If SEC Network Had Hard Knocks-Style Documentary, Which Team Would Be Best Fit?

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterMay 15, 2014

Alabama head coach Nick Saban (right) and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin
Alabama head coach Nick Saban (right) and offensive coordinator Lane KiffinStacy Revere/Getty Images

The SEC Network will hit the airwaves on Aug. 14 and will feature more than 1,000 live events and 45 football games in its first year, giving not only football fans, but fans of all SEC sports the opportunity to stay up-to-date on all of the league's teams.

But what's going to happen in the offseason?

With the exception of baseball and softball creeping into the summer, there won't be many live events to show.

So let's get creative and program a hypothetical preseason documentary similar to HBO's Hard Knocks that follows coaches and players around fall camp. 

Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin
Alabama offensive coordinator Lane KiffinButch Dill/Associated Press

But which team would be the guinea pig?

There are plenty to choose from, but an inside look at Alabama's fall camp would make for a tremendous reality show, thanks to head coach Nick Saban and new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin

Saban loves to control the message and only lets his assistants speak once during fall camp and once prior to a bowl game. A reality show would change that and give fans an inside look on the day-to-day lives of Saban and Kiffin as they interact with each other leading up to the season opener in Atlanta versus West Virginia.

That would be must-see TV.

Kiffin is entering his first season as Alabama's offensive coordinator, and the margin for error is nonexistent. Alabama has been in "win big, win now" mode since 2008, and the pressure associated with building and maintaining the program and the personalities that exist within would be wildly compelling.

Alabama QB Jacob Coker
Alabama QB Jacob CokerKeith Srakocic/Associated Press

From a personnel standpoint, Alabama's fall camp would provide plenty of intriguing storylines.

All eyes will be on Florida State transfer quarterback Jacob Coker in fall camp after senior Blake Sims' rather uninspiring performance in the spring game. Is he as good as his reputation suggests? How will he adjust to his new program and the lofty expectations that come with it? How will his competitors at the quarterback position treat him?

There could be an entire episode devoted to his transition to T-Town.

But there's more. 

Alabama RB Derrick Henry
Alabama RB Derrick HenryStacy Revere/Getty Images

Derrick Henry rushed for 100 yards in the Sugar Bowl and emerged as a contender to steal carries away from incumbent and two-time 1,000-yard rusher T.J. Yeldon. How will that battle shake out on a practice-by-practice and carry-by-carry basis? 

Alabama has plenty of questions in the defensive backfield, particularly at cornerback. How will Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart settle on the two starters at corner? Watching the ebbs and flows of the depth chart as fall camp goes on would be wildly entertaining.

More than anything else, it would be great to see the personalities of the players when they're not buttoned up in front of the media.

Every team takes on the personality of its head coach, and Saban is the most process-oriented head coach in the country. But what's that process like? How does he get the players to buy in? What serves as motivation?

Saban probably wouldn't be thrilled with the idea of everything being caught on camera, but he's no dummy. He knows that television drives the bus and can be used as a recruiting tool. Why do you think he joined the ESPN set at the 2014 BCS National Championship Game and let ESPN broadcast from his sparkling new, $9 million, 37,000 square-foot weight room last year?

So if the SEC Network is looking for some free programming advice, fire up those cameras when Alabama starts fall camp in August. Debuting three or four episodes of an Alabama reality show on the day of the network's launch would not only be riveting for fans, it'd put even more pressure on distributors to sign carriage agreements with the channel.


* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report.


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