College football technically thrives off cold hard cash but it unofficially thrives off predictions, claims, wagers and friendly (or heated) debates that only further engage those wallet-wielding folks. Most people are always way off with those predictions and although some receive rude reminders of their preseason or pregame calls, most predictions are lost in the shuffle. As crystal ballers hurl their 2015 opinions into college football outer space, let’s look back at the most hilariously inaccurate proclamations from the media before the 2014 season.
This exercise is not done to mock anyone, as most of us had similarly inaccurate predictions but instead to show that college football is a cloudy crapshoot with an endless array of outcomes, many of which make absolutely no sense at all.
One of TCU’s more amusing preseason predictions came from Paul Myerberg of USA Today Sports, who expressed optimism for an improved offense that was coming off an ugly inaugural season in the Big 12, but did not think Trevone Boykin and the defense were capable of making serious noise during their second season in a big boy conference:
TCU isn’t quite up to the task of taking down Oklahoma, Baylor and the top third of the Big 12. The Frogs could surprise – and Patterson seems to think this team can go places, which counts – but this seems more like a team that wins seven or eight games during the regular season.
The Horned Frogs won their seventh game on November 1st on their way to a 12-win campaign that included a victory of Oklahoma and should-have-been-victory against Baylor. They were infamously excluded from the College Football Playoff but put together one of the best seasons in school history.
The college football season kicked off on Thursday, August 28th with a beauty in Columbia, South Carolina, where Texas A&M was venturing into hostile Williams-Brice Stadium for an expected high-flying affair. Brad Crawford of Saturday Down South was optimistic for the future of Steve Spurrier’s program after three-straight 11-win seasons, the first three in program history, and predicted the outcome of every South Carolina game, starting with that Thursday night tilt:
South Carolina’s 9-0 under Steve Spurrier in season openers and has 18 consecutive wins at home. Throw in a first-year quarterback for the Aggies and the results are less than thrilling for Texas A&M.
We’re not sure if Crawford was referring to Kenny Hill or Kyle Allen for the Aggies, with the freshman Allen being a legit first-time quarterback and Hill essentially being a first-timer after throwing only 22 passes in 2013. At any rate, the game turned out to be less than thrilling for the 80,000-plus fans in attendance, as Hill carved up a confused Gamecocks’ defense. He was 44-for-60 for 511 yards and three touchdowns in sending South Carolina tumbling into a shockingly disappointing season.
Colorado entered 2014 coming off a four-win season in Mike MacIntye’s first year in Boulder, with the win total marking their highest since Dan Hawkins’ final year in 2011. It was reasonable to expect the Buffs to match that win total but asking for bowl eligibility for the first time since 2007 was a stretch for most folks, that is except for Jack Barsch of hometown Ralphie Report:
This is a very optimistic offseason, and that is reflected by (some would say) this sunshine-pumping season prediction. But the winds of change are sweeping through Boulder. As Coach Mac says, “you’ve got to believe before you can achieve.” They have the first part down, now it’s up to them to do the second part. I believe that CU will become bowl eligible this season, and maybe even win one.
CU started 2-2 with uninspiring/ugly wins over UMass (41-38) and Hawaii (21-12), but their remaining eight games resulted in losses. That win over Hawaii was the only game in which they held their opponents below 30 points and although two of those final eight losses came in double overtime, they weren’t even close to bowling in 2014.
The mid-August announcement from Columbus that two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Heisman candidate Braxton Miller would miss the entire season shook the college football world. The Buckeyes, a legit title contender, would be without one of the game’s best players and be forced to rely on two inexperienced youngsters in J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, both of which non-OSU fans had never heard of before the Miller injury. Mike Huguenin of NFL.com wrote about the catastrophic loss in an article titled “Without Braxton Miller, Ohio State’s Playoff Hopes a Pipe Dream”:
With Miller, a perfect season was within reach for Ohio State. Without him, even though the schedule isn’t overly tough, this looks like a two- or even three-loss team. He means that much to this team. Not having Miller in the backfield exacerbates the issues at tailback, receiver and along the line, and not even the nation’s best defensive line will be able to overcome that.
His concerns were valid but ohhhhh my did he, along with millions of others, look like idiots as the 2014 season progressed before culminating with a national title five months later. Running back Ezekiel Elliott and receiver Devin Smith had monster seasons and the offensive line performed admirably.