SEC commissioner Mike Slive didn't take long to work the Joe Paterno-Penn State saga into his opening remarks.
“The national agenda for reform is at its heart about integrity. Last week's headlines remind us that we must be ever vigilant about integrity. We must maintain honest and open dialogue across all level of university administration. We must have an effective system of checks and balances within the structure to protect all who come in contact with it, especially those who cannot protect themselves. No one person, no matter how successful, can be allowed to derail the soul of an institution.”
Slive also said the league has made noteworthy progress on the goals he stated 10 years ago when he became commissioner. He emphasized the hiring of minorities as head coaches. He cited academic success, on-field success and improvement in member institutions obeying NCAA rules.
In summary, the SEC is making lots of money and winning games.
There's been a lot of talk about Texas A&M coming into the SEC. It sounds like Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin, once mentioned among candidates for the Ole Miss job, is more concerned about his division than his new league overall.
Here's what Sumlin, who was 24-8 in four seasons at Houston, had to say about the SEC West.
“It's a pretty (d...) hard league. You look and see the talent level. The main difference I see is the combination of size and speed.
“I've been a part of some pretty fast football teams. Our speed level at Texas A&M is pretty good. The combination of size and speed, particularly in the West in the SEC, is a difference maker … and then the depth up front. You add those things up over the course of 12 ballgames, and injuries and attrition matter.”
Steve Spurrier often has jabs for someone. Today it was Ole Miss.
Spurrier was asked about how South Carolina's home game against Arkansas falls on the schedule and whether that might be beneficial for the Gamecocks.
It's the second of a three-game stretch in its home stadium for South Carolina.
“You think I make the schedule?” Spurrier asked the questioner. “If I made the schedule Georgia would be playing LSU and we'd be playing Ole Miss.”
Georgia, an SEC East contender like South Carolina, faces West teams Auburn on the road and Ole Miss at home, while South Carolina draws LSU on the road along with the Arkansas home game.
The Gamecocks face Tennessee then have an open date before playing Arkansas. The game following Arkansas is against FCS member Wofford.