Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Reading some of my colleague Chris Low's dispatches from the SEC media days in Birmingham, Ala., makes me glad I cover the relatively sedate Big 12.
In an earlier life, I covered national college football for my old newspaper. As such, I sometimes got to make trips out of the southwest to cover college football-related events around the country.
I remember being blown away at my first SEC media days, which took place in the same suburban hotel in Birmingham, Ala., where I think it still takes place. Plowing through a flotilla of radio talk shows set up to grab guests in a long adjoining hall reminded me of one of those connecting ramps between wings at a major airport. Fans were waiting to greet teams and players as they arrived and left the facility much like after a regular-season game.
My first trip was the year that Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer was about to be hit with a subpoena. He wisely stayed away, although several Birmingham talk shows kept playing the old Kenny Rogers song, "Coward of the County," to explain his absence. I was just glad my old newspaper wanted me to do stories other than that one.
That bizarre scene made me more than happy that it's a little tamer in the Midwest. I didn't see any fans this year, although a 10-year-old boy did manage to finagle a credential to cover the event. Heck, I can't remember seeing a security official on site at the downtown Kansas City hotel where the events transpired.
Thankfully, there were no subpoenas and no irate coaches. And the major controversy among the media members on the final day was whether the sausage and peppers or the chicken marsala was a better lunchtime choice.