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SEC Odds And Television Listings – 10/28/13

television-wallThe SEC has released the television listing for this Saturday and the next.  We bring you both schedules below plus the opening and updated betting lines for this week’s games.

 

November 2nd

Mississippi State at South Carolina — 12:21pm ET on SEC TV — Line: South Carolina -11.5 (now -13)

Georgia vs Florida in Jacksonville — 3:30pm ET on CBS — Line: Georgia -2.5 (now -2.5)

Auburn at Arkansas — 6:00pm ET on ESPN2 — Line: Auburn -7.5 (now -9)

Tennessee at Missouri — 7:00pm ET on ESPN — Line: Missouri -13 (now -11.5)

Alabama State at Kentucky — 7:30pm ET on CSS — Line: None posted yet

UTEP at Texas A&M — 9:00pm ET on ESPN2 — Line: Texas A&M -45.5 (now -45.5)

 

November 9th  (Due to the CBS double-header, five SEC contests will kick off by 12:30pm ET)

Auburn at Tennessee — 12:00pm ET on ESPN

Missouri at Kentucky — 12:00pm ET on ESPNU or FSN

Vanderbilt at Florida — 12:00pm ET on ESPNU or FSN

Arkansas at Ole Miss — 12:21pm ET on SEC TV

Appalachian State at Georgia — 12:30pm ET on Local Television

Mississippi State at Texas A&M — 3:30pm ET on CBS

LSU at Alabama — 8:00pm ET on CBS

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SEC Releases 2013-14 Hoops Schedule

basketballsThe SEC has released the basketball schedule for the 2013-14 season today and each of the 126 league games “will be available to be seen from anywhere in the nation.”  According to the conference’s release, states that eight games will be offered on ESPN3 — which is that network’s online platform.  All other games will be available via television on either ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, CBS, the SEC Network (syndicated package), Fox Sports Net or CSS.

The SEC Tournament semifinals and finals will air nationally on ABC.  The early rounds of the tourney will once again be distributed by the SEC Network syndicated package.  (The actual SEC Network channel will not launch until August of 2014.)

Click here to see the schedule in its entirety.

 

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SBJ Report: SEC And ESPN Nearing Deal On New Network; No Other Partners Expected

Ol’ Project X — the SEC Network — yeah, it’s happening.  (While others will claim that they were the first to realize that the SEC could start its own network, we actually pointed out that a network might still be a possibility in spite of the SEC’s deals with CBS and ESPN… and we did so way back in May of 2010.)  Now The Sports Business Journal is reporting that the SEC and ESPN are “nearing their final stages” of negotiations for an SEC channel.

First, some details from The SBJ:

 

1.  The expected launch date for the network is August, 2014.

2.  Obviously, the SEC will need to get all its schools’ Tier 3 broadcast rights for the first time in order to make the network a reality.  If the league is this far down the pike, then it shows that Mike Slive and company have already shown the league’s 14 presidents that each school can make more money with a network than by selling off their own Tier 3 rights individually.  Now, this would suggest that Florida’s monetary advantage over Vanderbilt, for example, would close a bit as both schools would presumably take home an even share of network revenue.  Missouri and Texas A&M, welcome to the all-for-one, one-for-all conference.  (Florida, of course, will still make more cash than Vandy on merchandise sales, attendance, etc… but in terms of TV dollars — unless there’s a surprise clause in there — all 14 schools will grab an equal slice of the pie.  That’s good news for all the league’s schools as they all want more cash.  That’s great news for the lower-level SEC schools who can’t sell their Tier 3 rights like Alabama and LSU can.)

