2009 Staff Predictions
compiled by Vince Verhei
Here's your standard warning: Predictions are probably wrong. It is the intrinsic nature of the NFL: there are so many variables and so much luck involved in a 16-game season that teams will make the playoffs or bomb for totally unexpected and sometimes baffling reasons.
Let's say we think the San Diego Chargers have the best chance of any team in the AFC to make it to the Super Bowl -- 20 percent, perhaps. For the sake of argument, we'll also say that Indianapolis, New England, and Pittsburgh each have a 10 percent chance to make the Super Bowl, ten other teams have a five percent chance, and Buffalo and Oakland are there to make sure everybody has a full schedule.
OK, so we pick San Diego to win the AFC. Even based solely on this opinion, there is four in five chance the pick will be incorrect. So preseason predictions are all going to be mostly wrong. It is unavoidable.
As we note every year, we're going to make picks anyway, because that's part of running a football site: you make picks. However, we no longer have every writer make their own pick of the 12 playoff teams because we were running into a bit of a problem. Running a dozen sets of predictions meant that it was easy to attack FO if you didn't like us. Look at our preseason article, and you were bound to find something completely stupid predicted for every single team, even if it was only the opinion of one writer. If everybody picked Carolina except one person, and Carolina ended up winning their division, someone out there would post, "See, Football Outsiders said Carolina would suck." Comments like this showed up around the Web. We're used to criticism, but this was just lame and annoying.
Last year, we came up with a new concept. Instead of each picking 12 playoff teams, we're showing our individuality by each arguing our point in categories such as "team likely to beat its projection" and "who will go first in the 2009 draft." Our college writers make similar comments about the FEI projections that ran in Football Outsiders Almanac 2009. However, the official FO predictions are based on the statistical projection system, even when the output looks a little strange. You can find those projections here, and as a reminder, the playoff forecast is:
AFC divisions: San Diego, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, New England
AFC wild cards: Jacksonville, Tennessee
NFC divisions: Seattle, Chicago, Carolina, New York Giants
NFC wild cards: Minnesota, Philadelphia
Super Bowl: San Diego over Chicago
First Pick in the Draft: Denver
We often say -- even though some people don't seem to ever hear it -- that we do not believe that our statistical methods are perfect. Our subjective views are informed by our objective numbers, but not dictated by them. However, we want to make this clear: EACH OF THE OPINIONS LISTED BELOW IS THE OPINION OF THAT WRITER AND THAT WRITER ONLY. These are not "Football Outsiders predicts."
All right, let's rock.
(Bill Moore's predictions were accidentally omitted from this article when it was first published. They have since been added. Sorry, Bill.)
Team Most Likely To Beat Its FOA Projection
Bill Barnwell: Baltimore. They won 11 games last year (and should have won 13 with proper officiating) despite being one of the most injured teams in football. There's no reason to think that'll happen again, and while the offense isn't going to get away with being as gimmicky as it was a year ago, the offensive line should be a whole lot better -- and deeper -- with the return of Marshal Yanda and the arrival of Michael Oher. Oh, and the defense is still the Baltimore Ravens defense. They'll win 11 games again.
Will Carroll: I think Detroit will finish better than 5-11. I know, that seems a bit crazy, but I look at the way that Atlanta turned things around and mostly did that through offense. I think even without "his personnel" that Jim Schwartz will use defense and ball control to win a couple games they probably shouldn't. I also think that the NFC Central is a bit overrated and that the Lions will steal one from a couple of their division foes.
Doug Farrar: New York Jets. I believe the Miami back-to-earth projection, and the Bills appear to be in total freefall. So they've got the Pats to worry about, but they knew that. And I don't know that any projection system has an answer for Mark Sanchez – based on what I've seen in the preseason, he has confirmed what I saw of him at USC. There is an innate ability to get out of trouble and make smart plays that reminds me of Matt Ryan. I also like the tangible and intangible aspects of the Baltimore transfer via Rex Ryan, Bart Scott, and Jim Leonhard.
