What I got right
- Georgia as the SEC East champion. The Bulldogs were even better than I thought, which was saying a lot.
- I thought Auburn would be pretty good; I picked the Tigers to finish second in the West (which they ended up winning): When Gus Malzahn has a good quarterback, he looks like a genius. And I think Jarrett Stidham is a pretty darn good quarterback. Stidham finished sixth nationally in completion percentage (66.5) for the 10-win Tigers.
- Miami winning the ACC Coastal Division: The Hurricanes have just about everything but a quarterback. I think this is the year they finally win the division… Check and check. I also correctly picked Virginia Tech as the division’s No. 2 team.
- On Clemson: Teams rarely lose transcendent quarterbacks and stay at the very top. I think the Tigers regress slightly but still finish in the top 10, and maybe the top five. Not a bold prediction, but the Tigers did regress slightly and finish in the top five.
- Alabama over Georgia. The Tide has more talent than anyone else and the best coach in the country. Again. Until that changes, everyone is chasing ‘Bama in a race they won’t win. OK, that was from my SEC championship prediction, but it happened in the national title game instead.
- Prediction: If the Aggies lose at Florida on Oct. 14, coach Kevin Sumlin gets fired before reaching home, Lane Kiffin-style. If the Aggies beat the Gators, Sumlin keeps his job…all the way until December. Sumlin was technically fired in November, but close enough.
What I got wrong
- Florida State as ACC champions: Jimbo Fisher hasn’t lost to Miami yet. I don’t think that starts this year, and definitely not in the ACC title game. I think the ‘Noles are headed back to the College Football Playoff. Oof. I wasn’t the only one to miss on FSU, but that prediction couldn’t have been much worse.
- Coach Dave Clawson said Thursday that he wants Wake to get to the point where it’s not a surprise that they’re headed to a bowl. I don’t see that happening this year. Turns out Wake finished third in the division and beat Jimbo’s new team in the Belk Bowl.
- “Prediction sure to go wrong, Part I: This will be Paul Johnson’s last year as Tech head coach.” Or he’ll get an extension. One of the two.
- Florida as No. 2 in the East. I wrote that the defense would take a step back (right) and the offensive line and quarterback were question marks (also right). But things got bad when I wrote “I think the defense takes a step back, and I still have questions at offensive line and quarterback. Would it surprise me if the Gators made it back to Atlanta? No.” I predicted 8-4, not 4-7.