The SEC Network: Not short on money, or coaches who wish they'd worn more comfortable pants to this press conference. (AP)
Project X has been unveiled as the SEC Network at last, with a logo and a launch date and everything. We're sure you have so many questions. We're here to help.
• What's all this, then? This is the SEC Network, introduced to the public this morning by a host of ESPN suits and assorted conference coaches, including Messrs. Bielema, Franklin, Freeze, Jones, Malzahn, Miles, Mullen, Muschamp, Pinkel, Richt, Saban, Spurrier, Stoops and Sumlin.
• Did all those football coaches have to perch up on those director's chairs that whole time? Just long enough to get a good squirm, and for us to confirm that everyone in attendance was wearing socks.
• Did any coach interrupt the show to take a phone call? No, but when the network trailer showed Jadeveon Clowney's infamous Michigan hit, Spurrier and Saban bent their heads together, presumably to share a chuckle at the Wolverines' expense.
• So what do we actually know about the network at this time? Not a whole lot, due mostly to the fact that the thing isn't launching until August 2014 and Mike Slive shot down all questions about the network's financials with a quickness. What we have learned: ESPN and the SEC have extended their current media rights agreement to 2034. The network will be headquartered in existing ESPN property in Charlotte and offer 24/7 programming. Some original programming will be produced on member campuses, although it doesn't sound at this time like that part of the plan is as firmed up as the Pac-12's. The conference already has a deal with one major distributor, AT&T U-Verse.
• So how much football does this translate to for me, Joe Football Fan, on this channel? Slive anticipates 45 SEC football games per season to appear on the network, at a rate of three per week.
• What about me, Steve Football Fan, on the West Coast? To quote ESPN president John Skipper: "This is not a regional network. This is a national network." Repeated promises were made today of the commitment to serve SEC fans from Michigan to California to New York to Nebraska. We shall see.
Several coaches, including Tennessee's Butch Jones, expressed excitement for a national television network as a recruiting tool. It's particularly attractive for a guy like Jones, whose state isn't a particular hotbed of homegrown football talent: "You're able to walk into a young man's home from coast to coast and say, "There may be a week when your relatives or parents can't come, but they're going to be able to see you."
• What does that mean for the CBS game? CBS still has the first pick of Saturday fare, but ESPN could program against it in the 3:30 p.m. slot.
• What about weeknight games? The conference is committed to two Thursday night games, but Slive maintains, "We're a Saturday league."
Did you see any Daves?