Today is May 5 and we are still four months away from the beginning of the 2010 football season. Hell, that's still almost 3 months away from summer practice. Despite this fact, we have begun to see "early predictions" for the 2010 season popping up all over the place. From Tony Barnhardt to College Football News, people are predicting records and bowl games all over the place. Is it just me or this completely a waste of time and space? Here are five reasons why spring predictions are completely worthless.
1. Freshman players are not yet on campus - with the exception of early enrolees, most freshmen will not set foot on campus until mid-summer. Players used to come to campus expecting to red shirt to gain experience, but not any more. Recruiting services can give stars and predict what a player can do, but until they begin practice it is still just a crap shoot. Need further proof of how a freshman can change a team? See Herschel Walker.
2. Injuries - Inevitably, some big name players will go down before the season begins this fall. An injury at a key position can change the make up of a team. Think about the 2008 team and Trinton Sturdivant. It took Georgia most of the '08 season to find a consistent line up on the offensive line.
3. Suspensions and other legal troubles - College kids make stupid mistakes and during the summer, student athletes have more free time. When players get in trouble over the summer, they often miss games early in the season. Conference play often begins the second week of the season and one loss to a conference opponent can cost you a shot at the championship.
4. Depth charts are not set - Most teams come out of spring practice with a post spring depth chart, but come fall it can radically change. One player may work hard while another gets lazy, someone gets bad grades, and a number of other things can change the chart in an instant.
5. Coaches have not set their goals for the fall yet - Maybe they want to focus more on turnovers or special teams, change up the playbook, or switch players' positions. Maybe their goal is to rebuild or maybe it is try to win now. Spring practice is about getting to see what you have to evaluate where you want to go, not the other way around.