College football season is nearly here.
Forget last Saturday. It’s called Week 0 for a reason. Do you really want to believe the first game of the 2022 season was 3-9 Northwestern and 3-9 Nebraska playing halfway around the world?
Here at Barrett Sports Media, we are celebrating college football from a media angle. All week long, our editors and resident college football superfans, Arky Shea, Demetri Ravanos and Garrett Searight, will be looking at the best the media has to offer in terms of college football coverage.
The entire schedule is as follows:
MONDAY: Best Local Show
TUESDAY: Best National Radio Show
WEDNESDAY: Best College Football Podcast
THURSDAY: Best TV Show
FRIDAY: Best TV Play-by-Play Booth
College football fans demand content, and they aren’t going to wait for ESPN to devote 2 minutes to their favorite team or conference on SportsCenter to get it. We want something insightful, long-form, and on demand.
Podcasts are thriving in sports media and no sport has a wider variety of options than college football. From insiders to analysts to people that just know how to connect the dots from Spider-Man to Ryan Day, the medium is full of entertaining people talking about college football.
These are our choices for the best college football podcast.
THE SHUTDOWN FULLCAST by Demetri Ravanos
College football is our most gloriously dumb sport! I want a show that embraces and appreciates that. Enter The Shutdown Fullcast, the only show I have ever heard explain Georgia football using the Fourth Book of Maccabees. Holly Anderson, Spencer Hall, Jason Kirk, and Ryan Nanni know their stuff and know there is value in chaos. I genuinely look forward to Wednesdays. This is the one podcast I consume the second it hits my feed.
There is a level of creativity to The Fullcast that you won’t find on most shows. Could Andy Staples preview the ACC Coastal while sustaining a Jeff Goldbloom impersonation for nearly an hour? Did The Solid Verbal develop the theory that Mack Brown forces his opponents to shake his hand longer after a loss because it is how he feeds on their youth? SB Nation used to have the most fun college football coverage online. That ended the day it let The Shutdown Fullcast get away.
THE SOLID VERBAL by Arky Shea
It won’t take you long to become a member of the “Verballer-hood” once you give The Solid Verbal a chance. Unlike a lot of shows, you only need one episode to hook you. The combination of co-hosts Ty Hildenbrandt and Dan Rubenstein grab the ordinary fan with legitimate analysis of the college football world pretty quickly. They, quite astutely, span the country with their thoughts and give you more than enough “football” content to keep you satiated. But, it’s the parts outside the fray that make this show worth your download.
These two spend just as much effort into breaking down the bizarre tapestry that has long set college football apart from everything in this universe. The two subtly take you into a rabbit hole of silliness that you never truly realize you’re chest-deep in until it’s too late. Just take the story of the University of South Carolina looking for a new name for their live mascot as a great, very recent example. While naming suitable suggestions to replace the bird’s current name, Rubenstein suggested, earnestly, that the university embrace pageantry.
“I just think we need to incorporate a level of royalty to American college football live mascots,” Rubenstein would say. “We need to fully lean into what Texas A&M has done with Reveille. They’ve elevated her to a position of ceremonial authority.”
THE ANDY STAPLES SHOW by Garrett Searight
As a big college football fan, both figuratively and literally, The Andy Staples Show is my podcast. Staples is as clued in as any reporter in the sport, and I don’t know that I can remember a time I heard him say or report something that made me think “that ain’t true”.
Meanwhile, the cuisine of college football is an often slept on portion of the equation that makes it America’s finest sport. I don’t see anybody else focusing on their food during their podcasts. You know what I need to survive? Sustenance. Only one college football podcast is doing that, my friends. And its The Andy Staples Show.
Sports Illustrated Accused of Attributing AI-Generated Stories to Fake Human Authors
Futurism reports that “Sports Illustrated” and other publications from The Arena Group have been attributing AI-generated articles to fabricated human authors.
As the prevalence of artificial intelligence continues to grow within the evolving media marketplace, there have been discussions regarding the ethics of the practice. A report from Futurism asserts that Sports Illustrated has been using the technology to publish articles written by the software, purchasing automatically generated profile photos from an online marketplace in order to give the author a human identity.
Within the report, it was averred that the publication routinely alters the AI personas on the website by changing the faux name and author photo, with there being no explanation towards the move. When Futurism reached out to The Arena Group – the publisher of Sports Illustrated – with questions about the practice, the AI personalities were hastily removed from the website.
