SEC Media Days, the unofficial kickoff for the 2013 preseason, will be held July 16-18 in Hoover, Ala., at the Wynfrey Hotel, the location for the annual event since 2001. CBS Sports' Tony Barnhart joined Jon Rothstein on the Tim Brando Show on Monday to discuss some of the biggest stories for 2013 that will likely be discussed when all 14 coaches meet the media next month.
In the conversation above, Barnhart lists five topics that will dominate the conversation leading up to the the regular season.
1. Four New Coaches. Arkansas' Bret Bielema, Auburn's Gus Malzahn, Kentucky's Mark Stoops and Tennessee's Butch Jones will be making their SEC head coaching debuts. Barnhart picks Malzahn as the coach most likely to succeed in year one, citing Auburn's talent level as the difference maker.
2. Can Vanderbilt maintain momentum? Vanderbilt won nine games for the first time in a century last season, and the Commodores kick off 2013 in the midst of a seven-game winning streak.
3. Can Ole Miss can recapture the magic? An Egg Bowl victory over Mississippi State, combined with a bowl win and a star-studded recruiting class have given Ole Miss fans plenty of reason for optimism. Can Hugh Freeze continue the magic in year two?
4. Alabama. Not much explanation needed here. The Tide have won three of the last four national titles and will play Texas A&M, the only school to beat the Tide last season, in mid-September. How they fare in that game will set the stage for the conference title race.
5. What is 2013 going to be like for Johnny Manziel? Barnhart directs the attention from Manziel's off-field headlines to the No. 1 concern for Aggie fans. How will the SEC defenses respond to Johnny Football in 2013? A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have kept their plans close to the vest, but the chess match between the Aggies and defensive coordinators will be fascinating to watch this fall.
Tune in above to watch as Barnhart also explains why the SEC might move to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016. Like every other conference in college football, the SEC will do whatever is necessary to help put its schools in the four-team College Football Playoff.