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Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer Are Lead SECN Announcers


Big news today, as ESPN has announced that Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer are going to be the lead SEC Network announcing team. The worldwide leader is not skimping on the talent, for sure.

Fox Could Launch ESPN Competitor as Early as 2014


The Sports Business Journal has some interesting details on Fox's plans to potentially turn its Speed network into an all-sports channel as early as 2014. It would be a single national sports network like ESPN rather than be like its current regional Fox Sports Net channels. Speed is already in over 80 million homes, which gives it wider carriage than CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus). I would love to see someone give ESPN some really good competition, but based on what I've seen so far from Fox, I doubt this potential network is going to be it.

The Big 12 is Safe for at Least 10 Years


According to Texas's PR man the leading reporter of conference realignment, Chip Brown, ESPN will distribute the Longhorn Network beginning in 2011. It's the private label TV network that was rumored to be in the works back in the summer and ultimately became the deal breaker in the Pac-16 plans. According to Brown, the Longhorn Network was set to go ahead with a $2 million annual guarantee from Fox, but ESPN swooped in with a $12 million annual offer based on much wider distribution. That offer was far beyond the university's original hopes. It really makes you wonder what ESPN's goal is here. It overpaid the Big 12 on its TV deal to keep the conference together. It's now drastically overpaying (or at least, over-guaranteeing) Texas to fund its network. Clearly, someone at ESPN wants the Big 12 to survive and to prevent the Pac-16 from happening. The Pac-16 isn't viable without Texas joining, and its financial projections are impossible without owning local TV rights. With ESPN being Texas's sugar daddy for a decade, the Pac-16 has no hope of even being revisited until 2020. it also makes you wonder if ESPN would make similar deals to keep the Big East together should the Big Ten get itchy for expansion again. Right now, it looks like the idea of superconferences royally freaks out the people up in Bristol.

College GameDay is Going to Columbia


For the fourth time in the season's six weeks, College GameDay is visiting a game with an SEC component. The guys are going to Columbia for Alabama's game versus South Carolina. Previously this season, they attended LSU-UNC, Penn State-Alabama, and Clemson-Auburn.

Auburn Makes SEC 3-for3 With GameDay


After College GameDay visited Atlanta for LSU-UNC two weeks ago and Tuscaloosa for Bama-Penn State, the guys are going to their third straight SEC game. They're going to the plains to be at Auburn-Clemson this weekend. It's not a particularly good slate of games to choose from this weekend after last weekend's shiny duds, but they did pass up some intriguing games like Texas-Texas Tech and Iowa-Arizona. I guess the Auburn versus Auburn-with-a-lake story line was too good to pass up.

Time Warner Finally Pays Up for ESPN3


Time Warner and ESPN have finally resolved their differences, and there's a glorious result for those of us stuck on Time Warner's Internet offerings: ESPN3 is now available! At last, Time Warner customers get to stream all the content from ESPN3 without having to resort to hacks, tricks, and hassling relatives with Comcast for their login information. I checked and it's not working yet, but hopefully it won't be too many days before it works.

BYU Inks Deals with ESPN, Notre Dame


Financial details are still forthcoming, but BYU has itself an eight-year TV deal for its newly independent football team. ESPN will have first dibs on all BYU home and neutral site games, of which it must broadcast a minimum of three somewhere on its 200-channel lineup. The rest will go on BYUtv. The wannabe Notre Dame of the West also set up a series with the actual Notre Dame. It's "a six-game deal through 2020" that includes at least one trip for Notre Dame to Provo, and it clearly isn't an every-year thing. Somewhat troublingly, ESPN is helping BYU set up marquee games, including the Notre Dame series. The four-letter network had its fingerprints all over the salvation of the Big 12 back in June, and the swiftness of the announcements today leave no doubt that ESPN had a hand in BYU's independence push as well. It seems that the network is making as much news as it reports these days.

A Few SEC Game Times Announced


CBS and ESPN announced a few game times today. The only major WTF is that the Penn State-Alabama game (ESPN) and Oregon-Tennessee game (ESPN2) are on at the same time. Whose idea was that?

College GameDay is Going to Texas-Texas Tech


Despite the Florida-Tennessee game being the likeliest to receive the most headlines this week, the GameDay crew is going to Austin. This makes total sense because: A) the Longhorns and Red Raiders moved the game to this week to accommodate ABC, and B) Tech is a lot closer to being ranked than Tennessee is. That is all.

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