If, as Oscar Wilde said, experience is simply the name we give to our mistakes, we'd be wise to look back at Homerism's 2008 preseason predictions before delving into 2009.
2008 Preseason Predictions
- BCS Championship: Florida over USC (actual: Florida over Oklahoma)
- ACC: Florida State over Virginia Tech (actual: Virginia Tech over Boston College)
- Big East: West Virginia (actual: Cincinnati)
- Big Ten: Wisconsin (actual: Penn State)
- Big 12: Oklahoma over Missouri (actual: Oklahoma over Missouri)
- Pac-10: USC (actual: USC)
- SEC: Florida over Auburn (actual: Florida over Alabama)
So, what should I have learned?
1. These picks are as worthless as Web page they're written on.
Wisconsin? Auburn? Florida State? Sheesh.
2. Beware the cult of the coordinator.
Auburn's hire of Tony Franklin to take over its offense had Homerism all fired up this time last year. Six games into the season, it was if Franklin never even set foot on The Plains. Franklin received his walking papers, the Tigers were running some kind of scheme that looked nothing like Franklin's version of the spread, and they were sucking at it.
Last season, the shaky play of Todd Boeckman scared me off of Ohio State in the Big Ten. Right on, but then why back Allan Evridge-led Wisconsin instead? I actually singled out the Badgers as a national championship dark horse!
4. Like the rest of the country, I know nothing about the Big East.
With all that in mind, I will now attempt to create another learning experience for next season.
BCS Championship Game
Florida over Ohio State
The Gators are a given. To be honest, I could see this team contending for a national title even if Tim Tebow ascended into heaven in the middle of the third quarter of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. As for The Ohio State University... Look, I don't like the idea of picking a team that I don't consider one of the two or three best in country any more than the rest of you. Unfortunately, I think the Buckeyes will be the only undefeated team besides Florida left standing when the music stops. Right now, the USC game doesn't look as daunting as it usually would. Plus, the only difficult road game for the Buckeyes appears to be Penn State on November 7, and OSU will have more talent and the best player on the field, Terrelle Pryor.
ACC: Virginia Tech over Florida State
Quietly--or should I say "boringly"--this conference has turned into a (very) poor man's version of the Big 12. I think the two divisions are called the "Coastal" and the "Atlantic;" all I know is that the one with Virginia Tech in it looks much stronger on paper than the other.
Big East: Pittsburgh
Big Ten: Ohio State
The Badgers burned me last year, but Wisconsin could be a sleeper here. Bret Bielema's squad misses the Nittany Lions this year, and 50-50 games against Michigan State, Iowa and the hardest working team in college football, Michigan, are in Madison.
Big 12: Oklahoma over Kansas
OU will win the South, but drop a game somewhere in what is a very trying schedule. Up north, despite the tough talk from coach Dan Hawkins about Colorado winning 10 games this year, this is a two-team race: Kansas and Nebraska. Yes, the Jayhawks have the harder schedule of the two. They also have the only proven commodity at under center. I'll go with KU by virtue of a head-to-head win over the 'Huskers.
Pete Carroll has proven that it's never wise to bet against his teams. And no one ever said Homerism was wise. Truth is, I love this Cal team. Watching the Golden Bears last year, I couldn't help but think they were better than their record. The defense, led by the best cornerback in the country, Syd'Quan Thompson, will be the best in conference. On the other side of the ball, QB Kevin Riley has to avoid mistakes and let Jahvid Best do the heavy lifting. If Best stays healthy all year, this is a national title dark horse.
SEC: Florida over Alabama
I went back and forth between Alabama and Ole Miss in the SEC West for the last month before settling on the Crimson Tide. The Rebels have a great schedule to go along with a great quarterback in Jevan Snead. 'Bama, on the other hand, may be the most talented team in the country behind UF and USC. Here's the kicker: these two teams are scheduled to meet in what will be the Tide's sixth game of the season. By then, the 'Bama newcomers will be battle-tested, and junior QB Greg McElroy should have his sea legs.