The offseason is dark and full of terrors, but SEC Media Days traditionally marks the beginning of the end of our annual college football drought. It's during these
three four wondrous days that SEC fans from across the globe converge on Hoover, Alabama to satiate their thirst.
Those of us watching from home are just as famished, but we also share a firmer grasp on reality. We're aware of the fact that Media Days are nothing more than a coachspeak convention filled with non-answers and a burgeoning shoe-game competition. It's still a respite from the offseason, but it could use a little spicing up.
So let's play a game!
The squares, explained:
- Recruiting rankings don't matter - Fairly straightforward here. Gary Pinkel has long shunned the starred system of rating potential collegiate football players. Any conversation on this topic checks this box.
- Pinkel + Saban BFFs 4 lyfe - Did you know they used to play on the same team? Did you? Are you sure? Promise?
- "We're excited" - I would certainly hope so. This is a staple of preseason coach conversations, and will likely be one of the first squares we cross off.
- Highlights featuring graduated players - Wow, Mizzou sure sacks a lot of people they're going to be scary thi- oh wait nope Shane Ray and Markus Golden don't play there anymore.
- #MizzouMade - The Gary Pinkel brand slogan. It's almost a guarantee that we hear this phrase at some point today. We're quickly approaching the point where I'll need to start requiring several repetitions of the tagline to satisfy the square.
- Who's gonna catch passes? - One of the biggest questions for the Tigers heading into 2015 is who the heck Maty Mauk plans on passing the ball to. If Pinkel doesn't face this question, Mauk certainly will.
- Someone brings up the Big 12 - Guys, it's been three years. Come on.
- B-roll of the columns - If there's one thing video editors love, it's wide, scenic pans of the current subject's campus.
- "We do what we do" - Second only to #MizzouMade, this catchphrase is a go-to for Pinkel when discussing his process.
- Maty Mauk's accuracy - Mauk has a nuclear-grade cannon for an arm, but his accuracy troubles plagued him during the 2014 season. This will likely be a popular topic of discussion when debating Mizzou's 2015 offensive potential.
- An utterance of the word "scooter" - People don't forget, Maty.
- SEC Network commercial - What better place to advertise your own product than during a broadcast ON said product?
- "Talk about..." - The dreaded lead-in to any sportsing question. This square is becoming harder and harder to check off as the phrase becomes more taboo.
- Someone doesn't pronounce Boehm correctly - Poor Evan. One of the best returning offensive linemen in the conference and people still have trouble with that last name.
- Fancy socks - Shoes seem to have taken the forefront this year, but intricate socks are a stable of the collegiate wardrobe. Here's hoping we see some obscure anime characters or superheros stitched into a player's pair.
- Depth issues - Graduation, dismissals, and injuries have already taken a toll on the Missouri depth chart. This will likely be the crutch that props up many a defense of the Tigers' projected SEC East finish.
- A player wearing a bow tie - They're just doing their best to make R. Bowen Loftin proud. Mauk rocked on last year, he's almost a shoe-in to do so once again.
- Coachspeak - The language of college football's leading men, filled with bad, reaching comparisons and the word "hungry."
- A Mizzou fan in Hoover - If you can spot a black and gold island among the sea of crimson and white (roll tide), you deserve to fill in this square.
- Gary wants you to get off his lawn - Much like Steve Spurrier, Pinkel likes to joke about his relatively advanced age compared to his conference colleagues. Anything along these lines means this square is toast.
- A rushing the field clip - The SEC Network video editors have two examples to pick from this year, they will surely use one of them at some point.
- "Missou" or "Mizzouri" or "Missour-uh" - Why are the words Missouri and Mizzou so hard to pronounce? The answer to this question has been lost to time, but you can bet that at least one person will mispronounce one of these proper nouns.
- Projected finish in the SEC East is 4th or lower - Missouri is widely expected to finish no better than third in the East, but there's bound to be a few analysts who are especially low on the Tigers. There always are.
- Jesse Palmer smiling too much - Palmer is a beautiful, beautiful man that wears suits roughly half a size too small for him. Do your best to check this square off after he blinds you with those pearly whites.
- Back to back SEC East champs - Gary's here to gloat, gloat, gloat.