The second product on the 2010 Football Release Calendar has a certain déjà vu quality to it. That is probably because it is simply the second half of the SAGE Hit set, the first half of which was released less than a month ago. While trying to maintain that this is a separate product review, the following content is going to seem eerily similar.
Hobby boxes come with 27 5-card packs for a total of 135 cards (15 less than Low Series). I purchased this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $93.95 shipped, which translates into a $0.70/card ratio. This, again, is a bit higher than I would prefer for a college-themed set, especially since they are all undrafted rookies at this point, but I am also a “budget” collector. The box promises (on average) 9 autograph cards per box (3 more than Low Series) and at least 1 insert card per pack.
1 insert in each of these bad boys
Base Cards (#51-100): 108 – 100%
Parallels: 8 (5 Silver; 3 Gold)
Inserts: 10 (6 Prospectus; 2 The Write Stuff; 2 Make Ready #/50)
Autographs: 9 (3 Base; 3 Silver; 3 Gold #/250)
FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: As the second part of a single set, these base cards were identical to the Low Series base cards. Clean, crisp, simple, all in a good way. Not much more to add this time around. The In Training subset was a tad weak in my opinion (while The Program subset of Low Series was quite cool). It really felt like rather than filling out a 100 card checklist, they opted to “recycle” some of the athletes and used the stack of bad training photos they bought. Even if they had to fall back on lesser known figures, I would prefer to see 100 different players in the base set than these subset cards.
2nd Down, Inserts: Just like the base set, the inserts were essentially the same between the Low and High Series boxes, just with a slightly different checklist of players. The Prospectus cards still had a nice feel and look to them, The Write Stuff was still a waste, Make Ready still felt forced, and the parallels were still nifty (although I still wonder just what material they used for the “foil”). After seeing all of these in the Low Series, I was a bit uninspired this time around.
3rd Down, Collation: This was the worst part about this box in my opinion. I pulled 4 copies of five cards and 3 copies of ten others…yet there were 12 base cards of which I only pulled one copy. From a personal standpoint, it didn’t help that one of those 12 was the only Nittany Lion to be included in the set. I know these things are difficult to control without making the collation incredibly predictable or expensive (completely automated machines are a complete by-hand packout), but I would like to see a better effort in making sure a collector buying just one box gets an even distribution of the base cards. I did note that the 9 autographs did not come all bunched together as they had in my box of Low Series, so hopefully that was just an exception and not a trend as I feared at the time.
4th Down, Overall Value: In two words (again): not good. SAGE included Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy in the autograph checklist for this series as well (plus the addition of Jimmy Clausen), but quite frankly, a collector is not going to reap huge fiscal rewards from busting this product. Like I said last time, if you really enjoy college themed products, go for it. Unfortunately, most collectors stay away from non-NFL licensed cards and that really hurts the resale value of this set. I will say the autograph content is great in this box. Nine of the 135 cards contain authentic autographs, which is nearly 7% of the box. That is unheard of for lower-end products, which tend to offer sub 1% autograph content.
RED ZONE RESULTS: MISSED FIELD GOAL It’s difficult to give this box a different result than the Low Series box, although emotionally, I was thoroughly less impressed this time around. Generally, I don’t like the split series set concept, but it really doesn’t work when your base set is only 100 cards deep. Topps or Upper Deck may be able to pull it off with checklists that run over 500, but that just isn’t the case here for SAGE. Perhaps they needed some extra time to secure more autograph subjects, but I’d almost rather just have them included in a distinctively separate set. Again, I like the look of the base set and even some of the inserts, and I love that a small company is trying to take a bite out of the football market, but the results are mixed at best. One SAGE product remains on the schedule at this point, SAGE Autographed on 4/25/10. Hopefully the extra month of production time will lead to positive results.
NEXT UP: 2010 Press Pass Football