2012 Staff Predictions
complied by Rivers McCown
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. We can only guess.
Let's say we think the New England Patriots 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 Houston, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore each have a 10 percent chance to make the Super Bowl, ten other teams have a five percent chance, and Jacksonville and Cleveland are there to make sure everybody has a full schedule.
OK, so we pick New England to win the AFC. Even based solely on this opinion, there is four in five chance the pick will be incorrect. So all preseason predictions are 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.
For the fifth year, 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 2013 draft." Our college writers make similar comments about the FEI projections that ran in Football Outsiders Almanac 2012. 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: New England, Pittsburgh, Houston, Denver (by a razor-thin margin over Kansas City)
AFC wild cards: New York Jets, Buffalo
NFC divisions: New York Giants (narrowly over Philadelphia), Green Bay, Atlanta, San Francisco
NFC wild cards: New Orleans, Chicago
Super Bowl: New England over Green Bay
First Pick in the Draft: St. Louis
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."
One more note. We're introducing a new staff member below, Peter Koski. Peter has been one of our best game charters and in the last couple of years he's taken over the process of compiling all of our game charting data each season. It's enough work to earn him the title of Game Charting Coordinator which has been vacant for a couple years, and he'll get to add his voice into Audibles each week as a thanks for his hard work. Plus we needed more 49ers homerism to balance out their 2012 projection.
All right, let's rock.
Team Most Likely to Beat Their FOA 2012 Prediction
Andy Benoit: San Francisco. Maybe this team won’t go 13-3 again this year, but what evidence have they themselves produced that would suggest a five-to-six game drop? They have virtually the same team back on both sides of the ball, only this year they’re deeper at running back, more experienced along the offensive line, and more talented at receiver.
J.J. Cooper: San Diego. With the core of a solid team still in place, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the Chargers start slow, finish fast and get to 10 wins, only to lose in the first round of the playoffs, like usual.
Tom Gower: Philadelphia Eagles.
Peter Koski: San Francisco Homer Alert! Yes, I believe the 49ers will see a regression in their turnover margin and their AGL in 2012. Yes, they have a tougher schedule in 2012 that features road games against Green Bay, New Orleans, and New England. As well as a back-to-back in Minnesota and against the Jets. However, the 49ers still have six games versus the NFC West and a manageable home schedule. My red and gold colored glasses see at least a nine win team.
Mike Kurtz: Seattle Seahawks. A young, talented team in a miserable division, and a fairly low line.
Sean McCormick: San Francisco. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of reasons to expect a significant regression from the 49ers, and I doubt they'll be hosting the NFC Championship game again this year. Their style of play is also difficult to succeed with year in and year out, though the Ravens have certainly shown you can do it. But the 49ers have a terrific coach in Jim Harbaugh, and I tend to buy into the notion that Alex Smith is going to be as good or better next year rather than worse. The division, while improving, is still pretty soft, and 5-1 is a reasonable expectation. That means the Niners would have to hunt up four more wins to beat their projection, and I think they can probably do that.
Rivers McCown: Seattle. I'll go back to the scene of the crime (my Rams prediction to beat their FOA forecast last year) and instead put my faith in The Asterisk and one of the best defenses in the NFC.
Ben Muth: San Francisco 49ers. I know all the reasons why San Francisco is supposed to regress this year, but I also know they return all 11 on a very good defense. They play the Rams and Cardinals a combined 4 times. And they have a great coach. Teams have won ten games with much less.
Aaron Schatz: I'm bored with talking about San Francisco, so I guess I'll say Detroit. The system expects regression on both offense and defense, but it seems like a little much, especially since the Lions should be able to take advantage of the same easy schedule that puts the Jets and Bills into playoff contention.
That being said... there sure are a lot of NFC teams where the projections seem too low. We know the arguments for San Francisco. The Giants were definitely too low before I added the manual bump for postseason performance. The Eagles seem awfully low given the numerous indicators suggesting a rebound. There are reasons to think Dallas will be better. I love Russell Wilson too and want to believe Seattle will be better than projected. Look, all these NFC teams can't outperform their projections at the same time without the wins coming from somewhere. Where are they coming from? Maybe you want to move some wins away from the AFC East teams, but those could only go to the NFC West. That still doesn't do anything for the Lions or Eagles.
