He’s written extensively about Georgia Tech’s new offense, which I find great of course because he’s a lot better at this than I am. And he wrote about it again yesterday, adding onto the AJC’s coverage in the Sunday edition. But that’s not what I’m here to discuss.
It won’t mean much for the rest of the country, but for anyone in the South who came of age during the last 20 years, the grainy, potato chip-and-blue jeans-sponsored “SEC Game of the Week” brought to you by Raycom Sports, nee Lincoln Financial Sports, nee Jefferson Pilot Sports, was one of the cultural signifiers that brought you closer to your fellow rednecks-in-arms, and, on certain days when the weather was right, the potbellied turkey hunter within yourself. Essentially, it was a full-fledged Jeff Foxworthy joke: “You might be a redneck if you can accurately quote the Yella Fella.”
Basically, if you grew up in any state that had a SEC school you got the so-called Jefferson Pilot SEC “Game of the Week”. That is in quotes not because it is the title of the show but because it was usually the bottom-of-the-barrel matchup available in the conference that weekend. In other words, you had to be the kind of person that enjoyed watching Mississippi versus Vanderbilt at 11 in the morning (Central Time, yo) to really derive enjoyment out of this network.
And I did. I enjoyed the fact all the men involved in talking on air were named “Dave”, and they kept this intact when the original Dave Color Guy left for health reasons after 2006. I enjoyed the fact that I could probably do their jobs better than any of them, that they often were confused about the rules of the game despite covering it for a living, and that the coverage was probably shot using cameras as old as I am.
“So wait,” you say, “the production values were terrible and the announcers were incompetent. And it all happened before noon, which is early by any definition for a Saturday. Oh, and the games oftentimes were terrible. What was so great about it?”
Well, Dr. Saturday hit several of the high points (including Vandy upsetting UGA two years ago), but he left out this gem that contains in a nutshell everything this JP/Raycom was about:
This has everything. The quality you see there is about as good as it was when it was first broadcast. They flash the wrong final score as the LSU WR runs into the end zone. Dave Neal explains to us that not only did LSU win “the game”, they won “the football game”, thus clarifying it for those of us who thought we were watching a cricket match. And, of course, the only reason they’re there at all is because it was LSU versus Kentucky, a game LSU was probably favored to win by at least 3 or 4 touchdowns. In a way, that was the great thing about JP Sports – it was crap 90% of the time, but as they say, there’s a reason they play the games, and 10% of the time those of us who woke up early enough got to see why.
Edit: Orson urges you to write in and Save the Daves.