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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.


News: I’m Heading Over to USA Today

News: I will be joining USA Today on Oct. 1, covering college football, after spending five years at The New York Times and, most of all, the last two-plus years writing for you guys here at Pre-Snap Read. Believe me, it’s the latter stop that I’m most proud of. Think of all that we’ve been through since May 4, 2010, when Pre-Snap Read first opened its doors with a somewhat incorrect manifesto – looking back, I promised a semi-regular podcast and didn’t deliver. There have been three rounds of the Countdown; P.S.R. Op-Eds; Heisman breakdowns; Locksley breakdowns; B.C.S. conference profiles; non-B.C.S. conference profiles; news; analysis; the kitchen sink.

So my career of acronyms continues, from the N.Y.T. to P.S.R. to U.S.A.T., even if I’m not sure if folks use the final acronym to describe USA Today. To say I’m excited about this move would be an understatement.

The move means a few things. One, it means that I’m done at The Times, obviously. My final day will be tomorrow, when I’ll lead the paper’s online college football coverage through one final Saturday. I promise that my final words for The Times will be “college football,” which will be fitting.

Two, it means that you’ll need to bookmark USA Today’s site on your browser. Please do so now. Let me know when you’re done. I can’t give you the direct link until I know for sure how USA Today’s retooled Web site will work, but keep close tabs on USAToday.com – it’ll pop up very soon.

Three, it does mean an end of sorts for Pre-Snap Read. I can’t tell you how much this site has meant for me over the last two years – nor can I begin to describe just how much I enjoyed writing for you guys, the loyal readers who showed up early in the process and stayed throughout.

And I want every one of you to know: we did this together. I always felt an atmosphere of togetherness – not to get weird – when writing for P.S.R.; we were in this deal together, in this labor of love, and knowing that you were on the other end, as a reader, pushed me through those periods when I wondered if the site was worth the blood, sweat and tears – well, there wasn’t much blood, to be honest.

I can’t tell you quite yet how Pre-Snap Read will continue to exist. Obviously, I now work for USA Today. All I can say today – and I’ll have more information later – is that the site will remain up, with all the archives intact.

Again, I’ll give you more information as it comes in. I start at USA Today on Oct. 1 and will want to take a break next week in advance of the move. So what will next week look like?

I’ll do the 1-124 re-ranking and 1-12 conference rankings on either Sunday or Monday. For the rest of the week, I’m going to re-run my favorite posts from Pre-Snap Read’s history. This won’t include any Countdown posts, since those are all listed along the sidebar. They’ll be the normal, everyday posts that I’ve loved since christening the site in 2010.

So… thanks, guys. Really: thank you. I’m not going to name any names, but you know who you are – there’s a lot of you hang-around, daily-read folks out there, and we’re friends for life. Stick around for the re-ranking on Monday and a look back at P.S.R. history through the end of the month. I’ll give you more details next week, I promise.

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  1. Wayne says:

    Well, congrats. I’m happy for you but also a little torn as I hate the prospect of potentially not having all the greatness that came from P.S.R. Surely they’ll let you continue with the Countdown (of course, you may be relieved to not have to do it). We’ll all follow you over there and I’ll make it a point to update my bookmarks so as not to miss a beat. I wish you the best!

  2. Misthaufen says:

    Best of luck on the new jig…. PSR had been wonderful, with some of the best analysis anywhere. I look forward to your work in USA Today….

  3. Joey says:

    Wow, I don’t post here but I always read this site. Found it through TomahawkNation.com. Really going to miss coming here. Good luck and I will look forward to reading your stuff on USAT.

  4. Dwayne says:

    Congrats! Though I hope this isn’t the end, I’ve sure enjoyed the read. For college football, I check PSR then ESPN. So now you know the real ranking.

  5. Burnt Orange says:

    Tremendous work Paul and we wish you the best. Never been a USA Today reader – until now.

  6. Clayton says:

    Thanks for dedicating so much time and energy into this awesome website. Congrats on the new job. I said before that my two favorite people who cover college football are Pat Forde and Paul Myerberg. I knew you were destined for bigger and better things. Don’t change, Paul.I personally love reading your analysis of the ‘underdogs’ of college football. What college football analyst seem to care about the ULMs, FIUs, UABs etc? That’s what makes you great. You also have vision when it comes to identifying the up-and-coming coaches and teams. Your best work that stuck out in my mind was the piece of UAB/Alabama and the Sandusky coverage. I will continue to follow your work and thank you.

