Press Releases

SEC Network

SEC Network to Debut Saturdays in the South: A History of SEC Football as Key Component in ESPN’s College Football 150 Initiative

By     

Posted on

  • Eight-Part, 12-Hour Film Debuts in September 2019
  • Each 90-Minute Episode Showcases Defining Storylines and Figures Within Southeastern Conference Football History

The passion for college football in the South runs deep, and on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the sport, there’s no better time to thoroughly and memorably explore it than through the lens of the Southeastern Conference. As part of the ESPN Films’ SEC Storied series and ESPN’s College Football 150 initiative, SEC Network will debut Saturdays in the South: A History of SEC Football over the course of eight consecutive Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET, beginning September 3, 2019.

While college football may have first surfaced in New Jersey in 1869, it was perfected in the South, where the sport serves as the single strongest fiber in the region. Directed by Peabody and Emmy winner Fritz Mitchell, this multi-part documentary will tell the tale of the SEC from its very beginnings to its powerful present.

“I worked my first SEC game in the mid-1980s,” Mitchell said. “It was Georgia vs. Auburn, the oldest rivalry in the Deep South. The little town of Auburn became the fourth largest city in the state of Alabama on football Saturdays. What an introduction. More than 30 years later, I’m tracking down the history, stories and traditions of the Southeastern Conference trying to figure out why football remains the most important cultural bond in the South.”

Featuring interviews with more than 100 SEC figures past and present such as Peyton Manning, Joe Namath, Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson, as well as Steve Spurrier, Vince Dooley, Les Miles and Nick Saban, the film will chronicle the progression of teams, heroes and traditions while examining a deeper narrative of the South and its history. The indelible moments of nearly 90 years of SEC football encompass the larger journey of the region and span across the evolution of America as well.

“The Southeastern Conference is pleased to partner with ESPN Films and the SEC Network to produce Saturdays in the South: A History of SEC Football, which will coincide with the celebration of college football’s 150th anniversary during the 2019 season,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey stated. “Saturdays in the South weaves together unique storytelling, interviews with many of the SEC’s legends, historic photos, film and video in an enduring film series that will capture the attention of the millions of passionate fans who have helped shape the SEC’s legacy, traditions and success.”

Saturdays in the South: A History of SEC Football is the second programming announcement surrounding ESPN’s College Football 150 project, with weekly series The American Game and The Greatest coming to ESPN next fall. In August 2017, ESPN originally announced its intentions to commemorate the 150th anniversary of college football. The College Football 150 initiative begins on January 2, 2019, primarily on ESPN’s digital and social platforms