Three things we learned at SEC Media Days on Thursday:
NICK SABAN IS THE KING
USC defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and USC coach Steve Spurrier all created plenty of buzz at the Wynfrey Hotel with their appearances this week, but Alabama coach Nick Saban still sits on the throne of college football.
The reincarnation of Elvis Presley would have made less of a stir in a hotel lobby filled with crazed Alabama fans than Saban making his appointed rounds at Media Days.
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He has gone 61-7 (.897) in the past five seasons just down the road in Tuscaloosa. That includes a 35-5 mark in regular-season SEC play and five straight 10-win seasons. With yet another SEC title win last season and his third BCS national championship in four seasons, Saban upped his mark to 8-1 all-time in conference and national championship games.
But don’t compare him to the legendary Bear Bryant.
“I don't think that it would be fair that anyone really be compared to what he was able to accomplish, the way he did it, and how he impacted other people,” Saban said.
MARK RICHT LOVES HIS RUNNING BACKS
The Georgia coach looks at Todd Gurley, a preseason first-team All-SEC pick, and Keith Marshall, a preseason second-team All-SEC choice, and almost swoons over their attitudes and their talent. Listen to him wax poetic.
“They're poster boys for collegiate athletics. They are tremendously talented guys, obviously. They're handsome kids. They're smart. They have tremendous character and leadership abilities,” he said
Even better, he appreciates their willingness to share the football and not make demands about their number of carries.
“They're very good friends. They wanted to share the load,” Richt added.
LIKE RODNEY DANGERFIELD, THE MEDIA GETS NO RESPECT
Both Saban and LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger mocked media members for their prognosticating ability – or lack of it.
Saban scoffed at Alabama being picked to win the SEC as if it were a foregone conclusion in the preseason poll. He reads the picks and shakes his head.
“It seems almost a little bit crazy to try to predict what's going to happen in the season,” Saban said. “I'd also like to make a note here that in the last 21 seasons, you as the media have only picked the right team four times to win the SEC. Now, if I was 4-17 as a coach, I would be back in West Virginia pumping my gas at my daddy's gas station.”
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, whose team was chosen to finish third in the SEC West, had a similar dim view of the opinions of the people who cover the games.
“You guys are funny with the preseason rankings,” he said. “Last I checked, none of you have gotten a preseason ranking right. Nobody has gotten it right. It’s something we can’t focus on. We’ll just take it one game at a time.”
- Neil White