Danny Kanell, ESPN’s turtleneck-sportin college football analyst apparently has a thing for UCLA and Georgia. The two schools didn’t come close to making first two college football playoffs (2014 and 2015), and have no chance this year. Yet, Kanell still keeps putting the Dawgs and the Bruins in his preseason playoff predictions.
Danny Kanell's playoff picks: Florida State, Georgia, UCLA, and Michigan State.
— NoleGameday (@NoleGameday) August 14, 2014
(Selections confirmed in this al.com piece)
These picks weren’t considered crazy at the time. In 2014, Georgia came into the season ranked 6th in the preseason AP poll and and UCLA 11th, and both had Heisman Trophy candidates in RB Todd Gurley and QB Brett Hundley. In the end, it wasn’t meant to be for either team. They both finished a solid, but somewhat disappointing, 10-3.
In 2015, Kanell’s playoff picks were 1. Ohio State, 2. Baylor, 3. UCLA, 4. Georgia
Apparently Danny saw enough UCLA’s and Georgia’s 2014 performances to pull the trigger on them again. UCLA came into the season at no. 13 in the AP poll, but with freshman phenom Josh Rosen taking over at quarterback, people were jumping on the Bruins bandwagon. Georgia was ranked 9th, but were breaking in an underwhelming transfer quarterback and a new offensive coordinator. After each school won its first four games, they both plundered. Georgia lost three out of its next four, including a bad loss to Florida which ultimately cost long time coach Mark Richt his job. The Bulldogs finished the season at 9-3. The Bruins lost five out of their last nine games and ended up with an 8-5 record.
Before making sure Freezing Cold Takes was aware of his picks…
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) September 1, 2016
and after witnessing their impressive 2014 and 2015 campaigns, Danny rolled the dice with UCLA and Georgia again!
— Russillo and Kanell (@RussilloKanell) September 1, 2016
Now the Dawgs and the Bruins were able to garner some support in 2014 and 2015, but in 2016 Kanell was pretty much on an island of his own. This was Kirby Smart’s first season as head coach at Georgia and while Josh Rosen showed promise in 2015, few believed he could lead the Bruins to the playoff; especially the way UCLA finished the season. Ultimately, both schools had terrible seasons for their standards. After an injury sidelined Josh Rosen for the season, the Bruins tanked and finished 4-7. Georgia struggled to a 7-5 finish.
Danny will probably be a good sport about all this. He has always been a fan of Freezing Cold Takes (not anymore after this?), and he’s usually pretty good about poking fun at himself. But one has to wonder whether he harbors any resentment against UCLA and Georgia for putting him through this each season. Will he pick them again in 2017? If not, watch out for the Dawgs and the Bruins; it will probably be their year.