  7. Jordan says:


    I have never posted here, but I have been a regular reader for sometime now. I will be sad to see this site go — in my opinion your column on this site was — is — the most thorough, most objective, most entertaining and informative coverage of college football, anywhere. I wish you all the best at USA Today, and I will continue to follow you there.

    P.S. — I hope they will be paying you well. You deserve it.

  8. CCC says:

    Thanks, Paul. PSR has been a daily must-read for me over the last couple years. Even my wife, who sometimes questions the very existence of college football, follows the countdown (mostly for the trivia) and has grown to accept my own obsession with college football somewhat through reading your writing (that, and the fact that my obsession has netted her trips to Arizona and Miami the last couple new years . . . go Cardinal). In my view, what has set PSR apart is that it is a platform for really thinking about college football, rather than just consuming it. (My wife is laughing at me now.)

    Anyway, we hope you can continue PSR in some form, but we wish you the best.

  9. Ashley says:

    Thanks, Paul. I’ll look for you at USA Today (a site I previously have never gone to).

  10. Al says:

    A most sincere thanks for everything that’s come out of PSR. It has been a real pleasure.

    I have found myself (one more than one occasion) searching the net for a Paul Myerberg biography because the analysis here provided was so thorough, I was convinced you must have some connection to my school. Considering the depth and insightfulness of this site, I doubt I’m the only one who’s tried claiming you as a fellow alum.

    Thanks again and congrats! Look forward to following you over to USA Today.

  11. Joel says:

    Best of luck, Paul. PSR has been the football site I check first from the beginning, and I’ll look forward to following your work with USA Today. The Countdown is the finest college football writing out there, and I sincerely hope it will continue next year.

  12. BobJ says:

    Thank you, Paul, for all you have done for us with this blog. I cannot think of another web site that does such a good job at what it intends to be.

    I hope the sportswriting world is aware of the excellence of your writing and the clear thought that goes into it. The P.S.R. community certainly is.

    By the way, I plan on putting up The Bob Rankings on a web page this fall. They’ll be posted after the games of October 13.

  13. jjncaa says:

    That’s what I love in America: the hard work always pays off. I’m really happy for you (as I was happy when Matt Hinton came back and started to write for CBS), it’s well deserved. Keep up the good work, Paul!

  14. Alan says:


    USAT’s gain is my loss. I’ve been quite a loyal reader for the entire time PSR has been in existence. I consider you a great resource. I hope that your USAT job will permit the same great analysis and especially great writing that I have enjoyed.

    I’ll look forward to the final re-rankings. But, a personal request: I’ve been quite amazed and very interested in your recent coverage of New Mexico State (especially your analysis of their finances from last spring). I have been (patiently) waiting for the next installment of “Catching Up with the Aggies” since my team (UTEP) just played NMSU. Any chance there’s another blog post about the Aggies?

  15. Jake says:


  16. jjncaa says:

    Dwayne, I name you the “must follow” college football experts :) (this is not a list, just alphabetical order:

    - Bill Connelly (SB Nation)
    - Bruce Feldman (CBS)
    - Spencer Hall (edsbs)
    - Matt Hinton (ex dr. saturday, now CBS)
    - Stewart Mandel (SI)
    - Brett McMurphy* (ESPN, though he’s rather a reporter)
    - Paul Myerberg (last but not least)

    Find them on twitter and you won’t miss anything, whatever happens in college football :)

  17. KDRLAX says:


    All the best in your move to USAToday. If it’s a better gig for you,all the better.
    However, how will this move affect your in-depth analysis? Will “USAT” limit the thoroughness of your pieces? I fear your 50 column inch stories will be hacked into 4 col. inches. Please tell me it won’t be so!!

    Congrats on the new move though!!

  18. Nick says:

    This is my favorite site for college football previews and information. I will miss it dearly, but I look forward to seeing what you have going on at USA Today

  19. jtt says:

    I’m happy for you and I know you’ll do great. I only started this summer, but I have learned very much and I enjoyed the most complete site I have seen on college football.

  20. Noefli says:

    Nebraska comes after USAT.

  21. ctya says:

    I’d suggest letting Narby take the reins over here.

  22. M Meyer says:

    Congrats! It’s been really fun to read. You did wonderful work here.

  23. Jim says:


    Don’t go!!!!!

