Basketball, Football, SEC, Sports

The SEC Network

I don’t know if a lot of people have been keeping in touch with television schedules regarding college sports or not, but next year there will be this new channel called the SEC Network. This program is dedicated toward the showing of SEC sports events such as football, basketball, baseball, track, and others. This is a great opportunity for fans to see their sports or teams that aren’t usually shown on national television, as well as for athletes to get some exposure that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

This new network is really exciting for me because in the fall I will be taking a class that involves me working with the SEC Network. So this channel is a chance for me to start my career off as well. This channel is long overdue too; the SEC is considered to be the best college football conference in the nation by a lot of people and yet it hadn’t had a network of its own like the Big Ten or Pac 12. That all changes next fall.

A short blog post I know, but I just wanted people to be aware of this new network so they can look out for it in the fall.

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Football, Mapping, SEC, Sports

Top 5 SEC Football Stadiums

For this blog post I am writing about what I feel are the top five SEC Football Stadiums to go to as a spectator. They are: Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium, LSU’s Tiger Stadium, Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium and Texas A&M’s Kyle Field. I have come up with these five because they all have something unique to offer, and include the best range of things that make going to the games so great. These things include: the size of the stadium, the volume of the crowd, and the in-game antics that happen while the game is played. I have created a map on Google to show where these stadiums are located, as well as offering additional information about the stadiums themselves.

Bryant-Denny Stadium is one of the most intimidating places to play for an opposing team, as Alabama holds an outstanding winning percentage there at 80% (212-50-3). Located on the southwestern edge of the University of Alabama campus, the stadium ranks among the nation’s top 5 on-campus football stadiums with a seating capacity of 101,821. This was after it’s latest expansion in the summer of 2010. It is also the SEC’s second largest stadium. The official site of Bryant-Denny Stadium can be seen here: http://www.rolltide.com/facilities/bryant-denny.html

Nicknamed Death Valley, LSU’s Tiger Stadium is one of the most feared places to play for an opposing team. It’s considered to be the SEC’s most electric environment during night time, and it becomes the fifth largest state in Louisiana seven days a year when the Tigers play. Since 1960, LSU is 227-61-4  at night in Tiger Stadium compared to a 26-26-3 record during the day. The crowd noise was so loud one time that the stadium registered on the Richter Scale against Auburn in 1988. http://www.lsusports.net/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=177159

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is notorious for having three names. The other two are Florida Field and The Swamp. It got the nickname “The Swamp” from then-coach Steve Spurrier in the mid-90’s, who noted that “. . . a swamp is where Gators live. We feel comfortable there, but we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous. Only Gators get out alive.”  Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is the long-time home of Gator Growl, a student-produced show and pep rally held the Friday night before the annual homecoming football game. http://www.gatorzone.com/facilities/?venue=swamp

Jordan-Hare Stadium has served as the Auburn Tigers home since 1939. The stadium is named for Ralph Jordan, Auburn’s all-time winningest football coach, and Clifford Hare, a longtime chairman of Auburn’s Faculty Athletic Committee. There are a bunch of neat traditions and pregame festivities, including Tiger Walk, where fans get to walk with the football players on their way to the stadium. An eagle is released before the game begins as well, making it’s way to the center of the field where it lands. http://www.auburntigers.com/facilities/jordan_hare_stadium.html

Kyle Field is the Home of the 12th Man. If you’ve ever wondered where that saying originated from, it originated from Texas A&M’s Kyle Field. It is the oldest stadium in the SEC, opening in 1904. Their student section doesn’t get tired, as they stand for the whole game! Kyle Field only became a part of the SEC two years ago and already it has established itself as a top five stadium in the conference. http://www.aggieathletics.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&ATCLID=205237869&DB_OEM_ID=27300

The map itself is to show where these five stadiums are, and included in the descriptions are certain facts about the stadiums themselves. The map also recommends why a person should experience a game in these stadiums, as well as an interesting fact that they might not know about.

Here’s a link to the Google Map. https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zz6Al7PkwYwg.kbXTkg4htG7A

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Football, NCAA Basketball, SEC, Sports

Has the SEC’s dominance come to an end?

What an exciting finish to the NCAA tournament! UCONN held on to a slim margin of victory over Kentucky after the Wildcats bounced back from a 15 point deficit on Monday night. It was definitely a fitting end to an outstanding tournament, a tournament as good as any within the past 20 years. As has become custom for the major college sports in recent years an SEC team made it all the way to the championship game, and for basketball it was 8th seeded Kentucky.

