Us sports bloggers make a ton of predictions, and most of the time, nobody remembers them. But not here at Land-Grant Holy Land! We take pride in taking a look at our preseason predictions so we can laugh about how wrong we were, and also perhaps enjoy a rare moment of chest thumping. Let's take a look at how we did.
Who will be Ohio State's leading rusher this year?
Preseason Prediction: Braxton Miller
Actual Result: Ezekiel Elliot with 1,878 yards.
Oh yeah, we did this before Braxton Miller was out for the season. If it is any consolation, not many of us were very confident in this prediction, and Elliot got a few votes himself, but it looked like many thought Ohio State might share the ball between their running backs a little more. Instead, Elliot turned in one of the most dominant rushing seasons in Ohio State history, and that was with a bum arm that made him ineffective to start the season. If he was healthy the whole time, 2,000 yards and the Ohio State rushing title is on the table.
Who will be Ohio State's leading receiver in terms of yardage?
Preseason Prediction: Devin Smith
Actual Result: Devin Smith with 931 yards.
I picked Corey Smith here, because I'm stupid, and Ian was our only senior editor to go with Smith, but when all you do is catch touchdown bombs, you're going to pick up quite a few yards. Michael Thomas led the team by a relatively comfortable margin in catches (Smith was third), but Devin Smith won the yardage title over Thomas and Jalin Marshall. Man. A ton of people caught touchdown passes this season.
O/U on quarters missed by Braxton Miller this season due to injury at 5. Do you go over or under?
Preseason Prediction: Under
Actual Result: looooool
To be fair, this was a really close vote (9-7). But yeah. XBrax had the red circle of death all season.
Which freshman do you think will make the biggest impact on the team this season?
Preseason Prediction: Raekwon McMillan
Actual Result: Either McMillan or Samuel for true freshman, Barrett for RS.
McMillian was the runaway favorite in the preseason, but this was a relatively light year for true freshman making an impact. Very few actually played, in part because of the breakout performances from redshirt freshman like J.T. Barrett, Jalin Marshall, or Darron Lee. The future is awfully bright for this team.
Which Buckeye that nobody is talking about will step up to make the biggest impact (non-freshman edition)?
Preseason Prediction: Josh Perry
Actual Result: Has to be J.T. Barrett, right?
Of the guys who actually got votes, I'd say that Von Bell made the biggest impact. Josh Perry was excellent this season, but if you really want to dig in the "nobody was talking about" category, can't say there was much buzz for J.T. Barrett (and obviously, Cardale Jones) in the preseason. This was before Miller was hurt, after all.
Which game this season scares you the most?
Preseason Prediction: Michigan State
Actual Result: Virginia Tech (whomp whomp)
There were a smattering of answers for Cincinnati and Michigan, both of whom put up real fights, but not a single person said anything about Virginia Tech, the only team to beat Ohio State next season. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, beat Michigan State relatively comfortably. This is a weird sport.
What will Ohio State's regular season record be?
Preseason Prediction: 12-0
Actual Result: 11-1
Only two of our writers picked Ohio State to lose a game this season. I say the others get partial credit because Ohio State still won a national championship. Had we re-voted after Miller got hurt, I imagine this prediction would look very different.
How will Ohio State's season end?
Preseason Prediction: College Football Playoff semifinal loss
Actual Result: UNDISPUTED NATIONAL CHAMPS PAWWWWL
Weird that so many people specifically picked Ohio State to lose in the first round to an SEC team, like Alabama. Funny how that turned out! Also, four writers did, in fact, pick Ohio State to win a title. So some of us are smart.
How many members of Ohio State's coaching staff will leave this offseason for head coaching gigs elsewhere?
Preseason Prediction: Two
Actual Result: One. So far anyway.
I guess it's possible that somebody else could leave, but for now, Tom Herman to Houston is the only defection on staff, a move that virtually every single person predicted. Other Ohio State assistants have interviewed elsewhere though, and when the right jobs open up, don't be surprised to see more guys, perhaps next season, leave.
Predicted order of finish in the Big Ten
Preseason Prediction: Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State, Maryland, Indiana, Rutgers
Actual Result: Ohio State, Michigan State, Maryland, Rutgers, Michigan, Penn State, Indiana
Yeah, Michigan was a lot worse than everybody though! Maryland and Rutgers were fine in their first year of the Big Ten, although both teams were completely outclassed by the best teams in the conference. We'll see if that improves in the future.
Preseason Prediction: Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue
Actual Result: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue
So we did a decent job predicting the top of the Big Ten, and the bottom, but the middle particularly in the Big Ten West, confused us. To be fair, it confused nearly everybody, as most teams took turns looking pretty decent and like dumpster fires from week to week. Minnesota's huge jump here is probably the biggest reason Jerry Kill won coach of the year.
What Big Ten team is most likely to surpass expectations this year?
