Tag Archives: The Montana Project

They still love you in Montana.

Deadspin gives us this post about Facebook’s compiled county-by-county data on which Top 25 college football teams have the most “likes” across the nation. Take a look at this enlarged map and tell me what you think about those two outlier counties in Stewart Mandel’s state of mind.

Sure, it’s a small sample size, but we only need 100 fans, right?

(h/t Nick Lanza)

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Mandel reviews The Montana Project.

It starts here:

Remember when I revisited my Program Pecking Order this summer? It apparently stirred up a pair of Georgia bloggers, Senator Blutarsky and Travis Fain, the Dawgbone. They took such umbrage with my 2007 premise that 100 average college football fans in Montana would not recognize a Georgia football helmet as universally as they would a Michigan one that they sought out a volunteer to literally conduct the experiment. “Hoppy” Hopkins, a 35-year-old freshmen English teacher at Great Falls (Mont.) High and a diehard Georgia fan, heeded the call to undertake what became known as “The Montana Project.”

I’m in awe of the passion and energy it took for that online community to put that thing together.

And graciously finishes with this.

Stewart: Well — in the end, was it worth it?

Hoppy: Oh, absolutely it was worth it. I had no idea people would take to it, no idea it would get so many hits on YouTube, but mainly, it made people smile. The best quote I saw on one of the blogs was, “This is reason 1,750,000 I love college football right there.” That’s why we do these things. Absolutely, unequivocally, it was worth it in so many ways I never expected. Amazing.

And it’s amazing to me that one seemingly innocuous Mailbag passage could inspire such initiative. Kudos to everybody involved.

Agreed.  I had a blast organizing this.  Hope y’all enjoyed it as much as we did.

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Filed under GTP Stuff

You liked it. You really, really liked it.

If I can engage in some brief horn-tooting, it would be an understatement to say that yesterday’s Montana Project post went over well.  GTP drew a record 31,468 site views of which nearly 20,000 were attributed to that post.  After one day, it’s already the third most visited post in the history of the blog.  The post also got plenty of attention on Twitter and at the SI.com site.

Needless to say, we are all gratified.  It’s always nice to see a labor of love appreciated by a wider audience.  So thank you all very much.  And, again, if it’s not too much trouble, please check out Travis’ post and see what you can do.

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Filed under GTP Stuff

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s The Montana Project!

First, the clip.  Then, we’ll talk.

Some thank yous are in order for a finished product that turned out better than I could have hoped:

  • The biggest, of course, goes to Hoppy.  How many of you would have been willing to shlep around to a bunch of sports bars, helmet and camera in tow, bugging a bunch of strangers?  (Most people I know go to bars to avoid being asked questions.)  That Hoppy did it, did it with such good nature and turned out a more than watchable finished product… well, as far as I’m concerned, he’s got a special place reserved for him in Dawg Heaven.  As I told him, if he ever comes to Athens for a game, he’ll never have to buy a beer.
  • Kudos to all who helped Hoppy with the production support.  You folks did great work.
  • Let’s not forget Big Shock, who was close to the scene and graciously supplied a very good looking helmet.  That made the logistics a lot easier (and a lot cheaper, too).
  • Travis Fain, the spark for all this.  I really didn’t do much more than direct traffic.  Travis is the one who planted the seed and got everything going.
  • Lastly, all of you who offered financial support, thanks.  It worked out where the help wasn’t needed, but the offers were appreciated.  Just make sure you’re around to help pick up Hoppy’s bar tab if he ever shows up for game day.

Next, a few words from our man in Montana:

Obviously a lot of people knew the “G”. However, it was hard to count people who said either “Georgia State” or “Georgia Tech” as a no, because they knew the “G” belonged to a-Georgia-team. That said, it was hard not jack slap the people who said Gators.

