Everyone has their own method of making predictions. Some lean heavily on a statistical model that they've tuned for years. Others like to go with their gut and intuition, but for me, I know only one tried and true method for predicting the future in sports: "The Oregon Trail."
You don't believe me? Check the receipts from my NBA days. Who could have predicted LeBron James going back to the Cavs in free agency in 2014? The Oregon Trail. What about the Golden State Warriors winning the 2015 NBA title? The Oregon Trail.
Now it's time to bring the Oregon Trail to college football as we roll through Power Five conference previews and predictions here at CBS Sports. For all of our expert picks, click here. Those are guesses. These are facts.
The trail leader is the conference. The traveling party consists of the four highest-ranked programs in a randomized order. Why do I do this? Any veteran Trail player knows the leader is the last to have anything happen to them, which would make it easy to rig. The random order, all in the two through five slots ensures disaster will strike all equally.
We dial back food to bare bones rations and set the pace to grueling to ensure the most misery for everyone and that health will get to "very poor" as soon as possible. I buy plenty of food, oxen, clothes and bullets, just to have them.
We send our fearless group off in May because that ensures they travel through the meat of the trail in the hottest months, which means they get hit with the most illnesses. The only way this works is if three members of the travel party die, so I need carnage. At rivers, the wagon gets caulked and floated every time. No fording (that always ends in death) and no using the ferry or Indian guides (that always gets across).
Once three teams have died, you have your conference champion. If two teams make it somehow (this rarely happens but is possible), or if the last two die together (this can happen on the river), we go to Sudden Death Trail. Those two get sent off again, same rules, but with each team listed twice. First one to die loses.
Those are the rules. Welcome to the Trail.
Let's just hope those were Louisville's alternate uniforms. No one will miss those.
There's a joke to be made here that I can't quite write.
I like to believe this happened because Dabo Swinney and Jimbo Fisher were both talking way too fast about which way to go and Bobby Petrino couldn't understand them. Meanwhile Larry Fedora, normally the translator that helps Petrino, was in the back of the wagon doing his abs workout.
Come back here, Boston College.
This isn't a great start for the 'Noles, but it's nothing they shouldn't be able to handle, right?
WELP. There goes Florida State. And then there were three.
This is probably the best injury or illness to have on the Trail, to be honest. The Heels can handle this.
Well then. A broken arm and measles sounds miserable. Get it together, Heels.
And the only prescription is more cowbell.
Alright, that's two broken legs and the measles. Louisville's done. DONE, I TELL YOU.
UPSET CITY! Clemson's out, Florida State's out and we're nearing the end of our journey. Could it be?
Sudden. Death. Trail.
This is like Bloodsport. I can hear the crowd yelling "KU-MI-TE! KU-MI-TE! KU-MI-TE!" Let's go.
Oh, hey! It's Wake Forest's wagon.
Early advantage to Louisville.
C'mon, Heels. At least make it competitive.
Or not. Flawless victory from Louisville, your 2016 ACC Champions.