Rating my 2012 college picks!
With the national championship and bowl game match-ups set, I wanted to review the college football predictions I made throughout the season. Some readers may have thought my prognostications were ridiculous, but did any of you see Northern Illinois playing in the Orange Bowl, or an “Andrew Luck-less” Stanford team playing in the Rose Bowl?
First, in my Sept. 18 column, I predicted Alabama would be playing in the national championship game, and the winner of the Florida State-Clemson match-up would win the ACC. I know, I didn’t really go on a limb with these picks, but when you’re right, you have to remind the naysayers.
In the same column, I said that Stanford and UCLA would be able to compete with Oregon for the Pac-12 championship. Once again, I was proven to be correct. Not only did Stanford compete with Oregon, they defeated them in the regular season, and earned the right to play in the Pac-12 title game. The Cardinal opponent in that game was Pac-12 South Champion UCLA, who defeated preseason No. 1 USC, and barely lost to Stanford 27-24 for the right to play in the Rose Bowl.
However, let us not forget about the things I was wrong about.
First, I picked Oregon to play Alabama in the National Championship Game in my Oct. 16 column. Like many people, I underestimated Stanford, and had it not been for a Cardinal upset, the Ducks would be playing against undefeated Notre Dame. Though Oregon will be playing against Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl, I’m sure the Duck nation considers this season a disappointment.
Also in my October 16th column, I picked Notre Dame to make a BCS bowl game, but I didn’t think their team would be able to go undefeated and play in the National Championship Game. I just didn’t see how their depth and talent on offense was going to guide them to the title game. Boy, was I wrong, but it’s ok, how may so-called experts are eating crow with me right now?
So with the bowl season upon us, I am eager to see how the final polls will turn out. Since I tend to be right on 50 percent of my predictions so far this season, let’s see how the following prognostications play out.
First, Ohio State will finish the season ranked No. 2 in the AP poll, which would be the highest final ranking for a team ineligible for postseason play since the undefeated 1993 Auburn squad finished 4th. Though the Buckeyes won’t appear in the final USA Today Poll due to being on probation, they can theoretically win a share of the National Championship if they finish the year No. 1 in the AP Poll. This won’t happen, but it’s a nice consolation prize for a team that will be a preseason favorite in 2012.
Secondly, the most lopsided game of this season will be the Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl that matches Texas Tech against Minnesota. Though Red Raider Head Coach, Tommy Tuberville, left unexpectedly to take the same position at Cincinnati, the Cliff Kingsbury-led Texas Tech offense ranked 15th in the country, and are going against a Golden Gopher defense that finished 69th in a year when the Big 10 offenses were down in overall production. Coupled with the fact that the game is played in the Red Raider’s home state of Texas, this game has blow-out written all over it.
Additionally, the most competitive game outside of the BCS will be the Alamo Bowl between Texas and Oregon State. Though Texas had a disappointing season for their standards, and Oregon State slumped towards the end of the season, both of these teams match-up fairly even with one another offensively. The Longhorns finished the year ranked 38th in total offense, whereas the Beavers finished 35th. However, Oregon State finished the year ranked 33rd in total defense, whereas Texas was a disappointing 75th, and 48th in turnover margin. I think it’ll be a very close game, but I do give the edge to the Beavers in this match-up.
Lastly, if you like offensive football where both teams score over 40 points, the Cotton Bowl between Texas A&M and Oklahoma may be the game you don’t want to miss. The Aggies finished the season ranked No. 3 in total offense, and the Sooners finished 12th. Oklahoma ranked No. 5 in passing, whereas the A&M ranked 14th, but what differentiates these offenses is their ability to run the ball.
The Sooners finished the year ranked 60th in total rushing, whereas the Aggie rushing attack led by Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Manziel, finished 13th. Though there is a disparity in rushing, both teams have the ability to put a ton of points on the board very quickly, thus making it the game most likely to set defensive football back 50 years.