Boy, I wish I’d have done a prediction column for 2007. I had the Rockies in the World Series, Appalachian State over Michigan, Boise State over Oklahoma and Joey Chestnut over Kobayashi — but how can I prove it?
Let’s not make the same mistake again. Here are Brownie Points’ fearless predictions for 2008 as we march through another “can you believe this” year of sports:
The New England Patriots see their winning streak reach 17 games before they are upset by Jacksonville in the AFC title game. That sends former ASU football coach Dirk Koetter back to the Valley as the triumphant offensive coordinator of the Super Bowl-bound Jaguars — although he still refuses to accept questions from Arizona writers during Media Day.
After setting an NBA record with their 34th straight win, the Portland Trailblazers trade dead-weight center Greg Oden to the New York Knicks for nothing, fearing any addition will upset their chemistry.
Speculation immediately begins on who will return to the Knicks lineup first: Oden or Stephon Marbury.
Bobby Knight leads Texas Tech on a Cinderella run to the Final Four in San Antonio, but is suspended in the wake of a bizarre hunting incident involving an NCAA interview monitor, singer/survivalist Ted Nugent and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Tiger Woods beats John Daly in a playoff to win the 2008 Masters after Daly follows a wayward tee shot into a group of feminist protestors and, within 10 minutes, persuades them to give up the cause and party with him at an Augusta-area Hooters.
Concerns arise quickly when the D-Backs blow their first 10 save opportunities in the post-Jose Valverde era, forcing GM Josh Byrnes to coax broadcaster Mark Grace out of the booth to restore order.
Just about to tie the 2008 Western Conference finals with a win in Game 6 against the Spurs, the Suns have seven players suspended for leaving the bench after San Antonio’s Robert Horry hits Phoenix’s Steve Nash from behind with a folding chair before tossing him, by his heels, over the scorer’s table and into the crowd.
A dumbfounded Horry appeals after being suspended for two games, and is defended by prominent members of the wrestling community.
In a dramatic moment at Yankee Stadium during the 2008 All-Star Game, 45-year-old Roger Clemens announces he is coming back for one final playoff run with the Bronx Bombers — after making sure that bionics are not forbidden by the MLB collective bargaining agreement.
Scandal rocks the Summer Olympics in Beijing when the Chinese table tennis team has several gold medals stripped after testing positive for steroids. Insiders say the drugs don’t necessarily help you during the “ping,” but make all the difference when you “pong.”
New Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez loses his debut at home to Miami — of Ohio — before 107,000 angry Wolverine fans. A sheepish Rodriguez begins his postgame press conference with an attempt at humor: “I guess this is a really lousy time for me to ask you boosters to help me out with my little buyout problem back in West Virginia,” he says.
After beating both the Rockies and Dodgers in the playoffs, the Diamondbacks meet the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. Old foes Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson face off in Game 7, and Arizona wins when Schilling loses his swagger and walks an Arizona hitter — dressed cleverly as a member of Congress — with the bases loaded in the ninth inning.
Leading the NFC West by two games, the Arizona Cardinals lose back-to-back games against the 0-10 49ers to put their playoff chances in peril. “They’ve really got our number,” Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt says.
The Knicks lose their 20th straight game to open the season, and Knicks coach Isiah Thomas is suspended by the NBA after coaching a game in Hugh Hefner-styled silk pajamas and a robe while hitting on several female fans behind the team bench.
At a hastily called news conference at Madison Square Garden, Knicks owner James Dolan extends Thomas’ contract by two years.
Happy New Year to all.
And I guarantee you, as outlandish as these predictions seem, they will pale next to what actually happens.
They always do.
• Somewhere, Red Auerbach was smiling when the Celtics beat the Lakers badly on Sunday in Los Angeles, delaying, by at least one game, Phil Jackson from passing Auerbach on the all-time coaching wins list.
• Did you catch the short-shorts the Lakers wore during the first half of Sunday’s game? After taking a quick, informal survey in the Suns dressing room, I can tell you Phoenix management had better not get any bright ideas about a similar decision. “You won’t believe how many of us will have the flu that night,” one Sun warned.
• Are the Celtics really that good? They were playing their fourth game in five nights on the road (remember what happened to the Suns in the same spot in Minnesota a few weeks back) and starting point guard Rajon Rondo sat out, yet they still pounded the red-hot Lakers a night after ripping the Jazz in Utah. Not bad.
• Brian Billick coaching the Ravens? Nevermore. Do you think Ravens owner Steve Biscotti blew Mr. Warmth a kiss on his way out the door? This guy had one of the greatest offenses (as offensive coordinator of the 1999 Vikings) and one of the greatest defenses (the 2001 Ravens) and has only one ring to show for it.