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2010 College Football Preseason Predictions Revisited

It was not, I assure you, my intention to put off until July my review of my 2010 predictions; to the contrary, I just got so caught up in basketball season between January and March that revisiting my previous forecasts simply fell by the wayside. However, now that the Maple Street Press annual is out, signaling the rapid approach of the 2011 college football season, it is past time for me to stick a fork in the 2010 campaign.

This I intend to do in three stages (though not necessarily in three postings), looking, in turn, at my preseason predictions, my bowl prognostications, and where Mark Richt stands after ten years on the job in Athens. We begin with my general college football forecasts for the 2010 season. These were they:

The lower-ranked of the two contestants will win the SEC Championship Game.

The No. 1 Auburn Tigers defeated the No. 19 South Carolina Gamecocks, 56-17. Missed it by that much! (Where "that much" equals "a lot.")

The Rose Bowl will pit a Big Ten champion with two losses against a Pac-10 champion with two losses.

In fact, the Rose Bowl pitted a Big Ten champion with one loss, the Wisconsin Badgers, against a Mountain West champion with no losses, the TCU Horned Frogs. I’m 0-for-2 so far.

Tavarres King will finish second on the team in receiving yards.

In reality, he finished third, behind A.J. Green and Kris Durham.

Caleb King will finish second on the team in rushing yards.

Finally! I got one right! King’s 430 rushing yards trailed only Washaun Ealey’s 811.

Following the season-ending showdown between the Clemson Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks, Steve Spurrier and Dabo Swinney will share a postgame handshake for the final time, as one of them will not be back as a Division I-A head coach in the Palmetto State in 2011.

It turns out that both of them will return, though some folks aren’t necessarily happy about that fact.

Georgia will produce two 800-yard rushers but no 1,000-yard rusher.

Nope. As noted above, Ealey broke 800 (by 33 feet), but no one else made it even as far as 450.

The loser of the season-opening clash between the Boise St. Broncos and the Virginia Tech Hokies will have three losses on January 11, 2011, while the winner of the Labor Day night contest will have one loss as of that same date.

Following their Las Vegas Bowl win on December 22, the Broncos were 12-1. Following their Orange Bowl loss on January 3, the Hokies were 11-3. Nailed it.

The Southeastern Conference will send two teams to the Bowl Championship Series, but only one of those two teams will emerge victorious from its postseason tilt.

On the field, this prediction unquestionably was accurate. It’s still true in the record book, because the Ohio St. Buckeyes’ Sugar Bowl win was vacated, meaning, essentially, it didn’t happen, making Auburn the only one of the two SEC teams who made it into the BCS to win its bowl game.

In December, Kirby Smart will accept a Division I-A head coaching position.

This forecast was incorrect, but it remains to be seen whether I was wrong or merely early.

The Holiday Bowl will pit brother against brother . . . literally: Bob Stoops’s Oklahoma Sooners and Mike Stoops’s Arizona Wildcats will square off in San Diego.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Washington Huskies beg to differ.

An eventual SEC division champion will win a game against the eventual runner-up in its own division in which the losing team has the would-be winning touchdown called back on a celebration penalty.

All right, my timing was all wrong on this one. In fact, that rule doesn’t go into effect until this year, so I blew the call on this one before the season even started.

The Florida St. Seminoles will go into the fourth quarter of their game against the Florida Gators facing no more than a seven-point deficit, but the Tribe will come up short in the end.

No part of this prediction was in any way accurate. FSU held a 31-7 lead after 45 minutes of play, and the ‘Noles went on to win by that margin following a scoreless fourth quarter.

Eleven of the twelve current SEC head coaches will still have the same job as of 8:00 a.m. Eastern time on January 1, 2011.

Only ten of them did: Robbie Caldwell was relieved in November, and Urban Meyer resigned in December.

The Boston College Eagles, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and the Utah Utes will have exactly one bowl win between them.

Boston College lost the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl to the Nevada Wolf Pack. Notre Dame beat the Miami Hurricanes in the Sun Bowl. Utah fell to Boise State in the aforementioned Las Vegas Bowl. That looks like 1-2 and a correct prediction to me.

Reports that Rich Rodriguez will not remain as the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines will leak prior to the Maize and Blue’s game against the Ohio St. Buckeyes.

The axe ultimately fell in January instead.

South Carolina will lose in the Georgia Dome during the month of December.

I got this one right . . . twice.

The Georgia Bulldogs will go 8-4 during the regular season.

Uh . . . no.

The Tennessee Volunteers will go 8-4 during the regular season.

Uh . . . no.

The USC Trojans will go 8-4 during the regular season.

Once again, I got this one wrong from the outset: Southern California, responding to its NCAA bowl ban by scheduling a season opener against the Hawaii Warriors on the road, played 13 regular-season games last year. The Men of Troy went 8-5.

Mark Ingram will not be a Heisman Trophy finalist.

LaMichael James, Andrew Luck, Kellen Moore, and Cam Newton all received invitations to New York. Ingram did not.

The Alabama Crimson Tide will not repeat as national champions.

This was true.

I will be wrong about at least 50 per cent of the foregoing predictions.

This was also true. Safest bet in all of sports!

Coming Soon: Revisiting my conference championship and postseason predictions.

Go ‘Dawgs!