Each March, the NCAA Tournament serves as the towering platform off of which many professional writers jump when attempting to fill their journalistic parachutes with the self-serving air of personal validation. NBA writers tell us why their game is better; college basketball writers tell us about the superiority of theirs. The football writers go both ways (like one of 50 Cent's straight chicks in a Connecticut hotel somewhere): some seek distinction as inward polemicists, citing the Tournament as a paradigm of meritocratic competition that should be adapted for gridiron use to cure the sport of BCS-induced farce; others seek it as outward polemicists, mocking college hoops as a fundamentally invalid endeavor that diminishes the significance of its regular season by crowning a champion in the crucible of a tournament that oftentimes unfairly punishes the deserving and wrongly rewards the unworthy.
Given that an argument about personal preferences is destined to resolve nothing, most of these leaps yield rough landings and a lot of useless hot air. To be fair, in journalism and the blogosphere, there are intelligent observations, measured arguments, that carry merit and, if nothing else, accomplish the admirable and welcomed goal of placing provocative thoughts into circulation. Sadly though, these gems are even rarer than an issue on which Hillary Clinton won't compromise.
I tend to find the Tournament to be the single most exciting sporting activity in the world, although other events--notably, the NBA playoffs--mean more to me and might be a greater encapsulation of humanity in all its forms. But even these distinctions are not made with the intention of diminishing anything. One of the most rewarding aspects of sports fanaticism is that those of us pleasantly afflicted by this condition can usually find something compelling to worry about, to write about, to scream about, and to fight about.
Resultantly, I have found that this sublime NCAA Tournament has simultaneously affirmed my adoration of March Madness and set my mind off down the path it annually travels toward College Football Hysteria. It's a winding road that passes through Spring Practiceville, Summer Campistan, and Recruitington, and I probably won't reach its termination until August, when I am all but relocated, ready for another year of winged helmets, Ball Coach barbs, and the prolix idiocy of Stewart Mandel.
As the journey begins, I thought that my BlogPoll brethren and I might rekindle our sprawling, internets-wide discourse. Below, please find three roundtable questions. I'll post my responses and a roundup of the answers offered by my colleagues during the coming week. If you aren't a BlogPoll voter but would like to participate, please just leave your feedback in the comments section. I will be sure to highlight it.
1) It's early, but thus far, which offseason change or changes in college football are you most excited about?
2) With spring practice underway, what are the three concerns about your team that are causing you the most anxiety? (USC fans can't just list the departures of Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and LenDale White.)
3) Care to take a stab at a preseason top five?