Danny Tuccitto: San Francisco is the logical pick here given the amount of attention we've paid to their projection since the book came out. I definitely don't see 13-3 again, but I also don't see 7-9. The NFC West is so bad that they probably start the season with five automatic division wins. Wins against Minnesota, Miami, and one of the three home opponents during October pushes them up to eight. There are only three things I can imagine happening that would drop them to 7-9 (or worse): Alex Smith suffers a major injury early on, Aldon Smith's hip injury turns into something worse, or Dashon Goldson gets hurt. Those are the only three positions where their backup is nowhere near as good as the starter. Even if Patrick Willis gets hurt, at least they have NaVorro Bowman, and Larry Grant filled in for Willis remarkably well at the end of last season.
If I had to go with a less obvious pick, it would be Seattle. The defense is there. Just like the 49ers, they've got seemingly easy wins against St. Louis and Arizona (and can hang with San Francisco). Most importantly, with all due respect to Tarvaris Jackson, their quarterback situation is much improved.
Vince Verhei: Kansas City Chiefs. The schedule is brutal (eight games against the NFC South and AFC North), but the Chiefs won seven games last year with three of their top ten guys missing at least 14 games each. They looked much better under Romeo Crennel at the end of last season than they did under Todd Haley. Jonathan Baldwin should improve in his second season, they have an elite secondary, Jamaal Charles is back, and in my mind they're the favorites in the AFC West.
Robert Weintraub: The 49ers are too easy, almost like one of those Vegas lines that seem like a sucker bet -- until you lose your shirt. So I'll stay away from the obvious and go with with New England. Not sure where four losses come from with that schedule, unless Tom Brady goes down. I'd say they are more likely to go unbeaten again than 12-4.
Team Most Likely to Fall Short of Their FOA 2012 Prediction
Andy Benoit: New York Jets. Don’t know what part of our normally solid formulas like offenses that can’t throw or run...
J.J. Cooper: Miami. FO didn't pick the Dolphins to do a whole lot this year, but the combination of an not ready rookie quarterback and a talent-deficient roster adds up to what might be the worst team in the NFL.
Tom Gower: I picked the Carolina Panthers to go under a line almost a full win lower than their FOA 2012 prediction of 8.3, so I'll go with them here.
Peter Koski: Chicago. I like the Bears this season, but I'm not sure they make it to 10 wins. On average, the Bears defense isn't that old, but the marquee players are on the wrong side of 30 with two inexperienced safeties. Yes, the Bears play the NFC West and AFC South this year, but they also play nine games against top-15 pass defenses by DVOA. Also, I'm not encouraged by the Chicago offensive line's second-to-last finish in Adjusted Sack Rate.
Mike Kurtz: New England Patriots. The defense is still horrid.
Sean McCormick: Miami. They've just stuck an overdrafted rookie quarterback in charge of an offense that is utterly bereft of skill position talent that might take some of the load of him. If you told me that Andrew Luck came in and powered his team to seven wins, I'd have no problems believing it. Ryan Tannehill? C'mon, that's easy.
Rivers McCown: Miami. I just don't think they have enough overall talent to pick up seven wins. Jake Long is awesome, and the front seven still has plenty of disruptive forces, but the secondary is depleted. And Ryan Tannehill is not the quarterback I want to be starting right away as a rookie.
Ben Muth: Carolina Panthers. As tempting as the Dolphins are here, I refuse to believe a team that offers as many absurd contract extensions as Carolina has over the past couple of seasons can go .500. Jon Beason and Thomas Davis are healthy, and are joined by a highly-touted Luke Kuechly, but that defense was truly awful last year. I don't think three guys are going change that. I think it would take a top-five quarterback to take this team to eight or nine wins (projected 8.3) and I don't think Cam Newton is there yet.
Aaron Schatz: Um... Washington, I guess? I like Robert Griffin but I don't think the secondary is good enough for that team to be a top-ten defense. I'm having a hard time picking a team for this category, which ties into what I said above, that there don't seem to be enough wins to go around to all the good teams in the NFC. Maybe a lot of people think that the AFC East teams are projected too high, but there's a lot of evidence to support those projections.
b) The Jets were 23rd in offensive DVOA last year. Are they really going to be that much worse this year with basically the same players?
c) The Bills are now projected to be an average team, not a top-ten team, which seems to make more sense but still makes them playoff contenders.
d) The Dolphins were much better than people think last year, especially on defense, which should mitigate the decline expected due to a struggling rookie quarterback and the loss of their worst receiver.
