Dye-Log: The Appeal of the SEC

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about the Southeastern Conference in this edition of his Dye-Log column.

With the exception of some of the big cities where fans are locked into keeping up with their local pro teams, college sports has national appeal, a point that was emphasized last week with the Southeastern Conference's announcement that it will launch a television network with national reach in partnership with ESPN.

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There are not a lot of details out about the SEC Network deal, but it is safe to say that the television people, not the Southeastern Conference or the universities in the league, will be footing the bill to get the network on the air.

There are a lot of sports fans out there who are likely to watch that type of programming in football, basketball, baseball and the other SEC sports. Starting any new network is probably a gamble, but in this case it is probably not a big one. In addition to the fans of the 14 universities in the league there will be followers of other colleges competing against the SEC teams who will be tuning in, too. Also, with the league's teams performing at a high level in most sports there will be interest in watching them from sports fans in general.

One of the things that stands out about the agreement is the length of the deal the SEC agreed to, a 20-year contract that will start in August 2014. Considering all of the changes in technology that have taken place in the last 20 years, I am not sure anybody is smart enough to accurately predict what differences there will be in how we keep up with the teams and athletes we enjoy following comparing 2034 to 2014.

I do think it is important that the leaders at Auburn and other SEC universities stay on top of what is happening with this network, and technology in general, in order to try to sort out what is good for their student-athletes, coaches and program in general and what is bad for them in this information age.

I am sure not up to speed on all of the new technology that young people take for granted, but I know enough to be impressed. I particularly enjoy watching pre-school kids manipulate computers, iPads and smart phones with ease. I am amazed that people anywhere in the world with Internet access can read this column on those types of devices whether they are Australia, Africa, Asia or wherever.

Next week I am supposed to meet with a group of former college coaches about getting involved in a project that will allow us to do commentary and take questions during college football games. I don't know the technical details of how that works, but that is something I am interested to learn more about because I enjoy keeping up with college football.

I watch a lot of the experts on television and I don't see where of any of them, from the best on down, has any better insight on college football than I do. I know a lot of them don't have any conception how far college sports have come since I was player, then as an assistant coach and later as a head coach. The changes have been about as dramatic as the ones we have seen on the technological front during that same time frame.

(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)

Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.

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