Sunday, October 09, 2005

Douchebag College Football Pundit of the Week

Stewart Mandel can eat a dick.

He clearly didn't watch the UGA-UT game, but thought he'd file a column trashing the Dawgs anyway. This sentence reveals such:

Georgia jumped to a 13-0 lead thanks in large part to Tennessee QB Rick Clausen's first-half interception at the goal line and subsequent fumble.

Points off those turnovers: 3. Georgia got to that lead thanks in large part to an impressively powerful 84 yard drive, a 63 yard drive, strong special teams play, winning the field position battle, and efficient production by DJ Shockley, especially on third down, not because of Tennessee miscues. Georgia's veteran offensive line blocked solidly against probably the best defensive front in the nation.

He knocks the ugliness of the game. I didn't realize they gave bonus points for winning pretty (and did he hold that against Ohio State a few years ago?). It was not an especially pretty game. But that's what you get when you match strength against strength (OL vs DL), and both defenses are playing at a level that high. It was as hard hitting a game as I've seen this year. And that's real football as much as double reverse shovel passes and whatever bullshit offensive theory the Keyboard Koordinators think is perfect today.

Further proof Mandel suffers from recto-cranial inversion:

That Georgia's defense is playing at the same dominant level as it has the past three a credit not only to VanGorder's understudy, Willie Martinez, but a to a core of previously unheralded veterans (defensive end Quentin Moses, safeties Greg Blue and Tra Battle, cornerback DeMario Minter) who have taken their games to another level.

First, Van Gorder worked under Martinez at Central Florida. Their paths have tracked each other pretty closely. I think calling him an understudy is unfair. Second, "previously unheralded" should read one way: "guys that I don't know about because I don't do any research about teams I'm paid to write about". Greg Blue has been a stud his entire career at Georgia. Moses should have had publicity, but national media guys knew about Pollack and Pollack only. Minter has been a 4 year starter. If these guys are previously unheralded, it's Mandel's fault.

This sentence is just moronic:

But when push comes to shove, there's only one SEC team, Alabama, who I'd give a fighting chance against a USC, Texas or Virginia Tech -- because the Tide are explosive both offensively and defensively.

Alabama is good. They had a fantastic game against Florida. I have nothing against Alabama. But there is very little evidence that Alabama is any more explosive offensively than Georgia. Or any evidence that USC, Texas, and VT would be able to move the ball on Georgia or that they would be able to stop Georgia. Up until any of those teams prove on the field that they'd beat Georgia (or any other undefeated team out there, like Penn State, UCLA, or FSU), saying they would is just conjecture.

The games matter. Singing over and over again about how great a team is and how nobody can beat a particular team is a bad idea. It affects the games. It's why two years ago the national media bukkake for Oklahoma resulted egg on the faces of so many pundits by the end of the year. And last year the on-field performance by Auburn was discounted in exchange for again, Oklahoma's supposed dominance. The teams Mandel mentions have proven no more than any other undefeated team, and elevating three teams to Godlike status at the expense of others makes teams play on what is not a level playing field.

This column is a perfect example of why national writers for college football are at best uninformed, at worst biased ignorami. It is impossible to file a story or column by noon on Sunday having watched more than portions of a few games. And when you rely on highlights to tell the story of games, you miss out. Unfortunately, these writers do have an effect on coverage of teams, and in turn polls, which affect the national title picture. I'm not so naive as to think that if an undefeated team takes care of its business, everything else will work out. It hasn't two years in a row. And people like Stewart Mandel are part of the problem, especially with foolish columns like this.

UPDATE: Also, let's require some logical consistency. I've hit on this before with Bill Simmons, but if a particular pundit picks against a team, he ought to be completely precluded from saying that he isn't impressed by that team when they win. If you thought they'd lose and they don't, you cannot say you're underwhelmed. It's just this kind of arrogance and refusal to ADMIT YOU WERE WRONG that infuriates me. If you're wrong, you don't get a "yeah, but they still suck". Nope, pretend you have a sack and fess up to your own incompetence.