3.  The SBJ reports: “ESPN is not likely to partner with another media company on the SEC channel.”  That would a disappointment for NBC/Comcast.  (Full disclosure: I do occasional work for CSS, but the tea leaves I’m about to read come from my brain alone and do not represent the views of anyone at that network.)  NBC/Comcast recently gave CSS a more SEC-centric feel to its programming.  The goal?  To prove to ESPN that NBC/Comcast would be a good partner to bed down with on a new SEC network.  Remember, the key to any new network is getting carriage on cable/satellite outlets.  That was the initial problem for the Big Ten Network.  The NFL Network still fights that battle to some extent.  And just Google the Longhorn Network for pages and pages of stories on its start-up troubles.  Partnering with NBC/Comcast — something MrSEC.com mentioned last week — would provide ESPN and the SEC with immediate access to all those Comcast viewers across the SEC footprint and beyond.  And Comcast is the top cable provider inside that footprint.  If, however, ESPN does not partner with NBC/Comcast or some other cable partner, it could mean that the SEC Network will be in for the same rough type of start those three aforementioned channels experienced.  Yes, SEC fan passion is through the roof.  But there are a heckuva lot of NFL and Texas fans, too.  This will be an interesting side story to keep an eye on.  It’s a bit like playing chicken.  ESPN and Texas have wound up in a ditch — to date — with their Longhorn Network.  Might cable operators try to drive ESPN and the SEC off the road in similar fashion?  Most certainly.  To what extent those cable/satellite providers are willing to go will depend on what the SEC and ESPN decide to charge as a carriage fee.  That’s the price that will get passed along to you, the viewer.

4.  Interestingly, “sources familiar with the negotiations say that ESPN Regional Television’s Charlotte office likely will become the headquarters for the new SEC channel because it already has the infrastructure and talent to get the channel up and running efficiently.”  Meaning: The SEC Network could actually emanate from outside the league’s own footprint.  (And, no, that should not have any impact on conference expansion or realignment.)

5.  ESPN would likely take over the league’s marketing rights from IMG.  In addition, the network would take over television ad sales for the league.  This type of deal would really marry the SEC and ESPN.  Ironically, while folks across the nation complain of ESPN’s bias toward the SEC, the fans at all 14 SEC schools — at least the ones I hear from — all believe passionately that ESPN hates the SEC and specifically their own favorite school.  No surprise.  SEC fans would tell you ESPN loves Ohio State.  I lived in Columbus, Ohio and can tell you that Buckeye fans believe ESPN despises them.  It’s all a matter of perception.  But since ESPN will eventually own and cover every conference and team in the country — that’s the real problem, folks — bias probably won’t be an issue when it comes to “liking” one team or league more than another.

 

So what’s all this mean for you?  In the summer of 2014, you’ll probably be asked to call your local cable/satellite provider and demand access to the SEC Network.  That provider will tell you that ESPN and the SEC are asking for too much money.  Things will go right down to the wire and you might actually miss a few SEC games because of the hardball the SEC, ESPN, Comcast, DirecTV, Dish and more will be playing with one another.  But someone will eventually blink.

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CBS Buys Some ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 Hoops Games From ESPN

If you’re ESPN and you’ve got contracts with every conference on the planet, at some point someone has to say, “Where we gonna put all these games?”  Answer: CBS.

CBS Sports announced today that it has signed a multi-year agreement with ESPN to eventually air 26 basketball games per year from the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12.  This isn’t new.  ESPN has sold off SEC football games to networks like CSS and Fox Sports Net since signing their contract with Mike Slive’s league.  You can own everything, but you can’t possibly show everything.  (Unless the folks in Bristol finally launch “The Ocho.”)

What this means for the SEC remains to be seen.  By clearing off more games from other leagues from its schedule, is ESPN preparing to carry more SEC contests now that the league has two new hoops squads and additional inventory?

Stay tuned.

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The NCAA Is Taking The Gloves Off

Man, I hate Tuesdays.  With so many radio shows and CSS, it’s a race to post all of the day’s news.  Guarantee: More typos and silly little errors on Tuesdays than any other days.

At any rate, I’m not going to dive into this one too deeply due to time constraints, but I did want to bring it to your attention.  As we all know, several SEC programs have found themselves under the NCAA microscope the last couple of years and that’s not a place anyone wants to be.  Especially moving forward. 

The NCAA appears ready to implement a new enforcement model for rulebreakers.  And the new model is tougher than the old model.  You can read the details right here.

