There was a time when we sought out our sports information in the newspaper each and every morning. For as tedious as it was to go through box scores and scan for statistics, it still felt like the knowledge we gained this way was legitimate because we actually earned it. Then ESPN showed up on the scene with unparalleled access and live events, and we shifted our focus to the television set and stopped actively seeking out information. For the most part, sports fans became robots, glued to every last word and statistical overlay presented at their feet. A virtual sporting paradise for many. But for others it felt hollow.
There are literally hundreds of quality sports blogs on the internet at the moment, all pumping must-read content on a daily basis. And just in case you haven't been paying attention, a large portion of these sites are firmly entrenched in the monstrosity that is the SB Nation community. But the big boys on the block, the large media companies if you will, never really put much stock into the whole blogging thing until recently. And oh boy, does it ever show.
It's easy to forget just how utterly despised the word "blog" was by traditional media members only a few short years ago. Before, blogs were unanimously viewed as amateurish, lewd, and lacking any sort of credibility. It was as if every blogger on the planet was conceived from Deadspin's seed, and therefore disregarded as nothing more than a college dropout living in their parent's cold, dark basement. And yet a half-decade later and the script has been flipped. Those stubborn companies who held up their noses at the concept before are now scrambling to add as many blogs as possible to their lineup. And the same media members who so publicly derided blogs are now being forced by their employers to, of all things, post blog entries just like the rest of us. Karma is a bitch.
In the college hoops game, the endless string of team blogs makes up the majority of the blogosphere. But it's the handful of nationally-focused sites that garner the most attention, and often serve to fuel the very discussions you see at these team-specific blogs in the first place. And yet when it came down to anointing a one-stop, go-to destination, locating the best national college hoops blog on the web used to be a dubious task. All of them were worthy of your attention, but a leader never truly emerged from the pack.
That is, until now.
One year ago, CBS Sports' Eye on College Basketball blog didn't even exist. Heck, it wasn't even on the web in time to kick off the 2010-11 season. But by Christmas it became instantly clear what CBS was trying to do with its little blogging project. By snatching up four of the most prominent bloggers in the sport (Matt Norlander-College Hoops Journal/The Dagger, Jeff Borzello-College Hoops Net, Matt Jones-Kentucky Sports Radio, and Eric Angevine-Storming the Floor), and teaming them with in-house columnist Gary Parrish, CBS morphed into a superstar in the blogging world overnight.
That's basically where it stayed. As the season bled into March, college hoopsters found themselves gravitating to Eye on College Basketball for a majority of their hoops info. And quite honestly, with so much breaking news, live videos, and spot-on analysis, it was difficult to not check in on the site every few hours. Go ahead and ask any do-it-from-scratch blogger out there, posing a threat to market share is a remarkable feat for a blog still in its infancy stage.
But instead of resting on its laurels here, CBS stepped to the plate and hit a mammoth 500 foot home run early this summer in preparation for 2011-12. Inaugural members Angevine and Jones are no longer with the blog, but in their place, CBS went out and bagged FoxSports.com's Jeff Goodman, one of the most well-connected guys on the circuit. Goodman's hiring not only proves that CBS wants to push this blog further into the mainstream, but it effectively creates the most impressive roster of college hoops analysts on the internet.
Even without Goodman, who was often under-utilized by Fox Sports, Eye on College Basketball already had the muscle in place to outwork and outpoint its competitors. That's the scary part. With him in tow, however, there's no telling just how high this blog can soar. Norlander's versatility, Borzello's recruiting knowledge, Parrish's rock-solid perspective, and Goodman's endless string of connections create a concoction that could literally blow college basketball fans away this season.
We swear we're not here to stroke the egos of a group of writers a few rungs above us, but it appears the king of the college basketball blogosphere has arrived. How the competition of this small pocket of the sports media world responds only benefits us fans.