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Sunday Morning Conversation: The SEC Network at One Year Old

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Watcha think so far?

For many fans of SEC schools, their dreams came true when the SEC Network launched one year ago on August 14, 2014. It was a revelation. It is ESPN without suffering through endless stories about Tom Brady and the Yankees versus The Red Sox. It is wall-to-wall SEC sports with, let's face it, a inclination towards football.

In April, the SEC Network (including SEC Network +) announced that they had broadcast the young network's 1000th live event. They estimate hitting 1,400 events by its one-year anniversary on Friday.

There are no doubts that the network is making a pile of cash for the member schools, thanks in large part to football.

February 2015, nbcsports.com:

During a meeting with both the media and the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee Friday, South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner revealed that the SEC Network is expected to pull in a profit of $5 million its first year — per school. And even more to the point seven months after the network’s debut, Tanner called that $5 million per school figure as "conservative."

This is a remarkable feat for any fledgling start-up in any industry.

Outgoing SEC Commissioner Mike Slive recently told Tony Barnhart the following facts:

...It was the most successful launch of any network in the history of cable television. Not just sports. All cable television. We are in 65 million homes and available to 90 million homes. We hoped to do 1,000 events in the first year when we combined the SEC Network with our digital network. We will do over 1,400. The student-athletes just love it and so do their parents because if the event is on line they can watch from anywhere in the world.

So, it is clear that you are watching. What do you think of the network after a year?

THE PROGRAMMING

It is no secret that football is king in the SEC. It was a no-brainer to launch the network on the eve of the 2014 football season.

SEC Nation
Hosted by ESPN commentator, Joe Tessitore, SEC Nation is a traveling pre-game football show similar to ESPN's own College GameDay but they go the campus of the SEC Game of the Week [not some boring Big Ten game!]. However, they try to make it to each SEC campus throughout the season, so it is not always the most exciting game of the week. Tessitore was joined by analysts Tim Tebow (who has now left to give the NFL another try), Marcus Spears, and Paul Finebaum, with Kaylee Hartung playing the part of Erin Andrews. A replacement for Tebow has yet to be announced.

The Paul Finebaum Show
Birmingham radio personality Finebaum moves his freak show to television in this daily four-hour broadcast of his show. This Tennessee grad is a disgrace to the University of Alabama, Auburn University, the state of Alabama, and the South in general. He has made a mountain of money feeding off stereotypes of ignorant idiotic Southerners with no grip on reality. To those callers who he has made into semi-celebrities: he and the nation are laughing at you, not with you. Shut your freaking traps. You are embarrassments.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest... That said, Finebaum has found an unexpected chemistry with his physical polar opposite Marcus Spears. Somehow, someway, these two click when they share the airwaves. Finebaum is not too bad when he conducts interviews. When he takes phone calls, it is pure Jerry Springer. If you ever want to get on his show, call in using a disguised voice with an outrageous hick accent, use poor grammar and double negatives, and get ridiculously riled up over little things. Eloquent speakers will be kept on hold in perpetuity.

SEC Storied
A documentary series from ESPN Films much like the 30 for 30 series which explore the athletic history of the SEC's recent and more distant past. Some of the highlights include "The Book of Manning",  "It's Time" about the late Chucky Mullins, and "Miracle" about UGA's unpredictable run in the 2008 SEC Basketball Tournament despite a tornado that ravaged downtown Atlanta.

DVR Alert: Coming Tuesday, September 29: "In Search of Derrick Thomas".

SEC Rewind
Classic games featuring SEC teams, including past BCS Championship games, past SEC Championship games, classic regular season and Bowl games. Lotsa good Bama games in there.

SEC Now
A personal favorite, this is a daily live studio program much like SportsCenter. It is usually hosted by Dari Nowkhah with network analysts like former Bama QB Greg McElroy and former LSU DT/mountain-of-a-man Booger McFarland, discussing all the SEC news of the day. Alternate hosts include Peter Burns and Maria Taylor. Matt Stinchcomb, Tom Hart, and Tony Barnhart occasionally contribute as well.

Live Games

Brent Musburger (play-by-play) and Jesse Palmer (analyst) are the main game-callers with Dave Neal and Andre Ware getting the next tier. The SEC Network rarely gets the top games but they led off last season with a memorable beat down of South Carolina by the visiting Texas A&M Aggies.

Coming Soon to the SEC Network (and the SECN Alternate channel):

Thurs, Sept 3
Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt - 7:00pm CT

Sat, Sept 5
UT-Martin at Ole Miss - 11:00am CT
UL-Monroe at Georgia - 11:00am CT
Bowling Green at Tennessee - 3:00pm CT
SE Missouri St at Missouri - 3:00pm CT
New Mexico St at Florida - 6:30pm CT
McNeese State at LSU - 6:30pm CT

Happy Birthday, SEC Network!

So what is your verdict? Has it exceeded you expectations or does it still need some tweaks?

#RollTide