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Stewart Mandel is an Idiot and I Hope Uga Bites Him in the Rear End

What we have here is an interesting confluence of circumstances.

When Stewart Mandel ignorantly ripped on my alma mater, I took him to task and called him an idiot. I was not alone in assailing Mandel and, when LD offered his thoughts on the matter, Peter Bean urged his fellow bloggers to steer clear of assaults on mainstream media pundits that amounted to little more than "just noting that so-and-so is an idiot." I took the matter under advisement.

Around that same time, I shared my thoughts on Peter's high regard for Barry Bonds, provoking a small firestorm which led ultimately to an apology. The latter, in turn, produced a reader comment encouraging me to "maybe look into buying some backbone" where Peter was concerned.

At about that same point, SkiDawg1985 offered this observation:

I find it funny when bloggers and people on the street think they can do a better job at writing articles or coaching than the people who actually do it. If those people are really that good, then quit your job and become a columnist or a coach. My guess is that you will be making more money (eventually).

To that, I had a Stewart Mandel-specific response, and, shortly after I posted it, I read what Brian Cook had to allow in response to Peter Bean:
The guys who really get it on a regular basis -- Mike Freeman, Dennis Dodd, Mandel, maybe a few others -- deserve it. They aren't getting heat out of some little guy persecution complex (which I do think is responsible for 90% of the Simmons complaining), they're getting heat because they suck so badly that college football would be covered better if they evaporated and were not replaced. They get more stuff wrong than right, constantly use the most banal shtick available to lend their opinions weight without actually doing any of that research stuff, and permanently implant memes into your rival's fans that will never go away despite their total lack of validity. Who looks worse: the blogosphere for caterwauling about it or the actual employers of these guys? I dunno. I feel that every time someone points out that Stuart Mandel never writes anything worthwhile is an opportunity for someone with some power to read it, agree, and send him to prep volleyball.

Then, to cap it all off, Senator Blutarsky led me to . . . this.

So, to recap: Stewart Mandel wrongly said my alma mater isn't a national power, I offered a rebuttal, Peter Bean calmly cautioned bloggers not to go around calling national columnists idiots, a reader made a reasonable point about webloggers and professional columnists, I offered a response, another reader said I needed to do what Brian Cook just did (namely, disagree openly with Peter Bean), and Stewart Mandel reiterated his original ignorant animadversion against the University of Georgia.

I see a way to kill several birds with one stone. Let the slaughter of the avians commence thusly:

Stewart Mandel is an idiot.

No, seriously. He's Bozo the Columnist. His audition for a lead role in "Dumb and Dumber" went badly because he was overqualified. Sports Illustrated doesn't send him to cover golf because he weeps for his banished sister every time he hears the word "caddy."

How is Stewart Mandel a moron? Let me count the ways.

Below are excerpts from his latest assault upon good taste, common sense, and the English language. Mandel writes, I refute:

On Monday night, I did a search for the word "idiot" in my inbox -- it came back with 27 hits.

That should have been your first clue, Stew.
The overwhelming majority of the "hate mail" came from our friends in Georgia -- the team that touched off this whole discussion in the first place -- many of them fired up by an Atlanta Journal Constitution writer's thorough rebuttal to my argument. It included all kinds of well-researched info about all-time wins, bowl appearances and conference titles, which the readers then pasted into their own "arguments" and sent to me -- even though I specifically requested that potential hate-mailers "spare me any lists of all-time winning percentages, bowl wins, conference titles and whatnot." And why was that? Because as the very next line said -- and as Mike from Charlotte so cleverly deduced -- "being called a 'powerhouse' is more about public perception than it is reality."

In fairness, the overwhelming majority of the non-Georgia respondents had no problem grasping this concept.

I previously linked to Chip Towers's effective demolition of Mandel's sophomoric and nonsensical "point." (See, Stewie? I can use scare quotes, too!)

Towers adroitly noted that, among Division I-A teams, Georgia ranks sixth in bowl appearances and 11th in all-time victories. The Bulldogs are behind only Alabama and Tennessee in S.E.C. titles won, while Mark Richt is one of only nine coaches in Division I college football history to have won 60 or more games in his first six seasons on the sideline.

Towers also noted the national recognition garnered by the Red and Black, as evidenced by merchandise sales and program profits, as well as Coach Richt's other achievements, some of which have him breathing rarefied air alongside Bear Bryant, Vince Dooley, and Steve Spurrier.

In response to this "thorough rebuttal" filled with "well-researched info," Mandel scoffed that he had warned us from the outset that he was more interested in "public perception than [in] reality," then mocked his Peach State readers for not "grasping this concept."

We grasp the concept, Stew-pid. We just recognize that it's complete and utter crap.

[Among the] most common complaints were:

1) The inclusion of Penn State and Alabama among the "kings." True, neither of these programs have [sic.] been particularly powerful this decade (for 'Bama, longer than that). However, they built up no shortage of clout in the decades before that, and I hardly think that's evaporated nationally. Just look at the massive coverage Nick Saban's offseason in Tuscaloosa has garnered, as was the case with JoePa's "return to glory" two years ago.

As before, I take nothing away from the Crimson Tide or the Nittany Lions, both of which unquestionably are prestigious programs on the national scale, in spite of their respective woes in recent seasons.

I will even leave aside the conflict of interest question raised by LD regarding the speciousness of any argument in which a national columnist who helps shape media coverage attempts to use media coverage as evidence of prominence. This amounts to little more than claiming that a program is prestigious because he says it is . . . which, come to think of it, is essentially what you're saying when you rely on the imagined opinions of 100 fictitious Montanans as the basis for your proclamations.

