The three faces of punditry

First, the good – ESPN.com’s Bruce Feldman over at CFN’s Experts Roundtable has this to say about his best interview…

Bruce Feldman: (Coach) Ed Orgeron. I flew down to see Ole Miss on the eve of Signing Day in 2006 for a magazine feature we were planning on running a year later. The initial idea was for me to visit four or five times over the course of the year and do a 3000-word story on being inside an SEC program throughout the course of the recruiting process. Instead, I came back to our New York office and told my editors I’ll have more stuff than we could ever run. I said I could do a book being around this guy and his staff and my editors agreed. I was blown away by what he let me see (recruiting boards, film, lists, profiles) in the first 30 minutes I was in their war room. The best part was he wasn’t afraid to say anything in front of a tape recorder or notepad. He was incredibly candid. Many times I didn’t quite understanding what he was saying, but he was such a rush to cover. The guy is on blast from 5 am till 10 pm every day.

… and his worst one:

Bruce Feldman: Tom Lemming. I’ve known Tom for a while and always got along with him. A few years back, I was working on a feature for ESPN Magazine about the chaos recruits have to deal with from not only recruiters but in some cases the people who work in the recruiting business. I’d interviewed a bunch of coaches and players who had made some strong allegations against Tom for the way he handled things, often putting down certain schools and elevating other programs when he met with the recruits. We needed to get his side of things. It was strange in that he denied doing some of those things, yet he couched it by saying he was just telling it like it is. Then he proceeded to throw everyone under the bus.

Somehow, I find myself surprised by neither set of observations.

Next, the bad.  Also from CFN’s Experts Roundtable, in response to this question The Next Really Big Superpower Will Be …, we get this perceptive contribution from Stewart Mandel:

Stewart Mandel: Florida.

That’s it – no details, no explanation about where Florida went to after winning an MNC two seasons ago, nada.  Maybe he’s waiting for someone from Montana to shed some light on the matter.

But compared with number three – the ugly – Mandel’s remarkably insightful.  Our third pundit is the always entertaining Tom Dienhart, who tells us today in a lengthy piece that everything we know about college football is wrong.

Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships.

Right?

Wrong.

And what’s his proof?  In the BCS era, offensive-minded coaches (whatever the hell that means to him) have won more national titles than their defensive counterparts.  He’s even got a nifty chart that breaks it all down for you.

I hate to get in the way of a good narrative, but if you go back and look at the offensive and defensive rankings of the BCS title game winners from 2000 forward (that’s all the stats you can find on the NCAA website), here’s what you get:

  • 2007 (LSU):  26th in total offense; 3rd in total defense
  • 2006 (Florida):  19th in total offense; 6th in total defense
  • 2005 (Texas):  3rd in total offense; 10th in total defense
  • 2004 (USC):  12th in total offense; 6th in total defense
  • 2003 (LSU):  31st in total offense; 1st in total defense
  • 2002 (Ohio State):  70th in total offense; 23rd in total defense
  • 2001 (Miami):  8th in total offense; 6th in total defense
  • 2000 (Oklahoma):  18 in total offense; 8th in total defense

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s defense 7, offense 1.  Mindedness is a terrible thing to waste…

2 Comments

Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

2 responses to “The three faces of punditry

  1. TomReagan

    One day Bruce Feldman will be recognized for what he is–the best college football writer in America.

    Now that he’s off Insider and free for everyone, he should begin his rise. He’s also going to be on College Football Live fairly regularly this year.

  2. Raleigh Dawg

    Anyone else notice how the 02 luckeyes were the only team not with a top 10 defense to win a national title?