Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Looking Back at the Preseason Predictions

By reader suggestion we are going to take a look back at my first half of the season predictions I made over the Summer. Thanks for the great suggestion!

First we start off with a post from July 18th where Athlon ranks the different positions of strength in the Pac Ten. Athlon like most publications picked UW for the cellar. It was pretty ridiculous inhindsight on Athlons part. Dan Raley from the PI is a contributor to Athlon is I am not mistaken. I wrote a rebuttal to it, let's find out who is right here.

We then follow with UW individual predictions which related back to a post from August 25th.

Finally we go over the game predictions made in June, and July. I don't think I am too far off from what I predicted, in fact it looks pretty close, but you be the judge.

Athlon's Pre Season UW PAC Ten Unit Rankings

QB 7
RB 6
OL 10
DL 10
LB 8
DB 10

John B's Pre Season UW Pac Ten Unit Ratings (New comments in italic's)

QB 3 ....just being conservative here because IS is one of only three returning QB's in the conference along with Brink at WSU, and Moore at OSU. I think IS is better than any of them. I think whoever starts at SC and Cal will have the edge because of returning talent, so I will give IS a 3 with an upside of a 1. You can't underestimate the importance of a SR QB with two years of experience who has the tools of IS. His mobility will help a green offensive line.

( I have to feel pretty good about rating the QB position as a three with an upside to one. Nobody in the media bought it, but it is happening as IS has evolved into one of the most feared players in the league. )

RB 6....They have us at 6 at Athlon too. I like all three of our backs, but they need to stay healthy because there is no depth behind them. Last year we went through more than three backs. If all stay healthy, and the offensive line surprises you have an upside of four.

(The backs haven't been spectacular, but Washington is in the top 30 for rushing, so I think we are beating the expectation and have moved up into the 3-4. The key has been to stay healthy, and productive, they have been that.)

4. WR/ 4. TE ....I think they are way off the mark here with an 8. Losing Chambers doesn't hurt much. With the new guys coming in it is addition by subtraction. I think we are more solid at TE then we have been since Lambo was here. The WR corps has had a year and a half of real coaching, and it will show this fall. I pick 4 because IS is going to get these guys the ball, and I also think after watching the last part of the year, and Spring that we can develop some deep threats.

( They were way off the mark as Kirton has evolved enough that Washington was able to overcome injuries to Gottleib and Lewis. Kirton still has too many drops, but he has also made some big plays. I am off the mark too because UW is still in the second division as far as TE's go. That will improve in the second half....Shackleford has developed into an All Pac Ten player, while Russo is having a great season. In a pass happy conference UW is easily in the top 4 when it comes to receiving units this season. Washington needs more weapons such as Reese, and Wood to get more touches in the last 6 games.)

OL 10....Athlon gives us a 10, and who can blame them on paper, we don't have a lot of experienced depth, and the senior starters while experienced are not all world. I had to go with the ten to start out too with. I can go with a very optimistic upside of a 6. We need to at least be a 6 to see a bowl, or get close to .500.

(The upside was a lot higher than 6 since since IS has had all the protection he has needed and we have had good rushing totals so far this year. This team will go as far as these five guys take them, and in the first half of the season they have looked pretty good. Depth is still a concern since they are not playing the backups.)

DL 4.....Athlon gives us another 10 for what may be the strongest part of the entire team. We have size depth, and experience, so I would I would place us near the top with an upside of #1. Gunheim, Mateaki, Afoa, JWF all match up with anyone in the conference. I wonder what they were drinking when they gave us a 10.

(Athlon was way wide right on this as we have done a pretty good job despite the fact that man child JWF has been moved to offense. My pick at 4 may be a little conservative. Saying it was the strongest part of the team was off base too, would have to side with the LB's in the first half.)

LB 5....Athlon tosses in an eight which is mostly due to graduation, but I think the guys replacing last years seniors have a way better upside. I think with better, and deeper DB's behind them, and veteran hosses in front, this unit should do well, at least the middle of the Pac Ten. What the new starters bring to the table is more sideline, to sideline speed. Speed was something that has been lacking.

(Once again they were off, and I may have been off too as the UW LB's have been playing like the Huskies of old. We have a great nucleus led by a couple of seniors having great seasons. UW definitely is near the top of the conference. The difference is speed makes quite a difference.)

