College Football: Expect the Unexpected

August Analysis of Notre Dame

I have to admit only my colleague and friend George Bashura had the Irish finishing the season 12-0. During our pre-season game analysis, he correctly forecasted that Notre Dame would make the College Football Playoff! For the record, I had the Irish at 10-2 with heart breaking losses to Pitt and USC. The consensus among those at the South Bend Tribune all had the Irish around 10-2 with Tom Noie low-balling the Irish at 9-3.

While, I’m extremely happy to be wrong and considering taking George to Las Vegas (just kidding) my years of watching college football should have prepared me for something like this. Once the season begins, most of the pre-season prognostications are usually wrong. Phil Steele, ESPN, and the AP all missed badly on forecasts for Miami, Wisconsin, and Auburn. All of those publications had each team in the Top 25. Yet, all of those teams finished the season unranked and with five losses each. On the other end of the spectrum, none of the major publications thought UCF would duplicate its success of last year.  Finally, not one publication had Washington State ranked anywhere remotely close to the Top 25.

In the case of Notre Dame, Phil Steele had the Irish at #8 and headed to the Rose Bowl versus Wisconsin. Eric Hansen and Mike Vorel also had Notre Dame slated to play in a New Year’s Six Bowl, the Peach and Fiesta Bowl respectively. ESPN for the record had Notre Dame headed to Georgia for the Peach Bowl versus an SEC opponent.

Challenges of Making Predictions

Now to be fair to some of the media that see the Irish regularly, no one could have predicted the emergence of and outstanding play of Ian Book. The Irish also for the most part, with the exception of Alex Bars avoided major injuries, and navigated a brutal end of the season travel schedule. Finally, the team mastered November producing a clean slate for the first time since 2012.

While none of these events could be predicted it shows you once again that many experts, aren’t terribly accurate when it comes to a pre-season forecast. Before you plunk down $12 on a preview magazine next season to check out the Fighting Irish, you might consider your friends at Shake Down the Thunder Sports. We’ve got you covered! By the way George and I are going to handicap the Cotton Bowl this week. Stay tuned!

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