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Column: Take preseason predictions with a grain of salt

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Predictions, predictions, predictions. With the start of football season less than a month away, it’s that time of the year.

Who’s gonna win the SEC? Who’s gonna win District 1-5A? And so on, and so on, and so on.

In a few weeks, The Press-Tribune and Minden Press Herald’s football season preview section will be published. As in past seasons, there will be predictions.

When you see them, the best thing to do is take them with a grain of salt.

For instance, let’s take a look at how I did last year predicting Districts 1-5A and 1-1A.

In 1-5A, Captain Shreve and Byrd were the most talked about teams during the summer. But I picked Haughton to win it. 

While the Bucs had some very good players, they didn’t have quite as many as several of the district’s other teams. And they didn’t have the depth of the Gators and Yellow Jackets.

Haughton wound up sixth with a 3-4 mark. I picked Shreve second and Byrd third. They shared the championship, so I wasn’t that far off.

I picked Airline fourth but the Vikings had a rare down season and finished seventh. 

I had Parkway and Benton finishing in a tie for fifth. Well, the Panthers and Tigers did finish tied — for third, with Natchitoches Central.

I fared much better with District 1-1A. I got first and second right with Calvary Baptist and Homer. I had Haynesville third and Glenbrook fourth. They finished the opposite way.

My biggest error was underestimating Lincoln Prep, which I picked eighth. The Panthers finished fifth.

You may have noticed I did not mention District 1-3A. That’s because I made a mistake in the prediction list that I obviously didn’t notice when I proofread the section.

I left out Loyola, which won the championship. Instead, I had Mansfield finishing both first and last. I was wrong on both counts.

The Wolverines finished tied for second with Bossier and North Webster. I had North Webster second, Green Oaks third and Bossier fourth.

Last year, I also wrote the Press Herald’s season preview which meant I had to predict the records of the four Webster Parish high schools, four area colleges and the Saints and Cowboys.

I missed Minden’s record by a mile. The Crimson Tide was coming off a very good 2020 season. I thought that would carry over even though several key players had graduated.

I picked Minden to go 7-3. The Tide went 4-6.

I wasn’t that far off on the other three high schools.

I knew Glenbrook was going to be good but they were better than I thought. I went with 6-4 and the Apaches finished 8-2.

I predicted North Webster to go 6-4. The Knights went 5-5. I picked Lakeside to go 5-4. The Warriors went 3-6.

I did poorly on the college predictions.

I had LSU going 10-2. The Tigers went 6-6. I had Arkansas going 6-6. The Razorbacks went 8-4.

I predicted Louisiana Tech would go 7-5. The Bulldogs went 3-9. I had Grambling State at 7-4. The Tigers went 4-7.

In my defense, I’m far from a college football expert.

I’m even less of an NFL expert, but I fared much better there.

I predicted the Saints would go 11-6. They went 9-8. I had the Cowboys going 11-6. They went 12-5.

The release last month of the SEC preseason poll at Media Days is what got me thinking about predictions.

LSU was picked to finish fifth of seven teams in the West Division. I really believe Brian Kelly and the Tigers are going to surprise some of the so-called experts and fare much better than that.

But hey, I’ve been wrong before.

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