Let's take the Stewmeister at his word and apply his standard with something resembling logical consistency. Alabama and Penn State went through downcycles but were able to survive them because "they built up no shortage of clout in the decades before that," which sustained them until a magical "'return to glory'" season early in the 21st century.

Uh, Stew, what do you think Georgia has done?

Quick question . . . how many teams won or shared Southeastern Conference championships between 1971 and 1982?

Two . . . Alabama and Georgia.

How many S.E.C. teams won national titles in that span?

Two . . . Alabama and Georgia.

Obviously, Coach Bryant's 'Bama teams enjoyed more national stature than Coach Dooley's 'Dawgs, and deservedly so. The Bear arguably was the greatest coach in the history of the sport and his sustained success in Tuscaloosa was remarkable.

Let's give credit where credit is due, though. From 1959 to 1982, the number of S.E.C. titles won or shared was as follows: Alabama, 12; Georgia, seven; Ole Miss, three; Tennessee, two; L.S.U., one. The Bulldogs weren't playing at the Crimson Tide's level, but, then again, neither was anyone else . . . and, in the Southeastern Conference, the Red and Black were the only team even within striking distance of Alabama during that 24-year span.

Once again, the Bear is untouchable as an icon and unparalleled in his success. In his quarter-century in Tuscaloosa, Coach Bryant won 232 games. During his own 25-year career between the hedges, Coach Dooley won 201 games. Vince wasn't on a par with Bear, but who was?

Surely a school with a storied heritage which fielded a 200-game winner as head coach as recently as 1988---six seasons after the Bear's career came to a close---deserves better than second-tier status, don't you think? Look at it this way: Paul W. Bryant won 31 more games in his 25-year career at Alabama than Vincent J. Dooley won in his 25-year career at Georgia. That means Vince was a shade over one win a year worse than the greatest coach in the history of the sport.

That ain't doing too badly. That ain't a baron; that's a king. Trust me, Mandel . . . it takes one to know one.

Georgia is perceived as being merely a regional power? Then the perception is out of whack and Mandel needs to quit rolling the ball bearings around in his hand while muttering about strawberries and yellow dye markers long enough to allow a little reality to seep into the clean, well-lit prison of his lone crackpot idea.

In the history of college football, nine teams have won the four traditional major postseason games, the Cotton, Orange, Rose, and Sugar Bowls. Those nine teams are as follows:

  1. Alabama
  2. Georgia
  3. Georgia Tech
  4. Miami (Florida)
  5. Notre Dame
  6. Ohio State
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Penn State
  9. Texas
If you add in the next-oldest bowl game, the Sun Bowl, that list of winners is whittled down to five: Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, and Texas.

If you add in the next-oldest bowl game after that, the Gator Bowl, it's down to four: Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Oklahoma.

Tack on the Citrus (now Capital One) Bowl and you're left with three: Alabama, Georgia, and Georgia Tech.

Throw in the Liberty Bowl and you're stuck with the same trio. Toss in the Peach (now Chick-fil-A) Bowl and the cheese stands alone; while 'Bama has never been to a Peach Bowl and the Yellow Jackets are 0-3 in their hometown bowl game, the Bulldogs won the postseason tilt in the Georgia Dome as recently as last season.

Georgia is the only team in college football history to have won the nine oldest surviving bowl games. If it's a bowl game and the Bulldogs haven't hoisted the victory trophy there, then either it no longer exists or it didn't come into being until after 1970.

But, hey, winning every game with any history to it at all doesn't make you an elite team, right, Stewie? I guess it doesn't count for much that no other team has ever done it, huh?

In closing out his nonsensical defense of this cockamamie countdown, Mandel concluded:

In fact, while I admittedly emphasized "perception" in establishing the tiers, two readers -- Keith from Dallas and Mark Van Moer from Champaign, Ill. -- sent me a pair of links after the fact that show they're pretty steeped in reality, too. The first is a list of all-time AP poll appearances, of which the 13 "kings" all ranked among the top 17. The second one was even more validating: Over the past 40 years, the 13 kings all happen to rank among the top-14 in winning percentage.

The one outlier that sneaked in at No. 12? Yep ... Georgia.

It's official. By employing Stewart Mandel, Sports Illustrated is depriving some deserving village of its rightful idiot.

In terms of total victories won, Georgia is one of the 11 winningest programs in Division I-A college football history. In terms of winning percentage, Georgia is one of the 13 winningest programs of all time, is one of the 12 winningest programs of the last 40 years, and is the winningest S.E.C. program of the last 10 years and of the last five years. However, Georgia is not a national power.

Instead, the 'Dawgs are "[t]he one outlier." Outlier? A rational person would say winning consistently---over the last 115 years, over the last 40 years, over the last 10 years, over the last five years, and in the nine oldest existing bowl games---would be evidence of being a national power.

That, though, would be only "well-researched info" . . . it would be just "thorough rebuttal" . . . it would be mere "reality," and this is about "perception" . . . namely, the perceptions of Stewart Mandel and the 100 make-believe Montanans he had to invent in order to have any friends who didn't routinely want to pummel him with aluminum baseball bats whenever he insisted upon saying the stupidest thing he could think of and then refusing to budge in the face of, oh, I don't know, facts or something.

If, as he claims, "the overwhelming majority of the non-Georgia respondents had no problem grasping this concept," that speaks exceedingly well of Georgians.

Stewart, you're an idiot. Sit down, shut up, and let the grown-ups do the talking. You don't know the first thing about college football and you don't know jack about Georgia . . . the university or the state. Before you bother to write another asinine, insipid, ignorant column, you might want to drop by Dawg Sports (bring your dictionary, 'cause I know I write above your reading level, dipwad) and actually learn something for a change.

Check your perception at the door, you yammering goober. Around here, we'll be dealing in reality . . . like the reality that you're a nimrod.

Go 'Dawgs!