In recent years, SEC Media Days in July have been the breeding ground for some of college football's more memorable quotes and soundbites.
In 2009, there was Clay Travis's (founder of outkickthecoverage.com and recently named pregame and postgame analyst for Fox's college football coverage) asking Tim Tebow if he was saving himself for marriage.
In 2010, there was Les Miles's meandering, disjointed, positively Miles-esque answer on the impact of the oil spills in the Gulf coast on the state of Louisiana. ("It effects not just Louisiana...but the ocean.")
Now here comes 2013 Media Days starting Tuesday, and there may be no bigger individual star than Tebow 2009 at this year's festivities, but there has probably never been a bigger collection of star power at one SEC Media Day event than 2013's.
Clowney, Murray, McCarron, Saban, Miles, Bielema...all of them contribute to the collective shine on this event.
But it begins and ends with Johnny Football.
It would have begun and ended with Johnny Manziel, even if there were no Johnny Football news within the past 72 hours, because nobody has seen a meteoric rise like his from nearly-kicked-out-of-school nobody to pop culture and sports icon within a matter of just seven months.
Think about it, in June 2012, Johnny Manziel was on the verge of being kicked out of school and transferring to a junior college, and in December 2012, he is hoisting the trophy symbolic of the best college football player in the land.
But it's what's happened with Manziel in 2013 so far that will be the talk of the town in Hoover, AL this week. More specifically, what's taken place over the last three days, and no, I'm not talking about Manziel's long awaited "guilty" plea to charges of "failure to identify himself" to police in the aforementioned June 2012 incident.
As discussed in this space yesterday, Johnny Manziel left the Manning family's passing academy a day early this past weekend, heading back to College Station Saturday after missing meetings and showing up late that morning.
Depending on whom you believe, the story of what actually happened ranges anywhere from "Johnny was sick, and came home, and then Sunday was still resting due to dehydration" (Manziel's family's story) to "Johnny was out Thursday, out Friday, and out Saturday when he got back to College Station. He wasn't hungover at any point because he was still drunk the whole time" (the widely assumed narrative).
To be fair, the former story can actually still be true under the auspices of the truth of the latter story, so it might be both. At any rate, come Wednesday, the media will have their time with Johnny Football and it should be fascinating to see just how outrageous the questions get, although it feels like, thanks to social media, there's actually very little about Johnny Manziel that we don't know.
I'm more interested in Manziel's reaction to the inevitable crush as I am the content generated from the questions. As star studded as this event may be over the course of three days, I'm not so sure that the five schools sharing Wednesday with the Aggies (Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Tennessee) provide enough juice to satiate the media in attendance that day.
Honestly, other than the four new head coaches in the conference (Malzahn, Bielema, Stoops, Jones), what else is there on Wednesday?
In my efforts to help Johnny Football (because anybody responsible for content wants this Manziel Era to stretch out for as long as possible), may I suggest a few names that have SEC ties that could perhaps take some of the heat off of ol' JFF tomorrow morning, assuming Manziel is feeling well and doesn't, ahem, sleep in:
1. Katherine Webb (A.J. McCarron's girlfriend) The Alabama pageant queen turned viral sensation turned makeshift Super Bowl reporter would be a huge favorite in a high testosterone area like SEC Media Days. And whoever couldn't get a seat at Webb's session, hopefully they would be guaranteed the satisfaction of their "horn dog" urges by getting a chair at....
2. Dee Dee Bonner (A.J. McCarron's mom) ...A.J. McCarron's mom's session. Both saw their fame spike with this brief clip from the BCS National Championship game:
By the way, if we want to have Brent Musberger introduce Webb and Bonner at SEC Media Days, then I'm fine with that.
3. Kristen Saban (Nick Saban's daughter) In case you need a refresher on why Saban's daughter would make for compelling Media Day fodder, allow me to link you with a little refresher to her sorority sister beatdown about a year ago. The lesson learned was you don't mess with the Don of Tuscaloosa's daughter. If nothing else, Kristen could serve the dual purpose of event security after she's done answering questions from the throng of media.
4. Marshall Henderson (suspended Ole Miss shooting guard) For those not totally tuned into the college basketball scene, Henderson is the Ole Miss
chucker shooting guard who never met a jump shot nor a joint that he didn't like. Recently suspended by the team for drug violations, I'd be content with Henderson just sitting in the rafters with his face painted up like The Crow, a la Sting in WCW in 1997.
5. Harvey Updike (recently released Toomer's Corner tree killer) I'm fairly certain that Harvey Updike would be the first ever Media Days subject that would have to do his session from inside a clear, hermetically sealed chamber so that Auburn media wouldn't be able to pull an assassination attempt on him.
6. Alexander Broughton (Tennessee buttchugger) You might be asking, "Who?" and if so, that's ok. It's probably a very select, deranged corner of the sports watching universe that is aware of the University of Tennessee fraternity "butt chugging" controversy. It's probably an even smaller deranged corner of the universe that even knew what butt chugging was before the controversy. At any rate, the fiasco is outlined in the police report, and the fallout/press conference captured on this video:
There are virtually no ties to SEC football here other than the butt chugging taking place at an SEC school, but this could provide a welcome distraction to any media who are tired of talking football. Kind of like those two or three video games they have at bowling alleys for people who are tired of bowling.
That's the Tennessee butt chugger at SEC Media Days.
Would any of these luminaries draw a bigger crowd than Johnny Football? Of course not. But I guarantee you that all of them would draw more attention than virtually everybody else on the Wednesday schedule.
And right now, for Johnny Manziel, every little bit helps.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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