Danny Tuccitto: I could see Pittsburgh taking a bigger dip from last year's 12-4 record. Between David DeCastro's injury, Mike Wallace's holdout, the turmoil at left tackle, the uncertainty at running back, and the insanity of Todd Haley, I'm guessing the offense might not be what it's been the past few years. A lot of their offseason moves were designed to keep Ben Roethlisberger upright, but now it seems that they're right back where they started.
I could also see New England falling short, only because a 11.9-win projection doesn't leave a lot of margin for error.
Vince Verhei: Denver Broncos. As I recently explained, the Broncos have two scary pass rushers and no other players you'd really want starting on your defense. I'm not thrilled with the Demaryius Thomas/Eric Decker/Andre Caldwell trio at wide receiver, the Joel Dreesen/Jacob Tamme tag team at tight end, or the Willis McGahee/Ronnie Hillman combo at running back. And Peyton Manning, as great as he is, is 36 years old and is coming off experimental neck surgery. This is uncharted territory, and I'm not going to assume he'll be the Manning of old.
Robert Weintraub: Miami. Hard to feature the Fish getting to seven wins without Chad Johnson, heh.
Player Most Likely to Beat His KUBIAK Projection
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Andy Benoit: Jay Cutler. Cutler is playing in a more favorable system this year as new offensive coordinator Mike Tice, recognizing the offensive line’s limitations, has eliminated all seven-step drops. Also, Cutler is being reunited with a No. 1-caliber receiver in Brandon Marshall.
J.J. Cooper: Andrew Luck will have some ups and downs, but he is more ready to step into the starting lineup than any rookie quarterback in quite a while. He'll have enough big games to make this projection seem low, even if the
surrounding talent isn't that impressive.
Tom Gower: I'm bullish on Adrian Peterson's health and the ability of the Vikings to have a more functional offense later in the season. He'll still be down the first couple weeks, but I like him more than most of the other running backs in his tier.
Peter Koski: Percy Harvin. I think 2012 is a record-setting year for Harvin across the board. 90 or more receptions, more than a 1,000 yards, and more than eight touchdowns. Even if the year starts slow, the return of Adrian Peterson from injury and Jerome Simpson from suspension will create opportunities up for Harvin.
Mike Kurtz: Adrian Peterson. I can see him only barely breaking 1,000 yards this season, but I just can't see only eight rushing touchdowns.
Sean McCormick: Mark Sanchez. Not a popular pick at the moment, considering the Jets' comical offensive performance in the preseason, but I actually think Sanchez has been throwing the ball well, and that a receiving corps with Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley and Dustin Keller will produce some markedly different results from one with Patrick Turner and a very raw Stephen Hill. Sanchez has easily gone over the 3,000-yard mark each of the last two seasons, and I don't think there is any reason to expect a decline in his play this year (and no, Tim Tebow isn't going to significantly cut into his attempts).
Ben Muth: Peyton Hillis. I think the Chiefs are going to be able to run the ball this year. Obviously, Jamal Charles is going to be the main option, but coming off an ACL injury he's going to have share carries with Hillis. Plus, Hillis should be well rested since he didn't play hard last year.
Aaron Schatz: Mikel LeShoure will really grab onto the starting job in Detroit when his early-season suspension is over. There is a reason it looked like Kevin Smith was done with football at age 24; the guy was awful his first three seasons. Also, I think David Wilson is better than Ahmad Bradshaw and the Giants will realize it by midseason.
Danny Tuccitto: Titus Young. KUBIAK projects his 2012 stats as almost identical to his 2011 stats, which were about as mediocre as you'd expect from a rookie No. 3 wide receiver. He's got a year under of NFL football under his belt, a full offseason of work in the Lions' system, and he already passed the ageless Nate Burleson on Detroit's depth chart. I see a moderate jump in his fantasy production.
Vince Verhei: Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Martin is theoretically part of a committee with LeGarrette Blount. I don't expect that to last long. Martin's versatility could also be a factor. I'd put the over/under on his yards from scrimmage at 1,500, and I'd take the over.
Robert Weintraub: Avalanche warning! Peyton Hillis will shrug off the effects of the Madden Curse (and being a Browns player) to rejuvenate in KC.
