It's a must for sports writers during June and July, when there are no high school or college sports.
You have to look for ways to make your copy as interesting as it can be.
So we resort to making lists of the top teams, top returning players, coaches most likely to be fired, and the best baseball managers at chewing sunflower seeds.
One recent Yahoo! Sports article caught my eye as Mike Huguenin came up with a list -in honor of the Fourth of July and its fireworks -of the 10 most explosive football players to watch during the upcoming college football season.
When I saw that West Virginia University wide receiver Stedman Bailey made the list at No. 10, I was pleased both that he was getting some much-deserved recognition (quarterback Geno Smith and fellow wide receiver Tavon Austin grab most of the Mountaineer time in the spotlight) and that WVU was mentioned in yet another national article.
Then, as I went through the countdown (where's Casey Kazum when you need him?), I noticed that Mr. Austin was rated No. 4. A quick check of the other eight players revealed that no other school had two members in the top 10.
Huguenin noted that Bailey averaged 17.8 yards during his 72 receptions last year, including eight catches he turned into 40 yards or more. He also said Bailey accounted for 100 or more yards in seven WVU games.
Of Austin, Huguenin noted he led the nation in all-purpose yards, averaging a whopping 198 per game, setting a school record in the process by making 101 pass receptions. Of the 172 times he touched the ball, he averaged 14.96 yards. Austin was credited with 19 plays that covered 30 or more yards.
Yes, the author made up his own list, but he did use statistics to validate his selections. It's surprising to see Bailey and Austin mentioned but not Smith. Yet the only quarterback on the list was Michigan's Denard Robinson, who came in at No. 2, behind only Oregon wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas, the top choice.
The list included eight offensive players and two defensive stars -Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones at No. 7 and LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu at No. 3.
The only players on the list WVU faced last season were Mathieu and Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who was No. 5. Ironically, no member of any of West Virginia's 12 opponents this fall made the list.
By the way, if you think this list is a little over the top, there are many others floating around out there, including Rivals.com coming up with WVU's Top 20 Big East moments.
But I understand. Sports writers are busy 10 months out of the year and almost have to make up stuff from June 1 to July 31. It's the nature of the beast.
Speaking of beasts, I'll soon have my list of the top 40 Beasts of the East.
In fact, Casey Kazum has agreed to count 'em down. Until then, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org