Saturday, July 07, 2007

My Rebuttal to Stewart Mandel's Comments

This past Friday on the front page of there was an article written by Stewart Mandel and his thoughts regarding LSU football coach Les Miles's comments about USC. I felt obligated to post my own thoughts because it seems Mr. Mandel is "confused" on certain aspects dealing with LSU and USC.

Mandel starts off by saying that Miles's claim USC has an "easy" schedule is not legit. Mandel goes onto to say that USC did have to play Arkansas, the SEC West champions, last year. USC would win that game 50-14.

That is a good point Mr. Mandel, but you forget one important thing: injuries. Darren McFadden, the stud running back for Arkansas, was not even playing that Saturday. That alone made a huge difference in the final score. Plus, the quarterback was Robert Johnson a young man who would end up starting one more game the rest of the season. Very deceiving when you get down to the facts.
The other two USC opponents listed as "difficult" in Mandel's mind are Nebraska and Notre Dame. Notre Dame finished the year ranked 17th, but more importantly the Irish had three losses that came by an average score of 44-20. As the season ended "overrated" went right along with an Irish team that proved to be over matched in some of their biggest games. As for the Nebraska team I would say they are a solid team, but not yet an elite opponent.
So, Mandel those where USC's three "tough" opponents last year? Weak.
Good ole Stu would continue on by saying LSU had no room to talk considering they had played easy teams like Fresno State, Kentucky, and Mississippi State at home. That statement is indeed true, but again Mandel failed to point out some important bits of information. LSU played (for the first time in history) four Top 10 football teams on the road. Now try and explain to me that playing Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, and Arkansas on the road makes LSU's schedule "easier" than USC which included home games against Nebraska and Notre Dame, and (like LSU) a road game against Arkansas? But as you know LSU had to compete against a Razorback team with Darren McFadden on the field and a quarterback comfortable with his roll in Casey Dick.
Must of slipped your mind Mr. Mandel, it must of...
My second example of Mandel's idiocy comes later in the article when he asks the reader: "Why doesn't Pete Carroll bash LSU and how they have to play Vandy and Mississippi State?"
Well other than the fact Carroll is a soft spoken coach, the reason he does not criticize how LSU has to play those two mediocre-at-best teams is LSU has more difficult opponents. In an unbiased view it has to be realized the SEC is one of (my opinion the toughest) the hardest conferences.
Looking back at the final 2007 AP College Football poll, in the Top 15 the SEC had 4 teams (Florida, LSU, Auburn, and Arkansas). The Pac-10 had a mere two, USC was 4th and the next closest was California at 14th. The thing with the Pac-10 is numerous teams always start off the year good. This past year Oregon jumps out to a 4-0 record, but come the end of the year the Ducks would finish 7-6 and in that the Pac-10 loses credibility.
Stewart Mandel's misinterpretation of LSU's anger towards USC was most clear during his talk about the 2003 season. For example, Mandel states,"by virtue of [LSU's] victory over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, [LSU] earned the top spot in the coaches poll."
This statement baffles me because to me it comes across as saying LSU was given the top spot in the coaches poll because the coaches felt obligated to do that. Why is it not pointed out that USC claims themselves national champions even though the Trojans never won the BCS trophy? LSU did! Yes, Trojans had a very good team, but keep in mind that USC, LSU, and Oklahoma all finished with one loss. Someone was going to miss out. Overall, disrespect, is the best way to describe the way the media and snobby online magazine writers (cough!) treat LSU's 2003 National Championship. Credit is rarely given where due, but I do congratulate Mandel on making that segment of his article seem unbiased. Come on! Completely one-sided statement Stu!
All in all, let me say I do indeed think USC is one heck of a football team. They have got the talent and coaching to year in and year out compete for the National Championship. The problem I have is the relatively lackluster schedule the Trojans seem to play each year. USC does have there road tests, but it seems too often the Trojans are going up against Pac-10 teams that start strong, but finish poorly. Les Miles boldly said what so many coaches, analysts, and fans feel across the country. "USC is a great team, but they do not seem to be in a particularly difficult conference." For me, it is frustrating for a team of that caliber to not seem challenged in their own conference.
One more thing Stu, your Tiger Bait, so by all means continue your suckling of USC and stay the hell out of Louisiana...

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