My friend Ben and I have an annual tradition of coming up with five ludicrous predictions at the start of every college football season. As you can tell from last year's picks, I'm not always very good at this whole "predicting the future" thing. Undeterred by a track record of failure, we trudge on with 2007:
1. Purdue will finish second in the Big Ten. They have two big road games, at Michigan and at Penn State. If they lose both, I still think they can finish second in a tie with Penn State, as Penn State is at Michigan and has to play Ohio State and Wisconsin. On the other hand, Michigan may lose to Ohio State and Penn State and Purdue ties for second again.
[Ed. - I am not at all high on this pick. I much prefer Iowa as a Big Ten darkhorse.]
2. Nebraska finishes third in the Big Twelve North and Callahan gets the boot. They lose at Wake and USC at home to start the season 1-2. They lose at Columbia, at Texas and at home to A&M. Now they play CU the last game of the year in Boulder, I think CU trips them there and they end the year 6-6. This is the year Callahan's dismantling of the past 40 plus years starts to regress after incremental progress last year. Too tough a schedule for them.
[Ed. - Ben and I are both still offended by the concept of Nebraska running the West Coast Offense. And the irony of the move is that Nebraska abandoned the option because they thought that modern defenses are too fast, but subsequently, the spread option has taken the nation by storm.]
3. Kentucky will finish last in the SEC East. I know this in accordance with Phil Steele, but he is spot on with this one and they are very hyped right now. They are the Charles Rogers Theorem in action.
[Ed. - The CRT is not alarmed because the Cats return a lot on the lines, but we aren't high on a team with a wretched defense that was outgained by 75 yards per game last year.]
4. Arizona State opens 7-0 and gets a ton of media hype, and then proceeds to lose 4 in a row before rebounding to beat Arizona in their finale.
5. Three black head coaches lose their jobs - Croom, Dorrell, and Ty.
[Ed. - Ty is safe for at least this year at Yoo-Dub. Croom is a possibility, especially if Ole Miss looks like they have moved ahead of Miss. State, and Dorrell is an outside possibility although I think that UCLA looks like a good bet for eight to nine wins.]
1. South Carolina wins the East. They take two of three from Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida, they split with LSU and Arkansas, and they finish 6-2 in the league, which is enough to make the title game in am Eastern Division that shows a lot of parity this year. They then lose to Clemson.
[Ed. - I should have put in a caveat to the effect that South Carolina has an unfavorable schedule. Oh, and that they're South Carolina.]
2. Notre Dame wins at least eight games and Evan Sharpley starts every one of them. (If this sounds suspiciously like my "Tereshinski will start every game and Georgia will win the SEC" pick from last year, then you're right.)
[Ed. - It really takes some ineptitude to be wrong before the season even starts, as it appears that Demetrius Jones will be the starter. Let Charlie's Rich Rodriguez impersonation commence!]
3. Vandy goes to a bowl. My concern is that they'll pull one or two upsets and then blow a bowl bid with a loss to a minnow, like they did in 2005.
4. The million dollar donation aside, Philip Fulmer will be fired at the end of the year and replaced by Rich Rodriguez. Bonus: Dennis Franchione will also be looking for employment at the end of the year and Nick Saban will offer him a position as a grad assistant in charge of team laundry.
5. Virginia goes into the rivalry game with Virginia Tech with a chance to win their division. You may have missed it in the avalanche of mediocrity that was the ACC generally and Virginia specifically last year, but the Cavs had an excellent defense. They return almost the entire team from last year, so with any degree of improvement from Jameel Sewell, the team should be good. The schedule is ludicrously easy (7-0 headed to College Park is quite possible) and Al Groh knows that the pressure is on to win. The major factor that concerns me about the Hoos is the fact that, with Jeff Bowden gone, Mike Groh has taken the mantle of "offensive coordinator through nepotism rather than merit" for the conference.