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Revisiting the preseason predictions

The funny thing about most people's predictions is that they tend to fade off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. (Try finding Joe Lunardi's past final bracket projections -- you can't do it. And there's a reason why.)

Not us. We'll go ahead a parade our dirty laundry for all to see. Here are my preseason predictions alongside the media poll, with just how right (or wrong) we were:

Actual Finish
Media Rank  Me Actual vs. Media Actual vs. Me
1. California 1 1 EVEN EVEN
2. Arizona State
7 6 PLUS-5 PLUS-4
3. Washington 2 2 MINUS-1 MINUS-1
4. Arizona 4 4 EVEN EVEN
t5.USC 9 9 PLUS-4 PLUS-4
t5. Oregon State
5 5 EVEN EVEN
t5. UCLA 3 3 MINUS-2 MINUS-2
t-8. Stanford 10 10 PLUS-2 PLUS-2
t-8. Oregon
6 8 MINUS-2 EVEN
10. WSU 8 7 MINUS-2 MINUS-3

In the end, I was just a little more accurate than the media, missing by a grand total of 16 spots while the media missed by 18 spots total. To be honest, that's actually pretty good on both fronts, especially considering how wild we thought this race was going to be. For all of the unpredictable results along the way, teams ended up more or less where we thought they would be. 

I'll leave you with the comments I wrote for each team before the season with my thoughts now that the regular season has ended.

California

Then: "No brainer here. Least amount of question marks, and might just have the two best players in the conference. Sounds like a winning recipe."

Now: NAILED IT! I think their feat was made more impressive by the way they fought through injuries.

Arizona State

Then: "Seems about right to me after losing Harden, although I could see them going higher."

Now: Although I didn't pick them to go higher and thus missed their finish by a mile, I'm glad I hedged my bet a little. I wasn't sure how their experience would play out, mostly because I wasn't sure about the strength of the rest of the conference. I certainly didn't see a second place finish coming, though.

Washington

Then: "Again, seems like a no brainer. Lots of returning talent -- with some new talent -- but just enough question marks to keep them out of the top."

Now: They weren't as good this year as I thought they would be, honestly. I vastly underestimated the losses of Dentmon and Brockman, and overestimated Gaddy's readiness.

Arizona

Then: "As expected, a large drop off after the top three. I'll bet they wouldn't be ranked this high if Kevin O'Neill -- and not Sean Miller -- was still coaching there."

Now: NAILED IT! Kudos to Miller for getting that team to finish strong after its second-half swoon.

USC

Then: "Welcome to the fruits of Tim Floyd's labor. The Trojans will be a pain if they buy into O'Neill, but after seeing how well the Wildcats bought into him, he sure seems like a coach who needs his own guys."

Now: Well, clearly I underestimated their ability to buy into O'Neill. And they were a pain.

Oregon State

Then: "As you see, the media pretty clearly sees this as a four-tier conference, with Arizona and OSU being in the second tier."

Now: NAILED IT! Obviously, there weren't four tiers. You can make an argument there was only one tier -- maybe two. Pretty interesting that for all their problems, the Beavers finished exactly as predicted.

UCLA

Then: "Those first place votes? [The Bruins received five from the media.] Those are votes for Howland -- not the Bruins. Because I don't know how else anyone could project these guys as the first place team."

Now: Kind of the same thing as OSU. While 8-10 is far below UCLA standards, this has to be considered a bit of a success, given where this team started. But the guys who picked them first in the league still look as dumb as they did then.

Stanford

Then: "Welcome to our world, Cardinal fans. Welcome to our world."

Now: That comment was in reference to the state of our football program. That Johnny Dawkins was able to somehow coax seven wins out of that squad is nothing less than a minor miracle. He gets some major, major props in my book.

Oregon

Then: "This one actually shocks me a bit. The gap from OSU to Oregon is about the same as from Oregon to ASU. Does the media know something I don't know about a team that was 2-16 in conference last year? Did Kent suddenly learn to coach?"

Now: NAILED IT! I guess the media doesn't look all that silly, given that the Ducks finished just one game out of fifth. But if you take away the win the Ducks should have never had, this was the last place team in the conference, so I think they still look silly.

Washington State

Then: "Still trying to figure out how so many members of the media are so certain Oregon is going to be better than the Cougs. Maybe they think we're underestimating the loss of Tony Bennett?"

Now: I still almost can't believe these guys ended up in the cellar. It really is remarkable, considering they were 4-5 at the halfway mark (5-4 if you want to count the Oregon win) with more home games than road games in the second half. But the media was closer than I was, so I guess that gets them some bonus points or something.