SEC
FILE - The SEC logo is displayed on the field ahead of the Southeastern Conference championship football game between Alabama and Missouri on Dec. 5, 2014, in Atlanta. Southeastern Conference leaders will continue debating what to do with their football schedule when they meet in the Florida Panhandle starting Tuesday, May 30, 2023. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

College Football Around the Corner With Start of SEC Media Days

With less than two months away from the 2023 college football season, media conferences throughout Division I football are being held to answer questions that have been developing over the offseason. The Southeastern Conference is expected to have its fair share of clips.

The SEC Football Kickoff Media Days begin Monday in Nashville, Tennessee. The event will include selected players from each team of the conference and head coaches from Monday to Thursday.

Usually hosted in Birmingham, Alabama, the event travels to the Music City for the first time ever. Atlanta hosted SEC Media Days back in 2018 and 2022.

Day One

The event will open with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey at 12:35 p.m. He’ll address the media with opening statements and questions. He is followed by Louisiana State coach Brian Kelly.

The Tigers finished last season 10-4 behind their air-raid offense off the arm of senior quarterback Jayden Daniels. LSU averaged 34.5 points per game with over 3,700 passing yards throughout the season. The Tigers hit their wall in the SEC Championship Game against the Georgia Bulldogs when they lost 50-30 Dec. 3, 2022. However, the season ended with a 63-7 victory against Purdue in the 2022 Cheez-It Citrus Bowl.

After Kelly will be Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, his sixth time speaking at SEC Media Days since he took over the Aggies program in 2017.

Texas A&M began its 2022 campaign as a top-10 ranked team. Despite beating Miami and Arkansas early in their season, the Aggies fell off a cliff and burned their chances for a bowl game midway through the season with a six-game losing streak. Texas A&M finished 5-7 with only two conference wins against Arkansas and LSU.

The first day will end with Missouri and fourth-year head coach Eliah Drinkwitz.

Drinkwitz has led the Tigers to two bowl games in the past two seasons; both were losses. Missouri finished last season 6-7, but sustained an impressive 5-2 home record. Their road record is nothing to boast about, however. The Tigers only win away from Columbia, Missouri, was against the South Carolina Gamecocks Oct. 29, 2022.

Day Two

Day two on Tuesday will be headlined by Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

The Auburn Tigers are still working through a rebuild of the program since Gus Malzahn’s departure for Central Florida in 2020. New head coach Hugh Freeze, who was introduced as Auburn’s 31st head coach in program history, previously coached the Liberty Flames to a 8-4 regular season record. Now in his second SEC head coaching job, he will have to face teams such as Alabama, Georgia and LSU in 2023.

Georgia and head coach Kirby Smart are coming off of back-to-back national championships and a SEC Championship. The Bulldogs went undefeated through their schedule and look to continue its dominance in the SEC. However, UGA has lost more than 20 players from last years roster, including former quarterback Stetson Bennett who started in both national title games.

Mississippi State finished its 2022 season 9-4 — the programs best record since 2017. With a .500 record against the SEC last year, the Bulldogs will host LSU, Alabama, Kentucky and Ole Miss in Starkville in 2023.

The Vanderbilt Commodores, who play in Nashville, have a majority of its offensive roster at wide receiver and offensive line returning for next season. Vanderbilt had the worst conference record in the entire SEC last season at 2-6, finishing a win shy of bowl eligibility at 5-7.

Day Three

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Kentucky make up the lineup for the midway point of media days.

The Crimson Tide and head coach Nick Saban last won the conference back in 2021. Last year, Alabama finished second in the SEC West behind LSU with an 11-2 record. The Tigers won the west despite a 10-4 record with a 32-31 win over the Crimson Tide Nov. 5 in Baton Rouge.

Alabama will start their 2023 campaign with a new quarterback under center with former Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young moving on to the NFL. A starter has yet to be decided for Week 1.

Arkansas is coming off of a 7-6 record from last season with lopsided road wins against Auburn and BYU.  The Razorbacks will have one of the toughest SEC road schedules in 2023 with trips to Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Florida. They’ll be led by redshirt senior quarterback KJ Jefferson. He is ranked as the No. 1 quarterback in the conference, according to 247Sports.

Florida is heading into year two of head coach Billy Napier’s tenure at UF. They will have an entirely new look after losing former quarterback Anthony Richardson, linebacker Ventrell Miller, defensive lineman Gervon Dexter and other big names to the 2023 NFL Draft. The Gators finished 6-7 last season and struggled against SEC opponents. They were 3-5 against the conference last year with losses against LSU, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia.

The Kentucky Wildcats finished the 2022 season with a 7-6 record and a 21-0 loss against Iowa in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl Game on New Years Eve. Kentucky and head coach Mark Stoops will compete against Vanderbilt, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina in their conference schedule without quarterback Will Levis.

The former Kentucky starter was drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft in the second round by the Tennessee Titans. No official starter at the position has been announced as of yet.

Day Four

The last day of SEC Media Days will include Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The Ole Miss Rebels found themselves with an 8-1 record midway through last season. However, the last four games of the season were unforgiving toward Ole Miss and head coach Lane Kiffin. The Rebels lost four straight, including the TaxAct Bowl against Texas Tech Dec. 28, 2022, to finish the season 8-5. They host SEC opponents LSU, Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M in 2023.

South Carolina and third-year head coach Shane Beamer have improved gradually over the span of three years since their 2020 2-8 season. Last year, they finished 8-5, went .500 in the conference and went to its second straight bowl game. With redshirt senior Spencer Rattler appearing on multiple draft boards for next year’s NFL Draft, the Gamecocks quarterback will look to repeat another 3,000 passing yard season.

After Tennessee defeated Alabama 52-49 at home Oct. 15, they were ranked No. 1 in the nation until they lost to Georgia 27-13 three weeks later in Athens. The Volunteers finished the season 11-2 and defeated the Clemson Tigers 31-14 in the Orange Bowl Dec. 30, 2022.

Tennessee, like many others in the SEC, will look to build on its momentum from last season into this year with conference matchups against Florida, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Georgia and Vanderbilt.

The entire event will be broadcast on the SEC Network and streamed on SEC Network+.

About Brandon Hernandez

Check Also

SEC Media Days: Q & A With Florida Running Back Montrell Johnson Jr.

Florida running back Montrell Johnson Jr.’s session with reporters during SEC Football Media Days in Dallas …