Welcome to the Southeastern 14!
Chris Lee • 2/19/2021 in Football
We've launched a website!
Welcome to Southeastern 14, or as we refer to it, The 14!
As we launch this new site and podcast dedicated to covering what’s happening in baseball, basketball, and football at every SEC school, we’d like to share some thoughts on what we’re dedicated to bringing to the fans and why.
I grew up in the midst of SEC country (Nashville) and have spent nearly two decades in online and broadcast media covering the league. I’ve watched the SEC sports media market explode and made many friends among the talented media personalities who cover it.
Despite ESPN’s broadcast deal and the SEC running its own network, there are still gaping holes and blind spots in how the league is covered.
This is where we--and by "we," I'm including Blake Lovell and Barry Allen, two terrific writers and podcast co-hosts who've covered the league a long time--come in.
First, baseball has exploded in popularity and the SEC regularly boasts ten or more teams in the various top 25 polls. The SEC has won five of out the last ten NCAA Division I baseball championships, and been runner-up six times in that same period.
I’ve been to the College World Series five times. Each time I'm blown away by the number of SEC fans who took vacations, spent thousands of dollars and hauled their families hundreds of miles to support their teams at full-throated volume.
And yet what do I still hear year after year from radio stations and some in the print and online media? “Not enough people care to warrant covering college baseball.”
We at The 14 call “foul” on that.
We're putting our time, energy and money where our opinions are. I’m confident that no independent has ever covered the league with the depth and quality that we will. By the time the last pitch is thrown in Omaha, we know you’ll agree.
And then there’s men's basketball.
The prevailing wisdom is that only Kentucky moves the needle there. Having attended hundreds of SEC games and several tournaments, I've seen passionate basketball fans at every school. While Big Blue Nation remains an imposing force, the idea that they’re the only school in the SEC to be reckoned with is just nonsense.
As the league's "football schools" have made one great coaching hire after another—Nate Oats at Alabama, Bruce Pearl at Auburn, Buzz Williams at Texas A&M, Rick Barnes at Tennessee, to name a few—the product is only getting better, and the commitment from other schools seems clear.
So we're here to cover SEC basketball like nobody else, too.
And of course, there’s football. It’s the SEC, so of course there’s football. No one can argue that the SEC isn’t the dominant force in college football. Alabama has dominated the College Football Playoff era, but if you look back to the BCS you’ll see the Crimson Tide won three of those, but Florida and LSU (two each), Auburn and Tennessee represented with National Championships. Rest assured, we’ll hit that hard day to day, too.
So what does that mean?
First of all, when those sports are in season, we’ll bring you coverage daily, both on the website and the podcast.
Our coverage may also be different in style.
Anybody can write a game story, but what people want to know is what is happening and why, and what does that mean for next week? Think of your car rides to and from ballparks, gyms and stadiums or your Saturday tailgates, the things you talk about and the arguments you have. If you're talking about it, we will be also.
Depth is also important.
Sure, we’ll go deep into everything we cover, but not so much that you're lost in the weeds. You know well what’s happening with your team, but we’ll save you 13 Google searches when you want to know the basics of what's happening at the other 13 schools or to prepare for an upcoming matchup, all presented so that you don't have to do too much combing.
And if you want to put a little money on the game, chances are you’ll find something of use here and probably find it more efficiently than you would without us.
Finally, half the fun of being a sports fan is community and relationships. Wanna tell us our opinion on your team is wrong, or open our eyes to something we’re missing? Get ready to set us straight! We’re working on some things we're not ready to talk about yet, but we think those things will put your experience over the top.
Best of all, you’ll get a free trial all spring to see if you like this as much as we think you will. Like everyone else, we’ve got bills to pay, so transparently, our plan is to move to a paid content model as soon as the engine is running smoothly. We think you'll find it well worth the money.
Thanks for giving us a look. We can’t wait to provide you and all SEC sports fans an unparalleled experience here at The 14!
Chris Lee, publisher and senior editor