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Kolpack: Preseason All-America football teams nearly pointless

FARGO -- Hardly a week goes by this time of the season when a football news release from Who Knows Where hits The Forum's email inbox. They usually go like this:

"The magazine has released its annual Division I Football Championship Subdivision preseason All-America team, with six players from the Colonial Athletic Association and five from the Missouri Valley Football Conference headlining the selections."

The point is simple: Everybody and their mother have All-America teams these days, and it's gotten to the point of being too much. If you have a web domain, that somehow makes you qualified to pick an All-America team.

It can turn a 29-year-old guy living in his mom's basement into an FCS expert. The schools like it because any news release with an All-American reference attached to it is viewed as positive publicity, and who can blame them.

Well, we here at the Fargo FCS Hub are saying enough is enough.

No more preseason "watch lists" from the likes of the College Football Performance Awards website. The CFPA listed 40 running backs and 35 quarterbacks on its FCS preseason Watch List.

That's 35 schools that the CFPA can get free publicity through a news release. That's almost 30 percent of the starting quarterbacks in the division. In theory, shouldn't every starting quarterback be on the Watch List?

That's why we, the Fargo FCS Hub, are going with The Sports Network as the one and only preseason All-American team. Based in a Philadelphia suburb, the all-sports website puts full-time work hours into the FCS, and it has people who get paid to know everything about the division -- like Craig Haley.

"Everybody has a right to have one, and most seem to be in the ballpark," Haley said of preseason teams. "But we also present the four major awards in the FCS, and I think people put a lot of stock in our all-star and national awards."

Those four awards include the Walter Payton and Buck Buchanan awards that go to the best offensive and defensive players in the division.

Haley admits this preseason team wasn't real difficult to pick. NDSU cornerback Marcus Williams was one of 14 returning first team All-Americans from last December named to the pre-season first team this summer. Overall, there are 35 players returning who made the first, second or third teams.

"That's a rough outline from the start," Haley said.

Anyway, The Sports Network released its preseason team this week. People will have to wait another two weeks for the best FCS preseason team in the universe to come out: the team.

We contracted a 29-year-old guy living in his mom's basement to make the picks.

Kolpack is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications. He can be reached at