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FSU/Auburn BCS Title Tilt To Be “Megacast”

television-wallYou’ve heard of broadcasting.  Now get ready for “megacasting.”

ESPN has announced plans to air the BCS Championship Game between Auburn and Florida State via six different pipelines.  Yep, six.  Your viewing options will be as follows:

 

ESPN — The traditional broadcast featuring Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit.

ESPN 2 — “BCS Title Talk” will run throughout the game, featuring commentary and discussion among ESPN analysts, coaches and celebrities.

ESPNews — “BCS Film Room” will be provide play-by-play analysis from different camera angles.

ESPN Classic — “Sounds of the BCS” will feature only the game and in-stadium sounds (field mics, PA announcer, etc), no announcers.

ESPN3 — The website will provide team-specific coverage with the radio broadcasts from both schools available.

ESPN Goal Line — This game time-only channel will provide live action video, replays, the ESPN radio broadcast and up-to-the-minute stats.

 

ESPN head of programming Norby Williamson told USA Today: “We always champion the multi-platform approach of ESPN.  We thought this was the perfect opportunity to frankly have some fun, experiment and try to come up with different offerings to see what we can deliver on the biggest stage that we’re going to have.”

Expect Mike Slive and the folks at the SEC office to be watching closely.  As the SEC/ESPN partnership expands next season with the launch of the SEC Network, it’s a good bet the conference and the network will at some point trot out a multi-platform experience for a mondo SEC-versus-SEC contest.

The biggest drawback to this type thing in this writer’s opinion?  The constant fear that you’re missing something better on another channel.  Have those clickers ready, fans.

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Gruden “Open To Hearing” About College Job… Thank Goodness The Suckers In This Story Aren’t In The SEC

gruden-teases-shows-leg-flirtsWow, it really is a day of tried-and-true sports stories.  See if you’ve heard this one before: Jon Gruden is “open to hearing” from a college about its head coaching vacancy.

Someone alert the press!  Wait, Gruden’s agent has already taken care of that.  Again.

In this case, Orangebloods.com — the Rivals.com site covering Texas athletics — has reported that the ex-NFL coach and current ESPN broadcaster “is open to hearing from the Texas athletic department.”  This from a high-level source.

The source went on to say that Gruden views the Texas job as one of the few “premier” coaching jobs in college football.  He also gave another reason for Gruden’s alleged interest… and for Texas’ need to go BIG:

 

“It’s Austin.  It’s not like any other city in Texas, or anywhere, really.  It’s a destination, but with the state capitol, the university, the politics and the media, it’s the eye of a hurricane.

(James) Franklin, (Jim) Mora, they are great coaches — but stepping into this sort of situation for the first time?  You’re going to have limited success.”

 

Whatever.

Gruden has toyed with the hopes of so many schools at this point that, quite frankly, we’re sorta/kinda sick of his act at this point.  Last year, the SEC version of “UT” called Gruden about their then-open gig.  Gruden — who reportedly viewed Tennessee as a “premier” job because he’d coached there and because his wife has family there — played footsie with intermediaries before saying, “no thanks,” when he got an actual call from Vol athletic director Dave Hart.

Gruden likes to have his name kicked around because it keeps him “hot” in coaching circles.  Fair enough.  But there’s about as much chance of Sam Houston or Davy Crockett coaching the Longhorns next year as there is of Gruden taking the job.

It was just 14 days ago that Southern Cal athletic director Pat Haden said: “I talked with Jon a while back.  He wants to coach in the pros.  If he’s a head coach, he wants to coach in the pros.”

So good luck, Texas.  You’re the suckers of the month in the Great Gruden Grab.  He’ll wind up with a new contract from ESPN and you’ll wind up with a disappointed fanbase when a Franklin or a Mora is introduced.  We’ve seen this one play out one too many times to put any stock in it whatsoever.

(Which guarantees Gruden will take the job.)

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Sharpe Gives Florida Good News

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxFlorida’s offense received a boost Thursday when offensive lineman David Sharpe from Providence School of Jacksonville committed to the Gators.

Sharpe, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 2 offensive tackle by ESPN RecruitingNation, committed to Florida despite growing concerns about the program’s future. Gators coach Will Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis last week after Florida finished the season with a 4-8 record.

“Coach Muschamp really needed help and I really want to help turn the program around,” Sharpe told ESPN. “I think we have a special class coming.”

That’s to be determined, but Florida took a nice step on Thursday. Along with Sharpe, Florida picked up a commitment from wide receiver Moral Stephens from Taylor County High School in Perry, Fla.

