The quarterback battle to end all quarterback battles in college football this season will take place next month at defending national champion Alabama.
But the most important player for the Tide very well could be junior left tackle Cam Robinson, and it was Robinson's status that became Wednesday's buzz at the third day of SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala.
Robinson, a third-year starter and All-American candidate at a spot where Alabama lacks a clear replacement, was arrested in Louisiana in May. He and teammate Laurence "Hootie" Jones, a reserve defensive back, were charged with possession of a controlled substance and carrying a weapon in the presence of narcotics, both misdemeanors. Robinson also faced a felony charge for possession of a stolen gun.
All charges were dropped last month due to insufficient evidence, according to the Ouachita Parish district attorney's office, and Alabama head coach Nick Saban told reporters Wednesday that both players face internal discipline and are not suspended at this time.
Saban said that the facts are "a little different than sort of what has been advertised" and both players have taken steps to change their behavior.
Where things got more interesting was when Saban went on the SEC Network and was challenged by Paul Finebaum on how the coach would respond to critics who say it is a bad look for his program to not suspend the players for the opener vs. USC.
"Well, I don't really care to answer the critics because I'm going to do what's right for the players," Saban said. "And if the players really did anything that wrong, they would have been charged with something. ...
"There are just a lot of reasons why there weren't charges brought against these guys. Now, do we condone the behavior? No. But you're innocent until proven guilty in this country, regardless of whether you get convicted in the media or not, which is what you're doing to these players."
Finebaum responded that he was just asking why Saban wasn't suspending Robinson.
"Because I'm not going to convict him in the public," Saban said. "And you said that I was going to get criticized by you and the public and the media because I'm not going to suspend him. And I don't really care about that. That's the end of the conversation."
As for the quarterback, Alabama will have its fourth different starter in four seasons. Junior Cooper Bateman was the starter in the spring game, followed by sophomore David Cornwell, redshirt freshman Blake Barnett and early-enrolled true freshman Jalen Hurts, a dual threat.
Saban said camp performance will tell the tale.
"Somebody's got to win the team," he said. "That has not necessarily happened yet."
--Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, taking a shot at Alabama (and Auburn and Mississippi State) said in his opening comments Wednesday: "You don't have to worry whether or not I'm going suspend anybody for the first game. It doesn't come up in our program."
--Junior Austin Allen takes over at quarterback for Arkansas, replacing his older brother, Brandon Allen. Austin Allen was one of 33 college quarterbacks to recently attend the Manning Passing Academy. "Archie (Manning) shot me a text a day or two later saying he's one of the more impressive players there, which I think got me excited," Bielema said.
--Arkansas has mostly been known as a blue-collar outfit under Bielema, which he acknowledged in a colorful way. "At Arkansas we're not built very sexy, we're just kind of a work in progress," he said. "We need a lot of time in the bathroom to get ready and come out and look great. But when we do, we'll stop time."
--First-year Missouri coach Barry Odom said he found out Tuesday night that athletic director Mack Rhoades had accepted the same job at Baylor. "He's got an opportunity that he thought was best for him," Odom said. "I know I'm very, very excited about the University of Missouri and I'm excited about what I have in place from a staff standpoint. The things that we have done in the last eight months are going to set us up for the next 20 years."
--Kentucky coach Mark Stoops explained why he is bullish on sophomore quarterback Drew Barker, who started the final two games of last season.
"What I liked about him right from the very beginning is how competitive he is. He has that moxie on the field," Stoops said. "And what also I love about him is he's really grown. He's really taken a giant step away from the field. On the field, I believe he has that ability right now to be a leader without having to go out there and bang his chest every day and be an rah-rah guy."
--Alabama senior defensive end Jonathan Allen, a potential All-American, missed spring ball because of a shoulder injury. "The shoulder feels great," he said. "Our rehab staff is amazing. I'm actually three weeks ahead of schedule." Allen is expected to available for the start of the season.