GatorZone.com Senior Writer
(Follow Scott Carter - @GatorZoneScott and Chris Harry - @GatorZoneChris on Twitter for live coverage from SEC Media Days on Tuesday)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Southeastern Conference Media Days marks the unofficial start to the college football season.
And the official start to all the hype and the hoopla.
In Alabama, no less.
“I’ve never been there, but obviously I’ve heard about it,” Florida junior quarterback Jeff Driskel said Monday. “They’ve been telling us what to expect.”
The ultimate college football dog-and-pony show, that’s what.
Over the next three days, head coaches and three standout players from the SEC’s 14 teams will be marched through the Winfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala., to be grilled by more than 1,200 print, radio and television reporters. The event has nearly tripled in attendance the last eight years, which may have something to do with the league -- namely, Alabama (3), Florida (2), LSU and Auburn (one each) -- winning the last seven national championships.
After SEC Commissioner Mike Slive gives his annual state-of-the-conference address, Gators coach Will Muschamp will bat leadoff Tuesday in the main auditorium, starting at 2 p.m. ET, then head off to the electronic breakout rooms while his players climb to the “big room” podiums.
Driskel, senior defensive lineman Dominique Easley and senior offensive guard Jon Halapio will represent the Gators.
The trio will get their fill of football questions, so GatorZone lobbed a few off-beat items their way Monday, just to warm ‘em up.
GZ: So who will be the best-dressed of the three Gators?
HALAPIO: “Probably Easley. I’ll bet he’s got something up his sleeve.”
DRISKEL: “I’m going with me. I feel like I have a little bit of style, but I don’t get a chance to bust it out very often, so this will be a good day.”
GZ: Which Gator will draw the biggest crowd at his podium?
EASLEY: “Driskel. He’s the quarterback.”
GZ: What about the biggest star of the whole week?
HALAPIO: “That’s easy. Johnny Manziel.”
EASLEY: “A.J. McCarron. He’s still there, right?”
GZ: Will anyone there have a better pony tail than Halapio?
EASLEY: “No chance.”
HALAPIO: “I don’t see it. I rock the pony tail pretty good.”
DRISKEL: “I don’t know about a pony tail, but he’ll have the best hair.”
GZ: Jeff, after being drafted and signing with the Boston Red Sox last month, who’s your favorite major leaguer?
DRISKEL: “Mike Trout.”
GZ: Who’s going to win the All-Star Game Tuesday night?
DRISKEL: “National League. I’m a National League guy. ... NO WAIT! I’m going American League. Change that.”
GZ: Who’s going to have the best rookie season among the Gators’ first-round draft picks? Sharrif Floyd or Matt Elam?
EASLEY: “I think both are going to have outstanding seasons, but I think Elo probably has a better chance of starting because there’s no true veteran in front of him.”
GZ: Jon, you got engaged over the summer. What would be a good wedding gift for you?
HALAPIO: Probably a refrigerator.
GZ: Who’s someone on the Florida team who will pack the podium at future SEC Media Days?
HALAPIO: “I’d say [sophomore running back] Matt Jones. He’s going to carry a good load of the offense this year. There’s going to be a lot of weight on his shoulders this season.”
GZ: What about a guy who has yet to play a down for the Gators who could one day pack the podium”
DRISKEL: “[Freshman wide receiver] Demarcus Robinson. He’s got a chance to be really good this year.”
GZ: And which Gator will say the most outrageous thing at Media Days.
EASLEY: I know you’re all expecting it to be me ... but it’s not going to happen.”