Friday, December 16, 2011
Looking back at our 'fearless predictions'
By Edward Aschoff
Now that bowl season is upon us, fellow SEC blogger Chris Low and I thought we'd revisit our "fearless predictions" from the beginning of the season.
I'll go first, so check back later to see how Chris' did on his bold preseason predictions.
My psychic skills are lacking, as I hit on just one of my 10 predictions, but I'm still in play for two others. Here's a look at my earlier predictions:
1. The Heisman Trophy will remain in the SEC: Well, Trent Richardson was at least in the running and was a legitimate candidate for most of the year. I picked Alabama's running back to keep the Heisman Trophy in the SEC and after rushing for a conference-leading 1,583 yards and 20 touchdowns, it looked like he was well on his way to doing that, but Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III stole the show and took home the bronze statue earlier this month.
2. Will Muschamp will chest bump a defensive lineman to the ground at least once: There weren't many happy moments in the Swamp this year, but we did see the fiery, charismatic Coach Boom come out a few times. He jumped into the arms of players and jumped on the backs of players at times. There were a few chest bumps here and there, but none caused him to hit the ground like his days as an assistant.
3. Mississippi State will get fined yet again for illegal cowbell action: No fines have been given to Mississippi State for its fans' use of the cowbells during games from the 2011 season. Bulldogs fans will also be allowed to bring them to the Music City Bowl against Wake Forest. So there's still time ...
4. Brandon Bolden will finally eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark: Bolden, who has been one of Ole Miss' most reliable offensive weapons during his four-year career, didn't even come close to 1,000 yards. He was hampered by an ankle injury for the first part of the season, but Ole Miss just never got enough out of its offensive line to help Bolden this season, as he rushed for just 472 yards and four touchdowns.
5. Morris Claiborne will lead the SEC in interceptions, but Tyrann Mathieu will lead in defensive touchdowns: This one was pretty close. Claiborne is currently second in the SEC with six interceptions, while Mathieu has two defensive touchdowns and two special-teams touchdowns. There's still time for this to happen, but both need to help me out in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game.
6. Chris Rainey will score a touchdown three different ways: Rainey wasted no time helping me out with this one, as he caught a touchdown pass, ran for touchdown and returned a blocked punt for a score in the first week of the season.
7. The SEC will send 10 teams bowling ... again: If not for Tennessee's 10-7 loss to Kentucky on the last week of the regular season, I would have nailed this one as well. The SEC might have two teams in the national championship, but it only sent nine teams to the postseason this year.
8. Zach Mettenberger will throw more touchdown passes than Jarrett Lee: Well, this one just looks silly now. Mettenberger barely sniffed the field, tossing 11 passes and one touchdown on the year, while Lee was a major reason why LSU eventually got to the national championship. Lee took over for starter Jordan Jefferson for most of the year after Jefferson's off-the-field incident at an off-campus bar got him suspended for the first four games. Lee remained the starter until after the Alabama game, but threw for 1,306 yards and 14 touchdowns.
9. Chad Bumphis will have 1,000 receiving yards and at least 10 touchdowns: I kept waiting for Bumphis to break out for Mississippi State, but he just never did. He might be the Bulldogs' most talented offensive weapon, but he has yet to really show off his full potential. Bumphis finished the regular season with just 342 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
10. Vanderbilt will pull a big upset inside the SEC this fall: The Commodores came so close to this one a few times. They lost by five to Georgia, blew a late lead and missed a chip shot field goal against Arkansas and rallied to within five of Florida. Vandy even came close to beating Tennessee. But the old mistakes that have haunted this program prevented the Commodores from pulling off the big upset in the first year of the James Franklin era. However, the Commodores are bowling for the first time since 2008.