Player Most Likely to Fall Short of His KUBIAK Projection
Andy Benoit: Jake Locker. Locker has a long ways to go as a pocket passer. The Titans will have to call a lot of rolling pockets to make him comfortable. That could put a subtle-but-consistent limitation on the downfield passing game.
J.J. Cooper: Count me among the skeptics who believe that Chris Johnson's disappointing 2011 season is a sign that he'll never come close to matching the brilliance he showed before.
Tom Gower: Denarius Moore seems to have a connection with Carson Palmer, and if healthy, could have the kind of breakout season KUBIAK is predicting for him. I don't trust his ability to stay healthy and don't think he's quite good enough yet.
Peter Koski: Eli Manning. Manning saw a huge spike in passing yards last year, with his yards per attempt jumping by a full yard. The much-talked-about regression of Victor Cruz's ability to score 60-yard touchdowns, the constantly nicked up Hakeem Nicks, and a tougher overall schedule tell me Eli is headed back towards 2009-2010 numbers and not the 2011 ones.
Mike Kurtz: Maurice Jones-Drew. I doubt his incredibly pointless holdout will be forgotten by anyone, and he is definitely going to lose snaps because of it.
Sean McCormick: Chris Johnson. I can't think of any running backs who lost their mojo the way Johnson did last year who turned around and got it back. Running backs just have short shelf lives, and even if there was no obvious reason for Johnson's decline, I'm going to stay skeptical until I see him turn it around. The skill position talent isn't going to help him out much, either.
Rivers McCown: Shonn Greene. Between the threat of TebowCat, Bilal Powell looking good in the preseason, and the fact that Greene has been a consistent underachiever on the field so far, I'd be pretty surprised if he garnered nearly 1,000 yards.
Ben Muth: Matt Ryan. I just don't think he's that good. He has all the weapons now, but I think he's an average quarterback, not a top-five quarterback.
Aaron Schatz: I've been driving the Denarius Moore bandwagon all preseason, but hamstring injuries do tend to linger.
Danny Tuccitto: Maurice Jones-Drew, just so we can test the theory that holding out predisposes a player to injury and/or ineffectiveness.
Vince Verhei: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers. When you start at the top, there's only way to go. Of the ten best fantasy seasons by first-year starting quarterbacks between 2000 and 2010, eight declined the next season, by an average of 90 points. That's partly skewed by guys like Shaun King who were never supposed to be starters to begin with, but Daunte Culpepper, Derek Anderson, Donovan McNabb and Aaron Brooks all took a step backward in their second season in the lineup. Michael Vick was injured in his second season and spent the rest of his career in Atlanta trying to live up to his 2002 campaign. It's not realistic to expect Newton to repeat 2011 every year.
Robert Weintraub: Rob Gronkowski falls prey to exceptional expectations, his inability to avoid sampling all the pleasures of the Boston nightlife (and morninglife), and the presence of Brandon Lloyd and comes back to earth. Sample Boston Herald headline circa Thanksgiving -- "Gronk Can't Grok His 2012 Numbers."
College Team Most Likely to Beat Their F/+ Projection
Andy Benoit: No. 13 Ohio State. Because Urban Meyer will probably wind up working 15-hour days again.
Bill Connelly: Michigan State. Really, they are only inexperienced in one aspect: the passing game. They can win a lot of games, and finish higher than 24th, simply on the power of a fantastic defense and solid running game.
Brian Fremeau: West Virginia. The No. 20 team in our projections is heading to a BCS bowl game in Dana Holgorsen's second season at the helm, and they'll look a lot like last year's Oklahoma State team on their way. The Mountaineers will have a ridiculously efficient and explosive offense, with an underrated defense due to garbage time drives and scores. Senior quarterback Geno Smith will put up numbers that will garner Heisman attention, especially after knocking off Oklahoma in Morgantown on November 17th.
Tom Gower: I think Michigan State has a good shot at double-digit wins again.
(Ed. Note: We should mention that Tom sent this in before Michigan State beat Boise State this weekend.)
Matt Hinton: Louisville. The Cardinals salvaged a dreadful start in 2011 with an improbable run to a share of the Big East championship, and one of the teams they shared it with – West Virginia – is no longer in the conference. Sophomore Teddy Bridgewater is the best quarterback in the league, and his surrounding cast can match anyone on the schedule for overall talent level. That may say more about the schedule than it does about Louisville, but still I'm on board with the preseason consensus that the Cardinals should be favored to win the Big East, and the automatic BCS bid that (yes, still) comes with it. So I'm a little mystified why we've projected them to finish fourth.
