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All That and a Bag of Mail: SEC Network Edition

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By the time y’all read this I’ll be on the road with 3HL to broadcast our Friday show from the Clippers-Grizzlies playoff game in Memphis.

So I’m drafting the mailbag after a long day spent in Atlanta at the official announcement for the SEC Network.

Next week I’ll give y’all a good rundown of the SEC Network and all the major details surrounding that network’s launch. In the meantime, the biggest news from the announcement is that 45 football games will air on the network. OKTC told you a year ago that between 40 and 50 games were likely to air on the network.

And that ESPN owns 100% of the network, which means the SEC has to be receiving a guaranteed payment that is mind-boggling.

An ESPN guarantee of $500 million a year wouldn’t surprise me, potentially more.

In the meantime, my beaver pelt trader of the week award goes to the writers for “The Americans.” The season finale was absolutely spectacular. Seriously, beyond extraordinary. You need to be watching this show. It’s only 13 episodes long after its first season and it has now become my favorite show on television.

I’m hoping they don’t have a “Homeland”-esque trip up with season two.

Also, as Jason Whitlock Tweeted me Thursday night, we may have a looming Dana-daughter situation on “The Americans.”

I can barely handle one spy/terrorist’s daughter ruining a great show, if we end up with two?

Shudder.

On to the mailbag.

David R. writes:

“Slive and Skipper mentioned the ‘SEC’ chant at football games (specifically the BCS Championship Game in January) and how it highlighted the pride we take in our conference during the SEC Network press conference. While true, as an Arkansas fan, I have to ask how long is it acceptable for the non-Alabamas, Floridas, LSUs, and/or Georgias to do this chant when we play out of conference or bowl games? I love being in the SEC, but at some point the rest of us are sort of living on the accomplishments of other schools. The proper analogy is that Alabama, LSU, and Florida are the awesome life-of-the-party members of the good frat who get all the ladies while Vandy, Kentucky, and Mississippi State are the weird guys with no friends who got a bid because their dads were members. Oh, and Auburn is the guy who helps everyone cheat on their exams. Hey-oh!”

Yeah, this is a good and valid question that I get versions of all the time.

The sad truth is that all SEC programs aren’t created equal. So there’s definitely some reflected glory involved in the chant. But the bigger issue is that the SEC chant isn’t really about sports at its core, it’s cultural.

Let me explain.

First, let’s begin with the simplest explanation I can give for why the SEC chant exists — it’s because the South is an ethnicity for many Southerners. In particular, no white person in the South thinks of themselves as part of a specific ethnic group. People aren’t Irish or German or British or Italian or Polish or Russian or any other European background, we’re just Southern, that’s our ethnicity. (Many black people also feel this way as well, it’s why I’ve argued for Pan-Southernism in the past. Pan-Southernism refers to the fact that many Southerners instinctively root for the Southern person or team if they have no other rooting interest). 

I noticed this for the first time when I went away to college in Washington, D.C. and immediately felt a kinship with any person who was from the South. I was from Nashville, it’s not like Nashville and Birmingham or Atlanta or New Orleans or Charlotte are next door geographical neighbors, but when I’d meet someone from these cities, I immediately felt like I knew them, like we had something in common. They felt the same way. Honestly, every person who lives outside the South right now and is reading this knows exactly what I mean. You crave meeting other Southerners. That’s because we we were all ethnically Southern.

Then I married my wife, who is from Detroit, where most white people still identify themselves based on their European background. My wife is half German and half Italian. When we started dating and I visited her family up there they asked me where my family was from. I’d never been asked this before — we’d been Southern as long as I could remember, that was our ethnicity. 

So people from the South feel as if we share a kinship with other Southerners in a way that other regions of the country don’t. 

Being Southern is our ethnicity. 

Second, the South was a perpetual underdog for much of our history. We lost a war, we had lots of poor people, the rest of the country looked down on us, as a group we were the castoffs who weren’t given respect. This extended to sports too where we always felt our teams were looked over.

Then, what happened? 

Air conditioning. 

Air conditioning is the SEC’s oil.

It changed everything.

Suddenly everyone wanted to move here, our cities boomed, our land values exploded, our populations soared.

We weren’t the underdogs anymore, but we still felt like the underdogs.  

At its root the SEC chant comes from two causes: 1. the fact that all Southerners feel we share something in common and 2. the underdog mentality.

You root for the Southern team, the one you feel a kinship for because Southern is your ethnicity.

When you think of the SEC chant as more rooted in the culture of the South than the sports of the South, winning is only a part of it.

Jim P. writes:

“Clay,

My bachelor party is this weekend up in Nashville. Two of my best friends are bowing out for a couple hours Saturday night so that they can attend a couples baby shower with their wives. These also happen to be the same dudes who convinced the rest of the crew to make Nashville the venue. (Clearly evident to me in hindsight because they feared that they would not be able to attend one elsewhere because of the wives). The bachelor party was planned way before the shower. Where does this rank on the loss-of-nuts scale? I think just above skipping a fantasy football draft for a dinner with the in-laws. Also, any recs on bachelor party good times for Cashville?”

