The SEC is staging more of a telethon than a football roll-out starting on Monday.
The SEC Media Days mark the unofficial start to the college football season. They're large (featuring 14 teams), over the top (1,200 media members in attendance) and will sadly go on without Steve Spurrier for the first time since 2004.
But do we really need four days to take all this in? The demographics, fans and one very influential conference network all scream ... yes.
So get used to the boom mikes. Get used to more cameras than quarterbacks. Get used to the SEC equivalent of Jerry's Kids. That would be Paul Finebaum's Tammy.
The schedule says someone on some podium somewhere is going to be blabbing about something at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama, for a total 27.5 hours from Monday through Thursday.
So, telethon? Um, yeah.
And this is just the beginning. All the conferences will stage their media days over the next month. The idea is to control the message, sequester the media in a ballroom and hammer home talking points.
In the SEC's case, it will want to remind us of eight national championships in the last 10 years. It will also want to gloss over NCAA issues at Ole Miss and recently settled Title IX lawsuits at Tennessee.
This is how the season debuts -- information overload complete. In the Big 12's case, it includes annoying, cavorting mascots. But only one is the Super Bowl of Saban.
Bottom line: The buzz is back. The wait has been worth it. Starting this week, we get the skinny on the nation's richest and strongest conference. We get a running start on college football in 2016.
And we cannot look away from the sport's ultimate telethon.
With that, here are five things to watch for at SEC Media Days.
1. Chasing history at Alabama: National championships are becoming like M&Ms to Nick Saban. Sweet and numerous. Alabama's coach goes after his record-tying sixth such title (fifth at Bama) this season at age 65. Adding to the theatrics: He's chasing Bear Bryant's record of six titles.
Saban arrives for his SEC spotlight on Wednesday. While he'll certainly be asked about Cam Robinson's discipline, re-tooling his defense and finding a quarterback, the overarching theme of the entire SEC season will be Saban chasing Bear. And, of course, Saban will do his best to deflect any such question regarding that subject.
2. Kirby Smart comes home: Georgia is the lucky recipient of the talents of perhaps the best assistant coach in the country. When the Bulldogs' job came open after 15 years, Smart -- a former Georgia defensive back -- pounced. Saban knew he was going to lose his trusted defensive coordinator at some point. That it was to Georgia makes the drama deeper. Smart walks into one of the most followed and scrutinized jobs in the country.
Mark Richt, his .740 winning percentage and 11 (at least) nine win seasons were run out of town. The implied expectation: Smart is better because he knows Georgia. More than that, he knows all of Alabama's secrets. We can't wait for the moment Smart and Saban meet on the field. Who knows, it might be as soon as this season.
"If it's not the best job in the conference it certainly should be," Saban said of Georgia.
No pressure there.
3. Three and done for Leonard Fournette: Take a long look. This is it for LSU's fantastic tailback. The only way the junior rusher returns in 2017 is something we don't want to consider: injury. Fournette is that rare athlete who could have played in the NFL out of high school. He certainly should be there now.
But typical of Fournette, he has said all the right things. It's all about winning first in 2016, then heading to the NFL's first round.
Fournette should have gotten a Heisman invite last year. The nation's leading rusher (average per game) will charm the media masses and leave town with a jump start in this year's Heisman race.
4. Tap-dancing Les Miles: It will be asked a thousand ways when Miles makes his appearance on Thursday. Are you worried about your job security?
We asked the LSU coach that very question in the offseason. At that time, Miles came as close as he has in admitting angst during the administration's botched firing attempt.
That administration left us with the template for Miles' continued employment: Beat Alabama for the first time in six years (the game is in Baton Rouge). That would go a long way toward the Tigers winning the SEC West.
Given that logic, LSU/Miles must at least get to the SEC title game in order to insure the coach's return. Or so it seems. LSU hasn't been to Atlanta since 2011.
5. Signal caller dearth: The league spoke for itself in releasing its list of players coming to the media days. There were only three quarterbacks -- three ... out of 14. Only two of those have SEC experience.
Without saying it, the league's coaches said it: It's not exactly a bumper crop of quarterbacks this year. Sure, eight of the top 15 throwers from 2015 return but half of those are in a battle to be the 2016 starter. That includes Georgia's Brice Ramsey and Greyson Lambert, who may be afterthoughts if freshman Jacob Eason grabs the job.
Just a reminder of where the league's head/culture is at: 17 of the remaining 39 players in attendance are either linebackers or defensive linemen.
Yeah, defense still wins championships.