Adams: ESPN will make it hard to miss SEC

John Adams

A Tennessee fan from Northeastern Ohio asked via e-mail recently how much more UT and SEC football would be available on television. He said his local cable provider wasn’t sure.

That’s not surprising. I doubt anyone outside the SEC really gets it.

In fact, my guess is the rest of college football is in for a shock.

It’s one thing to hear about how extensive the SEC’s 15-year television package is with ESPN. It’s another thing to see it.

And you can see it just about anywhere, anytime on Saturday’s this fall.

For example, take the the first weekend of the college football season. It opens with South Carolina at N.C. State on Thursday night. On the first Saturday of the season, you can watch SEC football from noon (Kentucky vs. Miami (OH)) into the early hours of Sunday (LSU at Washington).

But don’t worry about next-day withdrawals. At 3:30 Sunday afternoon, you will have Ole Miss vs. Memphis.

The opening Saturday won’t be an aberration. It will become routine from September through November.

And it won’t just be a regional routine. It will be available from New York to Los Angeles.

The rest of college football won’t know what hit it until the SEC comes crashing into its market with as much subtlety as Florida demonstrated against Ohio State in winning the 2006 national championship.

The ramifications will go beyond exposure or the multi-billion-dollar windfall the conference will receive from ESPN and CBS. The SEC isn’t that far from becoming a super conference, which is exactly what former conference commissioner Harvey Schiller had in mind when he envisioned establishing SEC franchises in Texas and South Florida.

Combine the money and exposure with the conference’s three consecutive football national championships and you can understand why commissioner Mike Slive speculated this eventually could be known as the “SEC’s golden age.”

If so, consider this the beginning. More money and more exposure will translate into better recruiting, especially for the lower-echelon programs. Mississippi State and Vanderbilt will now have advantages over some more traditional and affluent programs from other conferences.

It won’t be all good. There’s always a backlash to exposure, as Notre Dame can attest. But detractors are easily endured when you’re making millions from NBC.

Although Ohio State and Michigan don’t have their own networks, they also have felt the backlash from college football fans who think those programs get more exposure than they deserve. Remember the 2006 Ohio State-Michigan game, which ESPN hyped — on behalf of its ABC big brother — as though it were the college equivalent of the Super Bowl? The two unbeaten teams followed up the fanfare with a dramatic, high-scoring game that ESPN gleefully converted into an instant classic.

The game was knocked off its pedestal within two months when Florida held Ohio State to 82 yards in the national championship game, and Southern California had its way with Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Eventually, college football fans in Anywhere America might find themselves rooting against the SEC, particularly if ESPN begins promoting the conference’s biggest games with an Ohio State-Michigan fervor. But rooting against this conference when championships are on the line hasn’t been a rewarding venture lately.

It’s not the jeering or cheering that will matter to ESPN or the SEC. It’s the watching that will count.

On the first Saturday of the 2008 college football season, which Tennessee opened on Labor Day night in Pasadena, I watched from a Marina Del Rey sports bar, as one SEC game after another popped up on the screens. I wasn’t surprised to see Alabama vs. Clemson. But Auburn vs. Louisiana-Monroe? Mississippi State vs. Louisiana Tech? In Los Angeles?

I wasn’t just watching SEC football. I was getting a preview of SEC football to come — almost anywhere, anytime.

And you probably won’t have to leave home to see it.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 43

snafu14u#241639 writes:

This is really great news for out of state Vols. I live in The People's Republic of Oregon and tough to see games if you fall out of the Top 20 in the polls. bonzaivol

mdvol writes:

Good early non-conference games for the SEC to establish its dominance. TN vs UCLA. GA vs Okla St. LSU vs Washington. Interested to see how LSU fares traveling 2000 miles. Hasn't worked for the Vols lately. (Cal and UCLA)

bspurlingcac#225603 writes:

The SEC will just get stronger and stronger due to this agreement. I think our bottom half teams will also climb up the rankings.

mdvol writes:

This year ESPN will be the Tebow Channel. Or, the Gator Network.

turner9207 writes:

Ohio State and Michigan do have their own network- the Big Ten Network, try finding another team on it. Wont happen.

volcycle writes:

Sounds like something the "anti-marketplace" Congress will get involved in and claim it is disenfranchising the rest of college football.... i.e. major league baseball, BCS, and other businesses that they really have no business sticking there noses in. Go SEC!!! Living in NC, I'm looking forward to it.

flashbone writes:

wow, a informative and entertaining article from ja.

