ESPN NFL Content for Week 15

Sunday NFL Countdown logoSunday NFL Countdown: Gruden’s Five-Point Plan for Johnny Manziel’s Success, Chip Kelly’s Lab and More

ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown with host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Ron Jaworski and Keyshawn Johnson will preview NFL week 15 games on Sunday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m. on ESPN and WatchESPN. Anchor/host Wendi Nix will handle select segments, while NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report the day’s headlines and news.

Reporters at game sites:

  • Steelers at Falcons (Ed Werder)
  • Packers at Bills (Josina Anderson)
  • Bengals vs. Browns (Bob Holtzman)
  • 49ers at Seahawks (Jim Trotter)
  • Cowboys at Eagles (Sal Paolantonio, Ron Jaworski)

Features:

  • Gruden’s Five-Point Plan for Johnny Manziel: Jon Gruden, a Super Bowl-winning coach and guru of the quarterbacking position, offers his advice to rookie Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel on how to have success in his first start.
  • Chip Kelly’s Lab: Not long before leading the Eagles with their high-tempo offense, head coach Chip Kelly was tinkering with his innovative style in the small town of Durham, N.H., where he was the offensive coordinator at the University of New Hampshire, reports SportsCenter anchor Jade McCarthy.
  • “You Don’t Live in Cleveland, You Live in Cincinnati”: Twenty-five years ago this week, then-Bengals head coach Sam Wyche grabbed the mic and delivered the “you live in Cincinnati” message to unruly fans at the city’s Riverfront Stadium. Ahead of the matchup between the Ohio rivals, reporter Greg Garber sat down with Wyche and widely-known Browns fan John “Big Dawg” Thompson to relive one of the great moments in the rivalry.
  • Philip Rivers’ Game of Catch: Philip Rivers of San Diego has completed nearly 3000 passes in his illustrious NFL career. However, the quarterback says, it is passes he completes when the crowds aren’t around that he appreciates the most, reports Trotter.

Jay Cutler and the Bears Host Drew Brees and the Saints on ESPN’s Monday Night Football
Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears host Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on December 15 at 8:15 p.m. Mike Tirico will call the game from Chicago’s Soldier Field with analyst Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters.  The game will also be available via WatchESPN (for fans with video subscriptions from affiliated providers) and on Spanish-language ESPN Deportes.

ESPN’s coverage from Chicago kicks off with Monday Night Countdown (6-8:15 p.m., ESPN). Suzy Kolber anchors from Soldier Field with NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Mike Ditka, Ray Lewis and Steve Young, while Chris Berman hosts from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn., with analysts Cris Carter, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.

Monday Night Countdown features:

  • Soundtracks – Drew Brees and Sean Payton: Drew Brees and Sean Payton have been one of the most successful quarterback-head coach combinations in the league and were wired for in-game audio during the Saints’ week 5 win over the Buccaneers, in Soundtracks.
  • Gruden’s Grill Session with Frank Caliendo: MNF’s Jon Gruden has spent most weekends of the season sitting down with the best players in the NFL for his Grill Sessions. This week, the Super Bowl-winning head coach visits with Countdown’s comedian and impressionist Frank Caliendo for a special edition of the series.
  • Rick Reilly’s Feature – Steve McMichael: Rick Reilly examines the life of former Bears defensive tackle Steve McMichael, who won a Super Bowl with Chicago in 1985, became a pro wrestler and launched a failed mayoral campaign in Romeoville, Illinois.

 

NFL Matchup: Russell Wilson, LeSean McCoy vs. Cowboys Defense, T.J. Ward Sack, Patriots Pressure and More

NFL Matchup host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge preview the weekend’s key matchups via a film-room Xs and Os analysis on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 8:30 a.m. on ESPN2 (re-airs on ESPN, Sunday at 3 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.).  Highlights:

  • Shot Play – Russell Wilson: Hoge analyzes a play by the Seahawks’ offense where quarterback Russell Wilson missed a read and an opportunity for a touchdown as he scrambled away from the pocket.
  • Inside the Matchup – McCoy’s Run vs. Dallas Defense: Hoge looks at the Eagles’ designed runs to get running back LeSean McCoy on the perimeter of the Dallas defense, a play Philadelphia will replicate in their matchup on Sunday.
  • Jaws Playbook – Cary Williams/Dez Bryant Matchup: Jaworski examines the key matchup in the Eagles’ week 13 win against the Cowboys – a strong man to man coverage on receiver Dez Bryant (Cowboys) by cornerback Cary Williams (Eagles).
  • Blitz Breakdown – T.J. Ward Sack: Hoge dissects an emerging aspect of the Broncos’ defense – a significant increase in blitzes that is leading to more sacks on opposing quarterbacks.
  • Eye in the sky – Patriots Pressure Philip Rivers: Jaworski explains why the Chargers had a tough time with the Patriots’ blitz, especially athletic linebacker Jamie Collins.
  • Between the Lines – Julio Jones 79-yard Reception: Jaworski describes a well-designed play by the Atlanta Falcons and shows receiver Julio Jones’ unique athleticism.
  • Hoge Breakdown- J.J. Watt Sack: Hoge explains why Texans defensive end J.J. Watt can still get to the quarterback even when the offense is accounting for his presence by using an additional player on the block.
  • X and O Files – Justin Gilbert: Jaworski cautions that Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will have to be aware of the disguises by cornerback Justin Gilbert and Cleveland’s pass defense.

Sunday NFL Doubleheader on ESPN Radio: Three AFC East Teams in Play
ESPN Radio will broadcast two NFL games Sunday, Dec. 14, beginning at noon when Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins visit Tom Brady the New England Patriots. Marc Kestecher and Bill Polian will call the game with reporter Ian Fitzsimmons.

At 4 p.m., Jack Locker and the Tennessee Titans host Geno Smith and the New York Jets. Boll Rosinski, Louis Riddick and reporter Michelle Steele will handle game commentary.

ESPN.com: NFL “Hot Read” – Football is in Matthews Family DNA

Coming off last Monday Night Football which, a matchup of the Matthews cousins – Clay (Packers) and Jake Matthews (Atlanta), writer/reporter Greg Garber highlights the family whose seven NFL players span three generations and more than 60 years in the league in this week’s “Hot Read.”

