Since I began daily scans of the Internet for sports-related stories in 1997, there's been one aspect of the medium that's bothered me (and my friends who wasted equal working hours on the same endeavor) over this 13-year period:
Writers, broadcasters, analysts, and paid professionals make outlandish comments, predictions, and statements that prove completely false, and there's little to no consequence. Say anything you want, no matter how baseless or ridiculous your statement or argument may be…and just assume 95 percent of the listeners and readers will forget and if they don't, ignore the issue knowing such claims have a limited shelf life and that they'll eventually just go away.
That ends today. At least here.
Over the summer months I made 30 predictions regarding the Notre Dame football team. I had planned on more, but the predictions themselves took on a life (and server space) of their own and I settled on a final tally of 30 just prior to the start of training camp.
Of these 30, most were well-thought out (a few are a completely subjective), analyzed, and heavily researched opinions that evolved into viable predictions of the future. Some (probably many) will be proven false. Others are sure-to-be spot on. A few will certainly fall into a bit of a gray area (maybe even a charcoal gray), but they'll all be tracked. Starting now.
Note: If you'd like to throw your hat in the ring, read the predictions, see my email below, and submit a few (or 30) of your own.
My 30 Off-Season Predictions for 2009
The predictions series began in early June with Five to File and a look at:
- The Secondary
- Ethan Johnson
- The Most Improved Player from September through January
- A Thought on the Nickel Defense
Two weeks later, Five More to File examined:
- Jimmy Clausen
- Darius Fleming
- The Season's Lowest Scoring Contest
- Robert Blanton
- Single Game Explosions of 40 or more points
On July 1 we hit Round Three in the series with a focus on:
- Michael Floyd
- September's Quartet of Games
- James Aldridge
- College Football's All-Time Winning Percentage Race
Early July must have offered a moment of clarity as two more sets of predictions were unveiled, including: More from the Crystal Ball which examined:
- The Season's Highest Yardage Total (by the Irish)
- Kyle Rudolph
As well as Further Out on a Limb which yielded predictions regarding:
- Double Digit Losses
- Kick-Blocking Improvements
- Rushing Touchdowns by Irish ‘Backs
Mid-July brought two estimates, one that can only be tracked with a focus on the top-end of the prediction, with: Two More to Ponder as I attempted to:
- Predict the Team's Reception Chart (with the leader being the key to the prediction)
- Predict the Team's Total Touchdowns Scored
That was followed by a Sunday Sampler analyzing:
- Robert Hughes and Armando Allen
- The Team's Individual Touchdown Breakdown
- The defense's highest statistical ranking at Season's End
A trip to meet the brass at Big 10 Media Day yielded two early-morning predictions, (and a missed free breakfast, though my $7 water was awfully good): Monday Musings with a look at:
- Kyle McCarthy
- Close and Late Games for 2009
The Series concluded with a nice round number in: 30 Rock Solid Predictions and a final set of three...
- Total Sacks by the Defense
- Total Touchdowns Allowed
- Darrin Walls
I'll update these predictions as they come to fruition during the season. For IrishEyes magazine, I chose the 20 predictions of which I was most confident (admittedly, there are 2-3 of these 30 that I'd tweak with knowledge gleaned from training camp).
If you'd like to challenge one of all of them, feel free to send me a private message through the site or at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish anyone who posts an impressive total (or a poor total if its simply better than mine) at season's end.
The final pre-season projection of 2009 will be published today, as Jeff Baumhower and I unveil our predictions for Notre Dame's regular season record in 2009.