Fortunately, the winners don't have to cart home this horrific monstrosity. (Photograph from University of Southern California.)
Due to the large number of categories, I have decided to release my selections in increments. With apologies for taking the categories somewhat out of sequence, I present my nominees for the awards to be given to particular weblog postings. These are they:
The Tyrone Prothro And His Amazing Catch Award (for the finest individual post of the college football year):
When I saw the categories, I knew instantly what my nominee for this category would be.
As I have admitted before, I never really was a sports reporter, but Johnny's article reminded me why there are times when I wish I was. The day I read that piece, I was proud to be a fan and proud to be associated, however tangentially, with a profession that, at its best, writes about athletics in poetry instead of prose. I have read Johnny's essay many times since, but that feeling never fades . . . which I think is a large part of the point.
Every Odysseus deserves his Homer. (Photograph from Eye on Gambling.)
Honorable mention goes to College Football Resource. I have given CFR a hard time a time or two, and he didn't exactly do himself any favors by liveblogging another blogger's liveblog of an event so inconsequential that I flat-out forgot it was even on or by crediting seemingly every playoff opponent in the blogosphere except me, but I know he appreciates a nomination, so I feel inclined to give credit where credit is due.
In my view, CFR's piece "Le Playoffs" effectively answered the arguments even of articulate playoff advocates like The Lawgiver, so CFR's effort gets a nod here for appealing to my head, even though my formal nomination went to a piece that appealed to my heart.
The Chris Berman Antimatter Award (for the best contribution to the lingo of our little interniche):
No contest. The best contribution to the argot of the blogosphere came from Deadspin, which (ironically) told (repeatedly) the story that made an (allegedly) actual Chris Bermanism famous:
Don't tell me you haven't been using that phrase every chance you've gotten since you first heard about it.
By popularizing the phrase, "You're with me, leather," Deadspin is believed to have breathed new life into the career of Suzi Quatro, who played Pinky Tuscadero's sister on "Happy Days."
The Old Faithful Award (for the best recurring feature of the year):
Over at Burnt Orange Nation, Peter was torn between MGoBlog's "Unverified Voracity" and The Corporate Headquarters of the San Antonio Gunslingers' "GameDay Recap." I faced the same conundrum.
By a hair's breadth, LD's weekly breakdown of the Worldwide Leader's influential college football pregame show edged out Brian's regular insightful offerings because, although both features are some kind of in-depth, LD delves into the minutiae like nobody's business, parsing each passing remark and plumbing its depths (or, more often, its shallows) for significance.
The importance of LD's efforts virtually cannot be overstated, in light of the sway "College GameDay" holds over the poll voters and storylines that are extracted from the facts and woven into The Narrative . . . not to mention the show's effect on the drinking habits of its viewers.
Journalism has been described as "the rough draft of history" and LD stands ready to snatch such first impressions fresh from the printer ere the ink has dried and mark them up with a red pen before E.S.P.N.'s opinions have had time to become set in stone as the prevailing conventional wisdom.
For LD, as for Lawrence of Arabia, nothing is written unless he writes it. (Photograph from Al-Ahram Weekly.)
"LD" does not stand for "Little Dutch," but the blogosphere's most astute questioner is doing his darnedest to plug the holes in the dam and slow, if not stop, the flow of spin-doctoring gushing forth from Bristol. If you're not reading "GameDay Recap," you're only getting half the story.
The That's Not Really Real Award (for the best photoshop or other counterfeit gag of the year):
Sometimes, the simplest sight gags are the best ones and Doug is among the finest in the business at being a straightforward smart-aleck, as evidenced by his line of commemorative posters following Georgia's win over Georgia Tech.
If you don't get a framed copy of the "PWN3D" poster for Christmas, you're swapping presents with the wrong crowd.
Mark Richt is classy so Doug doesn't have to be.
The You Talkin' To Me Award (for the best back and forth between rival blogs the week before a rivalry game):
I regret not being able to recognize Paul Westerdawg for his consistently fine trash-talking leading up to the Georgia Tech game, yet the simple reality is that Yellow Jacket smack is as weak as Reggie Ball's judgment, so what we got wasn't so much back and forth as . . . well, forth.
To find the proper nominees in this category, we must overcome our East Coast bias and look westward. Although I would not characterize the "Holy War" as the nation's top college football rivalry, the Ute-bashing jokes found at Provo Pride and the series history found at Block U earned the Beehive State partisans an honorable mention as the runners-up in this category.
The clear winners, though, were Conquest Chronicles and Bruins Nation, who revealed how heated a rivalry the Battle of Los Angeles truly is. Heck, they had more back and forth after the game than most rivals do beforehand!
Georgia Tech is merely an annoyance; this is clean, old-fashioned hate. (Photograph from C.N.N./Sports Illustrated.)
In all seriousness, Nestor and Paragon SC are both friends and colleagues of mine, so I hope tempers between the Bruin and Trojan contingents will cool in the weeks ahead, lest a storied institutional rivalry take on a decidedly unhealthy dimension of personal animosity, any more than it already has.
In the meantime, though, there's simply no way to claim that there is greater intensity in any rivalry represented in the blogosphere than that to be found in U.C.L.A.-U.S.C. Here's hoping Nestor and Paragon SC get to hoist this trophy together, then sit down and smoke a peace pipe afterwards.
The I'm Just Like You But I Have a Podcast Award (for the best podcast or podcaster of the year):
Honestly, if you told me that Orson invented the podcast, I couldn't look you in the eye and tell you that I knew you were wrong. Upon the conclusion of his two-part interview with Michael Lewis, Orson had hit for the cycle, successfully recording and broadcasting conversations between himself and every college football commentator more famous than, oh, say, me.
Orson Swindle is to the college football weblogger podcast as Truett Cathy is to the chicken sandwich.
By the way, while I'm on the subject of things broadcast by Orson, I have to call your attention to Tift County High School's Devil Walk. I have family in Tifton, so I am grateful for the fact that none of them appear in this video, as neither I nor any relative of mine is even remotely hip enough to take part in this display of school spirit.
The nominations process is open to public participation, regardless of whether you have a weblog or just like to read them, so I would invite you to offer your own nominations in any or all of these categories, as well. Be sure to stay tuned, as my nominations for the weblog-specific awards will be forthcoming soon.