As always, it’s time for the annual rankings of the presentations by the coaches at SEC Media Days. Radio row is being dismantled, the air conditioning has been turned back to normal at the Wynfrey Hotel and the helmets and Diet Dr. Pepper have been put in storage.
It wasn’t the best Media Days I’ve attended, but it was not the worst. It offered plenty of content and we got to know some of the athletes better.
How did the coaches do?
1. Will Muschamp: He told a joke at my expense and another at Mike Bianchi’s and they were really funny and gained ratings points. He might not have been the next Steve Spurrier as a coach at Florida, but he was Thursday in Hoover.
2. Bret Bielema: The Arkansas coach was humorous and engaging just 48 hours after the birth of his first child.
3. Nick Saban: This may surprise you because I’ve heard Saban speak at this thing and actually nodded off. But he was interesting and honest except for his disingenuous praise of the media at the end.
4. Mark Stoops: One thing about Stoops, he spoke with a lot of confidence and you could tell he’s riding a wave of momentum. Let’s see how it translates.
5. Jim McElwain: Some of the media members were down on Mac, but that was because they asked him fewer questions about his defense than LSU’s hurt feelings. I would have loved it if he had gone all Colonel Nathan Jessep on the room. “Now are these really the questions I was called here to answer? Shark pictures and homecoming games? Please tell me you’ve got something more. Please tell me there’s an ace up your sleeve. Please tell me you sportswriters haven’t pinned your Pulitzer hopes to a fake picture.”
6. Derek Mason: Best dressed to be sure. Had some funny comments for the media. Very confident that Vanderbilt is on its way to something special.
7. Dan Mullen: Mullen’s suggestion that the coaches all have walk-up songs was the best part of his speech. Look for it next year.
8. Butch Jones: Jones was fairly interesting (and confusing) and I didn’t feel like he was trying to sell me a car. That’s a major improvement.
9. Kirby Smart: Smart was fine, nothing special, ducked a couple of questions and answered one dumb one.
10. Kevin Sumlin: Sumlin talked like a coach who is feeling extra pressure no matter how many times he said he always feels pressure.
11. Hugh Freeze: The beleaguered Ole Miss coach talked to us like he was talking to his players trying to convince them that everything will be OK. Nobody bought it.
12. Gus Malzahn. Meh.
13. Barry Odom: He tried. It’s just not there.
14. Ed Orgeron: He finishes last because we expected so much more.