|1:00 PM||Florida at Ole Miss||CBS/CBSSports.com|
|1:00 PM||South Carolina at Georgia||SEC Network/WatchESPN|
|3:30 PM||Auburn at Mississippi State||SEC Network/WatchESPN|
|4:00 PM||Kentucky at Vanderbilt||ESPN/WatchESPN|
|6:00 PM||Texas A&M at Tennessee||SEC Network/WatchESPN|
|6:00 PM||Missouri at Arkansas||ESPN2/WatchESPN|
|8:30 PM||Alabama at LSU||SEC Network/WatchESPN|
So: let’s talk about this TV schedule.
A major difference between college football and college basketball? In college football, the weekly schedule is set about a week or two in advance, with television networks picking up matchups in a set order. In the SEC, CBS usually gets the first pick, followed by ESPN, which generally sets its first selection on the main network (or sometimes ESPN2), with games deemed less attractive relegated to the SEC Network.
But in basketball, network assignments are set before the season. And, well, ESPN’s NBA contract in recent years has seemed to dictate a lot of its choices. Longtime college basketball fans can sense a shift in ESPN’s coverage over the years: it now covers college hoops as an NBA minor league instead of its own entity. It’s all about building hype for next year’s NBA superstars than about covering the best teams.
All of which is how you end up with this. The “marquee” games on Saturday’s basketball slate: Florida and Kentucky traveling to play at the SEC’s two worst teams (per KenPom), and Missouri at Arkansas — which, okay, that might actually be pretty good, but that mostly got a marquee time slot and network assignment because of Michael Porter Jr., who won’t be playing.
Meanwhile, the SEC Network gets three games that look pretty interesting. Auburn looks to stay undefeated at Mississippi State; Texas A&M looks to break a four-game losing streak at Tennessee; and LSU looks to keep things rolling as it hosts Alabama. South Carolina-Georgia probably won’t be too good, but would you rather watch those four games all day or watch the “marquee” games as determined by network executives in October? If I weren’t a Vanderbilt fan, I’d probably say the former.
Bad Gambling Advice
Season to Date: 66-59-2 ATS
- Florida (-4.5) at Ole Miss: Ole Miss is bad at defending the three-point line and Florida is, well, good at shooting threes. This could get ugly.
- South Carolina at Georgia (-4): Look for Georgia to bounce back after a loss at Missouri on Wednesday night. South Carolina is fading pretty quickly.
- Auburn at Mississippi State (+2): This is, obviously, dangerous: Auburn has won 13 straight. But this feels like a letdown spot.
- Kentucky (-3) at Vanderbilt: Did you know that Vanderbilt is 1-12 ATS this year? That is... not a trend that I like.
- Texas A&M (+2.5) at Tennessee: Texas A&M looked like a buzzsaw earlier this season when they were at full strength. Now that they’re back at full strength, adjust your expectations accordingly.
- Missouri (+5.5) at Arkansas: I honestly have no idea what’s going on with Arkansas right now. Whatever it is, though, I don’t particularly want to lay 5.5 on them at the moment.
- Alabama at LSU (-4): LSU is rolling right now and I don’t really see Alabama putting a stop to that.