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By JT Bennett Communications Director
Follow us at  Become a fan at the Facebook Page Contributor Kevin Price lists several facts about the SEC with the season edging closer.

By Kevin Price Contributor Contributor Kevin Price lists several facts about the SEC with the season edging closer. Follow us on Twitter at Become a fan of us on Facebook at the Facebook Page

With another edition of the SEC Media Days in the books and the countdown to the season now officially under way, we at decided to put a cap on the event which concluded Friday in Hoover, Ala., with the following notes package that includes facts and figures related to football in the Southeastern Conference.

BIG OPENER: Just as the annual Chick-fil-A Bowl does each season, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta will match teams from the SEC and ACC against one another in what will arguably be the most attractive game of college football’s opening weekend on television.

Set for an 8 p.m. start on ESPN, this year’s game matches preseason No. 21 LSU against No. 19 North Carolina. Last season, then-No. 5 Alabama toppled No. 7 Virginia Tech 34-24 to begin its run toward the national championship, while in 2008 No. 24 Alabama blasted No. 9 Clemson 34-10 in the kickoff game.

This year’s game will mark the seventh time the Tigers and Tar Heels have met on the gridiron. LSU holds a 5-1 lead in the series. However, this will be their first natural-site encounter.

The teams’ projected payout of $2.1 million for playing in the kickoff game is higher than that of 22 bowl games.

ON THE POLL:  According to the composite Top 25 national rankings, which are based on the rankings by seven of the most widely-recognized preseason college football publications, Alabama checks in at the top of the composite list while Florida is ranked No. 4

Other SEC teams ranked in the Top 25 include No. 18 Arkansas, No. 21 Auburn and No. 22 Georgia.

South Carolina was rated No. 29.

A GROWING TRADITION: Based on the attendance at the conference’s annual media days, the event just keeps growing bigger in popularity with each passing year.

In the six previous years, attendance was 500 in 2004; 643 in 2005; 685 in 2006; 830 in 2007; 853 in 2008; and 923 last year.

This year’s event at The Wynfrey Hotel drew close to 1,000 media members and sponsors.

BY THE NUMBERS: Last season, the SEC had 13 first-team All-Americans led by Alabama’s Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mark Ingram as well as producing six other players who won national superlative awards as the best players at their individual positions.

Also, the conference featured 49 players who were selected in the NFL Draft in April – a number which included seven first-round picks. Each of the 12 football programs in the SEC had at least one player chosen in the draft.

Also last fall, the SEC logged the largest total attendance record of any conference for the 29th consecutive season with 6.6 million people attending games throughout the league. SEC stadiums were filled to 98 percent capacity for each home game played.

Another noteworthy fact is that the SEC has won at least six postseason bowl games each of the last four years, and at least five each year since the league expanded to 12 teams in 1992.

OPENING SPLASH: In the first week of the season which begins with South Carolina’s game against Southern Miss on Sept. 2 on ESPN, nine of the conferences 12 schools will play games that will be televised by national or regional networks. The others – San Jose State at Alabama, Tennessee Tech at Arkansas and Tennessee-Martin at Tennessee – will be broadcast locally on pay-per-view.

Speaking of television, one of the best weekends of SEC football on the air this season might be the second one of the year. Starting with a Thursday night ESPN matchup between Auburn and Mississippi State, the weekend lineup also includes Georgia at South Carolina, South Florida at Florida, Penn State at Alabama and Oregon at Tennessee.

LITTLE DOOLEY ON DADDY DOOLEY: With coaches and players from all 12 schools in the SEC passing through the various interview rooms last week during media days, obviously there were a lot of interesting comments made by the coaches and players alike.

But, one of the best was new Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley’s comment on his dad, legendary former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, and his early involvement in his son’s job with the Volunteers.

The younger Dooley had this to say regarding his father:

“The first couple of weeks on the job [at Tennessee], he’d call me and he’d say, ‘Do you know who so-and-so is?’

“I’d say, ‘No, I don’t know who that is.’

“‘What do you mean you don’t know who that is? He was all-conference [for Tennessee] in 1962!’

“I said, ‘Dad, I don’t even know who my defensive end is. Give me a chance.’

“He’s all-consumed Tennessee, but that’s how he does things. He gets so into it. He’s learning the geography of the state, the political history of the state, the great Civil War battles of the state, what’s the motto of the state, the history of winning, all the coaches, the records. That’s what he’s doing.

“So, he’s a tremendous resource. But, his perspective has been very valuable. It really has.”


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JT Bennett – Handles all of the communications for Southern Pigskin, booking interviews and working with sports information departments across the ACC, SEC and SoCon. Has had one-on-one interviews with Bobby Bowden, Vince Dooley, Houston Nutt, Tommy Tuberville, Jim Grobe, C.J. Spiller and Chris Weinke, among many, many others. His “Pull up a Chair” interview series has become very popular throughout the southeast. Bennett is a member of the National Guard.

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