TWO BITS: Florida-Miami, Gators on SEC Nation

1 » If everything works out, the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes will be scheduling a home-and-home series…in men’s basketball. According to The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, discussions have begun between the two schools for the in-state rivals to play each other in consecutive seasons. The Orlando Sentinel’s Edgar Thompson confirmed with UF associate athletic director Mike Hill that the teams are indeed “finalizing” a contract with the first game set to be played this November at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The second contest would be held at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables during the 2015-16 season. The timing will work out for UF, which may be forced from its home arena during the fall semester of the campaign as a planned renovation of the O’Dome is scheduled to be in its final stages. The Gators are 45-22 all-time against the Canes on the hardwood with the schools last playing a home-and-home series in 2004-05. UF and UM have squared off just four times in the last 23 seasons, all since 2002.

2 » The SEC Network on Saturday announced that it will hold its College GameDay-esque pre-game program, SEC Nation, in Gainesville on Sept. 13 ahead of Florida’s league opener against Kentucky. The following week, the Gators will be featured a program for the second time when it emanates from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Sept. 20 ahead of the UF-Alabama game. In addition to host Joe Tessitore and former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, the SEC Nation panel will include long-time radio host Paul Finebaum and former LSU defensive end Marcus Spears.


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Tim Tebow kicks off relationship with ESPN

ESPN announced a new relationship with former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow on Dec. 30, 2013, one which will feature the Heisman Trophy-winning signal caller as an analyst on the new SEC Network’s College GameDay spin-off show SEC Nation beginning on Aug. 28, 2014.

While the debut of that program is still nearly nine months away, the network’s latest association with Tebow actually kicked off this week with ESPN first airing a special feature on Tebow the football player before having him don a suit to serve as an analyst on the network’s all-day coverage of the 2014 BCS National Championship.

“A month ago I got a call from Tim Tebow, asking me to come down to USC where he’s been training and give him a brutally honest evaluation of where he’s at,” began former NFL quarterback and now Tebow’s fellow ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer in the intro to Tebow’s video feature. “And as we all know, this past week, ESPN and Tim agreed upon a deal for him to work with the SEC Network. However, he has not given up on his dream of playing quarterback in the National Football League. My job was to go down there and see if he can now pass well enough for that dream to become a reality.


“Well, I spend 365 days of the year looking at quarterbacks – high school, college, pros – and I don’t have all the answers. I do know this,” Dilfer began in his outro from the feature. “If you put Tim Tebow on a football field right now with four other NFL quarterbacks and you don’t know who they were and you just watched the ball – don’t watch the player, just watch the ball – you wouldn’t know which one was Tim Tebow and you wouldn’t know which one was another NFL quarterback.

“I want you to understand this in this context: This is one of the greatest players that ever played college football and he didn’t know how to pass. I believe now he knows how to pass. Every GM, every scout, every personnel person out there should go at least watch Tim Tebow now because it’s a different guy.”

The day after the video aired, on Jan. 6, 2014, Tebow sat behind ESPN’s desk for the first time as an analyst. He was first introduced as the newest member of the Worldwide Leader in Sports before being asked by the future host of SEC Nation, Joe Tessitore, about Texas hiring former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong as head coach.

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