The “control questions we asked were”:
1. Are you a college football fan?
2. What does the University of Michigan helmet look like?
3. Do you know the official title of the USC cheerleaders? NO ONE KNEW THE ANSWER!! NO ONE–I REPEAT NOT ONE–HAD HEARD OF THEM REFERRED TO AS THE SONG GIRLS!
4. Can you tell me something, anything about college football.
5. Do you know what team this helmet is affiliated with.
We didn’t ask everyone all of those questions, but that is pool we chose from.
The bars we went to had casinos, so some people were wary about being filmed in a casino. Some people were really genuine, chatted, wanted to know how we were doing and wished us luck. I didn’t meet any Dawgs fans though, which I was a little surprised about.
Honestly, I expected higher numbers, but that’s what we go out of three weekends.

Thanks for this opportunity–it was a fun ride!

A few observations on my part:

  • To the gentleman who answered “Grambling” – did you see the fake juice helmets from the ’09 Cocktail Party?
  • Speaking of which, those folks whose answers included a Gator reference need to turn in their college football fan cards at the front desk.
  • There were fewer Packers answers than I expected.
  • By Mandel’s standards, Georgia fell short.  Still, I was pretty impressed with recognition from about three-quarters of those who responded.  And if that means Georgia isn’t a national power, what do we say about Mandel’s assurance that Southern Cal is, based on (supposed) universal recognition of the Song Girls?
  • I’m also going to assume that Florida would flunk Mandel’s national power test, given the helmet mis-identifications.
  • According to Hoppy, those who were asked to describe the Michigan helmet nailed it for the most part.  And pretty much everyone who could do that could also identify the “G”.  So maybe that’s our real tell for national powerdom.

I’m waiting to hear back from Travis this morning.  If he’s got something to add, whether here or at Lucid Idiocy, I’ll update for you.  In the meantime, enjoy.  And comment, of course.

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UPDATE:  Travis adds his thoughts about the Project here, including a worthy suggestion for those of you who generously offered to make a financial contribution to the cause.

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UPDATE #2:  Mr. Hall shows some love.

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Filed under GTP Stuff

The Montana Project, sixth update

To bring everyone up to speed, Hoppy was able to find the 100th sports fan from Montana last weekend.  His work is in post-production, so to speak, and we should have a finished product on display soon.

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The Montana Project, fifth update

While I appreciate the feedback I got in the last post, I think we’ve been a little ambitious in our reach.  Travis, who actually does this stuff for a living, reminded me that what we’re trying to do isn’t conducive to a man-on-the-street (more accurately, man in the bar) setting.  He’s right.  I don’t think that’s going to be a problem, though.  Per Hoppy,

Saturday Sept. 1st is the first UM Griz game. It starts at 1pm, just about the time the UGA game will be getting over. The bar will be packed with college football/Griz fans for the next three hours. It will be a somewhat older crowd (I predict as it has been in the past). Nonetheless, I think it will be easy to get 100 people in this one location. If I can, I would like to plant myself next to a door and grab people as they come through the door. If I can’t get the prime real estate by the door, I will circulate through the bar.

Let’s face it – people circulating in a Great Falls sports bar wearing UM colors are going to be (1) Montana residents and (2) college football fans.  So I think it’s safe to dispense with the formalities.  Here’s how Hoppy will be approaching this:

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 received 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.

We’ll get a handle on how many recognize the “G” and on how questionable the rest of Mandel’s assumptions are.  Should be a fun watch.

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Filed under Georgia Football, GTP Stuff

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.

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The Montana Project, third update

Just because Travis and I have been quiet about things on the Western Front doesn’t mean we’re not making progress.  Here’s where things are at today:

  • Hoppy has both a camera and a film editor (!) lined up.
  • A fellow Dawg in Montana (GTP commenter Big Shock) is loaning him an authentic, game-worn UGA helmet.  We’ve got them hooking up to figure out the logistics.
  • We’ve targeted Labor Day weekend as the time for the Project to go into action.  There are several sports bars in Hoppy’s town and there are college games spread all over that weekend.  He shouldn’t have a problem polling 100 local sports fans.

The good news is that expenses should be less than we originally expected, as now we’re looking at shipping costs instead of buying a helmet.  However, Travis is experiencing technical problems setting up a PayPal link at his site; any Web gurus out there who might be able to guide him through his issues, please e-mail me so I can put you in touch with him.

I’ll post something shortly about what we’ll have Hoppy doing.  Feedback on that will be welcome, of course.

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Filed under Georgia Football, GTP Stuff