That is the best word to describe a number of modern college football fans. Much the same way political polling seems to provide a voice to the masses, message boards and blog sites give fans a chance to voice a ready-made opinion about a team, a player, a game, or a series of downs each time a game is played. Even when there is no game for months – see “recruiting” season – the online haven of fans stays hot and heavy with news, notes, speculation, and discussion.
Since Al Gore, the U.S. Army, the people from the planet Xeron, or whoever invented and launched the Internet, our world became, in many ways, much smaller. Our access to information became constant as well as the craving for it. College football fans craving for more information on the team, players, and program led to the rise of sites like Rivals and Scout where college football (and other sports) junkies can get a ready-made fix for this information. There are dozens of other sites as well. Some supported by newspapers and beat writers, some by fans who just have a lot of time on hand to devote to gathering information.
I spoke with David Wasson, Managing Editor of Alabama Football Magazine and www.alabamafb.com about the kind of information and access the modern fans seek and even provide. He relayed a story from his days as Sports Editor of The Tuscaloosa News about the Mike Price scandal.
“The Mike Price thing happened online before it got out (in the mainstream news),” Wasson said. “We were reading all about that before it was official.”
Whether or not mainstream media accepts, rejects, or even gets what these sites are about is largely debatable. What is not is the voice these sites have given to the fans. Mainstream media pays close attention to those voices.
“I used to monitor various online sources because it gave me access to what people were talking about,” Wasson said. “It was a way for us to get a feel for what people think.”
Barry McKnight, voice of the Troy Trojans and co-host of SportsLine on WMSP 740AM, concurs about the power of fan feedback.