SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: SEC Network to showcase the best in college sports

Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 03:37 PM.

For those of us born in the Deep South and raised on Southeastern Conference sports, nothing is better than SEC.

And the only thing that could be better than SEC sports is more SEC sports.

Guess what, fans. The SEC Network premieres Thursday on cable and satellite providers across the nation. Cox Cable, along with satellite carriers Dish Network and DirecTV, will carry the channel.

That's good news for folks like me. I was raised on Southeastern Conference sports.

From my earliest days I was taught there is something special about the SEC and the great rivalries such as Alabama-Auburn, Florida-Georgia, Alabama-Tennessee, Florida-Tennessee or Ole Miss-Mississippi State.

Those great SEC rivalries are the heartbeats of many fans across Dixie.

I might not be able to tell you where I was when John F. Kennedy was shot; I was only 5 years old then. I was 20-something when Ronald Reagan was shot, but I couldn’t tell you where I was when I heard that news, either. But I know exactly where I was when I heard that legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant died.

Most people first think football when thinking of the SEC — and rightfully so.

Since being established in December of 1932, Southeastern Conference football teams have won more national championships, produced more All-Americans and had sent more players to the National Football League than any other conference.

Beattie Feathers, the first player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season in the NFL, was a Tennessee graduate. Feathers rushed for 1,004 yards in 1934 and average 8.44 yards a carry that year. His yards per carry remains the NFL record for players with at least 100 rushing attempts.

Emmitt Smith, the leading rusher in NFL history, is a Florida grad.

Pete Maravich, the leading scorer in the history of college basketball, played at Louisiana State.

And nobody can think about basketball without mentioning the University of Kentucky men or the Tennessee Lady Vols.

Vanderbilt won the national championship in baseball this summer. Last year, Alabama won the national championship in softball.

Southeastern Conference golf had given the world Milton product Bubba Watson. Watson played his college golf at the University of Georgia and won this year’s Masters.

And that only scratches the surface of all things SEC. From tennis, to track, swimming and gymnastics, the SEC has long been a leader in the world of college sports. It seems only fitting that the SEC now has a television network to call its own.

The SEC Network plans to cover all 21 sports sponsored by the league and will reportedly televise at least 450 live events a year.

I know I won’t watch every show on all things SEC, but I imagine I’ll be getting a healthy dose of the SEC Network at my house. I’ll be setting the DVR to record the games I might miss and a coach’s show or two.

Are you ready for the SEC Network?

Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at randyd@crestviewbulletin.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.

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