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SEC Extra Points with Barrett Sallee: SEC Network, Jarran Reed, the Bachelorette

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SEC Extra Points with Barrett Sallee: SEC Network, Jarran Reed, the Bachelorette
USA TODAY Sports
Alabama head coach Nick Saban

Slow Drip

If you're disappointed that Media Days came and went with no announcement of a carriage agreement between the SEC Network and one of the remaining cable and satellite providers who haven't signed on, don't worry. It will be fine.

Awful Announcing got its hands on an internal flier from Comcast, which suggested that the national cable provider will be carrying the network on its scheduled launch date of Aug. 14.

What do you know? Just a few hours later, SEC Network announced it has agreed to a deal with Comcast Xfinity to carry the 24-hour network upon its launch.

Butch Dill/Associated Press
SEC commissioner Mike Slive

Commissioner Mike Slive laid down the gauntlet at SEC Media Days in the calm way that only he can. With AT&T U-Verse, DISH Network, Cox and Google Fiber already on board, Slive made it clear that if you want the network, it's already available to you. You just might have to switch carriers.

"The SEC Network right now is available to everyone," Slive said. "That would mean for some who don't have AT&T U-Verse or DISH, that you may have to change providers. There are those of you who prefer not to change providers, but of course you will if you have to."

Now a switch is far less likely. With Comcast, the SEC Network is now available to around 46 million homes with just under a month to go before it hits the air. For reference, Big Ten Network launched with 16 million

All of these negotiations are started at strategic times with the goal of putting pressure on carriers who typically play hardball. In the end, the pressure created by existing carriers coupled with the power of ESPN and Disney behind the network will get it on every major carrier in the country before launch.

I have DirecTV. I need SEC Network to do my job. I'm not worried and never have been.

Butch Dill/Associated Press
SEC commissioner Mike Slive

 

Big Loss For Alabama?

Alabama defensive end Jarran Reed is expected to be a key contributor along the Crimson Tide defensive line, but now his future is just a bit murkier.

The 6'4", 310-pounder was arrested for DUI earlier this week, and head coach Nick Saban addressed the status of the junior college transfer (and running back Kenyan Drake) in the main ballroom at SEC Media Days this week in Hoover, Alabama.

Butch Dill/Associated Press
Alabama head coach Nick Saban

"Those players are suspended but they're not kicked off the team," Saban said. "They're suspended from activity. When they prove that I think or we think that they're ready to come back and show a little bit more responsibility and discipline for how they handle themselves, their decision-making, how they represent the university, their family and themselves, then we'll allow them to come back on the team."

Alabama has depth on defense, but if Reed is out for a significant period of time, it'd be a big loss for Alabama. He is a big guy who is light on his feet and more than just a "space-eater." He's one of several bigger, athletic defensive ends on the Crimson Tide roster who can be a force against the exotic offenses of the SEC West.

There are options for Saban.

Jonathan Allen, D.J. Pettway and true freshman Da'Shawn Hand all can step up at defensive end opposite A'Shawn Robinson, but it chips away at the depth up front for the Tide. The most important aspect of defenses facing hurry-up offenses is depth up front, and if Reed is out for a significant period of time or remains in Saban's doghouse, it could hurt.

 

Will The Next Pass-Rusher Please Stand Up?

What was rumored for a while was finally confirmed when Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn took the stage at the main ballroom in Hoover.

Sophomore defensive end Carl Lawson, one of the top recruits in the class of 2013, will miss the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL earlier this summer.

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Auburn DE Carl Lawson

"Carl had successful ACL surgery the first part of May," Malzahn said. "He injured his knee the last week of spring practice. Dr. (James) Andrews looked at it, wanted to wait a couple weeks till the swelling went down to be sure. He confirmed he needed surgery. It was successful. Carl is working extremely hard and he's determined to come back towards the end of this year."

Let's be real. Lawson likely won't play in 2014 unless he really needs to, and it's a stretch to expect him at 100 percent.

The silver lining for Auburn is that it prepared for this while Lawson was out this spring. That preparation included the shift of senior defensive tackle Gabe Wright out to defensive end in the special Rhino package.

Auburn has the bodies and depth to play situational football in Lawson's absence, but really needs to find a pass-rush specialist. That specialist could come from the recent recruiting class, which included signees Justin Thornton, Andrew Williams and DaVonte Lambert.

 

Youth Movement

LSU's offense will have a new look in 2014, and many of those key contributors will be true freshmen.

"We're a team that will expect some of these freshmen to come in and play," head coach Les Miles said. "(RB) Leonard Fournette, (WR) Malachi Dupre, (LB) C.J. Garrett and (QB) Brandon Harris, to name four freshmen that we would expect to have great impact on our season."

USA TODAY Sports
LSU RB Leonard Fournette

Revealing? Absolutely.

Running back Terrence Magee said that Fournette could go on to be one of the one of the best ever.

"To be honest, I think he (Adrian Peterson) is the only guy that's playing running back right now that you can compare him to," said Magee, via B/R's Carter Bryant. "He is fun to watch and mentor. And his work ethic is off the charts." 

Harris is in a battle with sophomore Anthony Jennings for the starting spot at quarterback, but Dupre is the guy to keep an eye on. LSU's leading returning receiver is Travin Dural, who only had seven catches last season. If Dupre can step in and be a star right away, it will keep opposing defenses honest for whoever wins the quarterback job and go a long way toward stabilizing the Tiger offense.

 

Representing the G

Yes, I asked about The Bachelorette at SEC Media Days. With former Georgia Bulldog Josh Murray (spoiler alert) down to the final two, it's important information that needs to be addressed—especially when there aren't any other questions and there's still time allotted for the Bulldogs' contingent.

Wide receiver Chris Conley is impressed with what his former teammate is doing on television, even though "he doesn't watch" the program.

"Josh is killing it," Conley said. "He's doing a great job. I haven't talked to him since filming the show, but he seems to be doing great. I'm not someone who watches the show. My girlfriend watches it (with a wry smile), so when she's watching it I take a look. I think (with intentional emphasis) he's doing well. He's representing the G very well."

No word if Georgia or other SEC schools will claim it as a national title if Murray wins the finale.

Butch Dill/Associated Press
Georgia WR Chris Conley

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.

 

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