Monday, August 28, 2006

Five Outlandish Predictions, the Sequel

Last summer, my friend Ben and I shared "BOLD PREDICTIONS" before the season, some of which turned out to be quite solid (Louisville will lose two games, Notre Dame finishes in the Top 25, etc.) and some of which were "Dewey Defeats Truman"-esque (USC's defense will be better than their offense by midseason, Texas A&M will win the Big XII South, etc.) Anyway, we exchanged lists again this weekend and I'm starting to worry that Ben and I think too much alike now. We used to have some heated e-mail debates to take the edge off of another day of billing hours. Some of the better topics included:

1. Do pitchers take steroids? I vehemently disagreed with this notion, which Ben used to defend Barry Bonds, and as it turns out, I was wrong.

2. Which is a better head coaching job: Florida or Pitt? I'll stand by my pick of the Florida job. (Now you see why, when I wanted an outlandish pick, I went to Ben.)

3. Could Georgia win the national title in 2003? I never drop this memory, and it also taught me that it never hurts to argue that a team isn't going to win the national title because the odds are always in your favor.

4. Is the spread offense dead? We probably both claim victory on this one. I take the position that the spread is alive and well, especially the run-based version used by Texas and West Virginia last year, but Texas Tech is doing well with the passing version. Ben narrowly defines the spread as the short passing system used by Purdue in the late 90s and also claims victory because Purdue's offense is in the toilet and every fanbase now hates the bubble screen.

5. Is Larry Coker one of the top coaches in college football? I'll stand by the tape of the Miami-Georgia Tech game from last year.

Anyway, when I saw Ben's picks, I was equal-parts mortified and amused, because I agreed with all of them and strongly considered making a couple of them myself, such as Kentucky going bowling. We're also in agreement on the merits of the Climpsun Tigers this year, which ought to set off riots of joy on Lake Hartwell.

Anyway, here are Ben's picks:

1. Last year I said that Butch Davis would be coaching Texas this year if Mack did not beat OU. Fell on my face on that one, but I think he is the top coaching prospect out there and will end up at either Miami or Arizona St. Miami if they do not win their division at the very least and Arizona St. is clearly in disarray right now.

2. Kentucky, yes Kentucky, will come perilously close to making a bowl and saving Brooks' job, at least for one year. I think they beat Ole Miss at home and the way their schedule breaks, 4 wins should be against crap foes, including Vandy. That means their game vs. Miss. St. will really mean a lot.

3. 4 coaches in the Pac-10 will be out of a job at year's end (40% of the league), or almost half of the league and Oregon, Cal and USC will be light years ahead of everybody else. Wash St., Arizona St., Stanford and UCLA - they will be atrocious.

[Ed. - I actually think that Stanford will be pretty decent this year, at least by scoring a lot of points.]

4. Colorado will win the Big 12 North. Nebraska will be humiliated in their opener vs. SC and it will spiral downhill from there (delusionary momentum from beating a crap Michigan team).

[Ed. - I can't disagree with this, with the only caveat being that I'm not sure that CU will pick up Dan Hawkins' offense fully in year one. Their defense should be very good...or at least it's very good on the Playstation.]

5. Clemson will win the ACC. In what will be a down year for the league, Clemson will have no chance of playing for a National title, but will win the ACC and placate the fans who want Bowden's head.

6. WVU will lose two games this year. Two out of the following three will be losses - Maryland, Louisville, Rutgers.

7. Finally, Miss. State beats So. Carolina on Thursday, Spurier has never won in Starkville and that tradition will continue. Georgia wins the East and will have a chance to play for the National Title if they win the SEC Championship game.

Here are mine:

1. Baylor goes to a bowl game. Guy Morriss is doing a good job there. (I was shocked to find out when reading the Steele Testament that they took Oklahoma to overtime in Norman.) I'm interested to see how their Texas Tech imitation looks on offense. The one problem is that they play Wazzu on the road and TCU at home in the non-conference schedule, so they won't get four free wins. Incidentally, Indiana is also going bowling this year. Look at their schedule; 6-0 is a strong possibility (before they finish 7-5).

2. Matthew Stafford redshirts this year. Take it from the guy who thought that Blake Barnes would be starting midway through last season. (Incidentally, from what I'm hearing about Eric Ainge, Jonathan Crompton might be taking snaps for the Vols by October.)

3. LSU wins at Auburn. Everyone is picking Auburn to win the West and my inherent skepticism is high. Both teams lose a lot on their lines, but I have a good feeling about Jamarcus this year. I think he takes a big step. The pressure of Matt Flynn's Peach Bowl performance will be good for him.

4. Iowa beats Ohio State and Michigan and goes to the Rose Bowl. I like their lines better than Michigan or Ohio State's, plus they have the senior quarterback.

5. Neither Florida team in the ACC wins their division. Say hi to a Virginia Tech-Clemson ACC Championship game that is ABC's worst nightmare and thousands of Toby Keith fans' wet dream.


Anonymous said...

Ben: "Last year I said that Butch Davis would be coaching Texas this year if Mack did not beat OU. Fell on my face on that one..."

Actually, since Mack *did* beat OU, his prediction could not be proven or disproven.

Anonymous said...

Re: pitchers taking steroids, I recently heard one brilliant sports-radio host make the following statement: "I know Roger Clemens doesn't take steroids. Why? Because he was performing the same way 20 years ago, before steroids got into baseball."

Um, okay.

peacedog said...

1) You know I am on the Baylor bandwagon.

Incidentally, I'm reading good things about Booty. Will we turn it around this year and rejoin the top half of the fantasy league?

2) Not so fast my friend. But I think it's even steven that it happens. Still, I'm seeing suggestions that Staff are still opening the door to his playing (it looks unlikely against WKU). It won't be easy to progress relegated to true third team duty.

Incidentally, there are many signs starting to point to a Barnes transfer after this year. He hasn't ruled it out (but it is some time off), and he graduates next spring IIRC.

3. I think you are underestimating Auburn's ability to reload, as much as I hate to say it. Still, they have real Rogers Theorem potential. Here's to Kenny Irons sucking eggs!

4. No comment. But I believe in Ferentz

5. I like this one too.

I'll leave pitchers on steroids for another time. I don't think they used it to the degree hitters did, and that the margin is noteworthy.

I hope to Allah Ben is right about the Dawgs. Positives: possible better defense 1-11, RBs improved, WRs improved. Negatives: OL as thin as paper