Don't fall victim to its suasions.
Better yet, don't break your own sarcastic little rules (ahem, #11 don't be a dick).
The piece in question was a far-from-dogmatic, pass the time type ranking of the conferences. HP included as factors coaching, diversity of offensive scheme, schedule strength, competitiveness and talent level. It's not the most realistic representation and HP acknowledges as much, but the methodology was explained and merits left up to the readers.
As usual, people misinterpreted or ignored the analysis and HP's responses to criticism.
I am not trying to determine which conference has the better teams per se. I think that is a tough endeavor because of the unequal data in play. I am trying to figure out which conference is best based on measures that are a little less skewed
And what does HP mean by skewed? I don't know, maybe that whole two-division/don't play everyone in your conference combined witha few OOC cupcakes easiest way to 9 wins if your team has a pulse strategy in play in the SEC.
With that removed from the equation, different criteria were used. They're imperfect, but the old way of simply giving conference-wide deference and a ridiculous #7 ranking to a team (2003 Tennessee, first example that came to mind) because of their name and 10 wins before falling to Clemson 27-14 in a bowl game isn't really a good idea.
The Pac-10's not immune from criticism, but at least we know their body of work is a little more complete. In 2004 California lost to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl, but we also knew that during the course of their season they pitched two shutouts in offense-happy Pac-10 play and were within a play of toppling eventual national champs USC. As it was they held a great offense to 23 points at the Coliseum. There was reason to believe they merited a high ranking and being in a big name bowl game.
In politics, people are sometimes accused of having a "Pre 9/11 mindset". Their world views and opinions and policy actions are stuck in a time period untouched by more recent events. EDSBS' critical post is very much in a summer 2005 mindset. The old arguments on all sides have since been scrutinized, amended, and improved, but that doesn't stop some people from disingenuously acting like the actions from that point onward never happened.
Orson's inclusion of a 3-zoned map of the "United States according to HP" is right out of the dumb playbook. It's satire, but still dumb. It conveniently ignores HP's general appreciation for teams whatever the region. I guess we've now somehow ignored all the kind words about Louisville, West Virginia, Florida, Ohio State, Notre Dame and several others all in the so-called "barrens" of zone 3.
It also ignores HP's response to SMQB where he expresses surprise that the Pac-10 was in fact on top of the rankings.
I was shocked, frankly, that the Pac-10 finished where it did. I went in expecting the Big Ten to be No. 1
That and much more, conveniently ignored---in other words, "cherry-picking facts delivered with blather and ostensible objectivity."
Just don't let that get in the way of a good time.
EDSBS does great work, but this attack missed badly. In their haste to score points against HP standard ethics of argument were ignored and their own catty rules broken.
Mencken was a pundit, too