    Pre-snap read is the first site I read every morning, and the last site I check for new posts and comments every night. I’m addicted to PSR! You are without a doubt, the most unbiased and thorough writer on college football ever. I love the facts that you point out, and I love your opinions. I also love your willingness to admit mistakes. In short, you are a journalistic beacon of light! Every journalist should strive to write like you, regardless of subject.

    No offense, but going from PSR to USAT is a step down for me – but a step I will most surely take. I’m sure that for you it is a giant step forward, and I congratulate you on your accomplishment. It’s just that I cannot imagine anything better than PSR – from you or anyone else. :(

    I live for college football – During the season, you are the best. And during the off-season, this is my fix (and still the best by miles).

    Damn, who is going to give us the Locksley, the all-name team, or the facial hair awards?

    One last parting shot – of all people in the world, you are the most deserving of having a vote in the AP poll. I hope this gets you one. Actually, your votes should count as 10, because you know ten times more than anyone else about CFB.

    I’ll try hard not to hang myself thinking about PSR changing. But, Great luck and best wishes to you! See you at USAT.

  24. Dartz says:

    Hell of a job, Paul. I rave about you to friends

  25. tulaneoutlaw says:

    Well first Congratulations! You definitely deserve whatever promotions you may get. And second I can only hope this isn’t the end of PSR. Like many who have already commented I’ve found this site to be more than informative. It’s been a beacon of light in what can often be the murky world of college football. The level of coverage you give every team, from the mighty juggernauts to the bottom feeders like my beloved Tulane, was unparalleled.

    No matter what was going on in my life I could count on this site. What were once the unbearable doldrums of summer became a daily wait for the latest Countdown post. What will I do without those!? So Paul, thanks for everything and if PSR doesn’t have to die please don’t let it! It’s become a part of the routine for some of us.

  26. SixWinSeason says:

    Congratulations. I look forward to reading you in USA Today.

  27. Jarious says:

    Paul, congrats on the move, not surprised at all. My compromise will be to keep my PSR link, and just update to your new home. :)

  28. Monty says:

    While I’m sad that the blog has to come to an end, I’m happy that good things are happening for you, Paul. Congratulations!

  29. Colin says:

    Congratulations on your new job.

    And congratulations to USA Today who got a fine sports journalist along with his devoted following.

  30. philip says:

    wow. all i can say is thanks for being that guy who kept us sane during those fallow months between spring ball and fall camp.

    i hope that maybe after you get into your groove at usa, maybe you’ll find the time to be able to put together a truncated version of your countdown, sort of like you did with “the quad.”

    if not, well, thanks for showing us how excellence and true devotion can combine for some very special work. let’s not say goodbye; just see you later.

    to borrow a quote from mr. stan lee: excelsior!

  31. Bill condon says:

    Paul, say it ain’t so!
    Someone said that there are two things every man thinks he can do: work a grill and coach football. Thanks to you, I think I may have convinced a few folks about #2. Now I’ll just be another dumbshit.

    Seriously, congratulations. And I hope USA Today has the good sense to just turn you loose and let you rip!

  32. Nevada Mike says:

    You’ve don a great job. Thanks for all your hard work and great insight. Glad you’ll still be covering college football.

  33. Paul m says:

    Damn. This was the best college football site out there.

  34. Zachary G says:

    Congratulations! I love the site and was always amazed at the depth of the coverage of so many different teams. I look forward to adding the USA today to my regular college football reading which has become LTP, ESPN blogs and pre-snap read. Please keep up updated on pre-snap read on the exact location of your new stuff on the USA today site and I’ll never forget actually getting a shout-out in your article about college football Christmas gifts.

  35. SYu says:

    I’ve been a reader since ’10 and have visited, practically, every day. Congratulations on the new gig and thanks for the great CFB site you’ve created here at PSR. Don’t worry, I have USA Today’s sports page already bookmarked (well, because I have all major news outlets’ sports sections all bookmarked)! Best of luck!

  36. DMK says:

    Roll Tide!

  37. Josh H. says:

    Though I add nothing new with this post, I too wish you the best and a hearty congrats. We will miss several things you have done over the year. You could always start a new site under a pseudo name ;) But in the end, please send us a link to your first article as well!

  38. Bobak says:

    Sorry to see this blog slow down or end, but I look forward to bookmarking your new home once it’s set.

  39. Peace says:

    I’ll miss you being one of the first guys to jump on the FSU bandwagon, going to be alot bigger after tomorrow (hopefully). Forget USAT sports coverage! Why they just become presnapread version 2.

