The following article is part of The Motley Fool's "Stock Madness 2006," based loosely on the annual NCAA College Basketball Tournament, a.k.a. "March Madness." Throughout the competition, our writers and analysts will engage in head-to-head competition. You, dear readers, are the fans and referees - after you read these exciting duels, your votes will determine who moves on to the next round of play. The writer who survives the tournament will be our champion and most valuable "coach."

But, please, make no mistake -- "Stock Madness 2006" is a GAME!

First of all I'd like to thank you, the fans, for your great support in Round 1. Like any good coach, I know how important fan support is, and you honored my team with more votes than any other team in this tournament.

I think you're smart to get behind this starting five and its "twin towers" of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG). I believe we'll look back in 30 years and be well pleased with the performance of these two dividend-paying consumer- and medical-products giants. And Tim wants balance? Combine my leading duo with debt-collection specialist Portfolio Recovery Associates (NASDAQ:PRAA), online travel king Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), and wireless components maker RF Micro Devices (NASDAQ:RFMD), and you have a great balance of small- and large-cap stocks that cover most aspects of the economy.

If I want to exploit a weakness in Tim's lineup, I need look no further than Embraer (NYSE:ERJ). In retrospect, it was almost a no-brainer to buy the airplane maker a few years ago, when Brazilian stocks were being punished along with the entire economy. Embraer is truly a global company, with most of its sales coming from North America and Europe. It seemed largely immune to its country's economic crisis, and wound up gaining 300% from its 2003 lows. But now the stock has had its run, Brazil is doing much better, and Embraer has to worry about well-financed competitors such as Boeing and Airbus entering its space. That means we have a stock near its all-time high facing stiff competition in a cyclical industry. In my opinion, the business will have to consistently exceed expectations over the next couple of years -- or face quite a fall.

As for me, I'll stick with my rock-solid proven performers. Experience counts in these high-pressure tournaments. As Jeremy Siegel says, there's no doubt that over the long term, the tried and the true will beat the bold and the new every time.

Tim Beyers' rebuttal
Rex wants to isolate on Embraer? Color me thrilled. By my estimation, the jet maker's return on invested capital is a tad above 15%, while its cost of capital hovers near 11%. That's an impressive spread, and strongly suggests that further gains are to be had.

But don't be too surprised by the misjudgment. When Rex and I matched up in this contest last year, he argued that Audible would outpace Akamai. Sadly, the fans believed him, and left a double on the hardwood. Don't make the same mistake twice, Fool.

Check out Tim's team, then vote for the winner!

Akamai is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection, helping the portfolio achieve a 31% average return vs. just 7% for the S&P 500. Find out which other stocks are leading the way by asking us an all-access pass to the site. It's free for 30 days.

Rex Moore believes in his team so much that he owns shares in three of the members: Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Portfolio Recovery Associates. Fool contributor Tim Beyers owns shares of Akamai. You can find out what else is in Tim's portfolio by checking his Fool profile. Embraer is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Portfolio Recovery is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.