DESTIN, Fla. — Georgia football coach Mark Richt is aware that his team is predicted to be a favorite to win this year’s national championship.
He also knows from past experience, when he was offensive coordinator at Florida State, that lofty preseason expectations mean nothing.
“The 1988 Florida State was a preseason No. 1 for the first time ever in school history, and Miami beat us 31-0 opening day,” Richt said here at the SEC spring business meetings. “All that preseason hype was gone on 60 minutes. The coaches didn’t help the players handle the expectations well.
“Preseason doesn’t mean jack, because if you lose your first SEC game, preseason doesn’t mean nothing anymore. We talk about having to earn the right to be a good team let alone a champion.”
Back to the coast: Arkansas men’s basketball coach John Pelphrey isn’t forgetting how his previous job at South Alabama gave him a springboard to Fayetteville.
The Hogs and the Jaguars have agreed to a four-game contract split between Arkansas; Bud Walton Arena and South Alabama’s Mitchell Center. The first game will be this year on Nov. 29, the day before Thanksgiving, in Mobile with an 8 p.m. tipoff.
Part of the reason for the series is that Pelphey’s South Alabama contract stipulated if he left South Alabama for another job he would schedule games with the Jags. Pelphrey also believes he owes South Alabama after the school gave him his first head coaching job.
“I understand at that level how hard it is to get home games,” said Pelphrey, whose first season at Arkansas ended with a 23-12 record. “If it weren’t for them, we probably wouldn’t consider it. I don’t know how many (SEC) teams would play a Sun Belt team on their home floor. I just feel it’s the right thing to do, to be honest with you.”
In the minority: Florida football coach Urban Meyer was one of the three SEC coaches opposed to the early signing period that his fellow coaches approved by a 9-3 vote on Wednesday.
SEC presidents vote on the proposal on Friday, and it’s expected to pass, meaning the league will sponsor it as NCAA legislation.
“I think guys will make decisions to go to school without meeting coaches and coaches meeting families,” Meyer said. “Those kind of decisions end in breakups or issues. That’s why recruiting should be done after the end of the regular season in December and January.
“I think a kid should take an unofficial visit in the spring, visit a camp, go visit a game in the fall and take an official visit and then make a decision. My daughter (Nicole) is getting recruited right now (for volleyball), and she’s going to take her time, see a lot of teams of play and look around.”