation. While there were no blockbuster announcements this year, Slive addressed a myriad of topics including the conference’s recent successes, college football’s new postseason format, the creation of a new conference television network, and he even alluded to the Penn State situation.
“We must maintain an honest and open dialogue across all levels of university administration. There must be an effective system of checks and balances within the administrative structure to protect all who come in contact with it, especially those who cannot protect themselves. No one program, no one person, no matter how popular, no matter how successful, can be allowed to derail the soul of an institution,” Slive said.
Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M was the first head coach to take the stage. He spoke confidently about his team’s possibilities in the first season as a member of the SEC. He seemed to respect and embrace challenges and opportunities involved in an SEC West year. When asked to give an assessment of the division his team is entering, Sumlin responded, “It’s a pretty damn hard league. That’s my assessment.”
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel seemed to bristle at some of the questions about the toughness of the SEC. “People act like we’ve been playing a bunch of high school teams. We’ve played in a pretty big league,” he said.
One coach never disappoints with his comments at SEC Media Days each year, and he is Steve Spurrier. The ‘Ole Ball Coach’ took a swipe at Georgia’s lackluster schedule. When asked if Arkansas was placed after the open date in order to place more emphasis on the game, Spurrier quipped, “You think I make the schedule? If I made the schedule, Georgia would be playing LSU and we’d be playing Ole Miss.”
The final coach to take the podium was Vanderbilt’s James Franklin. He talked about the culture change that has taken place at Vandy in the last year. Now, Franklin says his team believes in what they are doing. Last year, it was just thinking it, according the Commodore head coach.