When No. 2 Alabama (6-0) plays Ole Miss (2-3) on Saturday evening, the nation will not lift its head unless there's an upset. It will be one of 26 college football games that ESPN will televise Saturday, one of 11 it will show under the lights. We take that for granted these days. It is news when a game is not televised.
Once upon a time, however, that was not the case. Once upon a time, 10 years before ESPN was born, a regular-season college football game had never been televised in prime time. If you want to know when the modern history of the sport began, go back 42 seasons to an early October night. A genius named Roone Arledge had the idea to show Alabama play Mississippi, and the game turned out to be one of the greatest in the history of the Southeastern Conference.