SEC Commissioner Mike Slive opened the festivities with the usual talk about how wonderful the SEC was, is, and will be. Blah, blah, blah, SEC Network... He quoted Dwight Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali along the way. This took up the first 14 minutes of his speech. The only part worth listening to is the last 7+ minutes.
If you don't want to listen to the whole thing, here are the highlights:
- "We are not deaf to the din of discontent across intercollegiate athletics that has dominated the news."
- One word he used a lot was "change". This was in reference to the NCAA. With every word that escapes his mouth, NCAA President Mark Emmert's power erodes a little bit more. There was a hint of frustration in Slive' s voice.
- The future will adjust scholarships to a more realistic cost-of-attendance, allow athletes to finish their education after the playing days have ended, and help them better transition into the world after college, etc.
- The "A-word" autonomy was thrown around with great liberty as was the term "Power 5". These comments were no "shots across the bow". They were Slive saying this is what we want and it's gonna happen. Deal with it.
- The SEC is playing an 8-game conference schedule plus one game against a Power 5 which is just as hard as any conference's 9-game conference schedule. Deal with it.
Up next was Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and, man, is he boring. However, he made an interesting comment. You knew the question about Nick Marshall's absence due to his recent citation for marijuana possession would arise. Malzahn inferred that not bringing Marshall along to today's event was some kind of punishment. Truth be told, this event is REALLY hard on these young athletes. They've got reporters trying to trap them into saying the wrong thing and they have to answer the same questions over and over and over again. Most reporters see this as protecting Marshall rather than punishing him.
Florida coach Will Muschamp didn't say anything of note. One interesting observation: he was asked questions by at LEAST three different LSU beat writers. All the other reporters were from Florida.
The Vandy coach showed up too but nobody knew who he was so I am not sure if he said anything of importance.
THE BIG LIPSTICK:
The CFB Playoff Trophy was unveiled and IMHO, it looks like a big tube of lipstick. I guess they made them tall and thin so that Alabama has more room to store them. What do you think?