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Blog Feud Escalates! Drama!

Give me one second as I try to escalate the budding Shanoff-Steinberg Blog War. Although I'm not getting a lot of help on the other end here. Shanoff, if we're feuding, you can't gush all over me. Think "enmity." (Also, the check's in the mail.)

Anyhow, he responded to my defense of the AP college football pollsters thus:

Now, can he debunk that I think that the media (and coaches) have no business being in the poll business? Or, if they insist on being in that business, why they limit themselves to a pool of local reporters of unknown expertise? Or that I still wonder how they watch enough games to make them more expert than, say, a knowledgeable fan with a "GamePlan" cable package (or one of the many really good college football bloggers)? Or how they can explain the apparent hypocrisy of taking themselves out of the BCS process because they don't want to make news, yet sit on a collision course to "split" the national championship themselves?

In order.

1) Well, who should be in the poll business? Players? I'll admit, that would be much, much more fun, but unlikely to happen. Or should there be no polls? If there are going to be polls, you'd be hard pressed to think of two better groups to vote than writers and coaches, even if you decided that "bloggers" should be counted as "writers." Especially writers. Sure, they might have some bias, but who in the world would know enough and have less bias? Jerry Palm?

2) Why does the AP limits itself to local reporters of unknown expertise? No idea.

3) Why are these voters more expert than good blogsters? Clearly they're not. If there's one thing I've learned from reading all these blogsters, it's that they know as much if not more about the big picture than Big Media, and that they probably have more time to watch their favorite sport on TV than Big Media, because Big Media is always taking plane rides and driving around in rental cars and going to press conferences and raising young Johnny and Susie Media, and often, if Big Media does have some spare time, Big Media really doesn't feel like watching yet another sporting event on television. So fine, the AP poll should be merged, or maybe taken over, by the BlogPoll. I'm cool with that.

4) But this one, on journalists "making news," gets me interested. I'm not sure if I understand the widely celebrated concept that journalists should not "make news." What are we doing when we ask specific questions that yield newsworthy answers if not "making news." If an NBA player has no plans to speak out about the new basketballs, but a reporter figures 'let me ask what he thinks,' and then the NBA player goes on a rant, and then David Stern winds up responding, and then the whole system might be changed, has the reporter not "made news?" If that reporter had stayed home in bed that day, the "news" would not have been made.

Or this whole Steinbrenner-Torre thing......the people that first published the "Torre to be fired" stuff.....did they not "make news?" Don't tell me that was "news that was just waiting to be reported".....someone had to decide to predict the future, with the help of sources, and that decision created a national news story.

Or, when Paul Farhi writes a scathing critique of Kornheiser, doesn't that "make news?" Didn't "Wash Post columnist blasted by own paper" become the subject of "news articles," even before TK responded.

Plus, how can all these high-and-mighty papers (i.e., The Post) say that we're too good to "make news" by voting in such polls, but then go ahead and report on the results religiously? I mean, if we're too good for that stuff, just be done with it. Banish the tainted rankings from our paper. And don't ever use the rankings, and don't ever report on the chance of split national champions, etc. But if it's cool enough to take up agate space, and if it's cool enough to use in stories that describe "No. 6 Texas," then why wouldn't you go ahead and vote, even if it means you've "made news?"

(But to Dan's point, yeah, this does seem like a contradiction for AP to pull out of the BCS but to still do a poll.)

(Also, if we ever get a playoff system, what the heck would people write about in early October? The weather?)

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 10, 2006; 2:42 PM ET
Categories:  College Football  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Are the Wiz All In Or Not?!?!
Next: Breaking Nick Novak News


Arguing with Shanoff is too hard. Pick on a simpleton like that Leitch character.

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | October 10, 2006 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Don't waste your time with Shanoff, he's a no talent @ss clown.

Posted by: Jeff | October 10, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Coaches are one of the best groups to vote in polls? Um... no. Best example: watch Urban Meyer's post game press conferences. When reporters ask him about the next weekend's opponent, he'll tell them he hasn't watched any tape on them yet, but [some fairly generic comment about how they'll be a tough team.] Granted, Meyer doesn't vote in the coaches' poll, but I doubt if he did he'd consider the extra responsibility reason to watch tape of 100 other teams when to be an effective coach there can really only be one team in his universe--the next opponent. I don't want my coach watching enough games to be an informed poll voter.

Posted by: Troy (Gainesville, FL) | October 11, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Troy, you're actually right, that was stupid. I actually thought about who would be a better voter than either writers or coaches: oddsmakers. Seriously, those guys are uncannily accurate with their lines so frequently, why shouldn't they be the ones who tell us which teams are best.

Posted by: SportsBog | October 11, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Shanoff is only doing this for the pub. First, his schtick is "instant history". You know, some scrub third baseman gets a game winning hit in a meaningless regular season MLB game and he instantly becomes. Greatest.3B.Ever. Stupid non-sense like that.

Now that he's trying to have a lucid sports argument with actual analysis he wants us to take him seriously? Please. Shanoff - Most.Overrated.Sportsperson.EVER.

Posted by: Instant History Sucks | October 11, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I find Shanoff somewhat enjoyable now that he isn't shilling for every ESPN product there is in his product. I don't really care for instant history or how he seems to have forgotten that he touted ESPN mobile before saying that he knew all along that it was going to be a failure on his current blog, but I think he's alright.

Posted by: Chris | October 11, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I really like the suggestion that oddsmakers should set the poll. In fact, I'd bet someone out there with too much free time could come up with a formula that takes into account each week's line, and produce a ranking... any takers?

Posted by: oddsmakers | October 11, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

HA! He admitted it all! We've got you now Dan.

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | October 11, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

People posting comments attacking or critiquing Dan Shanoff here is moronic. This blog post wasn't titled, "Do you like Dan Shanoff?". So where's the need in offering your unsolicited opinion on a writer or his 'schtick'.

Mr. Shanoff, it's disappointing that you even felt the need to defend yourself rather than just ignoring the obviously challenged bshers.

Posted by: Rick | October 11, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The problem with oddsmakers creating polls is that they have an even greater conflict of interest than the AP -- MONEY. They would be able to manipulate polls to skew teams' relative strengths. In essence gamblers would be placing money on a team with oddsmakers based on inforamtion supplied by ... the oddsmakers?!? Yeah, that's a smart idea. That would be like letting Ford decide the JD Power and Associates best vehicle awards each year.

Posted by: Scott | October 11, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

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