The unofficial official start of the new college football season is upon us, as SEC Media Days begin on Monday at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, AL.
For the first time ever, the event is now spread over four days. Because in the SEC, bigger is always better.
Here are some things to keep an eye on this week at the circus, which includes members of the media, coaches, players and crazed fans in a giant ballroom.
— The Head Ball Coach: Any time Steve Spurrier is near a mic, it's must-see TV. It would not be surprising if the South Carolina head coach takes a dig at in-state rival Clemson or SEC East rival Georgia. Even if he just talks about his golf game, it's a great listen.
— The playoff: For the first time ever, major college football has a playoff system in place for the postseason. The College Football Playoff has replaced the BCS, so it's likely that most every coach and player in attendance will be asked to give his thoughts on the matter.
— Nick Marshall: The Auburn quarterback will not be in attendance due to his citation for possession of a small amount of marijuana this past Friday. Tight end C.J. Uzomah will take his place instead. Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn and his players will now have to answer plenty of questions about the potential Heisman Trophy contender, which is unfortunate because this could have been an opportunity for the QB to own up to his mistake.
ICONWill Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide be preseason favorites to win the SEC?
— Still the King of the Mountain?: Will Alabama be picked again to win the league? Nick Saban's squad let the Iron Bowl slip away before looking lost against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl to close out last season. Have the Tide slipped in the SEC pecking order? Saban will get asked about the state of the program, which is ridiculous because it's still as healthy as it's ever been.
— Derek Mason's initiation: The former Stanford defensive coordinator is now the head man at Vanderbilt, as he replaced James Franklin, whose work with the Commodores will be difficult to top. Mason is participating in his first SEC Media Days, and he's in for quite the treat. He will have to get used to the big spotlight that is SEC football.
— Hot seat talk: Florida head coach Will Muschamp knows he must have a major bounceback season in Gainseville after his 4-8 campaign in 2013. Even though the Gators were ravaged with injuries last fall, no UF squad should ever lose to an FCS foe as they did to Georgia Southern. Getting to Atlanta isn't necessary to gain a fourth season at the school, but a more typical Gators product is expected on Fall Saturdays. The arrival of Kurt Roper as new OC should really help quarterback Jeff Driskel.
— Paying players: The NCAA is dealing with a variety of issues both in court and outside of it, including the impending vote for autonomy from the Power Five. So what do players think about cost of attendance, unionization, getting paid to play, etc.? Besides those about the new playoff, questions on these matters will be tossed around.
— The schedule:
Monday beginning at 11:00 a.m. CT
Commissioner Mike Slive
Tuesday beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Wednesday beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Officials Steve Shaw & Justin Connolly
Thursday beginning at 9:00 a.m.
— The attending players:
Alabama: Landon Collins, Amari Cooper and Christion Jones
Arkansas: Brey Cook, Trey Flowers and Alan Turner
Auburn: CJ Uzomah, Reese Dismukes and Gabe Wright
Florida: Jeff Driskel, Dante Fowler and Vernon Hargreaves III
Georgia: Chris Conley, Todd Gurley and Ramik Wilson
Kentucky: Bud Dupree, Jordan Swindle and Za’Darius Smith
LSU: La’el Collins, Terrence Magee and D.J. Welter
Ole Miss: CJ Johnson, Cody Prewitt and Bo Wallace
Mississippi State: Jay Hughes, Benardrick McKinney and Dak Prescott
Missouri: Evan Boehm, Markus Golden and Maty Mauk
South Carolina: A.J. Cann, J.T. Surratt and Dylan Thompson
Tennessee: Mack Crowder, AJ Johnson and Curt Maggitt
Texas A&M: Deshazor Everett, Drew Kaser and Cedric Ogbuehi
Vanderbilt: Adam Butler, Steven Scheu and Andrew Williamson
Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.