As a Eagle Scout, coach, and former player, I am a man who appreciates honesty and accountability more than anything else. I will take credit for things I get right and never let it down, but also swallow my pride and admit defeat when I am wrong. Today is that day where I reflect back on what I have said to show my highs and lows during this college football season and hopefully learn something new for next year. For extra measure I will link all the articles I have discussed as to assure everyone I am telling the truth.
What I got right
I am aware that is much easier to discredit someone than to see a good team emerge, but nonetheless I think I nailed it on the head. I listed three teams–and a honorable mention–that I did not believe was worthy of the ranking they got in the preseason and I will go through each team’s season.
Florida State–my honorable mention–finished 7-6 after being ranked 3rd in the preseason polls. They had to reschedule their cupcake game against Louisiana-Monroe just to remain bowl eligible, even though with the rescheduled game were not technically bowl eligible. A lot of people had this team in the playoffs this year, but I wasn’t buying what the Noles were selling. The season did go worse than I expected due to a lot of injuries but Jimbo Fisher–or his staff–did not seem to be the group that won the title game back in 2013. My only wish is that I had flipped Florida State with Washington.
Speaking of Washington, they came in at number three on my list. I do not think this team is bad, but I also did not think they were worthy of a top 10 ranking as well. They had several duds during the season an upset loss to Arizona State where they only scored 7 points, as well as an upset loss to Stanford that kept Washington out of the PAC-12 championship. They also finished the season losing to Penn State in a game where they were playing catch-up for a majority of the time. Washington is no pushover any more and deserves some respect, but aren’t an elite team yet.
Next is Michigan. I mean I think most people saw this coming, but oh well. Michigan was ranked at 11 in the preseason and everyone thought they were going to contend with Ohio State for the playoff. In reality, they went 8-5, blowing a 16-point lead to Will Muschamp and South Carolina in the Outback Bowl and spoiling the chances of a perfect bowl-season record by the Big 10. I could go on, but I feel like this enough.
Finally we have LSU, who, despite never really doing anything noteworthy, they were somehow ranked at 13 to open the season. The reason why I called BS is due the fact LSU hasn’t won 10 games or more since 2013 and hasn’t beaten Alabama since 2011. Yet again, LSU lost to Alabama and once again finished with less than 10 wins. So I think it is time to realize that maybe LSU is maybe just good at best.
Despite not making the playoffs I think Wisconsin proved themselves to be a great team this year. They were disrespected from the very beginning and they went down to the wire with Ohio State–an alleged playoff team. Next, they beat Miami, a team that was “too fast” for Wisconsin to compete with. Not to mention they dominated Miami for a majority of the game in their home stadium.
They will be getting Alex Hornibrook back who has gotten better throughout the season and could be a real threat next year. Along with freshman sensation Jonathon Taylor and Danny Davis. Mix that with the very consistent defense and overpowering offensive line that we have come to know they will be a forced to be reckoned with.
With this one I broke down each SEC East contender on why they can and cannot win the SEC East. If you look at Georgia–the one who won the East– I think I was spot on with why the could win the East. The bullet points being the overwhelmingly good running attack they have, that also open the passing game, along with the elite defense that they have.
As far the teams who did not win, I think the reasons they didn’t also seem to be the reasons why they didn’t. The reason why for Tennessee was Butch Jones, obviously. For Vanderbilt, it was the lack of star power due to recruiting failures. Florida failed due to offensive incompetence, lacking of adjustments from the coaching staff–but defense and special teams were far worse than I had originally thought. And for South Carolina the lack of consistency from the defense, as well as the offense.
What I got wrong
Georgia, Stanford, and Oklahoma State
I really banked on Stanford and Oklahoma State to be better than they actually were. I had both teams as underrated playoff contenders and both let me down greatly. Stanford let me down from the very beginning, as they started out 1-2 with an upset loss to San Diego State and then got handled by USC. They later got my hopes up as they ended up winning eight out of their last nine games before losing again to USC in the PAC-12 title game and blew a 21-3 lead in their bowl game against TCU, finishing 9-5.
As for Oklahoma State, they seemed to be in a better position for a playoff spot. However, after losing to TCU and Oklahoma, it seemed to all but eliminate them from contention before they were upset but Kansas State to put the nail in the coffin. In reality, I had too much faith in Oklahoma State. While good at times, their defense was no where near consistent enough to be a contender. When that defense had a bad day, it was a really bad day. The lesson learned here is that no matter how much you like mullets, they will deceive you.
Finally we have Georgia, who I was way off about. Awhile ago I talked about if they were good enough to be taken seriously and I did not think they were. However, I did say that if they can find their way to beat Florida, Georgia Tech, and Auburn, I would take them more seriously, which is exactly what they did, even though Florida is hot garbage. While I still have questions about next year, this team has proven me wrong in a big way. From now on, I will be giving Smart the benefit of the doubt, as he has earned it.
I tweeted in August about who I thought was going to make the playoffs.
No clue tbh. No true front runner so don't hate if I get all 4 wrong cause I probably will. Legit guessing
— Bucky (@BuckyGrimes32) August 17, 2017
As you can see, I did not do so hot with my August prediction. So I gave myself a chance at redemption as I predicted who could make the playoff a month before final selections. I did not do so well their either as I went .500 getting Alabama and Clemson correct, but missed on Oklahoma State and Wisconsin.
As stated already, I completely whiffed on Georgia but I can’t forget Oklahoma either. I did not think Lincoln Riley could make the playoffs considering that Bob Stoops was having trouble getting there himself. But he did, and was pretty darn close to a title game appearance.
My original picks were just awful. I had no clue why I picked USC considering they are usually one of the more overrated teams in the country. I had fooled myself into buying onto the Auburn train when they got the stud transfer Jarrett Stidham. As for Penn State, I thought that they were legit. They are probably the only team I don’t regret picking. However, they lost back-to-back games to Ohio State and Michigan State, which cannot happen as late as it did, as both are pretty good teams. Saquon Barkley–who was the leader of the team–seemed to disappear during their rough patch. At the end of the day, this team did not deserve a playoff spot.