Season’s greetings to you and yours, as we hope this letter finds you well. It’s that wonderful time of year again when the stockings are hung, the kids are out of school, and I shut down emotionally while getting way too invested into things like recruiting rumors and the Gasparilla 2nd Cousin Twice Removed Cheez-It Bowl. 

I can’t believe it’s almost 2020. This year flew by faster than Chad Morris’ head coaching career in Fayetteville. Also, let me apologize again because I hate that we were not able to see you and your family this year. You know how Coach Saban is about scheduling road trips though. On the bright side, Nick did promise that we’d do a raincheck for a visit in 2038. 

Look at me rambling on like Gary Danielson during a medical timeout. Anyways, here is an update on all the latest that happened with our SEC family in 2019. 

January was rough because we had one of our oldest bullied on national television for 4 hours by Clemson and some WNBA doppleganger with a cannon. What else? Oh, we got this relatively new thing called a Transfer Portal, which was exciting. Basically it’s like a magic place that you can go to if you’re a backup who doesn’t play a lot or if you hate commitment as much as Urban Meyer hates the truth. It’s a pretty cool invention, but only if you were a former blue-chip QB recruit. Also, just like T-Mobile and vegan diets, it apparently does not work in Arkansas or Mississippi. 

Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Luckily the spring came and we were able to move on to our normal offseason routine. And, by normal I mean UGA and Florida fans arguing incessantly on Twitter about which team’s offseason arrests were less offensive. One of our oldest schools apparently transitioned into a basketball school in March and April, so that was fun to learn how the Midwest spends its winters. And the foreign exchange student we adopted from Nashville a few years ago won another championship in not football, which was great to see because we tend to treat them like those awful parents in Home Alone and completely forget they exist once Fall and the holidays begin.

The Summer was very busy for us. We thought about moving out of our Birmingham neighborhood before the school year started. However, we couldn’t find a place that had a good school system and was far enough from Dabo Swinney and James Carville. 

I’m sure you remember Dabo. He’s the one who went to high school with us and then started a cult in rural South Carolina. The cult has really taken off, but he’s definitely changed. Honestly, outside of those two geriatric hecklers sitting in the balcony during the Muppet Show, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard someone complain as much as him. 

The Fall has been absolutely crazy and full of change as well. We got a new HOA president in our neighborhood which was a huge surprise. Long story short, you know how Kirby and UGA fans keep saying every single August that they are going to overtake Alabama as the new leaders of the conference? Spoiler alert: They didn’t. However, that really loud family we can’t really understand and never wears shoes actually did. 

We were worried when they first moved in because we had never seen an airboat UHaul. But they’ve been a great addition to the family. They have the best cookouts, best drinking games, and they also adopted a kid from Ohio who is everyone’s favorite son they never had. He’s basically like if Zack Morris, Rudy and Tom Brady had a kid. And that kid became Batman. He might be the first person who has given Bayou Bengal fans a reason not to drink. They still do, though. 

Not everyone in the family had a banner year. Gus Malzahn sold his hot seat to Will Muschamp at a yard sale in early September, and he refused to get off of it for 3 months. There are Godfather 3 reviews and dates with toupees that lived up to expectations more than Jimbo Fisher did in Year 2. What else? Oh a few months ago I accidentally asked my new boss when her baby was due, and then found out she wasn’t pregnant. And, that was still a better start than Jeremy Pruitt had during his first 6 games of the season, but he finished strong.

Down in Jortlando, Dan Mullen quietly had one of the best years in the entire country despite fighting injuries all season. Get this, he won 10 games with a kid who hadn’t started a football game in 7 years. I haven’t started a football game in 7 years and I didn’t get a scholarship or an open mouth kiss from the coach’s wife before each game. Some guys have all the luck. UF Dan is totally different from Starkville Dan. One, he’s kind of a jerk to other coaches in the league. And, he also abandoned the run game and started airing it out since his O-Line opened fewer holes than a broken drill. But he’s doing really well and I know he’s looking forward to the holidays because he finally hid all the mistletoe from his wife and players.

Megan Mullen Miss State Football Coach Wife

What else? Oh! Remember that middle child in Lexington we always forget about except once a decade? They had another (kinda) good year, and Mark Stoops did this really cool Science experiment where he refused to learn the forward pass for like 7 straight games. And, they still got into a New Year’s Day Bowl! How crazy is that. They’re basically a service academy, but fun. We don’t always give Mark enough credit. He’s basically our Jan Brady, but with even more brothers. He did such a good job this year that FSU offered him a job at that abandoned Hard Rock Cafe they call a football program. And he actually turned them down. So, suck it Danny Kanell. 

The Mississippi cousins are still adorably feuding. Ole Miss actually had the upper hand in their most recent bout, but unfortunately, it was a lower leg being raised that cost them a win. They might be more set in the long run, as they brought everyone’s favorite drunk uncle home for the holidays. We should’ve seen this coming because everyone knows Landsharks only swim in Freshwater. MSU was a pretty big disappointment this year, yet they somehow landed in the Music City Bowl. The last time someone this mediocre was rewarded with a free trip to Nashville was when Phillip Phillips won American Idol. Unfortunately for them, they can’t bring their cowbells, so they’ll have to rely on some other way to give half the stadium drunken migraines after tailgating. 

Our two black sheep, Missouri and Arkansas, continued to tarnish our family name thanks to that terrible influence Derek Dooley, who remains the undefeated champ at getting a head coach fired. All is not lost though, Barry Odom has landed as the new DC at Arkansas with new HC Sam Pittman. I don’t know how many games they’re gonna win together, but there are a lot of wing eating competition victories in their future. Pittman loves Arkansas more than any human being honestly should, but we’re excited for his promotion. 

Oh, and back to Mizzou, they hired Eli Drinkwitz, who is supposedly a great coach despite having the charisma of a social security statement. He got things off to a hot start in Columbia by claiming that winning the Sun Belt Conference was the goal. Been a rough stretch in CoMo. We would describe the city as that Aunt who is really nice, but also on her third marriage. They’ve been ridden hard and put up wet, but still give the best Christmas gifts — that’s the city and people of Columbia. Lots of fun. 

Speaking of Christmas gifts, Muschamp and South Carolina have a new OC in UGA’s finest, Mike Bobo, you know, the one UGA ran off for scoring 42 points a game? I wonder how it feels to UGA fans now that Bobo is back coaching with Muschamp at South Carolina? We heard that Kirby demoted him to his second “best” best friend, ironically behind Muschamp. That’s OK though. Bobo will soon hear the garnet and black yell “Run the damn ball, Bobo” in a slightly different southern dialect. 

Last but not least, there’s the runt of the litter, Vandy. They still can’t seem to get past the “on the third day of Christmas, Derek Mason gave to me — 3 lousy wins” phase of their program.  But let’s be real, being the HC at Vandy is a thankless job. It’s like being a stepdad to kids already in their 20s. Expectations for success and respect should be low. We’ve given up on trying to accept them. We just buy them socks for Christmas and attend their spelling bees in the Spring. 

Whew! What a year it’s been. We hope your conference/family enjoyed 2019 as much as we did. And, if not … bless your heart. 

PS — Saban and Alabama begged us not to share any updates on their year because rat poison and egg nog are a terrible mix. But, the GOAT did want y’all to know that he’ll be home for Christmas next year … and several more after that. 

(Writing contributions from Chris Marler, Bobby Burchins and Clint Massey)