Random predictions for 2007 season and much more
Posted: Wednesday June 20, 2007 10:50AM; Updated: Wednesday June 20, 2007 12:33PM
Here at the Mailbag, we take pride in always being a step ahead of the curve. Studies show that Mailbag readers tend to be far-more informed than their peers when it comes to a wide variety of topics integral to their daily lives.
Nearly a year before the rest of the free world caught on, the Mailbag clued you in to undercover goddess Jenna Fischer. In the summer of 2005, while movie-goers were holding up Wedding Crashers as some sort of comedic tour de force, the Mailbag told you to keep an eye out for the then-unheralded, soon-to-be-released 40-Year-Old Virgin. Tell me which one you quote more frequently today (unless you've already moved on to Knocked Up). And well before it served as the final song Tony Soprano ever heard (or was it?), the Mailbag was not only singing along to Don't Stop Believing but paying good money to see it performed live. (Apparently, the song rose into the top 10 on ITunes following that final episode, which is amazing ... what took these people so long?)
Now, Joey in Peachtree City, Ga., (or "The City," as I affectionately referred to it when I lived in Atlanta), has made the not-unreasonable request that I apply some of this master foresight to actual college football.
Alright Stewart, I've been reading every edition of this mailbag so far this year, but I have to say, I'm disappointed in you. Give me some predictions for this upcoming season that will inevitably bring out your bashers calling you all sorts of things because you made a negative comment about "their" team. Who's the surprise team this year? Who's overrated? Which coach will get canned? Give me something I can hold over your head this year.
You mean like the "LSU will be this season's flop" prediction last summer that LSU fans still remind me about today? Sure, why not. I'm a glutton for punishment.
I hereby present Five Random Predictions for the 2007 Season:
1. Nick Saban will not lead Alabama to the promised land (yet). Nor will Jimbo Fisher turn Florida State back into a national title contender (yet). Nor will Miami return to prominence under Randy Shannon (yet). Between the three teams, which all went 6-6 during the regular season last year, I see a couple of 8-4s and one 7-5. Just not sure which will be which.
2. Ohio State will not go quietly into the night. It would be easy to dismiss the Buckeyes following their BCS beatdown and the loss of Troy Smith/Ted Ginn/Antonio Pittman/Anthony Gonzalez. But you can go a long way with a dominant defense, and between that and Chris Wells, OSU will remain in a the thick of the Big Ten title hunt with Michigan and Wisconsin.
3. The Arkansas/Houston Nutt saga will not end well. While Darren McFadden and Felix Jones would give any team reason for excitement, the fact is Arkansas still doesn't have a quarterback and lost most of the best players from what was a very underrated 2006 defense. As soon as it becomes apparent the Razorbacks won't win the SEC, the vultures that have been hovering over that program will be ready to pounce.
4. Hawaii will become the first team in history to average 60 points per game. Have you looked at the schedule Colt Brennan will be facing this season? Let's just say the first six opponents are Northern Colorado, Louisiana Tech, UNLV, Charleston Southern, Idaho and Utah State. Boise State and Washington loom at the end, but in the meantime, I shudder to think what kind of numbers the Warriors are going to put up.
5. Vanderbilt will go to a bowl game. I've been burned on this one before. But Bobby Johnson's teams have been increasingly competitive in the SEC recently, including last year's victory over Georgia and near-misses against Arkansas and Alabama. With 17 returning starters and a schedule that includes home games against Richmond, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and Ole Miss, six wins is realistic.
Just in case most of these don't pan out, and you're sitting there in November ready to crucify me, just remember that I was also the guy to highly encourage you two months ahead of time to go see the movie Superbad (I can't link to the uncensored trailer, but you can find it pretty easily), opening Aug. 17 (just a week before the release of Bowls, Polls, and Tattered Souls!). You'll promptly go back to thanking me.
Before we get to other questions, let's touch on the sad news of the week:
I can tell you being an Indiana grad born and raised in South Bend that Coach Hoeppner truly was a coach's coach. Of all the coaches to parade through Bloomington, "Hep" was the first to do two things in as long as I can remember: give the program pride and insist upon dignity. Even those of us outside of Bloomington could feel the difference. I believe I speak for all Hoosiers when I say that our sense of loss isn't just born of the tragedy of a class-act leaving us before his time, but also of the knowledge that IU lost a coach that truly believed in IU football and made darn sure we all believed with him. RIP, Hep, you'll be missed dearly.
I don't think you could have said that any better, Tom. I deal with a lot of coaches, and trust me when I tell you that Coach Hep was one of the absolute good guys. Everyone in college football shares in IU's sadness right now, but none of the rest of us can understand what it must be like to be a Hoosier right now. I hope everyone in the Mailbag audience will send their most heartfelt wishes to the folks in Bloomington as well as Oxford, Ohio.
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