Rivers McCown: I'm sure this'll be unpopular in the wake of them getting whitewashed by Alabama, but give me Michigan. As Matt Hinton noted the other day, who hasn't gotten rolled by the Tide lately? I think they can make a BCS bowl.
Ben Muth: UCLA. Talent wins, and UCLA has a lot of talent, particularly on defense. They play in the Pac-12 South which consists USC and teams that will show up on Matt Barkley's highlight tape come draft day. I'm not a huge Mora fan, but I could see eight wins from UCLA if Brett Hundley is even average.
Robert Weintraub: I have Southern Cal in the title game, so clearly I think they will win more than 10 games. Bonus pick -- Duke goes 6-6 and is bowl eligible for the first time since people didn't reflexively hate Duke.
College Team Most Likely to Fall Short of Their F/+ Projection
Andy Benoit: No. 2 LSU. The loss of Tyrann Mathieu hurts.
Bill Connelly: Stanford. Stanford, Oklahoma State, and Baylor were all probably projected a little too high because of their recent success with players who are no longer in uniform. But both Mike Gundy and Art Briles have proven they can produce huge offensive numbers with just about anybody. David Shaw has not; at least, he hasn't yet.
Brian Fremeau: Florida. As much as I want to believe in the infallibility of our five-year performance baselines, the Gators simply aren't the same kind of program as they were in the Urban Meyer heyday. And even if they were, the schedule is too difficult to overcome. October features games against LSU, Georgia, and South Carolina. A trip to Florida State awaits in November. The Gators will get to a bowl game, but it won't be of the BCS variety.
Tom Gower: Oklahoma's had too many offensive line injuries and Oklahoma State lost too many of its best players for me to be comfortable predicting either team to end up with more than 9 wins.
Matt Hinton: TCU. The Horned Frogs have been money for a solid decade under Gary Patterson (the undefeated 2009 and 2010 teams both deserved a shot at the national title), and return a very good pass-catch combo in quarterback Casey Pachall and Josh Boyce. But they're also replacing the vast majority of their offensive line and secondary just as the degree of difficult increases dramatically in the transition from the Mountain West to the Big 12; they also unexpectedly lost four returning starters for various reasons over the course of the offseason. They could start 7-0 against the back-loaded schedule, but the fall against the top half of the Big 12 in November will be very hard.
Rivers McCown: Florida State. Because they are Florida State.
Ben Muth: Arizona State. Arizona State loses a lot from a team that went 6-7 last year. They have a quarterback situation (a controversy is when you have multiple good options at the position, a situation is the opposite), and Todd Graham may be the first coach in NCAA history who lost his team's respect before spring practice started.
Robert Weintraub: I just can't see Oklahoma State replacing all that talent on the fly and getting to ten wins. If they do, Mike Gundy is, indeed, a man.
Super Bowl XLVII Winner and Loser
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Andy Benoit :Green Bay over Pittsburgh. Sounds familiar, I know. The Packers offense is a machine and I think that über-versatile defense will rediscover its pass-rush and thus, it’s potency this season. The Steelers are aging a bit on defense but haven’t crossed the threshold yet. Offensively, their passing game is potentially as dynamic as anyone in the AFC’s.
J.J. Cooper: Green Bay over New England.
Tom Gower: After my 2009 prediction ended up as the Super Bowl XLV matchup, albeit with the winner reversed, I'm going with the reverse of my 2010 prediction, sort of. Green Bay over Denver.
Peter Koski: San Francisco over New England.
Mike Kurtz: Green Bay over Baltimore.
Sean McCormick: New England over Green Bay.
Rivers McCown: Philadelphia over New England.
Ben Muth: Green Bay beats New England, and Skip Bayless asks if Tom Brady can win a Super Bowl married to someone who grew up watching soccer.
Aaron Schatz: I picked New England over Green Bay last year, and I'll pick it again this year.
Danny Tuccitto: With full understanding that none of the following is going to come true...
Since 2003, only New England, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis have won the AFC. It's time to give someone else a chance. Baltimore blew their chance last year, so I'll go with the Texans. Houston fans deserve something positive to counteract the Astros.
