Friday, July 13, 2007

The Mind of Mandel

Stick with me on this it's going to get tricky. From EDSBS I found a post from Braves & Birds linking two Steward Mandel articles involving Penn State. The first was decrying Penn State's bowl game victory:

I'm a little concerned that Penn State fans -- many of whom have written in to me with similar sentiments -- are setting themselves up for disappointment by falling for the age-old bowl-win trap. It happens with at least one team every year. They go out and beat a purportedly superior opponent in a bowl game and suddenly everyone forgets about the 12 contests before it. The only problem is, most non-BCS bowl games are reflective of absolutely nothing. Case in point: Which would you say was the more accurate measuring stick of Florida State's offense last year -- the 12 regular-season games in which it struggled to gain a first down or the 'Noles' 44-point outburst in the Emerald Bowl?

The second was aimed at the SEC:

We've heard it. We get it. We've put it in bold type across the cover of Sports Illustrated: The SEC is the toughest conference. Florida proved that in the title game.

But it's not like the league is indisputably head and shoulders above everyone else. Perhaps Miles needs a reminder that two of his league's best teams last year, Arkansas and Tennessee, lost to the third- (Wisconsin) and fourth-place (Penn State) teams from the Big Ten in their bowl games. Or that the year before that, the SEC's champion (Georgia) lost its bowl game to the Big East's champion (West Virginia).

As Michael from Braves & Birds points out this is all very convenient for Mandel's arguments:

So, in case you're keeping score, the Capital One Bowl result is important in showing that the SEC wasn't that good last year, but it is not important in showing that Penn State could actually beat a good team. Penn State's victory means nothing, but Tennessee's loss is very important.

I especially enjoy the "non-BCS bowl games are worthless" crack – yeah it doesn't matter that you beat a solid team with a good record, it's not BCS so you suck. Sure a lot of Penn State fans are optimistic coming into this season but more for whose returning and less the bowl win. Most PSU fans realize that the offense could be pathetic again if the offensive line doesn't improve but with all the skill position players back (sans Tony Hunt of course) and most of the best defenders back (sans Poz of course) it's not much of a stretch to believe this team could be good. The bowl win was nothing more than reassurance that this Penn State team can beat a "quality" opponent – something it failed to do in the entire regular season. Now fans are hopeful that this team can do the same thing this season and beat a couple more "quality" opponents. Mandel thinks Penn State is the fourth best team in the Big Ten, I think just about every Penn State fan to a person would be really disappointed if the Lions finish fourth.


Anonymous said...

I'll be honest, I'm glad he's picking against us. That just makes it all the more likely we'll be great, on a count of him being an idiot and all.

Galen said...

I was actually ok with him but my opinion of him is starting to really turn south. I find it hard to believe that "people in the know" actually believe that OSU is going to end up better than PSU after losing all thier offense. But then again I was wrong about the Buckeyes last year.

kjac said...

I thought the last part of your post was interesting. That is, if Penn State finishes 4th in the conference, the fans would be disappointed. Absolutely correct. I know I would be.

We were better than Wisconsin last year and will be better again this year (and playing at home). We should also be better than Ohio State (and also playing at home). Michigan, with that senior offense, will be trouble, especially at the Big House.

Understanding that we have to beat ND, anything less than 10-2 will leave a bad taste.

BSD said...

Ugh. I'm tired of talking about football. Let's get it on!

Nick said...

Just look at your daily affirmations at EDSBS to get you through. Football can't get here soon enough