SEC Media Days 2014 preview, full schedule and player attendee list

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The unofficial official start to the 2014 college football season is SEC Media Days, and it kicks off in Birmingham tomorrow. It’s where mass media members cram into rooms and listen to coaches’ and players’ every word.

The conference does a wonderful job every year at The Wynfrey Hotel. With the SEC Network launching mid-August, their entire crew will be on hand for the spectacle, and the network will try and create some buzz.

Here’s a preview for the 2014 SEC Media Days, along with the complete schedule below the main discussion topics:

Lack of star power

Who will become the SEC’s next big star? Of course, there’s an all-star lineup of tailbacks like Todd Gurley, Mike Davis and TJ Yeldon, among others, but nobody is covered media-wise like Johnny Manziel or Jadeveon Clowney was last year. Both hijacked media days and absolutely dominated local and national headlines. Will any players become a lightning rod at media days? Will any players grow into a conference villain? This conference needs a few villains. Breakout candidates like Robert Nkemdiche, Laquon Treadwell and Derrick Henry are waiting in the wings.

RELATED: Does the SEC really have a lack of star power?

Missing that one trophy

For the first time in seven years, the SEC enters media days having lost the BCS Championship. After cornering the market and hijacking the BCS trophy, how much talk will there be about getting back to the national championship picture? Has the conference lost its luster? Is the SEC’s dominance slowly eroding? All these questions will be asked, and the answer will be a resounding, “No!”

Playoff baby!

For the first time ever, coaches and players will get to talk playoffs openly at media days. With the BCS era now in the rearview, much discussion will take place about the new system and whether or not coaches will change anything during preseason preparation or in-season decision-making because of the playoff. Obviously, coaches won’t admit to anything because they haven’t been faced with it yet. Could the SEC be left out of the playoff completely? Are coaches and players worried about perceived SEC bias around the country? Many questions will be asked regarding the playoff, and answers should be entertaining.

RELATED: Is there a chance NO SEC teams make the 1st playoff?

SEC Network

The SEC Network questions will be plentiful. You can bet many will be aimed in Mike Slive’s direction, but also coaches and players will be asked about it, too. Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy will be on hand, along with Paul Finebaum, to give fans a taste of what they can expect come August 14, when the network launches. DirecTV remains the biggest company to have not signed on to carry the network yet.

10-second debate

It’s not going away. The 10-second proposal always finds a way to wiggle itself into the discussion among head coaches. Last year, Bret Bielema and Gus Malzahn had a mini catfight about hurry-up offenses, and it should be a topic of discussion this year, too. Last year wasn’t a rules-change year; that’s why the proposal was tabled for another season until more data and evidence can be brought to the table.

Relatively quiet

It’s been a relatively quiet offseason. Aside from Georgia, offseason attrition has been kept to a minimum. The media’s coverage of Manziel and Clowney last offseason was intense, and there’s no player like that now, especially with Dorial Green-Beckham gone from Mizzou. Perhaps Nick Marshall’s citation may spice things up a bit.

The newbie

James Franklin killed media days last year. Just his overall presence and persona commanded the room, but now, Derek Mason will be baptized by fire. The SEC saw four new coaches take the podium last year in Bret Bielema, Gus Malzahn, Mark Stoops and Butch Jones, but Mason is the loner this year. It will be fun getting to know more about Mason as he prepares for his first season as a head coach. I’m sure questions will be asked about the Pac-12 vs. the SEC and which conference is better.

Autonomy

Mike Slive has a bell, and he’s going to ring it. Big Five autonomy will be a major discussion point, and Slive’s tone should be more aggressive tomorrow, especially with the pending vote coming next month. The SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 all want decision-making power, and Slive will threaten if the NCAA doesn’t give the Big Five autonomy, they’ll create their own.

Here’s a look at the week’s schedule (all times CT):

MONDAY, JULY 14
Session I: 11:00 am – 2:30 pm (Auburn will begin rotation at 11:30 am)
Commissioner Slive
Auburn – Gus Malzahn

Session II: 2:40 – 5:40 pm
Florida – Will Muschamp
Vanderbilt – Derek Mason

TUESDAY, JULY 15
Session I: 9:00 am – Noon
South Carolina – Steve Spurrier
Mississippi State – Dan Mullen

Session II: 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Texas A&M – Kevin Sumlin
Tennessee – Butch Jones

WEDNESDAY, JULY 16
Session I: 9:00 am – Noon
Steve Shaw / Justin Connolly
Missouri – Gary Pinkel

Session II: 1:00 – 4:00 pm
LSU – Les Miles
Arkansas – Bret Bielema

THURSDAY, JULY 17
Session I: 9:00 am – Noon
Georgia – Mark Richt
Ole Miss – Hugh Freeze

Session II: Noon – 3:00 pm
Alabama – Nick Saban
Kentucky – Mark Stoops

Here’s a team-by-team look at the players attending SEC Media Days:

Alabama
Landon Collins, Safety
Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver
Christion Jones, Wide Receiver

Arkansas
Brey Cook, Offensive Guard
Trey Flowers, Defensive End
Alan Turner, Safety

Auburn
Nick Marshall, Quarterback CJ Uzomah, Tight End
Reese Dismukes, Center
Gabe Wright, Defensive Linemen

Florida
Jeff Driskel , Quarterback
Dante Fowler, Defensive End
Vernon Hargreaves III, Cornerback

Georgia
Chris Conley, Flanker
Todd Gurley, Tailback
Ramik Wilson, Linebacker

Kentucky
Bud Dupree, Defensive End
Jordan Swindle, Offensive Tackle
Za’Darius Smith, Defensive End

LSU
La’el Collins, Offensive Tackle
Terrence Magee, Running Back
D.J. Welter, Linebacker

Ole Miss
CJ Johnson, Defensive End
Cody Prewitt, Safety
Bo Wallace, Quarterback

Mississippi State
Jay Hughes, Safety
Benardrick McKinney, Linebacker
Dak Prescott, Quarterback

Missouri
Evan Boehm, Center
Markus Golden, Defensive End
Maty Mauk, Quarterback

South Carolina
A.J. Cann, Offensive Guard
J.T. Surratt, Defensive Tackle
Dylan Thompson, Quarterback

Tennessee
Mack Crowder, Offensive Line
AJ Johnson, Linebacker
Curt Maggitt, Defensive End

Texas A&M
Deshazor Everett, Defensive Back
Drew Kaser, Punter
Cedric Ogbuehi, Offensive Tackle

Vanderbilt
Adam Butler, Defensive Line
Steven Scheu, Tight End
Andrew Williamson, Safety

REFERENCES

Photo Credit: SEC Network

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