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2015 Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic Matchups Announced

espn-logo21st annual men’s doubleheader culminating event for Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research
 
Four storied college basketball programs – UConn, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia – headline the 2015 Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic doubleheader on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, with proceeds benefiting The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The 21st annual event will be on ESPN from New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden.
All four teams have been ranked in the early part of the 2014 season. The current AP poll includes No. 6 Virginia, No. 22 West Virginia, No. 19 Maryland and defending national champion UConn who was as high as No. 17 in the first two weeks of the season.
The early-season event will conclude the ninth annual Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research that begins on December 2 in 2015. The weeklong initiative across multiple ESPN platforms and programs features special content to help raise funds for cancer research. In 2013, Jimmy V Week raised a record $1.8 million, bringing the seven-year total of contributions to more than $8.2 million.
The 2014 Jimmy V Week will culminate with the Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic Presented by Corona – from Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Dec. 9, on ESPN: No. 7 Villanova vs. Illinois at 7 p.m., followed by Indiana vs. No. 4 Louisville at 9 p.m.
West Virginia vs. Virginia: The all-time series stands at 8-8 with the last meeting dating back to the 1985 National Invitation Tournament, a 56-55 UVA victory. Virginia played in the 2000 Jimmy V Classic, a 107-89 win over Tennessee. West Virginia participated in 2008, a 68-65 loss to Davidson.
Maryland vs. UConn: UConn holds a 4-2 advantage in the series with the last four meetings on a neutral court. The Huskies only appearance in the Jimmy V Classic came against then-No. 25 NC State, a 69-65 defeat, in the 2012 event. Maryland will be playing in its first Jimmy V Classic.
Coaches Quotes
“We are delighted to be an invited once again to participate in the Jimmy V Classic. The Jimmy V Classic is one of the premier events during the college basketball season. We are honored to play in such a special event for a great cause, and I know our fans will be excited to see us play on ESPN and in Madison Square Garden, a place where we have had great memories over the years. Most importantly, the Jimmy V Classic and Jimmy V Week brings awareness to such a terrible disease because every one of us has been affected by cancer in one way or another. When we lost our mother in 2003, my family and I started the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund, and we have raised almost a million dollars in cancer research. We all need to join the fight to end this deadly disease.” – Bob Huggins, West Virginia head coach
“We are certainly honored to play West Virginia in the 2015 Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic.” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said. “To have an opportunity to be part of this classic and what it stands for, and to play a quality opponent at The Garden is great for our program.” – Tony Bennett, Virginia head coach
“We are excited that our program will have the opportunity to play on the national stage in one of the premier early-season tournaments in the country. It’s a tremendous field comprised of some of the nation’s top programs.  It is also an honor to compete in this event, which for more than two decades has raised money and awareness in the fight against cancer.” – Mark Turgeon, Maryland head coach
“We at UConn are honored and proud to again be asked to participate in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. First and foremost, we are pleased to be able to help the V Foundation, which does such an outstanding job funding research to move us closer to someday wiping out this terrible disease.
Secondly, we are looking forward to playing against another great program in Maryland, and in such an exciting basketball atmosphere as Madison Square Garden, where our fans always give us such tremendous support.” – Kevin Ollie, UConn head coach
Tickets for the Jimmy V Classic will go on sale in the fall of 2015. Ticket prices range from $15-$275 and will be available for purchase at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, Ticketmaster charge by phone at (866) 858-0008 and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.thegarden.com.
About The V Foundation
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, The Foundation has raised more than $130 million to fund cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs. Administrative and fundraising expenses are paid by the Foundation’s endowment. The Foundation awards grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.jimmyv.org.
 
ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes two Labor Day weekend college football games; 11 college bowl games and eight college basketball events, which accounts for approximately 200 hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over a half a million attendees each year. With satellite offices in Boca Raton, Boise, Birmingham, Dallas-Fort Worth, Albuquerque, St. Petersburg and Las Vegas, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.
ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.
Collegiate Football
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl (Florida); Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Orlando, Fla.) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)
 
Collegiate Basketball
Armed Forces Classic (U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, PR); DIRECTV Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s & Women’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona (New York City & Notre Dame, Ind.); Orlando Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan, PR) and State Farm Champions Classic (Indianapolis)
For more information, visit www.espnevents.com or follow on Twitter and Facebook.

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ESPN NFL Content for Week 14

Sunday NFL Countdown logoSunday NFL Countdown: Waiting for Wilson, Antonio Brown’s Double Move, Rick Reilly’s Fantasy Pressure, and More; Special Time – 9:30 a.m.

Sunday NFL Countdown with host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and Ray Lewis will preview the NFL’s week 15 games on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 9:30 a.m. (ESPN and WatchESPN). Anchor/host Wendi Nix will handle select segments, while NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report the day’s headlines and news.

Note: With ESPN’s College Football Playoff Selection Show scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 7, at 12:30 p.m., the three-hour Countdown pregame will begin 30 minutes earlier than usual (9:30 a.m.). In addition, the two-hour Fantasy Football Now (11 a.m.) will move to ESPNEWS. Highlights of the special Sunday morning and early afternoon schedules for ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS on Sunday:

 

Times (ET) Program Network
8 – 9:30 a.m. SportsCenter ESPN
9 – 9:30 a.m. Colin’s Football Show ESPN2
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Sunday NFL Countdown ESPN
9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. SportsCenter ESPN2
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Fantasy Football Now ESPNEWS
12:30 – 3 p.m. College Football Playoff Selection Show ESPN

Reporters at game sites:

  • Steelers at Bengals (Lindsay Czarniak and Merril Hoge)
  • Ravens at Dolphins (Ed Werder)
  • Colts at Browns (Josina Anderson)
  • Seahawks at Eagles (Sal Paolantonio)

Features:

  • Waiting for Wilson: NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports on how the Seahawks zeroed in on their future franchise quarterback months before his final college season at Wisconsin. The story goes inside the team’s 2012 NFL Draft war room as the coaches and player personnel staff plotted and planned back-up scenarios as they patiently waited, and hoped Russell Wilson would be on the board at pick No. 75. Wilson was the sixth quarterback selected in the draft.
  • Antonio Brown Double Move: The Steelers wide receiver leads the league in receptions (96) and yards (1,258). Brown, regarded as one of the best in the league in running routes, shares insight on how he developed the skills with Countdown’s Jim Trotter.
  • Fantasy Pressure: Monday Night Countdown’s Rick Reilly reports how Twitter taunts from fans frustrated by their underperforming fantasy team players have become personal for NFL players, including the story of former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs.

