SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
8/28/2006 12:22:00 PM
Virtual Favorites: Huskers, Hokies
Why should Zac Taylor be smiling? Because he appears to be a "virtual" lock to play for the national title.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Pretty much every possible prognosticator has now weighed in with his picks for the 2006 season, including Kirk Herbstreit's bold if bizarre prediction over the weekend that Miami will win the national championship. (One of Kirk's exact quotes was, "I love their offense." He declined to specify which he loved more, the suspended star receiver or the tailback coming off ACL surgery.) But one of the most important voices had yet to chime in until now. That would be my PlayStation.
Ever since my PlayStation became quite possibly the only entity in the country to predict a USC-Auburn national-title game before the 2004 season (no, that matchup didn't actually happen, but it probably should have), I've learned to take its computerized projections with extreme seriousness, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. So here now is your likely matchup for Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz.:
Nebraska vs. Virginia Tech.
Suddenly, I'm both very excited and very nervous. If the Huskers (who went 13-0, beating Texas twice) do in fact reach the championship, it would validate the Wide Open feature we did a few weeks back. On the flip side, the Hokies weren't even on our list of 16 contenders, and if you can't get the national champion right when you have 16 guesses, that's not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Other developments of note in the simulated season: West Virginia and Louisville were Nos. 1 and 2 when they met in their Thursday-night game on Nov. 2 (though the Cardinals wound up falling out of the Top 25 altogether after that), Michigan rebounded from last season's disappointment to go 11-1 and win the Big Ten, and Notre Dame receiver Jeff Samardzija captured the Heisman Trophy (this one I wouldn't put too much stock in -- four of the five finalists were wide receivers).
Bad omen, by the way, for real-life preseason No. 1 Ohio State: The Buckeyes finished 7-5.
I know a guy who did that awhile back too and he said not only was Nebraska in the title mix, but Zac Taylor finished second in the Heisman voting by just a couple of points. That's quite a difference from last year, when Taylor was just an average quarterback that was supposed to hold the fort until Harrison Beck was ready to take over.
Who did Michigan lose too? Who was the starting QB for the Hokies, Sean Glennon or Cory Holt? I could definately see VT going to the NC Game "defense wins championships" right. Who won the NC game, VT or the Black Shirts?
Stewart - As far fetched as this may seem, it still is refreshing to see faith, albeit, PLAYSTATION Incorporated, in two great programs such as the Huskers and Hokies. I feel the Husker Program is flying in under the radar and after September 16th, will explode onto the screen and have the full attention of the College Football World. Keep up the Good Work. GBR Husker Fan in Colorado - Pat Smith
I'm telling you, a 7-5 record for OSU would not be unrealistic. OSU is overrated! I'm not saying they can end up as mythical national champions or Big 10 champions, but Troy Smith couldn't even win the starting job in last year's preseason, and the defense only has two starters returning. AND, will Teddy Bear Ginn Rummy finally start living up to his REP and the PRE-season, not POST-season, awards he has collected.
I have been following your blog for the past few weeks and all the posts have been sincere and focused on college football. But today, it looks like you did not have anything to write about and so wrote some junk stuff to satisfy your editor and readers! I would suggest that you do not put such posts in the future and spoil your reputation.
Mine also had VT in the national championship game, only they faced Penn State. Nebraska still went 10-2 and won the Big 12 Championship by beating Texas A&M. I'm skeptical about this years predictions though. It had my Duke Blue Devils finishing 6-6 and playing in a bowl. I'm a huge Duke fan, and even if we still had Asack at QB, I wouldn't be that stupid.
Whoever wins the Big 12, I'll support them in the BCS, but I'm hoping that Stewart is correct and it's a return to glory for the Huskers. As a born-and-bred Husker living in Austin.... well, you know how the Longhorns love their team, and justifiably so.
"Hi Stewart, I have been following your blog for the past few weeks and all the posts have been sincere and focused on college football. But today, it looks like you did not have anything to write about and so wrote some junk stuff to satisfy your editor and readers! I would suggest that you do not put such posts in the future and spoil your reputation."
Hi, Isn't it about time you got a sense of humour?
I haven't laughed that hard all afternoon. Thanks, Stewart. Not sure what I found funnier... the fact that Herbstreit (who I find quite credible... usually) likes Miami's offense to win it all, Va Tech & Nebraska meeting on Jan. 8, or 4 of the 5 Heisman finalist being WR. Well, Playstation probably won't do much worse than my own predictions, but I'm afraid I won't be predicting Shark to win the Heisman or OSU to finish 7-5.
that is not far off at all when i played my season as west virgina i played 12-0 iowa and boise state and nebraska were in the bcs the computer is pretty good and ohio state sucked and michigan went 11-1 and so did the sun devils
I had 4 teams go undefeated: Michigan, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Miami. Michigan beat Oklahoma for the national championship and Miami beat West Virginia in the Orange Bowl. Texas and Ohio State both went 7-6
First off let me say that I'm a HUGE Miami fan. Now, realistically, do I think Miami has a chance this year, even after last year a a rough off-season, and all the suspensions, Yes. I do, not a definite lock, but a chance. What I want to say is that Herbstreit is generally considered one of the bets college football commentators and I find that he's more right than wrong, including National Championship predictions. Anyway, all I have to say is GO CANES!!!!
That's funny, my PS2 has Virginia Tech and Ohio State playing for the national championship. And Samardzjia won the Heisman Trophy, even though Sidney Rice led the nation in receptions, yards, AND touchdowns.
I've used my PS2 to stage playoffs based on the regular season results the past couple of seasons. (That is the real season records plugged into a 20-team bracket simmed on my PS2.) I've got to get my playoffs wish SOMEHOW, right? In 2005 I got to the semifinals of (1) Texas - (4) Ohio State and (6) Virginia Tech - (7) Georgia (who upset #2 USC), but then the ACTUAL Rose Bowl was better than anything the PS2 would've come up with, so I bagged it.
I can totally see the PS2 coming up with Huskers-Hokies. If you believe MY NCAA 06, once we get to 2009 it's ALL Texas A&M all the time. They are obviously Big 12-biased. (No, the Aggies aren't my team.)
Stewart, Please consider this variation: run the full season simulation 10 or more times and see which teams keep coming up on top. I noticed, from playing the 2005 season multiple times, that the Vandy QB kept getting into the five Heisman finalists last year --as though his talent meant he was going to be a superstar... now it doesn't seem so far off. I also kept seeing USC and TX in the title game. Try it with this year's edition and see who averages out. If you keep getting VT/Nebraska... then there may be something to this. -Bobak from Minneapolis
So how bout PS2 is the smartest system in the world!!!.....Nebraska will do very well this year but ill be extremely satisfied if they make it into a BCS game let alone the national chamionship...But i do think Nebraska will have one of the top 5 defenses in the country barring any more injuries...i also predict nebraska to beat texas at least once this year although both games should be really close....only a couple more days until college football is underway!!!!!cant wait
You know, with the Northwestern game right after the tough stretch they have (ND, Wis, Minn, MSU, PS, Iowa), it could happen if they let down their guard. Anyways, this method isn't any less accurate than the rest of the methods, so enjoy!
I am not sure about VA tech, but Nebraska has a solid defense and some very good under the radar recieving talent. They are deep in Iback, the only question mark I see is the O-line, if the O-line is anything like the huskers of the 90's there will be some shocked college football fans when NU beats USC and Texas.