The most common practice in the preseason is to project how the season will proceed for your team. In my experience, though, the projections sometimes seem to reflect an individual's wider personality rather than an objective outlook. For example, someone optimistic by nature tends to believe their team will surpass general expectations, while someone who is negative tends to believe they'll underachieve. How do we filter out emotions and increase objectivity? Would more rational choices be made if your (fake) retirement savings were on the line?
Here's what I'm thinking:
Build your retirement portfolio comprising eight positional units on Kentucky's football team: quarterback, running back, receiver, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, secondary, and special teams. This positions, or units, will serve as stocks. Every unit starts at 10%. Then decide if you want to buy more stock, sell stock, or do nothing and hold the stock for each position.
You are allowed to keep 20% of your portfolio in cash if you want to sell more than you buy. The larger your portfolio in cash the less confidence you have in the team and/or predictions. We are also only buying long so no short-selling you financially savvy readers.
Here's the catch: we must be good financial planners and keep a diversified portfolio. This means every position must be represented in your portfolio. Also, no single unit can account for more than 20% of your portfolio, or less than 5%. This helps to keep balance but injects some reality on a team's ceiling and floor.
I approached the exercise as rating of each positional unit, rather than primarily seeking a diverse plan. I have a bit more clarity in my thoughts.
This is how it shook out:
Enough digital ink has been spilled on these guys, but suffice it to say, they should be better individually and as a unit than last season. My allocation reflects early season struggles by Patrick Towles but improvement as the season goes along and he stays healthy.
Verdict: BUY 15% (Total 15%)
Raymond Sanders probably got beat up too much by fans last season. He did a lot of things well but was limited by his physical capabilities. This year he is replaced by Braylon Heard who has drawn raves, a Jojo Kemp without ankle spurs, and the return of Josh Clemons. Freshman Mikel Horton enrolled early and had some eye-opening moments in the spring game, and Stanley "Boom" Williams is UK's highest rated running back recruit to date.
Verdict: BUY 17% (Total 32%)
Return everyone of consequence and Javess Blue and Ryan Timmons should be improved. Demarco Robinson, Steven Borden, Ronnie Shields, and Jeff Badet provide depth. Alexander Montgomery should be recovered from his ACL injury by Week One. Still, a lot of unproven freshmen will play and provide key depth.
Verdict: BUY 13% (Total 45%)
Four starters return along the SEC's worse offensive line last season statistically. There is not much depth so if an injury occurs there could be a large drop-off. Redshirt freshman Ramsey Meyers will start on the interior.
Verdict: BUY 11% (Total 56%)
Two great defensive ends in Alvin Dupree and Za'Darius Smith, but the defensive tackles are unproven and unknown. Christian Coleman saw playing time in the second half of last season, while other projected starters redshirted last season and don't have any game experience (i.e. Melvin Lewis and Regie Meant). JUCO transfer Cory Johnson was behind everyone during spring practice, according to himself. Lots of unknowns.
Verdict: SELL 7% (Total 63%)
Avery Williamson's departure is a huge loss, and the only returning linebacker will more than a season's experience is Khalid Henderson. TraVaughn Paschal will be playing his third position in three years when he moves to middle linebacker this season. JUCO transfer Ryan Flannigan just stepped foot on campus 5 days ago. Josh Forrest started in the spring, but he has less experience than Henderson. More unknowns.
Verdict: SELL 6% (Total 69%)
Every starter returns and is finally healthy. The pass coverage improved according to the adjusted stats last season, but the team was punished by effective passing teams like Georgia and Missouri. JUCO AJ Stamps was one of the more impressive players on the field during the spring game, and Blake McLain returns on the heels of his breakout freshman season. Meanwhile Fred Tiller, Cody Quinn, and Ashely Lowery return as three year starters. Walk-on JD Harmon also returns after missing last season, and he may have been the best player in the secondary two seasons ago.
Verdict: BUY 13% (Total 82%)
The loss of placekicker Joe Mansour is expected to be replaced by redshirt freshman Austin MacGinnis. How will a true freshman respond when the game is on the line? Special teams standouts Dyshawn Mobley and AJ Legree both transferred, and new players will need to fill their void. Punter Landon Foster returns but will he return to his freshman form or his lesser (in some ways) sophomore form? I think overall the team is filled with better athletes and the back-ups should be able to largely hold their owns on special teams.
Verdict: BUY 11% (Total 93%)
Cash holdings: 7%
Average rating: BUY 11.6%
My portfolio relies more heavily on the offense as I think it'll be further along than this year's defense. What is holding me back from investing all my savings boils down to experience and depth.
How did yours turn out? Do you have a conservative or aggressive portfolio?