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3 Things I Learned at SEC Media Days: Day 1

The unofficial start to the college football season is here. SEC Media Days 2018 in Atlanta has begun. Each day, I will be writing about my biggest takeaways from all of the press conferences.

Monday:

1. Commissioner Greg Sankey and the league office continues to monitor the schedule.

The schedule is something talked about at length in regards to college football playoff resumes, non-conference opponents, and an eight or nine game conference schedule. The conference schedule question was once again asked to Commissioner Sankey on Monday.

“Let me just go back to the core question which is our attention to our fans’ interests. That’s actually of that annual conversation. That is an element….And one of the questions people have asked, is it a time to refresh matchups.”

Currently, the SEC has scheduled every team’s conference opponents through 2025. The current 6-1-1 conference structure has seemed to work well, although, critics would like to see a ninth conference game added.

My big takeaway is that while the league thinks it has a very good structure, it is aware of its critics, and is very cognizant of the fact that it might need to change. The league is all about putting its teams in the best position to make the college football playoff (as seen by the league requiring playing nine power five teams each year) and it knows in the future to do this, it might have to go to the nine game conference slate.

2. The SEC is seriously considering making Atlanta an even more important part of its operations.

For the first time ever, Atlanta is playing host to SEC Media Days. This begs the question: will Atlanta become the new home for media days, and will the league consider moving its headquarters to Atlanta? I think there are signs to suggest both may come true.

During Commissioner Sankey’s presser, he explained that the original idea was to have media days in Atlanta last year for the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This obviously did not happen because of delays in construction, however, Sankey would not commit to a media days location beyond 2019.

“We’re in Hoover next year. And I’ve been clear, in my mind is some portability. I can see already there are fans who likely have not seen this event or been a part of this event who are here today. And we can do that in different places, just like we had a men’s basketball tournament in St. Louis in March this year.”

It’s evident that at minimum, the league is looking into more than just Birmingham as their media days home, which could make it hard to justify keeping the league office in Birmingham. Birmingham was once home to the Iron Bowl, SEC Championship game, and SEC Media Days. As of 2020, it might be home to none of the above.

3. Jimbo Fisher made a business decision in leaving for Texas A&M.

On a personal level, Jimbo Fisher seemed to really love Florida State, and never intended to leave. In fact, he said as much twice during his Monday press conference, “I had no intention of ever leaving Florida State.”

If things had continued to go well at Florida State, there would have never been a move to Texas A&M or anywhere else. However, a disappointing 6-6 season has Fisher wearing the maroon of Texas A&M, not the garnet of Florida State.

Fisher, of course, was asked about the move and to explain why, outside of money, did he do it.

“Well I think first and foremost, as I said before, the administration had a big part of it. My relationship with Scott Woodward in the past, knowing Scott and what he brought to the table… and then you start researching the history of A&M, and you have a tremendous recruiting base and you have an unbelievable academic institution and you’re able to take care of kids afterwards with the Aggie Network and the job placement program and the things that go on.”

Fisher spoke highly of his relationship with Woodward, and of A&M’s resources. But, for the most part, not much mention of the College Station area, or, the personal side of why A&M was such a great place. It’s nothing criminal to make a smart business decision, but with every quote it becomes more clear that in a perfect world, Jimbo Fisher would still be roaming the sidelines of Doak Campbell Stadium.

Georgia, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Florida are up next to the podium. Stay tuned, I’ll be back with more after Tuesday.

#SECMediaDays #RyanLavoie #JimboFisher #GregSankey

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