Hype alert: The Watch(list)men

Received an email yesterday that caused me to stop where I was reading. (I think it was the checkout line at Kroger.)

ESPN sent word that for the first time, “Watch Lists” for the major college football awards will be announced, one award per night, on the network’s College Football Live program beginning August 3.

THE RELEASE: The watch lists for 10 of the major collegiate football awards will be announced on College Football Live on ESPN Monday, August 3 through Friday, Aug. 14 at 3:30 p.m. ET each day. For the two weeks, each of the awards presented at The Hope Depot ESPNU College Football Awards (Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. on ESPN) will be highlighted during the show, featuring the contending outstanding student athletes. This marks the first time such a series of announcements has taken place on ESPN.

At the risk of going all Allen Iverson here, we’re talking watch lists? Watch lists? I mean, we’re not talking about the awards, but we’re talking watch lists? Watch lists?

Most folks know that these lists are, essentially, nominees for national awards. The watch list is a necessary evil for those who serve on the awards committees. It serves as a way to narrow the field of players to look at, because you can’t keep tabs on them all (unless you’re Phil Steele).

I know the drill. I’ve participated in voting for some college football awards, and am currently on the Davey O’Brien Award committee.

The problem with these watch lists is that they eliminate legitimate candidates who don’t get the prerequisite preseason hype. There’s something that has never felt right about determining a field before the season even starts.

And yes, you tend to throw in everybody you think even has a remote chance when putting together these watch lists. So why publicize them?

I hesitate to say this, because I’m afraid I’ll be proven wrong soon. But if we’re publicizing watch lists, we may officially have run out of things to hype.

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