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My favorite things that I wrote in 2016

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With a key date at the bottom.

It’s a tradition like no other: the late-December Football Study Hall post in which I compliment myself. Here are the 2014 and 2015 editions. And here’s the annual disclaimer:

In my job, I aim for both quality and quantity. By my estimation, I write about 1.5 million words per year, and a lot of the pieces that hold those words are, to some degree, duds.

I like a lot of the pieces, though, and all I can really hope is that I look back at each passing year and think, "This was my best writing year yet." Well ... this was my best writing year yet. I'm really proud of a lot of what I did, and as we reach the "year-end series" portion of the year, I wanted to share some of my favorites.

I can be awfully self-indulgent at times, so instead of sharing my 10 favorite pieces, I'm going to share far more than 10 favorites, based instead on 10 themes.

On to the list!

10. PAPN

This was the second year of Podcast Ain’t Played Nobody, and I like to think Godfrey and I did some pretty cool things this year. Some examples:

Alternate realignment timelines and the Texas Brand™:

Armageddon and the Airline Conference:

The most PAPN PAPN that ever PAPN’d:

The PAPN AAC MEDIA DAY SPECTACULAR, Part 1: Lobster vs. catfish

The PAPN AAC MEDIA DAY SPECTACULAR, Part 2: Chad Morris and Tom Herman on stats:

PAPN loves Baton Rouge:

Race, empathy, discourse, and protest in college football:

9. The annual Top 100

8. Two ideas to change college football for the better

7. Tennis!

6. Soccer!

5. A deep dive into historical stats

4. Stats in the current day

3. 2016 in-season analysis

2. The HBCU series

1. The 50 Best* College Football Teams of All Time

You haven’t actually read my favorite thing I wrote this year (well, you’ve read three chapters — 1945 Army, 1999 Virginia Tech, 2007 Oregon — but that still leaves 47 others), but I can now tell you when you can read it.

The publishing process is annoying and features random black holes, but The 50 Best* College Football Teams of All Time will be available to retailers on March 7, 2017.

From the back cover.

College football's history is rich and regionalized. You know your team's history and maybe your conference's, but our shared knowledge doesn't go too far beyond Heisman winners and recent national champions.

It's time to change that. In The 50 Best* College Football Teams of All Time, Bill Connelly dives into the history and evolution of the sport, telling its story through 50 particularly interesting teams. From 1906 Chicago through 2013 Auburn, Connelly tells the story of innovators, transcendent players, burgeoning dynasties, and greatness denied.

From Joe Guyon and Red Grange to Michael Vick and Tyrann Mathieu, from Amos Alonzo Stagg to Chip Kelly, from the jump shift to the spread offense, from world wars to integration, from the 1925 Rose Bowl to the 2013 Iron Bowl, learn what made college football so unique, maddening, and addictive.

This is not a book about college football's best teams; it's a book about college football at its best.

I’ve been ready for you guys to read this for a while. (And if you supported the Kickstarter campaign, you probably won’t have to wait until March 7 to get your hands on it.)