It’s difficult to believe, but the first two posts on Frank the Tank’s Slant were put up for posterity one year ago today. Since then, you’ve witnessed a steady stream of bloviations from me along with Land-o-Links (my device to comment on numerous items from around the web that don’t warrant full-fledged posts), classic music videos (with a heavy emphasis on old school hip-hop and monster arena rock), and maybe even a different take on the world of sports and news every once in awhile.
Despite becoming a fairly active blogger, I’m not one of those people that believes that blogs will completely turn the media landscape on its head. In my mind, there’s still an important role for “old media” such as newspapers and television to look at events and issues without the colored commentary that inherently accompanies blogs). However, I do think that blogs give the opportunity for yeomen such as myself to stake out places in this flattened world that were previously only the domain of an exclusive media elite while also finally providing exposure to some of the best writers anywhere, including those Slant readers out there that blog themselves.
So, in honor of the first anniversary of Frank the Tank’s Slant, here’s a look back at my 15 favorite posts from the past year, ranked in ascending order, that range from thoughts on the world of sports to political election strategies and television scheduling with some updated comments and observations:
(15) Football vs. Football: College or Pro? (August 16, 2006) – A point-by-point comparison of college football and the NFL, with me giving the college game a slight edge. Of course, I noted that this was a debate comparable to deciding “whether it was more shocking to find out that Liberace was gay versus Lance Bass – if there’s any answer at all, we’re definitely splitting hairs here.” At the same time, I have a zealous hatred of the current BCS system, which has been outlined on this blog a number of times.
(14) Demons Dog the Irish (January 9, 2006) – Regular readers can easily observe that I’m a devoted and frequent writer on the happenings at my undergraduate alma mater of the University of Illinois, but this post featured a rarer instance when I focused on the basketball program at my law school alma mater of DePaul in the wake of my attendance at its inaugural Big East game against rival Notre Dame.
(13) The Yellow Rose Bowl of Texas: My BCS Bowl Picks (December 26, 2005) - I absolutely nailed 3 out of the 4 games right down to a “Penn State will win but not cover” prediction while being comforted that no one that dates outside of his or her own family could have possibly bet money that West Virginia would have beaten Georgia straight-up in a virtual home game at the Georgia Dome. That initial success only a couple weeks after starting this blog emboldened me to make predictions on a regular basis in all of the major sports, which have turned out to be all completely wrong and boneheaded.
(12) Non-Stop TV Seasons Need to be Adopted Everywhere (April 24, 2006) – With ABC changing the scheduling of “Lost” this year, it seems as though the television networks are beginning to heed my calls to get out of its “sweeps feast vs. non-sweeps famine” cycle. They’re about a decade too late to stem the tide to alternative forms of entertainment, but it’s a start.
(11) No Need for an Apology from the Daily Illini (February 14, 2006), The Daily Illini Needs to Apologize for Something Else (February 15, 2006), More Thoughts From Minneapolis Red Sox and Frank the Tank on the Daily Illini (February 16, 2006) – A trilogy of posts on the controversy that surrounded the Daily Illini’s decision to print the Danish cartoons that were the impetus for deadly riots across the Muslim world. The “More Thoughts” post is one of my favorites as the product of a back-and-forth email discussion between my buddy Minneapolis Red Sox and me, particularly since it revealed some surprising views from the “Siberia, Minnesota” writer as a former newspaper reporter.
(10) Springtime for Kiper on Broadway (April 28, 2006) - My pre-NFL Draft thoughts that explained why I love the event so much and predicted the eventual decision of the Bears to trade out of the first round. The follow-up post after the draft had a scathing criticism of the Bears’ moves, but I have since admitted that I was completely wrong, particularly about special teams sage and my new man crush Devin Hester.
(9) Frank the Tank’s Great All-You-Can-Eat Buffets of Chicago (July 14, 2006) - All-you-can-eat is all-that-I-need.
