ESPN has apparently come up with a sweet enough TV deal for the SEC that the conference will finally drag JP/Lincoln Financial/Raycom behind the barn and shoot it between the eyes. It's hard to believe it took this long to get rid of the disaster known as the employer of Daves, but I guess $2.25 billion changes minds pretty easily.
It was a great run for the network (and I use that word in the loosest of terms) that found most of its operating equipment in dumpsters behind public television stations across the South, trained its announcers on college student-run stations, and kept Dave Rowe from the shame of being in his sixties and having to work at McDonald's (Right there! Hamburger bun on hamburger bun!). However, JP/LF/Raycom CEO Ken Haines says his company will try to find ways to stay involved with the conference. Unless he's planning on starting a catering or laundry service, I think the SEC has seen the last of JP/LF/Raycom.
As much as I dislike ESPN at times, this is a near-undescribable upgrade for the SEC. The conference almost triples its money for media rights and I think this might put a dent in the giant ESPN man crush on the Big 10 and Pac-10. If the Leader is going to spend $2.25 billion on something, one would assume they'll be pimping it more than Billy Mays pimps KABOOM.
So before Ole Miss and State send JP/LF/Raycom out with a Viking funeral in November, here's a quick list of some things I'll miss:
-Dave "Buzz" Baker's solo halftime shows. Really, it was Buzz sitting in a chair, on the field, by himself. He didn't need any analysts with him. All he needed was some stock video of one of the teams playing and footage of the Alltel Scholar Athlete of the Week reading to some kids at a school.
-Buzz Baker bringing us hard-hitting in-game information. "Guys, I just talked with Vanderbilt's trainer and he says the Dores are tired, but they're going to keep fighting."
-Buzz Baker holding what appears to be notes during any pre-game or post-game piece. I will guarantee you those are blank pieces of paper.
-Saying the name Buzz Baker over and over again. It just rolls off the tongue.
-Finally, the Dave Rowe guest appearance. When JP/LF/Raycom decides to pull out the big guns and submit four fan bases to its unholy kick-off time by showing two games on Saturday, they need another analyst. Who do they call? Dave Freaking Rowe. Not known for his attention to detail or sharpness, Rowe after nearly a year out of television is at a complete loss. When confused though, he reaches back and throws us a bone with a "Big Man on Big Man!!!" line. Good times.