If media day were a football game then the SIAC took the opening kickoff 99 yards for a highlight worthy touchdown.
Now media day certainly doesn’t influence the ultimate success of a football season, but it is the first impression a conference gets to make with their fan base through the spectacles of the press. This year the SIAC went back to basics by keeping the event in their biggest city, Atlanta, and striking a deal to host it at the College Football Hall of Fame.
No disrespect to the hotel ballrooms in Anytown, Alabama but the SIAC showed everyone this year that it was time for an upgrade and the best place to play it big is the ATL.
The Hall of Fame is the antithesis of a hotel venue, instead of mood lighting you are flooded with natural light pouring in from the glass facades. The larger than life 4k video wall showed footage shot by us here at HBCU Gameday that left me feeling slightly confused, in the best possible way. The color and texture of the video never looked that sharp and vibrant when it was under my creative control, but somehow they made it look like the video you see on a monitor in Best Buy that suddenly makes you want to spend all of your money.
The open spaced venue is mimicked to be just like a football field, from the artificial turf all the way to the regulation sized goal post complete with netting so you can be a poor man’s Adam Vinatieri. There’s even a target throwing station set up to give you the opportunity to see what it feels like to put the ball on that proverbial rope, minus a middle linebacker breathing down your neck. Unless you brought a middle linebacker along with you, because there is plenty of space for someone to chase you around.
Watching the players enjoy these skill zones like twelve year olds at the state fair reminded us all that they are indeed kids who are playing a game in man sized bodies. The environment carried over to the media breakout sessions, as the players and coaches seemed more at ease than years past, a light-hearted tone seemed more prevalent than cliched clips of, “we have to play hard for four quarters.”
— HBCU Gameday (@HBCUGameday) July 12, 2017
The event just felt big, and with the SIAC often being overshadowed by the other three HBCU conferences, kudos to them for setting the bar so high with opportunity number one. By the time August turns into September no one is going to remember nor care about events where the only real action centered around prognostication and which reporter ran the fastest 40 yard dash to the buffet table.
So can the SIAC continue to build on this upward trend of administrative swagger once the balls start zipping around the field and the scoreboards start collecting numbers across Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina?
Let’s hope so, because media day has reset the expectations of what it means for the SIAC to put their best effort forward.