Tar Heel Fan

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Five Predictions Proving ESPN is Clueless

UPDATE: Welcome Deadspin.com readers!!! Or at least this guy named, Mark Schlabach, is clueless. He wrote an article for ESPN.com called 5 predictions for the ACC season. Let's enjoy it together shall we?

1. Florida State will win the ACC for the 13th time in the 15 seasons it has played in the league. FSU will win at Miami on Sept. 4 and won't lose before its Nov. 25 regular season finale against rival Florida. In the Atlantic Division, the Seminoles will finish at least two games ahead of Clemson, which will get out of the gates slowly again this season. Miami and Virginia Tech will play for the Coastal Division title at the Orange Bowl on Nov. 4. Then the Seminoles will beat the Hurricanes again in the ACC championship game in Jacksonville, Fla.

I am not real sure where all of the FSU love is coming from. I would agree FSU is in a better position than most teams based on the QB issue alone. FSU also has an easy conference schedule in this era of unbalances schedules. They have games with Duke, Wake Forest, Maryland, and Virginia. However I think it is utterly foolish to count the NC State game a win considering the history there. They get Miami to open and then play Clemson in Tallahasse after beating the ever living daylights out of Troy(State). Seeing that FSU ranked only at #11 I would think the games against Miami and Clemson are toss ups. And beating Miami a second time to win the championship game? Not a small task. I also do not understand why he thinks Clemson will get off to a slow start. FSU is the only quality team the Tigers play until hosting Georgia Tech and visiting Virginia Tech in late October. If Clemson pulls it out against FSU they could be undefeated heading to Blacksburg. I like Clemson and think they deserve more play than they are getting right now in the Florida-centric football media.

2. For the third season in a row, an ACC coach won't be fired after the football season. Clemson will win 10 games to secure Tommy Bowden's job. North Carolina will win at least seven to take the pressure off John Bunting. Maryland will play better, but won't be bowl eligible because of its tough schedule. So Ralph Friedgen will enter the 2007 season on the hot seat, along with Virginia's Al Groh and NC State's Chuck Amato.
Since I am in the process of calling this guy clueless what does that say about me since we both predicted a seven win season in Chapel Hill? That simply proves I am wrong about my Heels. For some reason he puts Chuck Amato on the hot seat without one time addressing how the Wolfpack will perform this season. That is generally referred to as an "unsubstantiated claim" in which he makes a fairly naked implication but never offers in reasoning why. You get this a lot from ESPN. Al Groh is mentioned as being a hot seat candidate but then again everyone knows Groh is overpaid and not well like in the state of Virginia.
3. The most dangerous offensive weapon in the ACC won't be Georgia Tech's Calvin Johnson. It will be FSU quarterback Drew Weatherford, who will blossom in his second season as a starter. With receivers De' Cody Fagg, Chris Davis and Greg Carr, the Seminoles will become feared again on offense. With another intimidating defense, FSU will be among the last undefeated teams in college football and in contention for the BCS title game.
My rule is that if you mention a team in high praise once then you are simply high on them. If you do it twice in the same column when you are performing a "journalistic back-rub." Yes, FSU will be good, we got that, but not only will FSU be good but they will have the most dangerous offensive weapon the ACC. And not only is FSU going to completely dominate the ACC with their feared offense and incredible but they will be undefeated near season's end and contend for the BCS title! Please stop you are drooling on my keyboard now. The problem with this prediction is it borders on something the FSU Sports Information office would publish. The first issue is asserting that Calvin Johnson will not be the mosr dangerous offensive weapon in the ACC rather that designation goes to FSU QB Drew Weatherford...and his three receivers as well as the whole FSU offense in general. Wait a minute I thought this was about the single most dangerous offensive weapon(singular noun) in the ACC? If you are going to single out GT's Calvin Johnson and demote him to second best offensive weapon then your assertion that Drew Weatherford is better should make zero mention of any other players on the offensive side. Why? Because the comparison is about individuals players and not multiple players. Basically the assertion is made that Drew Weatherford is a better offensive weapon because he has three great receivers and the offense will be feared again. Well if Drew Weatherford is judged based on his receiving corps shouldn't Calvin Johnson be evaluated based on his QB Reggie Ball who is a great pocket scrambler? Secondly, if you read the first prediction which crowned FSU ACC Champion and not likely to lose a game except for the Florida matchup late in the season then you can glean the following: That FSU will go undefeated or suffer one loss(at Florida) and since we are pretty much up to speed on how this how BCS system works we understand that a zero/one loss FSU team will be in position to contend for the BCS title. Then why, for the love of everything Carolina blue, are you telling us the exact same thing again?!?! As though I did not reach the point of nausea after the first prediction. There is such a thing as overreaching and this guy is doing it in spades with his love for FSU.

