HOOVER, Ala. — College football's Greatest Offseason Show on Earth begins Monday, back in its rightful spot in Hoover, Alabama, after last year's foolish venture into Atlanta,
Three rings can't hold it, can't even begin to contain the 1,000 or so media members who descend on the sprawling hotel built into the side of Alabama's largest mall, part of which gets requisitioned into Radio Row.
Let other leagues get it done in a day or two — the SEC needs four full days and a half-dozen different media outposts to run each coach and three selected players through.
As usual, the media, which in a fit of creativity will pick Alabama to win the league, will be ever on the lookout for the juicy off-season stories. That is to say the quirky meaningless stuff that will be long forgotten by the time the season starts. But at the time it can seem dad-gum important to learn who has scheduled who for Homecoming or which former Florida coach (Steve Spurrier) didn't vote Tim Tebow first-team preseason all-conference.
Hopefully something good will turn up.
Until then, here's the questions I'm thinking need to be asked of each of the conference's 14 head coaches.
By the way, this is the first time since 2006 that there are no new faces on the dais. Sure, "It Just Means More" in the SEC, but last year it didn't Mean Enough to fire any of them, which could mean the conference is losing its edge.
But we'll take them in order of their appearance Monday-Thursday:
Missouri's Barry Odom: Coach, sorry, but with you leading off I thought I had wandered into the wrong media days. Still have trouble — how many years has it been now? — getting used to Missouri being in the SEC. Anyway, just wondering if that's a problem in recruiting? When you offer a youngster a chance to play in the SEC, do they want to see proof, some conference I.D., you know, that it really means more there?
LSU's Ed Orgeron (through his interpreter on hand): Coach, it seems you were about the only coach at LSU who really spoke well of former athletic director Joe Alleva? Was that just appreciation that he hired you, took the interim tag off at least, when a lot of people were against it? Or did you two really get along? And, as a follow up, a lot of people said Alleva needed you to succeed to protect his own job. Do you find it odd that when you cracked 10 wins last year, he got the boot?
Florida's Dan Mullen: Coach, nice shoes, by the way. As I understand it, it has been officially proclaimed that your Gators have pulled back even with Georgia as the two real threats to win the SEC East. When did that memo go out? And how is that possible when the Dawgs beat you by 19 points last year?
Georgia's Kirby Smart: Coach, you have dominated Alabama for three-and-half quarters in big games each of the last two seasons ... with nothing to show for it. Just wondering how many of your in-house analysts are now assigned to studying the last two minutes of closing the deal against the Crimson Tide?
Ole Miss' Matt Luke: Coach, you started out as an interim head coach before getting the tag knocked off to be the full bona fide head coach. But now you have both an interim athletic director and an interim school chancellor. Further complicating matters, both of your new coordinators are former head coaches. Do you all ever meet as one big group and how awkward does that make all the introductions?
Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher: Coach, when you took the A&M job, did they tell you the part about how this season on the schedule you'd not only get the usual SEC West suspects, but Georgia from the East and defending champion Clemson on the road? If so, was that a factor in the bazillion-dollar contract you got?
Tennessee's Jeremy Pruitt: Coach, I know you've only been there in Knoxville one year. But, according to my records, Tennessee has lost to Vanderbilt three consecutive years. How is that possible? Feel free to use the power point if needed.
Alabama's Nick Saban: Coach, as has been noted, this is first time since you re-entered the league with Alabama that this event does not have any first-year head coaches on hand — that is, none of them got fired over last season. In past years, you were blamed for many of them getting canned. Did you take pride in that or was it just collateral damage? And is the fact that there were no new casualties more proof that maybe The Process is showing some cracks?
Arkansas' Chad Morris: Coach, last year, your first, that whole thing about installing the speedy, touchy-feely spread offense with the leftover bulldozers and stray oxen from the Bret Bielema regime was just a charade, right? A ploy to buy some time? If not, have you found and square pegs that will fit into those round holes?
Mississippi State's Joe Moorhead: Coach, your only other head coaching job was at Fordham University in New York City. Talk about the difference in night life between the Big Apple and Starkville? Also, have you found a quarterback to replace 99.7 percent of your offense with Nick Fitzgerald gone?
South Carolina's Will Muschamp: Coach, for brief spell there the head ball coach, Steve Spurrier, seemed like he had the eternally blissful Gamecocks fans caring if they won or lost. Is that still in effect or are they back to just being proud of the boys' effort.
Auburn's Gus Malzahn: Coach, this is an odd-numbered year, so I'm going to assume that you're on the dreaded "hot seat." We know that probably means your bunch will surprise some people this year. But as much experience as you've had on the thing, I was wondering how the formal process works? Do you get an official notification that you're on the "hot seat" and, if so, from whom? Is it from the media or does the university have somebody to present it? Is it notarized? Or is just kind of assumed when you're in the same state as Nick Saban?
Kentucky's Mark Stoops: Coach, just heard a rumor that you guys finished 10-3 last year and beat Penn State in the bowl game. With the momentum from that season, I guess my question is can John Calipari build on that and get Big Blue back into the Final Four next season?
Vanderbilt's Derek Mason : Nice outfit, as usual, coach. You need to introduce me — and a whole lot of my media friends — to your tailor someday. But with LSU visiting your place this year I know I speak for much of Louisiana, so I was wondering, whether or not the "Vandy Whistler" also attends Vanderbilt football games.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at email@example.com