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Dispatches from the Front: C&F's honor is besmirched

(So I have now written something long enough to appear on Dawg Sports. You have been warned.)

C&F appreciates EDSBS's assessment of blogfights.

Only one thing remains less compelling than a blogfight, and that’s a bumfight. Corrected: bumfights are far more compelling than blogfights, therefore ignore previous sentence.

But the latest blogfight has turned into all-out war. And in the process, C&F's honor has been besmirched. (Perhaps fairly, but besmirched nonetheless.)

The brief recap:

SMQ noted "the long shadow of charlatanism" following Rick Neuheisel to UCLA. Bruins Nation took umbrage at this criticism -- which, um, most of us would agree with -- of their greatest hero and bestest head coach everer. This brought on a sharp deconstruction of BN's hypocrisy when it comes to setting expectations for the greatest hero and bestest head coach everer and "the Doofus," Karl Dorrell.

That is where C&F left the story in The Thread [06.16.08].

Since then:

BN fired back, advising us to "Bring Out the Tin Foil Hats":

It's all very polite, but he's calling us liars. He's attacking our motives and credibility. He's saying we don't write what we believe. Instead, we have some dark hidden agenda. ... In short, it is, at best, a lame conspiracy theory and, at worst, an ugly personal attack.

What comes in between the above quoted introduction and conclusion is an amusing mish-mash of snark, obfuscation and flawed analysis.

Y'know the one thing that really annoys me about BN? They never tell you what they really think.

Then the Mayor jumped in with a piece slightly longer than the Democratic presidential primary:

As usually is the case when a weblog posting fails to strike a high mark, the comments that followed took a similar tack, directing SMQ to "a ‘we never landed on the moon’ convention," referring to the singular Sunday Morning Quarterback as the plural "trigger happy mudslingers," and lumping the intercollegiate athletics blogosphere’s most universally respected football analyst in with the "people who are never right." Menelaus’s retort even alluded to the description of Bruins Nation as "a single-issue blog" . . . a description offered by someone other than Sunday Morning Quarterback. ...

Sunday Morning Quarterback did not outline a conspiracy theory and I would take issue with anyone who accused Nestor, Menelaus, and the rest of the Bruin faithful of such a thing. However, Menelaus’s recent diatribe against SMQ was over the top and unfair to an extent that did nothing to help me make the case that Bruins Nation is a forum for impassioned yet reasonable fans. If Menelaus’s response is representative of his approach to constructive criticism---and, to be clear, I do not believe it is---he should steer clear of tin foil hat analogies, which do him no favors after a posting like that one.

This, of course, drew a response from the BN crowd, who are nothing if not tireless, accusing the SBN crowd of "Circling the Wagons" around SMQ:

why do folks go so far out of their way to soft pedal this and defend SMQ? Kyle, for example, gives SMQ a wider berth than a motorcycle gang of angry sumo wrestlers, in saying that "SMQ [merely] had some questions about Nestor’s game-by-game analysis, wondering a bit about" BN's expectations.

Huh? SMQ was just "wondering" aloud, like some absent minded professor wandering across campus? The tone wasn't sarcastic and snarky? No, no, it was a hallmark of "evenness of tone" (evenly snarky?). Really?

Listen, I fully understand that I'm not one of the "gang." I get that some people worship SMQ and look down on UCLA and BN. But, to see outsiders circle the wagons around SMQ like this baffles me.

In the process of doing so, though, BN indirectly called out C&F, pulling in someone who had erred only in leaving a single comment on the SMQ thread, the totality of which was:

This is the most well-written takedown of anyone

I’ve seen in a while. And I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving.

Well played, sir. Well played.

Now, this was obviously not a kind comment toward BN, who are colleagues at SBN. Why did I say this? Waaaay back in the 2007 season, C&F was curious about the latest Spurrier rumors cropping up, as this has become an annual occurrence. Whether through an EDSBS link (they did discuss the post) or a search, C&F cannot remember, but he happened upon a BN piece entitled "Spurrier in Westwood." Were it not for the Spurrier-to-Texas-A&M rumors, this might have easily been the most lunatic-worthy of the HBC rumors.

Not only did the BN gang revive the Spurrier's-not-happy-at-South-Carolina story, already stale at that point, but they slammed the Gamecocks.

Uhm, the easy and logical answer is that if Spurrier were the head coach at UCLA, he wouldn't be scrapping for bottom of the barrel type of recruits he has to fight for at USC, in a recruiting landscape dominated by aforementioned schools and others.