4. Duke won't go winless. The Blue Devils will lose to Division I-AA Richmond in their Sept. 2 opener, but Duke will win one game to avoid a 12-loss season. After losing quarterback Zack Asack, who was suspended for the season as punishment for plagiarism, the Blue Devils might not be favored in any of their games this season. Give Duke credit: Its out-of-conference schedule is tougher than most teams in the ACC. In addition to playing the Spiders, Duke plays at Alabama and at home against Vanderbilt and Navy.

Excuse me? What we have here is another one of those "unsubstantiated claims." He is bodly claiming that Duke, who may not have a real QB at the position, will actually lose the first game vs Richmond but like a blind hog, they will locate an acorn somewhere else along the way. Against who and in what reality do you think Duke will manage a win if it is not against the I-AA Spiders? Here is Duke's schedule: Richmond at Wake Forest at Virginia Tech Virginia at Alabama Florida State Miami(FL) Vanderbilt Navy at Boston College at Georgia Tech North Carolina

OK, go ahead and tell me which one of these teams Duke will beat if they do not beat Richmond. Wake Forest is a possibility but that game is on the road. Vanderbilt was 5-6 last season in the SEC no less which means they will be good enough to take care of the Blue Devils. Navy is having a good run right now. I actually fear what will transpire when Alabama, FSU, Miami, VT, BC, GT and UNC are on the other side of the ball. And let's not pretend home games are worth anything seeing that no one comes to Wallace Wade to watch the team play! The more comical part of the prediction was how much time he spent patting Duke on the back for scheduling tough which is exactly the wrong thing to do when you have been a perpetual loser. If you are Duke football which is more important: a nice fat SOS number on the RPI or wins on your record? Duke should trade schedules with VT, so Duke can have a fighting chance and VT can actually play someone decent out-of-conference.

5. Georgia Tech will provide the ACC its biggest out-of-conference victory of the season -- but it won't come against Notre Dame. The Yellow Jackets will give the Fighting Irish everything they have, but Notre Dame will still pull out a close victory on Sept. 2. Georgia Tech will rebound well and finish third in the Coastal Division and salvage its season by upsetting rival Georgia on the road.

This prediction mystifies me a bit. First of all he goes through the trouble of telling us GT will come up short to Notre Dame in the opener, then tells us GT will be no better than third in the Coastal Division(behind Miami and VT)[Correction I had FSU in the Coastal as a commenter pointed out that was incorrect.] only to tell us that the ACC's biggest out-of-conference win will come against Georgia at season's end. Now I honestly think this guy was desperate for a fifth prediction because "Four predictions about the ACC" did not sound right. The other problem is there is not much to go on here. Basically when he says "biggest out of conference win" what he really means is "biggest out-of-conference upset win" If you examine the 12 ACC teams' out-of-conference opponents they are, shall we say, a fairly anemic group. The top teams have more cupcakes than a Hostess truck and the rest of the league is only slightly better by virtue of being the prey rather than the predator. In my estimation "the biggest out-of-conference win for the ACC" is defined as a win over the highest ranked out-of-conference opponent by lower ranked ACC team. If that is the case than based on the current polls that boils down to only a handful of teams. Georgia Tech plays #2 Notre Dame in the opener and #15 Georgia in the regular season finale. UNC plays #2 Notre Dame in November, Maryland will match #5 West Virgnia in September, and Miami will play #13 Louisville. So assuming the rankings stay where they are, the assertion is made that the biggest OOC win for the ACC will come when GT takes down the #15 team in the country. Yeah, that sounds like a huge win. In reality the three chances the ACC has for a "big" OOC win are GT vs. Notre Dame, Maryland vs. West Virginia, and UNC vs. Notre Dame. I agree GT has a shot to make it close with ND but the other two are fairly certain to be losers. Miami will be ranked better or near Lousiville when they play so that one would not count as a big win. Basically this is not really a shocking prediction at all since you only had about five games to choose from and excuse me if I do not find GT beating rival Georgia a big deal considering both teams may very well be ranked when it actually happens. ESPN: Cutting Edge Anlaysis for Over 25 Years.

