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College Football Media Hype: Bettor Beware

College Football Media Hype: Bettor Beware

Please see update at the bottom of the post. — Pez.

When preparing for the upcoming college football betting season, beware of the inevitable media hype. A few weeks ago I read an article that humorously described former Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s workout at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. I say humorously because that is what the workout ended up being, a joke.

Burfict ran a 5.09 40-yard dash, which was slower than 36 of the 48 defensive linemen at the combine. He couldn’t even outrun 346-pound nose guard Dontari Poe of Memphis. Burfict also had the worst broad jump among linebackers and tied for next-to-last at his position in the vertical jump. He didn’t even bother with the bench-press test or shuttle runs.

Than yesterday I watched a video stating that at the recent Arizona State Pro Day Burfict didn’t even run and now looks like a 5th or 6th round draft pick.

This really made me stop and think about the media’s role in shaping our minds about college football players and teams. Not long ago these so-called college football “experts” were touting Burfict as a potential first-round draft pick and national Defensive Player of the Year. Now it looks as though he will be lucky to even get drafted.

Separating the myths from the facts

The point I am trying to make is that this preseason media hype happens on a yearly basis. Mediocre teams returning a plethora of starters are now being touted as conference title contenders. Conference champions who lost multiple players to graduation and/or the draft are headed for a fall. A new coaching staff is coming in to shake things up and success is sure to follow. Blah, blah, blah.

So how do you go about evaluating all this team and player hype that you are bombarded with in the preseason? How do you separate the hype from the substance?

  • Keep an open mind. Don’t get caught up in all the positive accolades or negative criticisms. Read and absorb as much information as you can, but be objective. Just because everyone is saying the same things doesn’t necessarily make it so.
  • Where is this information coming from? Is it some homer writing an article on a fan page or is it an objective third party?
  • Be on the lookout for any “subtle” red flags. Some team beat writers and coaches are direct when discussing a team’s strengths and weaknesses, others are less so, but will still offer a lot of good information if you are able to get a feel or understanding of what they  might be saying.
College Football LB Vontaze Burfict

Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict

The protagonist of our story, Mr. Vontaze Burfict, is a great example of a potential red flag when evaluating players and teams. The Arizona State beat writers, the objective third parties and ex- head coach Dennis Erickson himself all touted   Burfict as a “talented player with an attitude problem” and “if he could just avoid all the personal fouls.” When you see words like but, if, potential or attitude problem being used to describe teams and players, you need to proceed with caution.

Sometimes the hype is warranted

Your main objective when trying to evaluate all the preseason information is to not be influenced by your own personal feelings or opinions of others.  Try and separate the facts from all the talk. If everyone is touting a team’s improved secondary because they have 4 starters returning, yet they allowed over 250 yards a game the previous season and lose their top pass rusher, you should probably consider the possibility that the secondary in fact will not be any better than they were the year before.

You also need to consider that sometimes all the team and player hype is in fact true. Andrew Luck and RG3 are great examples of that from last year. I certainly don’t recall seeing the words “attitude problem” and “if” when reading stories about these two.

In conclusion I am reminded of a saying I once heard, “Son, are you going to believe what you see or what I tell ya?” The media is going to be right about some things and wrong about others. Most things that are hype can be shot down with the facts. So take your time when evaluating these players and teams and be objective. What is the evidence that said team or player is in line for a breakout season? Be aware of potential “red flags” and possible set-backs. And just because everyone is saying the same things, that don’t necessarily make it so or not so.

Do you have any other examples of college football media hype you can share? Please add your stories or any other words of wisdom in the comments section below. Thanks – Pez.

Update 4/30/12: Former Arizona State LB Vontaze Burfict agrees to a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.

As projected Burfict went undrafted in the 2012 NFL draft held over the weekend. A few days prior to the draft, NBC Sports reported that Burfict had tested positive for a banned substance at the NFL Combine.

So to put things in perspective, not only does Burfict perform horribly at the combine, he went there stoned. NICE!

But Vontaze doesn’t sound too worried. Per the Arizona State Press, after Burfict was picked up by the Bengals he said: “I know that I’m a first, second round pick and the Bengals got a steal in the draft because nobody drafted me.”

Vontaze sounds like he is delusional about his own self- worth. Obviously no one in the NFL was.



5 Responses to “College Football Media Hype: Bettor Beware”

  1. Terry says:

    I am personally thinking that USC is getting too much hype right now. Sure they have a good QB and two of the top receivers in college football, but they lose their best offensive linemane and the defense is questionable.

    • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

      USC is certainly getting a lot of preseason love from the media, but I believe most of it is legit.

      They did lose their top OL, but almost everyone else along the line returns and as you point out, they are loaded at the skill positions.

      Defensively they did have a few clunkers last season (both Arizona schools come to mind), but they held the three top offensive teams they played (Stanford, Notre Dame and Oregon) well below their season averages (the Stanford game went OT and thus inflated the total amount of points allowed).

      They lose a few good DL, but I believe they get Armstead back from injury.

      Overall, from a talent perspective I believe USC is definitely a top 10 (maybe top 5) team. I would say depth, with the affects of probation starting to kick in, is there biggest concern.

      • GoSooners GoSooners says:

        USC will be a big threat on the national landscape next season given the state of college football. And not really having a tough Pac-12 schedule helps a great deal. Once again, the SEC will be the biggest obstacle. USC’s short term future doesn’t look very bright with the scholly situation. But I’ve learned to never say never with these kinds of tradition rich schools. If they get back on the winning track as in winning the conference, they could even have some quality walk-on kids come knocking on Kiffin’s door. Nebraska lived by their reputation for years under Dr. Tom. Their walk-on program was second to none. The same could definitely happen with USC. They have many things going for them that Nebraska didn’t. Namely beautiful California women and beaches.

        • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

          I believe that the scholarship restrictions will prevent USC from contending for the NC. Also, not only have they been limited with the amount of scholarships available, some of their “big time” recruits of the past 2-3 classes haven’t panned out. Butler and Baxter come immediately to mind.

          I also believe that their PAC 12 schedule is tougher than most people think. They play Stanford, Utah and Washington on the road and also play Oregon (who I still believe is the best PAC 12 team), at home.

          As you have made mention, it takes a hell of a lot of good depth and good fortune with injuries for even the deepest teams to keep everything together for 3 months.

  2. Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

    I just read on an ASU fan site that Burfict failed his NFL drug test.

    I just can’t see any chance of this guy getting drafted now.

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