Archive for August, 2008

Goodbye, Raycom

Raycom is about to be a greasy smear beneath the wheels of the ESPN money truck, which just parked outside the SEC’s vault and is unloading $150 mil per year for 15 years. And that’s to televise all the games that CBS doesn’t. What does that mean for us, the fans? Well, hopefully it will mean that we’ll actually get to see a game that isn’t the CBS game of the week in HD.

Now, I don’t know if Raycom is the responsible party or not, but any SEC games broadcast in recent years that weren’t picked up by a major network have been simply awful broadcasts. The video equipment used was old in 1976, I believe, and they’ve never made any effort to upgrade. Or at least that’s what it looks like to me, watching on my shiny new LG 45″ widescreen LCD a fuzzy square box that makes me think my eyeglass prescription has expired. Then I switch over to CBS and see the sharp, crisp, clear HD picture and I feel a deep rage churning in my guts towards whoever is responsible for this, they who evidently believe the VCR is still the height of technology’s achievements.

Even if ESPN doesn’t broadcast every game in HD, the difference should still be noticeable. They’ll at least be using a modern video recorder, rather than a handheld analog betamax that they couldn’t sell at a yard sale if they wanted to. A pawn shop wouldn’t trade a stick of gum for one of those things, and they’re filming SEC games with them. Again, that’s what it looks like from the outside. I have no idea what kind of equipment they actually use, I just know it’s painful to see, and painful to think that I have better equipment in my living room than they have for a professional broadcast.

What else does this deal accomplish? Well, it guarantees ESPN that I’ll be signing up for their full spectrum of channels. Right now I don’t get ESPNU or ESPN360. I’m about to shell out the difference to make sure I do. Here’s hoping the broadcast world for the SEC just got a little better for fans of the SEC.

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It’s been a long offseason, but now that the college football season is upon us again, Real Men Wear Houndstooth is back.

Is anyone else excited that the big bully is back? Alabama’s been down for a long time, but those days are over. Last year Alabama lost six games, but didn’t lose a single game by more than 7 points. Nick Saban has re-sculptured the attitudes of the players, installed his 4-quarter regimen, and recruited a lot of depth and talent. They may not be national championship caliber this season, but watch for Alabama to find its swagger again and start dominating its cross-state rivals. The Tide is high and rolling.

Auburn got a lot of play with its “Fear the Thumb” slogan, and they pulled it off, too, and put together an impressive string of victories against a sanction-crippled Bama team. What do those victories represent? Well, for me they represent a lot of Auburn accomplishments in their 100-year history. Those six wins represent:

  • Each and every SEC title they’ve won (half as many as Alabama has in national championships).
  • All six of the SEC Western Division Championships the Tigers claim (though they’ve only been to the championship game three times since the SEC was split into divisions in ’92. They won it once).
  • Tuberville’s rank in the SEC among coaches.

This year, if Alabama ends the streak, we might only be able to hold up one finger, but for the following year Auburn fans might remember this as the “Year of the Bird.”

The bully is back. Roll Tide!

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Yesterday on the Paul Finebaumshow, Ivan Maisel was interviewed in response to his book, “The Maisel Report: College Football’s Most Overrated and Underrated Players, Coaches, Teams & Traditions,” which lists Alabama as an overrated team and Nick Saban as an overrated coach. Maisel attempted to reinforce his position on Alabama by demeaning the team, saying that “Since Bear Bryant’s death, Alabama has as many national championships as BYU and Georgia Tech, and only one more than Florida International.”

My problem here isn’t that he was wrong, because he is right. No, my problem is the demeaning nature of the comment. Winning national championships is hard, and in twenty five years Alabama has won one, which, in addition to BYU and GT, is also the same number of championships as have Michigan, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Penn State and Texas. And yes, they have only one more national championship than Florida Atlantic, but they also have one more than Auburn and Georgia. He didn’t have to lay it out like he did, but he did, and if he’d made his argument without the barb I might have even considered reading his book. As it is, all Maisel did was prove himself petty, and in the process he discredited himself and displayed his lack of class for everyone to hear.

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