The announcement of The SEC Network  back in May of 2013 had had SEC fans everywhere checking with their cable providers to make sure they wouldn’t be missing out on any insight. As 6:00 pm approached on August 14th, everyone here at SDS, along with SEC fans everywhere, gathered around the TV curious how the launch would look.

The taped opening segment was nothing short of a hype-up video, tapping into the passion and pageantry of the SEC. Fans, players, coaches, and celebrities all contributed to highlighting the rabid nature of the SEC, both on the field, and off.  After a long summer of waiting, we are all as ready for SEC football as we have ever been, and that opening segment got us even more amped up for kickoff.

After the first segment some hiccups started to enter into the broadcast.  Sure Dari Nowkhah shined as the polished anchor, and Greg McElroy seemed ready for the spotlight, but others were not as smooth. Tim Tebow and his maybe too-tailored suit referred to the Gators as “we” a little too much and his interview with Jeff Driskel was awkward. Both he and Paul Finebaum bring audiences along with them, which was certainly a factor in bringing Tebow onto the team. Both Tebow and Finebaum will no doubt prove to be divisive personalities for the fans, garnering much of the conversation throughout the season. It seemed strange that Paul Finebaum was not a more prevalent earlier in the broadcast.

Many of the interviews with the coaches seemed bumpy, and while the access is unprecedented, I’m left wondering why the network didn’t pre-tape some of the segments to minimize the opportunities for mix-ups. As is normal for live broadcasts, there were some long pauses, awkward transitions, mic drop-outs, but the most notable misstep was the interview turned “not-so-mic’d-up” segment with Dan Mullen. If you somehow missed it, Tony Barnhart finished his interview, then very noticeably exited frame while Dan Mullen ran off to practice mic’d up. The next few minutes were as awkward as it gets, providing very little value, unless you were curious what music the Mississippi State players listened to during practice. It was pretty brutal.

My personal favorite segment was Marcus Spears’ golf lesson on the Alabama practice field. He should bring some personality to the set, though he could be smoother as well. Now, if Saban was unaware of the plan to hit golf balls off his practice field, Marcus may mysteriously disappear at some point in the next few days.

All in all, the launch of the SEC Network was a landmark production with a few speedbumps that will need to be smoothed out over the course of the season. The content they will have access to will be un-paralleled and will keep SEC fans even more engaged, if that is possible. Not to mention the huge amounts of money that the conference will be seeing from the network.

Follow along with us here at SDS as we continue to provide the voice of the fan throughout the season.