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Anchor Drop, January 28, 2023: The Last SEC/Big 12 Challenge

Vandy’s still not playing, and thankfully it’s going away.

Syndication: The Tennessean George Walker IV / / USA TODAY NETWORK

Good morning.

Optional Musical Accompaniment

Vanderbilt’s not playing in this year’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge (or is it Big 12/SEC Challenge?) That’s fine, except that Vanderbilt is instead going to play at Texas A&M at 7:30 PM CT in the SEC Network’s annual Night of the Island of Misfit Toys featuring the four teams that got left out of the challenge.

Which is all fine, because this nonsense is ending. The concept of the conference challenge is kind of silly, and it’s the kind of thing that’s been put together by the networks because apparently power conference teams can’t just schedule one another any more. You have to make them play each other, or else they won’t. (I found this article that’s the closest thing I could find to why we can’t schedule like it’s the 1990s any more. This is all just me speculating, but the explosion of multi-team events and “showcase” events that set teams up with decent games at neutral sites has probably meant that coaches can put together a decent schedule without scheduling home-and-homes with similarly situated teams, even if it ends up being bad for season ticket holders who are sitting through six games against terrible opponents they’ve never heard of.)

But the Big 12/SEC/Big 12 Challenge was stupid for two reasons: one, it matched up two conferences with wildly different numbers of teams, meaning that four SEC teams have to sit out every year. (Ironically, they will have the same number of teams next year. But probably not for long.) And two, they decided to put it on a weekend in January. I understand why ESPN does the ACC/Big Ten Challenge: it fills airspace on weeknights in December when they’d otherwise have to be showing, like, cornhole. I do not understand why ESPN needs to devote a Saturday in January, during which they’d normally be showing conference games, to a weird conference challenge.

Anyway, the reason it’s going away is equally stupid: because the people running the Big Ten have message board poster-level conspiracy theories about the relationship between ESPN and the SEC, and decided to sign a new television contract with basically everyone except ESPN. That meant that the ACC/Big Ten Challenge couldn’t continue, which meant that the SEC and ACC will now take that spot. I hope it’s early in the season.

In other news, Vanderbilt bowling leads the standings after the first day of the Prairie View A&M Invitational, which will pick up again today at 9:25 AM CT on

The women’s tennis team is in Raleigh, North Carolina, where they’ll play Furman at 1 PM CT today in the ITA Kickoff.

Vanderbilt baseball held its first preseason practice on Friday. The Hustler took notes at Tim Corbin’s press conference.

And finally, it’s really, really bad that a Vanderbilt professor is now responsible for the stupidest thing I have ever read.

Bad Gambling Advice

Season to date: 95-100-3 ATS, 98-100 totals

  • Auburn at West Virginia (11:00 AM CT, ESPN): Auburn +3.5, Under 142.5
  • Texas Tech at LSU (1:00 PM CT, ESPNU): Texas Tech -2.5, Under 133.5
  • Alabama at Oklahoma (1:00 PM CT, ESPN): Oklahoma +6, Under 147
  • Iowa State at Missouri (1:00 PM CT, ESPN2): Missouri +1.5, Over 142
  • TCU at Mississippi State (3:00 PM CT, ESPN2): TCU -2.5, Under 131.5
  • Arkansas at Baylor (3:00 PM CT, ESPN): Arkansas +6.5, Over 143.5
  • South Carolina at Georgia (5:00 PM CT, SEC Network): Georgia -10.5, Over 135
  • Texas at Tennessee (5:00 PM CT, ESPN): Texas +6, Under 135.5
  • Florida at Kansas State (5:00 PM CT, ESPN2): Kansas State -5, Over 142.5
  • Ole Miss at Oklahoma State (7:00 PM CT, ESPN2): Oklahoma State -9.5, Over 130
  • Kansas at Kentucky (7:00 PM CT, ESPN): Kansas +2.5, Under 140
  • Vanderbilt at Texas A&M (7:30 PM CT, SEC Network): Vanderbilt +10.5, Under 141.5

Sports on TV

All times Central. College basketball schedule here.

  • 1:30 PM: PGA Tour: Farmers Insurance Open, Final Round (Golf Channel)
  • 2:00 PM: NBA: Nuggets at 76ers (ABC)
  • 3:30 PM: PGA Tour: Farmers Insurance Open, Final Round (CBS)
  • 4:30 PM: NBA: Knicks at Nets (ABC)
  • 5:00 PM: NHL: Bruins at Panthers (NHL Network)
  • 7:30 PM: NBA: Lakers at Celtics (ABC)


NBA: Bucks 141, Pacers 131 ... Timberwolves 111, Grizzlies 100 ... Heat 110, Magic 105 ... Thunder 112, Cavaliers 100 ... Warriors 129, Raptors 117.

NHL: Hurricanes 5, Sharks 4 ... Kings 4, Panthers 3 ... Islanders 2, Red Wings 0 ... Rangers 4, Golden Knights 1 ... Senators 6, Maple Leafs 2 ... Devils 3, Stars 2 ... Flames 5, Kraken 2 ... Canucks 5, Blue Jackets 2.