Dig Baton Rouge

Southeastern Circus

By Andrew Alexander, DIG Sports Editor
@TheOtherAA

Leonard Fournette Grabbed Headlines Again

The LSU sophomore running back was the center of attention in Hoover immediately with his wardrobe choice. Fournette was sporting a red bowtie and matching red pants, much to the chagrin of LSU coach Les Miles who told the media he’d like to spray Fournette’s outfit purple.

Whether striking the Heisman pose after his first collegiate touchdown (Fournette promised no more Heisman poses, ever) or spouting his signature catch phrase “Buga Nation” with accompanying hand gesture, Fournette has the ability to seamlessly absorb the limelight while remaining humble. For a team with lingering preseason questions at quarterback, Fournette grabbing headlines might not be a bad thing.

Strong Shoe Game in the SEC West

A couple of SEC coaches from the West stepped up their shoe game for the cameras at SEC Media Days last week. Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen started things off when he showed up to Hoover brandishing his new Adidas Yeezy 350 Boost Lows.

“I try to be swagged up in footwear, and I’ve got a little sock game going today too,” Mullen said about his shoe choice.

Not to be outdone by his divisional colleague, Arkansas head coach Brett Bielema arrived in on day three of media days rocking custom-bling Nike Air Force 1s.

“I saw a coach walk in here yesterday with his Adidas on. We’re a Nike school. First thing I said was, hell, let’s start a Nike-Adidas war. That was why I did it.”

Well said Bielema. Let the Nike-Adidas feud resume.

Nick Saban is Full of Excuses

Pace of play. A crazy 2013 lron Bowl loss. And now the National Football League. The past two seasons, Nick Saban’s Alabama squads have fallen short of their national title aspirations, and apparently it’s anybody’s fault except Saban’s.

This time the culprit is the NFL, who requires players requesting draft feedback from it to declare by December 15 and sends players that feedback around Christmas. Alabama lost to Ohio State 42-35 in the inaugural College Football Playoffs on January 1. Saban blames the NFL draft feedback for distracting his players from the Tide’s postseason game.

“Our team chemistry from the SEC championship game to the playoff game was affected by something,” Saban said.

You’re right Nick, team chemistry was affected by something: a bigger, stronger and faster Ohio State team.

Rule #76: No excuses. Play like a champion!

(Still) No Faith in Missouri

After back-to-back trips to the SEC Championship game in 2013 and 2014 and a 23-5 (14-2) record during those two seasons, the Missouri Tigers were still picked to finish third in their division behind Georgia and Tennessee. With a soft schedule (Mizzou avoids Alabama, Auburn and LSU in 2015) and veteran quarterback Maty Mauk in his second full season under center, the Tigers should be getting more love from preseason prognosticators.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were voted by the media in Hoover to win the SEC Eastern Division, despite the fact UGA is breaking in a new quarterback and faces the top two preseason teams in the SEC West, Alabama and Auburn.

If that’s not enough to convince you, consider Georgia’s uncanny ability to “Georgia” its way out of division, conference and sometimes national titles. Remember losses to South Carolina and Florida last season? How about Mizzou, Vanderbilt or Auburn in 2013? And let’s not get started on the 2012 SEC Championship game.

Pinkel and Missouri have proven themselves worthy of their SEC invite the past two seasons. Do not count out the Tigers in a weak SEC East.

Split Predictions

The SEC media in attendance couldn’t decide on a clear preseason front-runner in the SEC West. For the first time in the 23-year history of the poll, the media were divided on divisional champion and overall SEC champion. Auburn was picked to capture the 2015 SEC Championship by a narrow margin (96-80) over instate rival Alabama.

Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide was selected to win the SEC Western Division with 1,405 total points, while Auburn was second with 1,362. LSU finished third in the voting with 870 points.

Georgia was selected to win the SEC Eastern Division with 1,498 points, including 166 first place votes.

Since 1992, the SEC Media Days predicted champion has won the conference just five times, so take our predictions with a grain of salt.

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