Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Cynic: Manning Up

And I don't mean Eli.

Unlike many in the sports and media community who don't like to be reminded of their errors and idiotic statements, I'm man enough to take the heat. To that end, I thought it would be a good time to flash back and revisit my preseason college football predictions and see how I did.

1. Georgia will have at least two losses this year.

I thought Georgia was overrated to begin with, and then the injuries didn't help. While they lost to two very good teams (Alabama and Florida) and one archrival, the 9-3 season still has to be considered a big disappointment for Bulldog fans.

VERDICT: Correct.

How'd that whole blackout thing work out for you?

2. The SEC will still be the best conference overall, but the Big 12 will close the gap quite a bit this year.

Depends on your point of view. I think most would agree that the gap was certainly narrowed this year. But you could make a pretty strong case that I was wrong on the first part and that the Big 12 actually surpassed the SEC as the best conference overall.

VERDICT: I say yes, but a judgement call.

Four of the top five Heisman votegetters were from the Big 12 which, if history is any guide, means absolutely nothing.

3. Tim Tebow will not win the Heisman this year.

Last year, I predicted that he'd be benched by Week 7. He wins the Heisman. This year, I though the Gators would have a better running game, hurting Tebow's stats. And while he didn't win, Tebow still put up great numbers and actually got the most first-place votes for the Heisman.

VERDICT: Correct, although this is the last time I bet against Tebow in any way, shape or form.

Not that we really need an excuse to re-post this photo.

4. Bobby Bowden will take some of the heat off himself with a nine-win season for Florida State.

The Seminoles currently sit at 8-4, with a chance for their ninth win vs. Wisconsin in the Citrus Bowl. That said, I don't know how much heat he takes off, even with a win. It's becoming more and more obvious that the knock on Bowden is less about wins and losses than about his age.

VERDICT: To be determined.

At least one Bowden still has a job.

5. Upset Special: Appalachian State will give LSU a run for their money, but won’t pull the shocker this year. My pick for “out there” upset is Eastern Washington over Colorado.
Close but no cigar. Eastern Washington actually led 24-17 with less than three minutes left on the clock. But Colorado tied the game with 2:05 to go and then took the lead just 21 seconds later on a 27 yard INT return, which provided the margin of victory.

VERDICT: Missed it by that much.

6. Buffalo and SMU will be surprise bowl teams.

Turner Gill did a stellar job, taking Buffalo to 8-5 (their best season since joining I-A) and the MAC championship. The Bulls will be bowling January 3rd in Toronto (Toronto?). As for SMU, well, the June Jones rebuilding project might take a while as the Mustangs limped to a dismal 1-11 season.

VERDICT: Partial credit.

Note to Charles Barkley: You're not helping.

7. Kirk Ferentz and Mike Stoops will be job hunting in December.

Ferentz was definitely feeling the heat after a three game losing streak early in the season. The last minute kick against Penn State saved Iowa's season and Ferentz' job. Stoops also turned things around somewhat with a 7-5 season that included a victory over in-state rival Arizona State (always good for booster support).

VERDICT: Incorrect. But I still wouldn't get too complacent if I was either coach.

Helping your coach keep his job = good way to keep your scholarship.

8. Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree will make ESPN’s Top Plays at least four times this season.

While I don't have an exact count, I think it's safe to say that even a cursory glance at ESPN this year showed that Bristol loved them some Michael Crabtree.

VERDICT: Unless someone can pull all the ESPN Top Plays broadcasts from this season to prove otherwise, I'm going to say correct.

Mack Brown's recurring nightmare.

9. BCS Buster: Everyone is so high on BYU to run the table and be this year’s Hawaii. I don’t know that they’re even the best team in the MWC. If I had to bet on a non-BCS team making it in, I’d take Utah.

Utah beat BYU, went 12-0 and will be taking on Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

VERDICT: Correct.

BYU's quest for a Las Vegas Bowl title continues.

10. And last but not least, Ohio State will lose to USC on 9/13, but will then run the table, climb back up the rankings and upset unbeaten Oklahoma in the championship game.

Even if tOSU hadn't lost to Penn State, the USC loss probably doomed them. Even if they had run the table from there out, there were enough quality one-loss teams out there that the memories of the Buckeyes' 35-3 embarrassment in Pasadena likely would have precluded them from leapfrogging into the #2 spot at any point.

VERDICT: Incorrect.

Oh, what might have been.

Final Tally: 5-3-1 with one to be decided.

Not enough to break the bank in Vegas, but enough that I could have had one hell of a time.

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