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Year-End Facts and Figures

College football, while not as much a game of numbers as major league baseball, nevertheless is governed by numerals to a large extent. Accordingly, I have brought together an amalgamation of unrelated numerical outcomes in a single posting for your review and comment.

These are they:

Over at the Rakes of Mallow, the final 2006 MaxwellPundit standings have been released, producing some surprising results.

The first surprise, of course, was the revelation that this is Maxwell. (Photograph from Rhapsody.)

Troy Smith's disastrous performance in the B.C.S. championship game caused him to plummet from the top five, paving the way for Hawaii's Colt Brennan to capture the inaugural MaxwellPundit Award. Also worthy of note is the fact that, among the top 13 contenders, four (runner-up Reggie Nelson, ninth-place Alan Branch, 10th-place Patrick Willis, and 13th-place LaMarr Woodley) were defensive players, each of whom finished ahead of Brady Quinn.

The formal conclusion of the 2006 MaxwellPundit balloting opens the door for those of us voting on the award to begin laying the groundwork for our favorite 2007 contenders, much as Orson Swindle shrewdly did for his personal preference, Reggie Nelson. Accordingly, I would like to take this opportunity to declare the official opening of my campaign . . . Matthew Stafford for MaxwellPundit!

This time next year, we'll be calling it the MatthewPundit Award!

Yes, he struggled for much of his freshman season---in a nine-week period between the South Carolina and Kentucky games, Stafford posted an atrocious three-to-12 touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio---but, in the final three games of the 2006 campaign, the emerging star completed 39 of his 70 pass attempts for 519 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception against three ranked opponents sporting very solid defenses.

Let the MaxwellPunditry begin!

Voting on our most recent season-specific Dawg Sports poll question has come to an end, as readers were given six options and asked to tell which would make the best Christmas gift.

With a 38 per cent plurality, the clear winner was a Red Ryder air rifle with which to shoot out your own eye, although the D.V.D. of "Talladega Nights" finished a strong second place (28%) behind the scenario from "A Christmas Story." From there, support began to ebb, as just 15 per cent preferred a toaster oven to replace the one you destroyed in a fit of rage (which, clearly, was the choice of Doug Gillett), followed by a Drive-By Truckers C.D. (12%), socks (6%), and your two front teeth (1%).

Before . . . (Photograph from Doug Gillett.)

. . . and after. (Photograph from Doug Gillett.)

Of far less immediate seasonal interest is the predictable pre-pre-preseason poll question, which, succinctly stated, comes down to this: "Where will Georgia finish in the 2007 football season?"

I tried to warn you. In fact, I came right out and told you . . . Don't Bet On It! But did you listen? For your sake, I certainly hope so.

I headed into the postseason sporting an overall 152-47 record in my weekly prognostications, consisting of a 72-13 ledger in contests involving S.E.C. squads and an 80-34 mark in all other college football games. My bowl predictions actually leapt out to a fairly impressive start, as I went 7-1 between the Poinsettia and Motor City Bowls, but I went into the tank thereafter.

It was all downhill after this.

By the time the ball dropped on New Year's Eve, I had fallen to 14-7 in my postseason forecasts, but the worst was yet to come. The bottom fell out on New Year's Day, as I was a shameful 1-5 in January 1 predictions. Fortunately, my performance picked back up again thereafter, as I posted a 4-1 ledger in the season's final five games.

Despite a strong showing out of the gate, a 12-12 record in the final 24 bowl games left me standing at 19-13 in postseason forecasts, including an abysmal 2-7 mark in Southeastern Conference bowl predictions. This brought my season-long tally to 74-20 (.787) in S.E.C. play, 97-40 (.708) in non-S.E.C. contests, and 171-60 (.740) overall.

I told you not to bet on it.

Go 'Dawgs!