Well, it's here. Today is Auburn's untimely moment in the spotlight as they help kickoff the 2014 version of SEC Media Days in Hoover. I say untimely, of course, because everyone associated with Auburn will be asked countless questions about this, instead of football.
At least one member of Auburn's caravan to the Wynfrey only just learned he'd be attending, as it was reported late last night that tight end C.J. Uzomah will be replacing Nick Marshall at the ultra-scrutinized annual event.
As is the custom, everyone was rushing to talk about what people will be talking about this week in Hoover.
John Zenor of the AP says the state of the NCAA, as well as the SEC's quarterbacks will be two dominant topics among coaches and media.
Ryan Black's countdown of talking points continued with his final three bullet points: Bert vs Gus and whether Auburn plays "normal American football", the NCAA vs the Big Five conferences and autonomy, unionization and pay-for-play-related questions, and the conference opening Media Days for the first time since 2006 without hosting the defending national champion. You're welcome, SEC.
Mike Szvetitz has a column at the O-A News hitting on many of the same points, while at AuburnSports Jay G. Tate's column says he believes it's the right move to take the "privilege" of Media Days away from Marshall. I'm honestly not sure if I'd rather him go and have a long, hard day of answering questions and getting it out of the way before September, or if I agree that he doesn't "deserve" to be there because of the prestige seemingly involved. Malzahn's decision sparked a lot of late night Twitter debate, pretty much involving people bouncing off these two points.
On a lighter SECMD note, Jon Solomon highlights some of the better quotes and memories from events past, including Nick Saban's dog getting loose in the hotel and Will Muschamp thanking his "friends from Ohio" for their NCAA rules knowledge.
The Ledger-Enquirer's Black also has an interesting piece about the negotiations that are going on to make the SEC Network available to subscribers of many different television providers.
In the baseball world, Auburn pitcher Trey Wingenter became his Cape side's first starter to last longer than five innings, and here's a little interview with him after the game. One of my favorite things he says is he enjoys working fast, which as someone who loves the sport, but also watches games all day long at my job, is very much appreciated from a starting pitcher.
Lastly, a tweet that we should all read and keep in mind the next time an athlete or coach from a rival school (or anywhere) gets in trouble with the law, courtesy of Brett Mixon (@TrueBlueAU): "I know it's a lot to ask for CFB fans, but can we not celebrate any time a young person who happens to play college sports gets arrested?"
Actually, this is last. I suppose I may be overdue an introduction, what with the site's staff shifting and my taking a year or so off from writing here. And most everyone else has already posted one, so I'll throw one on at the end of this and hope it suffices. I lived in Pelham for basically all of my childhood and adolescence, then graduated from Pelham High before going off in a series of fairly quick moves. I was in Searcy and then Little Rock, Arkansas for two years, going to school and working for Americorps and the Clinton Foundation with City Year. The next two and a half years were spent in Auburn where I wrote for The Plainsman and then the Corner News and fell even deeper in love with the greatest place on Earth.
As of March I'm doing video scouting and data collection for Baseball Info Solutions, a scouting and statistics company in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I basically watch a lot of big league baseball and help gather information for our R&D people to make usable before selling to MLB front offices or media outlets, like ESPN and FanGraphs.
My first Auburn game was also the first game we ever flew an eagle around the stadium, making it feel a little more important to me when Tiger, War Eagle VI, died last month. My dad checked me out of third grade that Thursday afternoon and I'm delighted to report I'm still just as excited for each gameday as nine year-old me was; if not more thanks to the discovery of tailgating and the student section. That game featured one of my favorite in-person Auburn memories: Rudi's run. You know which one.
Okay, that's all. Have fun keeping up with Auburn today in Hoover, especially if you get to attend. Let's hope some football chatter shines through the tabloid talk.