The great Bear Bryant lost his first game at Alabama, 13-3 to LSU. ESPN's initial programming included Irish cycling and something called hurling, whatever that is. Even the first episode of Cheers was a ratings bomb.
Greatness doesn't always have great beginnings.
The SEC Network debuted Thursday night. It was spectacular only if you are into six hours of irrelevant chest-thumping.
I didn't watch all of it. It was as compelling as a Lassie marathon. Timmy didn't get stuck in a well. But he did get stuck with a microphone. Hey, I love Tim Tebow, the human being and the competitor. But he looks less natural conducting an interview than he did trying to run an NFL offense, and we all know how that turned out.
Then again, maybe I did watch all of it. We had it on for about two hours. But while the TV was tuned in, we tuned out after about 30 minutes. It was more redundant than QVC.
"The SEC is the greatest! At everything! Ever! EVER! Did we mention that we're great?"
The opening segment with Brent Musburger and SEC commissioner Mike Slive was fairly interesting. It was 7½ minutes of various voices and familiar names boasting of the passion of the SEC.
"This is the greatest launch of any cable network ever," Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari said. Slive called it "most successful launch of a new cable network in all of cable history."
Sure, you expect a little self-aggrandizing, or even a lot. Even for someone raised on SEC sports, it was a bit much. But this was more over the top than Bo in the '82 Iron Bowl. It made Steve Spurrier look humble by comparison.
OK, we get the point. The SEC is more than just the greatest conference in college football history. The conference claims 211 national championships in 14 sports. Do you have your "Vanderbilit 2007 Women's Bowling National Champions" bumper sticker?
By the way, the conference claims "only" 22 national championships in football, and none earlier than Tennessee's in 1951. So about those national championships: The Lost Episodes that Alabama dug up a few years ago, not even the SEC office recognizes them.
By Friday, with the confetti from the grand opening gala still scattered about but the celebration over, the SEC Network settled into its regular programming, which included the Paul Finebaum Show, classic football replays and Kentucky basketball. Saturday, it was more classic football and more Kentucky basketball. Today's programming includes more classic football, more Kentucky basketball and more classic football.
Meanwhile, Lassie ran home from the well to get help for Timmy, sprained paw and all.
In fairness, there's not much else to show in August. Football season is still two weeks away. Few SEC fans care about any other sport any way, especially this close to football season. Well, there is one notable exception -- Kentucky basketball. Maybe they should start their own network.
The weekday programming will offer more depth. There will be team previews. That's football, not soccer. Once football season gets going and settled into a routine, there should be no shortage of quality programming. That will get the network through December. Then what? Other than more Kentucky basketball, that is.
Spoiler alert: Timmy makes it.
-- Guerry Clegg is an independent correspondent. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org