4 Comments:

  • Why is this news to you? FSU always dominates the ACC. Don't be bitter because your Tar heels suck ass at football.

    They're called predictions man, you don't need facts to back them up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/23/2006 02:19:00 PM  

  • Virginia Tech has played games against USC and LSU in the past few seasons and will play at LSU next season. Also West Virginia was ranked #7 two years ago when we beat team in a non-conference game. VT was also the only team to defeat WVU last year (on the road, no less).

    It's hard to have a good non-conference schedule when teams consistenly bail out on their committments to play you.

    Examples:
    1. Auburn (2010 and 2011)
    2. Wisconsin (2008 and 2009)
    3. Illionois (2012 and 2013)

    We have Ohio State slated for a home and away in the future, but they'll undoubtedly wuss out on us. Oh, and VT was supposed to play Michigan in the Kickoff Classic in 2001, but they too backed out.

    Can't have a good non-conference schedule if teams refuse to play you. No one is scared to play UNC.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/23/2006 04:59:00 PM  

  • Anonymous #1(aka obvious FSU fan)

    I love it when people assume that just because you make a statement about one team it because you are hopelessly bitter that your team is no good. I ceased being bitter about UNC football about six years ago so please refrain from selling that stuff here.

    As for the more salient points in the article I do not necessarily take issue with the premise of his predictions(well except for the Duke one) but I think his giddy tone in reference to FSU is a little much.

    One thing that makes this season so difficult to predict is the level of upheaval at all of the elite ACC schools and FSU seems to have the least. I think saying at this point FSU is a BCS title contender while garnering only a #11 preseason ranking is a bit of an overreach considering their first game is against Miami. My point was he as a bit too effusive with his praise of FSU and his contention that Drew Weatherford is more dangerous than Calvin Johnson simply reeks of being a Seminole shill.

    Also, I really have not heard of a more illogical statement than this one:

    "They're called predictions man, you don't need facts to back them up."

    So is it OK with you if I go ahead and predict UNC will beat NC State in the ACC title game sending the Heels to a perfect 13-0 season? Since I do not need any facts to back that up why don't we also call Marcus Stone a Heisman candidate right now as well as predict Al Groh will be ACC Coach of the Year.

    Of course facts are needed. I grant there is some level of speculation in it based on gut instinct but if you are writing on a national website like ESPN please give me more than something akin to throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. In my opinion, as a professional journalist, you need to qualify what you say to some extent. If you fail to that then you are..well...a guy like me posting his own thoughts on a blog which are profanely objected to by others.

    Anonymous #2(aka VT fan)

    My reference was to VT's schedule this season which perhaps I should have qualified in my statement. I could have easily used FSU instead but the commenter above you might have thought I was being bitter about UNC's lack of football prowess

    By Blogger BCB, at 8/23/2006 09:34:00 PM  

  • First off, regarding GT finishing 3rd in the Coastal behind "FSU and Miami", FSU isn't in the Coastal Division, or as I prefer to call it, The Good Division. I assume the author of the article means GT's 3rd behind [SC]UM and Virginia Tech.

    Second, I know Mr. Weatherford personally, and yes, I believe that he's a hell of a player. But calling a non-scrambling QB a more dangerous weapon than ANY RB or WR? Especially consensus 1st team All-American Calvin Johnson? Ridiculous. Like you said, without his receivers he's nothing. Mike Vick is an example of a QB who is a dangerous offensive weapon because of his versatility. Drew's good, but has no chance if his WRs don't catch balls.

    As a GT grad who grew up in Tallahassee, I am so tired with the perennial FSU ass kissing. Why does everybody forget that with the exception of the title game, FSU was absolutely terrible down the stretch last year? How's the rushing game? Is the defense really that much better despite losing all those draft picks?

    Go Jackets. Beat the Irish!

    By Blogger cataphoresis, at 8/24/2006 01:32:00 AM  

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