HOOVER, Ala. -- Five questions for the SEC this preseason as the conference's media days kick off in beautiful downtown Hoover, Ala.
More than 500 media members -- some of them storing up fat for the winter by gouging on free SEC spreads -- make this the most significant of the annual football kickoffs.
Only in the South are coaches treated like royalty -- cameras whirring, fans drooling -- as they enter the Wynfrey Hotel lobby. Think of Brad Pitt on the red carpet -- with a paunch.
Which new coach will make the biggest splash?
Four schools -- one-third of the conference -- have new coaches. Another indicator in the football-mad SEC that you're only as secure as your last paycheck.
Steve Spurrier (South Carolina), Urban Meyer (Florida ), Les Miles (LSU) and Ed Orgeron (Ole Miss) take over programs that were a combined 26-20 last year. Of course, each school's fans will demand an SEC title right away. All of them might be disappointed.
Each program has cause for concern or else there wouldn't have been an opening.
But win, lose or taunt, Spur Dog is going to have the biggest influence of the newbies. The majority of SEC's offenses are predicated on schemes he brought to the league 15 years ago. Now he's trying to reprove himself in the off-Gainesville production of Cock 'n' Fire.
The not-so-little secret is that South Carolina isn't very good this year. Spurrier knows that. The best he can hope for is beating one team he shouldn't and playing Tennessee and Florida close. You better believe Phil Fulmer, Mark Richt, etc. are lining up to take their shots at their old tormentor.
But the Ball Coach still has that twinkle. A loose promise to play in the SEC title game in three to five years probably will be kept.
Who is Stanley McClover and why is he smiling at you?
In other words, don't disregard Auburn just yet. After an undefeated season that was mixed with bitter disappointment (no BCS title game), the Tigers can make another run at the SEC West. At least.
First, offensive coordinator Al Borges is still around. That's huge considering the miracles he worked with Jason Campbell last year. Left-hander Brandon Cox will be competent if only because he doesn't have to face his own defense. He was sacked five times in the spring game.