WKU Football: Revisiting The Towel Rack’s Bold Predictions For 2017

Happy New Year, everyone! We all did it. We’ve made it to 2018. Give yourselves a pat on the back.

It’s not only a fresh start for all of us, but for our beloved Hilltoppers in all sports (sans men’s and women’s hoops), but before we take too far a look ahead to the new year, let’s take a look back at what some of The Towel Rack writers predicted for the 2017 season and how it stacked up to reality.

Fletcher Keel: Mike White will establish himself as a top quarterback prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft

If White is able to replicate and surpass last year’s numbers this year — especially without weapons such as Taywan Taylor and Nicholas Norris — that should, and will, establish himself as one of the nation’s elite signal callers, and perhaps we’ll see, for the first time, a former Hilltopper truly make a mark in the NFL.

So, here’s the thing — while it wasn’t a spot-on prediction, it wasn’t completely off, either.

White turned in a respectable campaign, completing 65.7% of his passes (albeit, down from 67.3% in 2016) for 4,177 yards and 26 touchdowns (both, again, down from 2016) and just eight interceptions (one INT more than in ’16) but still totaled 8,540 yards and 63 touchdowns in two years under center for the Tops.

This QB class isn’t super top heavy. There are, perhaps, four or five studs (Rosen, Darnold, Allen, Jackson if he declares, Mayfield) and then a split to the rest of the class. I don’t think White did anything to place himself as a first round pick, but was he really going to be one even if everything went right for him this year?

White did enough to allow NFL teams to see what he can do and he’s going to get a shot somewhere, somehow. If he gets drafted or not now becomes the question.

Ross Shircliffe: Quinton Baker accumulates over 1000 yards from scrimmage

…I believe by the end of the season, his speed will separate him from the rest of the pack.

…by the end of the season we’ll all be excited for WKU’s two headed running monster heading into 2018.

Woof. Swing and a miss here from Ross, but you can’t fault this line of thinking because nobody in their right mind would have predicted how bad WKU’s running game was going to be.

For the season — for the season — WKU rushed for 791 yards. Baker himself accounted for 233 of that total, but only played in seven games.

Not much else here to say that we haven’t already chronicled. WKU’s running game was bad and hopefully it’ll be better next year.

Jared Rosdeutscher: WKU is in for another 10-win year

Personally, I love what Sanford has done so far at the Hill and, with the pieces he’s put together, I think he could have a special year this year.

I’m starting to get depressed. Another swing and a miss here.

Let’s look on the plus-side: It isn’t out of the question to go down the Tops’ schedule and see two or so games they maybe should have one, which would have put them at eight wins heading into the bowl season.

However, on the flip side of that, it also isn’t out of the question that the Tops should have lost three or so games (off the top of my head — Ball St., Old Dominion, MT) and we’d be looking at a *gulp* three-win season.

Hunter Peay: Toppers go undefeated, but misses the New Year’s Six

Call me crazy, but the Toppers will go undefeated. Yes, I said it. When you look at the schedule, it shouldn’t be too hard.

You’re right, Hunter, it shouldn’t have been too hard. But, somehow, the Tops narrowly achieved bowl-eligible status and their spot in the Cure Bowl, and finish the year 6–7.

However, Hunter was spot on about missing the NY6. Also, I don’t think an undefeated Tops’ team (maybe a win against Kiffin’s FAU would have helped, though) would have had them ranked ahead of this year’s UCF squad.

As if you needed any reminder, 2017 didn’t quite go as many of us thought or hoped it would on the grid iron.

I’m ready to be presently surprised with the 2018 squad. But, as always, only time will tell how that’ll truly unfold.

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