When the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team takes the field Saturday against Alabama, the Mocs will be seen in television markets from Miami to Sacramento.
UTC's season finale is being broadcast by the SEC Network and will be shown in 39 markets across the country, including the local Fox affiliate. It likely will be the widest audience ever to see a Mocs football game and possibly the widest to see a UTC sporting event.
"It's always great when you can expose as many people as possible to the UTC brand and create an awareness that you couldn't get otherwise," athletic director Rick Hart said.
Even though the Mocs (6-4) have very little chance of beating the second-ranked Crimson Tide (10-0), who are paying UTC $400,000 for the game, the exposure the Mocs will get all this week and on Saturday should pay dividends in recruiting.
Among the many markets where the game will be televised are areas UTC targets such as Atlanta, northern Alabama and throughout East Tennessee.
"Hopefully we play OK, where people say, 'Man, that's a feisty bunch and I like the way they played football,' no matter how the outcome occurs," Mocs coach Russ Huesman said. "Just being on TV helps us."
The Crimson Tide, one of the elite programs in college football, always are in the spotlight, but even more so now that they're in the national championship hunt and have already earned a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game next month against Florida.
All season long Huesman has done numerous local radio broadcasts, as well as his weekly TV show, but this week he's going national with interviews on several ESPN programs. He'll be on primarily to talk about playing mighty Alabama, but the forum also gives him an opportunity to spread the word about UTC and Mocs football.
"Whether it's the game or ESPN leading up to it, our name's going to be on television quite a bit," Huesman said.
Men's basketball coach John Shulman knows all about national exposure. When his Mocs played in the NCAA tournament last season, facing No. 1 seed Connecticut in the first round, his team was mentioned on every pre-tournament broadcast and was shown on CBS in markets across the country.
It was also adopted by the NBC show "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," and Shulman did an on-camera interview with Fallon leading up to the game. The coach and his seniors appeared in person on the show the night after their 103-47 first-round loss.
"The exposure part is so important, is so great," Shulman said. "For that one Saturday they're going to be in the country's eyes, whether it be good or bad, they're going to be there."
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...