Journalism Watch List: D-Tread not Dennis Dodd's biggest problem
Write controversial articles.
That's the easiest part of Dennis Dodd's job this week, CBSSports.com's senior college football columnist. All he has to do it get people pissed off by writing insensitive, foul, and untrue attacks on good people who are on track to become major football head coaches after the Spartans' appointment in Pasadena, Calif. next January. The Spartans' trip to then-No. 18 Michigan showed that nothing was wrong between Mark Dantonio and Don Treadwell and lent some further definition to the Big Ten race. Otherwise, Dodd has to be really worried. He has got to know by now that CBSSports.com has a fallback, a first runner-up should he not be able to fulfill his duties as senior columnist. (Gratuitous Weekend Watch List parody if you don't get it.)
Point is, Burton DeWitt can write. Future Pulitzer candidate only, for now. That could change. Bleacher Report's featured columnist is 2-0 in showing Dodd who is boss this week, including a vicious retort to his unacceptable jab, even if it were tongue-in-cheek, last Friday on Treadwell. There is only one journalist left heading into Week 7 to give Dodd the business while also being competent. Technically, that puts DeWitt a class above Gary Smith, Tom Friend, John Feinstein, and Jason Whitlock.
You know the recent history. Dodd expects that his job is safe for all eternity after completely botching his attempt at satire. The plan, once again, is for Dodd to write Weekend Watch List from his computer in Kansas City, or wherever the hell he will be. The man knows when his job is being threatened. Dodd was texting other CBSSports.com writers from his bedroom last week asking for "column ideas."
You can bet he knows the Jimmy the Greek story. It's never good to cross the line in this business. That's why they speak of DeWitt in hushed tones around the CBSSports.comheadquarters. "Watch your back," they say. "He's taking credit for exposing you as a fraud," they whisper.
Yes, it's a power play and it's been ugly as Dodd attempts to move past his poor judgment.
"You can't keep me down Eastern Michigan-Ball State week," he said.
Meanwhile, DeWitt's career is littered with the broken careers he has stepped over on his way to undeniable greatness. Esther Vergeer still remains anonymous around much of the world despite DeWitt writing two excellent articles on her accomplishments. Bill Belichick still lost a Super Bowl despite DeWitt claiming the NFL should have suspended him for life for Spygate. It took three long years for Robert Kubica to get noticed as one of the best young drivers in Formula 1 after DeWitt wrote of him as a future champion in 2007.
Journalism Watch List could go on but why put more stress on Dodd? DeWitt is good, sneaky good. Columnist D knows what's at stake. It could be a trip to the Poor House. It could be Dodd being unemployed for the first time since Nick Saban was the Michigan State coach. It's about that future Pulitzer candidate trying to remove more than the future label.
Watch your back, Columnist D. Watch your back.