Time was, the banishment of a college football team in the SEC was either to pay-per-view or to the Jefferson-Pilot/Raycom tier. The SEC Network has effectively replaced the latter broadcasts, and while the ESPN veneer helps confer a bit more legitimacy to those airings, the PPV broadcasts of yesteryear were generally of even lower quality.
Thankfully, colleges have now ceded enough rights to ESPN and other entities that those games, too, have gone the way of the dodo — except in the sense that games like today’s Florida-Samford tilt are still arguably “pay-per-view” affairs.
See, you can get this game via your cable subscription...
...but it’s available purely through streaming platforms, even if you do fork over the money for whatever sports package has SEC Network — this one isn’t on an SEC Network alternate channel, just SEC Network+ or ESPN+. (The link is here, by the way. Ignore the spammer.)
And that means ESPN is putting its fifth-stringers on the call — remotely, mind you — and that many fans without a strong Internet connection are going to deal with dropped signal, and that anyone watching a stream will be even further behind the live action than the 10 or so seconds that TV broadcasts lag behind reality for the purposes of protecting sensitive ears and eyes from bad words and unconventional sights.
Streaming games is not, in 2021, a terrible alternative to watching games on linear television, but it is also not anywhere near parity to just kicking back and watching ESPN or CBS or even whatever network shows professional bull riding these days. The lag alone is annoying if you’re also using another screen to keep up with or comment on a game, and the lack of resources allocated to these broadcasts almost always shows up.
It’s fitting for games like this, in which one team is not at parity with the other. But it’s not something I’m looking forward to dealing with more and more as a streaming-first future comes to pass.
Many things can work just fine via streaming. Live sport becomes less fun.
Here are 10 predictions for Florida’s meeting with Samford.
- Both Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson will account for a touchdown.
- Combined, both quarterbacks will tally more than 300 yards.
- Florida will run for more than 150 yards.
- Florida will score at least 20 points in the first half.
- Dameon Pierce will score at least one touchdown.
- Florida’s defense will force a three-and-out in the first quarter.
- Florida’s defense will not allow 150 rushing yards.
- Florida’s defense will force at least two turnovers.
- Florida will lead by 20+ points with 10:00 to go in the third quarter.
- Florida will win, 49-10.