Everyone loves a good pre-season profile. However, what happens when you look at pre-season profiles after the season ends? Last year, I did pre-season analysis at GeauxTuscaloosa. Let's look at some of the things I said last year at about this time. Let's begin with Mississippi State.
Mississippi State is, if you can believe it, probably not as good as they were last year. They lost a lot on defense, which was the strength of their game. The offense won't be embarrassing like it was at the beginning of last year, but it won't be particularly good either. Michael Henig probably wouldn't be starting at QB for any other team in the conference (except maybe at their cross-state rivals), and the line won't turn into All-SEC calibre overnight. Any victory MSU gets in a conference game this year will be an upset.
I said that here, on June 24 of 2007. As you can see, I was pretty much dead wrong.
Let's check out some other things I said:
Bottom line? I don't expect Mississippi State to be very good, and I don't expect them to be able to seriously challenge us. Last year, Mississippi State started the season with probably the most inept offense I'd ever seen in the SEC. They didn't score a point in either of their first two games. They had a hard time with basic things like getting the right players on the field and getting the play called in time to avoid a delay of game penalty. It was honestly like watching a high school JV team.
And Sylvester Croom didn't escape my ire:
I thought Croom would own the state of Mississippi in recruiting. He has not. Ole Miss clearly has the upper hand in recruiting despite trying to recruit mostly African-Americans against the only African-American coach in the conference, while having a mascot like Colonel Reb. MSU has every built-in advantage in recruiting in that state, and should be burying Ole Miss, but it appears to be the other way around, as Ole Miss continues to put together solid recruiting classes and MSU fills their rosters with JUCOs and 2-star recruits.
Honestly, I don't expect Croom to still be MSU's coach at this time next year.
Both of those quotes are from here, on May 22 of 2007 (emphasis added). One SEC Coach of the Year Award later, Croom looks safe at MSU and they look like a bowl team again.
Why am I bringing this up? To illustrate a point. I'm not saying I was foolish. Certainly, my pre-season analysis of MIssissippi State could not have ended up more wrong. MSU not only won an SEC game, they won 4 SEC games (Ole Miss, Bama, Auburn, and Kentucky). They went to a bowl game. They turned their program around.
The thing is, even looking back on it, everything I said made sense. They lost a lot of good players from an absolutely awful team. Their 2007 team did in fact look like JV high school team. It couldn't even get the field goal unit on the field properly. It looked like a bunch of kids just learning to play. My point is not that I was foolish. My point is that all pre-season previews are based on very incomplete information.
I made some other profiles, and they certainly came out better than this one, but I bring this up to illustrate that it's never a good idea to put too much stock in how a team looks in the summer.