Brian Fremeau: Green Bay. Minnesota and Chicago grabbed more offseason buzz and look pretty good as well, but Green Bay doesn't have to beat either of them to get to eight wins -- Cincinnati, St. Louis, Cleveland, two against Detroit, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Seattle ... the Packers will make the playoffs.
David Gardner: Atlanta. In the most unpredictable division in the NFL, the Falcons had a steady and low-key offseason. They return with an above-average offensive line (ninth in run blocking and fifth in pass protection) and a lot of talent at skill positions on offense. The only question will be the run defense in a division full of strong offensive lines.
Tom Gower: Green Bay. They still have an excellent passing game, and Rodgers is in his second full year as a starter so he should be more comfortable. This team had 8.9 Pythagorean Wins last year and was 11th in the league in DVOA. The switch to the 3-4 concerns me, but the defense is talented enough they'll exceed the 7.4 projected in FOA.
Mike Kurtz: Green Bay. They have a potent passing offense and what I'm convinced will be a terrifying defense. Thank god FO has slain the Run To Win Dragon, so I can feel confident with this one.
Sean McCormick: Green Bay. The Packers were the 11th best team in the league last year according to DVOA, and their Pythagorean projection was nearly three games higher than their 6-10 record. Some of that was due to an unrepeatable level of defensive scoring, but even so, this is a team that had a lot of bad luck last year. Aaron Rodgers is going into his second season as starter, a point when a lot of young quarterbacks have made a big jump (Brady, Manning, Roethlisberger, Rivers, Palmer), and I think he's poised to have a top-five season. The Packers have also cut a swath through the NFL this preseason like Atilla through the Roman Empire, and they've done it when the starters are in. This could be one of the best teams in the NFC, so I think the 7.4 projection is considerably too low.
Bill Moore: Need I get a restraining order? I can't seem to shake Brett Favre. While in New York, I watched an overhyped Favre play subpar ball for a subpar team. Now I'm in Minnesota, and its déjà vu all over again -- sort of. I think this year's Favre doesn't have to do too much to help his new mates. I'll take the Vikings as the team that outperforms its 8.8-win projection.
Aaron Schatz: Arizona. In interviews, I've said that I spent the spring constantly looking for ways to get the Arizona projection higher, and I meant it. I don't think they're going back to the playoffs, but I also don't think Arizona will be one of the five worst teams in the league. I think the projection is somewhat hurt by their decision to lay down like dogs at the end of the regular season, but the passing game should still be good and the defense not that much below average. Plus, Seattle and St. Louis both look a little weaker than they did a couple months ago, which means better odds of the Cardinals winning two or maybe even three games over those teams. I also agree with all the readers who believe the Green Bay offense and Pittsburgh defense are projected too low by the system.
Mike Tanier: Green Bay. I think they are in the "Texans" predicament, to a degree: The Bears and Vikings are projected to be very good, and their projections have an impact on the Packers prediction. I like the Packers defense this year, and I think Aaron Rodgers learned a lot last year. I agree with the amount of variance in the Packers projection: They really are a team that could go 5-11 (an injury to Rodgers) to 12-4 (an injury to Cutler and a little luck) based on just a few small factors.
Vince Verhei: Arizona. The two biggest factor's in KUBIAK's low projection for the Cardinals are improvement among the rest of the division, and a dropoff at quarterback. I don't have much faith in Seattle or St. Louis (at least, not as much as KUBIAK does), and I think Kurt Warner will be able to play beyond his years. He has spent more time on the bench than most 38-year-old quarterbacks, and that means less wear and tear on the body. And if Warner is injured, I think Matt Leinart will show that he deserves the job for good. All in all, I expect the Cardinals to be about where they were last year: an eight- or nine-win team sneaking into the playoffs.
Rob Weintraub: I've spent much of the last few months talking Curse of 370, increased injuries, tougher sked, etc., etc., but Atlanta has too much firepower to go 6-10. Also, Green Bay will have seven wins by November.
