The Montana Project, fourth update

Big Shock wrote to tell me that the helmet is in route to Hoppy, much to the amusement of the guy at the FedEx store.  He’s covering the cost of shipping, which is fairly minimal, and Hoppy is returning the helmet in person in a few weeks, so it looks like there’s no need for financial contributions from y’all after all.

As for the script we’ll use, let’s go back to the Original Mandel:

Suppose we went to, say, Montana. And suppose we found 100 “average” college football fans (not necessarily message-board crazies, but not twice-a-year viewers, either) and put them in a room. If I held up a Michigan helmet, my guess is all 100 would know exactly what it was. If I held up a picture of the USC song girls, all 100 would know who they were. If I happened to bring Joe Paterno along with me, all 100 would say, “Hey, look, it’s Joe Paterno!”

But if I held up a Georgia “G” helmet, how many of them do you think would be able to identify it off the top of their head? And with all due respect to Mark Richt, if we secretly inserted him into a police lineup, how many of them would actually say, “Hey, look, it’s Mark Richt!”

Subsequent developments being what they are, I think we’ll skip the Joe Paterno part, but as to the rest of it, my feeling is that we verify that each interviewee is a Montana resident, get his or her bona fides as a college football fan – something like asking how many games he or she views a year, or the name of a favorite program followed – show the helmet, along with this iconic magazine cover…

… and see if the University of Georgia rings a bell.

For control purposes, I’m thinking maybe it’s worth asking randomly if an interviewee can identify the Song Girls or Corch.  And it may be fun to ask on occasion if anybody knows who Stewart Mandel is.

Let me know what you think about this.  Remember that we need to keep each interview on the brief side.  Even at three minutes apiece, 100 of those would take five hours to complete.  And one thing you don’t tend to associate with sports bars is efficiency.

Fire away in the comments.


Filed under GTP Stuff

77 responses to “The Montana Project, fourth update

  1. NateG

    I wonder how many could identify a Notre Dame or Alabama helmet? Based on Mandel’s standard I doubt he’d consider them “Regional Powers” or whatever BS term he used to describe Georgia. Also, whatever we can do to get this more exposure so other people realize what a tool that guy is would be great.

  2. DB

    Mandel could make the argument that showing the SI cover and the helmet is not what he said. I’m betting the helmet gets more hits than the SC girls.

    • “But if I held up a Georgia “G” helmet…”?

      If he can point to the Song Girls, I don’t see why we can’t point to Uga. Especially since the publication he works for has.

      • Spence

        As a (former) scientist, I can state the SI cover would add a second variable and invalidate the hypothesis. As a lawyer, i can state it would help out our cause.

        I think the mag has to stay out. Maybe we could rerun the experiment with the mag later.

        • Spence

          The magazine does say “uga”
          on it. Seems like that would be pretty easy to figure out.

        • BCDawg97

          Agreed with this – for true testing purposes, you can only have one variable at a time. Otherwise you don’t really know if they could have identified the helmet without the picture. Gotta leave the mag out.

          • Nate Dawg

            This – leave the mag out, I wanna see how many get the exact “symbol” he refered to. Also, not to get too technical, but if they say “cheerleader” when shown a pic of the Song Girls, that counts as a correct answer, right? Cuz I know I certainly recognize them but would have said cheerleaders first, before the actual words “Song Girls”.

            • fetch

              No. I think even a non-football fan would say ” USC cheerleader”. Well. . .DUH! Their unis say USC and they are obviously cheerleaders. if they say cheerleader you should ask them what they are called. And I bet more people know UGA’s helmet than know they are called “Song Birds”. BTW, what does a song bird have to do with a Trojan? And what they hell does a Trojan have to do with the Colosseum?.

              • stoopnagle

                Who cares? Love me some Song Girls.

                • hunkerdowndawg

                  I always thought they were called “Sweater Meat”. I remember back in the 70’s and 80’s that they filled out those sweaters naturally. These days, I wonder. Not that it really matters, but the casting criteria must have been more difficult to “fulfill” back in the day.

              • The Lone Stranger

                Always thought it was a jarring juxtaposition — symbolic losers to the ancient Greeks kicking around the football in a nouveau nod to the Romans. Whatever happens there, I’m certain The Laner can make sense of it. Or not.

        • stoopnagle

          I agree. It’s bad enough that we’re using convenience sampling.