The two additions gave Florida  18 commitments for the 2014 class, which is ranked No. 9 in the nation by Rivals.com.

“Considering the down year on the field and some of the changes to the coaching staff, this Florida class is shaping up very well,” recruiting analyst Craig Haubert wrote on ESPN.com today.

Now Florida needs to finish with a strong close. The Gators are recruiting several highly-touted prospects, including athletes Jamal Adams and Adoree’ Jackson, defensive end Lorenzo Carter and wide receiver Travis Rudolph.

Florida is also in good position with receiver Eric Lauderdale from Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, Calif. It appears Oregon, which recently offered Lauderdale, will likely be Florida’s top competition.

“I like that the quarterback (Marcus Mariota) there is coming back, and you know I like that style of offense,” Lauderdale told Rivals. “I’d say they are on the same level as Florida with me.”

There are plenty of questions regarding Florida’s future. Can Will Muschamp return the Gators to their 2012 form when they won 11 games?

Muschamp is trying to convince recruits that Florida will be back to competing in the SEC next year.

“It’s still the University of Florida,” he said last month. “I think there’s some obvious reasons why we are where we are. We’re a team that won 11 games last year, and I don’t think that happened by accident. We have a really good football staff. We have some good players on our football team. We’re going to have a good football team moving forward. So at the end of the day, this is a great education and it’s a great place to come compete.”

 

Garrett expected to be a Tiger

Highly-touted linebacker Clifton Garrett from Plainfield South High School in Joliet, Ill., will announce his decision on Tuesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Weep, College Fans… Gruden Wants To Coach In The Pros

JON-gruden-helmet-your-logoNewsflash: Jon Gruden isn’t coming to your school any time soon if Pat Haden is to be believed.  The Southern Cal athletic director said on “The Dan Patrick Show” yesterday that he contacted the coach-turned-announcer about the Trojans’ opening before hiring Steve Sarkisian from Washington.

“I talked with Jon a while back,” Haden said.  “He wants to coach in the pros.  If he’s a head coach, he wants to coach in the pros.”

Before anyone goes there — and someone will — that probably doesn’t mean he wants to be a coordinator or quarterbacks coach your alma mater, either.

Gruden has become the great white whale in collegiate searches.  One part Bigfoot — he’s “spotted” looking at schools and buying houses everywhere — the other part tease — he never states publicly that he’s not interested in college gigs — the ESPN broadcaster seems to just enjoy have his name kicked around.  Hey, who doesn’t want to be loved?

But the facts and Haden’s comments suggest Gruden won’t be taking any openings at Florida or Texas or Southern Cal.  He wouldn’t even take the Tennessee job where he coached and where his wife’s family resides (though you can be certain there are still one or two Vol fans who believe Butch Jones is just a ruse and that Gruden will eventually take over for him).

Time to nix Gruden from the list potential college coaches.  Ain’t happening.

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SEC Odds And Television Listings – 11/18/13

tv-remotesThe SEC has today released the television schedule for the final weekend of regular-season football.  Below, you’ll find the listings for both that weekend and this weekend along with the early betting lines.

Can you believe we’re already to the end of the football season?

 

November 23rd

Mississippi State at Arkansas at Little Rock — 12:21pm ET on SEC TV — Line: MSU -2 (now -2.5)

Coastal Carolina at South Carolina — 1:00pm ET on Pay-per-view — No line yet

Chattanooga at Alabama — 2:00pm ET on Pay-per-view — No line yet

Georgia Southern at Florida — 2:00pm ET on Pay-per-view — No line yet

Texas A&M at LSU — 3:30pm ET on CBS — Line: LSU -4 (now -3.5)

Kentucky at Georgia — 7:00pm ET on ESPNU — Line: Georgia -24 (now -23.5)

Vanderbilt at Tennessee — 7:00pm ET on  ESPN2 — Line: Tennessee -3 (now -3)

Missouri at Ole Miss — 7:45pm ET on ESPN — Line: Missouri -3 (now -3)

 

November 28th (Thursday)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State — 7:30pm ET on ESPN

 

November 29th (Friday)

Arkansas at LSU — 2:30pm ET on CBS

 

November 30th

Florida State at Florida — 12:00pm ET on ESPN

Wake Forest at Vanderbilt — 12:21pm ET on SEC TV

Alabama at Auburn — 3:30pm ET on CBS

Georgia at Georgia Tech — 3:30pm ET on ABC or ESPN or ESPN2

Tennessee at Kentucky — 7:00pm ET on ESPNU

Clemson at South Carolina — 7:00pm ET on ESPN2

Texas A&M at Missouri — 7:45pm ET on ESPN

 

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SEC Hoops Today – 11/12/13

basketballsMan, how I hate November.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a big fan of cool, crisp weather, leaves on the ground, Thanksgiving, the whole bit.

