Updated Jan. 3
There's nothing more humbling than at the end of every NFL season when I look back to the first batch of CBSSports.com Power Rankings, the set I did before the games kicked off for real.
It's even more stinging than looking at my picks record for the season.
Each year, the differences between the rankings from the open of the season to those at the end are drastic.
None has ever been as drastic as the Cincinnati Bengals this year. They opened at No. 32 in the first Power Rankings.
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Now they're going to the playoffs.
How wrong could I be?
Even though I liked quarterback Andy Dalton coming out of TCU, I wasn't sure he could make the transition so quickly. Now here he is as a starter for a playoff team.
The worst of all involves the 49ers. I had them 26th to open the season and here they are as the second seed in the NFC. At the time, I was unsure about their offense -- kind of still am -- and didn't know how Jim Harbaugh would adjust to the NFL. I was so wrong.
It's so tough to pick weekly winners, let alone stacking the teams before the season. I did have the Packers and Patriots 1-2 atop the rankings to open the season. They both earned the top seed in their respective conferences, but didn't most of you think they were the best to open the season?
Hey, give me a break. I have to point out some good. It wasn't all bad. But boy, did I whiff on the Bengals and 49ers.