Stewart Mandel of CNN/SI has released his whirlybird 2009 NCAA football rankings. Notable because not only is Mandel pretty funny, but also he admits when he’s wrong – a sports writer attribute more pleasing than accuracy…when dealing with predictions and the such.
Mandel’s January College Football Top-25 for 2009 (SEC Teams in ALL CAPS):
– Is the SEC supposed to be weak next year? If Mandel’s early picks are any indication, then yes, relatively. Great, grand, wonderful. Bring it on.
– Everyone is high on Houston Nutt and Ole Miss. Something’s gotta mess this up…a weak secondary, a mid-September trek to Columbia, S.C…an affair with Cleveland’s Wife…something. Giggity.
– Thank God there may be a chance Ohio State, after sucking in many-a-BCS bowls, won’t get its usual top-3 preseason ranking.
How did Mandel do, based upon his January rankings LAST year?
Not too shabby. The problem with rankings this early is that previous season bowl performances (see Georgia), recruiting success (see Illinois), and Super Bowl nacho cheese can cloud even the most rational prognosticators. A few notes on Mandel’s January ’08 Top-25…more on last year’s than this year’s, because hindsight is, in fact, 20/20:
– Well, Georgia, which he ranked #1 at this time last year, was a letdown.
Not much criticism there – most people outside the SEC didn’t Knowshit back then when it comes to Mark Richt and UGA’s mastery of choke art.
– He fell for Ohio State for the ninth straight year, as did most others, ranking the Buckeyes #2.
– He had both Florida (#4) and Oklahoma (#7) in his early top-10.
– Ryan Perry-Lou had not yet finally gotten on Coach AssHat‘s last nerve, so LSU (#6) was looking unstoppable.
– The Tigers of both Missouri (#5) and Auburn (#8 ) were busts, but both teams looked good on paper at this time a year ago. Same with Wisconsin (#9).
– Kansas, Tennessee, Clemson, and West Virginia (#’s 11-14, respectively) were all no-shows, but who knew? Two of those teams have new coaches heading into 2009.
– He underestimated Texas (#15) and Colt McCoy but does not make the same mistake in his most recent rankings.
– Arizona State at #16??? Stew, Jake Plummer graduated over a decade ago. Don’t do that again. Ever.
– Illinois anywhere among the top-25 teams in the country? Ron Zook is the coach. Don’t let Rivals.com fool you, Illinois is a basketball school.
– Mandel boldly placed Pitt at #25 last year, where he has Coach ‘Stache‘s squad again this year too. Bold strategy, Cotton. We like it.