What should be noted throughout the tournament: the continued dominance of the SEC in big games. SEC teams were 12-3 in the tournament, with all three making at least the Sweet Sixteen. However, although SEC teams dominated the playing field at times during the tournament, some startling statistics might show that the SEC isn’t as dominant as it once was.

First off, even though SEC teams had an overwhelming winning record in the tournament, all these wins were accumulated by three teams: Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee. Also, of the three Florida was the only one with a high ranking as the #1 overall favorite. Kentucky’s run was magical yes, but the fact remains that they entered the tournament as an 8 seed. The lower you’re seeded means the less successful you were in the regular season, where teams would be playing other teams outside of their conference a lot more. Tennessee was even worse; as an 11 seed they had to play in the newly established “first round” play-in game, where they had to beat an opponent in order to even play in the Round of 64 tournament.

There’s also the fact that both Florida and Kentucky looked completely defeated at times against eventual champion Connecticut. UConn won against Florida in the regular season by a buzzer beater at home, but defeating Florida a second time by a wide margin proved that the first win was no fluke. Florida was supposed to be the overwhelming favorite to win the tournament too. Kentucky got down by as much as 15 in the first half before making things interesting. Credit to Kentucky, but they were also favorites going into the title game. While the SEC did have a great record in the tournament their failures at the biggest stage cannot be ignored.

Maybe I’m being a little too hard on the SEC, and especially for basketball since the SEC’s always been a football conference. If you swing back over to football though their dominance in BCS title games came to an end in January, when Auburn lost to Florida State. That loss marked the first time that an SEC team has lost in the title game, while at the same time snapping a streak of seven consecutive SEC BCS champions. These trends have to beg the question: is the SEC still the dominant conference that it once was with just a few hiccups, or is the conference’s reign of dominance actually coming to an end?

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Florida Gators, NCAA Basketball, SEC

The Long Leash of the Student Athlete

March Madness is almost over, and with that we’re down to the final stretch of games for the college basketball season. Of the four teams remaining in the NCAA tournament only Florida and Kentucky are from the SEC, although Florida is the prohibitive favorite to win the title. A big part of the reason that Florida is still remaining in the tournament has been the leadership and heroics of senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin. Wilbekin has been the driving force for the Gators throughout the tournament, delivering clutch shots when needed and rallying his team when they’re out of sorts. Florida is such an overwhelming favorite with Wilbekin at the helm that it’s astonishing to think about just how close he came to not even be on the team this year.

In July 2013 Wilbekin was suspended from the Gators for the second time in less than a year. The fact that head coach Billy Donovan refused to say what the suspension was for surrounded Wilbekin’s suspension in mystery, although it was clearly obvious he had done something that the Gators didn’t want to reveal. Forced to deal with the situation on his own and get his act together, Wilbekin eventually got under his head coach’s good graces once again and was reinstated to the team… for the second time in less than a year. While Wilbekin deserves credit for turning his career around and leading the Gators to the cusp of the national title one has to wonder how thing would’ve fared for him if he wasn’t a student athlete.

Scottie Wilbekin’s case isn’t a unique one. There are tons of student athletes that get suspended from their teams for doing something that usually isn’t revealed. This enables players to be taught a lesson while at the same time not adding a bad label to their name by being associated with something. A regular student would never get this luxury though, and the question can be raised as to if these suspensions are doing any good at all. Wilbekin had to be suspended and reinstated twice in one year before he got the message that he had to clean up his act, and that’s not even counting the amount of times he’d probably been involved in some other form of trouble. Fans don’t really care about these types of things anyways nowadays. Sure they might say “Oh he’s a bad person” but they will still cheer for these types of players as long as they provide wins for their team. And the schools will keep giving them chances as long as they can still make money for the school without severely damaging that schools reputation. The point is that these players know that they have some form of leverage since the school treats them as money makers and so their leash of doing things before they suffer severe consequences is a long one as a result.

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NCAA Basketball, Recording, SEC, Student Athletes

Audio Slideshow: Auburn vs Alabama

https://googledrive.com/host/0Bze_MzBI19erSFI0Q2dYT3paclU/index.html

The Audio Slideshow is titled Auburn vs Alabama, and it covers the Auburn vs Alabama women’s basketball game that took place on Feb. 27. It was senior night, with many of the players playing their last home game for the Tigers. Tyrese Tanner, the leading scorer and team captain, was one of those players. This slideshow takes you through the sights and sounds of a highly competitive game that Auburn pulled out in double ot.

