Recently, I felt moved to respond to Stewart Mandel's ill-considered animadversions upon my alma mater. I was not the first to do so, but the conversation has expanded in the days since and the additional voices to have been heard warrant our consideration. These are they:
- LD took a step back and examined the fundamental problems with Stewart Mandel's general approach and prominent position.
- Peter Bean started from LD's posting and moved to a broader consideration of relations between beat reporters and bloggers, arguing that we in the blogosphere should be past the point of feeling the need to prove ourselves and calling for an end to unwarranted antagonism towards professional journalists. (Peter, it should be noted, has been at the forefront of the effort to build bridges between bloggers and the press, as evidenced by the eclectic mix of writers he brought together to compile The Eyes of Texas.)
- When making his thoughtful point, Peter also made mention of a recent BallHype interview with the top bloggers at SB Nation, which deals with some of the same themes and addresses the place of blogging networks such as SB Nation and The FanHouse in the new media landscape.
Regarding the underlying issue that brought Stewart Mandel yet another round of deserved criticism, I would add only this datum to the fine points recently made by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Chip Towers:
In the last five football seasons (2002-2006), only four Division I-A programs have won at least nine games each and every year. Those four teams are the Boise State Broncos, the Southern California Trojans, the Texas Longhorns . . . and the Georgia Bulldogs.
If Stewart Mandel wants to argue that the Red and Black are not at the same lofty level as Boise State, which went undefeated last year, or as Texas or U.S.C., which have won national titles in that span, that may be a legitimate point. To argue that one of the winningest programs both in the history of the sport and in the last half-decade is a second-tier team, though, is absolutely asinine.