Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Blogger Interviews: The Wonderful Wizard of Odds

We're starting a new segment here at The Big Picture where we'll interview some of the biggest names in the sports blogosphere. What's the point? Well, these guys spend countless, thankless hours writing, so a little recognition from time to time is well warranted. Think of this as the blogger's version of a reach-around or something.

And who better to kick off this feature than our pal Dawizofodds? He runs the great college football site, The Wizard of Odds, "A College Football Site for Winners," and has a wealth of knowledge for the college game. Strap on those seatbelts...

1. The rundown:

Name: Dawizofodds
Age: Classified
Location: Parts Unknown
Occupation: Journalist
Favorite pro or college team: Temple. Or maybe Duke. Actually, I'm a huge Buffalo Bulls fan. OK, throw Stanford in the mix, or Florida International (is this a football team or an airport?) ... Any team that is a big loser. I love losers because without losers there wouldn't be winners. Losers make better stories. There's nothing quite like covering one, especially when it all starts to unravel. Those are moments to cherish.
Links to your favorite all-time posts you've written. (3-5): I've had over 1,500, so this is tough. In the past month:
-The brilliant move by Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema that exploited the stupid 3-2-5-e rule designed to shorten games.
-Butt, (cq) how can you not like Erin Andrews?
-A streaker at a Montana game.
- A USC Song Girl celebrating after Texas scored in the Rose Bowl.
-Plus all the 3-2-5-e stuff that put the site ahead of the curve and the recent coverage of coaching moves.
Time per day spent blogging and perusing the blogosphere?
Too much. Too much. Am considering detox. In fact, two men with a straitjacket just knocked on my door.

2. Take us through a typical day of blogging for you.

A typical "day" starts at 1 a.m. I put on the vampire garb and start surfing. Currently, I put in 3-4 hours a night or as long as I can go. The idea is to be the first site with all the news.

3. The Wizard of Odds is so good at finding the underreported story. How do you do it?

First, I watch a ton of football. In fact, you know that computer-generated yellow first-down line? The other day I got up from the sofa while watching games and saw that line as I walked to the kitchen. ... The other trick is volume. I try to process between 150-200 sites a night on my trusty PowerBook. If it weren't for scripting, spiders and a few other tricks, I would not be able to do this. That said, the best stories come from tips I get from readers. I can't say enough good things about the knowledgeable people who frequent the site. Put it all together and it comes down to news judgment.

4. Florida, jumps Michigan. Controversy infiltrates the BCS again. We're not going to put you on the spot by asking who you think is more deserving. Better, are you happy about the controversy or did the BCS system actually work?

I'm not necessarily a fan of the BCS system, but it works in one regard: It creates controversy, and this is a good thing for college football. For example, if we had an eight-team playoff, would we be arguing over who is the more deserving No. 8 team?

What I am a fan of is moving the bowl games after Jan. 1. Crazy? Just try to book a flight right now for your team. It's expensive, for one, plus having the bowls during the holidays disrupt many a family gathering. And besides, after spending the holidays with relatives, many of us are ready for a vacation...

5. Dream job? Go.

I already have a dream job, but am open to new challenges. :-)

6. There are all sorts of wonderful blogs out there. A few of your favorites?

What I look for in a blog: Daily postings, with information I can't get elsewhere. Clear, crisp and clean writing. Perspective is important. Opinionated. Educational and entertaining. As for favorites, any blog that meets the above criteria will draw my interest.

7. What's your ultimate goal at The Wizard of Odds?

Continue what I am doing and hopefully became a destination point for college football fans. I'm a big fan of Jim Romenesko's site and in a way, the Wiz of Odds has become the Romenesko of college football. I have a gazillion ideas for the site but only so much time.

8. It's August 29, 2005. Do you just roll out of bed that morning and say, "I'm feeling a bit saucy today. You know what, I'm gonna go start a blog. Fuck yeah!"? Or did starting your site play out a bit differently?

The idea was to do a podcast and blog, but I found out that doing the blog right took considerable effort and time and the podcast never got started. The site did help in getting a gig on "Sports Overnight America, Saturday Edition" on Sports Byline USA, available on Sirius 122, over the Internet, affiliates and Armed Forces Network. Shameless plug: Tune in around 11:30 p.m. (Pacific) on Friday. You could say the radio gig has become the podcast.

9. How did you build your readership and establish The Wizard of Odds as a daily stop for many readers?

Will at Deadspin loves the site and has been a tremendous help. Links on Deadspin helped bring exposure to The Wiz and it became a daily stop for football writers who in turn spread the word. Bottom line is that it takes time to build readership.

10. Most rewarding thing about blogging/your site? Most frustrating?

Rewarding? The learning experience and the network that has been built. I'm amazed at the contacts I have in a short time. Frustrating? Frequent problems with Blogger. I'm planning to switch the site in the offseason to an independent platform and urge everybody to use the following URL, as that will carry over:

11. We'll get you outta here on this: Biggest joke this college football season: John L. Smith, the Miami football program, or something else?

John L. Smith, while certainly entertaining, could not top the antics of Nevada Las Vegas coach Mike Sanford, who went nuts after the loss at Iowa State. You can watch the video here.

And Mike Valenti's meltdown on Detroit's XYT.


SAMO said...

Nice Interview!

Anonymous said...

Awesome read, thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Nice start.

You should look into being a journalist instead of Jenn Sterger stalker.

The Big Picture said...

benny, perhaps i could be both (tell you the truth, i do work at a major newspaper already...jenn's next!)

twins15 said...

Great idea and very well executed! Good stuff.

Anonymous said...


I was totally being sarcastic. I knew you were a journalist already. Guess it's hard to come across with just text.

Tell those folks to give you a raise. Tell them I said so.

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