It’s just a huge bloody pain to cover 14 SEC football teams and 14 SEC basketball teams all at once.  The football fans wonder why we waste space on “preseason” basketball.  The hoops fanatics are ready to jump into their sport with both feet so they want more coverage of their sport than football.  It’s brutal.

And some folks wonder why we don’t cover women’s basketball, baseball and softball.  Yikes.

But with basketball season underway, here’s a quickie look at what’s on tap today… including one SEC game already in the books:

 

UMass 92, LSU 90 in Amherst, Massachusetts.  The Tigers — picked to finish fourth in the league at SEC Media Days last month — led only once in losing their season-opener.  Looks like the SEC is pickup where it left off last spring.

 

South Carolina at Baylor — 3:00pm ET on ESPN

Kentucky at Michigan State — 7:30pm ET on ESPN

Georgia State at Vanderbilt — 8:00pm ET

Florida at Wisconsin — 9:00pm ET on ESPN2

Tennessee at Xavier — 9:00pm ET on FS1

Southern Illinois at Missouri — 9:00pm ET on FSN

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LSU’s Miles On Red Light Violation: “I Anticipated The Change”

les-miles-in-cartoon-carLes Miles is always good for a laugh.  Sometimes he means to be funny.  Other times he just is.  In a piece that aired yesterday on ESPN, he intended to be.  We think.

As part of ESPN’s “All-Access” coverage of this weekend’s LSU/Alabama game, reporter Kaylee Hartung rode along on Miles’ morning commute to work.  When the coach apparently zipped through a red light it sparked this good-natured exchange…

 

Hartung:  “You just ran a red light.”

Miles:  “I did not.”

Hartung:  “You treated it like a stop sign.”

Miles:  “It just changed.”

Hartung:  “You ran it.”

Miles:  “I anticipated the change.”

 

Miles — who had already been coaxed into putting on his seat belt — joked, “Maybe we should let you drive.”

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Hoops Hall-Of-Famer King Says He Faced Racism At Tennessee

double-trouble-king-grunfeldTonight, former Tennessee and NBA basketball legend Bernard King will be featured in a new “30 for 30″ documentary on ESPN called “Bernie and Ernie.”  It focuses on the friendship he enjoyed with fellow New Yorker Ernie Grunfeld while playing for UT in the 1970s.

Volunteer fans will be surprised to see the “Bernie and Ernie” tag as the duo was more commonly known as “The Ernie and Bernie Show” at the time.  Chalk it up to marketing.  King is a basketball Hall of Famer.  Grunfeld — while a tremendous player and the current GM of the Washington Wizards — doesn’t have the name recognition of King, once one of the NBA’s top scorers.

Another way ESPN promotes its programs?  By releasing controversial snippets from them.  And that’s just what ESPN has done to promote tonight’s show.

The AP is reporting today that King reveals in the documentary that he faced racism while at Tennessee.  Specifically, he states that a police officer struck him with the butt of his gun while responding to a loitering charge.  It sounds as if there will be more talk on the racism front as well.

King and the University of Tennessee have reconnected during the past decade.  King’s jersey was retired at Thompson-Boling Arena in 2007.  He began aiding the UT program with pep talks and such.  All appeared to be well between alum and school.  But one wonders what these “revelations” — Is anyone really surprised that a black man from New York dealt with prejudice in the South 40 years ago? — will have on the King/UT relationship.

“I wish the university and the basketball team all the success in the world,” King told the AP.  “I would recommend that any athlete on the basketball side or football side or any sport, I would recommend the University of Tennessee for them.  I don’t harbor any bitterness.  You can’t go through life like that.  It eats you up.”

King added: “Everyone in Knoxville has always been very warm to me during my trips back to town.  It’s a different era.  It’s a different time.  It’s a different generation.  Therefore, my interaction with everyone is quite different than it was back then.”

Sounds good, but The Big Story today still ties the words “Tennessee” and “racism” together.  Now Vol fans know how Ole Miss fans felt last year.

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SEC Odds And Television Listings – 11/4/13

tv-remotesThe SEC has released its television schedule for November 16th today.  You’ll find it below along with this week’s TV listings.  We’ve also including betting information for all of this week’s matchups.