Allow me to give you the male opinion on the couples baby shower right now.

We.

Don’t.

Want.

To.

Go.

Ever.

Is that clear enough?

I don’t know how this started or why it has become a trend, but the couples baby shower has passed the fall wedding on my hate meter. (If you schedule a couples baby shower on a fall Saturday, you should be forced to live in North Dakota for the rest of your life with sextuplets).

News flash, men and women don’t have to share everything. We like different things. What’s the worst thing men are socially obligated to do? Probably help our friends move, right? Imagine if men started making you show up and move things with them, ladies. That would suck, right? We don’t do this to you. There’s no couples moving party. So why are there couples baby showers?

This is beyond weak of your friends and their wives. What kind of wife makes her husband cut out bachelor party duties to attend a baby shower? And what kind of man shoots down other cities so he can covertly leave a bachelor party and attend a baby shower?

Go eat at Chuy’s in Midtown and start drinking there.

Then go downtown for the honky tonks and then migrate to Demonbreun/Midtown for Tin Roof, South, and Loser’s.

(FYI, Nashville strip clubs suck, if you want strippers go on the Internet and hire your own dancers for the hotel room. They’re better looking and cheaper.)

Also, kick your buddies in the balls when they return from the couples baby showers.

It won’t hurt them.

Their wives keep their balls stored in their purses.

Mark L. writes:

“Clay, pretend you have been dating a real attractive girl for a while but things have been going slow. What would be the best reaction to her finally showing you her breasts? A Jim Nantz “hello friends” or an Uncle Verne chortle?”

Every single one of you laughed when you read this.

That’s when you know you’ve written a great mailbag question.

I don’t think you can go wrong either way.

And now I can’t stop thinking about having Uncle Verne with me in a strip club. Or on a bachelor party.

Paul Pabst from the Dan Patrick show emails:

“Better looking women, SEC football Saturday at a top game or the Kentucky Derby?”

The better the SEC game, the better looking the women. I’m not kidding about this. Men bring out the heavy artillery for the big games and women definitely save up their best outfits for the games that matter most.

Women dress up for SEC games, but the Derby is like a hot wedding, where an entire sorority shows up dressed in dresses that they might only wear once. I’m not a fan of the stupid Derby hats, but the dresses and the heels are spectacular.

Colleges have an advantage because they have ten thousand women — or more — between the ages of 18 and 22. If you’re not hot at this age the chances of you ever becoming hot are minimal.

But the Derby definitely has hotter married women.

This is a really tough call, especially because every SEC game’s hotness isn’t equal. For instance, there is no gathering of hotter women than Ole Miss in the Grove.   

But the average SEC game vs. the Kentucky Derby?

I’m going Kentucky Derby.

Jesse P. writes:

“Clay,

My buddies and I leave tomorrow for our friend’s bachelor party in Savannah, GA. Today the groom gets severe stomach pains, goes to the ER and finds out he is bleeding in his stomach. That’s not the problem, we can handle that for a weekend. The problem is when the doctor uttered the worst possible sentence a groom can hear on the eve of a weekend bender, “Absolutely no alcohol.”

Any suggestions on what to do for a bachelor party with a bachelor that has to stay sober?”

Hold on, have you considered the fact that he’s bleeding in his stomach because he’s so stressed about getting married? If merely being engaged to this girl is causing him to bleed in his stomach what happens when he’s married?

He’s going to die within the year.

I could say there are lots of fun things to do on a bachelor party that don’t involve alcohol, but I would be lying.

My first suggestion would be to just spend all the money you would have spent on alcohol on strippers instead. But strippers without alcohol is like being an ACC football fan living in the South, it just feels wrong.

I’d suggest doing something you would have thought was awesome when you were 11 or 12. 

For instance, what if you rented out a go cart track for an entire night?

What would this cost, like $800? (Go cart tracks can’t actually make that much money). Think about how awesome it would have been to be able to go as many laps in the go cart as you wanted? This is every 11 year old boy’s dream.  

I would also suggest incredibly competitive putt-putt. Major gambling involved. I mean, if you can put thousands of dollars on a 36 hole sober putt putt competition, that would be outstanding. (If you guys work at hedge funds and can put ten thousand dollars or more on the rounds, it should be on television). I’m not sure how many people are going on the bachelor party, but everybody chips in a couple of hundred dollars as a buy-in. Teams of two are then drafted or assigned.

Can you imagine your nerves if you had to hit it through the windmill with a thousand dollars on the line?

What about if you lose a ball into the water?

You have to chip back from the rough if the ball leaves the course.

Anyway, those are my suggestions.   

(Also, he shouldn’t get married. He’s going to die).  

Knox Graham writes:

“What original SEC Network show content would you create if head of operations. Bama fan weddings? Fire side chats w/ Muschamp? Ideas?”

This is an entire column for me soon, but I’ll give you one teaser that I’ve been writing about off and on for years.

SEC Big Brother.

The most rabid SEC fan of each school, seven guys, seven girls, are all placed in a house during football season. None of them can be graduates of the school they root for. Or, hopefully, have attended any college at all. The only television they are allowed to watch is SEC football and they are not allowed to leave the house during the entire season.

