College football got things started in a big way, and the NFL’s 2023 season opens tomorrow, so I guess it’s time for a prediction and some discussion on what we saw over the weekend because I’m having another opinionated type of day.
The Chicago Bears Will Win At Least 9 Games
I have felt this since the schedule came out last May. Starting out quickly is the key for this young team to win nine games. That means it’s imperative to win three of the first four, and two of those games are on the road.
As you all know, I am always an optimist. I don’t put much stock in how a team looks in preseason, as these games are just another practice. I do like the makeup of this team though, and it is way stronger across the board than it was a year ago. The offensive skill is as good as any team in the League. I’m not saying the best, but as good as. There are a lot of playmakers on that offense, and if opponents try to stop D.J. Moore, then that just opens up things for Mooney, Claypool and Kmet. The defense is much stronger in all three areas. The D won’t give up points like they did a year ago.
Nine wins may or may not be enough to get the Bears into the Playoffs, but it is a step in the right direction. It’s important that this team has something to play for once we hit December. Enjoy the ride, my friends. I’m confident this season will be fun.
Colorado Wins and the Media gets Angry When Coach Prime Calls Them Out
Saturday, in what turned out to be the game of the day, Colorado goes on the road and beats 2022 National Championship Finalist TCU.
It turned out to be a helluva game. It was a game that went back and forth, but in the end, the Buffalos made the big plays when needed and came out on top.
For far too long, Colorado has been one of the worst programs in College Football. When they went out and lured Deion Sanders from Jackson State, Sanders promised a quick turnaround. The roster was totally overhauled as many of their 2022 players either transferred out or Coach Sanders ran them off. Over 50 players from other schools transferred to Colorado. There were also over 70 players from their 2022 team that left the program. So basically, it was a brand-new football team.
Because of the roster turnover, many in the media felt Colorado would be in for another long season and not win many games. Sanders, of course, preached a different story. He told anyone who would listen that his team would win more than they did a year ago and score some upsets. That started Saturday with the win at TCU.
I’m sure many of you have seen the negative stories leading up to the opener; I know I did. I also saw a lot of commentary on television. ESPN college football analyst Tom Luginbill stated on an ESPN program last week that Colorado had the worst roster in college football. Luginbill was once an NFL scout (a poor one), so he should know, right?
After the game, Sanders had some fun at his post-game presser and called out the negative media. Since we rarely see a coach do that, I loved it. The media feels they have a free pass to write/say whatever they want and won’t be held accountable. Sanders held them accountable, and many were more than a little bit upset about it. I just hope that, going forward, other coaches will do the same. The media does not have to get a free pass, and yes, they should be held accountable when they are wrong or just make stuff up. It’s only fair!
Preseason Top 15 Polls Are Worthless
This is not the first time I have stated this; in fact, I say it every year. Preseason polls have everything to do with last year and nothing to do with this year. In college football there used to be about a 25-30% roster turnover every year between players graduating or leaving early for the NFL and new freshmen coming in on scholarship. In the last few years, the percentage is even higher because of the transfer portal. The roster turnover is now much closer to 40%.
Every year, teams take on a new identity. Last year meant nothing as they had to come together to form a new team. Oftentimes, the coaching staff has no idea how good their team will be until they actually start playing. But yet, the media has to come out with a preseason Top 25. It’s ridiculous and puts undue pressure on many who don’t deserve it.
In the past, coaches have been fired because their teams did not live up to preseason expectations. The odd thing is, it’s not the coach’s fault; he is not the person who claimed his team was a Top-10 team.
Often, Power-5 teams schedule cream puffs for the opener and then treat the game almost like a scrimmage. Tough matchups like Colorado vs. TCU don’t always happen in week one. TCU was ranked fifth yet lost. Other highly-ranked teams that lost were Clemson to Duke and LSU to Florida State.
Yesterday morning, the sports headlines were “Duke upsets #9 Clemson.” The reality is Clemson wasn’t as good as their preseason expectations, and Duke was much better than the “experts” thought.
The smart thing to do is to get through September before we start seeing ranking polls. That way, we actually get a fair look at the college football landscape for the current season. The best poll is actually the College Football Playoff Poll, and that poll doesn’t even come out with its original rankings until late October. Those people get it. The AP and ESPN preseason and early season polls are useless. What I often do is keep track of the original preseason polls and compare them with the final end-of-year poll. They aren’t close to being the same. There are often at least 10-12 teams that finish in the Top 25 that weren’t mentioned in the preseason.