Talking season is here! We’re less than 50 days from the start of the real season, but until then, we have two weeks of unrestrained optimism. And while it’s not quite the same without Steve Spurrier, it will still be fun.
We’ll give you a sneak peek: Coaches love what they’re seeing from their teams so far, defenses will be more aggressive and offenses are going to be more explosive. And wait until you see how some of these freshmen are coming along.
Dates: July 16-19
Storylines: The SEC moves its annual four-day gabfest from Birmingham, Alabama, over to Atlanta. Beyond that, the storyline will be the new coaches at Texas A&M (Jimbo Fisher), Florida (Dan Mullen), Mississippi State (Joe Moorhead) and Tennessee (Jeremy Pruitt). Talk of Alabama’s QB battle should dominate the week, but don’t expect Nick Saban to add any fuel to that fire.
Top players in attendance: Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham, Missouri QB Drew Lock, Alabama RB Damien Harris, South Carolina WR Deebo Samuels, LSU LB Devin White, Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald
Monday, July 16 (10 am-4:30 p.m., SEC Network): Texas A&M, Kentucky, LSU, commissioner Greg Sankey
Tuesday, July 17 (9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., SEC Network): Georgia, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Florida
Wednesday, July 18 (9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., SEC Network): Mississippi State, Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri
Thursday, July 19 (9 a.m.-3 p.m., SEC Network): Auburn, Vanderbilt, South Carolina
Dates: July 16-17
Storylines: Baker Mayfield is gone, but he didn’t take all the excitement with him. The Sooners still have a team primed for a playoff run, and even though likely starting QB Kyler Murray won’t be there, his unusual arrangement — he signed with MLB’s Oakland A’s but is playing one more year of football — will be a key talking point. Plus, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen (with QB Will Grier) and Texas’ Tom Herman should keep things interesting.
Top players in attendance: Iowa State RB David Montgomery, Oklahoma RB Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill, West Virginia QB Will Grier & WR David Sills V
Monday, July 16 (11 a.m.-2 p.m., Longhorn Network): Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas Tech
Tuesday, July 17 (11 a.m.-2 p.m., Longhorn Network): Texas, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, West Virginia
Dates: July 18-19
Storylines: Transcribers and stenographers can take a breath. With Jimbo Fisher off to the SEC, the fastest-talking man in the business no longer resides in the ACC. But can Willie Taggart get Florida State back to a championship level? Can Mark Richt take another step at Miami? And what fun will Dabo Swinney and his dominant defensive line cook up?
Top players in attendance: Clemson OT Mitch Hyatt and DE Clelin Ferrell, Florida State RB Cam Akers, Miami S Jaquan Johnson, NC State QB Ryan Finley, Virginia Tech QB Josh Jackson
Wednesday, July 18 (10 a.m.-5:45 p.m., ACC Network Extra; 4-6 p.m. ESPNU): Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech
Thursday, July 19 (9a.m.-2:45 p.m., ACC Network Extra; 4-6 p.m. ESPNU): Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Louisville, NC State, Syracuse, Wake Forest
Dates: July 23-24
Storylines: Prepare for Scott Frost mania. The new Nebraska coach should attract the largest crowds in an event that will also feature Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh and James Franklin. How quickly Frost can get the Cornhuskers back to national relevance remains to be seen, but there are plenty of other intriguing storylines: life without Saquon Barkley for Penn State, Ohio State’s national title push and Harbaugh’s quest to finally beat Ohio State.
Top players in attendance: To be announced
Monday, July 23: Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers
Tuesday, July 24: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Date: July 25, 5-7 p.m. ESPNU
Storylines: The SEC and its four days of media madness scoff at the Pac-12 and its one-day event. But there will be plenty to pack into this day, as new coaches such as Chip Kelly, Kevin Sumlin, Herm Edwards and Mario Cristobal make their debuts. Stanford will show off Heisman front-runner Bryce Love, USC begins the post-Sam Darnold era and playoff contender Washington brings back its offensive core.
Top players in attendance: Stanford RB Bryce Love, Oregon QB Justin Herbert, Arizona QB Khalil Tate, Washington QB Jake Browning, Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry, USC LB Cameron Smith
More media days coverage on ESPN
You will be able to find comprehensive coverage of the media days for the Sun Belt (July 23), American (July 23-24), MAC (July 24), Northeast (July 24) and Big South (July 24) conferences on ESPN3.