Team Most Likely To Fall Short Of Its FOA Projection
Bill Barnwell: Tennessee. Losing Albert Haynesworth goes a long way, but they've also been really healthy each of the last two seasons and have a real thin tightrope to walk when it comes to losing players like Keith Bulluck, Michael Roos, or Chris Johnson. Some of those wins have to go to Houston and Jacksonville.
Will Carroll: Oakland. Someone tell me how this team projects to win six games! They don't have any of the tools and have all the distractions. Also, Indianapolis just doesn't feel like the same place with Jim Caldwell "in charge."
Doug Farrar: Jacksonville. Brutal division, serious quarterback protection issues, and not much on the depth chart behind Maurice Jones-Drew. The receivers will be better, and I like what they're doing on defense, but this is a case where the indicators don't match the reality. Perhaps they're a year away from that big rebound?
Brian Fremeau: San Diego. It won't be a disaster, but 12.5 wins is a big, big number, especially with games against the NFC East, plus Tennessee, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore.
David Gardner: Tennessee. The AFC South is a notoriously tough division, and Tennessee lost a lot of talent in the offseason. The running game should be good, but the Titans will have trouble fully using it if they can't get points on the board early in games. I don't like Kerry Collins to have a successful enough season for the Titans to return to overcome the Texans or Colts in the division.
Tom Gower: St. Louis. The bottom line is this team just isn't very talented. Bulger quite likely won't play 16 games, and won't play at the level he did six years ago. Yes, they should be better in the red zone than they were last year, but not enough to go 8-8.
Mike Kurtz: New England. 12 wins? For serious? I know their schedule is generally laughable, but so is their defense. The Moss and Brady show will still be great, but not two years ago great, and they would need it to be for 12 wins.
Sean McCormick: St. Louis. I know that there are many trends suggesting the Rams will take a big step forward this year, but I'm skeptical for a variety of reasons. The biggest one is simply the low talent level on the roster. If the Rams don't have the worst talent base in the NFL right now, they are certainly in the conversation. Ideally you want a draft class to make a decisive impact in its third season; well, the Rams just cut or traded away their entire 2006 draft class. They also have a very injury-prone quarterback who is already coming into the season with a broken finger on his throwing hand and who is unlikely to play 16 or even 14 games this year. I know that the Rams had the biggest variance in their projection, and I tend to think they're going to come in on the low end.
Bill Moore: Mike Vick has caused a stir, but my pick is unrelated to him. I think Andy Reid will know how to use him judiciously, and he'll help a potentially weak running game. Nevertheless, the Eagles lack the talent across the board to compete in a very tough division. Neither Jackson nor Curtis are true No. 1 receivers. The running game even with Vick is in question, and the offensive line has had too much rotation. Changes to the defense will also hurt, and I'm not a big fan of either Samuel or Hobbs. The Eagles will fall short of 9.3 wins.
Aaron Schatz: Jacksonville. I believe in the numbers when it comes to the Jaguars' offensive resurgence, despite Torry Holt's age and the fact that they'll start two rookie tackles. However, I have serious questions about that defense, especially with a rookie corner now starting opposite Mathis. I hope Derek Cox likes to be picked on. They might get a playoff spot, but it would be a wild card. They won't be competing for the division title.
Mike Tanier: Seattle. I'm not a Jim Mora fan, don't think much of their overall offensive talent, and I think Matt Hasselbeck has reached the injury tipping point where he won't be able to stay on the field as much anymore. If the Rams are as good as we think and the Cardinals a little better than we think, the Seahawks could be a 6-10 team.
Vince Verhei: Seattle. Their projected improvement is based on a return to health for the offense, but Mike Wahle has already retired after failing to recover from surgery, and Walter Jones and Chris Spencer are out for at least the opener. I don't think Jones or Matt Hasselbeck will ever play 16 games in a season again. Jim Mora was a failure in his first coaching job, and except for Bill Belichick, bad coaches usually remain bad coaches the second time around. They'll be better than last season, and I can see them eking out nine wins and slipping into the playoffs ahead of Arizona. But that's the best-case scenario, and the team projection system has them equaling or topping that nearly three out of four times.