    Oh and I want to read your bio too, bet you went to a ivy league school.

    Goodbye to PSR and hello to USAT for all of us, huh?

    Good luck paul

  40. Jay says:

    I’d like to echo the congratulations from all the rest who have already posted. I consistently recommended PSR to other Boneyarders (UConn sports site – which you already know about).

    Will the new position be only in print, only on the web or a mix of both? I certainly hope to keep the rankings running along with the off-season in-depth previews. It really helps make the year move quicker.

    Congrats again. Hard work, dedication, and becoming obsessively knowledgeable about a topic that millions of people care a lot about will always pay off. :-)

  41. Nick says:


    Congratulations on the new job! I have been a fan of yours since your off-season rankings on the Quad Blog, followed you here, and will definitely continue to follow your work on USA Today. Thanks for everything, this site has been great!

  42. Gotham Gator says:

    Wow. Great for you, Paul. I hope this move works out for you in every way. It is much deserved and well earned.

    Does this mean you are moving down to the space coast?

    This is a little sad for us, but hopefully all it means is that we will simply have to redirect our browsers to another site to find the great coverage these last two years have brought.

    The big loss for us will probably be just what you alluded to – the community. This site was always much more cerebral and polite than your typical sports blog, in part because you had to be a little bit special to stumble upon it. Hopefully, your coverage at U.S.A.T. will remain as cerebral, but it will become a lot easier to stumble upon.

  43. Charlie says:

    Bittersweet for me. Congrats on your new gig. I’ll be following you over to USAT.

  44. glenn says:

    i guess i know what i think about this now.

    i’ve learned to despise change because it almost always means less good, not more good.  now and then change results in more upside than downside, and i’m just going to hope this is one of those times.

  45. Zach says:

    Congrats! This site has always been my favorite non rutgers specific college football site, and one that I could always turn to for a good neutral projection of my team’s upcoming season, given also-reasonable projections of the abilities of its opponents.

    I look forward to your columns at USA Today

  46. dom says:

    Hi Paul,. First thanks for all the work. Enjoyed it tremendously. It clearly is the best and most thorough site. Particularly for those of us who do not only follow the biggest programs.

    I am truely sad to see it go, but just can’t manage to be angry about it, seeing how much time you put into it and that your move is logical and well deserved.

    I will certainly throw a look at your wirk in USA today

  47. vaudvillain says:

    Congratulations, Paul! Like everyone else here, I’ll miss PSR — but I look forward to seeing your work at USAT.

  48. Ryan says:

    This has been the best college football blog out there for some time now, and I’ll miss it to whatever extent it changes. That said, I’m thrilled for you, Paul; you deserve anything your hard work and obvious talent brings you. It’s been said by others, but I, too, have never visited usatoday.com, but I will make it a point to do so in the near future.

  49. JimBob says:

    Obviously you have a lot of faithful readers, me included.

    Good luck with USAT.

  50. brucebond says:

    I’ve been a long time reader, however, I’ve never left a comment. While I’m happy for you, I will be sad PSR will no longer be around.

    This is the best non-biased college football blog out there. Best of luck to you in the future and I’ll be looking out for USAT.


  51. Hokieshibe says:

    Best of luck at USA Today, Paul! Guess I’m going to have to start checking that site now… Thanks so much for all of the work! I loved it

  52. David says:

    Paul, sad to see you go. I loved your website and it helped me get through the final months leading up to the football season. I didn’t comment much but I read you nearly everyday. Enjoy USAT and I’ll see you over there.

  53. GoHox says:

    Please, for the love of God, keep doing The Countdown. It is literally the only thing keeping me sane during the long and boring spring/summer months before football.

    I’m scared to think of what terrible things I’m capable of without the balance that it provides in my life.

    Good luck in your future endeavors.

  54. Bill says:

    Your work here will be very much missed. Thanks for not writing too much about my NMSU Aggies the past couple of weeks…we still have hope, but it is starting to be for next year…again.

    Another new USAT reader…

  55. Gordon says:

    Paul, I can only echo what others have written before me. Long time reader, first-and-last time writer, your work so far outshone everyone else’s that it took me a year of logging on before I truly believed it really was a one-man show. Your combination of erudition, humor, and unbiased evaluation make whatever you wrote worth reading, even if the school involved didn’t otherwise interest me. As with many others on this comment page, I’ll start reading USA Today just to see what you have to say. Congratulations!

  56. Dave says:

    Sad news for us, but congrats Paul and good luck!