TommyJack writes:

Welcome back, Adams. Someone wrote a bizarre article under your name yesterday.

Cldvols1 writes:

As if I didn't already drive my wife nuts in the fall over football. With the addition of the SEC Network looks like we may have to have christmas in an insane asylum. lol Go Vols!!!

Major_Magilicutty writes:

is the opener on National TV?

HoustonVol writes:

The UT WKU game is being shown on local TV here in Houston. I am loving it. The SEC network is on local TV in Houston, one of the hotbeds in recruiting. Think that will help recruit some of the talent out of burnt orange state?

Cldvols1 writes:

The UT/WKU game is being shown at 12:21est on the new SEC Network.

CoachFulmer writes:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. There isn't any need to add other teams into the best conference in the country.

tater872 writes:

Where can the new SEC network be found on DirecTV? What channel number?

tennezz writes:

in response to Cldvols1:

As if I didn't already drive my wife nuts in the fall over football. With the addition of the SEC Network looks like we may have to have christmas in an insane asylum. lol Go Vols!!!

It`s the same at my house! TURN THE ORANGE SWARN LOOSE ON THE florida maggets - I MEAN gators!!!

vols4ever93 writes:

Do you have to pay for the SEC network or is it on regular T.V.

warriorman86#667191 writes:

The SEC network is being carried on the same channels, for the most part, as Raycom was on last year. It's not a full-time channel like the Big Ten Network.

dvhill100 writes:

More SEC football on TV. Works for me.

nmbr1vol writes:

WOW! An imformative article from Adams? ...maybe he is listening to the feedback? ...yet, he did find a way to spin negatives into the SEC deal. Always negative. ...cup half empty. ...if he could only find something positive to say about the Vols. Once again, big yawn.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to warriorman86#667191:

The SEC network is being carried on the same channels, for the most part, as Raycom was on last year. It's not a full-time channel like the Big Ten Network.

I understand that there will be more games on all the ESPN outlets such as -2, -News, -U, and -Classic. This is a good thing since the Raycom stations here in NC carry the ACC package. I don't see them dropping that. May well mean, though, that I won't get to see UT v. WKU live.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to nmbr1vol:

WOW! An imformative article from Adams? ...maybe he is listening to the feedback? ...yet, he did find a way to spin negatives into the SEC deal. Always negative. ...cup half empty. ...if he could only find something positive to say about the Vols. Once again, big yawn.

Oh, come on! You don't think there is a possible issue of overexposure in the rest of the country? Don't you think the conferences and networks left out of this bonanza will work over-time to get any dirt they can on the SEC and its schools and coaches? You don't think the ability of a mass audience to see virtually every SEC game won't have the effect over time of watering down interest and attention for the "big games"? There's no such thing as a free lunch; this new contract and the exposure it brings is not just simply an unalloyed blessing with no downside. Realism and negativity are not necessarily the same things!

hueypilot writes:

in response to snafu14u#241639:

This is really great news for out of state Vols. I live in The People's Republic of Oregon and tough to see games if you fall out of the Top 20 in the polls. bonzaivol

wow snafu. I'm surprised they allow such a "brutal" sport as football to be watched in Oregon.

Major_Magilicutty writes:

HoustonVol...what channel? I'm in Houston as well!

Thanks!

1pavolfan writes:

will the sec network be avail. on direct tv in pa. ??? I can only hope. but I really doubt it, since I then, would'nt have to pay for the espn gameplan

footballtime writes:

Hey Adams good sideline article...wow maybe with your insight you can tell us all what color the grass is as well...You moron we all know the SEC is the number one rated conference and we all know the majority of the country's population lives in the eastern states so yeah why not show the nearest sucessful teams on tv makes sense...wow way to use that head of yours...man you are the research king...glad to know you get payed for this kind of insight(god for bid you have to work for a living)... This low rent prose of yours is getting old and so are you...your articles suck and are a real snooze...and the only time you wrote anything tough cost a great coach his job which most of us know was a personal matter with you anyway...I boycot your paper these days because of it and everytime your sorry butt shows up I will be around to call for your job...You SUCK

tenmanjonez#561272 writes:

Have they put out a channel set for this yet?