 

November 9th

Auburn at Tennessee — 12:00pm ET on ESPN — Line: Auburn -7 (Now -7)

Missouri at Kentucky — 12:00pm ET on ESPNU — Line: Missouri -13.5 (Now -14.5)

Vanderbilt at Florida — 12:00pm ET on FSN — Line: Florida -7.5 (Now -10.5)

Arkansas at Ole Miss — 12:21pm ET on SEC TV — Line: Ole Miss -17.5 (Now -17)

Appalachian State at Georgia — 12:30pm ET on Local Television – No Line

Mississippi State at Texas A&M — 3:30pm ET on CBS — Line: Texas A&M -19 (Now -19)

LSU at Alabama — 8:00pm ET on CBS — Line: Alabama -10.5 (Now -11.5)

 

November 16th

Troy at Ole Miss — 12:00pm ET on ESPNU

Kentucky at Vanderbilt — 12:21pm ET on SEC TV

Georgia at Auburn — 3:30pm ET on CBS or 7:00pm ET on ESPN2 or 7:45ET on ESPN

Florida at South Carolina — 3:30pm ET on CBS or 7:00pm ET on ESPN2 or 7:45pm ET on ESPN

Alabama at Mississippi State — 7:00pm ET on ESPN2 or 7:45pm ET on ESPN

 

 

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NBC’s Coverage Of Kubiak Collapse Should Cause SEC Broadcasters To Ask, “What If?”

gfx - honest opinionLast night, Houston head coach Gary Kubiak collapsed on the field as his team’s game with Indianapolis hit halftime.  Those close to Kubiak have said he is “feeling good” as he recovers in a Houston hospital.  Tests are being run today to make sure the 52-year-old did not have a stroke.

Here’s hoping for the best when it comes to the coach’s health.  Unfortunately, NBC didn’t show us its best as the story first unfolded.

After going to it’s halftime commercial break, NBC returned to Houston rather than to New York as usual.  Bob Costas informed viewers of Kubiak’s collapse while live pictures showed medical personnel crowding around him.  So far so good.  But rather than stay with Costas and crew in Houston, NBC decided to go ahead and punt the ball back to Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison for highlights and ha-has.

Bad decision.

An NFL coach was laying on the turf in pain.  Michelle Tafoya — the best sideline reporter in the business — was on the field trying to gather information.  Al Michaels — a veteran and pro who handled the earthquake before Game Three of the 1989 World Series and became a newsman during ABC’s post-quake coverage — was in the booth.  And Costas — whether you agree with his opinion pieces or not — boasts 40 years of sports/news experience.

Kubiak’s situation was more important than a highlights package.  Tafoya, Michaels and Costas are certianly sharp enough to have vamped about what they were seeing and how the crowd was reacting.  The decision to put football first was the wrong one and that fact was beaten home further as Michaels and Collinsworth had to call the second half of a game while Kubiak was receiving treatment at a nearby hospital.  Yes, the game must go on, but every remark about last night’s second half seemed ridiculously unimportant.

Kubiak’s collapse and NBC’s reaction to it should have every other sports network in the country asking today, “What would we do?”  That includes CBS and ESPN, the SEC’s broadcast partners.

If — heaven forbid — an SEC coach or player were to collapse during a contest, how would Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson handle it?  What could Tracy Wolfson bring to the table?  Do they have the gravitas to cover a potential life-and-death situation?

What of ESPN’s myriad of broadcast teams?

Personally, I like the work of Lundquist, Danielson and Wolfson.  I believe they do as good a job as any when it comes to coverage of a college football game.  Lundquist — with 50 years of experience — would be able to handle a serious situation, in my opinion.  But would CBS stick with on-site coverage of a news event or would network honchos toss back to Tim Brando and crew for highlights?

When in doubt, it’s best to err on the side of serious news coverage and — if the on-site team is capable — remain with them.  For all we knew, Kubiak’s life was on the line last night as Patrick, Dungy and Harrison smiled and ranked the league’s best teams.  No knock on those three, but sorry, not interested.

NBC found itself in a helluva fix last night.  I don’t envy them.  But when a sports story becomes a news story, the goal should be to provide news-style coverage.  Costas, Michaels and Tafoya did that… but only after viewers sat through a meaningless halftime show.

Today, CBS and ESPN officials should be putting themselves in NBC’s shoes, trying to determine what their own plans of action would be if thrown into similar circumstances.

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