    This has literally been an every-day read for me for 3 years now. You’ll be missed.

  57. Kris says:


    I am selfishly very sad as I have been waiting for A&M to prove worthy of a “reverse of last year” from you! Remember?…the lofty ranking you gave my Ags that we only lived up to in the first half of each football game so that we ended in your cellar? Was hoping to quietly rise from the lowly (and right!) preseason rank you assigned to finish in a well-earned respectable spot!

    As happened several times in the past couple of years, this A&M fan will agree with Burnt Orange! Count me as a new convert to USA Today (sports, anyway ;-)

  58. WashingtonDCduck says:

    ** PAUL **

    I must say, well, this sucks. First off – congrats on the new posting. That’s wonderful. I’m sure this is a great move for you and your family. USA Today has had some decent college football coverage over the years, and you really bolster their staff. George Schroder, who has wrote for my hometown, Eugene, Oregon paper the Register Guard I know just recently joined the USA Today Sports Dept.

    Pre-Snap Read has been a part of my daily routine now for a while. Come into work, see if there are any fire drills and then run over to PSR and ESPN’s Pac-12 Blog… that’s been it. Now what will I do??!

    Thanks for all the hard work and diligent research. I’ll certainly miss your countdown in May through the end of the summer, you’ve always been a source of great information. Where else can a fan get in-depth breakdown of a school like Umass or Idaho football??

    For fans like me, that just love FBS football year round, your site will be missed.

    [ Go Ducks, up to #2 in the polls. Got to love it! ]

  59. Sean T says:

    Congratulations! I hope you can continue to be as good as you’ve been on PSN for USA Today. Best of luck Paul.

  60. Hay says:

    Damn. This site has been a daily part of my routine for years, and my most recommended Coll. Football blog to my friends. I’ll miss it terribly.

    Still, congrats.

  61. Lee says:

    Congrats Paul. Enjoyed the coverage and opinions.

    Chomp Chomp!!!

  62. Eksynyt says:

    More than anything, I’m going to miss the Eric Stoltz references whenever Tulsa comes up every year. Also, calling the hot seat the Locksley. It just makes so much sense to call it that.

    Best of luck, Paul!

  63. Jim Narby says:

    Congrats you mook!

    I would recommend you re-run my article- one of the best in PSR’s history.

  64. Lonnie S says:


    From all of us here at National Bank Co. I’d like to thank you for contributing to our daily water cooler discussions as all of us here at National Bank Co. were avid readers of your columns. Here at National Bank Co. are required to offer you a few words of wisdom and a good luck sentiment from us to you. Here are our closing remarks on the loss of PSR:
    Congratulations, Good luck at USAT, and from your friends here at National Bank Co. we mourn the loss of PSR and all of those affiliated with it (including J. Narby)

  65. Bill Condon says:

    My bookmark is USAT/Myerberg. I hope they have sense enough to know how good you really are!

  66. southwvboy says:

    Hope you get plenty of freedom over there to do what you do. This is/was the best site ever. I would love to have you and Chris Childers from Sirius Radio on a podcast together. You guys get it.

  67. Jim says:

    Paul, I posted earlier about how much I will miss this site. I ranted and raved about the demise of this site and how good of a writer you are. Now I see a silver lining!

    You see, it has become clear to me that I was a PSR ADDICT. I have read every article you have ever posted, many more than once. Suddenly, with your move to USAT, I find myself actually getting to work on time. I’m actually spending more time with my wife and children. I went through some withdrawal, but I can see now that you are a drug for college football junkies!

    So, thank you. Thank you for quitting and breaking my addiction (that I didn’t even realize I had). I’m sure I will find something much more deserving of my attention – like cleaning the garage…

    I’ll miss you (sniff…) – but my boss and my family are saying thank you.

    As an addict, I will be sure to find a Paul Myerberg fix from time to time at USAT.

    Good luck,
    Jim L.

    [this has been a back-handed attempt at paying you the biggest compliment ever - most deservedly so.]

  68. Joel D says:

    Thanks, Paul. You ran a great website. I didn’t read you every day, but I’ve been a loyal follower during CFB season the last couple years. Hope your new venture goes very well…

    … oh yeah, and GO BIG RED!!!

  69. Kels says:


    I will miss PSR, especially in the offseason.

    Good luck!!

  70. Bryan says:

    Damn, good luck man. I’m going to miss this site for sure.

  71. Jim says:

    Come back!

    USAT is just not the same. :(

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