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July 19, 2012HOOVER | Here are the hot topics from Thursday at SEC Media Days.
Targeting the SEC
Nick Saban sees through the call from some to limit the college football playoff to conference champions only.
Some have voiced a belief that the playoff which begins in the 2014 season should exclude teams that don't win their conference, a criteria that would have kept a team like Alabama's 2011 national championship squad from participating. Saban, Alabama's coach, believes that idea is just a veiled attempt to end the dominance of the Southeastern Conference, which has won the last six national championships under the Bowl Championship Series format.
Saban knows full well that such talk started after Alabama and LSU were slotted to play in last year's national championship game.
"I think, to be quite honest with you, whoever's making the statements about conference champions is really making a statement against the SEC and against any league who has more than one good team who would qualify, trying to enhance the opportunity for somebody from their league to get in," Saban said.
Saban, of course, is for the best four teams to be involved in the playoff regardless of conference.
"I think that's what people want," he said. "Just because we have a really, really strong conference, we may have two or three teams that may be in consideration as the top five or six teams in the country to be in the final four. So the possibility definitely exists that one of those teams aren't going to be conference champions."
The lack of buzz around the Volunteers, coming off a 5-7 season with the only conference victory against Vanderbilt, was resounding.
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley was asked just 10 questions in the main media room, and three of those were about quarterback Tyler Bray, who played in only seven games last season before breaking his thumb. By comparison, Vanderbilt coach James Franklin fielded 20 questions two days earlier.
UT coach Derek Dooley was upbeat about his squad.
"I told some of the guys earlier that I feel better today about where we are as a program than at any point since I've been in Knoxville, the third-year coach said.
Since Georgia's last game, highly-recruited running back Isaiah Crowell transferred to Alabama State after being arrested on weapons charges. Defensive back Sanders Commings was arrested on domestic violence charges and cornerback Brandon Smith was arrested for marijuana possession. Additionally, safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Olgetree are facing suspensions for violations of team rules, according to published reports.
"I'm not going to update anything," Georgia coach Mark Richt said when asked about pending suspensions. "People are human, people make mistakes, and when they do you discipline them."
Richt also commented on Georgia's drug-testing policy, which is considered to be among the strictest in the country.
"I think we're doing what's right for Georgia," the coach said.