The most important thing in evaluating a fast approaching college football season is to listen to the talking heads. I assume they have never been mistaken and have proven so reliable they haven’t been far off in any season of the past decade or so. THE go-to guys season after season are going to show up and inform us, accurately enough that we rush out and buy the magazines they are attached to. In defense of the few times they have missed, arm them with the excuse that they begin writing at about the time the clock runs out on the championship game of the previous season, maybe before in some cases. To be fair, there are gurus who are more pensive, or better procrastinators, who put everything together minutes before they start turning out their report the night before deadline. A few of them are good enough they don’t seem to need any research at all.
That being the case, I’ll introduce you to some of those guys. First I must establish my own credentials. I have never missed a call in this blog in predicting the winner of even a single game. You can attribute that to this being the first year I have prognosticated here if you want to but it remains a fact. Not one of those guys can say that about their past guesses AND … I don’t charge a penny for my thoughts, meaning you are guaranteed to get your money’s worth.
Now ... to the pretenders.
Doug Haller takes the helm for Lindy’s, a preseason magazine Lindy Davis started putting on the stands 35 years ago. I’ve got no idea how well they’ve done in the past, but they are wrong this year, at least regarding the Pac 12. I’ll tell you why after I finish my research. Odds are I will be right.
First of all, he let them put the Pac-12 on page 168 of the magazine. That’s a big one.
Then, at first glance, I see Christian McCaffery of Stanford predicted to be the conference MVP. BUT … BUT he predicts Oregon’s Royce Freeman to be the best offensive player. Either could be true but Doug, old boy, both play offense. If either of their teams win they could well be the MVP and for the team to do it, that player is probably going to have to be the best offensive player. Are we into new math here, which probably gives Christian the edge, considering Stanford’s academic reputation? It also helps that Stanford has not had a wide array of stars over the past few seasons, just a few who were good enough to win a lot of games, and appears to be in a position to keep doing it. Oregon spreads it out a lot more and looks to be in position to keep doing that.
Doug, or his crew, then goes on to predict as defensive player of the year and newcomer of the year players whose names I can barely spell, let alone pronounce. What’s with that, Doug?
When the season ends the individual stars will be a lot easier to predict which is the main reason I’ll wait to pick them. My guess is that Justin and the rest of the crew will have a lot more hemming and hawing to do in explaining their misses than I will.
Mainly, Mr. Haller explains that quarterbacks have a lot to do with how well the teams are going to do. Amazing.
Lindy’s picks are for Stanford and USC to meet in the conference championship game. Some other surprises are for Washington to beat out Oregon, who will edge out Washington State for third in the north. In the south, UCLA is their pick to challenge the Trojans while Utah sits above the rest of the watchers.
Read the mag for all the details. I’m not writing cliff notes for their work.
Bruce Pasco who also writes for the Arizona Daily Star heads the team for the Sporting News, that has been around for a lot longer than I have been alive, and I have been receiving social security checks for a while now. But, what do they know about football in Tucson, other than that the Cats will usually beat a favored Sun Devil Squad in the annual ‘So What’ matchup. I think they have about one conference football championship between them since they turned the PAC8 into the Pac10 then tried to make it into the Pac8 again.
Pasco starts out better in getting the conference up to page 116. Of course I have them on page 1, where they belong.
In just a few different words the Sporting News staff comes up with an identical predicted finishing standing. Are these guys copying off of the Lindy’s group or is it the other way around? In the end they are guaranteed to be equally wrong.
Phil Steele’s presentation is more geared toward performance on the betting platform, citing results, some of which were produced by players who have moved out of their lockers … some years ago. Coaches are studied into performance results. It seems a little risky given the coaching staff changes most teams go through year to year. However, if you like two or three letter/number abbreviations in place of frequently used phrases, this is the magazine for you. If you like predictions, he sometimes gets a few right. In fact, he does better than most, but he hasn’t gone against me yet.
Don’t get me wrong. His is the first magazine I read. He does more real research than most of the others. If research was all that great, I’d have won in a whole lot more fantasy baseball leagues.
I read ESPN’s magazine later because it hit the newsstands later. Actually, I’m not sure why I read it, only why I read it later. They do move the conference up to about the middle of the magazine which is thinner, in a lot of ways, than the others. In the end their results are about the same as the others with Oregon in third, behind conference champion-to-be Washington and also-ran Stanford. They will meet USC in Palo Alto while UCLA and Arizona gnash their teeth after barely missing out. Utah and ASU fans wonder why they are picked below the Wildcats all of a sudden. Actually, I don’t, but that’s for a later blog.
Sports Illustrated is going to throw its hat in the ring closer to opening weekend. Being a weekly magazine they have an advantage there. That's their only advantage and they don't use it well. As far as their record of predicting outcomes goes, they always have great sports photographs. I’ll probably see it and giggle a little when it hits the stands. They are to sports what their publishing partner “Time” is to news.
There have to be some good sites on the interwebz, Everything good and bad is there someplace. Given time and luck, I’ll discover them as the season rolls along. I’m sure they will provide fodder for next year’s opening volley. One I know about now is worth visiting, sbnation.com The guys there seem to know what they are talking about and have lots of shiny and sparkly charts for those into those sorts of things.
I’m also lazy enough to accept your discoveries and, until the first kick-off, your predictions.