Revisiting 2017 college football predictions: How wrong was I?

My biggest miss was obvious. Thanks, FSU.
Published Jan. 12, 2018

Before we get too wrapped up in 2018, let's take one final look back at college football's 2017 season by revisiting my preseason predictions from the SEC and ACC.

What I got right

  • Georgia as the SEC East champion. The Bulldogs were even better than I thought, which was saying a lot.
  • I thought Auburn would be pretty good; I picked the Tigers to finish second in the West (which they ended up winning): When Gus Malzahn has a good quarterback, he looks like a genius. And I think Jarrett Stidham is a pretty darn good quarterback. Stidham finished sixth nationally in completion percentage (66.5) for the 10-win Tigers.
  • Miami winning the ACC Coastal Division: The Hurricanes have just about everything but a quarterback. I think this is the year they finally win the division… Check and check. I also correctly picked Virginia Tech as the division’s No. 2 team.
  • On Clemson: Teams rarely lose transcendent quarterbacks and stay at the very top. I think the Tigers regress slightly but still finish in the top 10, and maybe the top five. Not a bold prediction, but the Tigers did regress slightly and finish in the top five.

Partial credit

  • Alabama over Georgia. The Tide has more talent than anyone else and the best coach in the country. Again. Until that changes, everyone is chasing ‘Bama in a race they won’t win. OK, that was from my SEC championship prediction, but it happened in the national title game instead.
  • Prediction: If the Aggies lose at Florida on Oct. 14, coach Kevin Sumlin gets fired before reaching home, Lane Kiffin-style. If the Aggies beat the Gators, Sumlin keeps his job…all the way until December. Sumlin was technically fired in November, but close enough.

What I got wrong

  • Florida State as ACC champions: Jimbo Fisher hasn’t lost to Miami yet. I don’t think that starts this year, and definitely not in the ACC title game. I think the ‘Noles are headed back to the College Football Playoff. Oof. I wasn’t the only one to miss on FSU, but that prediction couldn’t have been much worse.
  • Coach Dave Clawson said Thursday that he wants Wake to get to the point where it’s not a surprise that they’re headed to a bowl. I don’t see that happening this year. Turns out Wake finished third in the division and beat Jimbo’s new team in the Belk Bowl.
  • “Prediction sure to go wrong, Part I: This will be Paul Johnson’s last year as Tech head coach.” Or he’ll get an extension. One of the two.
  • Florida as No. 2 in the East. I wrote that the defense would take a step back (right) and the offensive line and quarterback were question marks (also right). But things got bad when I wrote “I think the defense takes a step back, and I still have questions at offensive line and quarterback. Would it surprise me if the Gators made it back to Atlanta? No.” I predicted 8-4, not 4-7.