The 2006 College Football Blogger Awards

Update [2006-12-19 17:28:0 by Joel]:Bumped to top again in an attempt to reopen comments, which have been closed due to incessant spam.

Update [2006-12-19 17:29:57 by Joel]: . . . which apparently has the effect of deleting all prior comments! Yikes.

Bumped to the top. Update [2006-12-13 6:58:40 by Joel]: Debumped.

An open message to all college football bloggers

First of all, thanks to everyone who has already promoted this thing on their own site and to everyone who provided ideas and much-needed feedback. A couple of administrative matters before we announce the award categories: First, my idea to brand the awards with the word "BlogPoll," in honor of Brian's trail-blazing met with some raised eyebrows. For the record, calling them the "BlogPoll Awards" was never Brian's idea - I just thought it was the best way to promote the thing. After reading the comments and chatting with Brian and a few other trusted folks in secret meetings behind closed doors and in hushed voices, I decided to concede the point. I stand by my assertion that "[t]he BlogPoll is the most recognizable, influential, and credible "thing" in the college football blogosphere," and that leveraging that credibility would be a good move from a marketing standpoint, but if using the term divides rather than unites, we'd rather move forward in unison.

The second major concern was the very real possibility that the same handful of bloggers would win every award. In discussing potential resolutions to this dilemma, it became clear that we needed first to define our intended audience. Are the awards going to be primarily geared toward our little niche, or are we going to use them to enlarge the boundaries of the entire college football blogosphere by marketing our best to the uninitiated masses? I think it should be the latter. We spend 364 days a year talking primarily to each other, and I believe that it would behoove us to spend one day a year rallying the troops, spurring ourselves into a united, concerted, intentional effort to promote the blogosphere to the uninformed.

So what do we show our visitors once we have their attention? If I have a recruit on campus, I'm directing them to SMQ's Chris Fowler Diary, not the Rocky Top Talking Points: Vandy Wednesday edition. A valid point, no? We want to polish our biggest trophy, stick it in the middle of the glass case, and train our flashing neon lights on it.

On the other hand, it does no good to have somebody like Orson sweep every award, as commenter PSUgirl suggests he should. (I think that's just another of Orson's pseudonyms.) If all of the awards go to just a handful of bloggers, the trophy case begins to look more like a shrine than a monument to the achievements of a collective. Maize n Brew put it well:"[p]art of the idea behind [the awards] is to recognize the guys that aren't the Mgoblog, EDSBS, BON, and SMQ's of the blogosphere, but to recognize the guys and girls that provide their own share of laughs, insights, and information to interested readers on a slightly smaller scale." Call us an Army of Rudys.

So how do we strike the balance? Well first, we're asking you to do it. The bloggers are going to be largely responsible for spreading the love by nominating both well-known and lesser-known blogs. Remember, the nominations and the voting are both open to all college football bloggers. Once the nomination deadline has passed, we'll sort through the wreckage and then post a list of three to five nominees for each award category. If the nominations don't consist of some lesser-known blogs, a fellowship of bloggers will be convened (passive voice intentional), and that cabal will make sure that the final nominee list consists of both well-known and lesser-known blogs. Once the nominees are posted, all voters will need to check out each of the nominees before voting, so newer blogs should theoretically have as much of a chance as more established blogs. Even after voting, the cabal will work to eliminate any wonkiness.

The Name

Okay, then. So what's the name? Keeping our intended audience in mind, we're actually going to go with the most boring suggestion - The 2006 College Football Blogger Awards - because it is the most descriptive. Once we lure them into our lair, we can liven things up.

For the record, both Brian and I laughed when we read Maize n Brew's suggestion of TEH SUXORZ! Along the same lines was Mountain Lair's "Teh BlogPoll Meatnormous Mehtastic Awards." Great ideas, if we were only talking to each other.

Awards

And now for the award categories, which essentially self-organized into two flavors: awards for blogs, and awards for individual posts. We've also included a "Blogger Championship Series" and a special "I Wanna Talk About Me Free for All" as a fail safe for the spread the love issue.

Awards for Blogs

The Dr. Z Award

FOR: Cogent, interesting analysis.

CRITERIA: Emphasis placed on statistical manipulation, well researched pieces that reveal something new, and/or solid argumentative pieces that function as the authoritative last word on a subject.

The Trev Alberts Quits To Do Construction Award

FOR: comic relief; overall hilarity.

CRITERIA: The funniest college football blog.

The Sports Fans Don't Cry Award

FOR: The blog that has suffered through its chosen team's dismal season with the most dignity.

CRITERIA: Continued engagement in the face of crippling, misery-inducing defeat. A stiff-upper lip and sane reaction to everything crumbling to dust.

The Keith Jackson Circa 1995 Award

FOR: The blog with the most consistently expressive and excellent writing.

CRITERIA: Mechanical competency, yes, but the ability to turn a devastatingly funny phrase or write something compelling is probably more important. This isn't an award for copy editing; it's an award for kickin' prose.

