Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rating The NWC Websites

If you’re as big of small college football geek as I am then you do spend time surfing the websites of the Northwest Conference teams looking for nuggets of information to get you through your week.

I tend to be big on these sites being a vehicle or window into an athletic program. The world is a different place than 10 years ago in how we gather information, especially high school kids (a.k.a. recruits). Kids are all about social websites, ipods, text messaging, etc. A potential recruit is going to be more apt to go to a school's web site to see what a program may have to offer. That is why I believe it’s vital to have a site that not only looks good but offer great content.

So instead of ranking programs, stadiums, quarterbacks….I’m going to give you a ranking of athletic/football websites of the Northwest Conference. Get your mouse warmed up and get ready for me to possibly offend some SID’s.

1. Linfield
Yes, I’m going to rank this site number 1 and it’s for good reason. The site has been the leader in the conference for web design and content for years and it’s still leading the pack.
Pros: Great Photos in just about every release, nobody produces better game previews or recaps in the conference, informative player profiles, player interviews during the season, incredibly deep record book, always up-to-date with scores and news, very professional.
Cons: People probably want video content but that’s what is for!

2. Willamette
A year ago Willamette’s football page would have been towards the bottom of this list but a major overhaul has this site challenging Linfield’s top cat status. This attractive site has some nice features and is easy to navigate. The site has been producing a ton of articles but we’ll see if they can keep up the pace.
Pros: Like the design layout, good use of new technology (mp3 interviews, flash videos), has been producing up to date information.
Cons: Some of the links don’t work, I like they have a few videos but they’re below average in terms of their quality, no real record book, average player profiles, and I have a feeling there is too much on the plate and the site will suffer down the road due to not being able to keep up.

3. PLU
The site is not very easy on the eyes but the strength of content help the ‘Lute site take the 3rd spot. The news releases and depth of content rival Linfield but the dated look of the site really holds it back.
Pros: Great written content, solid record book, cool fact sheet and all-american page, nice athlete spotlight interview, very informative game previews.
Cons: The site needs a refreshed look to bring it to 2007 and needs to incorporate more action photos into their releases.

4. Whitworth
I hate ranking Whitworth down this far because their SID pulls double duty in running the outstanding so it’s a little unfair. The game releases and previews are very well crafted and this site is always up-to-date but there is just not enough information (record book, archives, etc) to push the site up the rankings.
Pros: Love the audio/video highlight section, well written articles, up-to-date, great job in highlighting the facility
Cons: Not enough extra content and feel the site could be fleshed out in terms of look.

5. Menlo
The distance between the top four and bottom three is great. The Menlo site does offer up some current information but the site’s look is stuck in 1999. Shouldn’t a college located in the heart of the high tech world have a website that offers more?
Pros: Offers a pdf download of their Media Guide, good little sports quarterly feature
Cons: I just can’t get over the look, have player profiles but they are lacking any information you couldn’t find on the roster, could use more in-depth writing.

6. Lewis and Clark
This site did have some cool historical information but that is gone and that hurts this site. The site is not really eye catching and the writing has been sub par. It appears along with the football program the SID department is putting some renewed enthusiasm into the site but we’ll see if that stands up.
Pros: Cool virtual tour of Griswold Stadium, site is putting up better information about the team
Cons: No Roster? Total lack of historical information, plain looking site, needs better writing, just not offering very much at all.

7. UPS
I don’t even know how to describe this ugly thing. It’s just bad and well deserving of being at the bottom of this list. I don’t know if there is any redeeming quality.
Pros: They have a record book.
Cons: Lack of Photos, lack of information, terrible looking, just a void of a web site.


Pat Coleman said...

I can't possibly rank Linfield's site No. 1. It's illegible in Firefox, which is used by nearly 20% of the U.S. surfing population these days. Modules and menus are scattered all over the place, overlapping each other.

And yes, I've mentioned this to Linfield already.

Wildcat11 said...

The majority rules here PC! :D

IE users (us in the 80%) love the Linfield format.

I'm sure our SID has that on the list with Linfield's IT people.