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Postseason Report Card (Part I): Just How Wrong Was I in August?

First of all, just to follow up on Joel's announcement and my ensuing (and shamelessly self-promoting) mention, Orson has unveiled how the 2007 C.F.B.A.s will work. You, the reader, are welcome and encouraged to make your nominations here.

Secondly, there was a recent request in the diaries for assistance in locating a video or D.V.D. of the 2007 Georgia-Florida game. If any of you are able to direct a fellow Dawg Sports reader to a copy of that outstanding Red and Black victory, please let us know.

All right, now that the public service portion of our program is finished, it's time for me to face the music. I've done my best to prolong the postseason and put off the offseason, but the desert is upon us (or, I guess, we are upon the desert), so I have no choice but to tote up the final tally and let you know just how well or poorly I fared in forecasting this season's outcomes.

The smart money's on poorly.

Last August, I offered conference championship predictions and other assorted prognostications. I'll be getting to my oddball forecasts after a while, but, for now, here are the teams I said would finish first in their respective leagues prior to Labor Day weekend:

Atlantic Coast Conference: Virginia Tech. Technically, somebody has to win this league, right?

Cool! I'm off to a good start; I picked the right winner for the right reason. I am absolutely certain this means that, for my predictions, as for Ohio State after scoring the initial touchdown of a national championship game against an S.E.C. team, it's all downhill from here.
Big East: West Virginia. With Louisville in transition under a new head coach, the Mountaineers have the inside track to the conference crown.

All right! Two for two! The Cardinals' plummet was farther and faster than we could have imagined, as U. of L. finished in a three-way tie for fifth place in the league, and the Mountaineers indeed claimed a share of the conference crown, beating fellow co-champion Connecticut and capturing the Big East's B.C.S. bowl berth. I simply cannot conceive of matters continuing to go this well hereafter.

This strong start followed by an inevitable collapse has been brought to you by Michigan State University.

Big Ten: Michigan. The Wolverines get all but one of their tough games at home and they return both a wealth of offensive talent and a capable defensive coordinator.

Uh, yeah. In my defense, the Maize and Blue did finish tied for second place in the league, so the team I picked didn't exactly fall apart, but, although Michigan was in the running for the Big Ten title until the Wolverines' final regular-season outing, their "wealth of offensive talent" spent a great deal of the time sidelined by injuries and the season effectively was derailed by, well, you know.
Big 12: Texas. The school's athletic director is DeLoss Dodds. The Longhorns' head coach is Mack Brown. The team's starting quarterback is Colt McCoy. If you didn't know this was real life, you'd swear those names came out of a Tom Wolfe novel about a fictional football team from the Lone Star State. Anyway, I like the 'Horns to finish ahead of the Sooners in the winner-take-all Red River Shootout.

I was wrong . . . about the game and the Big 12 title. I could elaborate, but, really, that's about the size of it. My only consolation is the knowledge that none of us knew what the heck we were talking about when it came to the Big 12.
Conference USA: Southern Miss. Jeff Bower. Brett Favre. Sunday Morning Quarterback. How could you not go with the Golden Eagles?

Although I wasn't alone in making this call, there is little solace to be drawn from the fact that I was a part of a large pack of idiots instead of a small one. U.S.M. quietly finished in fourth place in its division while Central Florida tussled with Tulsa twice to take home the conference championship.
Mid-American Conference: Central Michigan. I'm picking the Chippewas to defend last year's M.A.C. title. Unless, of course, they're either the Broncos or the Eagles . . . or unless it was Eastern Michigan or Western Michigan that won the M.A.C. title. Ah, heck, I can't tell my Directional Michigans apart, so these guys are as good a pick as anybody.

Ha! So much for the idea that having even the slightest command of the pertinent details is a prerequisite to predicting the Mid-American Conference championship correctly!

I join with Stephen Colbert in saying, "In your face, 'facts'!"

Mountain West: Texas Christian. How 'bout them Frogs!

T.C.U. was relegated to fifth place, behind Brigham Young, Air Force, Utah, and New Mexico. Horned Frogs, you let me down.
Pacific-10: Southern California. The Trojans will stumble along the way, losing at least one conference game, but, although the rest of the league is catching up to U.S.C., the Men of Troy aren't done yet.

I nailed it. Southern California stumbled along the way, lost a couple of league games, and finished in a two-way tie for first place with a team the Trojans beat, claiming the Pac-10's bid to Pasadena.
Southeastern Conference: Georgia, of course!

Yes, it was wishful thinking, but not by much.

Back in black.

Sun Belt: Louisiana-Lafayette. Fear the Ragin' Cajuns! Unless they're the Warhawks. Anyway, fear the former Southwest Louisiana! Unless it's the former Northeast Louisiana. Anyway, I like U.L.L. to claim the Sun Belt championship that has proven so elusive to this program.

As it turns out, not so much. Louisiana-Lafayette went 3-9 overall and ended up tied for fifth place in the Sun Belt with a 3-4 conference ledger. (The Sun Belt, incidentally, closed out the campaign with perfect parity: two teams each went 6-1 in conference play; another two, 4-3; another two, 3-4; the last two, 1-6. I love symmetry, inasmuch as my thinking is Georgian in the architectural, as well as the geographic, sense.)
Western Athletic Conference: Boise State. I know Hawaii is a trendy pick to win the league this year, but I'll believe it when I see it. Here's what I know about the W.A.C.: Boise State went undefeated and the Warriors' head coach has the same first name as my mother. I'm thinking Chris Petersen can figure out a way to beat a guy who didn't know any better than to take a job coaching the sorry Atlanta Falcons.

O.K., I saw it and I believe it. The Warriors won the W.A.C. with a victory over the Broncos. Does anyone know how Hawaii fared after that?

Right, that.

In those forecasts, I achieved the desired result four times in ten tries; the acceptability of that rate of success depends upon how you look at it: on a final exam in a college course, that's a failing grade, but, in the batter's box over an entire season, that puts you on the path to Cooperstown. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all that. . . .

Coming Soon: My offbeat oddball assorted prognostications and whether my wrongness about them was total or merely partial.

Go 'Dawgs!