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Clemons: SEC Media Days means football is just around the corner
Trash talk begins to heat up, which means college football can't be far behind
Touchdown Alabama
DeVonta Smith hauls in a 41-yard touchdown pass in overtime to give Alabama a 26-23 victory over Georgia in the College Football Playoff national championship game Tuesday morning, Jan. 9, 2018, in Atlanta. - photo by Brett Fowler

Eastside High School Assistant Principal Bart Buff is one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter.

We agree on a lot of things, but disagreed vehemently Thursday when it came to discussing the details of the most important college football game ever played, at least until the next one.

He’s a University of Georgia fan, which means he’ll go to his grave believing Tyler Simmons was not offsides on a punt in the second half of the Bulldogs’ national championship game appearance against Alabama.

All I could do as a ’Bama fan was shrug.

As it is, Simmons was called offsides, negating his block of the punt which would have set the Bulldogs up inside Alabama’s 30-yard line with a chance to build on a 13-0 lead.

Instead the legend of backup Tua Tagovailoa began to build on Alabama’s next possession. He led the Crimson Tide down the field for a touchdown — Alabama’s first score of the night — soon thereafter as the rally began.

Of course the game ended in a thriller. Alabama missed a potential game-winning field goal in the final seconds, Georgia got a 51-yarder from Rodrigo Blankenship in overtime then the Tide answered with Tagovailoa’s 41-yard touchdown strike to DeVonta Smith.

My God, two freshmen.

But the fact Bart and I were mixing it up on social media is a sure sign it’s time for football, no matter what the 90 degree heat outside tells you. So tell is the approach of Southeastern Conference Media Days on Monday.

This year the SEC is bringing its big preview event to Atlanta after more than 30 years in the Birmingham area. (Score one for Georgia over Alabama.)

More than 1,000 journalists are expected at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame and The Omni Atlanta to hear from the 14 conference coaches and some of the top players.

We won’t get to hear Jake Fromm answer endless questions about his boating injury, but we will see Georgia wide receiver Terry Godwin, defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter and defensive back J.R. Reed.

They’ll be in town with coach Kirby Smart on Tuesday. Smart will be the veteran that day as the rest of the lineup includes new Arkansas coach Chad Morris and Ole Miss’ Matt Luke, who’s making his first Media Days since the school removed the interim tag from his title.

Dan Mullen won’t be at his first Media Days, but it will be his first as coach of the Florida Gators since coming over from Mississippi State.

The action starts Monday with Mark Stoops of Kentucky, the always entertaining (if hard to understand) Ed Orgeron of LSU and Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M.

Wednesday we get the dean of SEC coaches in Alabama’s Nick Saban along with Joe Moorhead of Mississippi State, Barry Odom of Missouri and Jeremy Pruitt of Tennessee.

It wraps up Thursday with Gus Malzahn of Auburn, Will Muschamp of South Carolina and Derek Mason of Vanderbilt.

Also Thursday, we’ll find out who’s predicted to play for the SEC championship in December at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Whatever the choice, keep in mind the people in my line of work are notoriously bad at this.

Only six times in the past 25 years have the assembled journalists correctly predicted the SEC champion, and two of those have been in the past four years.

Last year the predicted winner was Alabama, which went on to win the national title but didn’t even win the SEC West. Georgia won the conference title over — ugh — Auburn.

For what it’s worth, I think Alabama and Georgia will see each other again in Atlanta, this time for the conference title. Mark your calendars for Dec. 1, but do it in pencil.

David Clemons is the editor and publisher of The Covington News. His late grandfather had season tickets at both Bryant-Denny Stadium and Legion Field for decades. His email address is Twitter: @scoopclemons.