The official start to the countdown to the Pac-12 College Football Season begins for most media folks at media day (for the Pac-12 blog, there is no start or finish line, just one continuous super-marathon of joy).
This year Pac-12 media day is Friday, July 26 at the Sony Studios Lot in Culver City, Calif. The Pac-12 coaches will be in Bristol, Conn., talking to ESPN folks the two days before the LA event, and yours truly will also be there, making himself profoundly annoying.
In LA, Kevin and I will be there, diligently polishing the bland overflow of verbiage into shiny nuggets of fun and useful information.
But the chief question on your mind is this: Who shall tell you reporters about how offseason workouts were the best IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD and that this team has great chemistry and leadership?
Glad you asked. Each team brings its coach and two players, one offense, one defense.
And here they are:
The most glaring omission is Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton, who is only the defending Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. The second most glaring is Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey, who only led the nation in rushing last year.
Carey's excuse is offseason, off-field trouble. He's not talked to reporters since a series of knuckle-headed events. Many of you might recall his last public quote not being particularly admirable.
Sutton's omission was coach Todd Graham's decision, according to the Sun Devils sports information department, though it's no secret Sutton isn't a huge fan of interviews, despite being pretty good at them and never receiving any bad publicity (at least that comes to mind).
Darby was selected for his "leadership." The problem with that explanation is it chips away at Sutton, fairly or unfairly, as in: Is he not a good leader, too? And everyone wants to talk to Sutton, a preseason All-American who notably opted to return for his senior season instead of entering the NFL draft.
Things certainly will be quieter at Arizona State's table. If Sutton attended, many of the reporters on hand would have written, "Will Sutton is unblockable and Arizona State is going to be good" stories. Now they won't, which means less buzz for the team.
Does it matter? It certainly won't blow up a season. But there are probably a few AP voters on the East Coast who will, as a result, know less about the Sun Devils before they fill out their preseason ballots. In college football, where you start does matter in terms of where you finish.