Sept. 3 Montana at home TBA
Sept. 10 Cincinnati at home 3:30 on ESPN2
Sept. 17 Florida in Gainesville 3:30 on CBS
Sept. 3 Boise State in Atlanta 8 on ESPN
Sept. 10 South Carolina at home 4:30 on ESPN
Sept. 17 Coastal Carolina at home TBA
CBS will open its 16th season of televising Southeastern Conference football games by broadcasting the Florida-Tennessee matchup for a 16th consecutive time.
The network officially announced the Sept. 17 contest in Gainesville as its opening selection on Thursday, while ESPN released its broadcasts for the first three weeks of the season. The announcements were made at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla., with those meetings scheduled to end today with decisions on roster management in college football and realignment in men's basketball.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive also is expected to announce the league's payout for the 2010-11 academic year.
The Florida-Tennessee rivalry, which the Gators have owned the past six seasons, is the only league game CBS has televised every year since becoming the SEC's primary network in 1996. The network did not release much more, other than its two doubleheader dates are Oct. 1 (3:30 and 8 p.m.) and Nov. 12 (noon and 3:30 p.m.) and that the SEC title game Dec. 3 will have a 4 p.m. kickoff.
CBS televised Alabama's rout of Florida in Tuscaloosa in prime time last season, and network executive vice president Mike Aresco said earlier this year that the rematch could be in prime time as well.
Tennessee and Georgia each had starting times announced for Sept. 10, with Tennessee's home game against Cincinnati at 3:30 on ESPN2 and Georgia's home game against South Carolina at 4:30 on ESPN. Georgia's season opener against Boise State in the Georgia Dome previously was announced as an 8 p.m. kickoff on ESPN, which will be directly opposite the LSU-Oregon showdown in Dallas on ABC.
Georgia's first three games last season were lunchtime kickoffs, and Auburn has that scenario this year. The reigning BCS champion will host Utah State on Sept. 3 at noon on ESPN or ESPN2, host Mississippi State on Sept. 10 at 12:20 on the SEC Network, and will travel to Clemson on Sept. 17 for a noon start on ABC.
Mississippi State hosts LSU on ESPN on Thursday, Sept. 15, and MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin expressed his appreciation to Auburn, the league and ESPN for accommodating his request for an early start against the Tigers.
Alabama also has an early start to open the season, hosting Kent State on Sept. 3 at 12:20 on the SEC Network.
Next idea, please
South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier added some flavor to the meetings Wednesday when he proposed paying 70 players $300 a game, adding that the stipends for the Gamecocks could come from his pocket. Slive called it a "generous gesture" but one that wasn't feasible, and Georgia coach Mark Richt explained his problems with Spurrier's concept Thursday.
"If we're going to do something like this, we have to do it for all 125 guys, not just 70," Richt said. "That would create all sorts of morale and chemistry problems. Can you imagine trying to decide a dress list knowing that you'd be cutting out 55 guys who are working just as hard every day? Also, if we do this for football, I believe you have to do it for every sport across the board at every level of the NCAA. This is much bigger than SEC football.
"I'd prefer spending time talking about ideas that have a legitimate chance of becoming reality."
Ealey to JSU
Former Georgia running back Washaun Ealey, who led the Bulldogs in rushing during the 2009-10 seasons, has enrolled at Jacksonville State and is immediately eligible at the FCS program. The Gamecocks are scheduled to visit the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Sept. 10.