Rob Weintraub: Not sure I see where Cleveland wins six or seven games, even factoring in a win over my Bengals.
Player Who Will Most Exceed His KUBIAK Projection
Bill Barnwell: Darren McFadden. Put up decent numbers in a bad offense last year despite playing with a nasty case of turf toe. Toe should be better, as should the offense. Line is underrated, and McFadden had the best non-Chris Johnson Speed Score in years. Just hugely undervalued.
Will Carroll: The consensus seems to be that Marion Barber will lose carries to Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. Jones I get a little, but it was injuries, not scheme, that hurt Barber last season. If he can stay healthy -- a big if, mind you -- I think the Cowboys will have to focus more on the run than in the past. I think Witten and Barber end up the real beneficiaries of the offseason changes in Dallas.
Doug Farrar: Matt Ryan. I had thought that the Falcons would use Jerious Norwood to take the pressure off Michael Turner, but I'm starting to believe that the guy who will take "carries" away from Turner is actually Tony Gonzalez, and that Tom Dimitroff got Gonzo to shift the landscape to a Ryan-led offense. I see Ryan with 4,000 passing yards and 30-plus touchdowns.
Brian Fremeau: Jay Cutler. Twenty touchdowns is a reasonably low bar, and I can easily foresee Cutler leapfrogging the likes of Roethlisberger and Hasselbeck in NFC production.
David Gardner: Joseph Addai, running back, Indianapolis Colts. Addai burst onto the scene as a rookie, but he hasn't performed up to par in the two seasons since. But with competition from rookie Donald Brown and what looks to be a more potent passing attack from the Colts, Addai will have every opportunity to get back to form.
Tom Gower: Santonio Holmes. Kubiak likes Ward better than him, but I think this is the year the former Buckeye becomes the clear No. 1 wideout in Pittsburgh.
Mike Kurtz: Chad Ochocinco. He's the top receiver on a team that looks to be much improved, with his extremely talented quarterback returning (maybe) to health. As far as I can tell, he still has the skills, so if Palmer can stay upright and deliver, he's poised to have a monster season, even dealing with the talented Pittsburgh and Baltimore defenses.
Sean McCormick: Mark Sanchez. Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, and Ben Roethlisberger all experienced success out of the gate as rookies, and the common thread is that each played in an offense that protected them by calling an obscene number of rushing plays. Sanchez is inheriting one of the best offensive lines in the league, a deep stable of running backs, and a quality tight end to dump off to when the pressure comes. He won't be the worst quarterback in the league, and he could surprise by having a season somewhat in line with Joe Flacco's 2008, and possibly better.
Bill Moore: No sophomore jinx for Joe Flacco. The Ravens went max-protect quite often last year to shelter the young quarterback. This past offseason the Ravens bolstered their offensive line, particularly with the addition of Matt Birk. Although he needs some more quality hands to catch the ball, a year progressed reading NFL offenses and a solid protection in front of him makes Flacco my pick.
Aaron Schatz: I still believe in Carson Palmer. I don't believe in his offensive line or his running game, but I think Palmer has enough talent to get top-10 quarterback stats anyway.
Mike Tanier: Le'Ron McClain. When the Ravens said they were moving him back to a "traditional" fullback role, I think they were talking about the 1970s tradition. He won't be used the way he was last year, but he's going to get a ton of goal-line carries.
Vince Verhei: Jay Cutler. The Bears don't have great wide receivers, but they've got a pair of effective tight ends and a running back with good hands. Together, they'll get Cutler at least 25 touchdowns.
Rob Weintraub: Eddie Royal. Even though his quarterback and biggest fan has blown town, four touchdowns seems a little low for such an instinctive player.
Player Who Will Most Underperform His KUBIAK Projection
Bill Barnwell: Adrian Peterson. The Curse of 363 strikes. Honorable mention to Steve Slaton.
