By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – How can it get any better?
That will be the question entering my second year working at the Southeastern Conference and, knowing what the SEC is capable of and what it has done in the past, I’m sure that question will be answered emphatically over the next 12 months.
As the fall 2012 season gets underway, I re-introduce to you The Tuesday Take, my weekly column that features my thoughts, insight and analysis on happenings within the SEC, from the perspective of inside the SEC.
A little more than 13 months ago, I began a journey that even I could never have imagined. For a first year in the SEC office, I sure did experience a lot. Many of you followed along my travels on Twitter (@SEC_Sean) as I ventured across the country to cover each of the SEC’s then-20 sports.
My journeys took me to 14 states over the past year, covering a wide variety of sports and topics. I was present at 15 SEC Championship events and more press conferences, NCAA Championships and major announcements than I can count.
And it certainly wasn’t without its share of excitement. It was during a grueling two-week stretch last fall that included SEC Basketball Media Days, the SEC Cross Country Championship and the SEC Soccer Tournament. I made a five-hour late-night voyage from the SEC Soccer Tournament in Orange Beach, Ala., north to attend the Alabama-LSU regular-season football game. What transpired was me narrowly avoiding a collision with a deer that ran onto the road. The rest of my travels were much safer.
Any one of the following events could have made my year, but each one was just part of what made a special season for the SEC:
• Two teams – Missouri and Texas A&M – joined the conference, marking the first time that the league had expanded since the early 1990s.
• Two teams from the SEC – Alabama and LSU – played for the BCS National Championship, marking the first time two teams from the same conference had ever met in the BCS title tilt.
• The SEC added a new sport – equestrian – marking the first sport new to conference sponsorship since softball was added in 1997.
• The SEC captured nine national titles and claimed seven national runner-up finishes. Alabama won the league’s first-ever NCAA Championship in the sport of softball.
This particular column covered a wide-range of topics and it is my hope that I was able to offer some of my personal viewpoints as well as allow you, the reader, to feel as if you were along for the ride. Topics The Tuesday Take touched on last season included:
• A visit to College Station for a celebration welcoming Texas A&M to the SEC.
• Former Florida coach Urban Meyer’s new outlook as he returned to coaching.
• The 2011 SEC football season becoming the “Year of the Quarterback.”
• The hiring of Hugh Freeze as Ole Miss’ new head football coach.
• A lesson from the 2011 NCAA Champion Kentucky rifle team.
• The movie “The Mighty Macs”
• The similarities between South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin.
I will be excited to see what the next year holds and I am especially looking forward to having each of you along for the ride. As we begin our first season of competition with 14 SEC members, there are sure to be more memorable firsts.