I’ve never been great at sports predictions.
Most years, my March Madness bracket fails to win the pool, probably because I always pick Kansas to go far (thanks, Northern Iowa).
In fantasy football, I’ve finished second in my league a few times but am mostly a middle-of-the-pack kind of guy.
And I once gave a friend 100-to-1 odds that the White Sox would win the World Series. That fall, they won in a four-game sweep.
Despite all my shortcomings on the national stage, after being on campus for three years and serving as the sports editor last year, I’d say that I know Penn athletics pretty well.
So I didn’t hesitate to write a prediction column on the first day of school in September. And now that classes are over, it’s time to see how bad they were. (Spoiler alert: they actually were really good).
1. Prediction: Football’s drought will end. Reality: 7-0 Ivy season Well, well, well, I’m 1-for-1. Admittedly, picking the No. 2 preseason team to win the Ivy League title isn’t that risky of a prediction. But the Quakers were able to beat preseason favorite Harvard in Boston to earn coach Al Bagnoli’s first ring in six years.
What I didn’t predict was just how dominant the team would be on defense, as it finished first in the Football Championship Subdivision in total defense.
2. Prediction: Penn will beat Cornell in M. Hoops. Reality: Penn 79, No. 22 Cornell 64, February 12, 2010. Now this is one I’m really proud of. Not only was the win special because Penn beat a ranked team for the first time in over 11 years, but once Cornell advanced to the Sweet 16, the victory become even more significant.
To be fair, this pick was much easier in September when Penn had yet to suffer its worst start in program history. And I did say “it’s easy to see Cornell going 11-3 and Penn going 10-4.” But I’m still glad I got this right.
3. Prediction: This is the year for W. Lax. Reality: ? The NCAA Tournament doesn’t start for two-plus weeks, so this prediction can’t be scored yet.
However, this year a pattern has emerged for the Quakers: they destroy the Ivy League and unranked competition but struggle against top nonconference teams.
So while the team’s Ivy accomplishments — a fourth-straight undefeated season and the unanimous Ivy League Player of the Year (Ali DeLuca) — should be applauded, the Quakers must improve their play against the top teams in the nation for my prediction to come true.
4. Prediction: Wrestling will have national success again. Reality: NCAA All-American Scott Giffin. As predicted, Penn had its first NCAA All-American since 2007, and the team finished second in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association tournament.
However, I didn’t expect the team to compete for a while without seniors Cesar Grajales, Matt Dragon and Rollie Peterkin — forcing Giffin, a junior, to fill the void.
5. Prediction: Field Hockey will continue to struggle; neither soccer will win an Ivy title. Reality: Right on all fronts. Field Hockey (5-12, 2-5 Ivy), had its third straight losing season, and coach Val Cloud retired after the campaign after 15 years at the helm.
M. Soccer (6-8-3, 2-4-1) couldn’t defend its Ivy title, as an 0-2-1 start in the conference doomed its chances. The women (10-4-2, 4-3) fared better, but they couldn’t string together consecutive Ivy wins until the last two weeks of the season.
6. Prediction: Ivy titles will be the same (three). Reality: Four teams have already won. Football, Volleyball, W. Lax, W. Golf have already claimed Ivy glory, and Baseball is still in contention. Two games back of Columbia in the Gehrig Division with a home-and-home doubleheader, Penn can claim the division title by winning three of four.
So while I’ve done well at correctly guessing individual sports, in the end, I underestimated Penn’s overall Ivy performance.
Hey, nobody’s perfect.
ZACH KLITZMAN is a senior history major from Bethesda, Md., and is a former Sports Editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.Comments powered by Disqus
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