I'm not usually good at predictions. For instance, I predicted "The Chevy Chase Show" would be a smash hit. I also thought Norman Greenbaum ("Spirit in the Sky") was headed to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
So what do I know?
With that confession, I mention with great pride, and not a little conceit, that I just completed a bang-up year for football prognostications.
Did I predict the New Orleans Saints would be undefeated at this point? No. But that's because I limited my predicting to my area of expertise, which is "Mexican food that can be eaten while driving."
Sorry, wrong area.
My other area of expertise is college football in Utah. And in that forum, almost everything turned out just as I expected.
Another season like this and I truly believe the National Enquirer will be calling for my New Year's 2011 forecast.
In August, my boss asked if I would write a column for our preseason football section. I said sure, what did I have to lose other than my credibility? But rather than banging out an ordinary who-will-win-and-who-will-lose column, I framed it in a Q&A format. For instance, I asked which among the instate schools "has the best chance to have a great 2009?"
"You mean besides Oprah?" I wrote. "The answer is BYU."
And so it did.
I continued: "Will BYU have the best season in the state? I'd bet my Sons of the Utah Pioneers membership on it. But that doesn't mean I think the Cougars will be perfect."
I am so smart!
I didn't imagine they'd lose by a combined score of 92-35 to Florida State and TCU, nor did I envision a win over Oklahoma. I didn't predict Max Hall would become notable for hating on Utah, either.
Still, I'm counting my August observations on the Cougars as a plus.
I also said first-year USU coach Gary Andersen was a "nice fit" but that "odds of finishing above .500 are as slim as USU's bowl resume."
Sure enough, the Aggies finished 4-8.
Of course, predicting USU will finish below .500 is like predicting Pacman Jones is going to get arrested.
Another question I posed was this: "Will Max Hall produce a Heisman?"
My answer: "Only if he gets hired at a trophy factory."
I was wondering if I was wrong, after that first couple of weeks when his stock was highest, but then those interceptions started mounting.
I also asked who would be the state's best player. I said I didn't know, but I thought the best name was Stevenson Sylvester ("Sly" if you want to be really cool) of Utah. I nearly changed my mind later in the year in favor of Shaky Smithson. Or is it Sh-Sh-Sh-Shaky S-S-S-Smithson?
Still, Stevenson Sylvester held up pretty well,
Coming off a Sugar Bowl year, the issue of a repeat loomed for Utah. The question was posed: "What are Utah's chances of getting back to a BCS bowl?"
My answer: "Same as Zane Beadles' chances of getting back to 200 pounds."
Last time I checked, he tipped the scales at 305, and the Utes were headed to the Poinsettia Bowl, so draw your own conclusions.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me add that I was partially wrong on at least one count. I asked the question how much Utah would miss Louie Sakoda, the All-American kicker. My answer: "As much as I miss the Crab Louie at Alioto's — a lot."
Turned out Joe Phillips, the successor, made 17-of-19 field goals and 34-of-35 PATs.
But Phillips didn't punt, as did Sakoda, so obviously there was a void. Sakoda's punting accuracy — 24 inside the 20, compared to 16 this year — was noticeable.
So I'm giving myself credit for pointing that out.
Lastly, I asked, "Will this be a blockbuster year in local football?"
My response: "Blockbuster? No. But you'll definitely want to get the video."
What I didn't know was that the video of Max Hall teeing off on Utah fans would become the highlight of the season.
When it comes to forecasting, I'm a concept guy.
Someone else can figure out the details.