Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Arkansas opens on SEC TV
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, back center, observes his players on the field during their spring NCAA college football game, Saturday, April 26, 2014, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Sarah Bentham)
FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas will open the 2014 season Aug. 30 with a 3 p.m. kickoff at Auburn on the SEC Network, the conference announced Thursday.
The Razorbacks, who were 3-9 last season and 0-8 in the SEC, will play their home opener the following week against Nicholls State, which is also set for 3 p.m. on the SEC Network.
The conference announced Thursday that the SEC Network, which will debut Aug. 14, will carry a game featuring all 14 conference teams within the first four weeks of the season. Additionally, the first 16 games televised by the new network will include a home game from every SEC venue.
The network’s first televised game will be Texas A&M at South Carolina on Thursday, Aug. 28, and will feature a visit from SEC Nation, the traveling pregame show that will originate from Auburn, Ala., for the defending SEC champion’s visit from the Razorbacks two days later.
“The fact that the SEC Network will originate a game from every stadium in the conference in the first four weeks of the 2014 season is testament to the depth of coverage fans can expect from the network,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said in a released statement.
Eight of the league’s schools will play their season openers on the SEC Network.The exceptions are Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Missouri and Ole Miss. Each of the first two weekends of the season will feature six games on the SEC Network.
“The schedule includes quality and depth from across the conference,” Justin Connolly, ESPN senior vice president for college networks, said in a released statement. “The full breadth of teams and stadiums showcased in the first month alone speaks volumes on the type of programming sports fans should expect on the SEC Network.”
The Razorbacks, who will be in their second season under Bret Bielema, will carry a 12-game losing streak in SEC games into Auburn, which is coached by Arkansas native Gus Malzahn. The Tigers defeated Arkansas 35-17 in Fayetteville last season on their way to winning the SEC title before falling 34-31 to Florida State in the BCS championship game.
None of the other kickoff times on Arkansas’ 12-game schedule have been announced. The Razorbacks travel to Texas Tech in the third week of the season and play Northern Illinois at Reynolds Razorback Stadium and Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas, before hosting Alabama in their SEC home opener Oct. 11.
Sun Belt Conference member Arkansas State also will make an appearance on the SEC Network on Sept. 6 when it plays Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn.
Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.Central, and the game will be one of six games televised by the network that day. It’ll be on at the same time as Florida Atlantic at Alabama, and will be followed by Nicholls State at Arkansas and Eastern Michigan at Florida.
The visit to Tennessee is ASU’s third televised game announced for the 2014 season. ASU’s game at Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 21 will be on ESPN2 and its Nov. 20game at Texas State will be on ESPNU.
SEC Network lineup
The SEC Network, the new national sports network operated by ESPN that will launch Aug. 14, released its schedule for the first 16 games that will be featured on the network. The following is a look at the first four weeks of the network’s schedule. Television selections for the remaining games will be announced at a later day. All times are Central:
THURSDAY (AUG. 28) Texas A&M at South Carolina, 5 p.m.
Temple at Vanderbilt, 8:15 p.m.
SATURDAY (AUG. 30) Tenn.-Martin at Kentucky, 11 a.m.
Arkansas at Auburn, 3 p.m.
Southern Miss at Miss. State, 6:30 p.m.
SUNDAY (AUG. 31) Utah State at Tennessee, 6 p.m.
SATURDAY (SEPT. 6) Florida Atlantic at Alabama, 11 a.m.
Arkansas State at Tennessee, 11 a.m.
Eastern Michigan at Florida, 3 p.m.
Nicholls State at Arkansas, 3 p.m.
Sam Houston State at LSU, 6:30 p.m.
Lamar at Texas A&M, 6:30 p.m.
SATURDAY (SEPT. 13) UCF at Missouri, 11 a.m.
La.-Lafayette at Ole Miss, 3 p.m.
Kentucky at Florida, 6:30 p.m.
SATURDAY (SEPT. 20) Troy at Georgia, 11 a.m.
TBD, 4 p.m.
TBD, 6:30 p.m.
Sports, Pages 23 on 05/02/2014