Tuesday December 1st, 2015 10:22PM

Opinion: One incredible party complete, another is soon in starting

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
I had a temporary moment of panic this morning: the month-long festival known as the World Cup is finally over.<br /> <br /> What am I to do with the rest of my summer days? How will I while away the hours?<br /> <br /> Then a realization as nice as a warm blanket on a frigid winter night slowly cloaked itself around me.<br /> <br /> Yes one form of football, and with it the world's biggest party, has come to an end. But another form of football is quickly gathering steam, and -- in less than a month -- we will be so wrapped in gridiron talk that Brazil 2014 will be a fading -- if happy -- memory.<br /> <br /> In fact, no sooner had the postmortems begun on Germany's march back to world dominance, than my attention had already begun to sway to another country entirely -- Alabama.<br /> <br /> That is because the SEC football media days are being held this week in Hoover. The conference's own version of a three-ring circus, the event allows various "media" members (some of whom have no more than a podcast and a catchy nickname) a chance to interview the league's coaches, a handful of players and hobnob with a few eccentric fans.<br /> <br /> More importantly it acts as a sort of impromptu season kick off and gets all of us salivating over what's to come in just a few short weeks.<br /> <br /> For the SEC there is never a shortage of topics, and this year includes a number of intriguing talking points:<br /> <br /> -- Can the SEC regain its place atop the college football world after Auburn lost to Florida State in 2013, stopping cold a run of seven straight national crowns for various conference teams?<br /> <br /> -- How will the league react to the graduation of a bevy of super talented quarterbacks (including Johnny Manziel, Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger, AJ McCarron, Connor Shaw and James Franklin)? Who will step in to fill their shoes?<br /> <br /> -- Is their another Auburn-like reclamation project in the works this season? Is there another team capable of pulling off the incredible turnaround that shot the Tigers to the BCS title game after going winless in the conference in 2012?<br /> <br /> And that's just scratching the surface.<br /> <br /> Here in Bulldog territory we have a few more specific questions:<br /> <br /> -- Can Hutson Mason step into the aforementioned Murray's cleats and play well enough?<br /> <br /> -- Can Todd Gurley stay healthy for an entire season?<br /> <br /> -- Will the offensive line be good enough to help both the passing and ground game?<br /> <br /> -- And, perhaps most important, will new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt make a big difference to a unit that returns plenty of talent -- albeit a secondary with plenty of holes?<br /> <br /> All questions that we will find the answers to soon enough. In the meantime we will have to content ourselves with speculative answers and stories like Nick Marshall's recent brush with the law and marijuana -- the kind of stories every booster hopes to avoid this time (or any time) of year.<br /> <br /> There should be no shortage of stories over the coming weeks, however -- hopefully all good -- including the start of high school football (the first day for conditioning is July 25; full pads practice for GHSA programs is Aug. 1).<br /> <br /> In the meantime, yes, there will be a lag between the two footballs, which reminds me: just how great was this World Cup and what will it mean for the USA?<br /> <br /> It was a great competition -- perhaps not the greatest of the modern era, as some pundits have trumpeted, but certainly a great experience for the game and its fans. Germany were more than deserving winners, and the only shame is that the championship game did not produce more goals (although there were certainly plenty of chances). <br /> <br /> The efforts and relative success of the USA in navigating the "Group of Death" into the knockout phase should also have some impact on the game here stateside -- if not in increased interest in playing it, certainly in increased interest of viewing -- as television numbers and massive viewing parties around the nation showed.<br /> <br /> It was a fabulous party, and there will be just enough time to regain our senses before the next one starts in a few weeks.<br /> <br /> <i>-- Morgan Lee is sports editor for Access North Georgia.com</i>
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 11 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 11 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 11 months ago )
Jackets, Mississippi St. clash in Orange Bowl
No. 10 Georgia Tech has the nation's second-ranked rushing offense. No. 8 Mississippi State has held seven of its 12 opponents under 125 yards on the ground.
5:04PM ( 11 months ago )
Ole Miss defense braces for TCU offense in Peach Bowl
Mississippi and TCU were part of the playoffs story in 2014. Each team was part of the chase. Each team fell short of the coveted semifinals.
5:01PM ( 11 months ago )
Kiffin shining again after season of redemption
Lane Kiffin was modest in his goals and complimentary about the team he'll be facing in the Sugar Bowl. He went on and on about how much he's learned from Nick Saban, while insisting it's no big deal when his boss yells at him. Very un-Kiffin-like, you might say.
11:02PM ( 11 months ago )
College Sports
Pits will be tight as Chili Bowl entry count hits 316
TULSA, OK - The 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire is on track to be a record smashing event, with the entry count climbing over the 300 mark for the first time to 316 entries confirming 303 drivers for the indoor spectacular happening Tuesday, January 13 through Saturday, January 17 at the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, OK.
9:59AM ( 11 months ago )
Falcons fire Mike Smith after 2nd straight losing season
Mike Smith's status as the winningest coach in Falcons history wasn't enough to save his job. Owner Arthur Blank said he fired Smith on Monday because in his "heart of hearts" he didn't believe Smith could take the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
7:58PM ( 11 months ago )
New promoters in place for 2015 at Senoia Raceway
SENOIA, GA - Lease papers have been signed and a team of new promoters is in place for the upcoming stock car racing season at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA.
6:00AM ( 11 months ago )
Professional Sports
Girls basketball: West Hall clamps down on Greene County
The West Hall girls basketball team shut down Greene County’s offense en route to a 51-23 win on Tuesday.
By AccessWDUN Staff
10:18PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Girls basketball: Buford overpowers Jefferson, 66-34
The Buford girls basketball team cruised past Jefferson 66-34 on Tuesday.
By AccessWDUN Staff
10:10PM ( 12 minutes ago )
GHSA sets new regions for 2016-18 seasons
The Georgia High School Association released the new region alignments Tuesday for the upcoming 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
9:57PM ( 25 minutes ago )
(VIDEO) Commerce football heading on road with confidence
Commerce football may be nicknamed the Tigers, but, for this season at least, they might as well re-name themselves the Road Warriors.
6:14PM ( 4 hours ago )
Three semifinal showdowns take center stage, two on air Friday
One newcomer and two veterans from northeast Georgia will put their playoff credentials on the line on Friday, as the GHSA football semifinals get underway around the state.
6:00PM ( 4 hours ago )