Several industry professionals have commented on the matter through social media, expressing their dismay and concerns about the purported revelation. Outside of Sports Illustrated, Futurism discovered that many other publications have engaged in the practice, including CNET, Gizmodo and BuzzFeed. When the authors were changed on Sports Illustrated, there was no editorial note describing the rationale behind the decision. An anonymous source told Futurism that the content is “absolutely AI-generated no matter how much they say it’s not,” leading to dismay and interest in how the company will respond.
“Our staff works so hard to carry on Sports Illustrated’s tradition of great journalism,” senior writer Michael Rosenberg said in a post on X. “It’s so disappointing when people* in our own company undermine our work.”
After some time, the magazine eventually added a disclaimer that outlined the content being created by a third party and that Sports Illustrated editorial staff were not involved in its creation. There was no explicit mention, however, of the third party being AI technology, which is ostensibly being used across different publications throughout The Arena Group’s portfolio such as theStreet and Men’s Journal.
“Along with basic principles of honesty, trust, journalistic ethics, etc., I take seriously the weight of a Sports Illustrated byline,” magazine staff writer Emma Baccellieri said in a post on X. “It meant something to me long before I ever dreamed of working here. This report was horrifying to read.”
In a statement from a spokesperson for The Arena Group, the company disclosed that it is not accurate based on an initial investigation. These articles in question were product reviews supplied by AdVon Commerce, whose e-commerce articles ran on certain websites under the ownership of the company.
“We continually monitor our partners and were in the midst of a review when these allegations were raised,” the statement read. “AdVon has assured us that all of the articles in questions were written and edited by humans.”
AdVon’s writers, editors and researchers create and curate content while following a policy that utilizes counter-plagiarism and counter-AI software. The Arena Group has ended the partnership after discovering that the company had its writers use contrived identities to protect the privacy of the authors, actions it claims to “strongly condemn.” An internal investigation is continuing looking into the matter.
Shannon Sharpe: Charles Barkley and Michael Strahan Showed Me I Can Do Media
“When I saw Charles Barkley could be himself, could talk with the dialect that he had, was unapologetically not afraid to make fun of himself, I said, ‘I could do that.’”
Shannon Sharpe has built a successful sports media career after his Hall of Fame NFL career. He said seeing Charles Barkley and Michael Strahan work on television gave him the green light.
“When I saw Charles Barkley could be himself, could talk with the dialect that he had, was unapologetically not afraid to make fun of himself, I said, ‘I could do that.’ I’ve got just as good as sense of humor, I could tell stories, I can do that,” Shannon Sharpe said.
“I see Michael Strahan on Good Morning America, I see Stephen A. doing what he’s doing, I said, ‘I could do that’ … I just wanted someone to give me the opportunity,” Sharpe continued. “Be prepared when the opportunity presents itself.”
Sharpe turned working for The NFL Today into a role with Skip Bayless on FS1’s Undisputed. He now appears frequently on First Take in addition to his podcast with Johnson for The Volume.
Nick Wright: Thanksgiving Food Hot Takes ‘The Worst Thing We in Sports Media Do’
“I think it is the most cliche, terrible content imaginable, so I won’t engage in it.”
Every year at Thanksgiving, sports talk radio shows discuss food selections around the holiday. It is safe to say FS1’s Nick Wright despises the discussions.
While appearing on The Mine Kimes Show featuring Lenny, Wright was asked by Kimes about for his opinions on the food.
“Do you have any takes about Thanksgiving food?,” Kimes asked.
“It would be a rude answer, but since you have asked it, I will give it. My hottest take about Thanksgiving foods is it is the worst thing we in sports media do,” retorted Wright. “It’s like ‘Hey, are you stuffing or dressing? Pumpkin or sweet potato? Are you more of the sides? You know what is an overrated meat? Turkey. Nobody wants turkey!’
“I think it is the most cliche, terrible content imaginable, so I won’t engage in it, Mina Kimes.”
“Wow. Your hottest take is that my question sucks,” Kimes replied. “From the LeBron guy? Really? Coming at me over topic selection.”
The video of the pair’s interaction was posted to X, formerly Twitter, after Wright specifically asked Kimes to release the clip. The discussion has garnered more than 400,000 as of this publication.