          • hailtogeorgia

            I don’t really see the problem with the convenience sampling here. Mandel said ‘suppose we find 100 average college football fans’ in Montana…he said nothing about them being random.

        • Heathbar09

          According to Mandel, we could hold up a picture of Coach Richt to accompany the helmet.

      • South FL Dawg

        Never heard of the song girls. This survey needs to go national and I don’t even know what the results will be, but Mandel is projecting his bias on all the fine citizens of Montana – that ain’t journalism, it’s just propaganda.

  3. Barry

    I agree with showing Uga as well as the helmet. How many fans would recognize the USC or Penn State helmet? Mandel picked the wrong UGA icon.

    • The Lone Stranger

      And Michigan has no live mascot, or even guy/dame dressed as a Wolverine, that I know of. This character, Mandel, just happened to pluck out the single MOST recognizable helmet in the college game and intends for that to be the baseline comparison. It is disingenuous (…a legitimate word I think!).

  4. BCDawg97


    I’d ask the following questions:
    1. What team do you root for?
    2. How many games of theirs do you attend?
    3. How many games do you watch on any given Saturday?

    Then I’d show them a picture of a Michigan helmet and ask to identify.
    Show a picture of the song girls and ask to identify.
    Then show them the UGA helmet and ask to identify.

    Like you said, short and sweet.

  5. Verify Montana and college football bona fides.

    Show picture of Michigan helmet and ask to identify.

    Show picture of USC Song Girls and ask to identify.

    Show helmet and ask to identify.

    Show picture of Richt and ask to identify.

  6. Asking the same people who Stewart Mandel is would be excellent in my opinion. Especially if more people I.D. the the UGA logo than know who the hell he is. What a way to twist the knife

    • BCDawg97

      Agreed. Good last question to ask. You know, for science and all.

    • JC



    • Silver Britches

      I disagree.

      Mandel’s already pretty self-deprecating; I wouldn’t call it twisting the knife. I’m all for proving him wrong, I just think we can do it without the snark.

      • Cojones

        This ain’t self-deprecation: it’s Dawg-deprecation on Mandel’s words.

        Short and sweet plus Mandel’s name ought to be enough deprecation (sic) for everyone to smell.

    • hunkerdowndawg

      Is he still hosting America’s Got Talent? Loved that bit where he used to blow up a latex glove and put it on his head.

  7. paul

    I have one reservation. I think Mandel was attempting to stack the deck with the USC song girls. They are far more well known west of the Mississippi. I wonder if a whole lot of us in the east or southeast really know or care. Surgically enhanced bleached blondes in sweaters don’t do a whole lot for me. Now if I lived in Montana, that might be different. But, if you’re using his statement as the basis for the experiment, you gotta go with the question.

    • hailtogeorgia

      surgically enhanced bleach blondes in sweaters don’t do a whole lot for you? you sure you have a pulse, paul?

  8. CitadelDawg

    Stewart Mandel… was he the voice or creator or something for that cartoon Bobby’s World? How does that qualify him to talk about sports?

  9. Chi-town Dawg

    After the helmet test, I would then hold up a photo of Mandela along side the UGA SI cover photo and ask if they recognize either one or both. My bet is Mandel draws next to zero with UGA pushing 75% or better

  10. Chi-town Dawg

    Meant Mandel

  11. lrgk9

    Show me a few girls in the fall with a Bulldog painted on their face, a Hounds tooth hat, or Mike the tiger face paint and I can tell you. Now a picture of the songgirls would baffle me.

  12. I think you use the Georgia helmet and the logos from four of the schools in the “Kings” category. See if there is a statistical difference between the number of hits on the four “Kings” and the Georgia helmet. My guess is that there isn’t.

    It’s the only way.

    /Wilford Brimley

    P.S. Diabeetus.

  13. Keep it simple:

    1. Show picture of Michigan helmet.
    2. Show picture of Song Girls.
    3. Show picture of Joe Paterno.
    4. Show UGA helmet.
    5. Show picture of Mark Richt.

    That questioning regimen hews precisely to the letter of the law as writ by Mandel. Then after you’ve completed those five, you bust out a picture of Uga (not the SI cover) just to see how identifiable he is.

    I bet Uga beats the first five in a walkover.

  14. sectionzalum

    Absolutely ask interviewees if they know who Mandel is. My hunch is that more folks will think of Howie Mandel than know who ol’ Stu is.