So I responded by saying Spurrier wasn't going to UCLA and listing the reasons why. (By the way, I should ask BN how Spurrier and Neuheisel are handling being co-head coaches, but anyway...) Nestor responded by telling me to "save the lecture on where we should look to for a head coach" -- despite the fact that Nestor was advocating looking for a head coach at C&F's alma mater. Against his better judgment, C&F responded, and Nestor responded with the kicker "the defensive reaction to this one post ... tells me all I need to know."

And then the conversation stops. The comment I left taking back any comment seen as betraying a distrust in Spurrier and saying that my intent was to correct some bad information at a fellow SBN blog disappeared. (In fairness, I do think I included a closing line to the effect of: "Good luck when you hire Mike Price.")

Coincidentally, after South Carolina's season went downhill, Nestor said his mentioning Spurrier's name "was more to start the discussion." This was in the same post where he said "no Rick Neuheisel" because "unfortunately he brings too much baggage."

Which is essentially what SMQ said in the post that started this whole discussion.

BN obviously goes by the philosophy that consistency is "the hobgoblin of little minds." And so do their commenters, since we're bringing commenters into the battle. One particularly enlightened fellow referred to Kyle as "Georgia guy."

The fact that I refer to you as Georgia guy is not intended to be disrespectful – I just don’t remember your name, and it’s not worth it to me to bother looking for it. ...

I can’t say that I have ever intentionally read what either of you have written, other than what I’ve seen here. Again, the reason for this is not personal. It’s just that I have no particular interest in what SMQ or Georgia guy have to say about UCLA or the BN.

Well, as long as he doesn't disrespect Kyle enough to not look up his name despite the fact that it's in the very blog post he's responded to... And as long as his disrespect from them doesn't include having no particular interest in -- never mind.

But back to the main question posed by BN about SMQ: Why are we "circling the wagons" around him? (Coincidentally, note that those accusing the rest of SBN of genuflecting before SMQ are the ones who -- ahem -- accused SMQ of being a conspiracy theorist.)

First of all, I do not reflexively defend SMQ -- I disagree with him on the question of a playoff and dismissed his praise of the other USC earlier this year. And he has occasionally disagreed with me, once chiding me (in what I believe was a listserv e-mail) for denying UGA's Top 10 bona fides in the middle of last season. (To his credit, he was right.) These exchanges, I don't believe, have ever had a drop of animosity. If I gave the impression of any, it was unintended. SMQ is a must-read, though he is only one of the several must-reads here at SBN -- the Mayor being another.

SMQ did not pick this fight. He pointed out -- as, um, Nestor had earlier, if you'll remember -- that the greatest hero and bestest head coach everer had a checkered past. BN slammed him, then SMQ responded. Since the original BN post was dismissive of SMQ, he was within his rights (such as these things are in the Internetwebs) to respond. He did so in a manner that was based on BN's own public comments. BN responded by calling SMQ's response a "personal attack."

Well, was this a personal attack?

I think I am going to start calling Walker a backstabber, given all the stories/rumors that have been surfacing during last week about how he is preparing himself for an interim position (and I am not talking about how his minions are out there pimping him for the position in the premium land of BRO message boards).

Or this?

I have never seen a coach who has such zero feel for the game. A coward who is afraid to make any move to win the game. Sooner or later it will come back to bite our program in the rear end, which will once again cause all the shameless cultists to crawl back in their little holes.

Or this?

We are all looking forward to the day when you [Dorrell] have to go back begging to Mike Shanahan or any other NFL sucker you can find to let you hold a clipboard, looking like lifeless, know nothing doofus on the sidelines (and there is always the option of putting on a fake head set and and pretend to be "coordinating" from some joke NFL's team's press box).

Where did those quotes come from? Not from one month's worth of BN posts. Not from one week's worth of BN posts. No, those came from four days' worth of BN posts.

For someone who built their blog on some of the most mean-spirited commentary I have ever seen about any coach to cry "foul" at the first whiff of criticism from SMQ is, to go back to a word used earlier, hypocrisy. Especially after, again, BN arguably started the whole thing.

And it's worth noting that not one person who has had harsh words for BN disagreed with them on what was their cause celebre until recently -- getting rid of Karl Dorrell. SMQ thought it was due, the Mayor thought it was due, I thought it was due.

Personally, I wish this had not happened. The blogs here at SBN are all good for their fan bases. Bleed Cubbie Blue, which I frequent on game days, provides a wonderful discussion for Cubs fans to share the misery of being Cubs fans. Dawg Sports is an excellent discussion of every Georgia sport you can think of, the SEC and anything else that can inspire the Mayor to write 5,000 words.

SMQ is a brilliant analysis of the college football scene. (Except, of course, when he's touting a playoff.)

And BN is good for UCLA fans, most of whom wanted to be rid of Dorrell years ago.

But when the integrity of SMQ and Kyle are publicly questioned, I know which side I'm going to be on.