DB 5....Athlon nails us with a 10 which is a good bet on paper since we haven't had a decent defensive backfield since CW went down. I strongly disagree, I saw a huge amount of improvement last year in the defensive backfield, and I think we will be much stronger this year. The biggest problem we had last year was simply depth, and we did a credible job in the off season picking up some bodies that can plug some holes. The addition of coach Williams, a man who played in four Super Bowls, and is known as one the brightest assistants on the West Coast has to be a plus. I picked a five with an upside of 3.In conclusion really think that our defense will end up being one of the top 4 in the league when it is all said and done.

(The Washington DB's have been good since having a bit of a slow start. Blame that on jelling, and having Goldson out. We are tougher with him out there. I have to move us up ...4-5 is about right. They will be severely tested by Cal.)

Twenty Preseason Questions

Who will be the most improved Offensive Lineman?
Morgan Rosborough

(Morgan hasn't played a down as all five starters have played every minute except when Berglund stepped in for a quarter against USC. I didn't see any drop off with Berglund in the game. Morgan will develop into a force.)

Which Tight End will have the best season?
Johnnie Kirton

(Kirton obviously has the edge after being the only healthy one for the first half of the season. He has made some clutch passes and dropped a few too. His blocking has improved. Kirton needs to hang onto the ball, he dropped three against SC last week.)

Who will lead the team in rushing?
Kenny James

(Rankin was the hot guy early, but James has been the hot hand lately. This one is still too close to call even though Kenny had a great game against SC while Rankin was mistake prone.)

Which receiver will have the most catches?
Sonny Shackleford

(Sonny is having an All Pac Ten year. No other receiver comes close on the squad.)

Which receiver will have the most total yards?
Marcel Reese

(He hasn't materialized quite yet, but that doesn't mean he won't get more touches in the second half of the year. I think he matches up very good against Cal. he dfinitely won't finish with the most yards, but wait till next year.)

Which receiver will have the most TD's?
Marlon Wood

(This kid is a big play waiting to happen and I think over the second half of the season he is going to get a lot more touches. Nobody will get close to Shackleford.)

Which player is most likely to emerge out of Gilby's offensive line class?
Mark Bulyca

(Nobody has emerged but the starters. We really won't know till next Spring, but Jordan White Frisbee is a lock to start if healthy next year.)

Which QB will be starting at the end of the season?

(IS is having a good season, what he does over the next six weeks will determine how he is remembered as a Husky. The question now is not wheter he will continue as starter, but which bowl he will be starting in to end his career.)

Who will the offensive scout team player of the year?
Michael Houston

(By all reports Houston looks very good, and is the real deal, but Locker has impressed quite a bit too. Will be tough to keep him on the bench next year. Not much word on Hasty who is not allowed to talk to the press.)

Which Husky offensive players will be all Pac Ten?

(Blew that one as IS, and Sonny Shackleford are definitely in the running, and don't forget Stanley Daniels, and Clay Walker.)

Who will lead the team in sacks?
Greyson Gunheim

(A banged up knee and more attention has slowed him down, but he is still a good bet, he gets better as the season goes on. Washington only has 13 sacks as a team and Greyson has two of them. Scott White with 3 leads the team.)

How many yards will teams be able to rush against us per game?
125 per game ave

(112 per game average...not too shabby)

Which true freshman will have the most impact?
Donald Butler

(Butler and Homer are special teams fixtures, and Butler has stepped in a bit at LB in EJ Savannah's absence.)

Who will be the defensive scout team player of the year?

(Tough to call since we really don't hear about the frosh till bowl practice, or after the season)

Who will lead us in interceptions?

(Mesphin Forrester a reserve S/CB is the co leader with Scott White, both have two so far. The Huskies only have six so far this year.)

How many yards will teams be able to throw on us this year?
175 yards per game ave

(The pass defense has been tightening each week. Averaging 240 right now and you can bet it will go down against Oregon St, and back up against Cal. I think we end up with an average round 200 per game.)

Who will be the MVP of this defense?

(Take your pick between Wallace, and White)

Which Husky Defensive players will be All Pac Ten?
Wallace, Lewis, Gunheim

(You have to add Scott White)

Who will be the top return threat?
Marlon Wood

(Need to get the ball in his hands more, like last year hitting his groove mid season. Funny that he wasn't the return amn)

What will UW's final record be?
7-5 with a bowl game

(I figured on 7-5 because the ASU, and WSU games seemed liked toss-ups pre season. I think we go 8-4, with an outside possibility of 9-3...Oregon doesn't scare me anymore.)

Game Predictions (Predictions in bold, and italic)

UW 42 San Jose St 6 (1-0)
UW 35 San Jose St 29 (1-0)

Obviously underestimated the Spartans and overestimated the Huskies in a game that was tighter than most expected. Tomey put a scare into the Huskies in the second half. SJS has gone on to prove that they arent a bad club. The most troubling aspect of the game was the pass defense, especially in the second half.

