So, based on some discussions I had with a few people last night, I went back to the beginning of our more meaty football discussion this season - just before camp in August, in fact. What I was looking for was the yearly prediction thread that shows up around that time, the only thread unadjusted by camp news or actual game play.
What I was curious about is this - what was our baseline expectation for the season? Did we get it right, or were were overconfident? Maybe too pessimistic? I hadn't visited that thread since it was new, so I honestly wasn't sure. All I had to start with was the actual regular season record, which as we are well aware is 10-2 with losses at ND and OSU.
A while ago, I found that very thread from July 31st, and I managed to get a decent sample size of predictions -53 of them, to be precise. Given the normal amount of participation in such threads, that seemed to be a basis for a reasonable guess as to what the broader blog might have felt at the time.
The range of predictions was fairly diverse, from a low of 7-5 to a couple predictions of 12-0, but the breakdown was as follows:
7 wins - 1
8 wins - 10
9 wins - 14
10 wins - 15
11 wins - 10
12 wins - 3
That's how the 53 predictions were split. Now, the most common loss predictions were not shocking at all - OSU, MSU, ND, in that order, at least for the people who broke it down game-by-game. I was more focused on the baseline expectations, however, just to see if our gut instinct was in the ballpark.
As it turns out, we were pretty much on the money - the overall average prediction for wins was 9.604 and 2.396 for losses, which rounds up to a prediction of 10-2 with OSU being the most common "L" for those who broke out their predictions into specifics.
So, we were disappointed, and we have every right to be, but if that thread is any indication, our instincts were correct. Our expectations, unadjusted for actual news and results, were more or less spot on given the average. That said, I think in-season results drive much of what many here are feeling at the moment, but if we did a little introspection, I am sure our July selves probably are saying "Yep."