I get to host.

Each week we engage in a quiz competition to eliminate a house guest.

There are three question categories — their favorite team trivia, spelling simple words, and simple questions — example, who is the current vice president? — and they draw these questions off a spinning wheel of trivia death. 

The house is stocked with alcohol and a pool.

The winning fan gets a million dollars.  

Who wouldn’t watch this? 

Brett T. writes:

“Now that Tim Tebow has been released by the NY Jets and cleared waivers, with no probable suitors in sight, what are the most likely jobs the former Heisman Trophy winner would consider, other than football?”

I’ve been arguing this for a while, Tebow will be governor of Florida at some point.

That or a senator.

But he’ll end up on reality television first.  

Potentially, The Bachelor.

In which case one of the female contestants would actually murder another female contestant over Tebow.

Tom F. writes:

“In 2016, the Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This led us to a discussion as to what sports that Brazil could be the home-country favorite for. My suggestion is to introduce Female Exotic Dancing as an Olympic sport.
 
I imagine a scoring system similar to figure skating or, appropriately, gymnastics:
 
1) Each element of the routine is worth a maximum point total (for example, the upside down head plunge to stage on the pole)
2) The routine is scored on the effectiveness of each element’s delivery.
 
My question – which countries would be the perennial front-runners in this competition? Who are your top seeds based on nationality alone?
 
Also, if this sport works out can you imagine TEAM Female Exotic Dancing?”

This is genius.

Can you imagine the corrupt judges? Also, can we get Bart Conner, a man who lives to crush Olympic dreams when mistakes occur, as the stripper analyst? Conner, “Oh. My. That extremely slow leg split was just devastating. De-va-stating. Her Olympic gold chances are finished. She’s been doing that pelvic thrust for a decade and — turns to slow-mo — look right here, her heel is not extended fully, that’s a major deduction. Crippling.”

My top draft pick here is:

1. Russia and all former lands of Mother Russia.

I mean, they historically own gymnastics too, right?

Plus, it’s my firm belief that every strip club in America currently has someone speaking English with a Russian accent.

And, yes, you’re not the only one hoping that Keri Russell goes undercover next year as a Russian stripper on season two of “The Americans.”

2. America

We’d be training our strippers in Colorado Springs so they’d have the endurance to perform with greater vivacity.

3. Brazil

This is the only country where the strippers would actually have to put on more clothes to compete.  

468-476 The entire Middle East

Didn’t they want to kill that Saudi Arabian girl for running track? Can you imagine the reaction if someone from the Middle East tried to qualify for this?

Kyle S. writes:

“My friends and I need your general life skills and legal skills to mediate/judge a dispute.We are all readers and decided you would be the best arbitrator for our dispute. All four guys are in different stages of relationships. I am married, Mr. D is engaged, Dr. B is in a long term relationship, and Mr. Momma’s Boy is a bachelor living with his parents and his mother still cooks him breakfast even though he is pushing 30. We are all practicing attorneys, so you can guess how disputes go in this group.
 
I am the heaviest of my friends, but doubt I truly meet the definition of fat anywhere other than Ethiopia. Due to this fact I have the honor of being the “fat friend” and dealing with fat jokes. Sometimes during these disputes the trump card of “I got laid last night” is played by me, the married man. Mr. D and Mr. Momma’s Boy will attempt to belittle my achievement as married sex. Dr. B tends to stay out of it, but will occasionally wade in because who doesn’t like a 3 v. 1 argument. I counter with the fact that sex is sex so long as it occurs with a woman (for purposes of our dispute we do not venture into the topic of homosexual relationships). We submit to you Mr. Supreme Arbitrator: Who is right? Does having sex with your wife deserve a discount on the “I just got laid” scoreboard or does sex=sex regardless of the marital status of the intertwined parties?”

You can’t brag about sleeping with your wife.

Hell, even Tom Brady can’t brag about sleeping with Gisele. Once you’re married, sex is presumed. (Rare, but presumed).

In fact, I think all bragging has to stop once you’re engaged. By that point you’re all in on the relationship. 

I love the fact that your nearly 30 lawyer friend still lives at home. Whenever anyone makes fun of your weight, I would suggest a quick parry directed at the lawyer friend still living at home with his parents. Something along the lines of, “What did your mom make for dinner last night?”

This deserves more examination too, why does he still live at home? What’s he saving money for? Is he employed? Does he bring women home?

Ladies, what would you think if you met a lawyer at the bar, went home with him, and it was his parent’s house? How unexpected would this be?

Last week James W. wrote in and asked for advice on which of five girls he should be dating. He broke them down NFL Draft style. This week he updates us that he’s made a selection. 

Post-draft update:

After careful consideration of the 5 draftees’ potential ceiling, physical abilities, intangibles, and tangibles…and your online dating expert analysis, I selected the 22 year old college waitress with the magnificent tangibles as my draft pick. Because, screw it, I’m 32. When’s that going to happen again?

Thanks for the help.

This is a reach. I suggested the 24 year old.

Good luck.

 

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.