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A Lookback At 2014: Chest-Thumping, Crow-Eating

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Man, am I an idiot sometimes.

Remember that time I ranked Indiana in the Top 25? Good times.
Remember that time I ranked Indiana in the Top 25? Good times.
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Coming out of last year's Spring camps, we released a preseason Who Needs a Blogpoll, complete with seasonal breakdowns and projections. We're going to take a look back now and publicly shame me for some of those #takes. The next few days will give you a chance to excoriate, berate, mock, deride, taunt and otherwise remind me that I am a complete idiot at times.

Here was my predicted bottom of the barrel

Rank

Team

20

Louisville Cardinals

21

Mississippi State Bulldogs

22

Iowa Hawkeyes

23

UCF Knights

24

Nebraska Cornhuskers

25

Indiana Hoosiers

Here are some select things I said about these teams:

Louisville Cardinals: The schedule is somewhat tough, as Miami and FSU both come to the Pizza Dome, while the Cardinals face Clemson and Notre Dame on the road...There will be ups and downs, but an excellent coach and an experienced team are good enough for an 8-4/9-3ish kind of season.

Nailed it. Louisville finished 9-4. The Cardinals lost to Clemson and FSU, but also -bizarrely- Virginia. And then Georgia decided to play football and win a bowl game. Elsewise, pretty solid call. /pats self on back.

Mississippi State Bulldogs: ...The Bulldogs are poised to do good things. Will this team win the West? Not a prayer. In fact, I'd be stunned if they won their tough road games (Alabama, LSU). Still, Auburn and Aggie come to Starkville, the OOC schedule is a joke, and the Bulldogs duck South Carolina, Florida and UGA out of the East. Nine wins with a New Year's Bowl are not out of reach.

Man, did we all undersell the Bulldogs. At one point, this was the No. 1 team in the nation, and it was not an illusory top ranking either. The Bulldogs finished 10-3, with losses to Alabama and Ole Miss, and a very entertaining New Year's game versus Georgia Tech. However, through October there was no one playing better football.

Iowa Hawkeyes: This could be one of the better (comparatively speaking) Hawkeye offenses of the past few years, and the defense will be as stifling and opportune as ever...The schedule is also generous for the first ten games: Not a single one is unwinnable.

Oops. Iowa went 6-6 in the regular season, had an FEI adjusted offense ranked of 53 and FEI defense of 37. Only Illinois, Northwestern and Purdue fielded worse Big 10 offenses. This team was mediocre-to-bad most of the year.

Central Florida Knights: If the defense can hold serve, particularly in-conference, and UCF can cobble together a few points with minimal mistakes, the Knights figure to square off against Cincinnati for the AAC crown...even if Knight are somewhere around 8-4ish.

Central Florida's offense (73rd) was putrid last season, the defense serviceable (34th,) and the Knights did finish 8-4. So, I'll take a victory lap on this one.

Nebraska Cornhuskers: As usual with Pelini, this team will win some they shouldn't and lose some they shouldn't -but mainly lose them. Another 8 wins or so are on the horizon, but this team could just as easily finish .500.

I'm not taking credit for this. Everyone knows it's spelled Bo PeLLLLini. And, after the predicable underachievement in Lincoln, Bo was shown the door and an equally bland underachiever hired in his place.

Indiana Hoosiers: ...The backloaded schedule has roadies to Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Ohio State. It's not out of the realm of possibility that the Hoosiers win at least one of those. And, I'm putting Mizzou -the lone tough OOC team, on upset alert: this Indiana team score a ton. 7 wins and the Heart of Dallas or Detroit Bowl beckons.

In fairness, Indiana did knock off Mizzou. I was dead wrong about everything else in this one. IU finished 4-8. Any upsets over UM, MSU, Iowa or OSU? Not even close. The Hoosiers lost those four games by a combined 106 points.

Missouri Tigers: It's going to be a struggle to even get to .500 in conference play. I'm thinking a scenic Christmas in Shreveport or Nashville...if that.

LOL. Well-played Mizzou. I'm done underestimating Gary Pinkel. At this point, I think he could coach Kansas to ten wins and a Peach Bowl.

Ole Miss: ...there is no way this team is better. Oxford is thinking a break-out; I'm seeing a regression to the Ole Miss mean. Seven wins seems about right.

Guess who gave Alabama its only loss of the regular season? Guess who had the nation's best defense? Guess who was on its way to a playoff berth before horrific injuries and subsequent disheartening losses? Yeah, these guys. You've been waiting for a year for this Ole Miss: I was wrong.

Texas A&M: ...you have one hot mess waiting to happen. This is a system team that, even in its exciting peak, finished no better than third in the division. This year, they'll be scrapping with the Mississippi teams for fourth or worse.

Welcome to dead-last, Aggies! And, yes, it was a hot mess by season's end, with fans calling for OC Spivak's head, Sumlin getting some heat, and DC Mark Snyder given his pink slip.