First Annual BlogPoll College Football Blogger Awards

Last week, with the college football regular season drawing to a close, Brian and I started kicking around the idea of an online blogger event recognizing the best of the best in the college football blogosphere this season. Well, we got ourselves all giddy and stuff, and we decided to do it. We need your help.

Details? Details.

Q: Whose idea was this anyway?

A: Uh, mine. Brian's. Probably some other people have had the same thought. Brian had actually gotten halfway down the aisle with the idea last season, but got sidetracked by a bridesmaid.

Q: What's the point? Why don't you just go ahead and anoint Orson and Brian and Peter and SMQ as the Royal Family and be done with it?

A: Ha. Funny.

Q: No really. What's the point?

A: Well, first of all, to have fun. That's what we do, isn't it? Second, and most importantly, we want to rally the entire college sports blogosphere into a united, concerted, intentional effort to promote itself to the uninitiated, of which there still are many. The awards are intended to serve as a post-season Round Up to End All Round Ups, leveraging the CFB blogosphere's numbers to sift the season's posts and pull out the best of the best, displaying it in a single fancy glass trophy case we can show to recruits and other visitors, with everybody linking every which-a-way and promoting the thing to all of their contacts in other sports' blogospheres, non-sports blogospheres, and the MSM.

SIDEBAR: As a general rule, and especially with regard to these awards, all bloggers should link, link, and link some more. If you're like me, you've probably often decided not to link to something you enjoyed because one of the big boys had already linked to it and you frankly didn't see the point. The assumption underlying this line of thinking, though, is that all of your readers are also reading the big boys, and while the big boys might be widely read, there are certainly readers ending up at your site courtesy of a search engine who are absolutely clueless as to the existence of CFB blogosphere. This is especially true during the season when information about our respective teams arrives in truckloads and overwhelms us all. Contribute to the viral growth of a good post by clueing your readers in and linking to it. Go ahead and hat tip the original source even if his or her hat is ten times the size of yours. Even sugar daddies need a little love once in awhile.

Okay, where was I? Right. Rally the entire college football blogosphere into a united, concerted, intentional self-promotion effort. Yeah. Doing so will also give due recognition to the best bloggers out there, hopefully help discover new, worthy bloggers, and help new and old readers alike find the best content of the season all in one place. So that's all good.

Q: This is just another one of your elitist BlogPoll things, isn't it? I hate you guys.

A: Wow, sorry. But no, you don't have to be a BlogPoll voter. If you're a college football blogger, speak! The event, whatever it ends up being called and whatever it ends up looking like, will be branded with the name "BlogPoll" for a couple of reasons. And by the way, this was my idea, not Brian's, so flame me, not him, if you disagree. First, establishing credibility for the entire college sports blogosphere is an ancillary goal to the self-promotion effort. This is not just for the benefit of BlogPollers, or AOL's Fanhouse, or (my favorite!) Sports Blogs Nation. No, this is about all college football bloggers regardless of affiliation (or lack thereof) working together to promote the more amorphous college sports blogosphere in general. Brian's BlogPoll is the wagon furthest down the long, dusty road to mass appeal and acceptance. He not only deserves the credit for unifying a bunch of individualistic cretins, but he's established a long track record as a model of credibility. The BlogPoll is the most recognizable, influential, and credible "thing" in the college football blogosphere, and if we're going to promote the blogosphere, we ought to put our collective best foot forward. This will be another of Brian's youngin's, and if the BlogPoll Blogger Awards shares any of the characteristics of its older sibling, she's gonna do just fine. Oh, and Brian's already got a cool voting gizmo that he's going to adapt for the awards. So there. Now excuse me while I remove my lips from Brian's buttocks.

Q: Who are you? Why do you get to host this thing?

A: I am privy to several of Brian's deepest, darkest, and most closely-held secrets, and I am using them as leverage.

Q: No, seriously.