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Football, SEC, Sports, Student Athletes

Michael Sam: What’s all the Fuss About?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week you probably know about Michael Sam, or at least have heard of his name in the news. So who is Michael Sam? He’s a former Missouri All SEC defensive end and top NFl Draft prospect. That’s it? There’s got to be something else as to why people are talking about him, right? The fact that he’s one of the few college athletes to actually get a degree in this day and age? No. The fact that he helped Missouri to an SEC East title and appearance in the SEC Championship game? Nope, that was awhile back. The fact that he’s never been in trouble or has a blemish on his record? Nah, no one seems to care about that either. The fact that he came out and said he was gay? Hey we have a winner! But… why is that such a big deal though?

Michael Sam will now forever be known as the first football player to announce that he was gay. The timing of his announcement is curious since it’s right before the NFL Draft, and teams might shy away from getting him now. But why? Before this all came out he was hailed as a top defensive end coming out of college. Now teams might not even draft him, all because he’s gay? Does it bother the NFL and fans that much that a gay player can play what’s perhaps the manliest sport possible and dominate? Sam’s announcement has left polarizing opinions across the country about the future of gay athletes, but none of this should matter. People are acting like they’ve never heard or come across a gay person before. Many of them are just like you and me; in fact I’d say that many folks interact with gay people all the time and some don’t even know they are.

People need to stop looking at the fact that he’s gay (and proud of it) and look at the situation like this. Before his senior season he told the whole Missouri football team that he was gay, and the team had his back 100%. It was a situation that could’ve destroyed the locker room, but instead it only united the team together on route to an SEC East title in only Missouri’s second year in the SEC. If the players and coaches on that team could put the situation to rest as easily as they did then why can’t the rest of the world. Why can’t he be known for being a top tier defensive end instead of “the gay football player”? It’s sad because if he never came out then no one would know who he was outside of football fans. Michael Sam will be in the spotlight for the rest of his career now, but it will be for all the wrong reasons.

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SEC

Photo Slideshows

http://www.kmov.com/sports/tigersfootball/slideshows/Photos-SEC-Championship-Game-234906511.html?gallery=y&img=1&c=y#/sports/tigersfootball/slideshows/Photos-SEC-Championship-Game-234906511.html?gallery=y&img=0&c=y&c=y

This first slideshow is a series of photos about the SEC Championship game that took place between SEC West representative Auburn and East representative Missouri on December 7, 2013. Mike Ehrmann and Kevin Cox are the men who took the photos, and they represented Getty Images.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/photos/1401/cfb-bcs-title-game-florida-state-auburn/30/

The second slideshow is of the BCS National Championship Game which was played at the site of the Rose Bowl on January 6, 2014. The slideshow was made by Stanley Kay who was representing Sports Illustrated.

http://www.sportsshooter.com/port_popup.html?mem_id=10022&i_id=1093931

The last slideshow is about a University of Georgia women’s basketball team against Presbyterian College on November 10, 2013. Photos were by Ted Mayor, a freelance photographer for the University of Georgia and the Marietta Daily Journal.

These slideshows depict the action that went on between the teams facing each other, as well as other aspects that make a game  enticing, like the pregame warm ups and shots of the fans. The slideshows has journalistic value because they show an up and close look at what happens on a football field or basketball court, like the passion that the players show and the extreme effort it takes to make the plays that they do. It’s another side to sports that you can’t see if you’re just watching it on a TV screen or from the stands. Shots of the coaches and of the venues where the games are played are cool because they help one get a feel of the atmosphere  I find this slideshow inspiring because as and athlete myself I can identify with the passion that the players’ faces show in the pictures while at the same time appreciating what they go through from a fans perspective.

After looking at these slideshows it’s hard to remember that these athletes are also students trying get an education at college. But are these players today really student-athletes anymore? Or are they merely athletes bound by the NCAA to attend school in order to continue to play sports?

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Football, NCAA Basketball, SEC, Sports

Introduction

Hello Everyone, my name is Pierce Quinn and I am currently a student at Auburn University. I have always wanted to talk about the impact that sports has on a culture, and finally I have the chance to do that with this blog. I chose the SEC because a fascinating thing has happened with this college football conference. It seems as though there is this “conference pride” that is associated with the SEC that isn’t found in any other conference on a prep, collegiate, or professional level, and I want to know why that is. I want to look into just how seriously people take sports, and the ramifications it has on their personal lives. I also want to find out how athletes are perceived by fans and colleges. Since American Football is the most popular sport in the SEC I will be talking mostly about it, but there will also be other sports that I will cover every now and then.

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