Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Cynic's Guide to College Football: Preseason Predictions

Not many consider the Wednesday before Labor Day the most wonderful time of the year, but I think I can make a pretty strong case. Can’t you just feel it? As if on cue, the weather here at home suddenly dropped 20 degrees below normal. It’s almost like it knows that it’s time. My job as HHR’s resident cynic is simple—while everyone else will spend the season blowing sunshine up the butts of the media darling coaches and players, my role is to focus on the Dark Side of college football. To talk about the underachievers, wannabes and never weres. Look, anybody can write another fluff piece on Tim Tebow or discuss the pros/cons on sainthood for Pete Carroll. But it takes a sharp eye and a keen mind to find the chinks in the armor. And that’s what I’ll try to do throughout the season. That said, while I may not fawn over the anointed media darlings, I love college football. Love, love, love. It’s almost sickening. Kind of like chocolate covered bacon—this level of love may not be healthy, but it’s oh-so-good!

Football, chocolate & bacon. What's not to love?

So with football starting up tomorrow night on the Smurf Turf in Boise, I wish you a HAPPY COLLEGE FOOTBALL EVE and bring you The Cynic’s annual preseason predictions.

  1. Greener Pastures: Two high-profile transfer QBs (Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett and Syracuse’s Greg Paulus) will lead their teams to upset wins at some point this season.

  2. Heizzzzzzman: Obviously, most of the early Heisman talk will focus on the Big Three of Bradford, McCoy and Tebow. The contrarian in me wants to say that the media types will develop some quarterback fatigue, decide to actually watch a game involving a non-top 5 team or otherwise pull their heads out.. But that won’t happen. While I’d love to see some non-QBs or smaller school competition, I predict we’ll have four traditional power team QBs (the Big Three plus Ohio State’s Terelle Pryor) making the trip to New York for the most yawn-inducing Heisman ceremony ever. McCoy will take home the hardware.

  3. If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Buy ‘Em: Rogue Florida State boosters, realizing that the NCAA is not going to reinstate the 14 wins taken away from Bobby Bowden, will give a bunch of money to Penn State recruits and then turn themselves in, hoping to have wins taken away from Joe Paterno.

  4. The Best Defense is a Good Defense: The SEC will continue it’s well-deserved reputation for bringing the nation’s top defenses. However, I foresee the defensive dominance this year having less to do with dominant Ds than with what has the potential to be some truly atrocious quarterbacking. Exhibit A: lost in the “why was Tim Tebow not a unanimous first team All-SEC player” fuss was who else was in the mix. Second team QB Jevan Snead from Ole Miss is certainly a respectable, but after that things get ugly. The vote for third team All-SEC was a tie between South Carolina’s Stephen Garcia and Kentucky’s Mike Hartline (both were benched at least once last year and combined to throw 15 TDs and 16 INTS). Really? One of these guys in the third best in the SEC? Add the facts that six SEC teams have legitimate QB controversies and five projected starters have three or fewer career starts, and 2009 could be a baptism by fire for many SEC signal callers.

  5. The Next Level: Immediately following the season, Tim Tebow will forgo an opportunity to play in the NFL, instead opting to ascend directly to heaven.