A: I had an idea, okay? I am a proponent of the CFB blogosphere as a whole, and I thought this would be an excellent way to get all of us behind one concerted effort to promote this new medium we all enjoy so much. I envision an annual event, hosted by a different blogger each year, designed to expose more mainstream readers to the excellence of the CFB blogosphere. I'll be doing most of the initial organizational legwork, experimenting, making mistakes, etc., so I'll be this year's host. My regular posting will likely suffer because of it. Contact myself or Brian in February if you're interested in hosting next year. We'll be able to tell you then if it's worth the effort.

Q: Okay, I'm in. So what's the game plan?

A: Here's the tentative plan, which is subject to change based on the inevitable SNAFU.

Today, we're soliciting ideas for individual awards and for the name of the event. The name of the event must include the word "BlogPoll," but that's the only rule. Today's initial solicitation will work just like a BlogPoll Roundtable in that you should post your ideas on your site and then come back here and leave a link to that post in the comment section so that it's easier for Brian and I to find it. While this is not limited to BlogPollers, we are using BlogPollers to get the word out, so BlogPollers, please include an announcement in your post that all college sports bloggers are encouraged to contribute regardless of whether they vote in the BlogPoll. Encourage your readers to submit ideas as well. Ideas should establish clear criteria and a descriptive, quirky name for the award. Brian has some excellent ideas already, but rather than taint the well and perhaps stifle creativity, we're not going to disclose them just yet.

On or around 12/5, I'll post an announcement finalizing the name of the event and the award categories and, at the same time, soliciting nominations. The solicitation of nominations will work pretty much the same way as the solicitation of award ideas, but will place an added emphasis on commentary regarding the merits of the nominee, the best of which will be used for the award presentation posts. Nominations will remain open through 12/10 or 12/11 (maybe), at which time they'll close so that Brian can finalize the voting page. Non-BlogPoll voters will also need to contact Brian at this time so that he can set you up as a voter for the awards. Not sure yet whether each blogger will be able to nominate multiple blogs or just a single blog for each category. Also not sure yet whether you'll be able to vote for yourself.

On or around 12/12, I'll post an announcement identifying the nominees and directing voters to the voting page at mgoblog. Not sure exactly how long voting will remain open, but it's possible that it would close by 12/20.

After the voting closes, Brian will crunch the numbers and spit out the winners, and I'll assemble multiple award presentation posts, one for each award. Each post will identify the winner of that category, the best commentary from those nominating the winner, and links to the winning blog or post and to those whose commentary was used. The post will also link to the runners up and will probably include commentary as to those as well. All of the award presentation posts will be finalized before any one of them goes live, and they will go live one at a time at regular intervals on a single day that is within a few days after the National Championship game, counting down to the Overall Best Blog Award or whatever it ends up being called. Winners will be encouraged to write an acceptance post, and all winners, runners up, voters, and other interested parties will be encouraged to link to the award presentation posts (which, remember, will be a compilation of the best of the best -- the trophy case) and to tell everyone they know about it, including their non-college sports blogosphere contacts, their non-sports blogosphere contacts, and their MSM contacts. We should also all make use of all of the blogging viral tools available, such as digg, del.icio.us, furl, etc.

Q: Any other rules?

A: Limited to college football at this time. Not limited to BlogPollers. Bloggers are encouraged to solicit feedback from their readers. Also, you might want to keep in mind that we'll all be trying to get some MSM attention for this thing, so craft your nomination commentary accordingly.

Q: Wow, that's a lot of info. Just tell me what I need to know right now.

A: Sissy. Here's what you should do right now: Post some ideas for award categories and for the name of the event on your blog and then come back here and leave a link to that post in the comment section below. Include a statement that this is not limited to BlogPoll voters and that any college football blogger is encouraged to participate. Encourage readers to post their ideas in your comment section as well. Begin hyping the award presentation that will take place within a few days of the National Championship Game.

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