Wiping The Slate Clean

It’s time for college football blogs to unite in 2005 in the same way that political blogs did in 2004.

What was the result last year? Dan Rather–the symbol of mainstream media arrogance–was knocked off his lofty perch.

2004 showed what a well-educated blogosphere could accomplish. Respect for the mainstream political media is at an all-time low and bloggers are now seen as legitimate commentators.

Curiously, the same revolution has not happened in sports, in particular college football. The MSM in college football–with some notable exceptions–continues to put out the same drivel it always has. Commentators fill airspace, column space and the internet with nonsense, items pulled out of asses and dressed up nicely to sound informative.

What are the qualifications of those who talk college football in the MSM? Sure, most of them are good at writing and can turn a phrase with the best of them. Others have a knack for reporting. Another group used to either play or coach the game and so is looked to for expertise.

It wasn’t until watching the leadup to last year’s Orange Bowl that I realized just how off most of the commentary is.

So I ask, when you read the following quotes, what kind of credibility remains?

–USC and Oklahoma are similar in everything from coaching to talent to scheme (italics added). This should be a very close game….ESPN Analyst

–Oklahoma has the best offensive line in college football….The Sporting News and others

–Oklahoma needs to throw the ball to Peterson more…ESPN radio analyst

–Oklahoma is going to win this one going away. It won’t be close….ESPN analyst

–Matt Leinart doesn’t have much of a supporting cast….ABC commentator

–One thing we do know, this one won’t be a blowout….ABC commentator

–Oklahoma has the sort of offensive balance USC hasn’t had to deal with since the near-miss to California and all of the weapons will prove to be too much for the Trojan D….Collegefootballnews.com

–USC doesn’t have the cover guys, across the board, that can handle all of the OU receiving options, in particular, Clayton as an inside receiver….Collegefootballnews.com

These are just a few of the things said before last year’s national title game. Of course, the whole season saw an even larger selection of inanities and just plain bad analysis.

Am I nitpicking? Perhaps. But if an entire swath of the media–from those who played to those who just write about it–can be almost uniformly wrong on the most important game of the year, then what good are they?

What good is it for a network to hire a former quarterback to call a game, only to have him say something that is demonstrably false?

What good is it for a network to hire a former coach to call a game, only to have that coach say something completely wrong?

What good is it for a long-time college football reporter to write eloquent pieces that end up being completely off base?

If these guys are the experts and can be so wrong, then who is really an expert?

Therefore, I propose to wipe the slate clean. From here on out, there should be accountability. No more lazy commentary, no more leaning on the conventional wisdom, no more pandering to fan bases.

It’s time to tell it like it is. And if you don’t really know how it is, then don’t pretend you do.

It’s time for opinions on college football that are not formed solely by what a coach has to say, or a reporter, or a player.

In other words, it’s time for independent knowledge to come to the forefront.

To all the other bloggers out there, that is my challenge. It’s time to take down Herbstreit and Alberts, Maisel and Hayes. And we should do it with better, sounder, more thought-provoking college football commentary.

Let the revolution begin.

About Heismanpundit

Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.
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