Cldvols1 writes:

I think, and don't hold me to this, that SEC games will air on CSS for those of us in the southeast. As for outside the market all I know is they will be available to you. Like the NFL Network, Directv customers may have it installed automatically into their package. Then again they may have to upgrade their base pkg, not for sure.

vol88 writes:

"...on Saturday's this fall."

Come on, John. "Saturdays" is plural, not possessive.

Along that line, may our wins be plural and our offense be possessive. Go Vols.

Bloodrunzorange writes:

in response to mdvol:

Good early non-conference games for the SEC to establish its dominance. TN vs UCLA. GA vs Okla St. LSU vs Washington. Interested to see how LSU fares traveling 2000 miles. Hasn't worked for the Vols lately. (Cal and UCLA)

mdvol fellow Vol fan: There were 15k Vol fans at UCLA last year. I was part of it. I was also at the 94' Tenn. UCLA game (about the same amount then) The Vol fans still travel well and they are all over the country. They Network from California to Florida. Go Vols and support CLK!

footballtime writes:

wish I could get payed to state the obvious to all...Hey Adams is this the kind of journalism they teach at LSU???...What is the Motto pay us money for a degree of your choice but please exit the state afterwards we need the gov. support for welfare citizens that suffer

volboy81 writes:

in response to mdvol:

This year ESPN will be the Tebow Channel. Or, the Gator Network.

so, hopefully they will be the first SEC team that fans of other conferences get sick of...just as we already are!

BigOrangeCrazy writes:

in response to 1pavolfan:

will the sec network be avail. on direct tv in pa. ??? I can only hope. but I really doubt it, since I then, would'nt have to pay for the espn gameplan

The SEC network isn't a channel by itself.
It's much like JP/Raycom sports in the past. (only with better announcers and graffics i hope)

You can google sec network and your city and find the channel that way. In all the cities i've seen so far it's going to be broadcast on one of the 4 major networks.

Hope this helps, we all need our UT.
If I find a better link with channel listings i'll post it.

A short link with the basic info...
http://www.comcast.net/articles/sport...

BigOrangeCrazy writes:

Also if the game you want to watch (UT's of course) isn't being shown be your local SEC Network station or your regional sports channel there's a good chance you can watch it on ESPN360.com.

BigOrangeCrazy writes:

Here's a good article explaining how it's going to work.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009...

warriorman86#667191 writes:

Alabama
Birmingham-Tuscaloosa-Anniston
WTTO; WABM
CW; MNT
 
Dothan
WTVY; WTVY-DT2, -DT3
CBS; MNT; CW
 
Huntsville-Decatur (Flor)
WZDX; WAMY
FOX; MNT
 
Mobile-Pensacola (Ft Walt)
WJTC
IND
 
Montgomery (Selma)
WCOV; WCOV-DT2
FOX
Arizona
Phoenix
KTVK (Football only)
IND
Arkansas
Fort Smith-Fay-Sprngdl-Rgrs
KHBS+; KHBS-DT2
ABC; CW
 
Jonesboro
KAIT; KAIT-DT2, -DT3
ABC
 
Little Rock-Pine Bluff
KATV; KATV-DT2
ABC
Florida
Fort Myers-Naples
WXCW
CW
 
Gainesville
WOGX
FOX
 
Jacksonville, Brunswick
WJXT
IND
 
Miami-Fort Lauderdale
WSFL
CW
 
Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbrn
WOFL; WRBW
FOX; MNT
 
Panama City
WJHG
MNT
 
Tallahassee-Thomasville
WCTV; WCTV-DT2
CBS; MNT
 
Tampa-St. Pete, Sarasota
WTTA
MNT
 
West Palm Beach-Fort Pierce
TBA
 
Georgia
Albany
WALB
NBC
 
Atlanta
WPCH
IND
 
Augusta
WRDW; My 12
CBS; MNT
 
Columbus
WXTX; WTVM, WLGA
FOX; ABC; IND
 
Macon
WGXA
FOX
 
Savannah
WTGS
FOX
Illinois
Chicago
TBA (Football only)
 
Indiana
Evansville
WTVW
FOX
 
Indianapolis
TBA (Football only)
 
