What time does your SEC team kickoff on Saturday?
It’s an important question that likely shapes your weekend. If your team plays in the 12:21 p.m. game, I’m sorry, but that game stinks. Blocking out three and a half hours in the middle of Saturday just doesn’t work. You’ve got kids’ soccer games, honey-do lists, running errands, and so forth. Not to mention the junior varsity level broadcast of the 12:21 kickoff. Seems like a grand total of two cameras are in the stadium for those games.
Your team might play in the 3:30 p.m. slot on CBS. This is obviously much more manageable than the early-bird game. Get your Saturday stuff done, settle in for the afternoon game, and your evening is still free. CBS has done a nice job of helping establish the Southeastern Conference brand, and later in the season after daylight savings time ends (is that now 50 weeks out of the year or what?), the games conclude under the lights, when college football is properly played.
With any luck your team plays in a night game. The 7 p.m. kickoff on ESPN or even later on ESPN2 is the ideal time for SEC football. Drama happens under cover of night. The crowds are more raucous, the players more intense, and the games more exciting. For those fortunate enough to hold tickets to an SEC night game, you’ve got all day to take in the game-day atmosphere on campus. Let’s face it: Nighttime is SEC time.
Have you noticed how often musicians sing about the night? I reckon you’ve already got a song about the night in your head, and music groups with SEC roots have never shied away from the night. The Allman Brothers Band had to run to keep from hiding in “Midnight Rider.” Kenny Chesney sang about feelin’ all right “When the Sun Goes Down.” Who can forget Alabama with a little turtle dovin’ on a Mason-Dixon night in “Dixieland Delight”? Finally, The Traveling Wilburys said she went a little too far “Last Night.”
In contrast, there are far fewer songs about events that transpire in the afternoon, and I’m reasonably confident there are zero songs celebrating 12:21 p.m. kickoffs.
Whether your team plays during the day or night, it’s mid-October and we’ve got some decent games on the slate this Saturday. Let’s take a look at select SEC match-ups as we tour the finest conference in college football:
Alabama vs. Ole Miss: If Vegas had odds on whether the Bama defense or Ole Miss offense would score first in this one, I’d go with the Bama D. The Tide rolls in Oxford as the countdown is on to the Nov. 5 conference championship game against LSU.
Florida vs. Auburn: Things are not going as planned for Will Muschamp’s Gators, and Auburn will continue Florida’s woes. But hey Gator fans, at least Tim Tebow was named starter this week for the Denver Broncos.
LSU vs. Tennessee: The Vols seek revenge for last year’s 12-men-on-the-field gift to the Tigers. But Les Miles and his LSU team wrap this one up regardless of how many men Tennessee has on the field.
Georgia vs. Vanderbilt: The Dawgs take advantage of the easiest conference schedule in the SEC and continue their improbable march to Atlanta.
Best of luck to your SEC team this weekend. Meanwhile, there’s a huge untapped market to capitalize on the enthusiasm for those 12:21 p.m. games. Got any ideas?
Ben Prevost is a contributing columnist for The Times. Contact him at email@example.com.