SEC media salute Josh Heupel

Marvin Westwestwords

I have no idea what if any adult beverages were served on Southeastern Conference media voting day but I know this much for certain: Writers and broadcasters, sober or not, paid Josh Heupel the ultimate compliment.

His Tennessee Volunteers were picked to finish second in the really tough SEC East without any first-team players. No not one. Wide receiver Bru McCoy made the second team.

In back-handed support of the voters, I don’t know which Vols were snubbed. Joe Milton III shared projected third-team quarterback honors with Mississippi State’s Will Rogers. Javontez Spraggins and Cooper Mays were third-team offensive linemen.

Without saying it, media members said 10 or more in the SEC are better blockers. I wonder. How can the offense be so good, No. 1 in the country at times last season, and the big uglies be mediocre? Hmmmm.

Oh, I get it. Darnell Wright, the $20,968,267 draft choice, is gone to the Chicago Bears and Tennessee doesn’t know who will replace him. Be advised there is no way to play without a right tackle.

Totally ignored by the voters was Vol linebacker Aaron Beasley. Could they be holding a grudge? Aaron once brushed aside a pesky kitten and was charged with animal cruelty. He repented. He loves kitty-kitties and owners of kittens. And even cats.

Are there really nine better linebackers in the SEC? Beasley can run. He hits. He is crusty on football fields. Wow, what a conference!

Vols coach Josh Heupel at SEC Media Days (Photo by Andrew Ferguson/UT Athletics)

Tennessee running backs are a committee, not individual stars. Squirrel White hasn’t done enough as a receiver to be considered. I don’t know who is the best Tennessee defensive tackle. Nobody – and I mean nobody – in the secondary is all-SEC at this time.
Media emphasis was on coach Kirby Smart and whether Georgia will be able to collect a third straight national championship trophy. If the Bulldogs do it, they’ll be the first since Minnesota during the 1934-36 seasons.

Media day voters went so far out on a limb as to say Georgia is the July favorite to win the conference. The Bulldogs supposedly received 265 votes.

Since Alabama finished ahead of LSU in the West forecast, that means Smart will nip Nick Saban in the SEC title game. It does not mean Saint Nick is running low on fuel or that he is pondering retirement.

It does mean Smart is one smart cookie, a brilliant recruiter, an exciting motivator and no telling what all else. At least one newspaper said he is not a disciplinarian.

The SEC poll did not go there.

It did award Tennessee 14 first-place votes. The entire polling process suffered a credibility loss when I read that Vanderbilt had eight votes to win the SEC East. Surely coach Clark Lea doesn’t have that many relatives in the communications business.
Perhaps some voters still cling to Clark’s delusional quote of 2022: “We know in time Vanderbilt will be the best football program in the country.”

This time, he was more in touch with reality. Only those eight media members (or pretenders) were not. The summit meeting was in Nashville. That could have been the proverbial home-court advantage.

Other bits ‘n pieces

LSU’s Jayden Daniels was voted the No. 1 quarterback. Arkansas’ KJ Jefferson was second. Maybe you have heard that Alabama really doesn’t know who will lead the Crimson Tide attack.

Georgia had 11 players on the first team – offense, defense and special teams. Alabama and LSU had six each.

Sources say, in the survey of SEC best first names, 10 semi-finalists were Quinshon, Raheim, Amarius, Nazir, Kool-Aid, Kneeland, Smael, Jarquez, Javontez and Princely. Feel free to vote.

Marvin West welcomes reader comments or questions. His address is


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