Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Times-Union Is Fine-Tuning Coverage of College and Professional Football

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Times-Union Is Fine-Tuning Coverage of College and Professional Football

Article excerpt

While football fans dig into three special sections today,

like a barbecue feast, it seems appropriate to look forward to

the coming season.

Last year's opener for the Jacksonville Jaguars didn't delight

everyone. Some readers said that football was being overplayed,

especially on A-1.

Those A-1 stories were due largely to a series of firsts: first

game, first home game, first win.

Some of the dissatisfied readers were college football fans,

who didn't appreciate feeling like No. 2 on the sports priority

list.

Some of that was perception. Though I found a slight reduction

in college football coverage last year, the reduction seemed

much greater when compared to the Jaguars' coverage.

So what's in store for the coming year?

Both the University of Florida and Florida State University

deserve first-rate coverage due to high readership and on-field

success.

The difficulty comes when trying to determine how much coverage

to give other college teams.

The best way is to conduct a scientific poll of readers. How

many readers are interested in certain college teams? But there

is no scientific poll, so I looked for another solid indicator:

How many alumni live in Jacksonville? I called the alumni

offices and received the following numbers:

1. Florida: 9,073.

2. Florida State: 7,200.

3. Florida A&M: 1,468.

4. Georgia: 1,234.

5. Georgia Tech: 730.

6. Central Florida: 493.

7. Miami: 466.

The number that jumps out is Florida A&M. Though it's a

Division 1-AA school, I think the numbers of local alumni

justify more coverage than the typical small college. Also,

Jacksonville has produced nationally known stars for FAMU -- Bob

Hayes and Al Denson, for instance.

There are additional considerations -- tradition for instance.

The University of Georgia has special connections to

Jacksonville due to its long-time series here with the

University of Florida.

Executive Sports Editor Jim Nasella says he plans changes this

football season. "We're going to get college football back to

where we believe it should be," he said.

Nasella also has other plans, such as:

Both Florida and Florida State will have section-front stories

on regular days of the week, either Thursday or Friday. …

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