I read CNN/SI's college football site only occasionally. And I do it with only one goal in mind: find material to fuel an unnecessary, carping blog piece. It never fails to deliver.
Today, we are treated to (last week's) Stewart Mandel's mailbag full o' self-satisfaction. I particularly enjoyed his withering criticism of the media's tendency to over-hype at least one team in the preseason:
More practically, I will be sprinkling a few of your agent-related questions throughout this week's Mailbag but will begin with a more traditional, season-preview query.
Georgia in '08, Ole Miss in '09. What team this year is most likely to be the "sexy" pick that falls far short of expectations?
-- Jared, Columbus, Ohio
A little context: Georgia went 10-3 in '08, Ole Miss 9-4 in '09, and both played in semi-major bowls (Georgia beat Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl, Ole Miss beat Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.) However, because the Dawgs had been touted as a preseason No. 1 team and Ole Miss as high as fifth, their seasons were considered letdowns. Yet, in neither case were people all that "surprised" by their "downfall" because most considered them "overrated" to begin with.
The one common thread you'll find in both cases (as with so many other preseason "flops") is that prognosticators got caught up in their impressive bowl performances the prior year (Georgia's Sugar Bowl demolition of Hawaii, Ole Miss' Cotton Bowl upset of 11-1 Texas Tech).
Mandel's totally right about those stupid prognosticators. Complete morons. Can you believe anyone, much less a presumably football-literate college football writer, would have touted either Georgia #1 in 2008 or Ole Miss #5 in 2009? As P.T. Barnum apparently never really said, "there's a sucker born every minute."
Here's what one vapid media jackass, who picked Georgia the preseason #1 in 2008, had to say about the Bulldogs:
"Eight starters return for an offense that will be far more experienced, led by Moreno. The same defense that shut down Hawaii QB Colt Brennan will be loaded again. "
Just like Mandel pointed out, this gullible nitwit was hoodwinked by the 2007 Bulldogs' unexpected bowl game success against Hawaii. Mandel never would have fallen for that shit.
Mandel 1 - Prognosticator 0.
Then we come to 2009 Ole Miss. The fuck-up who "touted ... Old Miss as high as fifth" described the 2009 Rebs thusly:
"So who did I end up going with at No. 5? Ole Miss. It probably seems laughable to many of you that Ole Miss -- Ole Miss -- could possibly field a top five team, but take a look at some of the other contenders, then consider the Rebels' résumé. They won six straight to end last season, including a Cotton Bowl victory over 11-1 Texas Tech, and they welcome back 17 starters, including premier quarterback Jevan Snead."
Just like Mandel said, this ruh-tard was suckered in by Ole Miss's impressive bowl win. Mandel astutely points out that most people considered Ole Miss overrated, and weren't surprised at all when they failed to perform anything like a Top 5 team. But this dimwit ranked the Rebels #5 in his preseason Top 25.
Thank God for thoughtful, doggedly-critical college football journalists like Stewart Mandel, whom we can count on to bravely ridicule the absurd, shortsighted predictions of lazy college football journalists like Stewart Mandel. And who do so with the class to not embarrass their colleagues by naming names.