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SEC Media Days: Slive Brings Stick and Carrot

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- See Ancient Prophet Ice Cube's saying re: "checking self, wrecking ↵self, and prevention thereof": SEC commissioner Mike Slive's speech did lead off with a ↵booming bragstick wielded with zeal, downloading a kiloton of recited ↵data about the conference's championships, winning record, income, and the ↵deal with ESPN, a network called ESPN that ESPN officials would like ↵to tell you about by saying ESPN 500 times during a single ↵presentation. (I counted: in their presentation, ESPN's John Wildhack ↵used a variation of ESPN at least 22 times in a four-minute span.) ↵

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↵There was bragging, but then a sharp left turn into an extremely ↵detailed and very clear discussion of another thing the SEC has ↵excelled in over the past year: secondary violations of the NCAA's ↵recruiting rules. Slive warned of actual, big-boy consequences for ↵recruiting violations in a particularly pointy section of his opening ↵comments. The juxtaposition was intentional and jarring: "Hi, ↵everyone. We're bathing in a shower of pure gold bullion and success- ↵flavored baconflakes. Don't screw this up by waking up the NCAA while ↵sneaking out past curfew. Love, Mike." ↵

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↵ESPN ESPN ESPN ESPN: The summary of ESPN's ↵presentation about their upcoming deal with the SEC can be summarized ↵in this manner: the SEC will be on every channel all the time ↵everywhere in the universe that one can pick up a television signal, ↵and then sometimes not even there. John Wildhack, in between randomly ↵stringing together long chains of various ESPN networks as whole ↵sentences, spelled out precisely what the new megadeal between the SEC ↵and ESPN means. In theory, the league could have games on ESPN, ESPN2, ↵ESPNU, ABC, the SEC Network (the reformed regional carrier) and ↵CSS. Repeated at least three times in the presentation was this magic ↵phrase: "Every. Game. Will be televised." ↵

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↵This includes CBS's existing deal for the SEC game of the week, ↵meaning if you hate the megaconference's fat, luxurious squat on the ↵national sports psyche now, you may as well take a nap in in your ↵garage with the engine running. If you're an SEC fan, you just got ↵thrown into the briar patch. Congratulations. Also, the broadcasts ↵will be going more global than ever, which is why you may be attacked ↵by rabid Alabama fans screaming "ROLL TIDE" at home, but also on ↵vacation in Mexico in a few years when the game catches on with the ↵locals. We live in an age of wonders. ↵

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↵That smiling man looks like Bobby Petrino: I think ↵it was him, but that odd expression where he bares his teeth and the ↵demeanor--I think you call it "happy"?--confused me immensely. ↵Petrino was breezy, relaxed, and a very different person than whoever ↵was here last year. Petrino talked about Ryan Mallett's weight loss ↵(thirty pounds from a high of 265), the difficulty of recruiting a ↵dropback passer ("I'd like to see teams required in high school to ↵take 20% of the snaps from under center"), and how things at Arkansas ↵are generally about 300 times better than last year in terms ↵of improvement throughout the team, especially in terms of overall ↵roster depth. "Chipper" would describe him well right now, as likely a ↵pairing with the word "Petrino" as putting "Bobby Johnson" and ↵"electrifying" in the same sentence. ↵

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↵Quote of the day: "They got a chance to be pretty ↵good." The deadpan answer of Bobby Johnson to the question of "Talk a ↵bit about Florida's chances this year," followed by a deadpan glance ↵and no less than five seconds of silence. ↵

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↵The Florida Media, United: One way or another, the ↵collected Florida media will ferret out who did not vote Tim Tebow as ↵the first team all-SEC quarterback. Both coaches so far were asked if ↵they were the culprit, thus setting up the running gag for this year's ↵conference. Petrino's answer: "Yeah, I probably did." Johnson: "I'd ↵be stupid not to." When life gives you lemons, you start throwing them ↵at people until someone flinches, an approach the Gator-affiliated ↵press will take until someone confesses to being the mole who ↵traitorously interrupted the preseason deification of St. Tebow. ↵Manufactured drama is the tastiest drama, sometimes. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.