I was talking to one of our many Vols fan customers in the store the other day, and the conversation turned to the brand new SEC Network. We were both pretty high on the network's debut. As we talked, Alabama was crushing Notre Dame for the national championship on both big screens, and it dawned on me that there must really be a healthy amount of conference pride at play when two Vols fans were happy to see Alabama on TV.
But it's been several days now, and it's beginning to seem that every time I direct my focus to the screen, Paul Finebaum's skeletal head is staring at me with empty eye sockets and a malicious smirk. And to top it off, he's on the phone with BearLover from Birmingham talking about the Tide.
I wondered. Does Finebaum just have that effect on me, that every second spent lost in the black holes between his enormous ears actually feels like an hour, or is he really on ALL THE TIME? I looked it up to confirm, and yes, Paul Finebaum is on a national television network doing radio for four hours a day, five days a week talking to Alabama fans. No thanks.
I don't think it's just me. Here's how Spencer describes Finebaum:
Imagine a more demure Colin Cowherd. Now take him and give him a pinpoint focus on college football, and half the number of words he uses. Take those long pauses, and fill them with phone calls taken from the lunatic fringe of Alabama college football fans expressing opinions several standard deviations from anyone's definition of sanity. Let the callers string themselves out as far as entertainment value will take them, and sometimes combine with other callers for on-air bareknuckle brawls.
This description makes Paul Finebaum sound like a mental health nurse who makes patients fight for his amusement, and then collects a good share of the bets as bookie. That would not be inaccurate, though ESPN PR's "moderator-slash-provocateur" is a kinder, slightly less accurate description of what he does.
And that's coming from a guy who likes Finebaum. At least I think he does.
So I've come up with a list of terrible ideas that would have been better than Finebaum on the SECN, and I humbly submit them to you and open the floor for a brainstorming session intended to save the SECN from itself:
1. Bret Bielema's Lecture Series on Male Anatomy and Physiology. Here's the trailer for the show.
2. The Will Muschamp Show.
(a) Hour 1: Strategies for Anger Management.
(b) Hour 2: Advanced Offensive Football Schemes, featuring Muschamp viewing tape of Auburn's offense and looking like a cow looking at a new gate.
(c) Hour 3: Muschamp's Top 40 Countdown, consisting of the same three Nickelback songs over and over again regardless of whether they work.
3. Shirtless Golfing with Steve Spurrier.
4. Nick Saban's Comedy Hour.
5. Relationship Advice from Bobby Petrino.
I would watch any of these before Paul Finebaum. How about you?