Feb. 26, 2014
In last week's blog, I discussed at great length the impact that your in-person support has on the success of our athletics teams. This week, I want to highlight another way in which you can make a significant difference that can contribute to our success and your enjoyment of following University of Alabama athletic teams in action.
Do you know whether or not you will be able to see the 24-hour SEC Network that is due to launch in August? The network that will air 45 football games, 100 men's basketball games, 75 baseball games, 60 women's basketball games and 50 softball games live next year? The network that will distribute more than 1,000 live events across its television network and digital extension during the 2014-15 athletic year?
If you aren't sure of the answer, please find out (there's more on how to find out later in this blog). And, while you are pondering that question, you need to realize that all of the events I just noted are games that will not air on CBS, any of ESPN's other platforms, or any of the league's other sister networks. And you also need to know that, without the SEC Network, you will not have access to those events via wireless devices.
The SEC Network is shaping up to be one of the most historically significant endeavors in the long and storied history of our league. We believe the SEC Network will be great for the league, our schools, our student-athletes, our fans, and alumni. It will serve fans within the large SEC footprint and nationwide. The SEC Network has the potential to be an unprecedented vehicle for our league to showcase virtually all our sports teams, our talented student-athletes, and coaches. It also has the potential to generate significant revenues to our league. The critical element to achieving national exposure and significant revenue generation is distribution. How many and which cable and satellite providers will carry the SEC Network?
It is scheduled to launch in August. Historically, cable and satellite providers tend to wait until the 11th hour to make decisions on carrying new networks as negotiations are intense and the numbers are large. There is much work that ESPN and the SEC must do to secure significant distribution before the launch date. August will be here in a blink, so we want our fans to learn as much as we know as we enter this exciting new venture. If you are interested in seeing where your provider stands with the SEC Network I encourage you to go to http://www.getsecnetwork.com/
At the "Get SEC Network" website, you can type in your zip code and find out if your cable or satellite provider plans to carry the channel. If they don't, I encourage you to call them up and ask them (ever so nicely, mind you) to do so. Meanwhile, you can follow the progress of distribution via social media by following @SECNetwork on Twitter for updates.
Here's another chance to let your voice be heard. If your local provider is not currently in line to offer the SEC Network, please contact them and let them know how important this is to you.
A Very Successful Week for Our Teams
Our women's basketball team had a great victory over 25th-ranked Vanderbilt on the road on Sunday afternoon in Nashville. It was another milestone win for Coach Curry's program and a historic victory as it marks our first ever against that program in Nashville. The win ended a 12-game losing streak to the Commodores that dated back to the 2004 season. As I write this, our record is 13-14 on the season and 6-8 in Southeastern Conference play, the most wins in conference for the Tide since going 7-7 during the 2001-02 season.
Levi Randolph scored a career-high 33 points to lead the men's basketball team past a very strong Missouri team in Coleman Coliseum Saturday night. I am especially proud of the way this team has stuck together through a difficult season and fought through adversity to get its best win of the year. It was great to see Levi regain confidence and perform at an extremely high level on both ends of the court. Trevor Releford added 18 points and six assists and moved into seventh place on our all-time career scoring list with 1,793.
On Saturday, head coach Patrick Murphy earned his 800th career win at Alabama in a 1-0 victory over UCF. Patrick is only the 15th active Division I coach with 800 wins at their current school and the only one in the SEC. The softball team won four of its five games at the Easton Bama Bash over the weekend while playing in front of a packed house at Rhoads Stadium. We are very proud to have the nation's best softball atmosphere, something our fans have created and maintained for years.
Our swimming & diving teams, under the direction of head coach Dennis Pursley, showed marked improvement at the SEC Championships last week in Athens. The men's team moved into fourth on the meet's final day, led by freshman Anton McKee, who won the 200 breaststroke with a new SEC record. The men's fourth place finish is its best since 1995 and is six places better than its finish a year ago. Our women's team also moved up from last season, going from 10th to eighth. Over the course of the five-day conference meet, 17 Crimson Tide records fell.
Our tennis teams represented us well at last week's Blue Gray National Tennis Classic in Montgomery. Head Coach Jenny Mainz's women's team, ranked 14th nationally, won the team title by defeating Illinois, No. 21 Texas Tech and No. 24 Rice in successive days. Our men's team, led by Coach George Husack, won the consolation title in Montgomery with wins over Princeton and Auburn.
The fifth-ranked gymnastics team finished just one-tenth of a point behind top-ranked Oklahoma last Friday at a four-team event in Oklahoma City, making a strong run at the Sooners despite the absence of our top all-around gymnast, Sarah DeMeo, who missed the meet due to an injury. Senior Diandra Milliner stepped into Sarah's role and produced like a champ, scoring her career-best all-around total.
The baseball team had another exciting weekend at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, taking two of three games from a tough Stephen F. Austin squad. The team is playing exciting, gritty baseball in an atmosphere that is a lot of fun. Head out there to take in a game as soon as you can.
Another Big Weekend Upcoming
We have another important competitive weekend on tap, both on campus and around the region.
On Friday evening, our gymnastics squad takes on top-ranked Florida at 7:30 p.m. at Coleman Coliseum. The atmosphere at our home gymnastics meets is unparalleled. It also is a major factor in our competitive success. You can help our ladies start the weekend off right with a victory by showing up early, being loudly supportive, and staying to the end.
Our men's basketball team is hosting Auburn this Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Coleman Coliseum. Here's a great chance to help our team continue to finish the regular season strong against our rivals from across the state, yet another way to help our student-athletes and make a positive impact on performance.
Over at Rhoads Stadium, our softball team hosts five games versus three different teams this weekend starting Friday with games against Purdue (at 4 p.m.) and Houston (6 p.m.). On Saturday, we take on 10th-ranked Florida State at 1:30 p.m. before another matchup with Houston at 4 p.m. The action concludes on Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. game with the Seminoles.
On Sunday at 1 p.m. our resurgent women's basketball team hosts LSU at Foster Auditorium. We've had great crowds there this year and our team is playing its best ball of the season right now. Again, you can help by showing up and being loud and proud. I hope to see you there.
Those of you in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi should consider opportunities to support the Crimson Tide in person at other events this weekend. The baseball team will be in Lafayette, La., for a three-game series against Louisiana-Lafayette. First pitch on Friday night is at 6 p.m. with games also scheduled for Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.). The men's tennis team takes on Mississippi State at Starkville this Friday at 2 p.m. before traveling over to Oxford on Sunday for a 1 p.m. match with Ole Miss. Those of you in Texas can cheer on the Crimson Tide as our men's and women's track & field teams are in action from Thursday through Saturday at the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
We have a lot going on and much to be excited about! Let's all do our part to keep the Tide rising!