NFC Division Leaders Meet on Monday Night Football: Aaron Rodgers and Packers Host Matt Ryan and Falcons at Lambeau Field

Aaron Rodgers and the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers host Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons – who are tied for first in the NFC South – on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on Dec. 8 at 8:15 p.m. ET. Mike Tirico, analyst Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters will call the game from historic Lambeau Field. MNF will also be available on Spanish-language ESPN Deportes and via WatchESPN for fans with video subscriptions from affiliated providers.

The Packers have appeared on MNF for 22 consecutive seasons (1993-present), second only to the Denver Broncos (1992-present). Green Bay is 6-0 at home this season, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown 360 consecutive pass attempts and 31 touchdown passes in a row at home without an interception, both NFL records.

The NFL’s week 14 finale kicks off with a more than two hour Monday Night Countdown, which begins at 6 p.m. Suzy Kolber anchors ESPN’s coverage from Lambeau with analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young and host Chris Berman joins the show from ESPN’s headquarters with analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.

Monday Night Countdown features:

  • Gruden’s Grill Session with Jordy Nelson: MNF’s Jon Gruden sits with Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson.
  • Rick Reilly’s Feature – Hating the Packers in Green Bay: What is it like to live in Green Bay and hate the Packers? Countdown’s Rick Reilly travels to the smallest city with a professional football team to find out.
  • Matt Ryan – Conversation with Lisa Salters and Soundtracks: Countdown takes a two-part look at Matt Ryan. The Falcons quarterback sits with MNF reporter Lisa Salters for a one-on-one conversation; he is also featured in “Soundtracks.”

NFL Matchup: Patriots Run Defense, Russell Wilson’s Improvisations, Steelers Defense, Ravens Play-Action Offense and More

NFL Matchup host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge preview the weekend’s key matchups via a film-room Xs and Os analysis on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 8:30 a.m. on ESPN2 (re-airs on ESPN, Sunday at 5 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.).  Highlights:

  • Disaster Down – Brandon Flowers Interception: Jaworski takes viewers through a well-designed blitz by the Chargers defense that fooled Rams quarterback Shaun Hill and led to an interception.
  • Hoge Breakdown – Patriots Run Defense: Hoge explains why the Chargers must run the ball effectively against the New England Patriots to have success in Sunday’s crucial AFC matchup.
  • Let’s See it Hoge – Russell Wilson’s Improvisations: Hoge traces the unpredictability of the Seahawks offense to quarterback Russell Wilson’s ability to extend plays when things break down.
  • Between the Lines – Darren Sproles Out of the Backfield: In the matchup between the explosive Eagles offense and the Seahawks’ stout defense, Jaworski shows why versatile running back Darren Sproles will be the X-factor.
  • Inside the matchup – Steelers Defense: Hoge looks back to last season’s game when the Steelers defense confused Andy Dalton and put consistent pressure on the quarterback and the Bengals offense.
  • Blitz Breakdown – Packers Sack vs. the Eagles: Green Bay has used linebacker Clay Matthews as a movable piece this season, and Jaworski explains how opposing offenses must account for his blitzes to have success against the Packers defense.
  • Jaws Playbook – Ravens Play-action Offense: Jaworski shows how a strong running game in Baltimore sets up big-play opportunities in the Ravens play-action passing game.
  • Run to Daylight – Broncos Newfound Running Game: Hoge shows how running back C. J. Anderson has seen his role increase in Denver, aided by the fact he is running behind six linemen on 39 percent of his rushes over the past two games.

ESPN Radio: NFL Doubleheader Sunday – Colts at Browns and Bills at Broncos

The NFL on ESPN Radio continues Sunday, Dec. 7, with a doubleheader broadcast – Brian Hoyer and the Cleveland Browns host Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts at 12 p.m., followed by Fred Jackson and the Buffalo Bills visiting Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos at 4 p.m.

ESPN.com: NFL “Hot Read” – Young Quarterbacks Face Adversity, Scrutiny

In this week’s “Hot Read,” senior NFL columnist Jeffri Chadiha takes a deep-dive into the league’s young quarterbacks – Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson – who arrived with much early fanfare and promise, but now appear to be caught in adversity and scrutiny, barely two to three years into their promising careers.

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ESPN Acquires U.S. Rights to Seasons of Champions Curling Events through March 2015

espn-logoHome Hardware Canada Cup Live on ESPN3 This Weekend

Five Additional Tournaments in 2015, including the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier

ESPN today announced it has acquired the rights from the Canadian Curling Association to deliver more than 300 hours of live action from the Seasons of Champions curling events on ESPN platforms in the U.S. through March 2015.  The events will be produced by TSN, the official broadcaster in Canada.  The announcement comes off the heels of ESPN’s debut coverage this past weekend of the 2014 European Curling Championships on ESPN3.

Curling events under the new agreement include:

  • Wednesday-Sunday, Dec. 3-7 – Camrose, Alta. – 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup
  • Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 8-11 – Calgary, Alta. – 2015 World Financial Group Continental Cup of Curling
  • Friday-Sunday, Jan. 16-18 – Banff, Alta. – Pinty’s All-Star Curling Skins Game
  • Friday Jan. 31-Sunday, Feb. 1 – Corner Brook, Nfld. – 2015 M&M Canadian Juniors
  • Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 14-22 – Moose Jaw, Sask. – 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts
  • Saturday, Feb. 28-Sunday, Mar. 8 – Calgary, Alta. – 2015 Tim Hortons Brier

“Through this agreement with the Canadian Curling Association, ESPN is making a new and exciting commitment to the sport,” said Brian Kweder, senior director of programming and acquisitions, ESPN.  “We look forward to delivering these events nationwide to draw out the curling fan in all of us.”

“We couldn’t be happier to have ESPN on board, and to give curling fans south of the border this opportunity to watch Canada’s elite curlers in action,” said Canadian Curling Association chief executive officer Greg Stremlaw. “We know there’s an appetite in the United States, particularly with snowbirds who spend their winters in warmer weather, Canadians working or attending school south of the border, and the many curling enthusiasts that travel throughout the United States. We’re excited that these fans will be able to get their curling fix this season.”

