College Football Weekend Recap: “The Pac-12 Sucks” Edition

Since there are so many people writing so many words about college football every weekend, I decided to aggregate some of my favorites in a handy little blog post (that I hope to publish every week this season). I’m doing this partly because I’d like to share what I found intriguing, but mostly because I’d like to hear from others about what articles or blog posts caught their eyes over the weekend.

One overarching theme: The Pac-12 sucks.

At least over the last few months, Pac-12 fans could point to Oregon’s appearance in the BCS title game as proof of our conference’s relevance, but when Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA and Colorado all lose (and Washington and USC barely win), our defense against SEC fans is flimsy. It hurt to read, but The Register-Guard‘s George Schroeder spoke the truth about how Oregon’s loss only widened the gap between the Ducks and the truly great college football programs.

“If only the Pac-12’s football teams would start playing at a level befitting the conference’s newfound status,” wrote Stewart Mandel of SI.com, contrasting the league’s poor play with its recent status as a “destination” conference for teams looking to realign. Bruce Feldman, now of CBS after leaving ESPN post-“Free Bruce” movement, made a similar argument, saying that “Phil Knight’s favorite team was short-circuited on a big national stage once again.” Ouch.

Something decidedly more awesome than my favorite conference getting trashed all over the internet (albeit with good reason)? Rice University’s “Marching Owl Band” and the shot it took at Texas A&M‘s intention to move to the SEC. Definitely gives Script Ohio a run for its money as far as creativity is concerned. (But according to Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice, Rice will receive a letter of reprimand from ESPN for the stunt.)

It’s not directly related to this weekend’s action, but here’s an interesting piece from Lindsay Schnell, an Oregon beat writer for The Oregonian here in Portland (I followed her on Twitter before I really started reading her stuff in the paper, so I almost typed “@LindsayRae19” instead of her real name). While in Texas for Oregon-LSU, she dug into the emerging pipeline between high school stars in the state (a HS football hotbed) and the UO, which first sprung up when LaMichael James and Darron Thomas committed in 2008.

Lastly, I’m not as on top of the realignment talks as a good fan should be, but I do think it’s interesting/funny/fascinating that Mark Cuban (best known, obviously, for his appearance as Saturday’s College GameDay guest picker) felt the need to weigh in on the topic. His latest Blog Maverick post implores Big 12 teams to “say no to super conferences” and makes a slightly awkward Big 12-AL East comparison. Best part: the commenter who turns a football-centric post into a chance to whine about being an Orioles fan. “…I basically think we are screwed in the AL East.” Well, good for you.

Those are a few things that caught my eye. I know there are dozens, if not hundreds more pieces out there that were great, so if you read a particularly intriguing piece of college football writing this weekend, please share!

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(Almost) One Week Down and Loving It

So much has happened between my last post on Saturday and tonight that I don’t even know where to begin. Eugene, school and finals seem like an eternity ago, but I absolutely love this second go-round in NYC.

I arrived early Saturday morning after taking that trusty JetBlue redeye from PDX. Since I couldn’t get into my building until 8 a.m. (or at least, didn’t want to wake up the RAs before 8), I stopped at the Dunkin’ Donuts near baggage claim  (sorry for two parentheses in the same sentence, but I’m positive it’s the same one my dad and I stopped at when we arrived last summer) and sat for an hour with iced coffee and a copy of the New York Daily News.

On the cab ride into the city, I was pleasantly surprised to find that BOTH of my biggest celebrity crushes, Brian Williams and Jimmy Fallon, currently star in Taxi TV segments.

Sunday was for getting settled, meeting my roommates and timing the walk from my building to the Time-Life Building, where Sports Illustrated’s offices are housed. It takes roughly twenty minutes, not counting my ritual Starbucks stop.

Entrance to the Sports Illustrated office.

My internship began on Monday. I was led to my cubicle on the 33rd floor. On my desk when I arrived: MLB’s 2011 Media Guide (so, yeah, all you MLB beat reporters and PR people – I’m going to start following you on Twitter), a copy of the most recent SI (the Jim Tressel cover at the time), a new notebook, plenty of office supplies and several papers and packets detailing everything I’d need to know as a communications intern at Sports Illustrated. Awesome.

There are six full-time employees on the communications staff, and three interns including me.

My cube. This was taken before I added some pictures and Duck décor.

On Tuesday, I had the thrill of actually sending a tweet from the official Sports Illustrated Twitter account. (Side note – again, sorry for all of the parentheses – SI’s Twitter handle was recently changed from @SI_24Seven to @SInow.) It might not sound like a big deal, but having the chance to combine my passions for social media and sports was very exciting. Now, I’m crafting a few tweets each day to send out based on SI.com content and photos from SI’s Google Chrome app, Sports Illustrated Snapshot.

Speaking of snapshots: this is just a phone picture, but I took it from the room where our Time Inc. intern orientation was held on Monday. There's something very New York-ish about working across from Radio City Music Hall.

Every morning, I attend an SI.com editorial meeting. Most of the editors for SI.com’s departments – everything from MLB to boxing/MMA – meet for a quick rundown of what will appear on the site that day. It’s my job to listen for particular stories or features that would appeal to SI’s Twitter followers, and think of ways to uniquely position the content. We don’t want to just post story after story, but provide a new perspective and ask followers what they think. (And on a major nerd note, one of the hosts of a college football podcast I listen to is at those editorial meetings.)

From a PR standpoint, it’s not only fun to tweet, but also fascinating to see how each tweet is intentionally designed to spark some sort of conversation or plug a certain article on the site.

Other than tweeting, I’ve been spending a lot of time with a program called Critical Mention, which tracks mentions of Sports Illustrated on TV shows. I also track some statistics related to SI’s Twitter engagement and today, I put together an Excel spreadsheet filled with info about various golf blogs.

I’m only four days in, but each day has been busy, fulfilling and fun. Next on my agenda: get out and explore more of New York this weekend.

Since I’m feeling rather deprived of anything but sports news, what’s up in your world?