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The Crystal Ball Predictions: What we got right, and what we got wrong

Before the season started, I polled College Sports Writers from Kennesaw State’s the Sentinel, Mercer’s the Cluster, and of course our own the Collegian. I sought out Chris Raimondi, Justin Baxley and Ben Abrams to predict the four teams that would make the College Football Playoff, and who the most overrated and underrated teams would be.

So how did the future of sports journalism do?

Crystal Ball Prediction:  College Football Playoff

What we got right:

The teams that were predicted to reach the playoff were Auburn, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oregon, Texas A&M, TCU and USC. Only Chris and I correctly predicted that Michigan State would make the final four.

In the preseason, Michigan State was ranked fifth in the nation. The Spartans ended the season 12-1 with a Big Ten Championship win over then undefeated Iowa. Along the way, Michigan State also defeated three other ranked teams Oregon, Michigan, and Ohio State.

What we got wrong:

Pretty much everything. The College Football Committee released the final rankings Dec. 6 pitting #1 Clemson versus #4 Oklahoma and #2 Alabama versus #3 Michigan State.

Big things were expected out of both Auburn and Texas A&M after the monster hires of Will Muschamp and John Chavis including dreams of a playoff run and possibly a national championship. That did not exactly pan out after the Tigers barely made bowl eligibility and the Aggies had a disappointing 8-4 season.

Ohio State fell late in the season to Michigan State and essentially ended their hopes of repeating as National Champions, much less making the playoffs. Oregon fell early in the season with losses every other week at Michigan State, then Utah and Washington State.

The injury bug found TCU in a big way including quarterback, Trevone Boykin (#2) and Josh Doctson (#9). The Horned Frogs ended the season 10-2 and ranked 11 in the nation. USC could not get out of the way of their own drama losing Steve Sarkisian as head coach after barely a few years on the job. The Trojans barely finished the Top 25 with an 8-5 record.

Crystal Ball Prediction:  Overrated Teams

The nominees are:  Florida State, Georgia, Alabama and Clemson.

What we got right:

Again Chris and I come out on top picking Georgia. The Dawgs entered the 2015 season ranked ninth in the nation and before all was said and done was a no show on the Top 25. Beyond that, Georgia went three weeks without an offensive touchdown and barely escaped with a 23-20 win over FCS opponent Georgia Southern in overtime.

What we got wrong:

The Crimson Tide proved our panel and experts wrong after their loss to Ole Miss and make the playoff for second year.(photo courtesy of Peter Pajor/Tuscaloosa, Ala./2011)
The Crimson Tide proved our panel and experts wrong after their loss to Ole Miss and make the playoff for second year.(photo courtesy of Peter Pajor/Tuscaloosa, Ala./2011)

Unfortunately, Justin and Ben picked two teams that ended up ranked number one  and two respectively. After the loss to Ole Miss early in season, Justin was nearly justified as just about the entire brain trust of college football started to write off the Tide. They worked their way back to the playoff picture going undefeated the remainder of the season and knocking off Florida in the SEC Championship Game. Clemson did not help Ben’s case at all after the Tigers finished their regular season unblemished with an ACC Championship.

Crystal Ball Prediction:  Underrated Teams

The nominees are Texas A&M, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Arizona

What we got right:

In order for any of us to have predicted this correctly, our choice would have had to meet or exceed expectations, win a conference title, playoff spot or come close to it.

Unfortunately, none of the teams chosen met that criteria.

What we got wrong:

Texas A&M, a team with all the pieces in place to do big things started the season unranked and, unfortunately, ended the season where they began. With four losses there was no shot at even a conference title for the Aggies.

Tennessee was everyone’s preseason darling with some going so far as to pick them to win the SEC east. Unfortunately, the Vols run of bad luck in games continued into 2015. The Vols had four losses in 2015 by seven points or less. Two of those teams played for a SEC Championship and two were both in the hunt for a National Championship.

Georgia Tech showed this season that they are one of the most inconsistent teams in all of college football. A year ago, the Jackets did a total reverse from an 11-3 season in 2014 to finish 2015 with only three wins . Had it not been for a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown versus Florida State with six seconds left in the game Tech would not have had a win since the second week of the season or have a win against a D-I FBS team all season.

A year ago, Arizona was the giant killer with wins over Oregon, USC, Utah, Washington and Arizona State. In 2015, the Wildcats were not sneaking up on anyone. In fact, some of the giants they killed a year ago contributed to their six losses in 2015.

About Woody Bass

Woody Bass is a staff writer at The Collegian.

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