Whether Georgia can live up to lofty expectations this football season won’t be known for months, but the preseason hype is having an effect on exposure.
CBS, the primary network for Southeastern Conference broadcasts since 1996, could televise half of Georgia’s 12 regular-season games. The Bulldogs were on CBS three times last season and only twice in 2006.
“Georgia is a powerhouse right now, and they were at the end of last year with the way they displayed it in their bowl game,” said Mike Aresco, the network’s senior vice president of programming. “They will be highly ranked along with LSU and Florida — I don’t know where Tennessee will be ranked — but when you have teams that are going to be ranked that highly, you always go with those teams first.”
Aresco said quarterback Matthew Stafford and tailback Knowshon Moreno are exciting players who give the Bulldogs national appeal. CBS televised the Bulldogs 18 times from 2002 through ’04, when quarterback David Greene and defensive end David Pollack were the recognizable names.
Returning Heisman Trophy quarterback Tim Tebow helps make Florida attractive to viewers, but Aresco doesn’t believe Tennessee will get lost in the shuffle as a result.
“Tennessee’s schedule late in the season historically isn’t as strong, but last year we picked Tennessee-Kentucky, which is a game we normally don’t do,” he said. “They played for the SEC East that day and won it, so you just never know.”
Aresco said everything is speculative at this point, but he believes the Vols will be on CBS against Florida (Sept. 20), Auburn (Sept. 27) and Georgia (Oct. 11).
“CBS has never not done the Tennessee-Florida game, so that’s usually a pretty good indication,” he said. “The Tennessee-Auburn game is likely, because ESPN has the Alabama-Georgia game as one of their priority picks, so we won’t have that one.”
Aresco said CBS likely will open its coverage schedule Sept. 13 with Georgia’s trip to South Carolina. The Bulldogs also could be on the network against Tennessee, LSU (Oct. 25), Florida (Nov. 1), Auburn (Nov. 15) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 29).
The Tennessee-Georgia game will be part of a 3:30 and 8 p.m. doubleheader with LSU-Florida, but it has not been determined which game gets which time slot. CBS has a noon and 3:30 doubleheader on Nov. 29 that likely will be the Alabama-Auburn and Georgia-Georgia Tech games.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...