Every year before the start of the college football season, my friend Ben and I do Five Crazy Predictions. Inevitably, one of us predicts great things for Notre Dame. This probably dates back to e-mail exchanges when we were in law school and Bob Davie was the coach. Why would a guy from New Orleans and a guy from Macon, neither of whom ever liked the Irish, always predict glory for them? Southern fatalism? Jewish fatalism? Low self esteem? It’s hard to say. Anyway, Ben’s #5 pick will shock no one, nor will the fact that I would have made the same pick if he wouldn’t have beaten me to the punch.
1. There will be four new coaches in the SEC next season, including both Mississippi schools.
[Ed. – I can buy the two Mississippi schools, but then it’s hard to see from where the other vacancies will come. Ben doesn’t mention this in his picks, but he’s high on Georgia to have a good season after a slow start, so he’s not thinking that Mark Richt will be one of the four. The other coaches in the West are all in unassailable positions, although Bobby Petrino’s wanderlust is undeniable. Kentucky and Vandy have new coaches, so the normal candidates in the East aren’t going to produce new coaches. Are we thinking of a Spurrier retirement?]
2. USC finishes third in the South division of the Pac 12.
[Ed. – This is bold, but it never hurts to short Lane Kiffin. By the way, I haven’t spent two seconds of thought on USC this summer.]
3. 5 out 6 teams in the Legends division of the Big Ten are bowl eligible.
[Ed. – Sounds good. There are a bunch of decent teams in the Prancers* Division.]
* – In a moment that illustrated the failings of the Big Ten’s marketing wing, Mrs. B&B referred to the Big Ten’s divisions as the “Floaters and Prancers.” Since I like that description, I’m going with it this season. Given Michigan’s effete reputation (and the fact that Northwestern is in the same division), they have to play in the Prancers Division. Ohio State seems a natural anchor for the Floaters. Penn State also fits.
4. Missouri finishes second in the Big XII.
[Ed. – Good pick. People seem to be sleeping on Mizzou.]
5. Notre Dame gets ten regular season wins.
[Ed. – Nunca nada cambia.]
1. Dabo Swinney is replaced by Rich Rodriguez by the end of the season. I just can’t quit you, Rich. My operative theory for ACC regeneration is that a chastened Rodriguez, now understanding his armada of errors in staffing the defensive side of the ball in Ann Arbor, rides Tahj Boyd to glory. With Jimbo Fisher pointing Florida State in the right direction, the ACC will have three good programs instead of one.
2. Texas finishes ahead of Texas A&M in the Big XII. Texas can’t squander its pile of talent in two straight years, right? And A&M just screams “overrated.” Fast finish to previous season, suspect coach, non-traditional power in everyone’s top ten, conference refs who will be looking to screw them at every turn (and thus lead to massive guffaws in the State of Nebraska).
3. Jadaveon Clowney is in the top five in the SEC in sacks and South Carolina fans are finally not exaggerating when they describe a player in Corey Jenkins fashion. I will use any excuse to invoke Gamecock fans’ descriptions of Jenkins before the 2002 season. He can throw the ball 150 yards! He’s bigger and faster than Bo, Herschel, or Captain America! USC agronomists are altering their projections of the state’s cattle based on the use of Jenkins’ seed in cow reproduction!
4. National title game: Alabama versus Nebraska. If I think that: (a) the Big Ten is terrible; (b) the Pelini brothers can fashion a great defense out of chicken wire and blue putty; and (c) the run-based spread is the bees knees, then this pick is mandatory, isn’t it? And yes, I am sold on Alabama this year, despite the schedule. The Tide’s defense should be silly good. By the way, I keep waiting for a BCS blow-up between a one-loss SEC Champion and an undefeated champion of one of the other BCS conferences. We almost had one in 2008 with Florida and Penn State, but now after five straight SEC national titles, we’re really primed for a rumble.
5. Virginia finishes second in the ACC Coastal. 18 returning starters, a promising new coach, massive instability at Miami and UNC, and a home game against Georgia Tech in a series in which homefield matters a great deal. A homer pick, but why the hell not?