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Auditing Our Preseason Bold Predictions At Mid-Season

As we reach the midway point of the season, let’s take a look at our preseason bold predictions and how we’ve fared.

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The last time you heard from me, I was hosting “The Grant Application” podcast here on the site. The final episode was the season kick-off show where Chris Ross and I threw out our season win totals and bold predictions for each team. Though I am not able to regularly contribute any more, I thought it was important to pop back in and check the status of how our predictions have fared.

You can give the show a listen above, but here’s how it worked. As we alternated with our bold predictions for every other team, we also gave our over and under predictions on how each team would do based on some win totals I came up with before the show. So, let’s find out how we are looking so far.

Kansas Jayhawks

Projected Win Total: 1.5 games

Bold Predictions:
My bold prediction, Jayhawks would win two games
Chris took the over, and more or less agreed with me that the Jayhawks would win two.

Prediction Status: Still In Play
While technically this is still on the table, I have been wildly surprised at just how fundamentally bad Kansas has looked through their 1-4 start between the missed tackles and turnovers. I was banking more on Ohio or Memphis not being what pre-season perception would be to get that second win.

The Jayhawks have shown growth however with their gutty performances versus Texas Tech and TCU. However, tough losses can be psychologically draining for the young squad. At the same time though, that can be said about the Iowa State Cyclones. That might be Kansas’ best chance to get to that second win as it is a home game November 12.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Projected Win Total: 7.5 games

Bold Prediction:
Chris predicted that Patrick Mahomes II ends the year with the conference’s best QBR rating.

Prediction Status: Still In Play
In reaction to Chris’ prediction I said I thought that this was shaping up to be another one of those “year of the quarterback” years. I should have kept my mouth shut and let Chris’ prediction speak for itself. After six weeks of play Patrick Mahomes bests Baker Mayfield’s 84.5 QBR with a 89.2 rating.

However, given the way Mahomes appeared to fizzle out last week in Manhattan, can he sustain his lead for the remainder of the year? Keep in mind, Patrick was still 45 of 62 in that game. It will all depend on his health going forward. Furthermore, so too will Chris taking the over at eight wins. Given the porous defense that Texas Tech fields, that requires a 5-2 finish to their 3-2 start.

Iowa State Cyclones

Projected Win Total: 4 games

Bold Predictions:
Chris took the over on wins at five.
My bold prediction was that both RB Mike Warren and WR Allen Lazard will find their way to second team all-conference selections

Predictions Status: Trending Downward
Though the Cyclones have played from in front against both Baylor and Oklahoma State in the past two outings, this is the same scenario we talked about with Kansas. If you cannot convert one of those opportunities, it quickly becomes a burden for the team to carry.

Mathematically Chris could be bailed out with a tremendous second half of the season, but even getting to four wins at this point would mean beating Kansas and two out of these four: Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas State and West Virginia. Yikes! But it stands to reason, with Mike Warren sitting 10th in the conference in rushing yards per game (despite being fifth in total yards), and Lazard 12th in the conference at 63.8 receiving yards per game, that the offensive fire power is not quite there for the Cyclones. Lazard is light years behind the league leader James Washington (OSU) in total yards at 383 yards to Washington’s 731.

Baylor Bears

Projected Win Total: 8.5 games

Bold Prediction:
Chris predicted that Baylor loses their last six games of the year

Predictions Statu: Still In Play
One could probably infer if a six game losing streak is involved, Chris took the under.

The win total was based on me thinking that the ceiling for Baylor was replicating last year’s 9-3 campaign. That is, if the roster somehow made it to the end of the year unscathed. I did not necessarily think it was plausible, but certainly the talent is there – just not the depth.

However, as soon as we got rolling this year there have been more casualties to the team’s roster. Early in the year it was Johnny Jefferson missing the remainder of the year due to personal reasons. Wideout Ishmael Zamora served a three game suspension, and the latest is starting Nickelback Eric Ogor who has been suspended for the remainder of the year for violation of team rules. While technically we cannot assess Chris’ bold prediction until a two weeks from now, the 5-0 spot has the Bears sitting atop the conference standings.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Projected Win Total: 7.5 games

Bold Predictions:
Chris took the over on wins at 9 wins, and even saw 10 win potential.
I predicted that Dana Holgorsen is coaching his last season at West Virginia.

Predictions Status: Trending Downward
That win total was based on what word out of Morgantown said was necessary for Dana to keep his job. The Mountaineers who are the other squad atop the standings at 4-0 are playing solid football thus far. However, I think there are more warts to this team than what the Blue and Gold are willing to admit. They can’t continue to let the opponent hang around in games more than they should. But for now, wins still count as wins. Should the team be able to build on this confidence and get a little more mentally tough, 9 wins should be easily attainable for this balanced squad.

