THE FUTURE WILL BE BETTER TOMORROW: Who knows what 2013 will have in store for sports fans, but that won’t stop us from taking a few shots in the dark. Graphic by Bryan Lienesch

I don’t mean to toot my own horn — okay, maybe I do — but I was on a bit of a roll with predictions in 2012. Giants over Patriots? Nailed it. But that was easy. I also called 66 of the 68 teams  that made the March Madness bracket, said the Capitals would take out the Bruins in 7, called for the Redskins to make the move up the board to take RG3. Oh, and I said there would be a Tigers-Giants World Series….in MARCH!

But that was last year. Sports is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business, and those feats would be a lot less impressive if I did something silly like predict the Athletics to win the division (wait, they did?!). For 2013, I’m going bigger, badder, and BOLDER.

Here’s what I see happening in 2013:


#2 FAVORITES: Some think Alabama will successfully defend their title on Sunday as they play in the BCS Championship as the second seed for a second time in a row. Photo courtesy Dave Martin/AP

The Champions

BCS Championship: I actually haven’t weighed in on this game yet, so I’ll do so here. Forget the numbers and the BCS rankings, the Fighting Irish are  the underdog here. Moreover, you know how I love me a good underdog story. It’s not exactly ‘Rudy 2’, but South Bend pulls the upset on Monday.

NFL: I said the Texans at the beginning of the season, and they are in the playoffs, but that was before they went colder than a Hoth snowstorm. They’ve dropped three of their last four, but for the sake of consistency, I’m sticking with Houston. Don’t let me down, Kubiak.

March Madness: I really liked Michigan before the season. But now that I’ve gotten a chance to see them play a couple months of meaningful basketball, I LOVE this squad. In my original predictions for the season, I had Kansas over Michigan. And I know that I preached sticking to your guns above, but love makes you do crazy things. I’m FLIPPING that prediction, and I’ll go Michigan OVER Kansas in the title game.

NHL: Yes, they’re locked out. So if I were to say here, on January 4th, that there won’t be a season, it wouldn’t exactly be a bold prediction. But I’ve been saying just that since October and nothing has happened to dissuade  that thought since. There won’t be a season and, therefore, no one will win the Stanley Cup.

NBA: Heat or Lakers, Heat or Lakers? Maybe the Clippers now? Let me say this now: the Heat WON’T repeat as champions and, consequently, all hope for the East to retain the title will be lost. It’ll be the mighty West that wins this year, but I’m not going with the popular picks in SoCal. Harden or no Harden, OKC gets the job done the second time around a la LeBron and the Heat.

MLB: I’m still pretty proud with my accomplishments here in 2012, but 2013 has me a little mystified. I saw the Angels not living up to expectations coming, but now they’ve doubled down on the dream team concept and the logic side of my brain is starting to have trouble doubting them. Still, I think they won’t find a way to get the job done. However, they WILL be in the Fall Classic. I’ll say the Angels lose to, oh, say, the Dodgers. Sure, why not? How awesome would a City of Angels Series be?


SPANISH INQUISITION: Rafael Nadal ended 2012 on a low note. We smell a big bounce back year for the Spaniard in 2013. Photo courtesy Clive Rose/Getty Images

Thirteen Other Things for Twenty-Thirteen

❶         Despite what Dana White has said recently, the UFC won’t be able to ignore the green potential for long and a GSP-Silva superfight will happen late in the year, either November or December, on network television to historic ratings.

❷         Rafael Nadal will retreat and rally on his favorite surface at the French Open, take that Grand Slam, and then win again at Wimbledon before dropping the US Open to Novak Djokovic.

❸         New York will dump Tebow, keep Sanchez, and another QB carousel will ensue in 2013 between him, McElroy, and a mid-round rookie. Maybe Landry Jones or EJ Manuel.

❹         The prophetic son, Tim Tebow, will return to the home land, start for Jacksonville, and perform to mixed results. The Jaguars will have another dismal year but their quarterback will be far from the root of the problem.

❺         After another fully-scrapped season, the calls for Bettman to step down as NHL commissioner will be loud and frequent, but the 20-year incumbent will not bow out under pressure.

❻         One of America’s young Olympic darlings — Missy Franklin, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, etc. — will have a TMZ-esque slip up that the gossip blogs will eat up as they venture into adulthood.

❼         Robert Griffin III will be on the cover of Madden 14.

❽         Justin Verlander will struggle throughout the season, leaving some to question if his best days are behind him. On the flip side, Matt Cain replace him as the unanimous selection for the best pitcher in baseball.

❾         The Cubs will be 2013’s big surprise team. They’ll finish 88-74  and just narrowly miss a wild card playoff berth.

❿         Urban Meyer will lead Ohio State to a second consecutive undefeated season.

⓫         Next year’s Super Bowl champion will not be among the 12 teams that made the playoffs this year.

⓬         Andy Reid and Lovie Smith will be head coaches somewhere next season, possibly even in each other’s former positions.

⓭         AND THE LAST, MOST BOLD PREDICTION… Johnny Football/Heisman/Manziel will win the Heisman again, leave for the draft, and become the next Heisman bust in the NFL.