Finebaum still important in SEC land

Published 6:41 pm Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The 2014 football season is in full swing and the Southeastern Conference is once again leading the way by overwhelming its opponents in a fashion that has fans gasping.

Even though these first few games are nothing but cupcakes, you can readily size up the quality of most of these SEC teams. The fact that our conference has seven teams in the AP Top 25 bears this out.
And, when you think of the Southeastern Conference, you almost automatically think of Paul Finebaum.
As you probably know, this former Birmingham-based radio personality is now a featured host on ESPN TV. In fact, his telecasts hoard entire afternoons on the new ESPN-SEC Network.

Known for his style of stirring controversy, one of his shows took a nasty turn a week or so ago. It began when his “theme for the day” was Alabama’s two-quarterback controversy. On this day, an avid caller injected “race” into this two-quarterback battle conversation.

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Obviously this caller was not pleased with Coach Saban’s decision to start senior Blake Sims over recent Florida State transfer Jacob Coker, a former backup QB for Coach Jimbo Fisher’s Florida State Seminoles. As the conversation rocked on it became real nasty and you would have thought Finebaum would have ended it.

But, he did not. He continued to let it “ramble.” Finally the TV host shut him off and opened the lines for other callers. Well, it became very evident that he had flamed a controversy that I am sure he now wished he had never let happen.

The very next day on his show the quarterback topic was never allowed to enter the conservation. I am sure the ESPN heads told Finebaum to “leave this alone.” Incidentally, he has been on record prior to the football season, believing Coker would become the Tide’s top signal caller. You wonder if that is why he allowed that caller to rave on.

It is easy to assume Finebaum knows his shows would be somewhat drab without these controversial callers. He delights in allowing callers with Southern accents and traits and who may have never set foot in a college classroom, who are poor speakers unable to express themselves, who appear uneducated and who have apparent cultureless backgrounds.

You know this is an apparent fact because he allows calls from these “quacks” to get through while countless other callers are left stranded on the line. Many “non-core” callers often complain about their having such a difficult time getting their calls through to him.

In addition to his weekly TV shows, he is featured on a SEC pregame segment with three other football personalities.

As useless as a steak in a Chinese restaurant, he may as well not be there because these other panelists drown him out completely, leaving him little opportunity to talk. In all fairness he is an excellent writer having written outstanding books and articles about football. But, as a panelist he has a lot to learn. I really do not know if he will ever adapt as a panelist due to his laid-back personality. Again, give him credit for his excellent writing.

Now let’s take a look at some tidbits from the 1970s.

One of our leading department stores, Bedsoles, drew large crowds with a half price sale on ladies’ dresses, and Winn-Dixie sold cube steaks at 10 cents each.

DAR “Good Citizen” awards went to Mary Emma Floyd and Dick Lodge. They were seniors at ECHS. Tammy Beasley, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Beasley, was selected fall carnival queen at A.D. Kelly School in Wallace.

Atmore native Greg Salter received the Bronze Star for bravery and exceptional service in Vietnam.
Atmore merchants and business leaders sponsored a one-day trip to New Orleans for the Blue Devils to watch the Alabama-Nebraska Sugar Bowl football game that year.

How many of you eat out on weekends?

Ouida and I do and enjoy it immensely. We share our visits at all our fine restaurants in town and enjoy it very much. But, you know, I never see some of my friends and acquaintances eating out. I don’t know why and I probably should not probe why. I am sure they have their reasons.

We enjoy our meals and we enjoy seeing others and talking with them. Let me rephrase that. There are one or two we try to avoid because when they come over to our table and start up a conversation our food slowly “freezes up.”

One night I was compelled to politely tell one table-visiting friend, “I sure enjoy talking with you and I will be glad to talk with you later but right now I cannot talk and eat at the same time as my food gets cold when I talk.” Gracious, should I have said that to a friend who wanted to be sociable?

I may not have said it totally in these words but she got the massage and moved on. Actually she moved on to another table and started up a conversation with another couple that was trying to enjoy their meal.

More from years gone by, next week.

You can email Lowell McGill at