The Brady Quinn Award

FOR: The prettiest blog, the best layout and design.

CRITERIA: An aesthetic appeal, whether from a stylish banner, a pleasing layout, or an eye-catching incorporation of blog technology.

The New Blog on the Block Award

FOR: The best new college football blog.

CRITERIA: Must have launched sometime after last year's national championship game. Transitioning to a new blog or affiliating with a network mid-stream doesn't count.

The LOL, MSM Award

FOR: The blog best keeping tabs on the man and calling out all of the injustices in the college football world.

CRITERIA: Consistently ahead-of-the-curve on controversial issues in college football.

The Best Community Interaction Award

FOR: The blog with the best community interaction.

CRITERIA: A regular solicitation of input from readers and utilization of reader-produced content.

Awards for Posts

The Tyrone Prothro And His Amazing Catch Award

FOR: The finest individual post of the college football year.

CRITERIA: Best post for whatever reason.

The Chris Berman Antimatter Award

FOR: The best contribution to the lingo of our little interniche, be it a nickname, neologism, or catchy phrase used with frequency.

CRITERIA: Spread is important. The ideal candidate has been universally adopted by anyone with cause to use the term.

The Old Faithful Award

FOR: The best recurring feature of the year.

CRITERIA: The feature should be posted weekly and be generally good and stuff.

The That's Not Really Real Award

FOR: The best photoshop or other counterfeit gag of the year.

CRITERIA: Could be a photoshop, a Motivational Poster, an On Notice Board, or something similar, as long as it elicited more than a mere smile.

The You Talkin' To Me Award

FOR: The best back and forth between rival blogs the week before a rivalry game.

CRITERIA: Must be bi-directional, and both blogs must score points against each other. A unilateral beat-down will not suffice. Should be more in the spirit of fun than wildly abusive.

The I'm Just Like You But I Have a Podcast Award

FOR: The best podcast or podcaster of the year.

CRITERIA: Uh, must be audio. And about college football, you know. Note that this is "podcast" in a really broad sense. Parody songs, incoherent ravings about Tyrone Willingham, and whatever else you've got are nominate-able. One restriction: it has to be self-generated.

Blogger Championship Series

...it's just like that other BCS except completely different. We'll be handing out Best Blog awards for each of the BCS conferences, plus one for mid-major coverage (including all independents other than Notre Dame), and one for more general, national coverage blogs. After long debate we decided to put Notre Dame blogs in with the Big East, as the "non-BCS" category is supposed to be an award for mid-majors, which Notre Dame is certainly not. Since ND shares bowl affiliations with the Big East and plays the rest of their sports there, it seemed the logical choice.

The I Wanna Talk About Me Free for All

The I Wanna Talk About Me Free for All is designed primarily to spread the love in case it doesn't naturally happen some other way and to serve as the season's Round Up of Round Ups. Each blogger, no matter who they are, must identify their three best posts of the year. I'll round `em up, and compile the entire thing. If it kills me. And it might.

The Nomination Process

All right, so here's how the nomination process will work. It's like a Roundtable. Nominate, in a post on your site, whomever you like for whatever you like. One plea: please don't neglect the individual post awards, as nominations in that area are going to be a little thin. You have two weeks, or until Friday, December 22. We plan to announce the nominees on January 2, open the voting for a week, and have an all-day awards presentation on Wednesday, January 10, two days after the National Championship Game. All dates are tentative at this point.

Remember that we're going to do this combo-style. Once we close the nominations, we'll try to pull 3-6 nominees in each category. 2-4 of these we'll pick from the tops of the open vote-getters. Each category will have one or two "editors choice" nominees selected by a panel in an effort to get deserving but less popular blogs in front of the voters.

General nomination rules: You cannot nominate yourself or any of your own posts for any of the awards, except for the I Wanna Talk About Me Free for All, where you MUST select your own posts. Important: As you draft your Roundtable response, don't just nominate somebody, say something nice about why they deserve consideration. Those bloggers posting the best comments will be the "presenters" in the award posts, which is another way the lesser-known blogs can end up with links on award day.

Once you finish your Roundtable, DON'T FORGET to post a link to your nomination post in the comment thread of this post, or else we might not ever see them. ALSO, head on over to Brian's Nomination Gizmo, and enter your nominations there as well, which will assist with the compilation and crunching of numbers.

If you have suggestions for improving the name of any particular award, include it in your nomination.

Again, this is all experimental, so expect some SNAFUs, etc. Happy nominating.

Update [2006-12-11 13:13:33 by Joel]:A couple of answers to early questions. Nominations are open to all -- bloggers, readers, whomever -- so by all means encourage your readers to participate. Second, nominate two or three blogs/posts for each category, if possible. And bloggers, Peter had the excellent idea to roll out your nominations over the next two weeks rather than posting them all at once. Less of a chore all at once, and probably preferable to readers as well.

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