’Tis the season to make predictions for the coming year. So, in honor of that slovenly, disheveled patron saint of sportswriters – Oscar Madison – I’ve put on a ratty, old sweatshirt and cleaned the mustard and pizza-sauce stains off of my crystal baseball, football, basketball, golf ball and hockey puck in order to get a clearer view of the future.
Please be forewarned that my tongue has been planted firmly in my cheek for many of these prognostications.
And, by all means, do NOT – I repeat – do NOT bet any of your hard-earned money on Nostra-Scottie’s feeble attempts at clairvoyance. Otherwise, you’ll risk going over the fiscal cliff.
· The Buffalo Bills clean house – new general manager, new coach, new starting quarterback. David Caldwell, the Atlanta Falcons’ director of player personnel and a Buffalo native, replaces Buddy Nix as GM.
· Wake up the echoes! Manti Te’o intercepts a pass in the end zone as time expires, preserving Notre Dame’s 23-22 victory over Alabama in college football’s national championship game.
· Voters fail to elect steroid-users Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but each player garners a surprisingly high 40 percent of the vote.
· The Green Bay Packers defeat the New England Patriots, 48-44, in the highest scoring Super Bowl ever as quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady combine for more than 1,000 passing yards.
· Brett Favre creates quite a stir when he tells a Buffalo radio station he would love to make a comeback with the Bills. The team instead opts to sign Michael Vick to a two-year, incentive-laden contract and drafts Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib in the second round.
· A day after attending an “Art of the Compromise” seminar hosted by Congressional and Senate leaders in Washington, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and player’s association president Donald Fehr hold separate news conferences announcing that the entire season has been put on ice.
· Syracuse is eliminated in the Elite Eight. After leading the nation in assists, Michael Carter-Williams declares early for the NBA draft and is chosen in the first round.
· Michigan nips Duke to win the NCAA basketball championship.
· Magic Johnson, upset that the jillion dollars he spent on players’ contracts isn’t resulting in more wins, fires Don Mattingly in mid-season and takes over as manager of the Dodgers.
· Kevin Durant wins the MVP award as the Oklahoma City Thunder de-throne Lebron James and the Miami Heat as NBA kings.
· Ralph Wilson sells the Bills to a consortium headed by former quarterback Jim Kelly and former Sabres owner Tom Golisano, who immediately announce that the team will be staying in Buffalo FOREVER. The Ralph is renamed Paychex Park.
· Jim Boeheim announces he will return for a 38th season as SU’s head basketball coach.
· Rory McElroy wins the 2013 PGA at Oak Hill Country Club. Hamstrung by the famed course’s narrow fairways and treacherous rough, Tiger Woods misses the cut and refuses to talk to the media afterward.
· Neither the Yankees nor Red Sox make the playoffs.
· The Pittsburgh Pirates snap North America’s longest post-season drought by earning an NL wildcard berth.
· The Bills sign Olympic gold-medal winning sprinter Usain Bolt to a free agent contract as a wide receiver.
· Mariano Rivera retires after recording 35 saves for the Yankees. But the news is overshadowed by Hal Steinbrenner’s house-cleaning. Taking a page from his late father, Hal announces he is replacing manager Joe Girardi with Billy Martin and threatens to trade Derek Jeter to the Montreal Expos.
· Bryce Harper wins the National League MVP and Stephen Strasburg the Cy Young Award as the Washington Nationals defeat the Toronto Blue Jays in seven games in the World Series.
· The Big East Conference says it will be adding several junior colleges.
· Ryan Nassib replaces injury- and turnover-prone Michael Vick and fires a 99-yard touchdown pass to Bolt – now known as “Insane Usain” – to beat the New England Patriots and clinch a wildcard spot. The goal posts are razed by delirious fans at the stadium formerly known as the Ralph and new cereals in honor of Nassib and Usain hit the grocery store shelves the following week.
· Butler basketball whiz kid Brad Stevens takes over as the new head coach at UCLA.
· Tim Tebow helps Jacksonville beat former employers, the Broncos and Jets, to clinch a playoff spot.
· Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr attend another “Art of the Compromise” seminar in Washington and announce in separate press conferences that the NHL is canceling the 2013-14 season.
· After an 0-4 start in which fans and media call for Tom Coughlin’s firing and Eli Manning’s benching, the Giants reel off 12 consecutive victories to win the NFC East.
· Andrew Luck becomes the first quarterback to pass for more than 6,000 yards and Robert Griffin III becomes the first quarterback to throw for 4,000 and rush for 2,000.
· C.J. Spiller rushes for 1,800 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Bills. Buffalo media complains that Usain Bolt isn’t getting enough touches.
· Owners and players throughout the sports world agree to pay cuts and reduced profits so they can offer tens of thousands of free and deeply discounted tickets to fans. (And if you believe that one, I have some “Art of the Compromise” seminar tickets for you.)