BALLHYPED: Chris, first of all, congrats on winning the 2011 Sports Blog of the Year Tournament. How’s that new crown fit?
SPORTSCHUMP: The crown fits nice and snug. I promise not to let my head get too big that I’ll need to re-order one complete with trucker cap, mesh back to adjust for mullet, or ego, expansion. Ya’ know, when I first heard I was nominated for the tournament, I was pretty excited. I immediately got the word out to my co-workers, family, fellow bloggers and Facebook friends. It worked with flying colors, although I am on the hook for a few cocktails. To be perfectly honest, I can’t thank them all enough. I’m just glad people enjoy the site. It goes to show all the hours I’ve invested are worth it. That’s quite rewarding.
BH: It was a different kind of tournament this year, but the blog vs. blog matchups seemed to bring up some interesting conversations on Twitter, etc. Did you enjoy the engagement with the various bloggers this year during your run?
SC: Let’s just say I’ve gained a lot more Twitter followers and blogroll brethren over the past week-and-a-half. I ran into a lot of sports-related websites I otherwise would not have, and in this day and age of social media, I understand traffic works both ways. The Ballhyped tourney did a great job of generating that camaraderie.
BH: So tell us a little bit about yourself (your Twitter mugshot doesn’t give away a whole lot, so inquiring minds want to know who this Chump is) and this blog of yours. How it came about, the reason behind the name, SportsChump.
SC: I’ve actually used that picture since my Foxblogging days, which was a good four to five years ago. Female readers used to tell me it was sexy so I kept it up there… or maybe they were just saying that to be polite. Perhaps I’ll change the photo when my trophy arrives in the mail, but I always felt that picture served as a bit of a tease, ya’ know, the whole “Lone Ranger who is that masked man” sort of thing. As far as the website, believe it or not, I ran into the brains behind the organization, Eddie Griffin of the Red Zone Report, on Craigslist. EG does most of my HTML stuff, not to mention handling the advertising. I used to contribute to his site regularly, but as soon as he realized that I liked to write about more than just football, SportsChump was born. And Chump? You haven’t figured it out yet? My name is Chris HUMPherys, hence Sports CHUMP. So here I sit, single-handedly trying to make ‘chump’ a good word. This trophy will go a long way in doing so.
BH: What, in your eyes, was the biggest sports story of 2011?
SC: I don’t think there’s any argument that the Penn State scandal was the biggest sports story of the year. It’s unfortunate that such a debilitating string of events overshadowed what was otherwise a great year in sports. I have two friends that I correspond with online, Dubsism and The Wife Hates Sports, both with Penn State ties. Let’s just say this story shook them to the core. KP even stopped writing for a while.
SC: You mean aside from my trip to Augusta? The best thing about sports is its unpredictability. It’s why we’re all such avid fans, and also why there’s a new casino built in Las Vegas every month. But I’m really intrigued with the future of college football. Conference realignment has already made some strange bedfellows. It’s too early to tell whether or not this will be good for the sport. As it stands right now, there’s not a fan out there that has a single, nice thing to say about the BCS. Down the road, and probably not all that long from now, college football will look a whole lot different, and people will likely still complain. Interestingly enough, we’re also about to see realignment and divisional restructuring in the NHL and Major League Baseball, so it must be something in the water.
BH: BCS Championship Game: Who you got?
SC: Put me on the spot , why don’t ya’? I think we’re in for another doozy of a football game but I’ll go ahead and take the favorite in this one. Despite its critics, the BCS has still been effective in determining our past national champions. If Alabama wins, that’s all thrown out the window. The planet might just open up and be swallowed from the inside. This is just one man’s opinion but, wouldn’t it be good to see Nick Saban lose twice in one season to the same team. Wait, you don’t have any readers from Alabama, do you?
SC: I hate to go chalk again here but the Pack look solid. I know they give up a lot of points and the Saints, assuming they get both get that far, will give them one hell of a fight. I just don’t think the Packers are as bad defensively as the numbers show. They fared pretty well defensively in last year’s run. I just have a feeling that side of the ball will be able to step it up when needed. And Aaron Rodgers? He’s pretty good. But he’s never won Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. So I got that going for me… which is nice.
BH: Now that you are the best sports blogger in the ‘sphere, what do you think makes a good sports blog?
SC: Honesty, commitment and interaction… as well as proper spelling, punctuation and a lack of run-on sentences. Wait, I think that was one. I recently wrote a piece reviewing Dan Le Batard’s new show on ESPN. One of the things I enjoy about it most is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Neither does SportsChump. Things will cross my mind that I want to put out there, a running diary of sorts. I’m not here to break news or scoop anyone. I share my opinion and listen to those of others, but we’re talking sports here, not brain surgery. These things should be placed in their proper context, the more eloquently stated, the better. Another factor that can NOT be overlooked, at least in my opinion, is interaction with your readers. My philosophy is, if a person is going to take the time to read your stuff and then comment, the least you can do is answer them.
SC: More of the same, perhaps a format change, lots more podcasts, perhaps some more video projects as well. I do plan on taking a few vacations this year, one to Augusta as I mentioned, another to Texas A&M to see the Gators play. SportsChump has always been about my personal experiences with sports so I’m sure we’ll be seeing some posts from those roadies… assuming, of course, I remember them. Details can get a little cloudy when the Chump hangs out with his posse.
BH: You have a pretty good handle on this blogging stuff, any other web-related or sports projects you have in the works for 2012 that you’d like to share with us?
SC: And give away my secrets? Not a chance. Now that so many eyes are upon me, I really have to dot my t’s and cross my I’s… or is it the other way around? Either way, I look forward to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.