Sweeping coverage of the 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup – featuring the country’s top seven men’s and top seven women’s teams – continues today with round robin draws and culminates on Sunday, Dec. 7 with the finals live on ESPN3, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.  The schedule:

Date Time (ET) Event
Friday, Dec. 5 10:30 a.m. 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup – Draw #7
3:30 p.m. 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup – Draw #8
8:30 p.m. 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup – Draw #9
Saturday, Dec. 6 10:30 a.m. 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup – Tiebreaker (If Necessary)
3:30 p.m. 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup – Women’s Semifinal
8:30 p.m. 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup – Men’s Semifinal
Sunday, Dec. 7 12:00 p.m. 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup – Women’s Final
7:00 p.m. 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup – Men’s Final

ESPN3 is currently available to 95 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider.  The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.

About the Canadian Curling Association
The Canadian Curling Association (CCA) is the national sport governing body responsible for the development, promotion and organization of curling in Canada. In cooperation with its Provincial and Territorial Member Associations from across Canada, the CCA provides programs and services to curlers ranging from the youngest ‘little rocker’ (age 7 and up), to those participating at ages 70 and over – and from aspiring Olympians to Canadians with special needs, coaches, curling facility operators, ice makers and officials. The CCA also oversees and provides the comprehensive management of the Season of Champions event portfolio; develops and administers the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) for Olympic qualification; and organizes and operates the championship system for Juniors (under 20), Seniors (over 50), Mixed, Women, Men, University and Wheelchair.

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ESPN to have ‘Major League’ Presence at 2014 Baseball Winter Meetings

ESPN-MLB

  • Baseball Tonight Hits the Road for Two Daily Shows, Plus Digital Episodes
  • SportsCenter to Provide Regular Daily Updates Beginning at 11 a.m. ET
  • Nearly 30 ESPN MLB Commentators and Insiders Contributing to On-site Coverage

ESPN will have a ‘major league’ presence at the 2014 Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego, Calif. from Monday, Dec. 8 through Wednesday, Dec. 10, including on-site Baseball Tonight shows and regular SportsCenter updates. The 2014 Baseball Winter Meetings – emanating from the Hilton San Diego Bayfront – is the largest annual gathering of baseball executives and personnel and serves as the “Hot Stove” hub for various trades and free agent signings.

Baseball Tonight will hit the road for two daily shows, beginning Monday, Dec. 8. Baseball Tonight will air live each day on ESPNEWS at 6:30 p.m. ET and again after midnight on ESPN2. Baseball Tonight host Karl Ravech will be joined by analysts Curt Schilling (Sunday Night Baseball) and Aaron Boone (Monday Night Baseball) and ESPN MLB Insiders Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian and Pedro Gomez. Baseball Tonight will include breaking news, trade and free agent analysis and interviews with team executives and managers.

Baseball Tonight at the Winter Meetings schedule:

Date Time Network
Mon, Dec. 8 6:30 p.m. ESPNEWS, WatchESPN
  12:30 a.m. ESPN2, WatchESPN
Tue, Dec. 9 6:30 p.m. ESPNEWS, WatchESPN
  1 a.m. ESPN2, WatchESPN
Wed, Dec. 10 6:30 p.m. ESPNEWS, WatchESPN
  1:30 a.m. ESPN2, WatchESPN

SportsCenter will also have a daily, on-site presence at the Baseball Winter Meetings, with updates beginning each morning at 11 a.m. and continuing throughout the day. A variety of ESPN MLB commentators will contribute to SportsCenter segments.

ESPN Digital

ESPN.com will launch a special, mobile-friendly “Winter Meetings 2014” page that will serve as a hub for all digital Baseball Winter Meetings coverage. The page will be featured on the ESPN.com MLB homepage and include links to Baseball Tonight digital shows, Rumor Central and the Winter Meetings Live; a 72-hour plus, continuously running ScribbleLive application which will feature social media updates from various ESPN MLB Insiders.

ESPN MLB Commentators, Insiders and editors contributing to ESPN.com’s breaking news and trade and free agent analysis include: Stephania Bell (ESPN Fantasy), Jim Bowden, Jerry Crasnick, Gordon Edes, Jonah Keri (Grantland.com), David Kull, Keith Law, Peter Lawrence-Riddell, Ben Lindbergh (Grantland.com), Jonathan Luna, Andrew Marchand, Doug Padilla, Brendan Roberts, Jesse Rogers, Adam Rubin, Mark Saxon, Kelsey Schroyer, Jayson Stark, Calvin Watkins and more.

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NCAA Championships: Men’s and Women’s College Cup, Division I Women’s Volleyball, & Division I, II, and III Football Throughout December

espn-logoESPN’s NCAA Championship coverage continues with the NCAA Men’s and Women’s College Cup, extensive coverage of the Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship, and the Division I, II and III Football Championship throughout December.

ESPNU begins its 2014-15 NCAA Championship telecasts with the Women’s College Cup Semifinals (Dec. 5) and Championship (Dec. 7). The following week, coverage will continue with the Men’s College Cup and Women’s Volleyball Championship regional action, including the Seattle Semifinal Regional #2 and all four Regional Finals (Dec. 12 – Dec. 14). ESPNU will finish its fall NCAA Championship programming with the Division III Football Championship (Dec. 19).

ESPN2 will televise the Women’s Volleyball National Semifinals (Dec. 18) and Championship in addition to the Division II Football Championship (Dec. 20). In January, ESPN2 will televise the Division I Football Championship game. More details on the Division I Football Championship are also available here, including a complete bracket here.

In addition to extensive coverage of the NCAA Division I Football Championship second round (Dec. 6), ESPN3 will carry seven regional semifinals in the Women’s Volleyball Championship (Dec. 12) and both semifinals in the Division II and Division III Football Championships (Dec. 13). Early round coverage (Dec. 4-6) will also be available on ESPN3, and through Longhorn Network and SEC Network+ due to the inclusion of Texas and SEC schools as host sites.

NCAA Women’s College Cup – from Boca Raton, Fla.
Commentators: Glenn Davis and Julie Foudy
Programming: Three No. 1 seeds — Florida State, Stanford, and Texas A&M — have advanced to the Women’s College Cup. Virginia, a No. 2 seed, rounds out the field of four.  The winners of Virginia vs. Texas A&M (5 p.m.) and Florida State vs. Stanford (7:30 p.m.) on December 5 will meet in the National Championship (1 p.m.) on December 7, all on ESPNU.

A complete bracket can be found here.

