- Most aren't painfully obvious (such as "Manti Te'o will lead the team in tackles"). And...
- Most won't come to fruition. I generally steer clear of the norm, instead looking for relevant predictors of success or failure.
Since I figured the Irish for 9-4 and they're currently 12-0, you can guess a few of these went awry. Without further adieu, here's a look at how I viewed the 2012 Irish in August before the season's first snap.
Prediction #1 -- A 4-0 September: Bingo Bango. Not many prognosticators likely felt the same. Nice to start out on such a positive, note. It gets, oh shall we say, "less accurate" as we move along...
Prediction #2 -- Cierre Wood will lead the team in TDs: He finished tied for fourth (with 4), though just two scores behind leader Theo Riddick (6 total). Wood missed the season's first two games due to suspension, news not known when the prediction was made on August 20. Technically Wood could still tie or surpass Riddick with a huge BCS Championship Game effort.
Prediction #3 -- The Irish Pass Defense will finish 65th or worse: Um…no. The prediction called for yards vs. the pass, a category in which the Irish finished 21st, fifth-highest at the program in the last 25 years.
The prediction was based on the presence of a dominant rush defense -- but even that was far better than forecasted. Consider Prediction #3 an Epic Fail.
Click here for a link to Predictions #1-2-3.
Prediction #4 -- The Irish Will Lose at Home: Oh come on, you thought they would too!
Prediction #5 -- Jackson will intercept four passes/lead team: Well, he intercepted four passes, but Manti Te'o led the squad with 7 and counting.
Prediction #6 -- Ground Gains: The prediction included 450 rushing attempts in excess of 4.6 yards per pop. Notre Dame rushed 487 times and at 5.0 yards per rush -- both Kelly-era highs as predicted. (Patting self on back…)
Click here for a link to Predictions #4-5-6-7
Prediction #8 -- Three-headed Monster: The prediction noted that three quarterbacks would take meaningful snaps (or snaps with the game in doubt). In addition to Everett Golson and Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix's 14-yard run on 3rd and 2 (followed by a pass completion) against BYU with the Irish trailing 14-7 definitely counts.
Prediction #9 -- Eifert to Break Three of MacAfee: Pending -- Senior tight end Tyler Eifert needs two touchdowns to tie Ken MacAfee's 35-year-old mark single-season mark by a tight end (6). Eifert surpassed MacAfee's career marks for receptions and yardage at the position in November.
Prediction #10 -- Notre Dame will Emerge at 6-3: Or 9-0, one of the two...
Click here for a link to Predictions #8-9-10
Prediction #11 -- Third-down Defense Suffers: Yes and no. Notre Dame's 3rd Down Percentage defense is ranked at #26 with one game pending, a total lower than last season's (#20) but better than 2010 (28th). Regardless, I'm not displeased with the analysis and projection (provided at the link below).
Prediction #12 -- Third-down Offense Surges: Pending…At 20th nationally, Notre Dame is one spot behind last season's No. 19 finish (after a moribund #73 in 2010). As well, Notre Dame's 3rd Down conversion percentage this season, 47.34, is better than last year's finishing mark, 46.55.
Prediction #13 -- Te'o to Top Three: In a bit of a stunner, Te'o fell well short of this projection: that he'd finish his career among the program's Top 3 all-time in tackles-for-loss. With just 5.5 (a career-low) through 12 games, Te'o remains a half-tackle for loss short of the program's top 10. and former mid-decade defensive tackle Derek Landri's 34.5. I think we can forgive him, but a few more on January 7 wouldn't hurt…
Click here for a link to Predictions #11-12-13
Note: The concluding dozen predictions will be posted Friday.