Nick Saban // The SEC on CBS An Awful Announcing rendering of Nick Saban and the SEC on CBS via USA Today Images.

The SEC’s long and successful partnership with CBS will come to an end in 2023, with ESPN taking over as the exclusive home of SEC football beginning in 2024. This includes the coveted 3:30 p.m. ET game, which has been a staple of CBS’s college football programming for over two decades.

Both parties will move on following the season, as the SEC signed a groundbreaking deal with ESPN worth a reported $3 billion over ten years. CBS responded by signing a seven-year, $350 million/year deal with the Big Ten. However, CBS will no longer have the first pick of games each week in its marquee 3:30 p.m. ET slot, instead rotating with Fox and NBC.

But that doesn’t mean all involved are happy about the decision.

With all SEC games airing on ABC/ESPN in 2024 and beyond, Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban isn’t thrilled that the likes of Brad Nessler and Gary Danielson will no longer be on the call for his team’s primetime matchups. 

On Thursday’s edition of Hey Coach & The Nick Saban Show, Saban, alongside Nessler, addressed the relationship between the two parties, as the SEC on CBS enters the final month of its deal.

“I guess this is a good time for me to talk about the relationship that we’ve had with CBS for how many years? I mean, I can’t even tell you; almost the entire time I’ve been in the SEC,” Saban said Thursday. “You know, we were the first conference to have their own network, which was huge in building the conference years ago because everybody had regional games.

“And, I always tell the story of when Mark Ingram II played here (2008-10), he might be the only guy who won the Heisman Trophy — ’cause I can’t verify this for sure — that never really won the southeast. There’s six voting areas that the media has, but he really won the Heisman Trophy because we were on CBS, it was national, so everybody saw him play all the time. People didn’t see the guy at Stanford (Toby Gerhart) or Nebraska (Ndamukong Suh), or whatever, but they saw him, and that’s a tribute to CBS and the relationship with the SEC and giving us a national network, which I think helped build the brand of our conference and a lot of the schools in the conference to be able to be what we are today.

“And I hate it that we’re not gonna continue this relationship, but you know you’re always welcome here. It’s been a great one. Y’all are great people. You’ve been great to me. You’ve been great to us. You’ve been great to the University of Alabama, so we appreciate that more than you know.”

Nessler has been the lead play-by-play voice for the SEC on CBS since 2017; Danielson the lead color analyst since 2006. Neither is going anywhere, but they will no longer be the voice of primetime Alabama games — or any SEC games for that matter — as that distinction now belongs to ABC/ESPN.

From 1996 through Nov. 3, 2023 — not including bowl games — Alabama has made 125 appearances on CBS, compiling an 87-38 record (.696 winning percentage). The Crimson Tide’s 124 appearances is 15 more than the next school — Florida — which has 110.

Alabama’s game against LSU on Saturday, Nov. 4, in Tuscaloosa will be the program’s 126th appearance on the SEC on CBS and will kick off at 7:45 p.m. ET.

“I kind of love these guys at CBS. They’ve been so good to us for so many years. Craig, his crew. Gary,” added Saban, via 247 Sports’ Mike Rodak. “They’ve all been great to us for so many years. I think they’ve done a tremendous job of helping the SEC become what it’s become today.

[Hey Coach & The Nick Saban Show]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.