The light at the end of your off-season tunnel is that beacon of hope, the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama. SEC Media Days begin today, with Butch Jones scheduled to step to the podium tomorrow afternoon. Unlike Butch's first two trips to Hoover and really most of the last six years, Tennessee will find itself in the championship conversation in the SEC East. I think all of us fully expect to see Georgia's name at the top of the list when votes are tallied this week, but I would not be surprised to see Tennessee in a close race with Missouri for second in the division.
Tennessee moving back toward the top of the ladder in the league and being able to think about competing for the East title means you get to pay a little more attention to the rest of the heavyweights this time around. And if you're thinking about Atlanta, that means the biggest boys on that side of the conference are relevant for Tennessee this year too. So if everything goes right for Tennessee and the Vols do win the East...who do you expect to see waiting in the Georgia Dome?
There is clear separation in the East - Georgia at the top, the usual suspects at the bottom, Florida starting over - but you can make a legitimate argument for each of the seven teams in the SEC West. Alabama and Auburn may still end up winning more of those arguments, and recruiting numbers speak to an advantage for LSU and now Ole Miss as well, but Dak Prescott, Arkansas' ground game, and a Kevin Sumlin/John Chavis combo will all command respect.
New commish Greg Sankey and Auburn, Florida, and Vanderbilt will all come to the podium today. Festivities are available on the SEC Network - vote in the poll below, tell us who you think will win and why in the comments, and follow along with us as SEC Media Days begin.