Well, this is awkward.
In the fall, I drew the short straw and had to publish some predictions on how Penn sports teams would fare during the 2011-12 season. Predictably, my predictions were awful.
And while I’ve spent the past several months in Witness Protection, now I’m being asked to revisit said predictions. In case anyone who read them needed a reminder of how awful they were.
Just blame it on senioritis or a senior moment or something like that. Anyway, here goes nothing:
1. Football will win its third straight title — but not outright.
What I meant was … football will win second place — but not outright.
One too many seniors graduated from the Quakers’ vaunted defense, and the secondary sprang some rare leaks. Penn finished in a tie for second place at 4-3 in the Ancient Eight, while Harvard swept through the Ivy League for an outright title.
I did call that the team would fall short of becoming the first Ivy team ever to post three straight undefeated seasons and that Harvard would be the other contender. So maybe I deserve partial credit here.
1b. The new-look offensive line won’t miss a beat.
It’s difficult to measure offensive line performance, which made this a great prediction — if it’s wrong, who’s really going to know?
But the four new starters up front passed the eye test, and the critical numbers back up what we all saw: 145.9 rushing yards per game (fourth in the league) and 14 sacks allowed (third in the league).
Put it this way: the Quakers did not lose sight of the throne because of the offensive line’s performance. In this scoring system, that’s enough to qualify as “not missing a beat.” One for two.
2. The men’s basketball team will ride the roller coaster to a second-place finish.
Thank God for the only Penn sport I actually know something about.
As expected, Pooh’s crew showed some inconsistencies during an up-and-down nonconference schedule. But again, the Quake Show started 3-0 in the league, and this time, it kept rolling.
Unfortunately, I was right about Harvard winning its first-ever outright title. I would have predicted a win in the CBI for Penn, but I didn’t know what the CBI was in the fall.
2b. Freshmen from Penn and Harvard will again duel for Rookie of the Year honors.
Whoops. Turns out Brown’s Sean McGonagill put some type of spell on me that made me forget that he won Rookie of the Year in 2010-11, not Miles Cartwright or Laurent Rivard.
And the two frosh I thought would lead the 2011-12 race — Penn’s Greg Louis and Harvard’s Kenyatta Smith — were either out for the year (Louis) or played 17 minutes total (Smith).
Cornell’s Shonn Miller won the award, proving you can’t predict performance based on ESPN’s scouting grades.
3. Women’s basketball will post a .500 record overall and in league play.
Like LeBron at the buzzer, both of these predictions fell just short.
Mike McLaughlin’s squad finished 13-15 overall and 6-8 in the Ivy League. Put this one on hold, because women’s hoops added two more diaper dandies to its stable: Big 5 Rookie of the Year Kara Bonenberger and guard Renee Busch.
4. Men’s and women’s lacrosse will head in opposite directions.
They did head in opposite directions, but in the opposite way I anticipated.
The women’s team has stayed on top of the Ivy League at 5-1, while the men have fallen to last place at 1-5.
Somehow, this is only my second-worst prediction (See 2b).
5. This year’s turnaround teams? Men’s tennis, women’s tennis and softball.
One outta three ain’t too bad.
A year after finishing 9-10, softball is tied for first in the South Division at 11-5, while both tennis teams won just two Ivy League games apiece (albeit on beautiful, brand-new, state-of-the-art, thank-you-Clay-Hamlin courts).
That’s 3-for-9 by my count. But some of them were so insanely idiotic, everyone on this campus is now dumber for having read them. I award myself no points, and may God have mercy on my soul.
BRIAN KOTLOFF is a senior communications major from Elkins Park, Pa., and is a former Sports Editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. He can be reached at dpsports@theDP.com.