Kansas
Wichita-Hutchinson
KWCH; KSCW
CBS; CW
Kentucky
Bowling Green
WBKO; WBKO-FOX;
WBKO-This-TV
ABC; FOX
 
Lexington
WKYT; CWkyt
CBS; CW
 
Louisville
WAVE
NBC
 
Paducah-C.Girard.-Harrbg-Mt VN
WPSD; WPSD-DT2
NBC
Louisiana
Alexandria
KLAX
ABC
 
Baton Rouge
WAFB; WBXH
CBS; MNT
 
Lafayette
KADN
FOX
 
Lake Charles
KVHP
FOX
 
Monroe-El Dorado
TBA
 
 
New Orleans
WWL; WUPL
CBS; MNT
 
Shreveport
KMSS; KSHV
FOX; MNT
Michigan
Detroit
TBA (Football only)
 
Missouri
Springfield
KCZ
CW
Mississippi
Biloxi-Gulfport
WXXV; My XXV2
Fox; MNT
 
Columbus-Tupelo-West Point
WCBI; My MS
CBS; MNT
 
Greenwood-Greenville
WABG; FOX 10
ABC; FOX
 
Hattiesburg-Laurel
WHLT; WHLT-DT2
CBS
 
Jackson
WJTV; WJTV-DT3
CBS; RTV
 
Meridian
WDMN; WGBC; WGBC-DT1
CBS; NBC; FOX
N. Carolina
Charlotte
WAXN
IND
 
Greensboro-H.Point-W.Salem
WCWG
CW
 
Raleigh-Durham
WNCN; WNCN-DT2
NBC
New York
New York
TBA (Football only)
 
Ohio
Cincinnati
WSTR
MNT
 
Columbus
WTTE
FOX
 
Dayton
WRGT
FOX
Oklahoma
Oklahoma City
KSBI
IND
Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh
WPMY (Football only)
MNT
S. Carolina
Charleston
WMMP
MNT
 
Columbia
WIS
NBC
 
Greenvll-Spart-Ashevll-And
WSPA; WYCW
CBS; CW
 
Myrtle Beach-Florence
WWMB; WPDE
CW; ABC
Tennessee
Chattanooga
WDSI; WFLI
FOX; CW
 
Jackson
WJKT
FOX
 
Knoxville
WVLT;  My VLT2
CBS; MNT
 
Memphis
WLMT
CW
 
Nashville
WUXP
MNT
 
Tri-Cities, TN-VA
WCYB; CW4
NBC; CW
Texas
Beaumont-Port Arthur
KUMY
MNT
 
Dallas-Fort Worth
KTXA (Football only)
IND
 
Houston
KTBU (Football only)
IND
 
San Antonio
KMYS (Football only)
MNT
 
Tyler-Longview-Lufkin & Ncgd
KLPN; KFXL
MNT; FOX
Virginia
Norfolk-Portsmouth-NN-Hampton
WSKY
IND

lomas98 writes:

I wonder if this additional coverage means more games available without needing to order the ESPN gameplan package? I had to order 3 times last year because of the pay per view games and I live outside TN.

BigOrangeCrazy writes:

in response to lomas98:

I wonder if this additional coverage means more games available without needing to order the ESPN gameplan package? I had to order 3 times last year because of the pay per view games and I live outside TN.

Don't feel bad I live in Knoxville and still had to order 3 pay per view games last year, guess that comes with a 5-7 season.

From what I've read each SEC school is going to be allowed 1 ppv game a year. Since you live outside TN you may have to catch the ones that are not on locally on espn360.com. It's a free website that shows all kinds of sports, including SEC football.

mbradshaw1#655539 writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If that's all you can come up with don't waste our time, Geez! Dang dude do you work for SEC?

mbradshaw1#655539 writes:

sorry BBob I just didn't want to respond to the original, To much scrolling.

TommyJack writes:

May the sandfleas of a thousand camels infect the next poster that responds to WarriorMan.

TWhite11 writes:

Does anyone know the scoop on the espn 360 website. Is it going to allow you to watch sec games free on the internet?

warriorman86#667191 writes:

No it's called copy and paste.

mmhartz writes:

I working in Charleston, WV, right now. Excited to see we'll get a heavy dose of SEC football up here. Also saw an article in the local paper here that espoused the heavy dose of SEC that folks up here will see. Maybe they'll be able to see what real football is like. GO VOLS!!

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