Chappy's Clipboard - Breakdown Definitions
By Tim Chapman Writer/Analyst


July 3, 2003

Just go with me on this one…

Okay gang, it seems there have been a few misconceptions about my predictions and analysis.

First and foremost, let me say that these predictions are NOT, by any means, shots in the dark. Nope, no need to cue that famed Ozzy tune when reading these. I have carefully been following each team and have put serious thought into these prognostications.

Second, I should give you a breakdown on what each category entails.

Predicted Order of Finish
This is an area where I go through each team's schedule and determine whether they win or lose. Many factors go into determining these outcomes: overall talent, record going into the game, placement on the schedule (i.e. does a team play two highly-ranked opponents back-to-back; are they coming off an idle week; do they play on a Thursday night, etc.), a little bit of recent history, and so on.

After that, I put them in the order they would finish with their (projected) outcomes, and list them accordingly. I do not make notice of teams who are on probation, but it can be self-evident that these teams would not be qualified for a conference title.

Teams Most Likely To Surprise
This is a team who I think will end up winning three (or more) games more than they are "expected" to. By this, I mean that they are not getting much media attention at the beginning of the year, and will end up playing better and having a brighter outcome than they are given credit for.

Teams Most Likely To Disappoint
Conversely, this is a team who gets the media attention (more or less), but ends up winning three (or more) games less than what is "expected". Like the title implies, they disappoint their pre-season accolades.

Unit Rankings
These are rankings of the units as a whole. For instance, if a team has a handful of fairly talented starters but nobody behind them, they don't get as much merit. I also take into account the sum of the parts. For instance, on offense I take passing game, running game, offensive backfield, receivers, offensive line, offensive coaching staff, and offensive system in which they run. The more cohesion in the sum of these parts, the higher up I rank them.

As far as the individual sectional units (i.e. OFF. BACKFIELD), I lean more toward who has the better starters, while still looking behind them on the depth chart- basically using a 70/30 scale.

Chappy's All-Conference Team
These are my team of players, who if I had to field a team putting the best individual talent out there, these are the guys I would select. They are also the guys who I think will have good years statistically, which is partially dictated by their team's predicted outcome and vise versa.

You may not think a few of these guys will be starters, but remember- I am an insider. We at give you the added bonus of reflecting changes that some publications are not able to make before time of press. Take my word that they will be seeing plenty of time come next fall!

MVP Awards and Newcomers
Pretty self-explanatory. As far as the newcomers go, I carefully consider what I have seen and heard in the realm of recruiting, and providently predict who I think can make a big impact in their first year on the job.

Toughest Schedule/Weakest Schedule
This is based on the teams a school will play and how those opponents finished last year, but more so, how I expect them to finish this year. So a team who plays South Carolina- a team I pick to surprise some people this year- will get a leg up in my preseason strength of schedule, as opposed to someone who plays Texas Tech- a team who I think won't be as good this year, as last.

Best Coaching Staff
This is a category in which I award the entire staff as a whole. And this goes for game preparation, how well his players follow him, strategy, how he (and his team) can bounce back after a tough loss, and even recruiting. So a team like Penn State, who has College Football's "Favorite Pappa", Joe Paterno, does not get as much credit as a whole as Michigan's staff, who does more of the things listed above better than the Nittany Lions' staff.

Most to Prove/Gain
The first, are players who must prove to the college football world they are worth their merit. I am talking more about guys who have been given high credit among the media and peers, and must deliver this year. People expect them to come through, so they should.

The second are guys who may be in the shadows a bit, either because of highly ranked talent around them or maybe they play in a "lower-deemed" program, who can come out and have a breakout year.

These are players who get either too much credit or not enough credit by the media.

Best Player Nobody Knows About
This is usually someone who has extreme talent, yet you never hear their names mentioned on all-star lists, or even at all for that matter. But make no mistake- these guys can play!

Top Games Of The Year
A bit of confusion has occurred with this one. By top games, I don't mean the best rivalries, or the best media-hyped contests before the season. What I simply mean is, at the time, these are the games (in conference) that have the most bearing on the conference race, in accordance with my predictions.

For instance, I think the Washington/Oregon State game in the Pac 10 will be one of the top games in that conference this season, due to the fact that I think those two teams will finish one and two in the conference. Therefore, that game would make my list. Get the picture?

I would just like to say that I have received email from many of you already, and I fully encourage the continuance of these emails. Whether it be praise, criticism, questions, or belittlement- feel free to write me. Or, if just wanna chat with me about ANYTHING that is college football, let's do it. As I'll say all year 'round, let's kick it till kickoff!