Wisconsin's 197 lber Braxton Amos (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Before we get too deep into the season, we've decided to turn to our conference correspondent team and ask for some of their "bold predictions." They were instructed to focus on someone from their respective conference, be it an individual wrestler or a team, or possibly the conference, overall.
Here's what they came up with:
Robbie's Bold Prediction: The ACC, both dual and tournament titles, will be decided by freshmen. As the ACC teams continue to bring in high-level recruiting classes, the competitive level of the conference rises. Multiple nationally prominent seniors/5th/6th/7th-year guys graduated last year and opened up weights that hadn't been as competitive conference-wide. There will be multiple true freshmen and redshirt freshmen who will be in lineups and competing for ACC titles. The ability of these freshmen to win matches will dictate the team finish in the ACC. I, for one, am very excited to see how it all shakes out.
Seth's Bold Prediction: "All-Big 12 NCAA final at 165. Probably not that bold considering I'm sure there are some people already picking this, but I don't see Keegan O'Toole falling off any from last season and think David Carr comes out hungry to bounce back after his loss last year at the NCAA tournament last year"
Austin's Bold Prediction: "My bold prediction(s) - I think the conference (EIWA) will double its 7AAs from last season and end up with 14 this year.
Extra BOLD - 1 of the 10 weights will contain 3 AAs from the EIWA conference."
Nick's Individual bold prediction: "Cael Valencia wins the Pac-12 conference at 174 pounds and at best makes it to blood rounds of NCAAs. Zeke has continued to praise that Cael has much more untapped potential than his brothers and last season, several people questioned if his redshirt was going to be pulled after a win over Hayden Hastings and a few others. Zeke continued to weigh the option of pulling the redshirt, but decided not to and he will be coming out with another year of experience under his belt.
Team bold prediction- The loss of Teemer places Arizona State out of the top-7 at NCAAs. Besides Schultz, Teemer is ASU's best shot at an NCAA individual champion. Therefore, the loss of Teemer means a huge loss of points and a weaker lineup in the middleweights.
Another prediction is Cal Poly finally makes the leap to second at Pac-12s. They brought in a few top transfers from the JUCO and NCAA level as well as developing Luka Wick and the Brawley brothers. They may not pack a heavy punch at any weight but they can pick up points at nearly any weight"
Rachel's bold prediction: "Davidson will have their first national qualifier since 2015 and the SoCon will have the most national qualifiers ever this year"
Kevin's bold prediction: "Big year for Braxton Amos. By big, I'm talking like an NCAA title contender, big. He fought through a lot last season and is ready to go now."
Courtney's bold prediction: "The MAC will have a total of five All-Americans. After the season, there will be three coaching changes."