Rest assured, folks, we’ve almost drifted out of the sports equivalent of the doldrums.
Outside of tracking recruits scampering around at The Opening and the signing of LSU baseball players to professional contracts, the fodder is minimal.
How bad is the situation? Over the weekend, people were actively tweeting about the Canadian Football League. And unlike John Candy in “Canadian Bacon,” there were no harsh words for the residents of America’s Hat.
A week ago, reporters pounced on the Southeastern Conference men’s basketball teleconference to sate editors who were pounding desks for stories, confounding many scribes who cover the league full-time.
“There seems to be more interest in talking to SEC basketball coaches today than there ever was during the actual season,” tweeted Steve Walentik, who covers Missouri.
Yet writing about coaches peeved over submitting their nonconference schedules to the SEC office for review — “I’m not a kindergartner,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said — only lasts a few days.
Everyone’s eyes are firmly affixed on July 16, when Florida, Missouri, Ole Miss and South Carolina open the three-day festival of bloviating otherwise known as SEC’s football media days. The event has became a parody of itself: More than 800 reporters descend upon Hoover, Ala., to probe the recesses of players’ and coaches’ minds over a month before most programs are allowed to don pads.
The spectacle’s allure rests in its ability to fill a vacuum. The statements point to an illusory notion of progress being made, even if most stories are framed hypothetically.
For example: What does the presence of quarterbacks AJ McCarron of Alabama, Aaron Murray of Georgia and reigning Heisman winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M say about a conference, known more for defense, and its ability to produce elite signal callers?
Well, the answer is relatively simple. Elite programs draw elite talent and cultivate it. Still, someone will punch out 500 words on the subject.
But the hot air billowing out of Hoover is the equivalent of the trade winds near the equator — a faint sign of arriving at an ultimate port of call.
You can only dog-ear the pages of Phil Steele’s preview mag after habitually flipping through its contents, watch replays of the LSU-Alabama game on YouTube and debate the merits of SEC scheduling policy so many times before boredom creeps in.
Right now, that’s our lot.
In two weeks, we’ll ascribe too much importance to the musings of millionaire coaches in suits and young adults in starched dress shirts. Sadly, Missouri’s T.J. Moe won’t attend to inject humor, such as last year’s gem about joining the SEC: “They say girls are prettier here, air’s fresher and toilet paper is thicker.”
Pity, really. We could all use the chuckle right about now.
What else better is there to do?
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