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Andy Hodges

New coaches main focus at SEC Media Days next week

With five new faces in the league and one jumping teams, the coaching moves will be the hottest topic of conversation next week and the Razorbacks won’t be picked very high.

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For the first time, the second-largest gathering of media people interviewing other media people, gets underway next week in Atlanta with SEC Media Days.

For actual news, it will be a relatively tame week. It’s hard to remember the last time some really breaking news came down during that week involving players.

Oh, there was Phillip Fulmer being served with legal papers in 2008 when he arrived. That was from a lawsuit filed several years earlier over allegedly turning in Alabama to the SEC on some recruiting stuff.

For the last couple of years we had everybody asking anybody connected with or covering Ole Miss about the NCAA investigation, but that’s over with now. Remember, it was shortly after the event last year when the Hugh Freeze scandal broke.

We don’t even Steve Spurrier around for entertainment any more.

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Oh, Nick Saban will probably be ticked off at some question and try to bully somebody that asks something, but it won’t be anything of much importance.

Most of the attention will be focused on the new coaches in the SEC, five of whom will be walking into the chaos for the first time. Florida’s Dan Mullen has been there a few times, but as coach of Mississippi State.

Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher will be the spotlight new coach. Arkansas’ Chad Morris, Ole Miss’ Matt Luke, Mississippi State’s Joe Moorhead and Tennessee’s Jeremy Pruitt will be novelty items.

If Morris holds true to form, he may hit more spots on radio row than anybody since the SEC stopped making the coaches go down the gauntlet of stations interviewing anything that looks remotely interesting.

Then there will be the predictions.

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The national media guys will tiptoe at almost every stop. To be honest, they simply don’t have the time to deep-dive into every school and most don’t step back and get a big-picture view. That’s why most thought Bret Bielema was a home-run hire back in 2013 when anybody looking at the big picture figured it was going to never work.

But there will be some constants.

Alabama will be favored in the West and Georgia in the East. Since 1992, I’ve picked Alabama to win the West and Florida the East every single year and been perfect nine times over 25 years and half-right five more times. Over half of the time those picks have hit on one side or the other.

That’s the pick again this year. No one will argue about the Crimson Tide, but probably raise eyebrows about the Gators. I’m playing the numbers.

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Arkansas will likely be sixth or seventh in the West. The Hogs aren’t getting a great deal of respect for the coming season.

Few expect a banner year.

Razorback fans should rejoice. When picked low, Arkansas tends to finish higher. When they are picked to contend, the bottom falls out most of the time.

I’ve got an idea what I think, but I’m not making any predictions just yet.

Later this week, I’ll give you my prediction for what the media will pick. Oh, there won’t be any surprises at the top because I think Alabama and Georgia will be favored in each division.

It’s the rest of the pecking order that may be a little different.

Hey, what else do we have to discuss?

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