Date Time (ET) Regional: Round Coverage
Fri, Dec. 5 5 p.m. National Semifinal No. 1:
No. 2 Virginia vs. No. 1 Texas A&M*
ESPNU
7:30 p.m. National Semifinal No. 2:
No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 1 Stanford*
ESPNU
Sun, Dec. 7 1 p.m. National Championship* ESPNU

*in Boca Raton, Fla.

NCAA Men’s College Cup – from Cary, N.C.
Commentators: Glenn Davis and Taylor Twellman
Programming: ESPNU will televise both semifinals (5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) on December 12 and the National Championship (noon) on December 14. The four quarterfinal matchups will take place this weekend:

  • No. 12 Creighton vs. UMBC
  • No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 11 Providence,
  • No. 16 Virginia vs. No. 8 Georgetown
  • North Carolina vs. No.2 UCLA.

A complete bracket can be found here.

Date Time (ET) Regional: Round Coverage
Fri, Dec. 12 5 p.m. National Semifinal No. 1* ESPNU
7:30 p.m. National Semifinal No. 2* ESPNU
Sun, Dec. 14 Noon National Championship* ESPNU

*in Cary, NC

 

NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship — National Semifinals and Finals in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Commentators: Beth Mowins & Karch Kiraly (Ames & Oklahoma City), Melissa Lee & Missy Whittemore (Louisville), Paul Sunderland & Maria Taylor (Minneapolis), Sam Gore & Holly McPeak (Seattle). Holly Rowe will report from Oklahoma City
Programming:  ESPNU will televise all four Regional Finals in a quadruple-header beginning at 4 p.m. on December 13. ESPN2 will televise the national semifinals (7 p.m., 9:30 p.m.) and Championship (7:30 p.m.) on December 18 and December 20, respectively, from Oklahoma City, Okla.  Prior to the television coverage, ESPN3 will carry seven of the eight Regional Semifinals on December 12, with ESPNU televising one Seattle Regional Semifinal (9:30 p.m.) that same night. Early round coverage (Dec. 4-6) will also be available on ESPN3, and through Longhorn Network,and SEC Network+ due to the inclusion of Texas and SEC schools as host sites.  A complete bracket can be found here.

 

Date Time (ET) Site: Round Coverage
Thur, Dec 4 4:30 p.m. Florida State: First Round: Samford vs. Alabama ESPN3
5:30 p.m. Texas: First Round: Arizona State vs. Texas A&M Longhorn Network
7 p.m. Florida State: First Round: Jacksonville vs. Florida State ESPN3
8 p.m. Texas: First Round: Northwestern State vs. Texas Longhorn Network
Fri, Dec. 5 4:30 p.m. Florida: First Round: UCF vs. Miami (Fla.) ESPN3
4:30 p.m. North Carolina: First Round: Coastal Carolina vs. USC ESPN3
5 p.m. Kentucky: Lipscomb vs. Ohio State ESPN3
6:30 p.m. North Carolina: First Round: Hampton vs. North Carolina ESPN3
7 p.m. Florida: First Round: Alabama State vs. Florida SEC Network+
7 p.m. Florida State: Second Round: TBD ESPN3
7:30 p.m. Kentucky: First Round: Oakland vs. Kentucky SEC Network+
Sat., Dec 6 7 p.m. Florida: Second Round: TBD ESPN3 or SEC Network+
Fri, Dec 12 5 p.m. Minneapolis: Regional Semifinal No. 1 ESPN3
5 p.m. Louisville: Regional Semifinal No. 1 ESPN3
6 p.m. Ames: Regional Semifinal No. 1 ESPN3
7 p.m. Minneapolis: Regional Semifinal No. 2 ESPN3
7 p.m. Louisville: Regional Semifinal No. 2 ESPN3
7 p.m. Seattle: Regional Semifinal No. 1 ESPN3
8 p.m. Ames: Regional Semifinal No. 2 ESPN3
9:30 p.m. Seattle: Regional Semifinal No. 2 ESPNU
Sat, Dec. 13 4 p.m. Louisville: Regional Final ESPNU
6:30 p.m. Minneapolis: Regional Final ESPNU
9 p.m. Ames: Regional Final ESPNU
11:30 p.m. Seattle: Regional Final ESPNU
Thurs, Dec. 18 7 p.m. National Semifinal No. 1* ESPN2
9:30 p.m. National Semifinal No. 2* ESPN2
Sat, Dec. 20 7:30 p.m. National Championship* ESPN2

*in Oklahoma City, Okla.

 

NCAA Division II Football Championship – Championship Game in Kansas City, Kan.
Commentators: Adam Amin & John Congemi for the National Championship
Programming:  ESPN2 will televise the Championship game at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, from Kansas City, Kan. The prior week, ESPN3 will carry the two Semifinals (times TBD) on Saturday, Dec. 13. A complete bracket can be found here.

Date Time (ET) Regional: Round Coverage
Sat, Dec. 13 TBD National Semifinal No. 1 ESPN3
TBD National Semifinal No. 2 ESPN3
Sat, Dec. 20 4 p.m. National Championship* ESPN2

*in Kansas City, Kan.

 

NCAA Division III Football Championship – Championship Game in Salem, Va.
Programming:  ESPNU will televise the championship game at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, from Salem. Va. ESPN3 will carry the two semifinals (times TBD) on Saturday, Dec. 13. A complete bracket can be found here.

Date Time (ET) Regional: Round Coverage
Sat, Dec. 13 TBD National Semifinal No. 1 ESPN3
TBD National Semifinal No. 2 ESPN3
Fri., Dec 19 7 p.m. National Championship* ESPNU

*in Salem, Va.

**All schedules subject to change

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ESPN Presents MLS Cup 2014

2014_MLS_Cup_Playoffs_LogoESPN Presents MLS Cup 2014
Los Angeles Galaxy vs. New England Revolution on Sunday in Landon Donovan’s Last Professional Match

ESPN will conclude its 19th straight season of Major League Soccer coverage with the live presentation of MLS Cup 2014 on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 3 p.m. ET, when the Los Angeles Galaxy hosts the New England Revolution at the Stubhub Center in Carson, Calif.

Commentator Adrian Healey, analyst Taylor Twellman and reporter Mónica Gónzalez will call the match with host Max BretosAlexi Lalas and Kasey Keller, providing pregame, halftime and post-game studio coverage from site.  Additionally, the match will be available on WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes Radio.

