The Craig James Memorial Trophy will annually recognize the outstanding college football analyst whose performance best exhibits a relentless pursuit of analyzing stuff you know nothing about, a tireless willingness to troll for clicks, and a selfless effort to meet a word count, regardless of the cost to the English language.
In an ABSOLUTELY! ARRESTING! SELF-REFERENTIAL! TURN Mike Patrick & The Craig James were the runaway nominees last week for their fascinating discourse on things they don't know how to pronounce. PEARL-CLUTCH!
This week's nominees include Yankee statisticians, completely apt analogies, and yet more from the Worldwide Leader in Conflicts of Interest. ALL. AFTER. THE. JUMP!!!!
Nate Silver, New York Times
-"Please, just stop trying to cover the sport" category-
Nate SIlver, who apparently has a lot of time of his hands and very little to talk about, for God-knows-what reason decided to make up some pretend fanbase statistics based on an admittedly completely unscientific internet poll and regional stats from google for searches of the phrase "college football." (Makes total sense, right? I know that's the first thing I type when I want Vols news.) The results are awesome:
- According to Silver's numbers, Auburn has not only more fans both nationwide and in Alabama than Alabama, but also the most in the SEC.
- Georgia Tech apparently has a half-million more fans than Georgia, but is second in the ACC behind Clemson, who he says has more fans than LSU, Tennessee, USCw or Oklahoma
- Texas A&M apparently has twice as many fans as both Georgia and South Carolina, and lowly Houston (who I've always had a soft sport for: JOHN JENKINS FTW) apparently has only a hair over 100,000 fans, which I suppose makes them averaging 20-25 thousand tickets a game pretty impressive, really.
Taylor Branch, The Atlantic Monthly
-"Totally the most hyperbolic statement in the history of recorded human discourse" category-
Probably the only thing more embarrassing than the New York Times trying to cover college football is the freaking Atlantic covering college football. There's a lot to take issue with in Mr.Branch's lengthy new cover story The Shame of College Sports, from some questionable historical revisionism and saying some nasty things about Walter Camp to calling the entire NCAA, "college sports," and the idea of student athleticism a "sham" and a "cynical hoax" due to NCAA conduct involving the (at most) one to two thousand players brought into top football and basketball programs yearly, out of the well over hundred-thousand athletic scholarships the NCAA oversees each year. But I'm pretty content to harp on this:
Slavery analogies should be used carefully. College athletes are not slaves. Yet to survey the scene—corporations and universities enriching themselves on the backs of uncompensated young men, whose status as "student-athletes" deprives them of the right to due process guaranteed by the Constitution—is to catch an unmistakable whiff of the plantation...
... aaaaannnnd a few pages later:
"Scholarship athletes are already paid," declared the Knight Commission members, "in the most meaningful way poss-ible: with a free education." This evasion by prominent educators severed my last reluctant, emotional tie with imposed amateurism. I found it worse than self-serving. It echoes masters who once claimed that heavenly salvation would outweigh earthly injustice to slaves.
Reeeeal helpful, Taylor. On the plus side, I assume this means we can shoot Tyler Bray if he ever decides to leave the state of Tennessee, and will totally get first dibs on any and all Peyton progeny. WIN
Jeff MacGregor, ESPN
-'Writing from a glass skyskraper on a barren desert moon made only of rocks II: from a hyperglass hyperskraper on a barren desert hypermoon made only of hyperrocks ' category-
It's time: The death penalty for the NCAA
From Ohio State to the University of Miami; from Reggie Bush to Cam Newton to Jim Tressel; from Yahoo! Sports to the Columbia Journalism Review to a hundred other outlets in just the past few weeks (see sidebar for links and stories), consensus has been reached. Euthanize the NCAA. Blow it up. Tear it down. Cut it loose.
When reached for comment, George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports related the following: "ESPN and ABC Sports fully support your ideas, Jeff MacGregor. The ESPN team believes such a move presents great opportunities for our brand, will allow us to better serve the growing audience of passionate sports fans worldwide, and eagerly look forward to the day we plunge face-first into the still-warm corpse of collegiate athletics to feed hungrily on the precious entrails which we will then dispense mama-bird-like to our valued advertising and play-by-play partners.
Also, have you seen our new film series? It features both amazing filmmakers and incredible stories that capture the glory and the heartbreak of what sports mean to so many people."
As always, write in candidates are encouraged. Comments section: go.
See something that should be on next week's list? Send it on over, yall.