The news got started before SEC Commissioner Mike Slive ever reached the podium as the TV schedule was released for the first three weeks of the season. Auburn's games against Louisiana Tech and Mississippi State have both been picked up for TV. The opener will be played at 6 p.m. and be televised by ESPNU. The Miss. State game will also be at 6 p.m. and be shown by Fox Sports Net. Auburn's third game will also be a night game as the West Virginia game in week three is scheduled for 6:45 on ESPN or ESPN2.
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Here's a list of games that have already been picked up for television:
Thu., Sept. 3
6 p.m., ESPN, South Carolina at N.C. State
Sat., Sept. 5
11 a.m., ESPNU, Kentucky vs. Miami (Ohio) in Cincinnati
11 a.m., ESPN Regional, Western Kentucky at Tennessee
2:30 p.m., ABC, Georgia at Oklahoma State
2:30 p.m., ESPNU, Jackson State at Mississippi State
6 p.m., ESPNU, Louisiana Tech at Auburn
6 p.m., FSN, Charleston Southern at Florida
6 p.m., ESPN Gameplan, Missouri State at Arkansas
6:30 p.m., CSS, Western Carolina at Vanderbilt
7 p.m., ABC, Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (Atlanta)
9:30 p.m., ESPN, LSU at Washington
Sun., Sept. 6
2:30 p.m., ESPN, Ole Miss at Memphis
Sat., Sept. 12
11 a.m., ESPN Regional, Troy at Florida
3 p.m., ESPN, UCLA at Tennessee
6 p.m., ESPN2, South Carolina at Georgia
6 p.m., ESPNU, Vanderbilt at LSU
6 p.m., FSN, Mississippi State at Auburn
6 p.m., ESPN Gameplan, Florida International at Alabama
Sat., Sept 19
11 a.m., ESPNU, Louisville at Kentucky
11 a.m., ESPN Regional, North Texas at Alabama
6 p.m., ESPNU, Louisiana-Lafayette at LSU
6 p.m., FSN, Mississippi State at Vanderbilt
6 p.m., ESPN Gameplan, Florida Atlantic at South Carolina
6:30 p.m., CSS, Southeastern Louisiana at Ole Miss
6:45 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2, Georgia at Arkansas
6:45 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2, West Virginia at Auburn
Thu., Sept. 24
6:30 p.m., ESPN, Ole Miss at South Carolina
Representatives from ESPN are at media days to talk about the new package. In addition to the televised games, as many as 41 specialty shows will be shown during the week to talk about SEC football. There will also be preseason, postseason, and bowl previews done on the various networks.
*Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino said he feels like the Razorbacks should be much closer to what he's looking for in year two of his tenure. He said having two quarterbacks that have been in the system for a year (Ryan Mallet) and four sophomore wide receivers that all played last season has him excited about the offense along with running back Michael Smith.
*Petrino said one of the hardest things to find at the moment for him is finding a quarterback that has taken snaps from under center and is used to doing that. Tyler Wilson is a quarterback that is struggling to do that at Arkansas at the moment after playing out of the shotgun since the eighth grade.
*Petrino said that Ryan Mallet can really throw the deep ball and he hopes it allows the Razorbacks to stretch the field. He said that the Michigan transfer came in at 265 pounds but is under 240 now. That added mobility is something he said will help him get outside the pocket some.
*One of the quarterbacks on the Arkansas roster is Nick Petrino, Bobby's son. He was a very good high school quarterback at Trinity in Louisville, Petrino started his career at Georgetown (Ky.) before transferring to Arkansas Tech and Montana State-Northern. As a senior he threw for 35 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
*Petrino said they still haven't heard anything about the eligibility of running back Broderick Green. He signed with USC out of high school before transferring back to Arkansas.
*Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams is the offensive representative for the Razorbacks at SEC Media Days. He said that Mallet is a guy that can really throw the football, so much so that he had to replace several pairs of gloves in the spring after throws.
*Vanderbilt Coach Bobby Johnson is on the podium now. He noted that the Commodores have 12 consecutive games this season without an off week because of a mix up with the MAC Conference a few years ago that caused a scheduling problem.
*He said they feel very good about the quarterback position this season with senior McKenzie Adams and sophomore Larry Smith from Prattville in the mix. Smith came in last season at the end of the year and played well for the Commodores.
*He said that he voted for Tim Tebow and hoped everyone could find the culprit that didn't vote for the Florida senior. He added that he thought the Gators had a chance to be good. All that was said with a straight face while the entire media contingent was laughing. He lived up to his Steve Martin lookalike status with the joke of the day to this point.
*He said that as good as they can get it at Vanderbilt the program will still have to perform at a high level each and every week to compete in the SEC. He said that some schools may not have to do that, but most still do in this league.
*Johnson said the key thing for Vanderbilt is to maintain the momentum built from last season's 7-win season. He said the sky is the limit for Vanderbilt and when they win consistently he expects to get recruits to compete with the top schools in the league and compete for championships.
* First-year Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen spent most of his opening statement talking about leadership and playing hard. He's had several outstanding quarterbacks in his time as a coordinator—Josh Harris, Alex Smith, Chris Leak, Tim Tebow—and he says that he wants leadership to be the primary attribute of his starting quarterback over physical tools.
* Returning starting quarterback Tyson Lee played in a spread offense in high school and junior college, making the transition a little easier for him this spring.
* As was discussed last week, Tebow wasn't a unanimous pick for All-SEC quarterback. Reporters have asked all three head coaches at the podium today who they voted for. To no surprise, Mullen voted for Tebow. He says he probably spent more time with Tebow the last three years than his own wife. One reporter jokingly asked Mullen for some dirt on Tebow. Mullen seemed a little emotional answering the question. "I probably have more respect for him than anybody I've ever met. He taught me a very important lesson in life. If you can make an impact on somebody's life, it's your obligation to do that."
* Senior middle linebacker Jamar Chaney, who broke his leg against Louisiana Tech last year, got a medical redshirt and has been a leader of the defense. "He's probably our most valuable player coming into the season," Mullen said of Chaney.
* Rich Brooks was good for a couple of laughs with the print media. His opening remarks were that it was fitting that he was the last coach of the day considering that Kentucky gets picked last every year anyway.
* The head coaches around the league obviously know that one of their colleagues didn't pick Tebow as the first-team quarterback. Asked who he picked, Brooks responded jokingly, "I'm not the guy! Good luck in your search!"
*Kentucky will be looking for playmakers at the wide receiver position after struggling with that in 2008. Randall Cobb played some quarterback for the Wildcats last season and will have some packages this year, but will mainly be a wide receiver. He said a player to watch will be junior college transfer Chris Matthews after he caught 86 passes last season.
*One of the positives this season for Kentucky will be up the middle on defense where tackle Corey Peters and linebacker Micah Johnson return. Johnson is a physical linebacker prospect that was considered one of the best players in the country coming out of high school.