MLS Cup 2014 storylines:

  • MLS Cup 2014 will be Landon Donovan’s final game. Arguably the best U.S.-born soccer player, Donovan is Major League Soccer’s career leader in goals scored (144), assists (136), post-season goals (25), and is tied for first in MLS Cup titles with five;
  • The matchup will feature two of the top-three teams in MLS Cup appearances in the league’s 19-year history: Los Angeles (nine appearances, four titles) and New England (five appearances, no title)
  • MLS Cup 2014 pits two of the three MLS 2014 Volkswagen MVP award finalists – Robbie Keane (Los Angeles Galaxy) vs. Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution);
  • Los Angeles-New England will be facing each other for a record third time in the MLS Cup– Los Angeles won 1-0 in overtime in their two previous meetings (2002 and 2005);
  • New England has a record of 11 wins, one loss and two ties (11-1-2) in games midfielder Jermaine Jones has played since joining the team as a designated player in August after his breakout 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign with the U.S. Men’s National Team;
  • Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is seeking his record fifth MLS Cup title. Also won in 1996, 1997, 2011 and 2012;
  • ESPN’s match analyst Taylor Twellman led the New England Revolution during the team’s four MLS Cup appearances in six years (2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007);
  • ESPN’s studio analyst Alexi Lalas played for the Los Angeles Galaxy from 2001-2003, and returned as the team’s president and general manager from 2006-2008.

TV highlights:

  • Virtual player tracking graphics – During MLS Cup 2014, ESPN will debut a graphic telestration system that tracks the movement of players in real-time. The visual graphic, created by ChryonHego, is displayed on-screen, either during live play or in a replay, spotlighting key players and enabling viewers a better grasp of the strategy and in-game spatial movements used by the teams;
  • On-site studio set with Bretos, Lalas and Keller;
  • Don Garber conversation – MLS commissioner Don Garber will be interviewed on the ESPN set at halftime;
  • 11 commentators – In all, ESPN will have 12 commentators at MLS Cup: Bretos, Gonzalez, Healey, Keller, Lalas, Twellman, Stuart Holden (English); and Kenneth Garay, Elmer Polanco, Diego Cora, Richard Mendez and Giovanni Savarese (Spanish).

ESPN FC – MLS Cup 2014 Special:

On Friday, Dec. 5, ESPN FC on TV, the daily soccer news highlights, analysis and information program, will dedicate the entire program to MLS Cup 2014. The 30-minute edition on ESPNEWS at 6 p.m. will originate from the StubHub Center with host Adrian Healey and analysts Taylor Twellman, Alexi Lalas and Stuart Holden, U.S. Men’s National Team player currently rehabbing a knee injury.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 3 (6 p.m., ESPNEWS) – Max Bretos (host), Shaka Hislop, Alejandro Moreno and Steve Nicol will discuss MLS Cup 2014 from the ESPN studios in Bristol. The 2014 Major League Soccer MVP, announced earlier in the day, will appear as a guest on the program from Los Angeles as well as New England Revolution’s Charlie Davies, the team’s leading goal-scorer in the playoffs;
  • Thursday, Dec. 4 (6 p.m., ESPNEWS)  – Bretos, Craig Burley, Hislop, Moreno and Nicol will preview the MLS Cup matchup;
  • Friday, Dec. 5 (6 p.m., ESPNEWS) – Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, the most successful men’s soccer team manager ever in the United States, will be a guest on the MLS Cup 2014 special edition.

SportsCenter:

Beginning Saturday through kickoff on Sunday, Dec. 7, editions of ESPN’s flagship news program SportsCenter (ESPN and ESPNEWS) will feature MLS Cup 2014 segments including reports and analysis from the StubHub Center.

ESPN Deportes Studio:

ESPN’s 24-hour Spanish-language network will provide surround studio coverage of MLS Cup 2014.  Highlights:

  • ESPN Deportes SportsCenter: The flagship news, highlights and information program will present pre-game analysis of MLS Cup 2014.
  • ESPN Fútbol Center: Special post-game analysis presenting in-depth “game around the game” reports, highlights and recaps.

 

ESPN Deportes Radio:

ESPN Deportes Radio will provide live coverage of MLS Cup 2014 on Sunday, Dec. 7, beginning at 2 p.m. ET with a 90-minute pre-match program.  Soccer experts Kenneth Garay (play-by-play) and Elmer Polanco (analysis) will call the match live from the StubHub Center.  Diego Cora will report pitch-side.  The radio network will also provide live reports from site throughout the weekend leading up to the match.

ESPNFC.com:

Jeff Carlisle and Doug McIntyre headline ESPNFC.com’s weeklong coverage of MLS Cup 2014 with daily reporting from Carson, Calif., beginning Thursday through Sunday. On match day, the global soccer information digital hub, will feature a live Boot Room chat beginning at 2:30 p.m. through completion of the match, comprehensive pre- and postgame coverage, as well as updated clips from the match. Additional ESPNFC.com content:

  • Carlisle previews Landon Donovan’s last match and wonders if the former U.S. National Team star and the Los Angeles Galaxy can handle the occasion;
  • McIntyre profiles head coach Jay Heaps, who lost four MLS Cup matches in six years as a player with the same New England Revolution team;
  • Graham Parker profiles Los Angeles Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers; and
  • Jason Davis on the resurgence of Revolution striker Charlie Davies, who is regaining his top-form after a devastating car crash detoured his promising career nearly five years ago.
  • ESPNDeportes.com will also provide extensive coverage with Gonzalo Aguirregomezcorta reporting from site starting with the training session. The site will present live updates through the match and will feature video highlights and post-game analysis.

 

ESPN International:

ESPN International will televise MLS Cup 2014 on ESPN networks in 59 countries and territories covering more than 38.8 million television homes, including coverage in Australia, Brazil, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, New Zealand and South America.

Richard Mendez and Giovanni Savarese will call the game for ESPN International networks in Spanish.

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ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 13

Sunday NFL Countdown logoESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman, analysts Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and Merril Hoge and Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter previewed today’s NFL action with Wendi Nix, Cris Carter and Mike Ditka, who joined the show from Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Excerpts:

On the New England Patriots vs. the Green Bay Packers… 

Jackson: “It’s about them (Green Bay) winning at home. And I think if they win, they still haven’t proven to me that they’re the best team in the NFC, ‘cause that team I saw play Thursday night – Seattle, that’s the team I saw in New York, in February, beat up on the Broncos.”

Johnson: “The New England Patriots – it’s a proving point for them. They haven’t been great on the road – they’re 3-2; they’ve been really dominant at home – 6-0. If they go into Green Bay and they dominate that football team like they think they can do, then this team not only will go to the Super Bowl, I pick them to win the Super Bowl.”

