As most people know by now, ESPN and the SEC have partnered to create the SEC Network. The new network will launch on August 14, and will feature 1,000 live events in the first year alone, classic games, the SEC Storied franchise (more stories to come to go along with the previously aired), and a wealth of original studio content.
“If you are an avid SEC fan, which most Tennessee fans are, this is going to be the heartbeat of your coverage. This is going to be your all-access pass to SEC coverage in all 21 sports.” said ESPN’s Gracie Blackburn.
The new 24 hour a day network has already announced Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer as the broadcast team for it’s college football game coverage. Joe Tessitore was named the host of SEC Nation, which will be the new Saturday pregame show. SEC legend Tim Tebow will serve as an analyst for the show as well. Also recently announced, former Alabama QB Greg McElroy has been signed to be an analyst.
The SEC Network will also feature a simulcast of The Paul Finebaum Show, which airs weekdays from 2-6 PM. Finebaum was in Knoxville on Thursday, broadcasting his show from the press box in Neyland Stadium. It was the first time Finebaum had broadcast his show in Knoxville.
Finebaum’s new book “My Conference Can Beat Your Conference: Why the SEC Rules College Football” is due out on August 12. The book is a behind the scenes look at ESPN Gameday and delves into the history of what Finebaum has done. It also intersects with the culture of the fans and why they are the way they are.
“The fans care…maybe a little too much. They where it on their sleeves.” Finebaum said about SEC fans. “There are worst things in the world to care about than whether your college football team does well.”
During the first segment of this broadcast, Coach Butch Jones joined Paul in the booth. Among topics of discussion were pace of play, player safety, and Lane Kiffin. Feel free to check out his podcasts. http://sports.espn.go.com/espnradio/podcast/archive?id=9560758
Paul Finebaum graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1978 and was around for the Johnny Majors transition. “I think in some ways it was worse back then.” Finebaum said in comparing then to now. “Everyone thought Majors was going to solve every problem. He just won a national championship at Pittsburgh. It was a homecoming and a very dramatic time. I think expectations were higher then.”
From his perspective, Tennessee should be competitive, but he thinks the Vols are probably still 3-4 years away from competing for SEC championships. “I think it’s pretty upbeat in terms of where it’s going.” said Finebaum.