I drew Swamp Ball as an opponent for today's battle, the Florida offense versus the Ohio State defense. As a savvy veteran of Battles of the Blogs (Battle of the Blogses?), I went for every dirty debate trick I could apply at midnight, when I was writing my side of the debate. Balance, reasonableness, and honesty went out the window (not all the way out, maybe, but I at least dangled them out the window, as though they were Vanilla Ice to my Suge Knight). I cherry picked statistics that helped my argument. I ignored everything that might weaken my argument. I even set up a bit of a straw man, just to get a shot in at the SEC:
Meanwhile, how does Swamp Ball attack? With a calm, reasoned essay outlining the sort of gameplan that might be successful against the Buckeyes, based on results of previous games. It was well-thought out and well-written. Who does that in online debates?
I don’t know for sure, but I suspect my colleague and opponent across the page is arguing that Ohio State’s numbers came against inferior competition, while Florida’s stats came against tough SEC defenses; it’s the argument I would make were our situations reversed. However, let me present a counter-argument: SEC defenses are no better than any others. In fact, an offense approaching competent is all it takes to win the SEC.
Look at the SEC championship game: it pitted a team (Arkansas) whose best quarterback was a running back (Darren McFadden) against a team (Florida) whose best running back was a backup quarterback (Tim Tebow). That isn’t innovation; that’s desperation. It’s the sort of thing you do when you’ve exhausted all other options. It’s the sort of thing that went out of style decades ago. It’s the sort of thing that’s good enough to win the SEC.
As it turns out, there's a lot less trash-talking in an OSU-Florida debate than an OSU-Michigan debate, which I probably should have expected. Regardless, I feel like I come off a little message board-y, when I could have afforded to be more evenhanded in my site of the debate. But I'm not going to get too concerned about it. After all, if you don't get a little fiery in a college football debate, when will you?
Anyway, there's been a lot of good work done in this Battle of the Blogs, by both sides. So go check it out.