OOOOOOOOOOH......If I had it to do all over again! Some were right on the mark while others were embarrasingly off the mark (Anyhow.....my new comments are in bold). Feel free to flame away!
1. Consadole Sapporo- I like these guys, they started turning it around the second half of last season, they are having a very solid preseason, picking up wins against Kawasaki Frontale, Avispa Fukuoka, and Yokohama FC. They've been 2nd division for too long and I think they will clean up on weak sisters like Ehime and Thespa
5.Consadole Sapporo- After getting pants-down spanked by the Vissels of Kobe, Consadole has run off a nice little win streak against big boys from Yokohama, Vegalta, and Verdy. Hulk needs to stop getting sent off.
2. Vissel Kobe- New coach Stuart Baxter will have them playing well come the second half of the season.....there will be talk of a coaching change after a slow start but the guys will respond and take them back to J1. they might be overlooked because they were sooooooooooooo bad in J1 last year. they also had less turmoil than the other two relegation victims.
4. Vissel Kobe-It's taken them awhile but they are another squad that's starting to find its form. Emerson Thome has been good for them, but the other Tokyo Miura has been the key.
3. Vegelta Sendai- Joel Santana is another fresh face in J2. This was a team that was one point from being in the playoff that lead to Kashiwa's demise................i don't know if they would have responded to Tsunami after the heartbreak.......Santana will get through to them (In my opinion).
3. Vegalta Sendai- Wrong spelling, right position. Kind of remind me of Kyoto Purple Sanga from last year. They beat up on bad teams and struggle against top talent. They kind of take nights off and they've been slipping as of late. If fan support was the only factor in promotion, I'd give them the nod.
4. Sagan Tosu- They have the scoring punch from last year and they added some help in D. I think they will surprise and hang aroun promotion territory until the end.
7.Sagan Tosu- Still in the mix after a horrid start. Their baby bedroom unis nonwithsanding, they have picked it up. Tatsunori Arai leads J2 with 14 goals......even if Sagan isn't promoted next year, Arai will be.
5. TOKYO VERDY 1969 Too much competition is going to kill these guys. I think the worst thing that could happen to them is doing well in the first game against Ulsan in the ACL. Rui might believe that he can win both competitions and that will hurt the franchise. TV69 also has around 40 players right now..............how many are they gonna keep, are they fielding an ACL squad and a league squad (I believe they are if you look at the pattern in Guam)? Who is going to Thailand? Who is going to help with the promotion campaign? Who is going to be forgotten completely? On the plus side, there is a lot of veteran leadership.
6. TOKYO VERDY 1969- I'm not going to rehash my complaints about this team. About where I expected them. Actually it's pretty much a changed team from the beginning of the year. Takagi has been the team MVP as of late. They are in a free fall and might drop to 8th if everything falls right (wrong).
6. Montedio Yamagata- If former Omiya FW Leandro stays healthy and scores, this team will push up to top 3 or 4. They didn't lose much from a team that finished 5th last year.
9. Montedio Yamagata-Wrong on the place, right on Leandro. They are a better squad when he's not injured or suspended.
7. Tokushima Vortis-Another team that will be competitive and finsh in the middle of the pack. Jun Tamano will have a great season for them.
12. Tokushima Vortis- This pick isn't completely stupid until you see who I picked to be #12.
8. Kashiwa Reysol- Everybody left Kashiwa after the great collapse of 2005, the fans had a sit-in, the team quit, and Kofu humiliated them. Maybe it's a good thing that it's a brand new team but it's unpredictable.......they have had a nice spring as well, but there has to be a cloud hanging over them.
1. Kashiwa Reysol- Most solid team in J2.......by a mile. I think they could finish 11th in J1 with the cohesive group they have right now. Minami has been great in net.
9. Shonan Bellmare- I'm not crazy about this team at all. I think they could add Nakata and still not get promoted. They have been hovering around the lower ends of J2 for awhile and I think that won't change.
11. Shonan Bellmare-After seeing them play as of late and seeing Nakata in the World Cup.............I know they would not get promoted. Wow, ugly.
10. Mito Hollyhock- They were bad last year and didn't really get much talent to make up for it.
8.Mito Hollyhock-Nice job of staying near the 3rd spot and the promotion playoff. I imagine they will miss out but they've exceeded expectations.
11. Ehime FC- I don't know much about this squad. I'll give them the benifit of the doubt and say they will surprise. They have a ton of Sanfrecce reinforcements.
10. Ehime FC- Got a coach sacked in their first game and they play hard every game. Credible first year and tough,gritty team. Best mascot in the J league too!
12- Yokohama FC- They stink and they're old.......hows that for brutal honesty. They couldn't score against Rosso Kumamoto in a trial game last week.......not a good sign.
2. Yokohama FC- What the hell was I thinking? Takenori Sugeno.........the GK from the Verdy youth system has been the MVP of the league......He stopped a ridiculous 25 shots against Vissel last week. And another former Verdy player....Takuya Takagi has been coach of the year. Something still tells me they are due for a huge breakdown but I have to give them credit.
13- Thespa Kusatsu-No experience in goal is gonna kill them, at least with Ehime, their keepers were in a battle for promotion. I think they won't be as bad as last year but they haven't really upgraded.........in fact the keeper position will be weaker. they are just lucky J3 didn't start this year.
13. Thespa Kusatsu- They have been better than the record indicates. Takagi has been good in net........the defense is poor though. Not awful like last year. I think they might eek into the 11th or 12th spot.
Well........there you have it. I think we'll talk about this again in December!