Well we’ve reached the halfway point of the season, so I feel now is a good point in time to check on how my really bold predictions are doing, so let’s run through them in order again.
TEXAS WILL MISS THE PLAYOFFS
They’re 1-3, but the first win came against one of my National Championship teams. Even so, I didn’t even expect the Longhorns to have such a rough start to the season. They’ve lost an in-conference game and have struggled to find consistency. Their offense has been mediocre on third downs and the defense isn’t generating turnovers. Quarterback Walker Mills has been playing fairly well, but the limited use of guys like receivers Ray Conley and Scooby Lewis is a bit concerning. They need to figure out how to get these guys more active in the offense to help out. Otherwise, Texas may find themselves lucky to just win another game or two. Either way, this one looks pretty spot-on and I’m sticking with it.
WALKER MILLS WILL FINISH WITH 2,500 YARDS PASSING, 1,250 YARDS RUSHING, AND SCORE 30 TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS
So far, Mills is a third of the way to his total touchdowns. He’s scored 10 by himself this season with six passing and four rushing. The yardage, though, isn’t looking good. Right now, he’s on pace for a little over 1,800 passing yards and just over 800 rushing yards. Mills is still capable of achieving those numbers, but his current production won’t cut it. Texas will need to find a way to help him elevate his game for that to be the case. This one isn’t looking good for me.
Nebraska makes the playoffs, michigan does not
Now that I’m done talking about the Longhorns, let’s look at my Big Ten predictions. And so far, I’m looking to be half right. Michigan is 1-3, but they’ve got some things to figure out offensively in terms of minimizing turnovers. Defensively, well they need a lot of help. They need to be able to generate turnovers while also finding ways to get off the field on third downs. Then there’s Nebraska, and week one made me feel really good about this pick. Then the three game skid happened. The Big Ten is still a wide open conference behind Ohio State and likely USC, but I’m not sure they can find the consistency to make a playoff push. Since we’re not awarding points for being half right here, I whiffed on this claim.
BOTH EXPANSION TEAMS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS
This pick, this bold prediction right here, looks fantastic. Alabama is the last undefeated team standing, and USC is keeping pace with Ohio State and they’re doing it very differently. Alabama is leaning on their ground game with tailback Joe Pantoja, which takes pressure off quarterback Balion Siege and allows him to make explosive plays at a moment’s notice. USC, on the other hand, seems to be fine with allowing some pressure to be placed on the shoulders of signal-caller Kingston Fox. Although in recent weeks halfback Cain Robinson has been taking some of that burden on himself. Still, Fox has been explosive rushing and passing and both teams have seen their defenses step up when needed. Right now, Alabama and USC look like shoe-ins for the playoffs and would be if they started today.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: OHIO STATE vs. AUBURN
At the mid-season point, this would be an opportunity for me to pull a mulligan, to change who makes the National Championship game. And while I just stated that both Alabama and USC look like playoff teams, I’m not sipping their kool-aid just yet. I’m sticking with the boring, tried and true method. Auburn’s offense is rocking while the Tigers defense is like a bear trap. Problem is, they’re not forcing turnovers, although neither is Ohio State’s. Still both teams are so talented on both sides, and have a proven track record which makes them two of the more intimidating teams in the league. I’m standing by my claim, Auburn and Ohio State will face each other to win it all at the end of the season.