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Barnhart Was Responding To Hypothetical Questions

Tony Barnhart — the venerable Bede of SEC football coverage — found his name attached to the SEC’s accidental web posting last night.  Taking part in a short Q&A, Barnhart weighed in on how a Missouri-SEC marriage might work.  With that hitting the web last night, the obvious questions became: When did Barnhart know this and why didn’t he report it?

I emailed Barnhart this morning regarding the post and he said:


“I was asked by XOS to respond to a series of hypotheticals and so I did.  Had no inside knowledge.  If I did I would have reported it.”


XOS Digital is the web vendor that apparently dropped the ball by posting the Missouri-to-the-SEC news prematurely.  While it would seem that any Q&A would have been done by the league and not the web vendor, the SEC and Barnhart are both suggesting it was indeed XOS that conducted the interview.

Having dealt with Barnhart via our CSS roles, if he says that’s how it went down, I believe him.

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Questions Raised By Accidental Web Post

So how big of a mistake was made when the SEC’s official website posted a “Missouri Joins The SEC” packet late last night?

Purty big.

Let’s run through some of the questions raised by the gigantic goof:

1.  Was it an accident or a hoax?

Clearly it was an accident.  The page was done in a fashion identical to SECSports.com’s coverage of Texas A&M’s entry into the league.

Also, top SEC PR man Charles Bloom tweeted the following with regards to the error at 9:22 this morning:

“Web vendor made mistake.  No agreement between SEC and Missouri.”

I don’t believe that cat will head willingly back into the bag.

2.  So who is the web vendor?

The web vendor in this case is XOS Digital.  They are a growing web company and have had a fruitful relationship — at least until now — with the SEC.


3.  Are we really to believe this information was put together by the vendor and then accidentally released?

Apparently so.  But the Q&A sessions with Chris Dortch and Tony Barnhart make it a bit harder to believe that the vendor’s only error wasn’t just posting the info early.

It was clearly the SEC’s error to have it all put together early.  (Though it’s certainly possible that the league had the page made, then had to hold it due to bigger Big 12 gripes than were expected.)

Clearly, it wasn’t XOS Digital who interviewed Dortch and Barnhart.


4.  What kind of position does this put Barnhart in?

You can bet Dortch and Barnhart weren’t happy about the release.  Barnhart — like so many of us in the media these days — wears about 10 different hats.  He’s employed in one capacity or another by CBS Sports, CSS, the SEC, and WQXI-AM 790 in Atlanta.

From reading the questions, it appears that this Q&A could have been done in an “If Missouri joins, what would you think” fashion.  Still, even if the SEC asked him to do a Q&A on a hypothetical situation, Barnhart’s sharp enough to know what that would mean.

So it’s possible that he’s now stuck in a rough spot.  What will his CBS Sports bosses say if they believe he had a scoop and sat on it?

Here’s a guy who answered some questions for the SEC, kept it under his hat — one of those 10 he wears — as was surely requested by the league, and then got burned for doing so.

5.  So what kind of trouble could this cause for Missouri’s attempt to exit the Big 12?

A lot.  Baylor president Kenneth Starr has proven to be a litigious two-face in the realignment game so far.  He reportedly threatened to sue the SEC for tortious interference in the case of Texas A&M’s Big 12 exit.  Then he and the Big 12 raided the Big East for TCU and currently look to do so again with West Virginia.

But seeing as how he had no issue with being duplicitous on the one hand, we doubt he’d have any problem being duplicitous on the other.  “To heck with the Big 12′s Big East raid, we’ve got proof of SEC-Missouri dealings!”

If nothing else, the Big 12 just got some more leverage in its negotiations with Mizzou and that exit fee could be going up.

6.  Could the SEC actually be in danger of a lawsuit this time around?

Yes and no.  Yes, there now appears to be what could be viewed as a smoking gun if a lawsuit went to court in Waco, Texas or Kansas City, Missouri.  (SEC claims that it — or XOS Digital — had just built the page in case things worked out with MU wouldn’t hold much water in a Big 12 state court.)

No, because the Big 12 and any individual party from inside that conference who might sue has done the exact same thing by raiding the Big East.  A judge with common sense would save time and money by tossing this one out.

Still, the danger level did go up for the SEC with this mistake.

