Branding Montana

I have a suspicion I’m being baited, but anyway, here’s Stewart Mandel’s Mailbag yesterday ($$), returning to a familiar topic:

Stewart. Have you done another updated edition of “Kings and Barons” recently? I would love to see if the group of Kings has shrunk to three to five teams and the group of Barons has expanded to include former elite programs like Texas, USC, Penn State and Florida State? — KC, Phoenix

For those not familiar, KC is referring to a series of columns I’ve written, beginning in 2007, that divided the Power 5 programs into a four-tier pecking order based on their perceived level of prestige — Kings, Barons, Knights and Peasants. The most recent edition was in May 2017, for a previous employer. To this point, I’ve rigidly adhered to the “every five years” rule, which means the next edition won’t come until 2022. As I’ve stated many times, it takes more than a year or two for a program to significantly alter its brand nationally, either for better or worse. These are reputations that took decades upon decades to build. As a result, I assure you all four of the teams you mentioned very much remain Kings.

But there are definitely a few schools whose classifications could swing up or down based on the next two seasons. Consider this a mini-status update between editions.

Georgia: This whole thing started 13 years ago with a question about the Dawgs and my assertion they were more of a regional than national power. But seven months after that 2017 update, Kirby Smart’s team came within 2nd and 26 of winning that elusive first national title since 1980. And over the past three years, the program has gotten more national attention than at any time since the Herschel Walker era.

I’d still like to see the Dawgs climb that last rung and hoist a trophy before including them with a group of programs that have all won ones more recently, but even a second CFP berth might be enough to justify that long-awaited promotion out of the Barons.

Seriously, is there any rhyme or reason to that?  Has there ever been any rhyme or reason to that?



Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

13 responses to “Branding Montana

  1. mwo

    Dawggrading and lazy journalism wanting rebuttal clicks.


  2. 3rdandGrantham

    Ahh, the ol’ moving the goalposts move. Seriously, if you still view Penn State and FSU as ‘kings,’ then I’m not sure what to tell you. IMO PSU has never been a so-called kings program, and anyone who has them listed above UGA has, well, suspect judgement.

    After all, UGA has had far more success in a far more difficult conference than PSU has over the past 5 or 20 years. PSU has been to only two Rose Bowls this century, and the last time they won one, Ray Goff was still roaming the sidelines here as HC. And yet they are ‘kings?’ Heck, that makes UGA’s SEC title drought from ’82 to ’02 not seem so bad after all.

    As for FSU, they aren’t even kings in their own state, and last year they had home games with a 1/2 or 1/3 full Doak Campbell at best. FSU is a regional power only and will continue to be moving forward.


  3. reddawn94

    Clearly UCF should be at the top of the Kings list

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Castleberry

    I thought the Kings test was based on helmet vs song girl recognition in Montana. We have to win??

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Russ

    Yeah, everytime I forget that Mandel’s a Big 10 hack, he makes sure to remind me.


  6. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    The rhyme or reason?
    Shit, it’s hard to admit that you’re just wrong. But, Dawg bless Stewie, he gives us something to talk about.


  7. I’d rather speak in geopolitical terms. Baylor is Iran (obviously). LSU is France (some big moments on the world stage; strong affection for fancy food and libations; libertine sexual views). Notre Dame is the Roman Empire (lots of old buildings and and a strong affection for Jesus, but mostly a shadow of its former glory). UK is Yale (stuffy and judgmental; helped develop the bomb, but the sun now definitely sets on the Union Jack). Georgia is?…

    I ran out of steam.


  8. Needs that georgia angst to get attention. Be best to give him none.