Are you ready? Football is near

TUPELO – Ready or not, the SEC’s football media days are scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday of next week.

It’s a week or two early for my taste, but nobody who buys this paper is going to complain about getting the conversation about the 2013 season started in earnest.

One of the challenges of puzzling out the coming season is figuring out how much stock to put in last season’s results.

Yes, Alabama will be really good. I don’t have to tell you that. And if it turns out there’s a better team in the SEC than the Crimson Tide, then that team will probably play for – and, most likely, win – the league’s eighth consecutive national championship.

Eight SEC titles in a row? That’s insane, yet quite possible.

The most interesting test for Alabama will come early, with a Sept. 14 visit to Texas A&M. The Tide never could come up with an answer for QB Johnny Manziel in a 29-24 loss last year – but that was the team’s only hiccup on the way to a second consecutive national title.

You think Alabama coach Nick Saban has had a team of hotshot graduate assistants slaving away in a basement every day since then to scheme up an answer for Johnny Football? Yep.

A&M will be a trendy pick to win the league, but it seems like almost every break went the Aggies’ way last year and that often has a way of evening out over time.

What about Ole Miss and Mississippi State? I’ll talk more about both in future columns, but I will say right now it seems unlikely to me that both will go bowling again this season.

My confusion

In last week’s column about “conference confusion,” I was confused when I suggested that Louisiana Tech left the Sun Belt for Conference USA. A reader points out that La. Tech will join C-USA after being a member of the Western Athletic Conference.

Good catch.

John L. Pitts (john.pitts@ journalinc.com) is sports editor of the Journal. Confusion is his everyday state.