Media Days sort of a letdown
Justin Schuver, Sports Editor
Don't take this the wrong way, SEC fans, but I couldn't help but be a little disappointed by the turnout at my first-ever SEC Media Days.
Now, part of my problem is that I did not attend on Wednesday, the day when new coaches Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer showed up and supposedly got the largest media attention.
I only attended on Thursday and Friday, and only to watch the press conferences of Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville and Alabama head coach Mike Shula. Having never gone to an SEC Media Days before, I expected something along the lines of the mob scene outside Michael Jackson's trial earlier this year.
What I got, instead, was a sparsely-populated ballroom with more seats empty than full for Tuberville's conference, and even fewer in attendance for Shula's. What gives?
Auburn's head coach is coming off an undefeated season, and Alabama is…well, Alabama, and yet the media attention that these schools got seemed more fitting to Vanderbilt or Kentucky.
Not only that, but you didn't even have to attend the coach's talks if you didn't want to do so, because free transcripts of the conferences were provided just minutes after the coaches were finished speaking. I looked around the ballroom at one point, and noticed that I was about the only one taking any notes or using a voice recorder.
About the only time I actually felt I was in a heart-racing deadline media event was when I wandered over to Brodie Croyle's interview following Shula's talk. Now this was more like it – the poor kid could hardly move his head without bumping into some reporter's tape recorder, and on more than one occasion reporters tried to ask questions at the same time, all the while feverishly scribbling away on their notepads.
This is what I remember from covering games at Notre Dame, where media personnel would trip over chairs racing after a certain player before he can get to the shower, and then forcing him to answer the same question that player has already answered five times.
That wild chaotic atmosphere was something I expected to see throughout this year's SEC Media Days, but instead what I found was something that behaved more like a social luncheon with a keynote speaker. Disappointing.
FOR MY FANS IN IOWA:
It is really amazing how fast the Internet works. Literally hours after my prediction that Iowa would win the national championship was posted online, I was already receiving e-mails from Iowa fans all across the country (last count: 48). Apparently one intrepid die-hard had found my story on the Google News search engine and posted a link to several Iowa message boards.
I couldn't help but laugh at how I've only been in this job for a little over a month, and yet this Notre Dame grad, who is working in Alabama, is already getting invitations from folks in Iowa to see a game in Kinnick Stadium and being mentioned on the 6 o'clock Des Moines news. Talk about a small world.
Those in the Hawkeye State who have kept up with our humble little newspaper might be interested in knowing that I lived in Chariton for a few years, attending first and second grade at Lucas Elementary School. Most of my immediate and extended family is from Iowa (both parents were born there), and I have already been at a game in Kinnick Stadium (it was that Northern Illinois game in Ferentz's first year – the one game that Iowa won that season).
The University of Iowa was one of the last three colleges I considered attending (especially because of its well-known journalism program), but in the end that little Catholic university (I am Catholic) in Indiana called my name too loud for me to not respond.
But the Hawks are still my second-favorite football team, for whatever that's worth. And take heart that I probably detest Michigan as much as you do, too.