Remember, Comcast subscribers, this can be yours for a mere $1.40 a month.
Mike Slive’s had a pretty good week. The NCAA is in the process of capitulating to the power conferences on governance. And Comcast is taking on the SEC Network.
SEC Network landed its biggest fish Friday, announcing a long-term carriage deal with the country’s biggest distributor. Comcast will carry the channel at its Aug. 14 launch on its expanded basic tier within SEC territory and digital basic outside of it. Sources say the channel’s rate card is at $1.40 per subscriber per month within the SEC’s 11-state footprint and $0.25 per month outside of it.
That ain’t exactly chump change. It’s likely that DirecTV isn’t far behind, either. All in all, it sounds like the SEC is having a smoother rollout of its broadcast operation than either the Big Ten or the Pac-12 had. And that may be the result of a deliberate tactical decision Slive and the presidents made. They don’t own the SEC Network outright, as the Pac-12 owns its. Nor are they the controlling end of a partnership like the Big Ten is. Instead, the conference has elected to maintain the role of content provider and leave production in the hands of ESPN.
What’s gained by that? A shitload of leverage.
The Comcast deal also includes TV Everywhere rights, allowing for live streaming of the channel on Xfinity TV Go and WatchESPN (John Ourand, Staff Writer). FOXSPORTS.com’s Clay Travis noted news that DirecTV is close to a deal is “square with the private comments of SEC and ESPN executives, who are confident that a deal is near as well.” DirecTV’s negotiations with SEC Network “are part of a larger negotiation with the other ESPN networks.”
In other words, if you want to carry ESPN – and if you’re a distributor, that’s not really a choice – you’d best resign yourself to finding a niche in your product line for the SEC Network. The good thing is that if you play ball, ESPN has plenty of extra sweeteners to toss in the pot for you. And that’s basically what’s happening.
With the Comcast deal in place, an agreement with DirecTV “would mean that every major cable and satellite company — excluding Time Warner, which has remained fairly quiet so far — would carry the SEC Network.” It also would allow ESPN and the SEC to “hit their goal of roughly 75 million cable and satellite subscribers at launch.”
That’s an easier sell with ESPN on your side than without. (Note that “DirecTV, which has more than 20 million subscribers, carries the Big Ten Network but not the Pac 12 Network.”)
The SEC took a more conservative approach to establishing its broadcast arm than its predecessors. And while it may be hard to say whether that’s a decision it’ll come to regret down the road if having more control equals greater profitability, at present it’s probably more valuable to get the sign ups done as smoothly as possible.
You can almost hear the **sniff** in this Tweet.
Of course, it only takes a couple more suspensions/dismissals to change that.
On the surface, this sounds pretty grim:
Fatal flaw: Inconsistent secondary play
The Bulldogs are breaking in a new quarterback to replace Aaron Murray, and they have only two returning starters on the offensive line. Those are huge spaces to fill, but the inconsistent secondary is still the most prominent weakness for this club. This group struggled last year, ranking ninth in the SEC in passing yards allowed per game (227.4), and had a horrible spring game. It gave up six pass-interference penalties in this contest, allowed six offensive players to average 15 or more yards per reception, and could have given up even more yardage if not for inaccurate passes.
This roster segment is one of the most inexperienced in college football, as graduation losses and the departures of Shaq Wiggins and Josh Harvey-Clemons leave Damian Swann as the only defensive back on the roster with more than one career start. Linebacker Leonard Floyd will offset some of this with his incredible pass-rushing skills, but it is still looking as though this area of the Georgia defense is going to be every bit the coverage sieve it was last season.
But this is KC Joyner we’re talking about here, so perhaps a grain of salt is worth applying to it (although there always is the stopped clock is right twice a day effect to consider). I mean, G-Day as a basis for analysis? Seriously?
By the way, Tray Matthews started six games in the secondary last season. Corey Moore had seven starts. So did Quincy Mauger. I’m not saying they’re All-SEC candidates. I’m just saying Joyner’s research skills aren’t going to win him any awards, either.
The chafing dishes are full, so knock yourselves out.
Before we get all wrapped up in that “Murray Deficit” ESPN’s stats department cooked up, it’s worth noting that any outfit coming up with a statistical model that ranks Georgia’s preseason defense higher than its offense and shows the Dawgs’ special teams as the 18th best in the country might want to go back and refine the model a little more.
Even on a slow news day, the buffet is there for you.
This is the best thing you’ll read about every stupid “ridiculously early” list ever compiled. The conclusion:
Because the answer never changes, and neither do the lists. Here’s Mark Schlabach’s Way-Too-Early list from February of 2013. 20 of the same 25 teams from 2013 are on it this time. Including Florida, ranked seventh. Florida went 4-8 last season. That alone is probably enough to exclude them from any current Top 25 list, but I’d allow it if the evidence was a little stronger than “they just can’t keep being that bad.”
But it isn’t.
Amen to that, brother.