It's pretty easy to get a lot of the big-ticket predictions right in college football. For the most part, this year's best teams will be last year's best teams. You can craft a semi-reliable Heisman favorites list by simply writing down the names of the quarterbacks from those top teams. Throw in the fact that my preseason SP+ projections give me a decent cheat sheet for whom to proclaim overrated or underrated, and I feel I get a decent amount of things right from year to year.
Getting stuff right, however, is boring. It's much more interesting to reflect on your swings and misses. So just as I did around this time last year, I've decided to do some self-scouting. For all the tens of thousands of preview words that I wrote in the offseason, what were some of my bigger whiffs? What was I most blind to, and what does it mean for the rest of 2022? Let's get critical!
I underestimated Bo Nix
I never saw what others proclaimed to see in Bo Nix. The former Auburn quarterback seemed to believe in his own scrambling abilities far too much with the Tigers, which resulted in a few moments of magic, a lot of ill-advised sacks and related disasters, an average Total QBR ranking of 40th and a mediocre 16-13 record over his last 29 games in an Auburn uniform.
The Auburn legacy elected to transfer for his fourth season, which made plenty of sense, but I wasn't sure he was the answer for an Oregon team in need of a bounce-back after 2021's late-season collapse. (After a 9-1 start, the Ducks lost three of their last four games by a combined 123-49.) I felt the best-case scenario in Eugene might be a youngster such as Ty Thompson, and Jay Butterfield winning the job over him.
Some rankings for you:
• Oregon ranks first nationally in points per drive (3.6) and third in points per game (43.1).
• The Ducks rank first in success rate and ninth in three-and-out rate.
• Nix ranks sixth in Total QBR (88.3), second in completion rate (73.3%) and first in yards per dropback (9.3).
Plenty of first-year quarterback transfers have done well in their new homes -- Caleb Williams (Oklahoma to USC), Jayden Daniels (Arizona State to LSU), Jaxson Dart (USC to Ole Miss), Dillon Gabriel (UCF to Oklahoma) and Quinn Ewers (Ohio State to Texas) all currently rank in the Total QBR top 20. But Nix has been the best transfer of them all.
He evidently still reserves the right to do wild things at times, but he has played with a level of control and accuracy that I didn't know he had, and Oregon is still within reach of a CFP bid because of it. The Ducks are 8-1, and while SP+ was a massive skeptic at this time last year, it currently ranks them seventh (the offense is fourth), projects them as favorites in each of their last three regular-season games and gives them the best current odds (39%) of winning the Pac-12. Even in their season-opening blowout loss to Georgia, the Ducks moved the ball efficiently.
Honestly, if the Ducks win out, and Nix continues to play at this level, he should get serious Heisman consideration. He's the No. 5 betting favorite right now at Caesars (+1000, equivalent to an 9% chance), and I voted him second in this week's ESPN Heisman straw poll. His stats are almost as impressive as those of front-runners C.J. Stroud and Hendon Hooker, and he's got some marquee games left on the schedule -- a home game against Utah on Nov. 19, for one, and a hypothetical Pac-12 championship game, perhaps against USC, for another.
(We'll talk more about the Heisman below. For now, let's move on to more wrongness.)