The SEC Network filmed an intro for one of its weekend programs, "SEC Nation," on the Mercer University campus on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Wes Blankenship
Mercer's second football season kicks off just under a month from now.
The Bears start a new season in the Southern Conference. Don't confuse that with the Southeastern Conference. Mercer won't be playing there, but the school's campus had a party of SEC proportions Tuesday.
A girl in a houndstooth hat sits next to an LSU fan. An Ole Miss fan hugs a Florida Gator.
Who are these people, and what have they done with the tasteful disrespect so common in the Southeastern Conference? More importantly, why are they hanging out at Mercer - a school that has no SEC football competition on the schedule?
The only possible way these treasonous acts could play out is in some sort of well-crafted illusion. That is exactly what happened at Mercer, where the SEC Network filmed for one of its television programs.
"We're trying our best to be equitable to all the conference schools," said SEC Network Coordinating Producer, Brett Austin.
The show, called "SEC Nation," will travel to SEC campuses throughout the season to preview conference football matchups. Austin explains that filming at Mercer keeps SEC schools from getting their feelings hurt.
"If you were to put this on the site of an SEC school, then you've automatically paid more attention to one school than another."
The campus also happens to be gorgeous, and southern. Producer Joe Disney saw Mercer, and knew it was a perfect fit.
"This an idyllic, beautiful campus," Disney said. "It feels like the SEC schools, but it's just a little bit more compact. It's a little bit easier for our TV crew to get around."
While Mercer gets its taste of SEC tailgating, the segment's entertainment feeds off the energy of another football season.
Robert Randolph is the lead singer of Robert Randolph and the Family Band. He's from New Jersey, but sums up the Southeastern Conference atmosphere better than anyone, with a cry of "SEC Football!" and a smack of his elbow against his palm.
Now that's what an SEC afternoon is really like.
The SEC Network launches on August 14th. Two weeks after that, four SEC schools will kick off on August 28th:
Texas A&M vs. South Carolina
Boise State vs. Ole Miss
Vanderbilt vs. Temple
The same day, Mercer kicks things off at home against Reinhardt. The Bears' tailgate party will be live, and will have a lot more orange and black.