2018 Results… How’d I do?

The 2018 season is in the books, and below is the final AP rankings, including every team that “also received votes”. So how did the pre-season forecasts from Mr College Sports turn out?

At the top, the forecast couldn’t have been better! Clemson defeated Alabama in the National Championship Game so those teams finished 1-2 (Nailed it!). UGA, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma were all expected to finish in the Top 10 and they did. The teams that made the playoffs were preseason rated 1,2, 7, and 9 – not too shabby!

The big miss was the Big Ten. I expected the Big 10 to be loaded with several elite teams in the East and at least 1 in the West. Wisconsin, in both mine and the AP’s pre-season top 4, was shocked by BYU at home early, closed the season with a blowout loss to Minnesota and finished outside the Top 35.  Michigan State was even worse, with 21 starters returning (including specialists) only managing a 7-6 record and losing the awful Redbox Bowl 7-6.

The biggest surprise in the Top 10 was Washington State, losing their starting QB from last year and suffering a terrible tragedy in the offseason, then a transfer QB steps in and lights up the scoreboard. Every other Pac-12 team was disappointing, ranging from slightly (Washington) to terribly (USC). Texas finished in the Top 10 following HC Tom Herman’s second year, but not totally unexpected as the Horns were ranked in the pre-season Top 20. More surprising were the Florida Gators in HC Dan Mullen’s first year, parlaying wins over LSU and Michigan to a #7 finish. No one saw that big of an improvement in year 1, even though Mullen was a highly regarded hire.

I also did not expect the break through seasons by Kentucky and Syracuse, both with key conference wins during the season, and capped by impressive bowl wins. I did correctly forecast Michigan’s non break through year under HC Jim Harbaugh, with a final ranking in between 11-15.

WVU was good but not great, as expected, but I greatly underestimated HC Ed Orgeron and his staff at LSU. The opening win over Miami was not a surprise and the game with Alabama was not close, but a #6 ranking was much higher than I expected.

And while UF was surprisingly good, the other power programs in Florida were not. Miami, coming off a 10 win season and division championship, was blown out in the opener and looked so bad in the bowl loss to fellow underachiever Wisconsin, HC Mark Richt resigned rather than try and fix the program. Meanwhile, I did not expect FSU to be good but, I also did not expect the first losing record in 40 years.

Finally, a mixed bag on the teams I took a flyer on just outside of the Top 25. Several ended up with poor seasons, Virginia Tech, Arizona and South Carolina among them, but some did have solid years, such as Iowa and Texas A&M.

So now it’s on to 2019… look for the first preseason Top 25 this Spring!