(8) Big Ten from Eleven to Twelve? If There’s No Luck of the Irish, Bring in More Orange (March 5, 2006) - The types of posts that I enjoy writing the most are about wonky sports business and law subjects. At least from my perspective, while there are multitudes of people in the blogosphere that break down the games on the field on a daily basis (and do it very well), there’s a dearth of perspectives on the off-the-field matters, so I attempt to fill that gap from time-to-time. On the particular subject of big Ten expansion, I’m from the camp that the conference should only expand to 12 teams if it means that it’s maximizing its national footprint, which means the 2 real choices for the conference are either Notre Dame (unparalleled in terms of national exposure) or Syracuse (a strong East Coast counterpart for Penn State). As a result, I pass this post along everytime I hear suggestions for Pittsburgh (market already covered by Penn State), West Virginia (an even smaller market), or Missouri (besides the practical matter of whether it would worth it to secede from the Big 12, Illinois already covers the St. Louis market).
(7) The Bears Are Who They Thought They Were! (October 17, 2006) - This was written on only a couple of hours of sleep since I was completed wired after the Bears’ Monday Night comeback against the Cardinals. Regardless of my writing, the YouTube clip of the uncensored Dennis Green press conference is going to be the subject of mutiple NFL Films specials years from now.
(6) The Mason Midmajor Myth (April 6, 2006) - At the time that this post was written, my Billy Packer-esque sentiment was about as popular as, well, Billy Packer himself. However, I still believe that George Mason’s run to the Final Four was the peak of the midmajors as opposed to the start of any trend. We’ll see how this college basketball season will play out.
(5) The Lonely Libertarian: A View From a Disaffected Republican (November 10, 2006) – A rare post from me that was dedicated solely to politics (and I explained exactly why I haven’t written much about the political arena despite my deep interest in the subject). The output here was a bit long-winded yet long overdue as a result of a whole lot of pent-up frustration. Simply put, if the Republicans don’t pay attention to people such as myself, they’re going to lose even more ground in 2008 than they did in this year’s midterm elections.
(4) Chi-Town vs. Motown: Rivalries Across the Board (July 19, 2006) – After the sports business posts, my second favorite broad topic to write about is the nature of rivalries. The analysis of the Chicago-Detroit rivalries was something that I brewed over for months before I finally got down to writing it since there’s much more involved than just a single major rivalry between two particular teams such as the Bears vs. Packers.
(3) Hoosier Fleecing: A Q&A with Frank the Tank on the Eric Gordon Debacle (October 16, 2006) - The most widely read post that I’ve had on this blog to date due to links from Deadspin and numerous other sites from across the blogosphere along with continued interest in the story. As you can probably tell, the emotions were extremely raw at the time. Even though I’ve clamed down a bit, Satan’s Spawn, er, Kelvin Sampson, is going to need to wear some SWAT team gear if he wants to survive his visit the real Assembly Hall in Champaign on January 23rd.
(2) The Best of Both Worlds: A Modest Proposal for a College Football Playoff That Keeps the Bowls (July 28, 2006) - As long as the BCS school presidents continue to support the current bowl system, this post will stand the test of time. My college football playoff proposal wasn’t necessarily the most original idea (I’ve seen variations of the playoff/bowl hybrid before), but I did want to set forth a system that would give incentives for the BCS conferences to implement it as opposed to the standard calls for an NCAA Tournament-style format, which the powers that be will never go for. In the wake of this year’s Michigan-Florida debacle, it’s time to get this done.
(1) The Paranoia of Illini Nation (December 15, 2005) - This was the issue that spurred me to begin this blog and was my first real substantive post. Even though the Eric Gordon reference is obviously now dated, it’s still my favorite piece of writing as it combines my emotional love for the Illini with an attempt to step back from the proverbial chip on the shoulder that seems to plague our fan base.
I hope that you enjoyed this look back on the recent past and get ready for a sophomore year that hopefully won’t have a slump!