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40 Predictions for 2011



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You know what’s funny? I’ve never talked to a single person who’s ever said, “many, you know what I live for…preseason sports predictions.” And yet I probably know hundreds of people who have spent copious hours on or reading (literally) dozens upon dozens of predictions and forecasts about OSU.

While we’re here can I take a moment to rip on the “fearless prediction” as it relates to a sporting event. What, are you prophesying the imminent assassination of a foreign diplomat and are scared for your life? No, you’re telling a couple thousand people that Mark Sanchez is going to throw for more yards than Tony Romo this year. That is not “fearless” – I should start calling my postgame stories “courageous recaps” and try to have them sponsored by Livestrong or something. Perspective people, perspective!

This happens every year. Whether OSU is supposed to go 5-7 or win the conference, we consume every bit of material, every piece of content we can possibly get our hands on. And the national publications love to shove a bunch of information in our faces that, in the end, is probably about 5%-10% more in-depth than what we could have come up on our own over a few beers with some friends.

Of course then the season ends and you try and go back to see if Joe Schad correctly predicted the order of the B1G and it’s like ESPN has erased it from its database. Seriously, you can find Texas A&M’s president doing the dougie online in like 12 seconds but you can’t find Jesse Palmer’s preseason Heisman picks to save your life.

Not here though. In fact, at the end of the season I’ll repost this and the three other columns I’m going to write and we can all laugh about how I thought OSU was going to go undefeated against the spread (except I’ll just be pretending like I’m laughing because gambling is, in fact, legal in some corners of the internet).

Enough of that though, let’s get to the first batch of my “predictions about OSU’s 2011 season sure to go horribly wrong by mid-November” or PAO2011SSTGHWBMN for short.

One guideline real quick: these have to be measurable. You can’t say “Josh Stewart will be good” because then we’ll get to December and he’ll have caught 18 balls for 234 yards but also have the game-winner against Texas and people will be borderline fighting each other over whether or not that constitutes “good.”

Okay, on to my fearlessness:

1. Brandon Weeden will throw more TDs than he did last year (34) – Really going out on a limb with this first one. Consider though, that he broke a TD record that had only been broken twice since 1969. He became one of two players in school history to ever throw for over 30 TDs in a single season (Josh Fields is the other). He’s about to do it again, and then some.

2. Josh Cooper will finish the season with more catches than Justin Blackmon – Whooooaaa Pistolsguy, pump the brakes big guy. Look, Blackmon had an otherworldly season last year with 111 receptions. Will he do that again? Maybe, but I doubt it. Cooper put up the quietest 68 catches I’ve ever seen in my life. I think Blackmon regresses a little to around 85 catches (especially with double teams for the entire season) and Cooper blows up.

3. The first play of the season will be a flea-flicker – Just a little ode to the man that brought so much swagger to Stillwater. There’s a 99.2% chance I’m going to be wrong about this but if I’m right, I’m going to be right.

4. At least 25 players on defense will have double digit tackles – For reference last year’s team had 21. Somebody (or a few somebodys) is going to have to replace Orie Lemon’s 133 tackles though and this D is deep. Like, “could maybe compete in the bottom third of the SEC” deep. And if you’ve been following OSU for longer than six months you know that’s deep for them.

5. Quinn Sharp will break the Big 12 punt average record of 47.6 yards by Colorado’s Mark Mariscal – First of all, how is it fair that a Colorado punter holds this record? That’s like building a 265-foot baseball stadium in Cleveland and having Travis Hafner hit 88 HRs in a year then calling him the HR champ.

Here’s why I think this record falls though. Sharp averaged 46.2 yards/punt last year with fifteen of his 46 punts landing inside the 20. Sure, some of those were booming 55-yarders that fell at the six or seven-yard line, but I’d venture to say the majority were from the fifty or closer which (obviously) brings down his average. Now name a scenario this year in which OSU is facing a fourth down at or inside its opponent’s 50 and not going for it. You can’t? Okay, so Sharp gets fewer punts, his average isn’t weighed down by the coffin corner average, and he breaks the record.

6. Joseph Randle will become the first player in school history to have a 1,000-500 season – As best I can tell no player has ever rushed for 1,000 yards and received for 500 in the same season. Randle will top both marks this year.

7. Mike Gundy will have the second most wins in school history at this time next year – He trails current second place wins holder Jim Lookabaugh by 11. Yeah, I went there.

8. The Cowboys put up 50 in each of their first three games – They were nine points against Troy from making this happen last year. It’s pretty much a lock against Louisiana and Tulsa and I really feel like the Zona game could get out of hand if everything’s clicking.

9. OSU will go undefeated against the spread as an underdog – They went 1-1 last year and are already dogs in four different games. This team was created to have the college football world against it.

10. Justin Gilbert will break Perrish Cox’s single season record of 895 kick return yards – Look I don’t buy this DeForest “he’s not going to play on special teams as much because he’s going to be on defense all the time” stuff. The dude is going to return kicks (or I’m going to physically cause harm to someone). He averaged 26.8 yards/return last year compared to Perrish’s 29.8 record-breaking season average. If you don’t think he can improve by 3 yards then I obviously haven’t written well enough to convince you of anything.

Plus, Gilbert only put up a total of 32 yards combined in the Troy, Nebraska, Kansas, Tech, and WSU games. I think at some point it just becomes a question of whether or not teams will kick to him.

So those are the first ten. Feel free to agree, disagree, love, hate, or otherwise maul my predictions in the comments below.

But don’t forget to check out our other blog series’ – In the way of #1 and OSU’s 20 most important people

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