3 Things I Learned at SEC Media Days: Day 3
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.
1. It will be a long time before significant changes are made to the college football playoff.
Before the four head coaches took the mic on Wednesday, Bill Hancock, the Executive Director of the College Football Playoff, took the podium to briefly talk about the success and future of the playoff.
While it was brief, Hancock made it abundantly clear the playoff would not be going through major changes anytime soon,
"There is no talk about expansion among the university presidents and the conference commissioners who sit on our boards,” Hancock said.
A pretty clear statement that contrary to all of the chatter that the playoff will eventually expand, according to Hancock, it has not even been a discussion. This also means the possibility of there being any higher seed hosting situations is highly unlikely. It wasn’t a given that with an eight team playoff there would be any true home games but now that chance is vanished as with four teams there is no need to change format.
At least for the next several years, it sounds like the playoff will remain the same, and with the success of the prior four years, that is the only logical decision to be made.
2. Nick Saban provides a great argument for playing as many Power Five teams as possible.
Schedules are something always discussed, especially in the offseason. On Wednesday, Nick Saban took the podium and gave a very compelling argument for a tougher schedule.
“I know nobody really asked this, but I’ve always been an advocate of playing all Power Five schools. We can’t have fans who pay a lot of money for tickets and boxes and loges who support our programs to pay for games that no one is interested in watching. I’ve heard Greg (Sankey) talk about the fact that we don’t want to play nine SEC games, but I’ve always been an advocate of playing nine or ten SEC games and a couple other games against some other good opponents that everybody would be happy to watch," Saban said.
"I think it would help us determine, to your next question, who should be in the playoffs. And you might not have to go undefeated to get into the playoffs, because there would be more games against high quality opponents, which would help determine who the best teams are,” Saban said.
One of the first things I thought about when I heard this was of course Nick Saban wants to play more good teams, they can beat really anyone and it’s just going to add more losses to other teams.
However, hearing his point about the fans and ticket sells are a good point. Saban in the past has been critical of Alabama fans for leaving early and not being very into the games, this becomes less of a problem with no cupcakes.
I also think any honest fan wants to see more good games, as of course they are more entertaining and garner more attention.
The noise to change the schedule keeps getting louder, and if people like Nick Saban keep taking about it, the noise will become too deafening to ignore.
3. Joe Moorhead wants to do more than maintain what Dan Mullen did at Mississippi State, he wants to take them to a level never before reached.
Dan Mullen had quite possibly the best run of success in Mississippi State history in his 9 years as the head man. A number one ranking, and eight straight bowl seasons made Mississippi State relevant in an ever obsessed with championships SEC.
With a very talented defensive line, and an established quarterback in Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State figures to be a dark horse in the SEC West, and that’s ok with new head coach Joe Moorhead.
“Certainly from a contextual standpoint, you have the elevated expectation levels relative to who is coming back. So part of our task as a staff is to elevate the program, which has a very solid foundation, from good to great. And for our ability to do that, we’re embracing the expectation level. We feel no one rises to low expectations. So we talk about championship standard."
Moorhead has the lofty goals that almost any SEC coach has or should have. This, however, is not a given from one of the historical bottom feeders of the SEC.
Moorhead knows the task is difficult, Alabama is still Alabama, Auburn looks to have a solid foundation, and Texas A&M made one of the biggest hires in the coaching carousel this offseason.
But State thinks they can have a seat at the table, now it’s time to see if the table is big enough.
Auburn, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina headline the final day of SEC Media Days 2018 tomorrow, I’ll be back with my big takeaways from the day then.