When the initial schedule for 2021 Media Days was released month ago, it looked very favorable for the Tigers. Going last, on the final day with two of the programs that had to travel the most to attend the interview sessions at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, Auburn looked to dominate the spotlight on Thursday.
Now, not so much.
Wednesday afternoon, news broke that Texas and Oklahoma have reached out to the SEC regarding a potential conference move. All indications are not only may it happen, but happen quickly.
Instead of Bryan Harsin's introduction to most journalists in these parts, the talk of the league being on the verge of becoming super-conference will almost certainly overshadow everything else on Thursday.
For example, you don't think that Arkansas and Missouri will be asked about potentially being reunited with their former Big 12 powers, do you? Nah.
Regardless, there will be a final day of SEC Media Days, as all 16 — excuse me, 14 — head coaches will get their turn at the podium.
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Missouri: Eliah Drinkwitz
• The coach begins by praising the diehards who are still at the Wynfrey Hotel (that includes our reporters). Missouri returns eight starters on both sides of the ball as it looks to take the next step.
• Drinkwitz also made a quick horns down joke right off the bat. Said he asked the commissioner if it would be a 15-yard penalty in the SEC and got a "no comment."
• There was a report Wednesday night that he was contacting recruits that Texas and Oklahoma are after and was saying even they want to be in the SEC. He used it as a joke when asked for his reaction. Then adds: "That's all speculative. What we're worried about is converting third downs and scoring touchdowns. If that happens, hopefully Missouri employs me long enough to see that."
• Drinkwitz said “Twitter is not real”. Hmmm ...
• Drinkwitz says he owes a tremendous amount to Auburn coach Bryan Harsin. "I'm not here to put undue expectations on anyone at Auburn. I think the Auburn fanbase does that pretty well themselves."
• Drinkwitz wraps up early as there weren't enough questions to full his time.
• Jordan Rogers doubled down on his cheating comment from earlier in the week, but then made a really good point. There's no going back to the Big 12 for Oklahoma and Texas. He compared it to telling your girlfriend that you want to see other people.
• There's also this:
Arkansas: Sam Pittman
• Pittman says Razorbacks have 23 seniors, including 12 "super seniors." That includes sixth-year linebacker Grant Morgan, who is also making the rounds at media days.
• Razorbacks vaccination rate is at 89 percent and the football staff "our building" at 92 percent.
• "I will say this, I know we play Texas this year." Arkansas left the SWC for the SEC in 1992. They face the Longhorns on Sept. 11.
• "We’re the defending champions of hardest schedule in college football. I’ve looked at our schedule and think we’re gonna three-peat.” Admitted that the schedule makes him a little nervous. Includes Rice, Texas and Georgia plus all the division teams.
• Pittman says there will be battles for starting positions on the offensive line, especially at the guard spots, all the way up until game week.
• Pittman has a lot of praise for Kirby Smart, and Shane Beamer, whom he worked alongside at Georgia. "He's going to do a great job. He's prepared, he's ready. South Carolina's going to be happy they hired him."
• Pittman got a two-part question and after answering the first part asked the moderator what the send part was again. Quipped: "Thank you. I made 18 on my ACTs."
• Best line: “There’s a lot of players in the transfer portal without a scholarship now. And if you enter the portal at Arkansas, you’re surely not transferring back in.”
Auburn: Bryan Harsin
• The final coach. Auburn is returning 15 starters, but obviously has a new coaching staff.
• Harsin said the Tigers are in the 60-percent range in terms of vaccinations. Doesn't know if they'll hit the threshold by start of the season. "It’s deeply personal for a lot of people."
• About educating players about taxes on NIL income. Their reaction: "Taxes? What's that?"
• Harsin went 16 minutes with his introductory comments, the longest at SEC Media Days this year. Mike Leach went about 16 seconds, if that.
• Harsin answered three questions. Wins filibuster award and second place wasn't close.
Thursday's SEC Media Days Schedule
9:05 a.m.: Missouri — Eliah Drinkwitz; Akial Byers, DL; Case Cook, OL
10:30 a.m.: Arkansas — Sam Pittman; Myron Cunningham, OL; Grant Morgan, LB
Noon: Auburn — Bryan Harsin; Bo Nix, QB; Owen Pappoe, LB
Wednesday's SEC Media Days Highlights
- Amidst Changing Landscape, Nick Saban's Task of Rebuilding Alabama More Difficult Than Ever
- Texas A&M Coach Jimbo Fisher Doesn't Regret Previous Comments About Beating Nick Saban, Alabama
- Instant Analysis: Recapping Alabama at the 2021 SEC Football Media Days
- Mike Leach on Nick Saban: "Everybody Respects What He's Done"
- Alabama DL Phidarian Mathis: "This is going to be a very good unit"
- Former Alabama DL Christian Barmore Signs Rookie Deal with New England Patriots
- Nick Saban: "Pretty Close to 90 Percent of Players Have Been Vaccinated"
- Nick Saban Raves About Transfers WR Jameson Williams and LB Henry To'oTo'o
- Nick Saban Elaborates on NIL and Its Impact on College Football
- Alabama's John Metchie III Embracing Leadership Role in Unproven Wide Receiver Room
- Nick Saban Impressed with OG Javion Cohen: "We're Very Pleased"
- Everything Nick Saban Said at the 2021 SEC Media Days
- Alabama Watch List Tracker: Brian Robinson Jr. Up for Doak Walker Award
This story will be regularly updated on Thursday