The SEC has announced the second part of its TV contract, and ESPN bought everything. The deal is huge in many ways - three nights a week of national exposure for basketball as opposed to one, every conference football home game available somewhere and most importantly NO MORE DAVES! No matter what name J-P/Lincoln Financial/Raycom comes up with next, we will never again have to see critical games shot with 1988 quality equipment being called by Dave Neal, Dave Baker, Dave Archer after this season. The SEC's popularity will take a hit with Daughtry fans, but in life you have to make sacrifices sometimes. (My favorite part of that video is that all of the shots in it are from CBS and ESPN telecasts - even Raycom knows their picture quality is crap.)
Urban Meyer scared a lot of Gator fans yesterday with the unexpected word on Brandon Spikes being injured. If he was gone for a lengthy stretch, that would be devastating to UF's chances. He's not likely to be needed against Hawaii, but the Canes do have some running backs with talent. Sometimes UF's staff has let injured players get out there when they probably shouldn't. If it's even close, Spikes should sit and let Ryan Stamper get some more reps.
Mixed bag of news Monday for two former Gator running backs. The Jaguars signed Ciatrick Fason whie Green Bay dumped Deshawn Wynn. Both of these guys have surprised me. I really thought Fason had a chance to be a good NFL back, but it hasn't happened. My guess is he's cut by Jacksonville after this week's preseason game and then looked at again later, since all veteran players have their salary guarunteed if they're on the roster for week one. Wynn actually started some games for Green Bay when many doubted he could make a team at all. Unfortunately for Wynn, the same old questions about his level of desire surfaced in Green Bay. He could be an NFL player if he had Earnest Graham's intensity, but that's not going to happen.
The LPGA is ordering its players to learn English or else. Apparently they're concerned that sponsors are unhappy when top players can't speak with guests at Pro-Ams or conduct interviews with US media after a tournament. I don't think too many people aren't following women's golf intently because of the presence of foreign players. Lorena Ochoa and Karrie Webb speak English - how many people in the general public care about them, despite their excellence? The reality is that, aside from the Michelle Wie circus act, most people do not and will not care about women's golf. The LPGA's tried showcasing attractive players too, and while it's true Natalie Gulbis is nice to look at that hasn't led to people wanting to watch her golf. Some sports just don't sell well - this is one of them.
My friend Kirk Herbstreit came out with his annual Herbie awards. It's always a good read, but the part that jumped out at me was the restaurant list. Mark's U.S. Prime in Gainesville is Kirk's second favorite restaurant in the USA? I've eaten there and it's good, but it wouldn't have even been my first choice in town. I've got to coach Kirk up on some places to check out.
R.I.P. Kevin Duckworth. Hard to believe the former Portland big man's gone at 44.