  6. Or Join the Justice League

  7. But That Won't Stop Congress From Investigating: There will be no undefeated non-BCS teams this year.

  8. Because Lord knows they don't have anything else going on right now.

  9. Does This Make Me a Domer Homer?: Damn you, Lou Holtz and Beano Cook! Here I thought that I was going to be a visionary, predicting a storybook season for Notre Dame. Then you had to go and ruin it by picking the Irish in the title game. Your history of crazy ramblings not only made me question my thoughts on the Domers, but it made my pick look like I was just jumping on the Irish bandwagon, even though I had written my pick weeks before you made yours. Oh well. That’s what I get for procrastinating on posting. Yes, Coach Lou is a crazy, senile old crank. And Beano Cook, aside from serving as Jabba the Hutt’s stunt double, really hasn’t brought anything to the football table in, well, ever. But, as the old saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day. First and foremost, take a look at the schedule—the Irish have only four true road games (side note: how does Notre Dame vs. Washington State get played in San Antonio?) and, aside from USC, don’t play anyone ranked higher than #28. I would be very surprised if Notre Dame isn’t a solid Vegas favorite in every game this year (again, minus USC). Plus, keep in mind that this team is not devoid of talent—they return 15 starters from a team that went 7-6 last year (and held double-digit leads in three of those losses). While I’m not ready to jump off and predict ND over USC and put the Irish in the title game, otherwise I don’t see where these two are that far off. I predict a ten or eleven-win season for the Irish and a deserved spot in a BCS bowl game.

  10. Coaching Carousel: After being passed over by Nebraska and Auburn the last two years, Buffalo head coach Turner Gill will be announced as the head coach at a major BCS program before 2009 is out. Brett Bielema (Wisconsin), Todd Dodge (North Texas) and Steve Kragthorpe (Louisville) will all be fired at the end of the season. Steve Spurrier (South Carolina) and Al Groh (Virginia) will retire. Dan Hawkins (Colorado) will keep his job despite failing to live up to his “ten wins and no excuses” pledge. After his second straight losing season, Rich Rodriguez (Michigan) will keep his job but will be on a very hot seat going into 2010. (Note: this prediction was made prior to the NCAA workout violation allegations. So I can’t be held responsible if something big breaks because of that.)

  11. The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth. Or at Least Steal a W: At least three FCS schools will upset FBS teams. I hate these I-A vs. I-AA games as much as anyone. As a result, I can appreciate the irony of “big boy” schools getting upset in these money games. So it will do my heart good to see Richmond beat Duke (does that really count as an upset?), William and Mary beat Virginia and, in the irony of all ironies, Massachussetts beating Kansas State in Bill Snyder’s first game back.

  12. When Pigs Fly: At least one team will have to forfeit a game, or at least play severely undermanned, due to a swine flu outbreak among the team.

  13. So is this payback for that whole "pigskin" thing?

  14. The Easy Way Out: I’d love to pick a big upset for the national championship. I hate chalk. I didn’t even like going to my wife’s classroom when she was a teacher. But I just can’t do it. I just think that Florida, Oklahoma and Texas are just so head-and-shoulders above everyone else, I can’t see a national champion coming from outside that three. Trust me, I hope I’m wrong—I’d love to see lots of drama this year, but I just don’t think it’ll happen. Texas and Florida will both run the table to the title game, where the Longhorns score a 27-21 victory and make Matthew McConaughey even more annoying.

Who knew?

Among other notes this season:

  • Someone will accidentally trip over a weapon of mass destruction in Iraq. The CIA will reveal who really killed JFK. NASA will release definitive proof of intelligent life on other planets. All of those are more likely to happen this season than the NCAA actually doing anything on the investigation into alleged improper benefits given to Reggie Bush while at USC.

  • The best name in college football: Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh. He’s 6-4, 300 pounds of bad man. In the Ngema tribe in Cameroon from which Suh’s father comes, Ndamukong translates as “House of Spears.” It doesn’t get much more badass than that.

A Boy Named Suh. I dare you to call him that to his face.

  • Akron is the unanimous winner of the award for strangest named place to play your home games: Summa Field at InfoCision Stadium.

  • Game Most Likely to Resemble Tecmo Super Bowl: Houston @ Oklahoma State 9/12. Last year, these two offenses combined for over 1050 yards and 81 points per game. Meanwhile, the two defenses gave up a combined 819 yards and 59 points per game. First team to 100, wins.

National Championship: Florida vs. Texas
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. USC
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Notre Dame
Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. South Florida

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1 comment:

Pro-Hat Party said...

oh my god, the poor orange bowl