Something Smells Rank: How the Media Is Leading College Football Fans Astray

James ColtCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 13:  Head coach Pete Carroll and Matt Barkley #7 of the Southern California Trojans leave the field after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes 18-15 on September 13, 2009 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

There is a reason that NFL teams have preseason games.  

There is a reason why many of the top college football programs choose to play cupcakes for the first few games of the season.

There is a reason why polls shouldn't be conducted until the middle of the college football season.

The reason is because nobody really knows how good a team is until a few games into the season, not even the coaches.

Coaches like the easy games because it's tough for them to get a feel for who can do what from scrimmages at practice.  Scrimmages are nice, and playing hard in practice can reward a player, but there is never a substitute for game speed.

What does this all have to do with the media?

The fact is that the media is creating an early bias of how good teams are going to be before their own coaches can even be sure of what to expect.

This leads to the glorification of games like Miami and Florida State.  Sure, it was a great game and very entertaining, but let's face it, neither team has been better than mediocre of late. So how does the fact that they could play a game like that against each other mean that Miami has turned the corner by coming out the victor?

Two teams that are 0-11 at the end of the year could play a game that's just as entertaining and full of highlight reel plays, but would anyone ever notice? 

No, because we already know how good those teams are, or in that particular example, aren't. 

So then, this weekend Michigan and Notre Dame played a thriller of a game.  Notre Dame got a lot of hype coming into the season because of their beat down over Hawaii in their bowl game last year.

Michigan was being revered by reporters because of how good they looked against Western Michigan in their opener.

Notre Dame received more hype after beating up on Nevada.

So the stage was set.  Both teams beat teams that will be lucky to finish the year at .500, but nevertheless, they are being viewed as powerhouses on the verge of coming back to life.

Whoever comes out on top is poised to have a breakthrough season.

Well, can anyone tell me the last time that Notre Dame beat a BCS team that finished the season with a winning record?  

I couldn't remember, so I had to do some research. The answer is—the last time that Notre Dame beat a BCS team that finished with a winning record was Oct. 21, 2006 against UCLA, who finished 7-6.

Since then, Notre Dame has gone 0-14 against BCS schools that have finished the year with a winning record.  Those aren't teams that finished the year ranked.  I'm just talking teams that finished 7-6 or better.

Michigan is coming off a year in which they won two games, and have two true freshman quarterbacks at the top of their depth chart.

So are we supposed to believe all the hype that Michigan is a top-25 team? 

Once again, the game was great, but come on, what has either team done to deserve to be glorified to the extent that they are?

Then we have USC and Ohio State.  Two teams that started the year in the top 10.

Ohio State started the year by having to stave off a two-point conversion by Navy to pull out a win at home.

USC is replacing nine starters on defense and has a true freshman starting at quarterback for the first time in the history of the program.

Both teams lost a ton of talent from last year, and played a nail-biting game, which USC pulled out in the end on the road.

These two teams are definitely head and shoulders above all of the aforementioned teams, but did USC really look like the No. 3 team in the country?  Did they look like a team that can contend with Florida?  Did they even look like they are the best team in their conference?

NO!!!  They look like a team with a great coach, and a lot of confidence, that is good enough to be in the second tier of the top 10, but certainly not the top three. 

The problem is the media has a love affair with prestigious programs.  Looking at it from the media's point of view that's a good thing.

Most of the people in the country root for one of the teams I've named above.  Ratings drive television.  Who cares if you aren't being fair and balanced if the ratings are high.

That is the bottom line at ESPN, ABC, CBS, and Fox.  They want ratings, and those teams drive the ratings.

The people who suffer are the true fans of the sport. 

Not necessarily Joe Schmo Wolverine Fan, but rather the hardcore fan that read my article on the top 10 quarterbacks heading into 2009, and knew who Case Keenum was before he upset Oklahoma State because you wanted to know everything you can about college football.

However, all the big time media outlets are still out there driving their ratings leaving all of us to suffer their incessant talk of how great a team is that hasn't beaten a team of consequence since 2006, and that that team will be UPSET by FLORIDA in the National Championship game.

SERIOUSLY!!!!!!  Who lets these people on TV, and then tells people they are college football experts. 

Look, I have respect for Lou Holtz as a coach, but I thought you are supposed to check your bias at the door when you get on a national television show and are supposed to educate people about the game not mislead them.

It's a responsibility that large media outlets don't take seriously.  Fortunately, there are those on here that do.

So to all of you B/R writers, keep writing about how Cal will win the Pac-10.  Keep writing about how the MWC really could be the third or even second best conference in the country RIGHT NOW. 

We may be a small community, but perhaps we can cause some sort of change in the way the popular media conducts their business, or we can at the very least keep each other informed of what is really happening in the world of college football, and keep praising those deserving individuals and teams that get skipped over by the large outlets because they just aren't popular.

Well you know what ESPN, ABC, CBS, and Fox? They aren't popular because you aren't doing your job!!!!


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