Usually after two days of thrilling question-and-answer action, energy levels at SEC Media Days can start to drop, due to either 48 hours on the Hoover diet or to the physical strain of that much boredom. However, thanks to Dan Mullen continuing Mississippi State's streak of being really bad at answering questions they know are coming, Day 2 provided quite the boost as we headed into Day 3.
Wednesday morning marked the arrival of Nick Saban and Bret Bielema, which meant the wave of interesting happenings that started on Tuesday had the potential to keep going at least through lunch. Of course, nothing would displease Nick Saban more than causing a stir that would lead to more questions for him, so he tried to be as understated as possible.
Nick Saban just arrived at #SECMD16 with not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 police motorcycle escorts— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 13, 2016
Once in the main media room, Saban began his customary thanking of the assembled hot take masses, verbally poured one out for Steve Spurrier, and rattled off details about Alabama football. Then he explained how SEC Media Days works:
You know, I think that we all sort of stand up here and talk about, you know, our team. And if the truth really be known, anything that I'm going to say about our team, because you all have seen spring practice, you know who's coming back, you know who graduated. You already have what the issues are relative to the challenges that we have to solve for our team.
So, I'm going to sit up here and very seriously talk about our team, and everything I'm going to say about our team, you've already written about. You've already written a story about. Somebody in this room has already written a story about what I'm going to talk about. But you're going to be serious and I'm going to be serious about talking about it again. That's the way we do things.
So, you know, EVERYBODY CAN GO HOME NOW.
The rest of Saban's podium time was devoted to questions and answers that probably caused the person transcribing to try and pinpoint the moment life got away from them, and wonder if there is there any hope of getting back on track. The only exception was this fine exchange:
Q. Coach, my question for you is how has Lane Kiffin improved you as a coach?
COACH SABAN: I'm sorry?
After leaving the main media room, Saban eventually found himself on the SEC Network set, setting the stage for the day's main event. LET'S STEP INTO THE OCTAGON.
Saban vs. Finebaum
Because we were all focused on Saban and Finebaum, we didn't get a good look at the rest of the guys on the set. Let's hit the pause button and see what that exchange was like for them.
But the battle didn't end there. After Saban announced the conversation had reached its end and they broke for commercial, Saban had more things to say to Finebaum. Unfortunately, we can't really hear them, but can only assume what they might be through Saban's hands of fury (or believe that the cops were LSU fans).
The star of that show is easily the stagehand bro who just wants to move Finebaum's chair over before the commercial break ends. His shrug at the 17-second mark might be the best thing that's ever happened at this event.
And don't sleep on that special 'ANIMATED CONVERSATION' graphic A-L dot com made, local Emmy awards.
Bert doesn't wear a tracksuit, loses street cred
Though he went corporate and wore a suit and tie, Bielema did offer some good quotes for the media boys, as Spurrier used to say.
Surely this won't be remembered. No, sir. Everyone will forget it immediately.
You don't have to worry whether or not -- if I'm going suspend anybody for the first game. It doesn't come up in our program.
Not to say it won't. At some time it may rear its ugly head. In four years I never had to make a decision about the opening game if I'm going to start somebody or not. It is just something I believe in. If you do enough good things off the field and you represent what you want both on and off it, things are going to eventually go your way.
Bert, talk about your thoughts on playing TCU.
AD had a nice idea to throw TCU into the mix before we taken on the SEC West. One hell of an idea. So I'm very excited about seeing Coach Patterson. I see him once a year on a Nike trip. That's good enough for me. I don't really want to play him. That's what we're going to do.
Your thoughts on the Michigan series being cancelled?
We had one that was going to hopefully work out against Michigan, but the powers to be got involved there. We're missing out on that.
Are you ready for questions?
With that, I'll open up it for some really easy questions.
I know you're probably not going to say the word "erotic" again, but could you say something close to that?
I'm sorry, the Michigan/Notre Dame thing sounds sexy to everybody else, but I think Michigan and Arkansas sounds sexy.
At Arkansas we're not built very sexy, we're just kind of a work in progress. We need a lot of time in the bathroom to get ready and come out and look great.
Finally, what was it like on the field after losing to Texas A&M in overtime last year?
Summy (Kevin Sumlin), last year, when we got done with the game and we're walking across to shake hands, and he said, I don't know what to say. I said, don't say anything, I might punch you...
Oh, hey, Kentucky and Missouri were there too
As new Missouri head coach Barry Odom was arriving at the podium in the main room, Baylor announced that it had hired current Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades to the same position in Waco. Odom, who talked with Rhoades about his decision Tuesday night, seemed to handle the news in stride, even giving a shout-out to Missouri's journalism school, much to the delight of the scribes in the room.
We want Mizzou to be the best. We want it to be the best journalism school, the best business school. I want it to be the best football program in America.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops really, really, really, really wants to just please, please, please make a bowl game. Maybe.
We're doing the things necessary to take the next step. I've never been one to -- I'm not a pessimist, but I'm not going to sit up here and boast a team if we're not quite ready. We've done the work. We have the pieces in place. We will take the next step. I've been proud of the progression we've done. Certainly you want more wins along the line, but I know we've done the right things and we have a great plan in place to continue to push this program, and the players are doing the things necessary to take it to the next step.
It also appears as though Stoops and the Kentucky players who came to Hoover have a condition in which their arms do not bend and are unable to move independently of their torsos.
Tomorrow is the fourth and final day of this annual exercise in saying things without saying anything, so document it accordingly. Appearing before the media and lobby fans (or in the case of Ole Miss, JUDGE AND JURY) will be coaches and players from South Carolina, Cheatin Rebel Bears, and LSU.