Ditka: “It’s going to be a pride thing for the defense to prove that they can help carry their football teams today.”

On Ray Rice – how realistic is it that he will find work this season?

Jackson: “I think it may be unlikely because a lot of people are going to be measuring not only his ability on the field, his ability to help you as a football player – which I think certainly is in question as you mentioned the down year that he had last year – but the baggage that’s gonna come with it. But I want to say from a personal aside, I think that we are a nation of second chances. When you look at the situation from beginning to end, Ray Rice and Janay have suffered tremendously. Yes it was a horrendous incident in the elevator. It was 30 seconds of their life I believe that as she said it was a first-time, one-time incident. He lost his job. He lost millions of dollars. He became the face of domestic violence. So I think if there has ever been a guy who deserves a second chance, I believe that it is him. And I want to make clear when Mort talked about that ruling of Judge Barbara Jones; when she said that I found Ray Rice to be credible, that he was not lying – and I want anybody who wants to out there fill in the blanks. CC, he said that and you go, okay, if he wasn’t lying, then what?”

Carter: “I’ve been in conversations with Ray Rice and Janay since the beginning and yes, there is discipline. Yes, we have a new policy. Yes, but there’s also called help, rehab, counseling. And out of all the players that we have seen that have been involved with domestic violence or any other off-the-field issues this year, Ray Rice is one of the stand-up guys who has made amends – not only with her parents, with his mom, he made amends with the Baltimore Ravens. He has fessed up to it. He realized it was a horrific day; it was the worst day of his life that was caught on video. He has suffered a tremendous penalty, but at some point, part of his rehab is gettin’ him back to work. He should be playing in the National Football League. Someone should take a chance on him. And the reason why I can say this – he had a bad night, but that does not make him a bad person.”

On the Washington Redskins – at least for this season, did they give up too soon on RG III?

Jackson: “I think the only thing that counts in the National Football League is production. That production has to translate in the form of winning. That has not happened for RG III.”

Johnson: “When you look at RG III and you look at the short dose of his career – two years ago we were all singing praises about what type of player he was. When he took that team to the playoffs – great. All that, marketing, everything was great. But since then he hasn’t lived up to the billing of that quarterback, the draft picks… I think his injury has hurt his career. Whether people want to admit that or not, when you lose that confidence – can he still be an effective quarterback in the National Football League? Of course. Can he still dominate? Of course. But he has to get that confidence back.” 

Carter: “Also, I think we’re missing on something. It’s called player development. It’s called working on your fundamentals. Maybe analyzing your own game after he got injured and realize how do I keep this up or play at a higher level?”

Berman: “What you guys are all saying is the savior needs to be saved. His vision and the big picture was clouded early. It’s how he handles the next four to five months – only one of which of course is during the rest of the season – that may ultimately determine his future in Washington or elsewhere.”

On the Pittsburgh Steelers’ James Harrison and Dick LeBeau…

Jackson: “If you think about Dick LeBeau – who’s been there forever, he’s one of the great defensive coordinators in the history of football – it’s always been about attitude, it’s been about physicality and production off the edge. And when you think about James Harrison, he brought all three of those things and brought ‘em instantly as soon as he got to the lineup.”

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SEC Network to Simulcast Iron Bowl with Finebaum Viewing Option; Airs “SEC Nation” live from the Egg Bowl

SEC_Network_logoSEC Network will surround Thanksgiving weekend’s legendary Southeastern Conference rivalry games – the Iron Bowl and the Egg Bowl – with an expanded layer of in-depth studio and live game coverage. In addition to airing Georgia Tech at No. 10 Georgia and Tennessee at Vanderbilt, SEC Network will televise SEC Nation live from Oxford, Miss., the site of the Egg Bowl, and provide an alternate viewing option for the Iron Bowl.

Both the Iron Bowl (No. 14 Auburn at No. 1 Alabama) and the Egg Bowl (No. 4 Mississippi State at No. 8 Ole Miss) match a Top 15 team facing an in-state rival currently ranked in the Top Four of the College Football Playoff Rankings.

Iron Bowl – No. 14 Auburn at No. 1 Alabama
ESPN will televise the Iron Bowl (Saturday, Nov. 29 at 7:45 p.m. ET) for the first time since 2007 and feature the SEC Network’s lead commentating team of Brent Musburger, analyst Jesse Palmer and reporter Maria Taylor.

SEC Network will carry a complimentary viewing option to ESPN’s game coverage in which Paul Finebaum watches the game with analysts in the SEC Network studios as it plays out. Finebaum Film Room: Iron Bowl Live begins at 7 p.m. and will include analysts Marcus Spears, Greg McElroy, Cole Cubelic and Booger McFarland discussing the game and breaking down plays.

The simulcast will also gauge fan reaction with live callers, a trademark of The Paul Finebaum Show that has cemented him as an integral player in the Alabama vs. Auburn rivalry.

Egg Bowl – No. 4 Miss State at No. 8 Ole Miss
SEC Nation will preview a full day of SEC football with on-site coverage of the scene in Oxford, Ms., prior to the Top 10 matchup of No. 4 Mississippi State at No. 8 Ole Miss. The two-hour pregame show will be live from The Grove 9-11 a.m. CT/10-noon ET with its full slate of SEC experts: Tim Tebow, Marcus Spears and Paul Finebaum alongside host Joe Tessitore and reporter Kaylee Hartung. This will mark the traveling pregame show’s second trip to The Grove this season.

Following the show, SEC Network will feature a doubleheader of Rivalry Week action with Georgia facing Georgia Tech as it fights to remain a contender from the East for the SEC Football Championship Game and Tennessee at Vanderbilt as the Volunteers look to secure one last win to become bowl eligible for the first time in four years.

