Everyone seems to want predictions on the coming football season ... How will the Falcons do this year? Will they compete for the Mid-American Conference title? Can they win at Florida and Virginia Tech? How will the Falcons do against the Rockets?
And as for individuals ... Who will be the key producers on offense? Who will lead the defense? Who will the difference-makers this season?
Well, I'm not much of a predictions guy. Remember when I predicted a 6-6 finish? Sure, I would have looked pretty good had I made that prediction in 2011, when the Falcons were 5-7. Unfortunately, I made it before the 2010 season cratered at 2-10. Ouch.
But OK, you asked for it, so here you go: Predictions. In particular, predictions SURE to go wrong. Read, enjoy, weep, wail, gnash your teeth, and leave YOUR predictions at the bottom. Hang on, here we go ...
- Last season the Falcons averaged 122.9 yards per game rushing and 261.6 yards per game passing. This year, the numbers will be nearly equal.
This season the Falcons have FIVE running backs who could pile up big rushing numbers, a group led by sophomore Anthon Samuel and also including Jordan Hopgood, Jamel Martin, Andre Givens and John Pettigrew. It also helps that the offensive line is improved and yes, the loss of all those receivers will likely bring the passing numbers down a little bit.
Last season there were four MAC schools that averaged at least 200 rushing yards per game. This season the Falcons will come VERY close to 200 rushing yards per game, but fall just short.
- This season the Falcons' leading receiver will be ... someone other than a wide receiver.
Of course, now that means I need to pick out a leading receiver ... or, more correctly, a leading pass-catcher. There are options: I think Falcon running backs will get the ball more, especially Hopgood, a converted receiver. I think the Falcons' tight ends will see the ball a lot, especially TE Alex Bayer, who was fourth on the team in catches a year ago.
I'm going to guess that Bayer ends up the leader just because he will be on the field as much as anyone.
- This season the Falcons' leading pass-catcher among the receivers will be ... uh, give me a second here.
The easy answer would be Shaun Joplin, the top pass-catcher returning from last season -- and the most experienced receiver back. The "recruitnik" answer would be Je'Ron Stokes, the talented Michigan transfer. The "young buck" answer would be Chris Gallon, a talented redshirt freshman who has pushed for a spot in the starting lineup.
The "out-of-nowhere" answer will be the one I choose, though: Ryan Burbrink. He's a walk-on from last season who has evolved into a player who is listed as a starter at Florida. I'm probably overstating things when I say he reminds me of Cole Magner, but you get the idea. Precise route-runner, good hands, shifty, hard-to-tackle. Lots to like here.
- The Falcons will have more sacks on defense than they allow on offense.
Last season BG ended up with 21 sacks (8.5 by Chris Jones) while giving up 23. The year before the Falcons notched 17 sacks while giving up 34 (!) in 12 games. The defensive line continues to improve, and the linebackers will become more involved in this area, so I think Bowling Green will finish with 25 sacks. The offensive line, if it stays healthy, will be better this season (even though it remains a young group). I think the Falcons cut the sacks allowed to 18.
- Dwayne Woods does NOT lead the Falcons in tackles for the third straight year.
And trust me, this is not meant as a knock on Woods, who is one of the premier linebackers in the MAC. If he stays healthy, Woods will make plenty of tackles -- and plenty of big plays. I just think one of the Falcons' safeties, either BooBoo Gates or Ryland Ward, makes more.
- Chris Jones wins the MAC's defensive player of the year award.
Unless Woods wins it.
- By the end of the season, Falcon fans will forget that they entered this season with concerns about the kicking game, especially extra points and field goals.
I just have a feeling that this will work itself out. Wish I could tell you which kicker -- Stephen Stein or Tyler Tate -- wins the job. But what am I? A psychic?
- Brian Schmiedebusch does not match his punting numbers from last season.
First of all, it will be hard for him to match an average of 45.3 yards per kick, 19 punts of 50 yards or more (one-third of his kicks last season), and 18 inside the 20-yard line (also roughly one-third of his kicks). I still think Schmiedebusch will be good, and I don't believe punting will become a worry. But I don't see it being the weapon it was last season.
- The Falcons will finish the month of September with a 3-2 record.
I don't think predicting home wins over Idaho and Rhode Island is bold. I don't think predicting wins over Florida or Virginia Tech makes any sense. Who does that leave? That's right, TSUN ... remember, you heard it here first.
- The biggest game on the Falcons' schedule this season will be played Oct. 13 at home against Miami. And if BG wins that game, the Falcons will be 5-0 in the MAC entering November.
I think the RedHawks will be an extremely dangerous team, especially with Zac Dysert and Nick Harwell returning. Yes, every game is a must-win ... but that is especially is must-win because it sets the table for a HUGE month of November. And it will be huge, should the Falcons beat Miami.
- I think the Falcons finish the regular season with a 8-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in MAC play. Unfortunately, I think a loss at Ohio and another slip-up along the way will cost BG a chance at the MAC Championship Game, but I believe the Falcons will go bowling. What bowl, you ask? I think the ... wait, my crystal ball is starting to cloud up ...
Sorry, things just clouded up. But my prediction is that you need to start saving your nickels and dimes to get ready for a bowl.
What do YOU think about these predictions? Do you have a Prediction Sure To Go Wrong? At the bottom of this page give us your thoughts in the "Post a comment" box! Looking forward to hearing from you!