    • Cojones

      Agreed. Did anyone notice that Uga is wearing a “Block G”? If they recognize him, then they wouldn’t necessarily have recognized the modern G. Maybe Uga should be shown after the other ids have been made. After all, Mandel may be a Republican and cry “foul”.

  15. ChicagoDawg

    Hey Chi-town….I’m not holding much hope here…I’d be a zillionaire if I had a dollar every time I wore the Red and Black and someone said “YEW LIKE THE PACKERS!?”

    • Chi-town Dawg

      LMAO! So true! I work with a number of people in Wisconsin who are Packers fans. One of them took a business trip to Atlanta and can back to tell me he was “shocked by the number of Packers fans in Georgia”. When I stopped laughing, I had to explain it to him.

  16. Macallanlover

    I think Mark Richt pic would have better/comparable numbers to both Michigan coach, ND coach, FSU coach, Texas coach and, probably Kiffin.

    I think the Michigan helmet results would be pretty close to the UGA helmet if you ask about college associations and point out to some that Green Bay isn’t a college program. Not having the M on it will make it recognizable to football fans,not someone who only sees 4-5 games a year.

    Mandel will fare badly against any of the options being mentioned, and the USC cheerleaders will only get recognized by more than 20% because they have USC on their chests. (I also think they lose straight up to the Oregon beavers.)

    • Cojones

      The team or the USC beavers?

      • Macallanlover

        You cannot even think about the Oregon cheerleaders without the team nickname coming to mind. Just impossible. USC girls aren’t in their league, imo, and it isn’t even close. Not sure the USC group would make the Top 20 nationally but some like them. The cheerleaders at Oregon would have been reason enough for the ticket to Eugene if McGarity had not tucked tail like a Frenchman.

        • Cojones

          Deprecation of Frenchies is not appreciated around our home. I repeat,”around our home” , not “in our home”. Live next to a lake and-boy!-do we have frogs!

          Worked in Western Canada with a French Canadian representing them in the area of the company where my expertise was used. Other than being untrustworthy, he didn’t get in the way too much. Didn’t have much to say about him when inquired of me until an admin asst told me his company nickname was “Kermit”. Needless to say, he wasn’t representative of other FCs that I came to know later in Quebec. Not by a long shot.

  17. CarolinaDawg

    Anybody else notice how redundant and ignorant Mandel sounds when he says, “the Georgia ‘G’ Helmet.” Since when does UGA wear anything else. That’s like saying “the Michigan ‘M’ Helmet.” I think Stewart was once at a bar in Montana and given this same quiz, failed, and has since been on a worldwide vendetta to avenge his incorrect answer.

    • CarolinaDawg

      Idiot of the morning goes to me. i’m not exactly sure WTF I was thinking with that first sentence but know it was with the best of intentions (or worst, if you’re Stewart Mandel).

  18. I agree that it must stick to as close to Mandel’s exact challenge as possible. Therefore:

    Verify Montana and college football bona fides.

    1. Show picture of Michigan helmet and ask to identify.

    2. Show picture of USC Song Girls and ask to identify. (No credit for “USC cheerleaders.” Must say “Song Girls” and some variation of “SC,” “USC,” “Southern Cal,” or “Southern California”)

    3. Shoe picture of Joe Paterno, ask to identify.

    4. Show “G” helmet and ask to identify.

    5. As police often do because live line-ups are logistical nightmares, show a photo array of, say 5 pictures of people with a similar description. For example, you could use Viggo Mortensen, Peter Sarsgaard, Richt, Sean Bean, and Helen Hunt. Or you could make them all ~50-year-old football coaches. Ask to identify anyone they recognize.

    I like the idea of a bonus round with the Uga cover and a pic of Mandel himself.

    • If you go with the all-coaches lineup, you could just use head-shots (no team colors or logos) of all the coaches from Mandel’s list of “king” teams, and throw Richt into the middle of it, so the page would have:

      Nick Saban
      Will Muschamp
      Jimbo Fisher
      Al Golden
      Brady Hoke
      Bo Pelini
      Brian Kelly
      Mark Richt
      Urban Meyer
      Bob Stoops
      Bill O’Brien
      Derek Dooley
      Mack Brown
      Lane Kiffin

      I bet Richt’s recognition percentage falls in the middle of that pack, likely in the top half. Could anybody pick out O’Brien or Golden?

