Just pundit, baby: style points, narratives and other early opinions.

It’s probably a by-product of many journalists being of the MTV generation, but I’m taken by the short attention span and the readiness to draw final conclusions about the 2008 season displayed by the punditry class after last weekend’s games.  Sure, it’s the pundit’s job to opine, and it’s not like there wasn’t plenty to comment on – the Mountain West’s domination of the Pac-10, Chase Daniel’s incredible performance level and Southern Cal’s inexperienced offensive line not missing a beat were all noteworthy – but the way a lot of the media has raced to wrap up a regular season that has only been on display for three weeks’ worth of games is a bit staggering.

I’m a homer, so some of my displeasure started with this hit job on Georgia by CBSSports.com’s Gregg Doyel.  I don’t have a problem with Georgia dropping in the polls this week because of the way the games played out in Columbia and Los Angeles, but to argue that, as Doyel does, Georgia’s lofty preseason ranking is a mistake because Moreno and Stafford didn’t play as well in the fourth quarter as he thought they should have is silly.  No team should be judged that broadly from such a narrow perspective.

CFN’s Richard Cirminello thinks the Mountain West, based on one admittedly terrific weekend, has passed the Big East and ought to start lobbying for that conference’s automatic BCS berth.

ESPN.com’s Pat Forde says the season is already down to three teams.

On the local level, it’s all about Georgia dropping to third in the national polls and style points.  The AJ-C’s Chip Towers frets at his blog and in a story.  Pretty much every media outlet in the state follows the same line, so it’s not just the usual trolling for traffic story the Atlanta paper so often indulges itself with.

On one level, I wouldn’t be surprised if Richt is somewhat amused by this, but on another, you have to wonder if he’s worried that it might become a distraction for his players.  From Towers’ blog post, we have this Q & A exchange:

Q: Are you concerned your players may feel the need to earn style points during games?

Richt: “They better worry about winning.”

Q: Has all the poll talk been a distraction in the locker room?

Richt: “It’s not been that bad in the locker room. It’s been harder outside the locker room with fans,” Richt said. “Like I told the team, the preseason polls are just kind of an arbitrary stab in the dark. As the season rolls on, everybody has a better idea who they want to vote for. There’s still an awful lot of football to be played. Our goal is just to continue to win.”

How novel.  Richt’s a coach who sees style points in grinding out wins over the course of a season.  You wonder if the media will catch up to his point of view as this season progresses, given Georgia’s schedule (which, even though it took a slight hit this past weekend, still looks more formidable than any other national title contender’s right now).

Do any of these pundits remember the early game last year that was seen as season defining?  Florida 59, Tennessee 20.  That one sure told us a lot about how things would wind up.  Relax, guys.  Let the game come to you.

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10 Comments

Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

10 responses to “Just pundit, baby: style points, narratives and other early opinions.

  1. Joe

    UGA is the black QB of college football. We are held to an unreasonably high standard and are constantly nit-picked for every single imperfection, justified or not.

    All summer long, pundits have talked about our difficult schedule and how brutal the SEC is, yet, when we go on the road and beat one of those teams, it is simply not good enough. Especially since USC has looked so impressive against a UVA team that got WAXED by UCONN and Okie against a U-Dub team which has not won 10 games combined the last 3 seasons.

    It is a bit frustrating to watch how we seemed to be judged in a totally different light than every other school. Is it because our fans are such a bunch of whiners? Is it because CMR is just too nice? Is it because we do not have enough people on staff in Bristol?

    I wish I had the answer, but I guess CMR says it best; just keep winning.

  2. NebraskaDawg

    Agree 100%. Haven’t any of you been watching CFB long enough to know that early season polls don’t mean squat. As long as we stay around the top 10 and take care of business on the field (even if it is ugly) we’ll be in the NC because of our schedule. At the end of the year, If the Dawgs have got it done on the field, nobody is going to remember anything about the SC game except that it was a win.

  3. Doyel has always been trigger-happy. Recall his infamous college hoops article when he proclaimed that Gary Williams and Tubby Smith were the top coaches in the country. How’d that one work out?

  4. Scrambledawg

    I’m not worried about some comments written by a douchebag that doesn’t even know how to spell his first OR last name. Gregg Doyel. Hmmm. And judging by his photo , he spends more time bleaching his tips than he does watching the college game.

  5. Hobnail_Boot

    He did go to UF..

  6. Forget about UF-UT last season, lets look back to 2006 and what really mattered – and that was defense folks. I harp on this continually on my Blog, but the sole unifying characteristic of championship teams is defense.

    UGA held USCe (small “e” is for east) to 7 points. You hold teams to 7, and you are going to win a lot of games.

    Auburn might have the best D in the nation right now. Don’t overlook them just because their O sucks.

    For Florida the jury is out, but we might just have a D this year after all. We will know more soon. If we do, expect the Cocktail party to have a score that is mighty low.

  7. dean

    Let me go out a limb here about the polls and say I expect we’ll drop next week too. If UF beats UT convincingly and if we beat ASU (no matter how bad) then UF will be voted third and we’ll be 4th. Not that it matters I’m just sayin’ be ready.

  8. shane

    Untill there is a playoff system set up threre will be no true champion. A team is rated number one and goes 3 and 0, then drops three posistions? At this rate if USC, Ok, Mo, and UGA all go undefeated, UGA will be in the Sugar Bowl. Don’t worry about a crystal football Dawgs, just try to win the SEC. There is no such thing as a National Championship game in college football, just a figure skating competition loaded with Russian judges.

  9. “Let the game come to you.” Great line and philosophy. reminds me of the Daddy bull and his son looking down at the herd of heifers. Sage advice Senator. At least us fans with this outlook don’t have to change our bedsheets every weekend.

  10. Robert

    I’d like to share a few quotes from “Gregg Doyel’s” bio from CBSsports.com:

    “He has won writing awards, which shows you what a writing award is worth these days.”

    “Doyel’s the kind of guy who plays golf by himself, shoots baskets in an empty gym, and he’s starting to figure out just how much people don’t like him.”

    “Misunderstood, Doyel lives life by two phrases. He wrote neither of them, because as anyone will tell you, he’s not good enough to come up with this stuff himself.”

    “The first comes from My Name Is by Eminem: ‘I don’t give a f—, dog. God sent me to piss the world off.'”

    …Sounds like a class act to me.