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ESPN, SEC to reach into Big 12 Territory...

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...and the ACC, Big 10, the Big East and the Pac 10 with their new TV contract.

ESPN Regional Television, the new over-the-air syndication home for some Southeastern Conference programming , announced a regionally syndicated college sports package that will air in more than 73 television markets including Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston and San Antonio.

The regional package will be branded as the SEC network, and it will broadcast 13 SEC football games across the country. While the games obviously will be fairly low on the SEC food chain (ESPN/ABC will have the majority of the games), it does give the conference a footprint in other BCS conferences markets.

The pre-game will start at 11:00 am Saturdays, with an 11:20 kick off. That will compete with some other BCS conference games in certain markets.

The games may not be that big a draw nationwide it is another step in the WWL's branding of The SEC on ESPN.

The other conferences are spooked enough over the money and exposure that the SEC will be getting over the next 15 years, that there is even talk of the Pac 10, Big 12 and ACC getting together and trying to figure out a way that two of them could form a sports channel.

The other BCS conferences look at the SEC contract, and look a the current economic situation and wonder if there is going to be any money left over for them when their contracts run out in the next couple of years.

The thought is that a threat of a dual-conference channel (modeled after the Big 10 channel) could be used as leverage in negotiations.

I imagine that UT would have to be dragged kicking and screaming into any such a channel, since the thought of breaking out with their own package is still something they want to pursue.