Preseason Prediction: Iowa
Actual Result: I GUESS Minnesota? If not Ohio State
The Hawkeyes returned some nice talent all over the field and had an absolutely cake schedule, so many penciled them in as at least a nine win team. Instead, they completely fell apart. It's hard to think of a Big Ten team that really exceeded expectations other than Minnesota, which beat a bunch of crummy teams and Nebraska. Ohio State, given the state of the Big Ten, may even be a more convincing case. Not a banner year for non-national championship winning members of the conference.
Who in the Big Ten is most likely to wildly disappoint?
Preseason Prediction: Penn State
Actual Result: Michigan
I would listen to somebody arguing for Penn State, but given that the program was essentially playing with half as many scholarships as the rest of the conference, this regression wasn't totally out of left field. You could argue that Iowa, Nebraska or others should get this spot, but nobody failed harder than Michigan, who took a roster filled with blue chip talent, and piloted it straight to a losing record.
Who is your Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year?
Preseason Prediction: Braxton Miller
Actual Result: Melvin Gordon
For as good as Braxton Miller is/was, it seems weird, in retrospect, that Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon didn't get a single vote, given that basically all of us thought he was going to have a monster season. Hard to argue with Gordon's recognition, given that he dragged a lousy Wisconsin offense to a big bowl win and a Big Ten West title, basically by himself.
Who is your Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year?
Preseason Prediction: Randy Gregory
Actual Result: Joey Bosa
Bosa got two votes from LGHL staffers, and this was a relatively close category in the preseason, just like it was during the year. Bosa had an excellent season (and Gregory was good too), but the Big Ten had lots of quality defensive players this year.
Which Big Ten player that nobody is talking about will have a monster season?
Preseason Prediction: Tie between Corey Clement, Nate Sudfeld, Connor Cook
Actual Result: J.T. Barrett
Clement was great, but obviously Gordon was the big story at Wisconsin. Sudfeld got hurt, and Cook was fine, but c'mon, who saw J.T. Barrett having the year that he had?
Which team in the preseason Coaches Poll Top 10 is most likely to disappoint?
Preseason Prediction: Auburn
Actual Result: Either Oklahoma or South Carolina
Auburn did fall out of the Top 10, but they were still a consistent Top 25 program with a few nice wins. Oklahoma got drilled out of the Top 25 entirely, and got killed in a bowl game facing a backup QB, while South Carolina got murdered in their first game against Texas A&M and never really recovered. UCLA got some votes here too, and you could argue they ended up being a disappointment as well.
Which team in the preseason Coaches Poll 11-25 range do you see as having the best chance of making the playoffs?
Preseason Prediction: Stanford
Actual Result: Uh, Ole Miss?
In reality, nobody did. Michigan State and Baylor were in the Top 10, and TCU wasn't even ranked. Ole Miss came the closest to regularly challenging for a playoff spot, but injuries eventually did them in. Stanford did not get a single vote in the final polls, and for good reason.
Which team outside the top 25 do you see a potential sleeper?
Preseason Prediction: Missouri
Actual Result: TCU
So this turned out to be a pretty good pick! Missouri won the SEC East, finished the season 14th in the final polls, and outside of a weird loss to Indiana, was a solid team over the course of the year. Of course, they couldn't match TCU, who thundered to a Top Three finish, and had an argument for a playoff spot. Louisville also got some love, and they had a fine season. Iowa, Oklahoma State, and Florida also got votes...and they did not.
Which team outside of the Power 5 do you see as the most dangerous?
Preseason Prediction: A tie between Cincinnati, UCF and Marshall
Actual Result: Boise State
Our editors agreed that this didn't look like a bumper crop for the Group of Five, and they turned out to be right. Cincinnati and UCF had their moments, but were mostly inconsistent and had injury problems. Marshall had a very solid season, despite what the playoff committee said about their schedule, but the best team was undisputedly Boise State, a squad that returns most of their team next season. We gave votes to BYU and Ohio (who weren't very good), and missed Memphis (who was).
Who is the highest profile coach that's going to get axed this year?
Preseason Prediction: Will Muschamp
Actual Result: Muschamp and Brady Hoke
Whether we're right or not depends on if you think Florida or Michigan is the bigger gig, but most of our writers correctly called that both of these coaches would be looking for others jobs after the season.
Who is winning the Heisman Trophy?
Preseason Prediction: Marcus Mariota:
Actual Result: Marcus Mariota
Oh hey, we actually got one right!
Who is making the National Title game, and who is going to win?
Preseason Predition: Alabama over Florida State
Actual Result: Ohio State over Oregon
Alabama and Florida State was the most common matchup in our preseason staff pool, but one lone writer picked the Buckeyes to beat Oregon, so whoever that was, stand up and claim your prize. Also, somebody picked Oklahoma to make the playoffs, so....lol.
And there you have it! It would seem that our writers have approximate knowledge of many college football things, but didn't outright nail that many predictions. That's okay though. You should keep reading us anyway.