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Stadium and Main: Preseason Magazines are becoming irrelevant

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Preseason Magazines are becoming irrelevant

I'm worthless!I remember those good ol' summer days, when I used to check my local Arbor Drugs (later bought out by CVS) on a daily basis for College Football Preseason Magazines to arrive. Back in the early 90's, they were often released in July (or later). Today, they come out in early June, which I must admit does help treat the off-season blues.

Before computers took over our minds, bodies, and souls, many fans had to wait for those preseason mags to clarify if a player was returning, if somebody had transferred, or if an Assistant Coaching change was made. The magazines were very valuable to all fans, and a must for "real fans" that wanted the (alleged) "inside scoop."

But unlike the days when I used to hang on every word written in Athlon, Lindy's, Street & Smith's, The Sporting News, or any other publication, I find these magazines pretty unhelpful nowadays - almost to the point of being (dare I say) a complete waste of money. I know I'm not stepping out on a limb here, but I just wanted to add my two cents. People often bash preseason mags, mainly for ranking "my favorite team" too low. But there are plenty of other reasons why these magazines are becoming irrelevant:

(1) The magazines come out too early. That's right, the earlier release dates are both a blessing (as mentioned above) and a curse. By being published in late May and early June, these mags contain even-more-cookie-cutter-than-usual quotes from coaches and players. Interviews are conducted right after the season has ended, and sometimes before Spring Practice has even begun. While I never expect to hear something cool from Lloyd Carr, I know that I won't get anything meaningful from any college coach from an interview conducted on February 19th.

(2) The Internet, like, rules!! I can find better info on Rivals.com, Scout.com, or even oft-ripped CollegeFootballNews.com. For "my home team," I can check the Rivals and Scout Michigan pages, along with a quality selection of blogs. Heck, even the poorly-designed, rarely-updated MGoBlue.com at least has the correct player names and eligibility. Want to know what the best games will be this year? Don't wait for the mags to tell you - check out my boy at LSUfootball.net... he'll even tell you what channels they're on!

(3) Team previews in the magazines are written by random dudes. When you've got a guy that freelances for the Chicago papers writing your Michigan preview, you're probably not gonna get much out of it. Does he (or she!) actually follow the team during the season and the off-season? Or is he too busy thinking about Illinois, Northwestern, and Notre Dame to even know that Antonio Bass is likely out for the year? Too often it is the latter.

(4) Regional bias. The Sporting News is the worst offender here. I don't have the time or energy to prove this (this isn't a Master's thesis, after all), so just trust me (again). It's all about the SEC with these dudes. In fact, until recent years, they would only put out a National edition and an SEC edition. And as of 2005, they still didn't bother with a Pac-10 edition. Granted, there are tons of college football fans in the South, but it is clear that The Sporting News gives them exactly what they want to read/see/believe (Southern Speed, y'all!!). I'm convinced that the 2003 Auburn hype was a direct result of the hacks at The Sporting News (for real).

I could probably go on, but those are the four main beefs that come to mind first. I think that magazines like Phil Steele's are usually worth the money, if only for the vast amounts of crazy info contained therein ("Michigan is 9-4 ATS in weeks following a victory over Indiana which occured in the rain and started before 3 p.m. CST." Huh?!). But otherwise, buyer beware. Nevertheless, I am 97.2% certain that I will squeal like a little girl when I see a magazine with Mike Hart on the cover, and my inner demons will force me to buy it. The end.

2 Comments:

Blogger Jake said...

Don't do it! Rage against the Ma.......gazine! The worst part about the coverage from these magazines is that they'll make random one-sentence comments about the players everyone has heard of like, "Prescott Burgess could show up big this year" or "Ruben Riley will provide stability on the offensive line". What does "provide stability" mean? He has a pulse? He's 300+ pounds? For the info to be at a level where a true college football fan could get enjoyment from it, the article needs to be at least ten times longer and written by someone with a thorough knowledge of that team without a bias towards the program. Basically, it needs to be like stuff only found in blogs. Good luck finding a magazine like that.

I feel for you brother. The magazines used to be my summer fix, too. Plus, you know enough about this stuff to write your own magazine. What do you need to read somebody else's stuff for?

The ONLY thing those magazines are good for now are the transfer updates. I could always use a nice, compact list of all of the transfers for the upcoming season. I suppose that could be worth $5!?!?

Go Blue!

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

No Jake, I'm sure CFM will have the comprehensive transfers post up soon.

Nice work Nick btw. I'm with ya.

7:00 PM  

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