Thursday, November 29, 2012

Shoup Shots: Holding myself accountable

 By Nathan Shoup, Sports Editor

Contrary to popular belief, I am not perfect.
    I sleep in past my alarm occasionally, there is an awkward combination of clean and dirty laundry covering my bedroom floor — I believe there is a carpet somewhere underneath the chaos — and apparently I’m no extraordinaire at predicting athletic events either. 
    When I attempt to foresee how a game will end, I think about all the variables.

    I ask myself, who is pitching? Where is the game at? Isn’t that running back injured?
    But after my poor showing this fall, I am considering a new method for forecasting games — flipping a coin.
    On Sept. 28, I previewed what I believed would be the five must-see sporting events of the fall.
    Let’s see how I did.

1. University of Oregon at Southern California

    In September, I said this game would be a preview of the Pac-12 Championship Game.
    When the two teams played Nov. 3, the Trojans already had two conference losses. The game simply provided a road challenge for the Ducks. There was no foreshadowing.
    Adding insult to incorrect-prediction-induced injury, I said USC’s senior quarterback, Matt Barkley, would end the Ducks National Title hopes, defeating Oregon in one of his last home games ever.
    Barkley did not even suit up for the game because of an injury.
    Oregon won the game 62-51. I did manage to predict the game would be a shootout, but I think most of the country foresaw that as well.

2. Rams-Seahawks series

    I said the Seahawks would struggle with the Rams Sept. 30 in St. Louis but pull out a victory. I was partially correct.
    Seahawk’s quarterback Russell Wilson completed the ball three times to St. Louis defensive backs and Seattle fell 13-19.
    The two teams meet again Dec. 30 in Seattle, and I said Seattle would cruise into the playoffs and land the Rams a top five draft pick.
    At 6-5, the playoffs are a question mark for the Seahawks. At 4-6-1, it appears the Rams will avoid a top five draft selection.

3. Apple Cup

    I said there was potential that the Cougars would finish bowl eligible this season. A college football team must finish with at least six wins to be considered bowl eligible.
    The Cougars finished the season 3-9. One of those wins was over Washington, Saturday.
    I said Washington’s offense would be too much for the Cougar defense. Washington State shut down the Huskies, who arguably played their worst game of the season.

4. Civil War

    Let’s be honest. Nobody thought Oregon State was going to knock off Oregon. So I got this one right.
    I even predicted the game would be close at the half before the Ducks poured it on late. Oregon State trailed 20-10 going into the locker room, but fell 24-48.
    However, I said the winner of the game would likely be going to the Rose Bowl. At no. 4 in the nation, the Ducks aren’t even going to the Pac-12 Championship game. Stanford and UCLA will enjoy that opportunity instead.
    The Ducks are likely headed to a BCS bowl nonetheless.

5. MLB playoffs

    I said the Texas Rangers were going to beat the Atlanta Braves in the World Series.
    After a late season collapse, the Rangers were forced to play in the wildcard game and lost 5-1 to Baltimore. Their playoffs were over before they started.
    With a controversial infield fly call marring its playoff appearance, the Braves also lost the wildcard game later that same day.
    When I woke up the morning of Oct. 5, my World Series prediction was within the realm of possibility. When I went to bed that night — it was smashed. 

Moving on

    I clearly had problems predicting outcomes this fall, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop forecasting. The law of averages says I’m going to have a good spring.
    Shoup Shots and The Mooring Mast are taking a break until the end of J-term, so I will wish you luck predicting the college bowls this season.
    May you fare better than I have this fall.