Today was poster front day in the land of winning college football teams.

Here’s a quick sampling of front pages, as found at the Newseum…


THE STATE
Columbia, S.C.
70,980

The news: Arch rivals South Carolina and Clemson went into Saturday’s game both ranked in the top ten — the first time that’s ever happened. South Carolina stomped Clemson 31-17 to give the Gamecocks its fifth straight win over the Tigers.

The front page: Featured a post-game celebration shot by State staffer Gerry Melendez.

1312FootballColumbiaSC

My take: I’d prefer a nice action shot. But, yeah, if you’re a Gamecock fan, you probably love this page.

I’m a Clemson fan. So naturally, I’m trying to hold down my lunch…


DEMOCRAT
Tallahassee, Fla.
35,238

The news: Florida State buried Florida 37-7 to go undefeated. Unless they do something stupid in the ACC championship game against Duke, expect the Seminoles to play for a national championship.

Florida, meanwhile, finishes 4-8 and will spend the offseason trying to figure out why two Gators were blocking each other in the Georgia Southern game last weekend.

The front: Was built around this gorgeous picture of Kelvin Benjamin — who caught three touchdown passes yesterday — by staffer Mike Ewen.

1312FootballTallahassee

My take: I’ve never minded headlines on or in a photo, as long as they don’t interfere with the foreground of the shot. This one, I think, went a little over the line. Granted, I’m not sure I’d have minded it so much had the picture not been this nice.

Even more obtrusive is the giant bear in the skybox. It’s a good thing he didn’t lean over the red rule and smack the ball out of the air as if it were a trout in a stream.

Big, bold skyboxes can be terrific. Big, bold front page photos can be terrific. But typically, you’re going to want to use one or the other. If you try to cram both onto your page, you end up with something like this.

I would argue that the game and photo would sell enough papers today. Give the skybox the day off.


MISSOURIAN
Columbia, Mo.
6,003

The news: Missouri defeated Texas A&M 28-21 to earn a spot in the SEC championship game.

The front: Built around this postgame celebration shot by Kholood Eld.

1312FootballColumbiaMo

My take: As I said earlier, I prefer action shots to celebration shots. Count that double if the celebration picture mostly shows backsides. I mean, what’s the point of leading with a celebration if you can’t see the emotion on the faces of the crowd?

That’s the problem with a poster front. You gotta have the right photo. This wasn’t it.

The player being held aloft here — by the way — is defensive end Michael Sam, a finalist for the annual Lombardi award. Perhaps Missouri fans don’t need to be told that. But it’s not like there wasn’t room for a cutline in all that dead space… in the bottom third of the page.


HATTIESBURG AMERICAN
Hattiesburg, Miss.
11,242

The news: Southern Miss defeated UAB 62-27, which is an impressively one-sided score. But it’s even more impressive when you learn that the Golden Eagles were suffering through a 23-game losing streak. The win saves Southern Miss from a second consecutive 0-12 season.

The front: Features this impressive photo of Freshman defensive back Kelsey Douglas.

1312FootballHattiesburg

My take: This page — designed, obviously, at a Gannett Design Studio — is truly nice. The headline is huge, but is inserted behind the foreground, so I don’t mind it as much as I did the Tallahassee front. I love the headline, the way it’s tilted and the way the paper’s nameplate was reduced in order to make room for it all.

My complaint here is the lack of a photo credit. If you’re going to run a full-page photo on page one, the least you can do is slap a credit on the thing.

In researching this post, I went to the Hattiesburg American web site to find out who shot the picture — I figured it’d be in an online gallery or something — and what Freshman defensive back Kelsey Douglas was doing in this picture. But the kid isn’t mentioned by name in the game story.

There’s a reference to five UAB turnovers, so I presume this was an interception. But I’m having to guess.


BIRMINGHAM NEWS
Birmingham, Ala.
103,729

The news: Unless you were living under a rock yesterday — or in mourning in Clemson, S.C. — then you know what happened in Alabama yesterday: No. 5-ranked Auburn beat No. 1-ranked Alabama when cornerback Chris Davis caught a missed field goal and returned it 109 yards for a touchdown as time expired.

Some have called it the greatest play in college football history. It’s kind of hard to argue with that.

The front: Davis celebrates afterward. The picture is by Dave Martin of the Associated Press.

Note the fairly unusual swear word in the headline. Which — given what happened — is also kind of hard to argue with.

1312FootballBirmingham

Naturally, the front page ran all editions for Advance’s Alabama papers.

1312FootballAdvanceAlabama

In the center is the 44,725-circulation Huntsville Times. On the right is the Mobile Press-Register, circulation 82,088.

My take: I really wish we could have seen a picture of the run itself out front. But whatever — again, it’s smart, on a day like this, to please fans who’ll want to run out and buy extra copies of the paper as souvenirs.

However, the same thing applies here that was true for the Hattiesburg paper: If you’re going to run a full-page photo, make room for a photo credit somewhere. It’s the least you can do.


MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER
Montgomery, Ala.
32,847

The front: Same photo — this time, credited.

1312FootballMontgomery

My take: I love this headline. It’s the best of the day, in my opinion.

Again, all these front pages are from the Newseum.

This article has 1 comments

  1. Greg KB

    Charles-
    I agree completely with the critique of the Missourian cover shot. We knew we wanted to give the game the special poster treatment, and we sort of threw our hat over that wall before the photos were filed, hoping we’d have *the shot.* We wound up pulling what we felt was the best of what we had available from our shooters and from the AP at deadline. I really wish I’d had access to the images from that camera right under Sam’s armpit :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>