Monday, November 23, 2015

My shameful secret past (...I wrote for Bleacher Report...)

Hey guys....I have several new articles that should hit this week, but in the interim, I wanted to provide you this link of my older work.

For years I wrote realignment articles on the best platform I could find.  Unfortunately that was BleacherReport.

Bleacher Report started out as a place fans could write.   They allowed people to work on their skills in a variety of news writing formats.   I chose to write editorials (sports and the business of sports) under the name "Tobi Writes".

BR offered the opportunity for collaborative writing.  Collaborative writing tends to deliver better content in my opinion. (Sadly today, you get me...pure and unfiltered.)

It was a cool home as people training to be editors would take a look at your work and do their best to improve it.  (It was a 70/30 deal.  70% of the time I would submit an article and get back a corrected and better worded version.  30% of the time the editorial process was a disaster.  I write realignment articles that are densely packed with content.  That isn't really what BR has ever been about. So about 30% of the time they would, you know...wipe out a page of discussion on the ACC because "my article was about Big 12 expansion and that was off topic and made the article too long..."  I would of course add that back in later...)

The trouble with their original business model was the strength of their original business model --- that everyone was welcome to contribute.  Most articles were written well enough to be tolerable, but some articles were just poor articles, lacking any content or more to the point having ill-conceived arguments and unsupported content. 

BR editors could edit the sentences, but to actually send it back to the writer and say, "This is unprintable.  You need to totally rework this for these reasons..."  No.  They didn't have those powers.

So bad articles were published because that was the business model.

BR got a bad rep.

After a few years, BR revamped itself.  They decided to cut all the bad writers.  They knew they would have a huge content drop off, so they hired professional sports reporters for some content.

Every existing contributor with stats (I think it was) the top 20% in readership were allowed to continue writing.  Everyone else had to re-apply for access.

I did fairly well, but with a focus on realignment (a subject some love, but most hate), the CFL (not immensely popular in the US), the UFL (a league no one ever cared about), and UNT football (need I say more here?) my stats were not high enough. 

I did well.  I would guess I was near the threshold.  I probably averaged about 3000 reads on my last 10 articles, but BR cut with a scythe, not a scalpel.  I was competing against guys giving live breakdowns of UFC fights and whatnot --- to my perspective a type of article totally lacking in content or research, so how could it be deemed "better"?  Still, statistically they drew a ton more views.

I felt like my articles were comparatively very well written.  The content was covered in far greater detail than other BR writers.  I felt unfairly snubbed so I never bothered reapplying.

Anyway, here is my profile page and my article archive from BR.  I don't respond to any of those articles anymore, but if you want to discuss ANY of it, you can post questions/thoughts/reviews here.

Here are some (about 10-20%) of the more enjoyable articles (to me anyway) that I wrote there after I signed up 7 years ago...

DeLoss Dodds Watch: Is He Gone at the End of the Year or Not?

Time for Big East and SDSU to Be Bold

Colorado State and New Mexico Athletic Directors Plotting Against MWC?

Will Football Realignment Destroy ESPN's Sports Offerings Next?

7 Steps ACC Can Take to Prevent Being Carved Up by SEC

Tulane?! Go Home, Big East...You're Drunk!

Will the WAC Choose the Four Horsemen or an FBS Future?

45+ Mostly Western Darkhorse Schools That Could Help Save the WAC

Will June 1 Bring News of a New WAC Eastern Division?

Is Boise State Playing the Big East off the MWC ...or Vice Versa?

As Silly as It Sounds, the Big Winners in the New NBA Deal Were the Fans

12 Little-Discussed Schools That Could Make Great BCS AQ Conference Members

Why the Big 12 May Only Add One School...and Why TCU May Be the Surprising Pick

Why Oklahoma and the Pac-12 Would Be Wise to Bring Kansas and Missouri Too

Opportunity is Knocking: Why the PAC-12 should take another run at the Big 12.

SEC Expansion: Would A&M Be Trading Little Brother Tag for Also-Ran Status?

Can Texas A&M Go AWOL on the Big 12 Before the MPs Arrive?

North Texas Head Football Coach Todd Dodge Fired

Is The Villanova Invite a Power Play For Control of The Big East?

UNT Football: Time For Todd Dodge, The Overseer, To Make Some Tough Calls

The Pac-10 Should Add Hawaii, UNM, or even Texas Tech as #12 instead of Utah.

Conference Realignment: It Is Time For The Pac-10 To Sweeten The Offer

Why Exactly Does Baylor Deserve To Bump Colorado From The Pac/SW 16?

The 5 Best Stories on the Big 12 Implosion that no one is reporting.

Big 12's Best Case Scenario: The Death of the Big 12 Conference

Will DeLoss Dodds and Bill Byrne Screw The State Of Texas?

Why The WAC Should Consider a Meaner, Greener Future.

Not Good Enough For The Pac-10?

The Real Killer of the Southwest Conference

When Will Stanford, USC, And The Rest of The Big Five Stop Bleeding Money?

The Non-BCS Conferences Need To Work Together For a Better Tourney Deal

Pac-10 and Big Ten Declare War On Big 12's Financial Viability

Empire Stadium Reborn: Why The CFL BOG Will Insist It Sucks

Bad Stadiums Kill 2 in CAA; Suggestions for Maine, New Hampshire, & Rhode Island

UFL Final Attendance Numbers For Premeire Season In

25 Suggestions to Make NCAA Athletic Programs More Profitable

Will Athletic Budgets be Used to Classify Division I Schools After 2010?

