Since 2017 is officially here, it's time to look back at some of my best -- and worst -- predictions from the 2016 season. Several of them came from this preseason piece I wrote.
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"WKU's Jeff Brohm and Temple's Matt Rhule will be the hottest non-Power 5 head coaches not named Tom Herman this winter"
PJ Fleck generated a lot of buzz after a huge season, but it was Rhule who landed the Baylor job and probably could've had Oregon, while Brohm got hired at Purdue. USF's Willie Taggart also would've been a good answer.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
"Houston true freshman DL Ed Oliver will dominate the AAC"
All he did was pile up 22.5 TFLs--9.5 more than any other freshman. In addition, he had three forced fumbles and nine pass break-ups. He also wrecked Louisville's offense on a Thursday night stage.
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"The most prolific offense in college football will be FCS Sam Houston State under OC Phil Longo"
The Bearkats actually ranked third behind two other Mike Leach disciples at Texas Tech and OU, but Longo spring-boarded into an SEC offensive coordinator job at Ole Miss.
"Bo Scarbrough will run wild in the Peach Bowl against Washington"
For the first time in Mark Stoops' four seasons at UK (and the school's first time since 2010), the Wildcats did make the post-season after going 6-6 but lost to Georgia Tech in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY SportsMark Zerof
(The jury's still out) "Deshaun Watson will lead Clemson to the promised land"
OK, so I'm jumping the gun, but he did lead the Tigers in a dominant performance over Ohio State in the semi-final game, handing Urban Meyer the worst loss in his 15-year head coaching career. And I'm sticking with the underdog Tigers to win it all.
Getty ImagesChris Graythen
"Colorado will go 4-8 and finish 2-7 in the conference"
I thought the Buffs would be competitive but not enough to turn the corner. Instead, CU went 10-4, won the Pac-12 South and Mike MacIntyre was named national coach of the year.
Kyle TeradaUSA TODAY Sports
"Wisconsin will finish 6-6"
I predicted the Badgers would finish .500 in large part because of a brutal schedule that included a visit from LSU and trips to Ann Arbor, Iowa City and East Lansing, plus visits from OSU and Nebraska all before Halloween. UW coach Paul Chryst got a big assist from Justin Wilcox's defense, opened the season by beating LSU and finished the year 10-3.
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"Michigan State will have a 'down' year at 8-4"
It was a very un-Dantonio like year in East Lansing. The Spartans went 3-9 and won just one Big Ten game -- a far cry from the "down" year I predicted.
"LSU will win the SEC and make the College Football Playoff"
Things turned out so bad for Les Miles in 2016, he lost his job one month into the season. The good news: Ed Orgeron, the interim, did so well, he got the job full-time and got things back on track. LSU went 6-2 under Orgeron, winning all six by at least two TDs, with three of those wins coming against ranked opponents, including crushing Louisville and Heisman winner Lamar Jackson in the Outback Bowl.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportsDerick E. Hingle
"Auburn is in for a rough season"
The SEC West coach that I thought would end up in the most hot water was Gus Malzahn. I thought an inconsistent offense and a rough schedule would lead to a 5-7 season. The Tigers did get off to a shaky start, but a win over LSU led to Miles' ouster and an 8-4 year, which was good enough to get a Sugar Bowl bid.