Just as we here at Dawg Sports aren't afraid to take our fair share of criticism, neither are we timid about dishing it out when warranted. I've spotted a few relatively minor errors and omissions around the blogosphere of late, which I thought I would take the time to correct. These are they:
I don't necessarily have a quarrel with that, given Steve Superior's total track record and the likelihood that the Gamecocks, always pesky even when in the doldrums, will be a formidable foe this season. What I take issue with is Guilbeau's rationale for his No. 1 selection:
While I expect the Palmetto State Poultry to be better in 2007, I fail to see how Guilbeau can claim (in the same sentence, mind you) that South Carolina "was going nowhere" prior to Darth Visor but has produced "two solid years" under his direction.
In the five years just prior to Steve Spurrier's arrival in Columbia, the Big Chickens were 8-4, 9-3, 5-7, 5-7, and 6-5, respectively. Under the Ol' Ball Coach, the 'Cocks have gone 7-5 and 8-5. There is no question that South Carolina is on the upswing, but the Gamecocks' incremental improvement---from five wins to six in the last two years of the Lou Holtz regime, then to seven and eight wins in the next couple of campaigns---does not suggest a sudden surge from a team "going nowhere" to a "solid" squad.
The fact is that the Palmetto State Poultry had lost at least five games in each of the three years prior to Coach Spurrier's hiring and they have lost five game in each of the seasons since. The Gamecocks are getting better, but they are taking baby steps, not quantum leaps. Maybe this will be the year that South Carolina improves by leaps and bounds . . . but, based upon the evidence before us, Coach Spurrier cannot be credited with turning water into wine at Carolina quite yet.
Turning losses into whines, though? That he's done!
Was last year's Notre Dame team even more overrated than I thought? The Fighting Irish are the subject of an in-depth preview at Maize 'n' Brew. Dave did a fine job of breaking down the Golden Domers, but, as much as I hate to have to defend Notre Dame for any reason, I must take issue with this passage from Dave's otherwise exceptional analysis:
That really isn't a fair characterization of last year's Notre Dame-Purdue tilt. As I wrote at the time, the Irish "carr[ied] a 35-14 lead into the fourth quarter before giving up a garbage touchdown that made the final margin look closer than it really was."
Because the Boilermakers were so far down with so little time remaining, Joe Tiller's team tossed the ball all over the yard for the final 15 minutes, which is why 160 of Purdue's 398 passing yards came in the fourth quarter, after the outcome no longer was in doubt.
In tribute to their head coach, the Fighting Irish secondary gave up one passing yard to Purdue for every pound Charlie Weis weighs.
I enjoy criticizing Notre Dame as much as anyone, but Charlie Weis's charges played a much better game against Purdue than the Irish are given credit for having played. Also, Jeff is right: Georgia Tech is going to pound Notre Dame this year. Nevertheless . . .
Taylor Bennett may turn out to be a taller Reggie Ball. What made Reggie Ball such a dismal failure at The Flats---calling him "Georgia Tech's Quincy Carter" is cruel, but true---wasn't a lack of ability or a lack of height, it was a susceptibility to being rattled.
Is it possible that the Yellow Jackets, in spite of all the love for Taylor Bennett being spread over at Ramblin' Racket, have another hothead on their hands? Reports suggest that this may be the case:
Offensive players were upset Bennett -- who was wearing a green jersey, signifying no contact -- was blocked by safety Joe Gaston on cornerback Avery Roberson's return of an interception. Defensive players had their pride stung when Bennett then threw down defensive end Darrell Robertson, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound senior.
The exchange of pushes and shoves lasted less than a minute.
When order was restored, Gailey ordered all the players to take a knee as he delivered an animated lecture on team unity and the dangers of losing control of emotions. As Gailey spoke, Robertson was helped to the lockerroom by trainers.
So much for freshman tailback Jonathan Dwyer's exciting runs being the talk of the day. The unusual skirmish, which ended the scrimmage, overshadowed any individual highlights, including Bennett's sharp passing before the interception.
"That's something that no one wants to get into," Bennett said of the fight. "It shouldn't have happened but sometimes things happen in practice when emotions get the best of us. I know we'll all move on from it because we're a team and we'll keep it behind us."
Gailey said the volatile side of Bennett has surfaced before. The coach said the competitive side of the junior is a strength that must be kept in check.
I can't help thinking I've seen this movie before.
In the end, there can be only 1.
Also, not to be overly technical, but the Atlanta skyline does not create "the most unique setting in college football." Even if Atlanta (which will be a fine city when they finally finish it) were all that great-looking a town, a thing either is unique or it isn't. One thing can't be more one of a kind than another thing; all things that are one of kind are, by definition, equally unique.
It's funny how different people perceive the world so differently. DeFord, a widely respected sportswriter, ostensibly believes that traditional media will become increasingly analytical and editorial, while more novel forms of communication will take over the reporting function more exclusively.
While I agree that there is a division of labor taking place, I believe the trend is in the opposite direction. Traditional media like newspapers (and their on-line editions) will concentrate to a greater degree on straight journalism, breaking stories and reporting facts, as these are the services the blogosphere cannot provide with anything like the level of consistency and accuracy we take for granted from beat reporters.
For editorial opinion and in-depth analysis of the facts traditional media outlets report, though, more and more people will continue to turn to weblogs, which are more forthright about their biases and more capable of concentrating upon broader questions, inasmuch as we bloggers are not hamstrung by the same day-to-day deadlines faced by professional journalists.