Football season is fast upon us and there's barely time enough to get in everything I need to get in before tomorrow night's kickoff. As I did last year, though, I feel the need to offer certain predictions, which we will revisit in January to see how I did.
Some of the 1948 Dawg Sports preseason predictions didn't turn out so well.
I begin with the conference champions, as I see them:
Atlantic Coast: That whole "superconference" thing hasn't quite materialized yet and I expect the A.C.C. to field many good teams in 2006, but no great ones. I believe Florida State will survive the war of attrition and win its second straight league championship game.
Big East: This is looking less and less like an upset pick and more and more like what is coalescing into the conventional wisdom as a lot of folks who jumped on the West Virginia bandwagon in January are beginning to feel buyer's remorse, but I know better than to pick any preseason Big East frontrunner unless Cuba is visible from its campus on a clear day. Relieved of the burden of being cast in the role of the favorite, Louisville's Bobby Petrino will do in 2006 what Auburn's Tommy Tuberville did in 2004: have the season he was supposed to have the year before.
Big Ten: This is by far the shakiest of my conference championship picks. I'm going with Ohio State, but, even as I type the words, I feel the strong inclination to go back and change my choice to Iowa or Michigan. I'm sticking with O.S.U., but, if I were a betting man, I'd bet on myself to be wrong about this one.
It's a fine-looking vest and all, but you lost nine starters on defense, dude.
Big 12: Texas won't win this year's league championship game quite as decisively as the Longhorns won last year's, but U.T. remains the class of a league that turned out to be better than we thought in 2005. The 'Horns will travel a rougher road, but they'll reach their intended destination, nevertheless.
Pac-10: The race for the championship of the West Coast league will be more competitive this year, but that doesn't mean it necessarily will be close. I expect Southern California to retain its stature as the leader of the Pac . . . but the race for second place should be fierce and fun to watch.
Southeastern: Georgia, of course! If not the 'Dawgs, though, I expect the S.E.C.'s automatic B.C.S. representative to be Auburn. I hate Auburn.
Bring it home, Joe T.
That brings us to my more specific prognostications, which deal mostly (but not exclusively) with college football and attempt to address more particularly some of the events I expect to transpire over the course of the next four and a half months. These are they:
- The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will lose three games this season.
- The Arkansas Razorbacks will receive an Independence Bowl bid.
- The Atlanta Braves will not win a playoff game in 2006.
- Boston College will win its bowl game.
- The South Carolina Gamecocks will lose to a team that finishes the season with a losing record.
Whine all you want, Stevie Boy; I made my prediction and I'm sticking with it. (Photograph from E.S.P.N.)
- Sonny Perdue will be elected to a second term as governor of Georgia.
- The winner of the Georgia-Florida game will not represent the Eastern Division in the S.E.C. championship game.
- Texas Christian will appear in a B.C.S. bowl game.
- The Peach Bowl will host a pair of nine-win teams.
- The Navy Midshipmen will win 10 games.
And there was much rejoicing in Annapolis.
- By suppertime on Christmas Day, Rich Brooks will have been replaced by David Cutcliffe as the head football coach at the University of Kentucky.
- There will not be two undefeated teams in the national championship game.