DESTIN, Fla. - Greetings from the Gulf Coast. Yes, it's beautiful here. Yes, there are beaches.
And I'm sure the people that get to enjoy them are having a great time. The rest of us will enjoy stalking the hallways and lobby of the Sandestin Hilton.
This week, as they have here for a number of years, the SEC dignitaries gather for their annual meetings. The likes of Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, John Calipari and Mark Richt will walk the hallways along with their bosses, SEC commissioner Mike Slive and other officials.
There are a number of burning issues this week, chiefly the schedules and television deals. Here is my story summing up those burning issues.
For Georgia fans, the major question to be answered this week is probably who will be the team's eighth SEC opponent in 2013. (We know there will be eight games, including six in the division and one cross-division rivalry.)
It's a decent guess that Alabama will be 2013 opponent, since Georgia was supposed to play in Tuscaloosa in 2012, before the schedules had to be ripped up because of expansion. But nothing is certain until it's announced.
As for the overall schedule rotation, it seems the SEC was leaning towards a new format that doesn't require consecutive home-and-homes: For example, if Georgia plays at Alabama in 2013, then Alabama doesn't automatically return the visit the next year. This would be a good solution towards avoiding a situation where teams in different divisions go almost a decade without playing each other.
I'm a bit skeptical that the BCS/playoff discussion deserves too much attention, despite what others are saying. Yes, it's the major topic in college football, and the SEC supposedly will emerge this week with an official stance. But from my viewpoint, there are a number of reasons the story is of mitigating news value this week:
- We know we're getting a four-team playoff in 2014. It's just a matter now of smaller details, including how the teams are decided and whether the bowls stay involved.
- The SEC's unofficial stance has been well-documented. It has long favored a playoff, and considering how last year's BCS was decided, it will be against any proposal that excludes non-league champions.
- The SEC, as powerful as it is, is just one conference, and any real decisions will be decided in late June at the BCS meetings. And whatever official stance the SEC makes, it could change with one convincing phone call between the commissioners.
In any event, there will be news this week. It just isn't certain what it will be.
This year the SEC is also making coaches available for mini-press conferences. (In years past it's been more informal, with many coaches doing their best to dodge the media.)
The coaches come through on Tuesday. Two coaches new to the league - Missouri's Gary Pinkel and Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze - will be available first on Tuesday morning. Then at around noon eastern time, Richt and Mark Fox will meet the media.
But the good fun could come a short time after that, when Spurrier meets the media. Spurrier is set to present his wacky proposal to only have division games count in the standings; Make no mistake, it has almost no chance of passing, but that won't stop people from talking about it!
Check in this space over the next few days for updates. There will be plenty to read about.