Mandel: damning with faint praise

Talk about your back handed compliment – Stewart Mandel, in response to some Georgia fan’s “what’s he done for us lately” complaint about Richt, had this to say about the program:

I think part of the problem is that many old-school Georgia types still view arch-rival Florida as their measuring stick. Yes, it’s true, the Dawgs used to beat up on the Gators regularly in the ’70s and ’80s, but that changed in a big way after Spurrier took over Florida. (The Gators have won 15 of the past 17 meetings). Times have changed, and both because of Spurrier’s legacy there and because it’s the flagship school in the most talent-rich state in the country, Florida is now one of the elite programs nationally; Georgia is still more of a regional power. Which is not to say the Dawgs shouldn’t beat the Gators from time to time or make an occasional run at the national title, but to hold Richt or any other coach to a national-title-or-bust standard is just plain ludicrous.

I can’t figure out if he’s excusing Richt or not here.

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UPDATE: Mergz, over at Saurian Sagacity, has some carefully chosen criticism to add here.

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UPDATE #2: Michael Elkon has a few (OK, more than a few) choice words for Mandel’s piece here.  My favorite:  “This is a perfect Mandelian storm, a confluence of cherry-picking an idiotic question and then fumbling around at a response like a 15-year old working on his first bra.”

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4 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

4 responses to “Mandel: damning with faint praise

  1. I’m sure he meant it in the nicest possible way and, regardless, we should be grateful for the bulletin board material. At $2M/year, I seriously doubt Richt or his bosses believe his charge is merely to preside over a regional power.

    I see no reason why Georgia cannot resume its dominance of the Gators or at least resume parity. Fundamentally, nothing has changed about the two programs since the ’70s and ’80s. Florida didn’t just become “talent-rich” out of the blue in 1990 and the state of Georgia hardly wants for high school talent. And we share a lot less of the in-state wealth with our in-state rival than Florida does with theirs.

    I think this is where Mandel misunderstands us. It’s not that I, or any Dawg fans I know, view Georgia’s accomplishments as on par with USC, Notre Dame, Nebraska et al (although we hold our own when it comes to historical winning percentage). It’s that we believe Georgia’s accomplishments should be. The talent, money, facilities, fan support and lack of in-state competition are all there in spades, to which Richt correctly alluded when he accepted the job and talked about “lifting the lid” off the program. From an infrastructural standpoint, Georgia is as well-positioned as any of the elite programs Mandel mentions.

    Regardless of whether Mandel cares to admit it, Meyer did nothing on the field in his second year at Florida that Richt didn’t do in his second year at Georgia. Both went 13-1 and won a BCS bowl. Mandel is, like most media types, blinded by the shiny crystal ball.

  2. I’m curious how Mandel would explain the difference between a school being a “national” power versus “more of a regional” power. Based on the last sentence of the quote I excerpted, it has to be something other than occasionally competing for a MNC, because that’s something he expects Georgia to be able to do.

    Then again, if he’s counting Notre Dame as an elite program, I’d say it’s a pretty broad definition he’s working with. At least Georgia’s won a few bowl games lately. ;)

  3. LD

    Here’s how I read Mandel’s take:

    “Without offering any facts to back it up and after admitting I know basically nothing about the program, I think Georgia is a less-than-elite/mediocre program, and I’m ‘baffled’ that Georgia fans don’t think like me and that they might actually want more than that.”

    Top shelf analysis.

  4. Dawgy

    Is that Stewart Mandel or his brother Howie?