Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

July 12, 2013

TF didn’t ask me, but I will answer anyway

As I See It ... Tony Eierdam

Mineral Wells Index

— Probably not surprising is one of my favorite features of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine, the annual publication that deals with high school, college and pro football, is the writers’ poll.

Sports writers from across the state are asked to give their predictions in categories ranging from Big 12 champion to Heisman Trophy winner to the Super Bowl winner.

My lone problem with TF is once again they did not ask for my input. But that’s OK, I care more about my readers here in Mineral Wells and surrounding areas than I do anywhere else, so I will share with y’all my thoughts by answering the exact questions these fine sports writers were asked.

The writers’ poll section is broken down into two phases, the first, which are specific questions asked to specific writers; the second is a prediction breakdown box asking who the writer’s feel will win the Big 12, the SEC, the BCS title and the Heisman Trophy. It also asks each writer for their prediction on the Dallas Cowboys’ overall record for 2013, and it asks the writers to predict the NFC and AFC champions in the NFL and their Super Bowl winner.

Before I give you my predictions, I want to touch on a couple of answers writers gave in the first phase of this section.

One question asked if Texas would finish in the top three of the Big 12. Five writers were asked this question, and only one gave a firm “yes.” Two said Texas would if this and that happened, while another said “no.”

My answer? Tough question. My first thought would be a resounding “no.” However, if Texas gives former Aledo standout Johnathan Gray 30 carries a game and the ‘Horns come up with their usual strong offensive line, then I would say “absolutely.”

Texas has been a puzzle in the past few years on offense, and I am not sold on David Ash being the type of quarterback that can carry a team that has high expectations. But if Ash “drives the bus” and lets J-Gray handle the load, then “yes” I feel Texas will be in the top three.

Another question asked who is the best college defensive player in Texas. Four of five chose TCU sophomore defensive end Devonte Fields as its best. The other choice was Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat, but since he has been injured and hasn’t gotten the opportunity I don’t see him having a better season than Fields.

Recall, as a FRESHMAN, last year Fields was voted the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year.

One question that I got a kick out of – actually it was the answer that made me LOL – asks, “Who will be on the cover of Texas Football’s winter edition?

Odessa American sports writer Adam Zuvanich’s answer was, “Whoever Texas hires as its next head coach.” Snicker, snicker. Good one, Adam.

But now to the reason I wrote this piece, predictions. This year TF only asks a lucky 13 writers to answer in its prediction poll. I will give you the question, the consensus among those writers and end with my prediction.

Who will win the Big 12?

Six of the 13 pick Oklahoma. Kansas State, Texas and Baylor (big surprise) each garnered two votes and Oklahoma State one.

Baylor? Please. Texas? Doubtful. What’s funny is the Waco Tribune writer, John Werner, chose Texas and not hometown Baylor.

My pick – and this is tough because the Big 12 is really wide open this year – is OU. I can’t pick Texas or TCU because of the quarterback situations. Ash hasn’t proved top be a championship QB, and Horned Frog quarterback Casey Pachall is coming off a suspension where he missed the last half of the 2012 season, so it is unknown how effective he will be.

Who will win the SEC?

Eight of the 13 pick Alabama. I guess they think Alabama can beat Texas A&M at Kyle Field. But why would they think that if ‘Bama didn’t beat the Aggies in Tuscaloosa last year?

I’ll tell you why. Alabama is still loaded and seeking revenge, and Kyle Field to the Tide is just like any other loud, packed SEC venue, so that team will not be intimidated. But mainly, A&M does not have that same great offensive line that it had last year.

My pick: Alabama.

Who will win the BCS title?

Close race. Alabama gets six votes and Ohio State gets four. Two writers picked Oregon and another Florida State.  My pick: Give me Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Who will win the Heisman Trophy?

Five of the 13 pick Braxton Miller of Ohio State. Three writers feel Johnny “Johnny Football” Manziel will become a back-to-back Heisman winner.

My pick: Miller. I picked the Buckeyes to win it all, and Miller is one of the big reasons, so naturally he is my Heisman pick.

What will the Cowboys’ record be in 2013, and will Dallas make the playoffs?

Not surprisingly, the consensus is the Cowboys will finish 8-8. Two writers have the Cowboys at 10-6, the highest marks Dallas received. But what is funny is that all predictions are either 10-6, 9-7, 8-8 and no lower than 7-9. Average that all out and it comes to 8-8.

Just three of the 13 feel Dallas will make the playoffs.

My pick: Cowboys go 10-6 and qualify for the playoffs.

Who will win the Super Bowl?

Eight of the 13 have Denver and Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl, but just three of the eight feel Denver will win. The San Francisco 49ers win this poll with six votes. Three writers feel Green Bay will win it all, with one giving Atlanta a vote.

My pick: Talk about a wide-open league. This is a tough one for me. The NFC is very strong as SF, Green Bay and Atlanta are the teams to beat. This will make for interesting playoffs.

I also do not discount the Cowboys. Tony Romo had an outstanding year in 2012, and he has a resolve to quiet his foolish critics who have put a “can’t win the big game” label on him, which I feel is unfair.

Again, this was a tough question for me. But I will go with Peyton and the Broncos to upset the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVIII.

There you have it, my predictions for the upcoming football season. Maybe one day TF will include me in their annual prediction poll.

(What do you think about Eierdam’s predictions? Email Eierdam at sports@mineralwellsindex.com and comment on his picks)