Column: SEC becomes Thanksgiving feast of personalities

By Mike Gegenheimer

The Daily Reveille, Louisiana State U. via UWIRE

The SEC Football Media Days can best be described as the awkward Thanksgiving dinner no one wants to attend, but you have to because your mother says so.

Throughout the year, the members look forward to this joyous holiday of unity until the day actually arrives. Then all the skeletons come out of the closet.

In this metaphor, the mother represents league commissioner Mike Slive.

Mama Slive starts the congregation with a touching family prayer and a reminder of the dinner rules.

Once finished with opening remarks, she goes on to spend the next 40 minuets bragging about how great all of her children are, asserting her dominance to all the other families.

Next up is Papa Nick Saban, who is just plain angry that he has to put up with his wife’s relatives for the next 24 hours.

His home has been invaded by people he has learned to hate for 364 days out the year, but for this one brief stint where he actually has to face all of them, he must learn to say, “I love you guys” without having a brain aneurism.

His powerful standing in the family is unquestionable, thanks to the fear he has installed in everyone, but many of the other members lay in wait for the day they can overtake the alpha male.

SEC newcomers, Texas A&M and Missouri, are the new boyfriends your sisters just had to bring to meet the family. They are awkward, a bit nervous and your overprotective grandmother is constantly asking them if they’ve seen her son’s gun and knife collection, all while alluding to what happened with the last new boyfriends.

If the media had their way, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and Mizzou’s Gary Pinkel would have to change their underwear in between every quarter next season, because the big bad SEC is coming to get them.

Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen and Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze — best known for being Michael Oher’s high school coach — are the annoying little brothers everyone knows will never amount to anything, but for some reason, they still have an intense rivalry over what, I assume, is who sucks less.

This year Mullen picked on a hopelessly pathetic Freeze, who was trying to convince the media something along the lines of, ‘I know we aren’t that good you guys, but we’re gonna try really really hard!’

Freeze actually tried to twist what he claims is only 60 percent of his team believing in him into good thing. That’s like me walking into my biology class saying that I should pass because I know more than half of the material.

Arkansas’ John L. Smith is the senile grandfather who you find massively entertaining, but at the same time, you wonder if that slightly off-color joke wasn’t just a little bit in bad taste.

“Do I look stupid? Don’t answer that!” became the quote of the conference from this man, who didn’t quite seem to have a grasp on reality and social norms.

South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier is the uncle who’s trying to sneak out the back door so he can make his tee time at the local country club.

Spurrier actually alluded to the fact that he “delegates” responsibilities to his assistants, and he doesn’t get stressed out. Basically, Spurrier makes recruiting calls in between drives on the back nine.

Kentucky’s Joker Phillips is the cousin everybody forgot to invite to the dinner.

I predict the irrelevant Phillips will not show up for the Wildcats’ season opener because he forgot Kentucky has a football program. Everyone else has.

Georgia’s Mark Richt is the aunt who is trying to convince everyone all of her sons’ arrests weren’t her fault, with excuses like, “I blame the school systems for not teaching our children that armed robbery and drunk driving is wrong.”

However, Georgia’s arrest total for the year may surpass the team’s 2012 win total.

Tennessee’s Derek Dooley is the other brother-in-law who everyone knows your sister is going to divorce, but the poor sap still thinks he can make it work. It’s the giant elephant in the room that rivals the size of your great aunt Sally.

You just try to awkwardly smile and say, “That’s nice” when he talks about the trip they have planned to Cabo next summer and how the non-refundable tickets were a better deal.

If Dooley makes it to see another bowl season, it will be a miracle.

Finally, LSU coach Les Miles is the crazy “cool” uncle. He’s wildly successful in his career, which you can’t seem to explain because every time you see him he looks “David Hasslehoff eating a burger” drunk.

I’m picking Miles and the Tigers to have another extremely successful year, with the exception of Miles getting busted for smoking grass. This isn’t a marijuana reference, but instead he will get caught smoking the actual turf of Tiger Stadium.

If anyone is going to kick Papa Nick off of his SEC family throne, Miles will be the one. His personality and career success puts him at the top of the list, but it’ll take consistent dominant performance on the field to sit at the head of the table.

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