My [Ole Miss]take and How I Have Grown
I was wrong.
In fact, my inaccuracy makes me thankful that I do not throw darts or shoot arrows with this same kind of precision.
When I first started writing for Bleacher Report, I admit that I, like many other fans around the nation, was a homer for my favorite team, the Florida Gators.
I was subject to editorializing in both my predictions and in my analysis, leading my writing to become nothing more than what you typically hear at your average Gator tailgate.
And my biggest error came when assessing the 2008 Ole Miss Rebels.
Boy, did I misfire.
Basing my opinion solely on what I had seen the season before, I underestimated both Jevan Snead and Houston Nutt, predicting that the Rebels were still a year or two away from even contending for a bowl bid.
Don't worry, it gets better.
Not only that, but I refused to take off my orange and blue glasses, claiming that the Rebels would not be able to "even stay on the same field with [Florida], let alone have a chance to win."
Talk about a dumb call, not even considering the obvious bias in that statement.
However, I would be proven wrong to an even greater extent as Ole Miss finished the year with a record of 8-4, defeating the last two BCS National Champions—on the road, nonetheless.
So, I formally congratulate Ole Miss on their bid to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the AT&T Cotton Bowl, their impressive eight-win season, and most importantly, for making me look like a fool.
However, despite my embarrassment, I believe that I have grown as both an aspiring sports journalist and as a fan from this experience.
Following that game, I looked at my methods of analyzing football and saw that they were wrong and not completely thorough.
From that point on, I promised myself that I would be fair and reasonable in my sports analysis and writing.
When breaking down college football, I now crunch numbers like an accountant on April 15.
I frequent places such as ESPN.com and NCAA.org, comparing each team in key statistical areas such as turnover ratio, total defense, etc.
I watch a wider variety of college football each Saturday with a desired goal in mind of seeing at least one quarter from every conference that broadcasts its games.
Heck, I've even watched Notre Dame a couple of times on NBC.
I will forever be thankful for that Ole Miss-Florida game.
Although I have picked Florida in each game since the upset loss, it has been based on my new method of analysis, not my personal interest.
Just as Tim Tebow promised the Gator Nation that he and his team would work and play much harder following the Rebels' upset victory, I vowed to myself that I would strive to do better as well.
Although I am still far from perfect, I hope that the B/R College Football Community has taken note of my improvement.
However, at the same time, I want you to help me maintain my objectivity in both my predictions and my analysis not only in college football, but also in every sport.
Of course, I will continue to write editorials expressing my personal opinions because that is one of the kicks I get out of writing about sports.
Yet, I will also do my best to be fair in my opinions as well and not rush to judgment.
In conclusion, when I eventually make my pick for the BCS Championship Game between Oklahoma and Florida, I will fight the urge to pick as a fan.
Instead, I will pick the team that I believe will be sitting on the top of the polls come Jan. 9.
And I will continue to be fair and to pick the team I believe has the best shot to win based on fact, not preference.
Thank you, Ole Miss.
You saved me from myself.
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