Will Carroll: Is it too easy or FO cliche to say Michael Turner? OK, I'll go with Drew Brees. Brees is a solid quarterback, but who's going to catch 4000 yards worth of passes? He has two guys coming off microfracture, one coming off shoulder issues, and one that gets too drunk in Vegas. Pierre Thomas might be a better running back than Reggie Bush, but that doesn't make him a good running back. If Brees puts up KUBIAK's projection, we're going to have to really re-examine him.
Doug Farrar: Clinton Portis. The clock is ticking, I'm not convinced that the line has improved, and they're talking about using Ladell Betts more.
Brian Fremeau: Steve Slaton. This year's Ryan Grant, Slaton won't fall off the face of the earth, but probably will take a small step back in terms of big fantasy production.
David Gardner: Dwayne Bowe, wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs. He has succeeded so far with underwhelming quarterbacks, but a tough offseason will not help Bowe be a top-30 KUBIAK player. Matt Cassel made his living last season by checking to Wes Welker, not throwing deep -- which is where Bowe like to play.
Tom Gower: Maurice Jones-Drew. I have serious concerns about how well he'll be able to handle a much greater workload than he's ever had to handle before. He should still be a solid fantasy performer, but more like the No. 8 running back than the clear No. 1 Kubiak has him at.
Mike Kurtz: Matt Forte. The Bears offensive line is terrible. They may be able to drive and field a passable offense based on scheme and Cutler's talent, you can't avoid the importance of the offensive line when it comes to a running back's success.
Sean McCormick: Julius Jones. Just because you are the starting running back on a good team in September does not mean that you will stay the starting running back come October. Jones has looked bad in preseason, and I think Edgerrin James cuts into his carries pretty significantly by week four or five. Running games also tend to be most impacted when the quarterback is injured, as teams no longer have to respect the pass, and Matt Hasselbeck is a back spasm waiting to happen.
Bill Moore: Forget the Curse of 370, how about the curse of the big 3-0? Brian Westbrook has been on the decline since 2006. Turning 30 on September 3rd won't help. Did I mention he hasn’t taken a snap in preseason?
Aaron Schatz: Marques Colston. From what I understand based on talking to Will Carroll, those injuries are going to nag at him and be a bigger problem than people seem to think.
Mike Tanier: Maurice Jones-Drew. I have a hard time projecting an extra 100 carries into a player's workload. MJD is already nicked up, and I think the Jaguars will use Greg Jones or one of the young backs enough so that MJD's workload tops out at about 225 to 250 carries.
Vince Verhei: Brian Westbrook. Too many years, too many injuries, too much LeSean McCoy.
Rob Weintraub: Eli Manning. Between the lack of outside threats and the comfort level of all that dinero, I think Eli gets the back pages frothing again this season.
Team Most Likely To Beat Its FEI Projection
Will Carroll: I hate to say this, but even picked at 9-3, 'Bama's going to be better than that. Star Jackson will win the job outright by midseason and Nick Saban's recruiting is pushing this program into position to be the next USC or Texas if either falters.
Brian Fremeau: Backhanded endorsement: Ole Miss. A couple of years back, Arkansas had the horses for big things (Darren McFadden and Felix Jones in the same backfield) but Houston Nutt teams consistently lose a couple of games every season they shouldn't. On top of that, the rest of the SEC West could all be better than they were a year ago. I'm confident Mississippi will not live up to its lofty national preseason reputation. That said, FEI's 6.4 wins is a bit low -- I'm pretty sure they'll be in the seven- to eight-win mix at the end of the year.
David Gardner: Mississippi Rebels. Coach Houston Nutt is underrated, and the Rebels have the second-best quarterback in the SEC in Jevan Snead.
Tom Gower: Before the first weekend's slate of games, I would have said for sure Illinois, projected for No. 76 and 4-8 (2-6). Unimpressive performance against Mizzou notwithstanding, I think the Illini will still be bowl-eligible and significantly better than No. 77 Indiana. Cincinnati, 6-6 (3-5), will also be better than seventh in the Big East, and I would have said that before the big win over Rutgers, too.
Rob Weintraub: Ole Miss. I don't think they are Top 10, as some would have it, nor do I think they will win the SEC West. But they have too many good players, starting at quarterback, and too soft a schedule for the Rebs to go only 6-6.
