It was the best of years, it was the …
OK, that’s a a lie. It wasn’t the best of years, prediction-wise. It was only OK. I’ve had better. I’ve also had worse. (Lots worse, as you know.) And our annual Accountability Scoreboard begins with the obvious high point:
I picked Georgia Tech to go 10-2 and win the ACC title. It went 10-2 and won the ACC title. I was wrong about the the games Tech lost — I had the Jackets succumbing to Florida State and, for reasons I’ll never understand, Vanderbilt — but I was, big-picture-wise, dead on.
Regarding Georgia, I wasn’t dead on. But I was pretty darn close. I had the Bulldogs going 8-4, which many among you insisted was way too low. They went 7-5. Until the season’s 11th game, I had picked every game save one (Tennessee) correctly. Then things went ka-blooey. Georgia lost to Kentucky, which I didn’t think could happen, and then it beat Tech, which I insisted would never happen.
I was half-right about the participants in the SEC title game. (Right on Florida, wrong on LSU.) I was half-right about the participants in the ACC title game. (Right on Tech, wrong on FSU.) I’m half-right about the participants in the BCS title game. (Right on Texas, wrong on Alabama.) I was wrong about Colt McCoy winning the Heisman, more wrong about Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer finishing fifth.
This year I endeavored to pick every SEC game, and I did OK, if I do say so myself. I picked Florida to go 13-0 and win the conference title; it went 12-1 and lost to Alabama. I picked South Carolina to go 7-5; it went 7-5. (I also maintained Steve Spurrier would resign, which hasn’t happened.) I picked Kentucky go 7-5; it went 7-5. I picked Vandy to go 5-7; it went 2-10.
I picked LSU to go 11-1 and win the West; it went 9-3 and finished second. I picked Alabama to go 11-1; it went 12-0 (now 13-0). I picked Ole Miss to go 8-4; it went 8-4. I picked Arkansas to go 8-4; it went 7-5. I picked Auburn to go 6-6; it went 7-5. I picked Mississippi State to go 4-8; it went 5-7.
Where I really messed up (other than Vandy) was on Tennessee: I thought the Vols would stink. They didn’t. I picked them to go 4-8, losing to Georgia and Vanderbilt and Kentucky. They went 7-5 and beat all three. (I was also wrong about Florida scoring 63 points on Tennessee; the correct total was 23. But what’s 40 points among friends?)
I also sought to predict the postseason destination of every SEC bowl-eligible team, and I got exactly one (of nine) correct — Ole Miss to the Cotton. But I did have Virginia Tech opposing an SEC opponent in the Chick-fil-A. Half-credit, right?
Turning to professional doings: The Falcons will not go 10-6 and win the NFC South. Good news: Through 14 games, my preseason breakdown has been right 11 times. (I had them losing to Carolina here and winning there, and it was the other way around. And I had them beating the Saints here.) Bad news: I didn’t see anyone in this division flying past them, which New Orleans rather obviously did.
The Braves did not win the wild card. (Though they had a chance with six games to play, whereupon they neglected to win again.) I had them winning 89 games and finishing second to the Mets. They won 86 and finished third behind Philadelphia and Florida. Brian McCann didn’t win MVP, as I maintained he would. Jeff Francoeur did not hit .285, as projected in this space, nor did Kenshin Kawakami win 12 games.
The Hawks did, however, beat the Heat in Round 1 of the NBA playoffs. I had them prevailing in six games. They needed seven. Details.
I picked three of the correct Final Four — Villanova, North Carolina and UConn — in the annual Fiasco, an achievement for which I’d ordinarily award myself a passing grade. Alas, the one I missed — Louisville — was my national champ. More details.
I’m sure there were one or two predictions I’ve forgotten — write 520 posts in a year and you try keeping track — and if you find one feel free to bring it to my attention. And, as has become Accountability Scoreboard tradition, I leave you with one forecast for the new year. The last time it didn’t pan out: I picked the Falcons over the Giants in the NFC title game. I’m thinking this one just might.
Nov. 20, 2010; Tuscaloosa, Ala.: The Georgia State Panthers cap their inaugural football season by shocking the world. They score against Alabama! Three whole points!