My friend Tim pinged me the other day and asked if I was going to make my annual football predictions. Sure, why not? Here you go, Timmay.
Looking at the Washington Redskins, I am definitely NOT drinking the Kool-Aid. I don't see much here. I see a team that tried a lot harder than most of their preseason opposition, and got a lot of people excited. But the NFL is about talent. You have got to have it if you want to be successful - being smart simply isn't enough. I see a team that will either go 5-11 or 6-10. Why the two? Well, looking at the schedule I see a 5-win season. But the last game of the season is at Philadelphia, who should be looking at a playoff birth and a first round bye, so I expect them to rest starters and play it like a preseason game. If the Redskins win that game, it's 6. Otherwise, 5. I want to like John Beck at quarterback, but I don't think he has the athletic tools needed to make a difference. The worst part here is, at 5-11 or 6-10, they'll pick low enough in the draft to miss out on one of the big time QB prospects coming out next year that could really help them. I think the culture is finally starting to shift a bit, which is a good thing, but real progress is a long way off.
Super Bowl? Hmmmmmm.... Patriots over Eagles. I think Tom Brady is loaded for bear this year, and Philadelphia is good. I almost stuck in Pittsburgh over New England, but I've just got a hunch about Brady and a revamped defense for the Patriots. The Jets could be interesting. There's not much to challenge the Eagles in the NFC, *maybe* the Saints (running game and defensive question marks) and even less of a maybe to the Falcons (who need to get better on defense). And yes, this means Albert Haynesworth will win a Super Bowl title, further making the Redskins look like idiots.
The Maryland Terrapins. Honestly, who the hell knows? There's more questions marks here than in the Riddler's hideout. That being said, they do have a legit quarterback, which counts for a lot. They've lost a lot of players, due to suspensions, transfers, recruits changing commitments, etc. Changing head coaches will do that. I like Randy Edsall, right now, but I'm only giving him one year (this season and this years recruiting class). I want to see his 2012 team and then I'll decide on this guy. As for 2011, well, I'm going go with 7-5, BUT, I reserve to the right make a change after seeing them play Miami in Week 1 (a game I think they'll win). The range here can go from 3-9 to 9-3, there's just so many unknown quantities.
National Champion.... Oklahoma. Dark horse: Alabama. Oregon simply doesn't have the big nasties on either side of the ball. No one else jumps out at you and demands your attention. I think I did pretty well last year on the Redskins, but the Terps surprised me. In any case, we'll know a lot more by mid-February.