May 3, 2013
Quick Slant is an array of brief insights and occasionally opinionated overviews of collegiate athletics in general and the Vanderbilt Commodores in particular.
Big news this week with the announcement of the SEC Network, or as the ESPN executive who will oversee day-to-day operations coined it, "taking the tarp off the Ferrari." The network will debut in August, 2014 and it should be a sports fan's paradise with more Southeastern Conference content than we can imagine - 24 hours a day, seven days a week! ESPN projects over 1,000 sporting events - 450 over its ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU networks and 550 distributed digitally. For those of us who can still remember when getting a game on television - any game - was a big deal, this is certainly a game changer. The conference took its time analyzing this huge decision, learned from the early mistakes of the Big Ten and Pac-10 Networks and appears to have gotten off to a tremendous start, which is not surprising considering the high bar of excellence the SEC maintains.
Sad to learn the passing of former football star Mickey Lakos, who died at age 83 in Pensacola, Fla., earlier this week. Mickey came to campus as a walk-on, left as an all-conference performer and played for the Los Angeles Rams before a successful career in business and as a mentor to boys who had lost their fathers.
Heard at the SEC press conference: South Carolina Athletic Director Ray Tanner, who retired as the Gamecocks' baseball coach, told members of his staff this week that Vanderbilt has one of the best baseball teams he's seen in the league in years.
For those collegiate football fans dissatisfied with the current BCS system, a new, four-team format has been announced, a name has been given and now there are many questions being asked, including how the four teams will be identified to participate. Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive is rightfully in the middle of all the chatter and planning. The goal is to get the four best teams in this playoff; we wonder what would happen if it turns out the four best teams are judged to be from a single conference, such as the SEC, which is not only possible but history shows might be probable. As we've written before, a playoff will be interesting but will only fuel controversy, not end it.