I hope the fourth quarter has as little interest for Florida fans as it may for Arkansas fans. But as you wrote, anything can happen. GBO! @SportsAnimal993
The suits at CBS gambled this offseason. And they’ve lost.
For the first time since 1995, CBS chose not to air this year’s Florida-Tennessee matchup in Knoxville. Instead, back in July, the network opted to send Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson to Fayetteville for Alabama’s game with Arkansas.
What looked good in preseason isn’t looking so hot now. Arkansas took a historic nosedive out of the AP poll following it’s overtime/upset loss to Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday. Through two games against tiny La-Monroe and FCS-level Jacksonville State, the Hogs are giving up nearly as many points and yards as their highly-hyped offense has been putting up:
That’s hardly what pollsters, Razorback fans or network executives expected back in July. Toss in the fact that quarterback Tyler Wilson is currently day-to-day following a “hit to the head” that knocked him from Saturday night’s loss and it looks like big, bad Bama might just roll into Fayetteville and slaughter the Hogs.
Meanwhile, ESPN snapped up the UF/UT game when CBS passed on it. With both those teams now ranked in the Top 25 and excitement building on Rocky Top for the first time since the Derek Dooley era began, ESPN has decided to even send it’s “College GameDay” show to Knoxville. It’s been a while since Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and company had reason to travel to the foothills of the Smokies. And it’s been since 1994 that ESPN last aired the Gators versus Vols tilt.
Now, CBS will still grab some nice ratings. Alabama is the nation’s top-ranked team. And just because Arkansas fell to Louisiana-Monroe it doesn’t mean the Hogs are incapable of upsetting the Tide on Saturday. It’s college football. A turnover here or an injury there and strange things can happen (as Hog fans just learned).
But on paper, it would appear the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Florida-Tennessee game is more likely to still be a contest and still hold viewership. Tyler Bray and the Volunteer passing attack matching up against Will Muschamp’s stiff defense and attacking style. Two unbeatens battling in a long-heated rivalry. A slot atop the SEC East at stake.
Bad luck might have played a role, but CBS backed the wrong horse back in July. They finally gave up on the Gators and Vols and instead picked the Crimson Tide and Razorbacks. But it’s the former — not the latter — that’s more likely to be appealing to a national audience come Saturday.