HOOVER, Ala. — The 2016 college football season is upon us.
The Southeastern Conference media days have become the unofficial start to the season. Once again, the SEC finished on top of the college football world with Alabama winning the conference’s eighth national championship in 10 years.
To get you ready for the four days of wall-to-wall coverage, here are the media guides from the 14 SEC schools (in alphabetical order).
Alabama Crimson Tide
Last season: 14-1, 7-1 SEC. SEC and national champions
Breakdown: Alabama goes with a lone superstar on its cover this year as opposed to two guys. This just shows how important Jonathan Allen is to Alabama as both a player and a leader heading into his senior season with the Crimson Tide.
Last season: 8-5, 5-3 SEC
Breakdown: Nothing flashy or anything like that. Just the way Arkansas coach Bret Bielema likes things. This is a solid cover as it features three veterans who’ll play big roles this season.
Last season: 7-6, 2-6
Breakdown: This is a big season for Auburn coach Gus Malzahn so it’s fitting that he is in the center of the cover. Carl Lawson has a prominent spot as well (top right). The guys surrounding have must play well if the Tigers hope to rebound from a disappointing 7-6 record last year.
Last season: 10-4, 7-1 SEC, East Division champions
Breakdown: Coming off Jim McElwain’s strong first season in Gainesville, this cover makes a nice statement. The Gators are back and ready to make another run at the SEC championship.
Last season: 10-3, 5-3 SEC
Breakdown: It’s still sort of weird to see Kirby Smart with another team, but the new Georgia head coach looks young and fresh on the cover of the Bulldogs media guide. Smart has enough returning talent to push for the SEC East crown. Interesting choice to feature Sony Michel ahead of Nick Chubb, who is still recovering from a knee injury.
Last season: 5-7, 2-6 SEC
Breakdown: It’s a generic cover, but the blue really stands out here. Kentucky focused more on the team aspect of things as opposed to featuring any particular athlete(s).
Last season: 9-3, 5-3 SEC
Breakdown: LSU went with an offense-heavy media guide cover featuring running back Leonard Fournette, quarterback Brandon Harris and others. If LSU hopes to have any success on a national level, that unit is going to have to step up because let’s be honest: the offense (particularly the passing game) has held the team back to a degree in recent years.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Last season: 9-4, 4-4 SEC
Breakdown: It’s a new era in Starkville as star quarterback Dak Prescott has finally moved on. Life without Prescott won’t be easy, but having a player like wide receiver Fred Ross back should make things a little easier for Mississippi State.
Ole Miss Rebels
Last season: 10-3, 6-2 SEC
Breakdown: Looking at it objectively, Chad Kelly is the best returning quarterback in the SEC, and many expect him and tight end Evan Engram to connect a lot this season. The two could be one of the best duos in the SEC and possibly the country this year. Nice buddy cop cover from Ole Miss.
Last season: 5-7, 1-7 SEC
Breakdown: This is honestly a really cool concept from Missouri, and whomever pulled this off deserves a raise. This media guide is art show quality.
South Carolina Gamecocks
Last season: 3-9, 1-7 SEC
Breakdown: South Carolina’s success is going to depend a lot on what Will Muschamp learned and how he’s grown as a head coach. He’s also one of the few reasons the Gamecocks are relevant so sticking him as the main image on the cover makes perfect sense.
Last season: 9-4, 5-3 SEC
Breakdown: Expected Tennessee to feature quarterback Josh Dobbs or one of its talented running backs, but it looks like the Volunteers went with “program over individuals” which is fine as well.
Texas A&M Aggies
Last season: 8-5, 4-4 SEC
Breakdown: This one is a little too plain. Do better, Texas A&M.
Last season: 4-8, 2-6 SEC
Breakdown: Leave it to Vanderbilt to try to be different by calling it a “Fact Book” instead of a media guide. Solid cover, though.