1. IT’S A PARITY PARTY
Voters in this year’s SEC Media Days poll delivered a first Thursday, picking Auburn to win the SEC but Alabama to win the SEC West. It’s the first time since the poll began with divisional play in 1992 there has been such a result, but it’s a perfect indication that the conference lacks a true favorite — or is filled with a bunch of merely good (but not great) teams. But what do we know? The media has only gotten the SEC champ right five times.
2. HEARING IS NOT BELIEVING
LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwith said the first time he heard new defensive line coach Ed Orgeron’s deep Cajun baritone at practice, he thought it was a joke. “You can’t really talk like that 100 percent of the time. That’s not normal, but that’s really him.” Of course, Beckwith had heard it before. “When I first saw him, I knew I had seen him. I remember him being in ‘The Blind Side.’ I thought, ‘That’s him.’ I never thought he’d be our coach.”
3. REBEL HELL
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze probably felt he was being cross-examined Thursday talking about his state’s flag (which contains a Confederate cross), the NCAA investigation into star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (he basically said no comment) and even whether Ole Miss should keep Rebels as its nickname. He tried to mostly walk a fine line but did say the Confederate flag had been “hijacked by groups that have meant ill will to other people.”
4. TAKING THE LEAD
New commissioner Greg Sankey talked about the SEC being a leader in college athletics, a position reflected in its new policy that will prevent a player disciplined for domestic or sexual violence to transfer to its schools. Domestic violence advocate Katherine Redmond Brown correctly said such a rule is long overdue but, in the SEC’s defense, it’s never too late to right a wrong. Hopefully the SEC rule will influence the NCAA at large.