Texas Longhorns

Projected Win Total: 7.5 games

Bold Prediction:
Chris was rather bullish that Shane Buechele would be the starting quarterback

Prediction Status: Trending Upward
Self admittedly, Chris acknowledged how most people could see the writing on the wall with his “bold” prediction, but he was pretty bullish that this is the quarterback of the Longhorn’s future. And I think he is right. Unless turnovers become a big issue with Shane, there is no need to think Swoopes will start the rest of the year.

Chris mentioned he thought the Longhorns would put it all together and be a 10 win team so he took the over. However, Chris did think this was the most likely team to bite him on the aggressive win total. As of last week, 10 regular season wins is off the table as Charlie Strong’s bunch sits at 2-3. 8-4 is totally reachable with their talent, but after Charlie’s “lesser talent” nose turn towards Baylor and TCU, could he have branded a bigger target on Bevo?

Kansas State Wildcats

Projected Win Total: 6.5 games

Bold Predictions:
Chris begged me not to hang up the phone when he took the under on season win totals marking his line in the sand at four wins.
My bold predictions was that one of the three defensive position groups would end the year as a top three unit in the conference.

Predictions Status: Trending Upward
Kansas State sits at 3-2, with the conference’s best defense. Through five games the Wildcats are averaging giving up only 310 yards of total offense. Though that is likely to change, they do have the nation’s best offense in Texas Tech already accounted for in those five games.

I also mentioned Bill Snyder needed seven wins this year to get his career 200th at Kansas State. As long as the offense can perform like last year’s at a minimum (the 2015 squad averaged 29.9 ppg and they sit at 34.2ppg right now), their defense might will their way to seven wins especially if the turnover margin remains a positive (a polarizing opposite of 2015). With Snyder’s career winning percentage hovering around .667, if he coached in his 300th game at Kansas State last week, win number 200 is likely a 2016 thing.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Projected Win Total: 9.5 games

Bold Prediction:
Chris, very boldly, predicted that there would be part of a four-way tie for first with only two conference losses a piece.

Prediction Status: Still In Play
At 10 wins, Chris took the over. This was another team I felt like Baylor. There’s no way the Pokes would exceed what they did in 2015, mostly because we both agreed that last year’s squad was extremely lucky.  Whatever luck the Cowboys had in 2015, they have probably paid back alone with the Central Michigan game. Another tough loss to Baylor, and the 4-2 Cowboys would have to finish the year 5-1 to be in shape to contend for a tie for first with only two conference losses.

Chris totally nailed the win over Texas. Given the way the Big 12 season has gone thus far, a two loss team winning the conference crown does not sound too far fetched, but road games at Kansas State and Oklahoma are the most likely most difficult hurdles that stand in the way of that. The other toughest remaining opponents the Pokes get at home.

TCU Horned Frogs

Projected Win Total: 10.5 games

Bold Predictions:
Chris took the under, because well, the whole four way tie thing meant a 10 win season.
My prediction was Robert Griffin III : Nick Florence :: Trevone Boykin : Kenny Hill

Predictions Status: Trending Upward
The Horned Frogs, at 4-2 would have to run the table to get to 10 wins. For me, I was high on the Horned Frogs because I did not see their defense falling off like they have this year. As for me thinking that Kenny Hill could be underappreciated and dang near match his predecessor’s 325 passing yards and 55.6 rushing yards per game last season, Hill averages 357 yards passing and 33.4 yards rushing per game through the first half of the year. That is literally 380 yards of total offense combined for both of them.

The difference in impression really does lie with that defense which led the league in third down conversions allowed at 27%. In 2016, the Frogs are now ninth in the same category at 43%.

Oklahoma Sooners

Projected Win Total: None really given due to Chris’ four team tie. I had 10.5 wins written down

Bold Prediction: 
Chris thought that Houston would be a huge hurdle to get over for the Sooners

Prediction Status: Paid Out
Though the cat was already out of the bag at this point about Chris’ four-way tie for first, what we both likely failed to acknowledge was the co-existence of a four-way tie, and thinking of it in total wins at 10-2. Conference wins only, yes it is still in play for OU to pull that off. In fact, they look like they are starting to pick up steam again and could actually go 10-2, but be outright conference champs at 9-0. As the Sooners sit at 3-2,

Chris was very leery of what the Houston Cougars could do within the arena of the Sooner’s and their mental prep for that game. Even though Chris did not come straight out and say this as his bold prediction, the amount of concern in which he spoke of the Houston game was basically spot on.

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