When Craig Howard was named head coach at Southern Oregon (NAIA) he went looking for the videos they used to market the program. He found none. As he put it, he told his guys to "find a camera and film some stuff." No one knew it at the time, but that "stuff" turned out to be the best small college football video of 2013.
Student coach Matt Adkins oversaw a small production staff that filmed frequently out of sheer passion and the story they wound up telling was powerful. In the end, Adkins wound up producing a full-fledge documentary, "Team of Firsts" which profiles the 2012 Southern Oregon season which "saw the resurgence of the dormant SOU football program." The full-length video, nearly two hours long, is fascinating to watch.
For our contest, the trailer was submitted and it is fantastic. As Andy Staples put it, "In 2:31, it takes a kid disappointed that he's only being recruited by Southern Oregon and shows him that he can find everything that he loves about football there -- even if he doesn't get the fancy uniform. The singing on the bus is great. The scene where one player comforts his crying teammate nearly had me tearing up. That's what people who never played don't get. It doesn't have to be the Iron Bowl to inspire that kind of emotion. If you work that hard at something, it matters. That video tells a complete story in a short time and might have the ability to convert a recruit who wouldn't otherwise consider that school."
Southern Oregon University - Team of Firsts (3rd Trailer)
Six videos were selected as finalists for this award and were subsequently evaluated by our panel consisting of Sports Illustrated senior writer Andy Staples, Bleacher Report lead college football writer Adam Kramer, Smart Football editor and author Chris Brown and SB Nation managing editor Brian Floyd. Each of the 6 was an example of the outstanding video work being done these days and choosing one winner was a highly subjective process. Each of the finalists should be proud and it is our hope that coaches & video staffs across the country enjoying watching and learning from some of the best in the business.