Plenty of storylines at SEC Media Days

Published 12:01 am Sunday, July 14, 2013

The SEC Media Days lineup in Hoover, Ala., next week contains no shortage of big names.

No, it’s not just Nick Saban, Les Miles, Steve Spurrier, Hugh Freeze or Dan Mullen who will migrate to Alabama — or in Saban’s case, right up the road — beginning Tuesday.

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, two-time national champion A.J. McCarron and all-world rushing defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will be just several familiar SEC faces that will address the media beginning Tuesday.

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And along with the star-studded lineup comes plenty of storylines as college football fans will get their first teaser for this coming year.

After leading his team to an 11-2 season, including an upset over eventual national champion Alabama, Manziel has had a busy offseason. From a controversial tweet complaining about a parking ticket at Texas A&M to attending an NBA Finals game to posting a picture of himself at a casino in Oklahoma with more than a few dollar bills in his hand, Manziel has been criticized for virtually every extra-curricular activity in which he’s participated. (Though none have been illegal.)

Questions will no doubt come his way about whether or not he’s let the stardom get to his head, whether he’s distracted heading into the season, etc.

The questions won’t be limited to Manziel. Fresh off his second straight national title, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron will probably field questions about trying to make it three straight.

Reporters might be better served to direct those questions at McCarron rather than his head coach. If anyone asks Saban about three-peating, they’ll likely be promptly chewed out by Saban, who hates comparisons of teams from different years.

Clowney will have a few questions of his own. How does he feel heading into what will no doubt be his final season at South Carolina? Can his team win another big game in the SEC East — then subsequently handle prosperity, which in recent seasons it hasn’t been able to do?

LSU’s Zach Mettenberger will be in attendance as well, and fans will want to know if LSU can improve upon a disappointing — by the Tigers’ standards — 10-3 season. Can he personally improve on last year after falling short of lofty expectations? Can LSU overcome the massive exodus of defensive players to this year’s NFL draft?

There’s also Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who will have plenty of weapons at his disposal this fall. The question surrounding Murray is simple: Can he finally win the big game? The Bulldogs came mere yards away from a national championship game appearance last season, and his goals are no less than winning the SEC — and more — this season.

On the Mississippi side of things, Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze will likely continue to attempt at keeping expectations reasonable this fall. But after going 7-6 last season, Rebel fans will be looking for bigger things, thanks to a strong recruiting class this past February.

Fans will want to know if Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen — and quarterback Tyler Russell — believe that the Bulldogs can be anything more than average this year. Though Mullen has had winning seasons every year in Starkville except his first, but the Bulldogs haven’t won a game of significance since the 2011 Egg Bowl.

The start of college football season is less than two months away, and the anticipation is certainly building. SEC Media Days should serve as a nice appetizer — though many are already eager for the meal.