"I predict Washington will roll against a defense with too many newcomers, and an offense with a rookie QB. I think Stanback will have a big day, and we will be able to run at will."

UW ended up winning and I really never got a chance to get a good look at the game since I was married during the game. We expected to score points, but giving up 29 to SJSU?

Oklahoma 31 UW 17 (1-1)
Oklahoma 37 UW 20 (1-1)

This game was actually pretty close until Isaiah coughed it up on the goal line late in the third quarter. Oklahoma was up 37-13 soon after. Quite a viscous swing. Bonnell led a drive that scored late in the game.

"I am not going to go out on a limb and predict a Washington victory, I don't think we have the athletes to play 4 quarters with these guys on the road. I think UW will go down 31-17 in an interesting game that will tell us pretty much what Washington will do over the season."

It told us that Washington had the stuff to compete. It also told us that we had a better team that was still prone to hurting itself too.

Washington 31 Fresno State 24 (2-1)
Washington 21 Fresno State 20 (2-1)

The Huskies pull out a big win in a game that could have gone either way. For Washington it was a big confidence booster. For Fresno St it was the first of many nails. The game was bit closer than predicted.

"This is the type of game Ty needs to win to start building a little excitement in Seattle. Fresno has built a strong program, but this years team won't be one of their best. Washington should win. A victory here will be a major springboard leading into the conference season with UCLA, and Arizona up next. This is a three game string of winnable games, if Washington wants to go bowling it all starts here."

Ceasar Rayford blocks an extra point and Washington wins as time runs out. Predicting that this years Fresno St team would not be one of their best was pretty prophetic as things turn out.

UW 34 - UCLA 27 (3-1)
UW 29 - UCLA 19 ( 3-1 )

UCLA has had a curse on Washington for a long time, and it was nice to get this monkey off our backs at home. This game was a tale of two halves as UCLA looked like they were going to blow UW out early.

"I think offensively we will be able to move the ball like we did last year on these guys. You can bet there will be some fireworks out there as both teams try to stretch the field. The game will end up being a higher scoring affair, but Washington will score more points, and end the curse."

Dan Howell's interception and return for touchdown put the icing on the cake of the best two consecutive quarters UW has played since their last Rose Bowl visit. UCLA never did stretch the field which has led to a lot criticism in the Bruin Nation.

UW 27 Arizona 17 (4-1)
UW 21 Arizona 10 (4-1)

Washington came into desert and methodically took care of business. They never put Arizona away, but were never in danger either after a 21 point explosion in the second quarter.

"The key as always is the UW OL, can they give IS and the skill guys the time to do their thing? If the OL has come along it is a realistic prediction that we will be 4-1 headed into play USC. Overly optimistic, perhaps, but all these games are winnable. We could have won at least six last year if the chips had fallen correctly, same thing with this season. We need to win the winnable games"

One flaw in the game is that Washington didn't score as much as they should have. The offense still doesn't take advantage of everything it is given.

USC 37 - UW 21 (4-2)
USC 26 UW 20 (4-2)

What more can we say about last weeks game. Washington did better than most of us thought, but my prediction was actually pretty optimistic in pre season. The oddsmakers had us at plus 20 1/2.

"UW be in it for awhile, but they are likely to be worn down by bigger, faster, and more talented athletes. I do think we can score on them, we scored 24 last year. I don't think there offense will be anything like it has been in past years. So we are in for a much closer game. I predict the Trojans put it way sometime in the 3rd quarter and win 37 -21."

I didn't forsee that the Trojan offense would slow down as much as they have this year. I didn't see the game going down to the last play either. If you have bet Washington all year, and I bet Jim Moore has, you are ammassing a pretty tidy sum if you roll it over every week. I didn't see Washington worn down at the end of the game either, both tems were fighting for their lives.


prrbrr said...

That was pretty good, will give you a b plus for your preseason vs actual. The most telling comments are on IS and the O line, how successful they are determines how far we go. 2nd half of season 5-1, putting us in sun for victory against Penn St and Joe Pa? Leaving for SEA early tomorrow to watch the Dawgs smother Matt Moore and the Beavs. GO DAWGS

Health Insurance Expert said...

Pretty close because obviously the W-L record could have gone either way.

The Rose Bowl is still a possibility in this conference for a team with one loss. the Cal game is coming up, and it is going to be tough, but if you do something down there it really shakes things up.

Realistically the Sun and Joe Pa would be fine, but would love a Rose, or Holiday.