ATLANTA—Since 1985 the SEC has fielded its annual football media days as a way to get its fans excited about the upcoming season.

It has worked. As it turns out, people in this part of the world need no prompting to get excited about football season.

I’m fortunate to say that I’ve missed only two of 33 SEC media days, those coming in 1985 and 1986 when I temporarily lost my mind and thought I wanted to be an editor. I came to my senses and returned to writing in 1988. Since then, the ritual of driving from my home in Atlanta to Birmingham for these annual meetings marked the end of summer and the beginning of another work year.

And every time—every single time—I made that drive I was excited because football season, my old friend, was back. And man, I had missed him.

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