There will be a surprise or two. There always is at SEC Media Days.

Try as it might, the conference and its network can't quite control all of the message. Last year, Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades, smack dab in the middle of media days, left one set of problems for another at Baylor.

Steve Spurrier -- or the South Carolina sports information director -- once forgot to put Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow, from Spurrier's alma mater, on his All-SEC ballot. A former turkey inseminator at Vanderbilt once wowed 'em. We know for a fact Nick Saban will not be shy. He never is.

With those past surprises in mind, here are five sure-fire things to watch for during the festivities in Hoover, Alabama, this week:

1. Defending their turf: Expect a lot of chest-puffing in Hoover regarding the SEC's continued dominance. This is their time, their belief and their network. A few points, though: The SEC is going to have to rally from behind in 2017 to regain that No. 1 spot among conferences. The ACC has won two of the last four Heismans and national championships. The SEC had a dearth of quality quarterback play last season. There is every reason to believe the SEC will bounce back but the league has to get past being Alabama and the 13 Dwarfs. I can't remember the last time the SEC had to defend itself going into Hoover. We'll see what form that takes this week in Hoover starting with "Pawwwwwl …"

2. Alabama is favored ... what else is new? A 26-game winning streak ended with one second to go against Clemson. There is little to fear on this front unless you're one of those 13 Dwarfs. The Bammers go into 2017 ranked No. 1 in the SEC and likely No. 1 in the country. They have some of the best running back depth nationally. You know the defense is going to be elite. The only question will be what subject Saban will plum while on the podium. He'll have something sticking in his craw, believe me.

3. But who's No. 2? Last year there seemed to be a 13-way tie for second in the SEC. For the first time ever, every team but one lost at least four games. One man's parity is another man's mediocrity. Auburn gets the second-best nod this season mostly because Jarrett Stidham makes this offense the most dangerous on The Plains since Nick Marshall in 2013. There's a new offensive coordinator (Chip Lindsey) and a rock solid defensive coordinator (Kevin Steele). The season starts at home against Clemson!

4. Speaking of those quarterbacks … The conference's depth at the position has been replenished. Bama's Jalen Hurts was the offensive player of the year as a freshman. Missouri's Drew Lock may be the most experienced with almost 3,400 passing yards last season. We told you about Stidham. Austin Allen will have to be even more of a gunslinger at Arkansas with Rawleigh Williams' retirement. Mississippi State's Nick Fitzgerald led the league in total offense. In a season with little for which to play, Ole Miss' Shea Patterson gives the Rebels a chance.

5. A farewell to Kevin Sumlin?: Here's the definition of being on the hot seat. The Texas A&M athletic director called out his coach at the SEC spring meetings. Sumlin has to win or else after three consecutive 8-5 Groundhog Day seasons. Sumlin is known for his candor. Can't wait for Wednesday when Summy hits the podium and no-doubt tackles the issue head on.