The potential of Bleacher Report, as I have stated before, is nearly limitless. The community involvement obviously is the key to the future growth and success of the site though. Bleacher Report will go as far as its players take it.
Of course you can have a great coach (Zander & Co., Bear Bryant), but if they are leading a bad team (Washington), the results will be less than productive. This is where the players (the B/R community) need to show their worth and push the site in a positive direction, towards success and growth in the future.
While this is the part where MiamiMitch pops in and says, "It won't work Colin. I come here for light reading. You need to go somewhere else for more serious journalism"—I will stand up to Mitch and tell him I have faith in the site to become something special.
Sure, we may not all be professional journalists with the cleanest writing style and press box credentials, but the community is full of educated, enthusiastic fans who obviously want to write, or else they wouldn't be here (EXCEPTIONS: RedRaider Red and 12, who are pretty damn awesome from just comments).
That being said, I have been a bit disappointed the past few weeks. Nobody has come forward to rally the community into creating a community Heisman ballot, or a Creature Vs. Creature, or a formal debate on the topic of Big 12/SEC.
We have writers who are obviously passionate about the debate, yet nobody has gotten the ball rolling and started a serious debate through anything more than comments.
This past week, I was looking for somebody to rival me in a C Vs. C: Texas Tech/Oklahoma, and was unable to find one. The No. 5 team in the nation, with a huge fanbase such as the Sooners', and I couldn't find one to participate with me.
That alone convinced me that we need to take a few steps at Bleacher Report as a community, and so I present a few ideas—minor, unrelated ones first, followed by more important, relevant ideas.
Here are a few minor ideas I would like to see put into play around the site, and I would be willing to help with any development issues that I can.
* Make it possible to see stats on the team page. In addition to just articles, why shouldn't the team pages have stats? Also, have the team's schedule, and after each game has been played, add the results and a link to find a quick recap of the game, AS WELL AS an archive of all the recaps and write-ups from that game from the various B/R authors.
* In a corner of an author's profile page, perhaps there could be a box chronicling his own Top 25 that he submitted to the weekly poll. This would allow everyone to see how everyone voted without checking all 25 teams' comments or making the author publish an article every week.
* Each week, or few weeks, shine the spotlight on a certain writer who has been doing exceptional work as of late—a sort of Writer of the Week, or Spotlight Writer, that could also be an award on their profile. Other than that, perhaps chronicle where they are currently ranked in Writer Rankings on their profile, such as:
28 Articles Written
No. 6,432 Ranked College Football Writer
No. 1,233 Ranked Big 12 Writer
No. 69 Ranked Texas Tech Writer
Those are just minor musings by me I wanted to get out. Here we move on to a bit more important matters...
* Increase the recruiting efforts. I have been getting the word out everywhere I go, not spamming obviously, but letting people know about this up-and-coming site called Bleacher Report—somewhere you can go to find intelligent football discussion and have the opportunity to present your opinions and editorials in an organized manner.
I am proud of the community of this site, and the more it grows, the more impressive the articles and discussion will be. There are teams here who have fans out there that are largely unrepresented here. That needs to change. Do you know a fan of a team lacking the fanbase on BR? Invite them over—we don't bite.
* The writer rankings are wonderful, especially when it comes to the team sections. Having those rankings make it easy to decipher who are the head honchos in that area, who you can go to in the event of wanting to do a creature/creature article even. BUT I think strengthening the accuracy of those lists is a must in the future.
Of course tagging the Longhorns in a creature/creature article about Texas Tech/Texas is necessary, but I don't want to see a UT writer in the top five for Texas Tech writing because of that. I suggest that in addition to, and created using, the writer rankings, each team AND conference have a clear community leader.
Of course this is already in effect for some of them, but it would go a long way in enabling future collaborations between different writers.
* That is where my next idea comes into play. I would love to see each community leader from his/her team put something out every week, and we can put it all together into one article—a quick blurb about the game that weekend, coupled with the impact player, for every FBS game played in a weekend to be published shortly after the week's games are through.
This will make a nice, organized source for all the weekend's action, and I will even be the one to put it together.
I would love to implement this by bowl time and put it into full effect next season. The uncertainty among writer rankings for the teams make this hard at the moment, or else this may have already come to fruition.
Also, I would LOVE to see multiple Creature/Creature articles every week, and perhaps they could be their own category on the site so that they all are archived together?
* This upcoming college football season is where I expect to see Bleacher Report grow exponentially, which means that B/R will need to find a way to not only recruit before then, but also come out with something that will, excuse me for the lame phrase, "change the game". The college football offseason is such a long period of time that the possibilities are endless.
The BRCS did a lot to make things more exciting this season, but next year has to bring out something nobody has seen before. We have the minds of thousands of fans working together. How can we not brainstorm a worthy idea?
There are many potential improvements that can be made, but more importantly, there is so much more the community can do to improve this site. The activity has been wonderful, but that doesn't mean we can quit and be content with what we have. Never quit trying to better yourself or your surroundings, because one day, your determination will inspire somebody else.
We have the opportunity to be a part of something special. Let's not be content with what we have. Let's make Bleacher Report a household name.
(Sorry for the lack of organization in this article, and perhaps the lack of writing skill. I am writing this without sleep for the last 60+ hours and wanted to get it out)