Team Most Likely To Fall Short Of Its FEI Projection
Will Carroll: Michigan. Ha, it's fun to watch Rich Rodriguez cry. He's the Kelvin Sampson of college football, a talented coach with a unique system, but trouble waiting to happen for any organization.
Brian Fremeau: Nothing gets under a Notre Dame fan's skin more than the consistent success of Boston College. The team hasn't just had its way with the Irish -- BC has trumped preseason expectations for the better part of the last decade. But with big question marks at quarterback and linebacker, this has to be the year the Eagles stumble, right? I know I'm jinxing ND for October 24th, but FEI's 8.5 wins are just too generous for Boston College.
David Gardner: Virginia Tech. The Hokies' inept offense was exposed in its first game against Alabama. The offensive line isn't able to protect quarterback Trod Taylor, and a strong division won't help either. Miami, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina all await the Hokies.
Tom Gower: Mentioning Oklahoma now with Sam Bradford's injury would be too simple, and cheating. Instead, I'll take the Auburn Tigers, projected for 9-3 (5-3) and second in the SEC West. The program FEI is based on Tommy Tuberville, and while he wore out his welcome on the plains, I still haven't seen any signs Chizik is his equal as a head coach. Combined with the team's talent level, borderline bowl eligibility, and behind LSU, Ole Miss, and Alabama in the West seems more likely to me.
Rob Weintraub: Kicking a team when they are down is so Russian Mafia, but it's hard to see Michigan coming close to 8-4.
Super Bowl XLIV Winner and Loser
Bill Barnwell: Minnesota over San Diego.
Will Carroll: Pittsburgh over St Louis.
Doug Farrar: Green Bay over Baltimore. The Packers take the NFC with Aaron Rodgers’ ascent to the top of the "Best Quarterback Nobody Talks About" category (replacing Drew Brees, who is now actually talked about) and Dom Capers making the 3-4 conversion work. Baltimore regresses a bit on defense but puts out a power running game that the 1973 Dolphins would appreciate, and just enough firepower from Joe Flacco and his Mystery Receivers to wrest the AFC North away from the Steelers. The Packers and Ravens set a Super Bowl record for most offensive formations, and Greg Jennings’ Beast Mode makes the difference in a tight game. To celebrate "his team’s" return to greatness, He Who Shall Not Be Named leaves 43 unanswered voicemails with Ted Thompson, offering his services for the 2010 season.
Brian Fremeau: New England over Chicago.
David Gardner: San Diego over Green Bay.
Tom Gower: New England over the New York Giants, in an insufferable rematch I'm forced to watch on mute lest I throw something at Phil Simms. The schedule shapes up nicely for the Patriots to grasp home-field advantage, and the last time they lost a home playoff game, Earl Campbell was the leading rusher. The NFC is harder to call, but I still think the Giants are the best team. The Pats will be better able to cope with the Giants' pass rush, which means they'll score enough points to win.
Mike Kurtz: Pittsburgh over Green Bay. The Steelers may have an even more terrifying defense than they did last year, and everything else will mostly stay the same. Except now they have an easy schedule to rely upon. It's tough choosing between New York and Green Bay, but in the end I just have more confidence in Aaron Rodgers than Eli Manning when it comes to putting up good numbers in evenly-matched games.
Sean McCormick: San Diego over Green Bay. People say the Chargers can't win in the playoffs because of Norv Turner, but the Chargers polished off two excellent Colts teams over the last two postseasons. I don't see why they couldn't beat other elite AFC teams. They have the most balanced roster of any of the AFC contenders, their quarterback is about to be a rock star, and they have the least challenging road to a division title. As for the Packers, I like their depth at receiver and think they have the ability to spread out and exploit any of the secondaries they'll face come playoff time. Like Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers looks like he's ready to step up and have a superlative year, and the Packers will continue to have a tremendous home-field advantage in December and January.
Bill Moore: As much as I appreciate the talent in New England (including the newly added talent), losing Bruschi, Harrison, Vrabel, and Seymour in the same offseason is too much. San Diego Chargers beat the Chicago Bears.
