Since today marks the beginning of college football's bowl season, I figured that now is a good time to look back at my 2010 College Football preview and see just how poorly I did in predicting what would happen this year. If you want to look back at my original picks, then check out the Canon Review College Football Preview and the Canon Review College Football Midseason Review .
ACC: In the Atlantic Division, I picked Boston College at the beginning of the season to emerge as the division champs, but a slow start thwarted the Eagles' hopes at a ACC Championship Game birth. My mideseason pick, Florida State, did just enough to emerge as the division champs, although if N.C. State had been able to beat Maryland in their final game, then I would have been wrong once again. In the Coastal Division, Virginia Tech was my pick at the beginning of the season, and despite a slow start, the Hokies reeled off an 11 game winning streak to easily capture the Coastal Division and win the ACC Championship Game against Florida State. Unfortunately for me, although I picked Virginia Tech at the beginning of the year, I changed my pick in midseason to Florida State. In hindsight, I should have just stuck with my gut, as Virginia Tech was far and away the top team in this conference, even though they lost to Division I-AA James Madison in the week's second game.
Big East: Pittsburgh was picked by many to represent the Big East in the BCS, but after another disappointing season, Pittsburgh fired coach Dave Wannstedt and will be playing in something called the BBVA Compass Bowl. My pick at the beginning of the season and at midseason was West Virginia, and in spite of a struggling offense, the Mountaneers had a strong defense and did finish in a three way tie for the conference lead. However, the Connecticut Huskies won the Big East crown after beating West Virginia and Pittsburgh in back to back weeks, and the Huskies will be making their first appearance in a BCS bowl game as they will get slaughtered by Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. So, congrats to coach Randy Edsell, RB Jordin Todman, and the rest of the Huskies on a job well done.
Big Ten: Once again, I unwisely decided to change my original pick at midseason, the Wisconsin Badgers, and instead went with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Once again, I was quite wrong, as Wisconsin finished with an 11-1 record and average 43.5 points a game. Actually, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and the surprising Michigan State each finished with 11-1 records and 7-1 conference records, but because Wisconsin finished the season with the highest BCS ranking, they were the team chosen to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. Meanwhile, Ohio State gets a birth in the Sugar Bowl, while Michigan State gets the honor of being the highest ranked team left out of the BCS, even though they beat Wisconsin. Go figure. As for Iowa, even though they handed Michigan State their only loss of the season, the Hawkeyes struggled down the stretch and finished the season with a 4-4 conference record in the Big Ten. At the end of the day, I think I will claim that I was right about Wisconsin winning the Big Ten, and conveniently forget to mentioned that I abandoned that pick in the middle of the season.
Big Twelve: In the Big Twelve's last year with 12 teams (next year, it will have ten teams, while the Big Ten will have 12 teams, how strange is that?), I am pleased to report that my Big 12 North pick, Nebraska, was spot on. I am not pleased to mention that I picked Texas to win the Big 12 South and the Conference. I certainly did not expect Texas to struggle mightily on offense without QB Colt McCoy, and the only comfort I can take in my mispick is that I was not alone in that regard. At least my mid-season pick, Oklahoma, came through in the end and took the Big 12 South crown. But the Sooners proved me wrong again, as they beat Nebraska in the Big 12 Title Game and won the conference, thwarting Nebraska's chance of winning the conference in their final year before playing in the Big 10 next year.
Pac 10: At the beginning of the season, I declared that the Pac 10 had no dominant team and that the Washington Huskies would emerge as the champions at the end of the year. I don't remember ever being so incorrect in my life. For one, Washington was inconsistent all year, especially their quarterback, Jake Locker. Also, there was not one, but two dominant teams in the Pac-10 this year, as the Oregon Ducks ran roughshod over everybody with a rapid-fire offense that landed them a spot in the BCS Championship Game. Also, Stanford dominated everyone in their path, with the exception of Oregon, on the way to an 11-1 record and a top-5 ranking in the BCS rankings. I also made the statement that Locker is the best player in the conference, but as Oregon RB LaMichael James and Stanford QB Andrew Luck proved, that was quite a misfire on my part as well.