7.  What must Missouri be thinking?

Since last summer, MU officials have taken a pie in the face from the Big Ten and have had to deal with a costly “the SEC is what’s left” leak from an anonymous school official.  They also had a 45-page research piece and cost/benefit analysis on SEC membership reach the press.

Now, when they appear to be buttoning things up, an enormous mistake is made on the SEC side of things.  Cursed, anyone?

8.  Could this slow the process down further?

Most definitely.  With the Big 12 now holding more leverage, it’s more likely Mizzou will wind up playing out one more year in that league (unless WVU or U of L can escape the Big East quickly).  How much more likely?  No one knows.

The Big 12 was playing harder ball than expected before this web error.  The error now gives that league a bit more power in negotiating sessions.  That’s going to equal a slow down on some scale.

Observations:

This gaffe is the kind that can change lives.  For the folks at Missouri, the SEC, and the Big 12.  For the folks at XOS Digital who might lose some big business over this.  For the poor guy who hit the wrong button to send this info into cyberspace.

Sadly, we know how easy it is to type in a wrong date and see a story post at the wrong time.  We know how one key punch can release information that’s not meant to be seen yet.

So we feel for the folks at XOS Digital.  Big money situations or not, mistakes happen.  These are humans pushing the buttons.

But, boy, this mistake was a biggie.

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The Latest Nonsense On Missouri, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Etc, Etc

Color me sick of the expansion madness.  The double-crosses get old.  The wild rumors get old.  It all gets old.

That said, here are some quick bulletpoints on what’s been said this afternoon… and I’m sure this will all change in a couple of hours.  I’ve been doing radio shows all day and am prepping for a stop on CSS shortly so I haven’t spoken to many of my sources.   When I do, I’ll report back with my view on the day’s happenings.

For now, Orangebloods.com — the Rivals site covering the University of Texas — claims:


* Notre Dame is seriously considering a move to the Big 12 for all sports but football.

* Missouri officials are meeting with SEC officials in Birmingham today.

* Two Big 12 administrators say Missouri and the SEC are now targeting a 2013-14 entry for the Tigers, rather than 2012-13 which MU mentioned as the goal last Friday.

* West Virginia is the consensus choice to replace Missouri.  (Other sites are reporting that a WVU-Big 12 announcement could come today.)

* There have also been reports that Notre Dame’s interest in the Big 12 might convince Missouri to change its mind.  “Sources” told Orangebloods.com that Mizzou is being promised football games with the Irish if they stick around.


Notre Dame, NBC, Big 12, Longhorn Network, West Virginia, Big East, Missouri… if the Big 12 can pull off this monster play more power to them.  That’s a lot of spinning parts for one story and each part depends on another.

Once we’re finished with our radio shows and CSS television for the day, we’ll start working our phones.  Then we’ll try to tell you what we’re buying and what we’re not.

Anybody else sick as hell of this mess?

Oh, and the fact that national reporters write gossip on Twitter like it’s a bathroom wall doesn’t help matters.  Too many wild rumors for me to believe much of anything for now.

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SEC Releases Conference Basketball Schedule

The Southeastern Conference released this afternoon the in-conference portion of this winter’s basketball schedule.  According to SECSports.com, nearly half of the league’s games will air on ESPN or ESPN2.

ESPNU, CBS, CSS and Fox Sports Net will also carry a number of league games.  As always, the in-house produced SEC Network will also carry 37 games in syndication.

Click here for the full schedule.

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Happy Thanksgiving From MrSEC.com

Before sitting down in front of the Patriots-Lions game today, we wanted to wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

We here at MrSEC are thankful for all of you who visit us on a daily basis.  We take your time seriously.  We’ll try not to waste it.  Even on a holiday — as proven by our numerous links and stories today.

We’re also thankful for all the radio shows, producers and hosts out there who’ve been kind enough to ask us to join ‘em this season.  And a major thanks goes out to the folks at CSS who’ve been way too kind to us this football season.

Now go enjoy some football and/or turkey… and we’ll see you bright and early right back here tomorrow morning.

Blessings to you all of you…

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