SEC Network schedule highlights:

Date Time (ET) Telecast/Commentators
Sat, Nov. 29 10 a.m. SEC Nation
Joe Tessitore, Tim Tebow, Marcus Spears, Paul Finebaum & Kaylee Hartung
  Noon Georgia Tech at No. 10 Georgia
Dave Neal, Andre Ware & Laura Rutledge
4 p.m. Tennessee at Vanderbilt
Tom Hart, Matt Stinchcomb & Heather Mitts
7 p.m. Finebaum Film Room: Iron Bowl Live
No. 14 Auburn at No. 1 Alabama
Paul Finebaum, Greg McElroy, Cole Cubelic, Marcus Spears, Booger McFarland

*Rankings as of Nov. 18

The SEC Network
The Southeastern Conference and ESPN have signed a 20-year agreement through 2034 to create and operate a multiplatform network which will launch August 14, 2014. The new network and its accompanying digital platform will carry SEC content 24/7 including more than 1,000 events in its first year. The network will televise 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games, and events from across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming will also include in-depth commentary and analysis in studio shows, daily news and information, original content such as SEC Storied, spring football games, and more. AT&T U-verse® TV, Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast Xfinity TV,  Cox Communications, DIRECTV, DISH, Google Fiber, LUS Fiber, Mediacom, PTC Communications, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable, Wilkes Telephone, and members of the NCTC, NRTC and NTTC and will carry the television network nationwide at launch. Hundreds of additional live events from various sports will be offered exclusively as SEC Network+ events on WatchESPN and SECNetwork.com through authenticated access from AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, Cox, DISH, Google Fiber, Suddenlink, and members of the NCTC, NRTC and NTTC.

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ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 12

Sunday NFL Countdown logoESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson previewed the NFL’s week 12 games with insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Comments from today’s show:
 
On the return of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon …
Jackson: “So many good things will happen if Josh Gordon is the Josh Gordon he was last year.”
Johnson: “He now adds an extra weapon to this football team. Last year he played with three different quarterbacks. Imagine now that he’s only with (Brian) Hoyer, what he’s capable of doing, not only in the pass game but the run game. It opens everything up.“
Ditka: “I don’t even worry about his talent. … Where’s his mind at? … And that’s what you’ve got to find out. … If he’s got it all together, he’s going to be really valuable to this football team because they’ve got to run the ball and he’s their passing threat.”
Carter: “Without a doubt – and you can’t say this about a lot of players – he has Hall of Fame talent. He’s one of the most talented receivers I’ve ever seen in the NFL. He has that type of ability. Now, I know something about this, and I know what he’s going through, and I’m more concerned about his day-to-day. Up until now, Josh has done everything he’s supposed to do. He’s got a great support system in the Browns. When this happened, I was calling for the Browns to release him. They have supported him and he has made tremendous strides off the field. Playing football – when you are going through what he’s going through – is the easiest part of his life. Now, me, I’m personally cheering for him because what he’s going to do today will be second nature to him. What he’s going to have to do every other day is make those right decisions. That’s what I’m concerned about, but I am pulling for him.”
 
On the Seattle Seahawks offense and their lack of a passing game this season …
Johnson: “This offense has no Golden Tait. They have no Percy Harvin. So if you are Arizona, you can stack the box, make guys come downhill, force Marshawn Lynch outside, try to pursue that way, make Russell Wilson do something besides run the football – put it in the air. … They’ve got to get the passing game going if they’re going to do anything.”
Ditka (on Marshawn Lynch): “It ain’t complicated. What’s my best deal? Hand it to him, and hand it to him, and hand it to him, and hand it to him again because he’s your best option. Hand it to him. Let him pound it. He likes that.”
 
On the success of the Arizona Cardinals defense this season under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles …
Jackson: “The one thing that Todd Bowles has done: he’s put tremendous pressure on the running game and the quarterback, and he does it at the same time – combination run-pass blitzes out of the 3-4 defense.”
 
On just how good Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt is …
Jackson: “I don’t think we’ve seen this exact combination of skills in a player. … When you look at his career right now – and I can’t dictate who’s going to go to the Hall of Fame and who’s not – this is what it looks like early on when a guy plays like this, whether he’s making money, whether he’s not making money. You play with every single fiber of yourself every down that you play.”
 
On the surging Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers …
Ditka: “I think what’s great about Aaron Rodgers is off the field. He’s a great example for young people – young athletes for how to prepare and how to play the game of football. … This defense was questionable early but it’s getting better now. They have this NASCAR look and they’re bringing people everywhere, lining up (Clay) Matthews all over the defense and he’s coming after people.”
Jackson: “It’s a team game but when you talk about Aaron Rodgers, yes, they are the best team in the NFC. … I’m going to tell everybody: put on a bucket list going to see him throw a football because it is different than everybody else in the National Football League. And I’m talking about Brady, Manning, everybody.”
Berman (on how tough the Packers are at home): “Even through the years of Brett Favre and everybody, Lambeau was never like an 8-0 place at home. It’s looking like that now for the Packers.”
On what makes Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots so good …
Jackson: “The brilliance of coach Belichick: when it comes to any football team in the National Football League, whatever your strength is – whatever the one thing is that you do best – I’m gonna take that away.”
On Robert Griffin III, head coach Jay Gruden and the Washington Redskins …
Johnson: “I don’t have a problem with what Jay Gruden said about him in terms of his future with the organization, this year and long-term. I have a problem with coaches when they don’t tell the truth.”
Jackson: “RGIII critiqued his teammates, albeit subtly. He did it. So Coach Gruden felt the necessity to come out and let him know. … I actually appreciated that commentary about RGIII. I don’t think that it was necessary to come out and say ‘you’re not auditioning, the clock is ticking here with your career and the Washington Redskins’. I think that RGIII probably knows that and everybody in Washington and in that locker room probably already knew that. That, you could have said in private.”
Carter: “RGIII’s fundamentals are not very good. So to me, yes, the truth is necessary, and to be a great player it’s going to be necessary.”
On how the Dallas Cowboys will perform the rest of the season vs. past years …
Carter: “I believe that they are going to be able to get it done. This is not the same Dallas Cowboys. The reason why: I don’t believe their defense is as good, but Tony Romo and their ability to be physical on the offensive line, is totally different than what we’ve seen. If they stick to their MO, I look for Dallas to continue to have success and not be like the Dallas teams we’ve seen in recent years.”
Ditka: “If Dallas doesn’t win this game today, they’re taking a big step backwards, a really big step backwards because the Giants have no defense.”
Johnson: “I think in the end, they’re gonna be one of the four teams in the end playing in the playoffs to get to the Super Bowl.”
Jackson: “I’ll judge this team by what they are now and what they do now, but the collapses have been historic.”
On a lighter note …
Schefter: “Colts wide receiver TY Hilton and his wife had a baby daughter this morning. No truth to the rumor that they’re considering naming her Paris.”
 
Countdown also included the following features during the three-hour program:
 
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