SEC: The story of the year in the SEC was Heisman Trophy winning Auburn QB Cam Newton. Whether it was with his excellent play on the field, or allegations of illegal recruiting practices off of it, the buzz in the SEC revolved around Cam Newton and the SEC champion Auburn Tigers. While some experts, like ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, picked Auburn to win the SEC West, it would be safe to say that very few people saw Newton and Auburn having the season they had. I however, was also not expecting too much more than a mid-level bowl game from Auburn. Instead I went with Alabama to repeat as SEC Champions. Instead, the Tide lost three games and finished fourth in the SEC West. In the East, I had Florida as the pick to win at the beginning of the season, but their offense sputtered without Tim Tebow, so in midseason I switched to South Carolina. At last, one of my midseason changes paid off, as South Carolina beat Florida and won the SEC East, only to get slaughtered by Auburn in the SEC Championship Game.
Other Conferences: Of the five other conferences, only one of my picks, TCU in the Mountain West, proved to be correct. In the WAC, Boise State started the season ranked number three and won their first 10 games before falling to QB Colin Kaepernick and Nevada. The loss gave Nevada the tiebreaker advantage and the WAC crown. In the MAC, my preseason pick (Temple) didn't even make a bowl game (although they were eligible with an 8-4 record), and my midseason pick Northern Illinois lost to Miami of Ohio in the MAC Championship Game. Oddly enough, the MAC Title game was the last game for both coaches (Jerry Kill of NIU and Mike Haywood of Miami) as they moved on to bigger schools after the game. In Conference USA, my preseason pick was Houston, but an injury to QB Case Kessum derailed the Cougars, so I went with SMU in the midseason. That was also incorrect, as Central Florida triumphed over SMU in the C-USA Championship Game. In the Sun Belt, both my preseason pick (Middle Tennessee) and mid season pick (Troy) at least made a bowl game, but it was Florida International that took the Conference after a mid-season win against Troy gave them the tiebreaker advantage. So, in the other confrences, my prediction average was a nifty .200.
National Championship Game: Originally, I picked Alabama to battle Boise State. Since they didn't even win their respective conferences, you already know that that is wrong. At midseason, I had the wisdom to switch to Oregon at least, but I still believed in the Broncos and not only predicted a spot in the title game, but for Boise State to be the 2010 National Champions. Well, at the end of the day, it is Oregon and Auburn in a battle of two explosive offenses. This should be an exciting game, provided the month long layoff doesn't make the two teams rusty. If I had to choose a winner, I would go with Oregon, as they seem to be more talented than Auburn. But I wouldn't be surprised Cam Newton wins the game by himself a la Vince Young in the 2006 Rose Bowl.
Heisman Trophy: Let's take a look at my preseason top five, along with my darkhorse pick:
1. Jake Locker, QB, Washington
2. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State
3. Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia
4. Case Kessum, QB, Houston
5. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Dark Horse: John Brantley, QB, Florida
I am pleased to report that of the six players listed above did not receive one single vote for the Heisman Trophy in 2010. Ingram and Devine failed to clear the 1,000 yard mark, Brantley was ineffective and eventually benched, Kesssum was hurt, Locker disappointed and Pryor was good, but not great. My midseason pick of Denard Robinson started the season on fire, but faded down the stretch. Still, at least he got some votes. The only comfort I can take is that at least I was not alone in not picking Cam Newton for the Heisman. Heck, he was ranked seventh among SEC quarterbacks in the preseason. Anybody that says they picked Newton at the beginning of the season to win the Heisman and lead Auburn to a 13-0 record is a liar, unless I see evidence to the contrary.
Well, overall I did not do so well. Out of the 11 conferences, I correctly picked the winner of three of them at the beginning of the season (Virgina Tech in the ACC, Wisconsin in the Big 10, TCU in the Mountain West). After making some adjustments in midseason, I somehow did worse and only got two correct (TCU, Oregon in the Pac 10). All I can say is that it is a good thing I don't gamble on college football, because I would be broke, or moreso than I already am. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this or other posts, or ideas for future posts, than let us know them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.