The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday June 24th

SportsSaturday - Pondering Prognostication

Virginia Tech will go undefeated again. Purdue's Drew Brees will win the Heisman Trophy. Dilliard's won't offer any more ridiculous discounts to Florida State players.

Predictions such as these account for half the fun in college football and make for interesting conversation.

We make our own predictions every week at the DTH, proving exactly how much this prognostication is really worth.

Jaded by the glut of upsets in college football, a colleague of mine decided to throw his set of picks last week. He picked every team he thought would lose as the winners, aiming for an 0-12 week. He went 6-6.

This illustrates how much stock should really be put into predictions: none. They are nothing more than educated guesses, like our picks.

It also casts a shadow on all those preseason football guides.

The Sporting News pegged UNC tailback Willie Parker and corner Michael Waddell as second-team All-ACC performers.

After five games, those selections seem as crazy as the idea that Duke might beat Florida State today.

Parker, a redshirt freshman, won the starting job with an impressive summer showing, leaving the other backs battling it out to be his understudies.

He rose at 6 a.m. all last year and into the offseason to work out alone. It seemed the effort earned him the job.

Parker's place in the Tar Heel backfield was so solid that he didn't even get a carry in UNC's final scrimmage of the fall. The coaches wanted more time to evaluate the other guys.

Maybe Parker should have been getting up at 4 a.m. He's gained just 50 yards this season and hasn't had a carry since the FSU game.

He's got a long way to go if he wants to add his name to the list of UNC's 1,000-yard rushers, a goal he set for himself before the season.

Parker's fall from grace can be attributed, at least in part, to the rise of freshmen Brandon Russell and Andre Williams - the guys who were supposed to be backing him up.

While Waddell hasn't slipped down the depth chart, he's still been less than spectacular.

Opposing quarterbacks have targeted the sophomore and had plenty of success completing passes on him.

Anthony Anderson even replaced him for stretches in the Georgia Tech game because Waddell was continually getting torched.

Waddell does have one of North Carolina's two interceptions on the season, but most humans with two arms could have picked off that duck.

To their credit, Parker and Waddell are still young and have plenty of time to learn and improve.

Look for Waddell, who has blazing speed, to get down his technique during the next two years and hold on to his starting spot. He has the potential to become a good college corner, but probably won't live up to his advanced billing as the next Dre Bly.

Parker figures to have a more difficult time. He's in the same class as Russell and Williams and will have to work even harder to win his spot back.

Then again, those are just predictions, and you know how much they're worth.

Will Kimmey can be reached at wk@unc.edu.



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