The folks in charge of college football's mostly meaningless preseason awards watch lists have done us all a favor this summer.
Rather than haphazardly release these lists - and 15 of the National College Football Awards Association's 21 major awards have them - the organization has spearheaded a ''coordinated effort'' to promote each award's preseason candidates in 2012.
It's just the second time in the 16-year history of the association someone felt it was a good idea to have a coordinated effort on these things. What it means is the randomness is gone. They even provided a schedule of release dates.
Monday: Maxwell Award/Bednarik Award
Today: Mackey Award/Rimington Trophy
Wednesday: Lou Groza Award/Ray Guy Award
Thursday: Bronko Nagurski Trophy/Outland Trophy
Friday: Jim Thorpe Award
Mon., July 16: Butkus Award/Rotary Lombardi Award
Tues., July 17: Biletnikoff Award
Wed., July 18: Davey O'Brien Award
Thurs., July 19: Doak Walker Award
Fri., July 20: Walter Camp Award
Yes, in the next two weeks - as they try to stay in front of most league media days - we'll see lists of 50-100 guys that will eventually be paired down to semifinalists, finalists, and ultimately winners by Dec. 6, beginning with today's releases of the Maxwell Award Watch List (America's Outstanding College Football Player, won last year by Andrew Luck) and the Bednarik Watch List (the nation's top defensive player, won last year by LSU's Tyrann Mathieu).
It may come as little surprise that zero WVU players made the Bednarik Watch List (and it should come as even less of a surprise that no defensive players from Clemson did). A total of 13 players from Big 12 schools did make the list, including three from Texas.
The Maxwell list tells a different story, as both quarterback Geno Smith and receiver Tavon Austin dot the 66 nationwide-player list.
As you might expect, some publications didn't want to wait until the league media days to announce their preseason all-league teams. Athlon Sports put one out last month with Smith, Austin, Stedman Bailey making first-team offense and Austin doubling as the league's premier preseason punt returner. Again, with no defensive players on this list, it should be easy for Joe DeForest and Keith Patterson's newly formed 3-4 defense to sneak up on some people.
Athlon's second-team unit includes WVU center Joe Madsen, while safety Terrance Garvin was a second-team safety and Austin checks in as a second-team kick returner.
Lineman Jeff Braun made the third-team offense, while defensive end Will Clarke rated a spot on the Big 12's third-team defense.
Something tells me these guys are going to be sorry they forgot about a fifth-year senior named Josh Jenkins.
Finally, there's Phil Steele, a man who never waits for others to beat him to the punch. He released his on May 17, not long after WVU scored its last touchdown in the Orange Bowl.
It has a little different look to it as Austin (twice, again) made first team, as did Bailey. Smith did not, settling for second-team behind Oklahoma's Landry Jones. Madsen joined him there, while Braun and Jenkins were third-teamers. Not to be outdone (again), Steele has a fourth-team, though no WVU players made it.
You have to go all the way to the third-team defense to find a West Virginia player, where Garvin and Jorge Wright made the list. On the fourth-team is Clarke, Darwin Cook, and Jewone Snow.
Austin was also a second-team kick returner and Tyler Bitancurt made fourth-team kicker.
The bad news is that nearly 100 of these preseason all-whatever lists will be out within the next month, all with likely the same names in a sordid variation. The good news is not one of them will have even the smallest impact on how the season turns out for the Mountaineers as a team or individually.