College football end of year accountability: The good, bad and ugly of 2019 predictions
It's the time of year when readers get the gift of accountability
The 2019 season is in the books, the purple and gold confetti has stopped falling from the top of the Superdome on to the national champion LSU Tigers and eyes have started to shift toward the 2020 season. Let's hold off on that for a couple of minutes, though.
"Talking season" in August is full of predictions, projections, hot takes and enough hyperbole to fill Tiger Stadium. During that time, readers demand accountability when our predictions fall flat on their faces. If you're one of those readers, this story is for you. Let's recap the good, bad and ugly predictions of the 2019 season.
The ugly: Georgia winning the national championship
I had an SEC team winning it all, but it wasn't Ed Orgeron's crew. In fact, it was a team that became more of a punchline because of its stagnant offense rather than the budding superpower that it looked like during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. That's right, I had Georgia over Alabama in the national title game when we made our picks in August. Maybe offensive coordinator James Coley should have recognized that quarterback Jake Fromm was at his best in a tempo-based offense and the Bulldogs might have had a chance to upend LSU in the SEC Championship game. Wait ... no ... it still was a pipe dream.
The bad: LSU at 9-3 ... and also losing to Clemson
LSU fans haven't been fond of me over the last half-decade because I correctly pegged their program as a paper tiger. Coming into this season, we were sold the same bill of goods that LSU tried to sell every offseason since 2012 -- the offense really is going to open up. Come on ... nobody's going to be fooled by that again, right? LSU finally followed through, that 9-3 prediction looks silly and picking Clemson to top LSU prior to the title game was a terrible, terrible idea. Congrats to LSU on the most magical season in college football history.
The good: Another Harbaugh egg
Remember this summer when Michigan was picked to win the Big Ten championship and finally unseat Ohio State, which was in transition from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day? I do. It was silly then, and it's even more ludicrous now. Coach Jim Harbaugh is too stubborn for his own good, won't commit to producing an offense that is capable of winning outside of its comfort zone and the Wolverines won't be a threat to win the national championship until Harbaugh gets over himself and gets with the times. I said 9-3 ... and they went 9-3.
The ugly: Texas is back
I fell for it, and I'm sorry. I picked Texas to go 10-2, win the Big 12 championship and contend for the College Football Playoff. Instead, the Longhorns went 7-5 in the regular season and lose to a 5-7 TCU team. Sure, the Alamo Bowl win over Utah was nice, but all it did was put lipstick on a pig. I promise you that I won't pick Texas to do anything of significance until it proves that it's worthy.
The bad: Baylor staying stagnant
OK, I'm not sure I'm alone here. But my Baylor pick fell flat on its face. I had the Bears going 6-6 and Charlie Brewer and Co. staying as an afterthought in the Big 12. Well, 12 games later, they walked into AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with a conference championship on the line and, potentially, a berth in the College Football Playoff. Matt Rhule should be recognized for rebuilding that program out of a massive ditch. I didn't think it was possible in 2019.
The good: Against the spread picks
If you're a SportsLine subscriber and you followed my picks against the spread this year, you're probably close to retirement. I went 59-35-2 (63%) on all SportsLine picks (plus $2,037), which includes a 42-20-1 (68%) record in my weekly Three Best Bets column. My CBS Sports Top 25 Expert Picks -- which were for every top 25 game, not just the games that I wanted to pick --went 157-118 (57.1%) against the spread. Shameless plug: If you want your first month of SportsLine for $1, sign up using the promo code SALLEE.
The ugly: Miami winning the ACC Coastal
The Hurricanes had as many division titles in 2019 as it had points in the Independence Bowl loss to Louisiana Tech -- zero. I didn't see that coming in August when we made our picks. I had Manny Diaz going 10-2 and winning the ACC Coastal in his first season with the program before losing to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Maybe they should learn how to block and find a quarterback who can complete forward passes? Just a thought.
The bad: Kirby Smart as coach of the year
I picked Georgia to win the national championship, so it's only natural that I pegged the fourth-year coach of the Bulldogs to. Instead, Smart showed that he might be Les Miles 2.0 -- an SEC coach who refuses to acknowledge that a team has to have a dynamic offense in order to contend for the national championship on an annual basis. Smart needs to find his version of former LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady.
The 2019 season was one for the ages -- especially if you're an LSU fan. Enjoy the offseason, "talkin' season" and all of the takes that come with it.
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