  19. Dog in Fla

    The Butts/Mehre Department of Risk/Roster Management has the following concerns: Will Hoppy be wearing the helmet when he attacks/invades/walks into the bar? If not, why not? If so, will Big Shock deem any missile damage to the helmet to be reasonable wear and tear? Should Hoppy have a photo of CMR or Helen Hunt readily available on his dog tag to explain the mission in case a bouncer tries to extradite him from the territory?

  20. Barfly

    1. Show pictures of 5 sports writers, ask people to point to the the best one (Be sure to pick Stewart + 4 guys from unknown East Coast small town papers)
    2. Who would you rather have a beer with, funny man Howie Mendel or his nerdy brother Stewart?
    3. Which one of these guys looks the most nerdy (show pictures of 4 cool celebrities and Stewart)
    4. Please point to the famous writer Stewart Mendel (show pictures of 4 members of the cast of animal house including Senator Blutarsky, and Stewart)
    5. Which company is more well known (ESPN or SI)
    6. Name all the writers from SI
    7. What do the letters (SI) stand for?
    8. What does CSI stand for? What does SI stand for?
    9. Who is Stewart Mendel?
    10. Is Sports Illustrated better known for articles by Stewart Mendel or the Bikini edition?
    11. Are sportswriters accurate in their predictions about sports?
    12. Which of these people do you recognize (show UGA attendees photos like Ryan Seacrest, R.E.M. group photo, Wayne Knight as Newman, Herschel Walker with Heisman photo, Pandora Peaks aka Stephanie Schick (degree in finance from UGA), and Stewart Mendel)

  21. Barfly

    13. Which person is more well known, Barbara Mandel or Howie Mendel or Stewart Mendel?

  22. FtWorthDawg

    I’m a Georgia transplant in Texas now. I have to admit the first time I wore my GA G shirt into the office (even though it was red) my boss asked my why I was a Green Bay fan. I couldn’t believe it! Guess it’s all in your perspective and they live Pro football and the Dallas Coyboys around here.

    On another note, to answer the posters first question about Notre Dame. I consider that one tough simply because its so easy to get them confused with Navy. Then there is Penn State and GA Southern too. Come on guys, figure it out !

  23. BMan

    Show the respondents this picture of the USC Song Girls. I’d still know who they are (though I might say cheerleader first), but at least showing a picture from behind eliminates the “USC” giveaway.

    • Cojones

      While the colors could get confused with Arizona State, but if you get a photo of them bent over ith their pom-poms out front……

      • Cojones

        “bent over ‘with’ ….” Thorry, my thongue made my thyping finger stiff.

        • BMan

          I think the fact that anyone might confuse the USC Song Girls from behind with a Arizona State cheerleaders is precisely what refutes Mandel’s point. If they were such a uniquely strong brand as Mandel suggests, then there should be no confusing them with another team from any angle.

          • Cojones

            I didn’t even get to FSU. Garnet is such a popular color. Hell, my Fraternity colors were garnet and gold.

  24. Gravidy

    My corner of Georgia must be more remote than most parts of Montana. I consider myself to be as big of a college football as anyone, and I’ve never heard or seen the phrase “USC Song Girls” outside of the infamous column. Sure, I could identifiy a picture of the USC cheerleaders, but the words “Song Girls” would not come out of my mouth.

  25. By Georgia We Did It

    Even though it’s what mandel said, I’m guessing the 100 people in a bar would be talking to each other asking…”what’s that guy doing over there interviewing people?”. Word gets around that he’s asking about a helmet and some other stuff. Most people will say…”.. helmet? what kind of helmet?” Then you’ll have a lot of people knowing what kind of helmet it is before they even get to interview. Again, it’s the way Mandel put it, so I’m not complaining, but I bet it gets more skewed our way due to the “gossip factor”.

    Oh yeah, can’t have the mag and helmet, has to be helmet only.

  26. MT Dawg

    Hey Guys,
    Thanks for all the suggestions! We are going to try to keep this as simple and as true to Mandel’s article as possible. That said, we want to keep the video clip in the two minute range. We’ll ask “control” questions, but I don’t think all 100 people will get the Michigan, Song Girls, coaches etc. treatment.
    I am only going to use the helmet…No Uga picture.
    I recieved the helmet today. Thanks Big Shock! If I wear it for more than ten seconds, the blood supply to my brain stops…It’s not quite my size.
    The “Project” will take place roughly 1pm MST, 9/1. That is after the UGA game, during the first UM Griz game. There will be no shortage of college fans at the Halftime Sports Bar in Great Falls, MT.
    Thanks again guys for all your suggestions and support.
    Go Dawgs!