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Mark BradleyMark Bradley

SEC Media Days: Way too much of a dull thing

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Mike Slive throws out the first pitch. (Butch Dill/AP)

Mike Slive throws out the first pitch. (Butch Dill/AP)

HOOVER, Ala. – Here we are at SEC Media Days, for which there’s an official logo (“MD14″) and apparently no end. We began at 11:30 CDT with commissioner Mike Slive again threatening to secede from the NCAA union if his and the other big leagues don’t get their way, and we just sat through another Gus Malzahn, snooze-a-thon, the highlight of which was the Auburn coach’s abject refusal to lobby for the legalization of marijuana.

We’ll conclude late Thursday, which is more than 72 hours away. And yes, if you’re detecting an undercurrent of grousing here … well, Sherlock Holmes has nothing on you.

The SEC is the biggest and best football conference, OK? We’re all agreed on that. But there’s no way MD14 needs to encompass FOUR DAYS OF PRESS CONFERENCES. (This is the first edition of the four-day Media Days.) Yes, Super Bowl week strings things out, but they play a game at the end. There’s no game here. There’s only talk. About teams that haven’t yet begun practicing, let alone playing.

I understand that I, as a member member, am part of the problem. We like to write about things people like to read about. SEC fans cannot read too much about SEC football, even if it’s just SEC coaches talking about an SEC season that is more than six weeks away. We haven’t been given an official count as to how many media members are credentialed for MD14, but MD13 saw a record 1,239 passes issued.

That factoid is included on Page 3 of the (17-page) official SEC release on MD14, which isn’t surprising. The best and biggest league always finds ways to remind us why it’s the best and biggest. (“Let’s see the Pac-12 top 1,239!”)

MD14 could fit into two overstuffed days, but that wouldn’t serve the SEC’s purpose and wouldn’t fill nearly as many air hours on ESPN, the SEC’s new bestest buddy. (Slive advised media types to call their cable companies and demand that they carry the SEC Network, premiering Aug. 14.) Instead we look forward to a Wednesday that features only three coaches but four administrative types.

(And here the Birmingham-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the SEC for keeping 1,200 media members around an extra day to spend money and await the arrivals of Mark Richt and Nick Saban on Thursday.)

It’s interesting that the first four-day media convocation follows the SEC’s first failure to win the national championship since 2005. “The game lasted a minute too long,” Slive said, speaking of Auburn’s loss to Florida State in the BCS title tilt. When we’re done with MD14, it won’t be a minute too soon.

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