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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?


Video Story Critique

What I’m going to be talking about today is three video sports stories that have caught my eye to be critiqued. While they don’t have to do with the SEC, my blog also has to do with sports in general so they are relevant. The first video is about a woman who is trying to make it back to the winter Olympics for the fourth time, although for the first time as a mother. The second video is similar in the aspect that it also has to deal with a mother that’s trying to make the Olympics, although this woman is trying to make the Olympics in weightlifting and has never made the team before due to injury. The last video details a small town in Alaska that hosts boxing and MMA matches every Thursday, and follows three people who step into the ring.

1. The hook for all three videos are pretty good. The Olympic skier video starts with a shot of the woman sliding down a slope full of obstacles, with her talking in the background but combining that with the natural sounds of the skis going through the snow. That visual and sound captures your attention. The second one is effective also because it starts of with a shot of the weightlifter letting go of the bar, sending the weights crashing to the ground with a loud thud. The site of a female weightlifter is an odd one to begin with, but then when you find out that this weightlifter is a mother of three and has sustained a back injury in the past, that really sucks you in. The last one’s hook wasn’t nearly as good as the other two. It just shows a sign that reads “Thursday Night at the Fights” and has a person talking over it. I would’ve liked to hear the sound of a bell or see punches being connected instead.

2. The heroes are the most compelling part of the stories if you ask me. While they are all doing tremendous physical and mental feats (Olympic skiing and weightlifting, stepping into a boxing ring) the people doing these feats are just ordinary people. For the first one the videographer made you care about Sarah (the skier) because shots were shown of her being a loving mother to her infant and a loving wife to her husband. They would show shots of her playing with her kid or hanging out with her husband to show that she was an ordinary person trying to achieve an extraordinary thing. The second video makes you care about Melanie (the weightlifter) by showing the difficulty that she has trying to calm her autistic son down when he’s having a tantrum or panic attack. The third video has three heroes, all with different backgrounds. The first guy was in and out of prison till he found boxing so that’s a feel good story, while the second guy was fighting his first pro fight. The third guy was actually a trainer that was fighting to show his students how it’s done. By knowing who these people were and their backgrounds the videographer created a connection between you and them when they step into the ring, so you want them to succeed.

3. The conflict for the first two videos was Sarah and Melanie trying to get to the Olympics. Some things were similar between the two, as they were both mothers and were trying to make it. There were some noticeable differences however. Sarah was trying to make it back to the Olympics for the fourth time, meaning that she had already been there. Melanie had never been to the Olympics because she hurt her back before the 2000 Olympic trials. Sarah is trying to make it for the first time as a mother, but her kid is perfectly healthy. One of Melanie’s kids has autism, and the videographer shows a scene where he’s having a tantrum or panic attack. Both videos show them working out for their respective sports (Sarah for skiing, Melanie for weightlifting). The last video deals with three boxers with three different stories. The first guy was in and out of prison until boxing, while the second guy was having his first pro fight and the third guy was a trainer fighting for his students. The videographer showed action in the ring for all three fights, and showed the results too. The first and third guys won, while the second guy got knocked out.

4. I’d hesitate to call any of these endings memorable, but they did the trick when it came to wrapping up the story. The first video ended with Sarah’s husband making a joke to her about her chances after she got done finishing a practice, while the third video ended with the last boxer having his hand raised in victory. The second story had probably the best ending, as Melanie can be heard talking in the background about how she’d trade her achievements for finding out a cure for autism, while the video shows the autistic child trying to say “I love you” to his mom. That was at least somewhat memorable, if only because it tugged on your emotional strings.

5. What the first videographer did that I plan to use in my own work is how he combined pictures with video. Some shots were just pictures while others were actual moving video. I thought that was pretty neat because sometimes a picture can capture someone’s attention more in certain situations than moving screen can. The second video showed me that I need to have compelling natural sound to go with my video. The sounds of the weights clanging against the floor and her grunts illustrated perfectly just how hard weightlifting is. The last video showed me that I might want to have people interviewed who aren’t just part of the main action. The videographer had the boxers themselves talking and explaining things, but they also had the people in charge of the event.


Audio Slideshow Critique

For this post I have to critique to audio slideshows. I have to say it was very hard trying to find audio slideshows to critique that pertained to the topic of my blog. However, both of these slideshows are about sports and sports is something that’s relevant to this blog so I believe these will do.

A Boxer’s First Professional Fight

This first slideshow is about a boxer who is embarking on his first professional fight. Photographer Tom Jenkins of the guardian followed boxing prospect George Kean’s journey through his victory over opponent Rick Boulter. The slideshow begins with Kean walking into the arena and details his night all the way until the gloves are taken off in the locker room after the fight. What I liked about this slideshow was that there was no one talking over the photographs. You just had the sights and sounds of what was going on in the pictures, and I must say that the audio matched up with the pictures perfectly. When Kean is punching the boxing mitts of his trainer in the locker room before the fight the sounds are sharp and crisp, while the sounds of the audience while he’s entering the ring make you feel like you’re there. The images are on long enough to let you get a good look at them, and while there aren’t any captions for this slideshow you can clearly tell what’s going on in the photos. What I like about this slideshow in particular is how it gives you the options to fast forward to specific parts using a menu, not unlike a DVD. The journalistic value of this piece is that the sights and sounds help envision the people watching the slideshow like they’re actually there at the event, which is something that I also find inspiring since I’ve always wanted to go to a boxing match. You can really see the detail and effort that’s put into one single fight, stuff that you don’t see on TV.

A Big Red Revival

This second slideshow deals with the University of Nebraska welcoming their new head coach, Bo Pelini, into their community. The story was by Chris Machian for The New York Times and was voiced over by Joe Drape. What I like about this slideshow is that it shows just how much college football means to the community in Nebraska. They take their college football very seriously, as it’s practically the only thing they got out there. The passion of the fans and the burden that’s placed on Pelini’s shoulders to do well is shown brilliantly in this piece by describing how Nebraska’s the only major university in the area and how Nebraska has a tradition for doing well. The actual slideshow itself details a luncheon event that welcomes Bo Pelini as new head coach, but a sense of tension can be detected even through just photographs and audio. This is done by explaining how the previous coach, Bill Callahan, failed to bring Nebraska back to relevance. From a journalistic standpoint the photos themselves are terrific; you got close up shots, wide shots, medium shots, and detailed shots of things such as a championship ring and a Nebraska shaped cookie from the luncheon. You can tell by the pictures and audio about the laid back atmosphere of the luncheon. What I find inspiring about this slideshow is how much Nebraska’s culture towards football resembles a lot of SEC schools in a way; it’s like their whole existence is based on how well the football team does. However, my question for my audience is this: should a town or community be so heavily involved in sports to the point where it struggles to function without it?

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.

Football, NCAA Basketball, SEC, Sports


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.