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.
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?
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.
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.
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.