Aaron Schatz: New England over New York Giants. This seems like a homer pick, but the projections have three teams in the AFC ahead of everyone else, and that includes a coach I can't trust (Turner) and a coach who's a mystery (Caldwell), so I'll go with the coach with a track record. I think the Giants are deeper than the Bears and thus more likely to make it through January.
Mike Tanier: New England over Chicago. The Patriots defense isn't that great, but I don't think it will matter much; they will win a lot of 38-24 games. It's hard to pick an NFC team this season; I'm going with the Bears because so many offensive players are hitting their prime at the same time, and the veterans on defense haven't gone over-the-hill yet.
Vince Verhei: San Diego over New York Giants. Expect a thousand stories about the electric San Diego offense against the stalwart New York defense -- which seems appropriate, from a historical perspective.
Rob Weintraub: New England over Green Bay.
BCS Championship Winner and Loser
Will Carroll: Oklahoma over Alabama.
Brian Fremeau: Florida over Texas is the safe bet, but I'll go with it anyway. USC will sneak in to No. 2 after the bowl game for the upteenth straight season. Probably too many obstacles in the way, but my dark horse national championship game contender is Georgia Tech.
David Gardner: Florida over Texas.
Tom Gower: Florida over Texas (admittedly a disgustingly chalky selection).
Mike Kurtz: Texas over Georgia.
Sean McCormick: USC over Texas.
Bill Moore: Florida beats
Aaron Schatz: Florida over Texas.
Mike Tanier: Texas over Florida. Full disclosure: This originally read "Oklahoma over Florida," then I watched the BYU game. Florida is the best team in the nation. I am just being cantankerous and picking someone to beat them because they get on my nerves.
Rob Weintraub: Florida over Texas.
With The First Pick In The 2009 NFL Draft, The What Team Selects Who?
Bill Barnwell: New York Jets select defensive tackle Terrence Cody, Arkansas.
Will Carroll: The Cleveland Browns select Sam Bradford, quarterback from Oklahoma.
Doug Farrar: The Seattle Seahawks send Shinebox McDaniels a nice fruit basket and select Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, whose name means "House of Spears". How cool is that?
Brian Fremeau: Oakland Raiders select Jevan Snead, quarterback, Mississippi ... and of course regret it.
David Gardner: The Oakland Raiders select Gerald McCoy, defensive tackle, Oklahoma
Tom Gower: Seattle (from Denver) selects Tim Tebow, quarterback, Florida. This is a positive, not a normative, prediction.
Mike Kurtz: Cleveland Browns select OT Sam Young, Notre Dame. Because if you can't trust a team to realize that Derek Anderson is not an NFL quarterback, then nothing should surprise you.
Sean McCormick: The Buffalo Bills select Sam Bradford, quarterback, Oklahoma.
Bill Moore: The Denver Broncos realize they need to quarterback to win and select Tim Tebow.
(Bill apparently forgot that Denver traded their first-round pick to Seattle. Or he is predicting a blockbuster trade at the top of next year's draft.)
Aaron Schatz: I so wanted to write that Seattle would take Sam Bradford with the top pick they got from Denver... but we don't know what Bradford's injury does to his draft status, and there's actually an AFC team that's a bigger mess than Denver, so: Buffalo selects Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Mike Tanier: The Raiders select Tim Tebow, who refuses to play for the team on moral grounds.
Vince Verhei: I've been set for months to make a joke here about Seattle using Denver's pick to take Sam Bradford. Then Bradford hurt his shoulder, and the Buffalo Bills got even messier than they were before, cutting coaches and tackles willy-nilly. So now I think the Bills, in their never-ending desperate quest to sell tickets, will use the first pick to select the player with the best resume in college football history: Tim Tebow. Maybe they'll even bring in Jon Gruden to coach him.
Rob Weintraub: The Cleveland Browns select Gerald McCoy, defensive tackle, Oklahoma (unless it's the Saints, in which case they have to take the sanctified Tim Tebow).