I t’s a new year for Penn Athletics — and with a new year comes new predictions.
Previous sports editors have hit and missed on their prognostications to various degrees. My goal is to beat all my predecessors, giving everyone some top-notch predictions that can’t be proven wrong (but very likely will).
Without further ado, here’s are some fool-proof predictions for the 2014–15 sports season:
1. Penn football will send Al Bagnoli out on top ... sort of
What does that mean you ask? Simple: Penn football will win the Ivy League title in 2014 but have to share it with one of their Ivy foes. In this way, I can stick with my ballot for the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll and keep Princeton atop the Ivy League.
While Penn was ranked fourth initially within that poll, the Red and Blue are as good as any team in the league. With a ton of experience returning at the skill positions and on defense, sophomore quarterback Alek Torgersen will have enough around him to succeed from the start, turning last year’s 3–4 Ivy finish into a distant memory. I’ll say the Quakers stumble at Dartmouth but take the rest of their six Ivy games.
2. Penn basketball finishes in the bottom half of the Ivy League
This wouldn’t be the finish that most diehard fans are looking for, but it is also the most likely. The team loses eight contributors to last year’s squad, including arguably the two most consistent players in Miles Jackson-Cartwright and Fran Dougherty. The only way this prediction ends up going wrong is if Penn’s junior class takes the step forward that many think it can. Guard Tony Hicks and center Darien Nelson-Henry highlight that class and will be keys to any resurgence for the Red and Blue.
3. Women’s basketball finishes second to Princeton
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Princeton is still really good, regardless of last year’s finish. Coach Mike McLaughlin’s squad will be a top contender for the Ivy throne after winning it all last year, but Courtney Banghart’s Tigers return more experienced after faltering under pressure last year. I expect it to come down to the final game once again, but with Princeton prevailing this time.
4. Women’s soccer overcomes last year’s finish, makes NCAA Tournament
Let’s be perfectly clear: Women’s soccer deserved a bid to last year’s NCAA Tournament, yet somehow the Quakers’ resume was deemed unworthy. One loss to Harvard shouldn’t have kept Penn out, but this year will be different. Expect the Quakers to finish on top of the Ancient Eight this year and not leave a bid up to chance.
5. Baseball takes the next step and wins the Ivy title
Coach John Yurkow’s first season at the helm was full of improvement for the Red and Blue, yet Penn finished without an Ivy crown. Why? One man: Columbia pitcher David Speer. Speer shut out the Quakers twice in the final week of the season, including in a Gehrig Division Playoff that decided Penn’s fate. Speer graduated and no one in Penn’s rotation left, so look for the Quakers on top of the Ancient Eight.
6. I will revisit these predictions in late April and cringe
I’ll admit it: I’m going to mess some of this up. But as Taylor Swift suggests, I’ll just shake it off.