Predictions for the 2013 football season
Kyle’s Korner …
by By Kyle Lovern
With the start of the football season right around the corner, I thought I would get out the old crystal ball and do a little predicting for local teams.
I’ll start out with the college teams that most local fans cheer for, which is West Virginia, Marshall and Kentucky.
For the Mountaineers, who start out their second full season in the Big 12. I guess you would call this the post-Geno-Tavon-Stedman era in Morgantown.
Last year the Mountaineer offense was able to roll up 50 or more points a game. However, and unfortunately, the defense was able to give up 55 or more points a contest. I think the defense will be much better this season. However, the offense might not be quite as potent as it was last year, I still think fans will be surprised and that the Dana Holgorsen fast-paced offense will be able to produce some big numbers.
The crystal ball says WVU will go 8-4. This will get the Mounties a nice post season game and I’m sure WVU fans will take this kind of season, especially after a very disappointing 2012 campaign.
For our friends in green and white up in Huntington – the Marshall Thundering Herd will come into the 2013 campaign with high expectations and a touted quarterback, who now has two full years of experience.
Doc Holliday has recruited some good talent and has made the MU program competitive in Conference USA. With a wipe of the crystal ball with my blue bandana, I see that the Herd will finish 8-3 this season and battle for a conference title. They should get a much better bowl bid than they’ve had in the last couple of seasons.
For our friends in the Bluegrass State, they now have a legitimate coach in Mark Stoops. He has immediately made an impact on the recruiting trail and his connections have helped the Wildcats bring in some top-rated talent.
However, many of those players may not be ready to make a dent until 2014 and some of the players that have committed still have a year of high school to play.
If Stoops stays at UK, he will have the Kentucky program respectable in the tough SEC. This year could be a little tougher, but Stoops and his staff is still good for a couple of extra wins.
The shiny crystal ball shows that UK will end up with a 6-5 record, but they will be much more competitive against conference teams that have usually beat up on the Cats.
Now let’s move to the local high school teams covered by the Williamson Daily News.
First it’s the Class AAA runner-up Belfry Pirates – who now reload rather than rebuild each year and continue to be a power in Kentucky.
Belfry returns most of their starting backfield and other skill players. Coach Phillip Haywood has now been at Belfry for three decades. The Pirates have beefed up their schedule a little this year and battle a team from Ohio and will travel to Knoxville, Tennessee for a game this season.
Still, the Pirates will continue their run of success. The crystal ball clearly shows that the Pond Creek Nation will finish with a fine 8-2 regular season mark and make another long run in the playoffs.
This is the third year for Mingo Central, the consolidation of Williamson, Matewan, Gilbert and Burch. The Miners finished 5-5 in the regular season, but it was good enough to make the Class AA playoffs because of the Mountain State’s point system.
The Miners of coach Yogi Kinder lost some key components from last year’s squad, but return a good nucleus this season. They have also had a great off-season in the weight room.
Mingo Central will play more Cardinal Conference teams this season. Next year they will be full-fold into the league, but because they are the newest member of the conference, the schedule couldn’t be worked out this year to get all of the team on the slate.
Still, I look for the Miners to surprise some fans this year and the prediction is 6-4 in the regular season. They have some tough road games and will take on defending state champion Wayne at home. That 6-4 mark would be the school’s first winning season and should catapult them into the playoffs again.
Down at Tug Valley, coach Tony Clusky lost some of his top players due to graduation. The Panthers will have to rebuild their offense and hope that some of their younger players step up quickly.
Tug Valley is now in Class A, but still has a tough schedule for a small school. The Panthers made the playoffs last season and had one of their best regular season campaigns in several years.
However, the crystal ball is a little foggy – probably because the field is so close to the banks of Pigeon Creek. Look for the Panthers to go 5-5 this season, but with a little luck, they could sneak in a 6-4 mark. This could put them into the playoffs with a little help from other teams.
There are a couple of other teams in our coverage area that the crystal ball had dark clouds hovering over their outlook. Low numbers and players that have transferred, elected not to play or graduated will make for a long season at Sheldon Clark and Phelps.
The prediction for the Cardinals and Hornets are not many wins in 2013, but at least they will be out there battling every week.
Big Disclaimer Asterisk here - This crystal ball has been dropped a few times over the years and somehow didn’t crack, however it may have some internal damage. The predictions are merely for the enjoyment of the fans. The column will self-destruct in 60 seconds, that way there will be no record of its existence at the end of the season.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)
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