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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer fluff: Ranking the rankings

The doldrums of summer means there’s not much news in the college sports world. Of course this is a major problem for content-hungry college football fans and the media that serves them.

The result is an onslaught of rankings, lists and general fluff that can be safely written from the couch of a sportswriter’s beach house. And it’s a good lead-up to the actual college football season.

We here at Le Blog are not immune. Therefore, our latest ranking: A ranking of the best preseason rankings:

10. Predicted division standings: Good ol’ reliable filler. Sparks discussion and argument. One tip for the aspiring list-maker: If you want to rack up the web hits, don’t predict what you think will ACTUALLY happen. South Carolina to win the East? Bo-ring. But also don’t be outlandish. (Sorry, Vanderbilt). So go with Georgia or Florida to win it – we suggest flipping a coin – and whichever one you don’t pick first, pick last. Georgia and Florida have the most fans in the division, so that’s the best way to increase your unique visitors number. Next, do a separate set of predictions each week leading up to the season to cover all scenarios, so as to later be able to proclaim that you called it back in the preseason. (It works for Mel Kiper.)

9. SEC coaching rankings: This is a favorite of yours truly. Of course every coach is actually pretty good at his job, or else he wouldn’t have earned a job coaching in the best conference in America. But it’s really fun to say just how good they are by placing them high, or infer that they’re an idiot who couldn’t dress themselves by ranking them 10th or below. Yes, it’s always a problem when someone is a new coach you’ve never heard of (like James Franklin), who has never in fact coached a game. Just put them at No. 8 or No. 9, which is always a safe spot. It’s also a problem if you have to actually cover the coach on a daily basis. If that’s the case, just tell Mark Richt it was your editor’s call, that you really wanted to put him No. 1, no really, trust me coach, why are you walking away from me coach …

8. Best players rankings: Much like the coaching rankings, but takes a bit more research, and because of pesky facts – such as position differences – is even more subjective. (But don't worry about the subjective thing. Objectivity is passe'.) Another free tip for young writers: It’s boring to say obvious things like “Marcus Lattimore is good,” or “Aaron Murray is one of the SEC’s top returning quarterbacks.” Instead, say, “Marcus Lattimore will rush for 3,000 yards on the season’s FIRST SERIES” and “Aaron Murray is not only the SEC’s top quarterback, but he’s also a Heisman candidate, and Mitt Romney’s main competition for the GOP nomination.”

7. Surprise player rankings: Do you actually have a real opinion on which players will come out of nowhere, or the doghouse, to be a major factor this season? Of course not, but who cares! Just pick a few players who aren’t being mentioned much and point out reasons they could emerge as factors this year. Don’t worry a few months later when the player is still buried on the bench, or fumbles five times in one series or is in jail. You were just throwing something up against the wall, and that’s what’s important.

6. Coach-on-the-hot seat rankings: Always a good way to spark discussion. Mark Richt and Houston Nutt will be the top two this year, in some order. Les Miles is always on this list, no matter what. Always point out that Miles’ career winning percentage is fantastic, but he also eats grass and often coaches like he’s been smoking it too. It also helps to throw in a wild card, like Nick Saban (hasn’t won a national championship in over a year) or Will Muschamp (currently winless as a head coach).

5. Ranking the schedules: This one tends to make my head hurt. It’s easier just to figure out who has the most home games, or doesn’t have to play at a preseason top 10 team. You could get all statistical and break it down like Phil Steele. But unless you’re Phil Steele, that probably isn’t a good idea. So it’s best to take a good, hard look at all 12 teams and their 12 games, make a grid, cross-check opponents, and then rip off Phil Steele’s list and proclaim it your own.

4. Recruiting rankings: Want to make a lot of money? Don’t have a journalism degree, or any actual journalism training? Good news! Just start calling recruits, and get penetrating quotes such as “I really enjoyed my trip to State U,” and start putting out lists of who’s doing the best on the summer recruiting trail. Then just sit back and smile.

3. Ranking the mascots: Fun list, and an excuse to post pictures of furry animals and live tigers. Any ranking that does not have Uga at the top will immediately result in an e-mail jihad by Georgia fans. As well it should.

2. Ranking the coeds: This usually waits until the season, when memories of tailgates and sun dresses are fresh. But an enterprising journalist will get a jump on it over the summer. These always tend to bring the most enjoyment and debate from readers, who all proclaim to have visited each school and made strenuous evaluations. Never mind how outrageously subjective it is to say that the girls at, say, Alabama, are better-looking than the ones at Tennessee, based on having been to a few football games there. Just go with it. This isn’t exactly a scientific endeavor. Also, if you have a significant other who reads your blog, rank their alma mater first.

1. Anything else creative: Believe it or not, some territory in this important area of fluff has not been mined. A few suggestions: Best secondary violations, top long snappers, teams that tweet the most … OK, people, get on it.


Ed said...

Good read seth! What's better IYO, five points after a carolina win, or d.t athens after a dawgs win?

Joeski said...

"...but he also eats grass and often coaches like he’s been smoking it too"

Thanks, Seth. I almost ruined my new laptop...

meansonny said...

Good stuff.

Some suggestions...

Biggest recruiting flops.
Best high schools for recruits.

Or go the lazy route and rip one off from the 4 letter network.
Top College Football Traditions.

Before I hit submit... I also like, "Best word verifications"
cranno should be up there.

BuLLdawg said...

Well, the clear concise point about 2011 is that Georgia plays 10 cupcakes. Thus, pundits predicting 10-4 or worse 10-3, are predicting nothing - and acting like this is 1969 when 10 wins actually meant something, not nowadays where the top teams play 14 games.

10-4 or worse yet 10-3 therefore is more of the same we have witnessed with the squandering of talent by this coaching staff assembled by Mark Richt for year 11 here in his regime, where over the last 5 years not only are we only 13-12 vs our own weak division who only had 1 good team in the entire division all 5 years and now that team is down too, but in addition we have amassed 21 Losses over these last entire 5 years - an avg obviously in Excess of 4 Losses a season.

See ? 10-4 or worse yet 10-3 meaning we have failed to even make The SEC Championship Game for then the 6th season in a row, is just more of the same.

The big questions for Mark Richt and his coaching staff 2011 are (1) Can he actually avoid losing game number 11 in 11 years against a team who ended the season not even in the AP Poll Top 25 ? and (2) Can he actually beat a team who finishes in the AP Poll Top 10 with his horrid record there too of 3 wins and 9 Losses vs teams who finished AP Poll Top 10 and all 3 of those wins came in years he lost 4, lost 3 and lost 4 games.

Oregon is going down, and the arrogant prosecutor laughing asked for the death penalty in a case where he presented zero evidence that a person was murdered, let alone how the little girl died, not to mention whom it was who did it. And, now he is retiring on that poor job of seeking too much with too little for a gal everyone knows did it, whatever it is. The correlation is that there is no evidence that Mark Richt can avoid the losses to lousy teams 1 a year all 11 years now this season losing to Auburn or Missy State for example, and there is no evidence that Mark Richt can beat the truly great teams either.

More of the same therefore is what 2011 promises for us Bulldogs' football fans, while at least in the state of Florida they will get someone new who either (1) will study their evidence and say they cannot ask for the death penalty or (2) will actually respond to the citizens and go out and at least look at the evidence we citizens tried to present to the state of Florida only to tell the citizens to go home and not even show up to see if it is evidence.

We have no such hope ourselves.