Mandel does good.

Wow – a Stewart Mandel mailbag that I not only find unobjectionable, but one that I’m in considerable agreement with.  I feel like an ornithologist who scores a rare bird sighting.

Consider these points he makes:

  • A.J. Green is one of the two best receivers in the country.
  • Virginia Tech – great ACC team, not so much as a national title contender.
  • Jimmy Clausen needs to produce against a legitimate team before the Heisman chest beating should start, Irish fans.
  • Auburn deserves to be ranked.

Normally if he’s got a mailbag with one good observation like any of those, he’s met his quota, so this one’s memorable.  But I think he makes his best point of the week in his first answer about Boise State.  He’s in agreement with most observers that if things play out as expected, it’s not likely that we’ll see the Broncos in the title game.  Then he goes on to say this:

… realistically the Broncos would not take down a Florida or Texas in a championship setting, and there will probably be any number of other teams with better résumés. But the pollsters have set a precedent by ranking Boise this high this soon. If they suddenly turn around at the end of the season and blatantly manipulate the rankings to exclude the Broncos, the BCS is going to have yet another credibility issue on its hands.

That’s good.  And it’s another reason to question the usefulness of preseason and early season polls.

In 2007, Georgia fans were unhappy with what was perceived as the shenanigans behind the last regular season poll after West Virginia lost.  The potential uproar over Boise State’s final ranking has the potential to be much uglier, for a number of reasons.


UPDATE: Michael Elkon parses Mandel, past and present, on his Boise State point.

How exactly is it “blatant manipulat[ion]” for the voters to reward teams for big wins by placing them over Boise State? Mandel’s characterization concerns me because it creates a narrative for the Orrin Hatches of the world to complain when Boise gets put behind teams that defeat quality opponents.

I concede that Michael has a legitimate concern here, but I think that what Mandel refers to as blatant manipulation is more akin to what happened in the polls at the end of 2007 after West Virginia lost.  In other words, if there’s an organic fall in the polls by the Broncos as the voters sour on their strength of schedule, that’s one thing, but if there’s a drop in the last regular season poll because the voters suddenly have a visceral reaction to the thought of BSU playing in the title game, that’s another.

Um… did I just defend Stewart Mandel?  My bad.



Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles

11 responses to “Mandel does good.

  1. Brandon

    I posit that the pollsters will merely go back and read a post I saw somewhere near the end of the 2007 season entitled “The Art of Jumping Georgia” by Done Screwed and apply similar principles. Also, do you think many of the pollsters know precisely what they are doing in ranking Boise so high (i.e. trying to cause a BCS controversy) because many of them favor an extended playoff?


  2. “If they suddenly turn around at the end of the season and blatantly manipulate the rankings to exclude the Broncos, the BCS is going to have yet another credibility issue on its hands.”

    I’m not sure I get how that’s a BCS problem. The BCS uses the polls as input to a formula. It seems like the polls themselves would have the credibility problem. Garbage in, garbage out.


    • In a way, I agree with you. The BCS doesn’t dictate how the polls are structured.

      But it’s still going to get its share of condemnation for using them. What’s that old expression? Lie down with pigs, get up smelling like garbage.


      • 81Dog

        I thought it was “Lie down with pigs, wake up valedictorian of your class at Auburn.”

        I’ll have to consult my Bartlett’s on that one. Or maybe the Farmer’s Almanac.


  3. Agreed. Plus, to the casual fan, the BCS is the ‘end result’, so that’s all they see when Fox trots out a bunch of NFL guys to comment on the pairings.


    • FOX Bowl Bash, or whatever the hell it's called, circa 2007

      LOL, look at the dumb Georgia fans crying about the BCS! Too bad you guys are gonna lose to Hawai’i! Durrrrr!


  4. Macallanlover

    1. If it takes some combination of a Boise/Cincy/Houston/TCU matchup in the BCS finale to bring support to getting a playoff for our first ever National Champion in D1 CFB, I am all for it. Please let it happen this year, and the next, and the next, and the……. We have to end the farce, why not in my lifetime?

    2. Jimmy Clausen as a candidate for a top award is a joke, but then again, politicizing the Heisman has made it a joke anyway. It was always regionally biased, but I think I remember it was the World Wide Leader who threw gas on the fire and took it to absurd levels.


  5. Wait a second, Mandel is the guy who touted at the end of the 2006 season that voters were no longer putting teams on an assembly line, but were instead willing to move them around. If that’s the case, then it doesn’t matter if Boise State is #5 because teams can jump them with impressive wins. For instance, if USC were to run the table with impressive wins at Oregon, Cal, and Notre Dame, they ought to jump Boise. In Mandel’s old world, this would be fine. In his new world, it’s a problem?


  6. I don’t have a problem with the “blatant manipulation” that Mandel describes and they made the right decision in 2007. As much as I hated it at the time, Mandel did have a decent point at the end of 2006 when he said that voters didn’t put much thought into ordering Michigan and Florida when USC was in front of them, but when USC lost and they thought hard about Michigan and Florida, they decided that Florida had a better resume. Or, the better argument is that Florida was behind Michigan, they beat an excellent Arkansas team to win the SEC, and that extra feather in their cap was the margin, just like LSU adding a win over Tennessee (a Tennessee team that killed Georgia) was the extra piece of evidence that voters needed to jump LSU over Georgia into the #2 spot.

    In short, I have a major problem with voters being criticized for “blatant manipulation” when they change their rankings based on additional evidence.


  7. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Wait a minute. LSU lost to KY that year and UGA beat KY. Isn’t that an “extra piece of evidence” that UGA should have stayed in the #2 spot?