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2001 in Review

Publication Date: June 19, 2001

How'd I Do?

As we close out the 2001 season, I want to take a look back at a few columns that I wrote that had something of a predictive nature during the course of the year. The way I write, much like the way I think, tends to have more of a probabilistic "this is what could happen" tenor to it than a straight prediction would, but still, it's worth looking back to see what I was right and wrong about in hopes that I'll identify missteps that I can avoid next time. Sometimes I'm wrong, sometimes unlikely things just happen; maybe over time I can learn which is which.

Tulane will come out as a major contender this year. This one I'm kind of pleased with. Before the season started, I identified three programs who were likely to break out this year. One of the three made their first CWS trip this year, which is not bad for that type of guesswork. More relevant than the CWS trip, though, is that Tulane was a legitimate national seed this year.

The other two teams I picked, Central Florida and Nevada, didn't fare quite as well, although UCF did get a #1 seed out the season, and Nevada was quite strong the second half of the season with a very young team. Part of my disappointment with UCF is with the TAAC as a whole, which leads to an unrelated anecdote:

A wise man in another forum once pointed out the similarities between all the branding-consultant-driven corporate names of the last few years -- Lucent, Avaya, Aventis -- and names used by, ummm, "temporary evening entertainment workers". They're meaningless, have no history, and can be changed at a whim. Now, not to cast aspersions on what was doubtless a hard-working branding consultant, but doesn't "Atlantic Sun" sound like the perfect name for a stripper in a Destin night club?

Anyway, rather than produce a true nationally contending team this year, the TAAC produced two over-rated underachievers at the top and a bunch of mediocrity the rest of the way down so bad they're changing their name and running away from any associations with the old name.

Southern Cal will struggle because of the perception that they're struggling. This one wasn't so much a prediction as a wonder, but there turned out to be nothing to it. They finished strong, won the conference title in the nation's strongest conference, and got a deserved national seed and another trip to Omaha. The lesson here, as I mentioned in the original column, is probably to ignore anything a coach says after a bad weekend and just watch what he does.

Stetson will collapse and miss the tournament. I'll take half credit on this one. At the time, the Hatters were 28-5 but hadn't played anyone worth mentioning. They hung on for a while, long enough to get into the tournament, then went into a nine-game losing streak, recovering only long enough to win a couple in a weak regional.

Georgia Tech will get a #1 seed. Most of my short-term predictions for who would host and get #1 seeds (and for that matter, get into the tournament) were pretty close; that's not encouraging, I'm just learning to predict the mistakes that will be made. On this one, though; the lesson is probably that if a team has been struggling for six weeks, that may be long enough to not expect them to snap out of it.

When you do this stuff year-round, as I'm trying to do, there's not always a endpost when it's time to say thanks, but this seems like a good time to thank all of my readers for sticking around through the season, and to thank you for all the feedback in email, good and bad, some of which has helped me sharpen my thoughts and some of which has been good for the occasional pick-me-up. I'll be back next week to hand out state championships, and we'll see where it goes from there.

Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> 2001 in Review About the author, Boyd Nation