Over on Voodoo Five, I've only performed one fisking so far -- it was in January when Tribune columnist Martin Fennelly rolled out this hoary chestnut after Jim Leavitt settled his lawsuit with USF. At the end of it, I wrote that Fennelly appeared ready to challenge Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi's uninterrupted reign as the worst sports columnist in Florida.
Our blog doesn't talk much about Orlando or Bianchi as a general rule, but over here I figure he's fair game. And not being one to back down from a challenge, Bianchi (pictured here) struck back with a vengeance at the Gators' NCAA Southeast Regional press availability in New Orleans yesterday. With Florida facing BYU tonight, Bianchi decided to stop down the press conference and ask Chandler Parsons and Billy Donovan if it would be harder to recruit to UF if athletes couldn't have premarital sex.
TROLL PROTIP #1: This is how you know a master troller is at work. Instead of asking about "the BYU Honor Code" or "a strict personal code of conduct", he went straight for the perceived shock value of "premarital sex." He wrote about it as the "Sweet 16 question of the day" to make it sound like everyone was wondering about it, even though he was probably the only one who cared.
Parsons and Donovan didn't answer it, because they thought the question was ridiculous. Later, Bianchi asked athletic director Jeremy Foley about premarital sex. Foley didn't answer it, because he thought the question was ridiculous. Then after that, Bianchi went back to Parsons and tried to get him to rat out his teammates for having premarital sex. Parsons didn't answer it, because he thought the question was ridiculous.
TROLL PROTIP #2: Ask your ridiculous question to as many people as possible. Either one of them will give you the answer you're looking for and you can get outraged about it, or no one will give you the answer and you can get outraged about how they're all Hiding Something.
Satisfied with his day's work, Bianchi then wrote a horrendous column in today's Sentinel about how everyone is dirty and cheating. He made sure to work in Cam Newton, Jim Tressel, and Bruce Pearl, since college students having sex is clearly on the same level as all those transgressions. Yes, somehow they all prove that everyone is filthy and ruining college athletics, except for BYU, because they're Winning the Right Way.
TROLL PROTIP #3: Always include as many easy punching-bag targets as you can to help support your argument, even if they don't support your argument at all. The troll's credo is: Never stop trolling. Plus it pads your word count.
So congratulations to Mike Bianchi, still the king of bad sports columnists in the Sunshine State. I'd like to see the expense report he turns into the Sentinel when he gets back from New Orleans. I'm sure he will only leave the hotel to cover games, and he'll be in bed by 9:00 every other night, drinking warm milk from room service and watching The Weather Channel.