Could Certain Schools Legitimately Succeed as FCS or Even FBS Members?

The FBS Attendance Hall of Shame

What Would Happen If the CFL Failed?

Would The Gang Of 5 Do It Again? Could They leave the MWC for a BCS bid?

UFL moves Locomotives' Third Game Moved to Las Vegas in likely corrective action

Will the UFL's Atrocious First Week Attendance Numbers Sink the New League?

Fix Your Danged Stadium Already! (No. 1: Eastern Michigan University)

Structuring CIS for Long-Term Growth: Step Two: Expansion for Stability

Structuring CIS for Long-Term Growth: Step One: Define Revenue Sources

UFL Coaches Pass Muster... or Do They?

The UFL "Premiere Season": Why the UFL Will Likely See a Season Two

Is The UFL "The Mirror Of Erised" For Frustrated Pro Football Fans?

The CFL in Moncton: A Winning Idea

SFU to Leave Candian Interuniversity Sport for NCAA DII? It needs to be stopped.

Since When Does Roger Goodell Love Michael Vick?


  1. Yep. I remember you were the only other UNT writer on the internet, it seemed. I liked to your Canales piece.

    1. LOL, I hope you liked it too...:)

      Thanks, it is nice to be remembered.

    2. I did. I thought of it again as I was writing up a post about his final game.

    3. I enjoyed your Canales write up and the linked UTSA article.

      I don't really write about UNT anymore because I can't seem to do it without wanting to light everything on fire. I probably am out until the day they replace the entire board of Regents. I think the university has gone as far as they can take them.

      And things don't get any better for me moving down the levels...

      One thing no one can question is that players like playing in a Canales operation. Years ago I had thought one of the undocumented problems that might have had an impact on Coach Dodge could have come out of coaches on his staff wanting to "be the interim" and not giving their all, but I could never get enough to ever prove it to the point I could run with it. There were several moves on the DL in particular that never made any damned sense to me, so I was quite glad DeLoach didn't get the interim gig.

      I was shocked that Canales was soooo much better, so much more innovative as an offensive co-ordinator once he became the interim head coach, that it really bothered me. Again, you want to be sure there is something there before you call someone out on that because that is who they are at their core.

      Was Dodge just a poor boss who didn't encourage innovation? I have a hard time buying that...So why did the whole "lets do something innovative each game" only come out of Canales's mouth when he was the interim? Always bugged me. If there is something there, then the guy should have the balls to take a head coaching job at a D-II school and work his way up as a head coach at each level, because that kind of thought process would not serve one's boss well. (For the record, I think Canales is wasting time as an OC. He is light years better as a head guy.)

      If Canales was overruled by a drowning dodge...If Canales the interim was simply buoyed by very capable play calling assistance from his WR coach (Very possible ---the guy was well respected as a play caller at LA Tech)......If DeLoach was forced to play his JUCO all-american cover LB at safety by Dodge....If DeLoach was repeatedly forced to push all-conference caliber DE's into backup DT roles based on Dodge's damage --- an irrational belief that a faster defense has to be a better pass rushing team regardless of all other factors --- than Dodge made his own bed. Fans have a lot of opinions. You can rarely tell the whole story at a lot of schools.

    4. While as a Denton resident, I am always saddened by UNT's struggles, I cooled on my fandom as so many of their issues seemed self-created (starting at the board level and frankly I was a Dodge guy. He was promised the stadium to recruit with and never got it. Record aside ---and it was abysmal --- I think that was morally wrong.) What I can say positively for Dodge is that the team he left was about 500% more talented than the team he inherited. With the worst stadium at the FBS level at the time THAT was quite an accomplishment.

      UNT fans don't want to acknowledge how totally screwed UNT was. Dodge's arrival absolutely played a big role in the push for a new stadium. No one gives him any credit for it. UNT NEEDED a name coach to help sell the stadium concept and if Dodge had passed on UNT like he did on Rice (horrible decision), I don't know if UNT would even be playing football today. There was no one else with a name who would have taken the job.

      You absolutely needed SOMETHING to build around. The team that he inherited had about 8 FBS caliber players. How the hell would any other coach UNT hired have done anything with the combination of Fouts, a school with a larger band than sports culture, a 150-200K head coaches salary, a cut rate assistant coaches salary pool, a crap conference that got no media attention in Texas, 8 FBS players, an athletic department needing student approval for a stadium ----that had just been busted by the students for trying to pull an end around on them and get the new stadium built --- and no media publicity whatsoever.

      UNT would have been scouring the Lone Star Conference for a head coach.

      Dodge was sold a bridge by UNT's president and Villareal and took the worst job at the FBS level by far at the time. They must have played on his loyalty as well as his arrogance. That is all I can figure. It was a horrible, horrible job. He is often ridiculed for bringing in his entire high school staff. I wonder if the truth was that was all UNT's assistant budget really allowed for.

      To his credit, he at least restocked the talent level and played a role in getting the stadium built.

      Along those lines I am one of the few who would advocate for Dodge to have another FBS head job if certain jobs open. I think New Mexico State would be a great gig for him. Expectations don't exist and they might be perfectly willing to give him a long term contract to solve their recruiting problem. But no doubt Dodge has to be smarter this time around. Special teams coaches are worth +3 to -4 wins annually. It is worth hiring a ringer. Dodge never figured that out specifically.