For my NFC champion, I'd love to take San Francisco because it would make me happy if they won. That doesn't seem to be in the spirit of this little exercise, though. I'd love to take New Orleans because of the narrative. Just -- man, that defense is bad. Therefore, I'll go with the Bears.
For Super Bowl XLVII, I'll say Houston over Chicago because that's practically a home game for the Texans.
Vince Verhei: New England Patriots over Atlanta Falcons. Pats play the AFC South and NFC West and will probably be the favorites in at least 13 games. Falcons have a tougher road against the NFC East and their own division (although they do get to play the AFC West), but Mike Tanier's chapter in FOA 2012 (still available!) made me realize that this team has made the right decision both on and off the field almost every time in the past five years, and I'm counting on their postseason luck turning around.
Robert Weintraub: New England over Green Bay.
2012 BCS Championship Winner and Loser
Andy Benoit: Someone From the SEC over Someone From the SEC. Fill in whatever teams you’d like.
Bill Connelly: Alabama over Oregon.
Brian Fremeau: Alabama over Oregon. It isn't much of a stretch to pick the two teams most likely to go undefeated in the regular season according to our projections, but here we are. Two teams destined to dominate the vast majority of their games in distinctly different ways. Two teams destined to showcase their highest profile performances on the same fateful date, November 3rd, Alabama on the road at LSU and Oregon on the road at USC. An offense that no one will be able to stop versus a defense no one will be able to score upon. We haven't had a controversy-free national championship matchup selected since the USC-Texas clash at the end of the 2005 season. Before we usher in a four-team playoff, we'll get that one more game that everyone will agree upon after all other arguments are settled on the field. Alabama over Oregon, 31-30.
Tom Gower: LSU over Oregon.
Matt Hinton: USC over Alabama. Yeah, it's chalk, but picking anyone else here (save LSU) would be ignoring the obvious. Alabama sent more talent to the NFL from last year's juggernaut BCS championship outfit than any other team in the country, and yet has assembled such an unassailable pipeline of blue-chip recruiting classes in Tuscaloosa that it may also return more talent than any team in the country, even if much of it has yet to take the field in any significant capacity. The Crimson Tide are positively grizzled in the two areas where it matters most – quarterback and offensive line – and should have no trouble filling in the gaps. USC was arguably the best team in college football by the end of November, and boasts the best passing game by far courtesy of future first-rounders Matt Barkley at quarterback and Robert Woods and Marqise Lee at wide receiver. (The late transfer of 1,000-yard rusher Silas Redd from Penn State doesn't hurt, either.) But mainly, I cannot overstate how badly I want to see the reaction from SEC fans if a team coach by Lane Kiffin schools one coached by Nick Saban in the championship game.
Sean McCormick: USC over Alabama.
Rivers McCown: Alabama over West Virginia.
Ben Muth: USC beats Alabama.
Robert Weintraub: USC over Alabama
With the First Pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, ____ selects ________.
Andy Benoit: The Oakland Raiders select Jarvis Jones, linebacker, Georgia.
J.J. Cooper: Somebody makes a trade with Miami to pick Matt Barkley, quarterback, USC, because the Dolphins can't take Barkley a year after drafting Ryan Tannehill.
Tom Gower: The Cleveland Browns select Logan Thomas, quarterback, Virginia Tech.
Peter Koski: Miami earns first pick, but trades it away because they're invested in Ryan Tannehill and his wife is hot, so who needs Matt Barkley?
Mike Kurtz: The Cleveland Browns pick ... who the hell knows, it's the Browns. Probably Jerry Lewis. (OK, Barkevious Mingo.)
Sean McCormick: The Cleveland Browns select Matt Barkley, quarterback, USC.
Rivers McCown: The Miami Dolphins select Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle, Utah.
Ben Muth: The Cleveland Browns select Matt Barkley, quarterback, USC.
Aaron Schatz: The St. Louis Rams select Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle, Utah. The Rams can't deal the pick because they don't want Matt Barkley in their division with Arizona, and Jacksonville won't want to part with multiple first-round picks when they could wait and take Tyler Wilson or Geno Smith in whatever slot they actually end up with.
Danny Tuccitto: The Arizona Cardinals select Matt Barkley, quarterback, USC.
Vince Verhei: The Cleveland Browns select Matt Barkley, quarterback, USC.
Robert Weintraub: The Miami Dolphins select Barkevious Mingo, defensive end, LSU.