Last summer I put together a list of former teammates (give or take a few stretches) and some predictions regarding their stats for the season but never took the time to go back and review my results so here they are:
First off I pitted former Crimson Tide running backs Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson against each other, predicting Richardson would total more rushing yards and I was correct.
My second prediction was way off as I said former Arizona Wildcat Brooks Reed would register more sacks and college teammate Rob Gronkowski would tally touchdown receptions. I thought there was no way Gronk could catch another 17 and I felt Reed was on the rise after 6 sacks as a rookie. Gronk won this one 11 to 2.5 though.
Third I took the old Arkansas backfield of Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis and predicted that of all these injury prone running backs, Hillis would be the one to stay healthiest. I was wrong again as Hillis only played 13 games and only rushed for 309 yards. McFadden managed 707 in only 12 games but somehow Felix Jones made it through all 16 games last year!
My 4th prediction was really just a shot at Tony Romo and the Cowboys as I said fellow Eastern Illinois quarterback Sean Payton, despite being suspended for the season, would coach more games than Romo would win playoff games. The Cowboys went 8-8 and failed to make the playoffs while Payton reportedly coached games for his sons 6th grade team. I say win, or at least a push.
Next up was the trio of freak athlete wide outs to come from Georgia Tech. I picked Calvin Johnson to have more receiving yards than both Demaryius Thomas and Stephen Hill combined. Specifically I predicted 150 more yards for Calvin. The final tally was an incredible 1964 for Megatron, 1434 for Thomas and only 252 for Hill. That is a 278 yard advantage for Calvin and a win for me, although I’d be lying if I claimed I thought he would have that many yards.
Another prediction I was way off on, former LSU cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne’s total interceptions. I really undervalued Peterson’s ball-hawking abilities and thought too highly of Claiborne, who is continuing to struggle this year. Peterson grabbed 7 interceptions and Claiborne only 1, making me wrong.
My next prediction was based on a former Michigan Wolverines hookup, Chad Henne to Mario Manningham. I predicted that, while Manningham got a big contract in San Fran and Henne was signed to be a backup quarterback, Henne would actually start more games and Manningham would catch touchdowns. I was right as Mario only caught 43 balls for 449 yards and 1 score while Henne ended up starting 6 games.
The next group was Penn State/Linebacker U based. I said that the group of Tamba Hali, Cameron Wake, Navarro Bowman and Sean Lee would make an outstanding set of starters in a 3-4 defense, and then predicted Bowman to lead in tackles by a decent amount, and for Hali to lead in sacks by at least 2. Going off of ProFootballReference.com, Bowman lead in tackles by a lot, finishing 10th in the league in solo tackles (just a note, another former Penn State-er Paul Posluszny was 5th in solo tackles). Wake, meanwhile, went off finished 4th in the league with 15 sacks while Hali only tallied 9. 1/2 credit?
I took former USC and starting Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez versus current USC quarterback Matt Barkley in total wins and picked Barkley by 3, despite the fact that the college season is shorter. Both players had bad years and Barkley did get more wins, just not 3 more (7 to 6 by my count).
Next was another outstanding hookup in college. Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn to Jeff Samardzija. Quinn had been a failure as an NFL quarterback to date and Samardzija chose to go to baseball instead, so I gambled saying that Quinn, with 10 career passing touchdowns, would throw at least a couple more that season and finished with more career passing touchdowns than Samardzija would tally wins that season in baseball. Quinn threw 2 more scores, bringing him to 12 total, while Jeff only went 9-13 over 28 starts. I also predicted that Matt Cassel, the quarterback starting over Quinn, would not last the season and, like fellow USC alum Mark Sanchez, would win less games than Matt Barkley. Cassel and Quinn ended up splitting the season, each going 1-7.
I then looked at a group of under-achieving former defensive players from UNC. I said out of Robert Quinn, Marvin Austin, Quinton Couples, Bruce Carter and Zach Brown, Quinn would be the only true ‘starter’ for their NFL team and added that Quinn would register 10 sacks that season. Marvin Austin was terrible, only playing in 7 games with 0 starts. Couples looked like a future starter, playing in all 16 games, but only got credit for 2 starts despite having 5.5 sacks. Bruce Carter was solid for the Cowboys, playing in and starting 11 games, thanks in part to an injury to Sean Lee. Zach Brown was a pleasant surprise for the Titans, starting 12 games and piling up 5.5 sacks and 3 interceptions. Quinn ended up leading in starts with 14 and met my prediction with 10.5 sacks. While I got the sack number right for Quinn and while he did start the most games, I would argue that Brown was also a true ‘starter’ and that both Carter and Couples look to be soon. 1/2 credit again.
My last prediction was around former Bengals Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco, but Chad never made it back into the NFL so while I technically was right, it was a moot point. In this prediction I added that Palmer and Matt Leinart were yet two more USC quarterbacks who would win less games than Matt Barkley. Palmer went 4-11 as a starter and Leinart only played in 2 game, both losses. Running tally that puts Barkley with more wins in one college season than Palmer, Leinart and Cassel combined, as well as more than Mark Sanchez heads-up.
Overall I didn’t do that well, I would call it even when it was all said and done. With that said though, it was really fun for me to look back at players who went to the same colleges or played together at some point.