Way back in September, on the day before the season started, I banged out a few predictions. Now that the regular season has ended, I thought it might be fun to take a look at how I did.
1. Chris Owusu will catch 60 balls for more than 1,000 yards.
It certainly made sense at the time. As the one true home run threat at Andrew Luck's disposal, it seemed like Owusu would easily match these numbers. Owusu suffered through an injury-riddled season and ended up sitting out the final three games, leaving his numbers far short of what I predicted. He finished with just thirty-five receptions for 376 yards on only two touchdowns. Injuries happen (and they've happened to Owusu with disturbing regularity), but the surprising aspect of his season is that likely would've fallen short of my yardage prediction even if he had remained healthy. Through the first five games of the season Owusu totalled twenty-five catches for 309 yards. Somewhere along the line he became a possession receiver, and when he returned after his first injury it seemed like most of touches started behind the line of scrimmage on screens or reverses. It would be easy to discuss how all of this affected the team, but the big picture is more important. Two years ago Chris Owusu looked ready to become one of the top wide receivers in the country; today it's unclear whether or not he'll ever play football again.
Prediction Accuracy: Swing and a miss.
2. The tight ends will combine for 60 catches, 900 yards, and 12 touchdowns.
If there's one thing I don't understand, it's why there isn't a line of elite high school tight end recruits banging on David Shaw's office door. The Stanford offense is built around the tight end position, so even with three NFL-ready tight ends in the rotation, none of the three was left out. Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz, and Levine Toilolo combined for 79 receptions, 1,281 yards, and 19 scores. I felt confident about the numbers I laid out back in September, but I never could've guessed they'd exceed my predictions by a whopping 50% in each category. Phenomenal.
Prediction Accuracy: Vastly underestimated.
3. Stepfan Taylor and Anthony Wilkerson will combine for 1,700 yards rushing.
The idea was that Taylor would duplicate his 2010 season (he did: 1,137 last year/1,153 so far this year) and Wilkerson would continue his improvement. I've long felt Wilkerson was the most talented running back on the roster, so his season was a bit of a disappointment. I had hoped he might get 150 carries, but his workload actually decreased from '10, dipping to only fifty-five carries. As a result, the two combined for just 1,436 yards.
Prediction Accuracy: Off by more than a bit.
4. Ty Montgomery will have 30 receptions.
Montgomery had only 17 receptions, but I still feel like I was close on this one. He became one of Luck's favorite targets towards the end of the season, and he contributed a great deal on special teams, including a touchdown on a kick return against Washington State. His future is bright.
Prediction Accuracy: Close.
5. Andrew Luck will be sacked more than six times.
This one wasn't really fair, but I figured I needed to slip in a sure thing just to make myself feel good. The surprising thing is that as suspect as the offensive line was back in August, it quickly developed into one of the more dominant units in the country and protected Luck almost as well as last year's line did. Luck was actually sacked nine times (including one play in which he ran out of bounds, and another when he slid behind the line of scrimmage), which is preposterous.
Prediction Accuracy: Bull's Eye.
6. Andrew Luck will win the Heisman Trophy.
I think we know how this one turned out, and I think we also know that I was right and the voters were wrong.
Prediction Accuracy: Should've been a Bull's Eye.