As 2010 comes to a close, it’s a great time to reflect back on the year in sports. Historic events took place often like UConn’s women’s basketball team breaking UCLA’s streak of consecutive wins, the New Orleans Saints winning their first Super Bowl in dramatic fashion and Jimmie Johnson capturing his fifth straight Sprint Cup title. All impressive feats by great individuals and teams. We also had our share of scandal and controversy. You can take your pick among Tiger Woods’ public divorce, the NCAA’s inability to do anything consistent, Brett Favre’s texting and LeBron James’ nationally televised ego-fest as the top one. The sports world also lost legends like John Wooden, George Steinbrenner and Don Meredith whose impact will never be forgotten. The pro sports landscape was altered with the arrival of new stars such as Giants catcher Buster Posey, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and Wizards point guard John Wall. Possibly the biggest story of 2010 wasn’t on the field but on your computer and smartphone – Twitter. Social media has captivated our society and the sports world is no different. Two years ago you joked that you no longer had to wait on the newspaper due to the internet. Now, you don’t have to wait for anything. Information comes real-time from players, coaches, owners and sports writers thanks to Twitter. This developing communication tool has forever altered the way we get our sports news and will continue to allow fans to peek even further into things behind the curtains with teams and players.
As memorable as the year in sports was for 2010, I’m sure 2011 will be just as full of the scandalous, ridiculous and roller-coaster ride moments we love so much in sports. Here are ten random and maybe “bold” predictions for 2011.
1. The Miami Heat will win the NBA world championship.
I know this isn’t that bold but a month ago they were a struggling team that everyone thought had chemistry issues. Fast forward to now and they are one of the hottest teams in the league with the Big 3 firing on all cylinders. There are a lot of great teams this year i.e. Spurs, Mavs, Celtics but I can guarantee that none of them want to face these guys in the playoffs.
2. Cam Newton and Auburn will have to forfeit trophies.
The NCAA says this is over but no one believes that to be true. Too much has taken place and too many things are left unanswered to say this case is closed. Auburn will most likely beat Oregon in the BCS Championship and will have to return the trophy along with the SEC title for having an ineligible player. Newton will take the Reggie Bush route and return his Heisman trophy. This scandal won’t end there though. The corruption with Auburn boosters will bring this program to its knees. The Tigers won’t get the Death Penalty but it will be the biggest sanctions since SMU’s punishment.
3. The NFL will solve it’s labor issues quickly.
Most experts are saying that the lock out is coming no matter what but I just can’t wrap my head around how that is possible. This is a multi-billion dollar industry and it’s just going to shut down over a few grievances? I don’t think it happens. The owners and NFLPA will hash it out and all will be well in America’s new favorite pastime.
4. The Boston Red Sox will win the World Series.
This is where you can tell me that money doesn’t always buy championships and normally I’d agree but take a look at the two players they acquired recently. Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez are not just All-Stars they are two of the top 5-10 players in the game. If the Sox can get their pitching staff figured out, I think they will breeze to another title.
5. Blake Griffin is going to jump over someone and break a backboard.
That’s probably a little far-fetched but the more I watch him play, the more I’m convinced that someone is going to get posterized like never before. It has happened a few times already but get ready because the big one is coming…and soon.
6. CBS is going to fire Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson and replace them with Gus Johnson and a talking robot.
This one falls into the Things I Wish Would Happen category versus an actual prediction but should be noted anyway. I’ve never been more tired of a broadcasting crew than the SEC on CBS tandem. Not only is it the biggest cheese fest but their analysis is always biased to the Nick Sabans and Tim Tebows. I think SEC fans everywhere will tell you the same. Gus has proven every game that he’s the best in the biz and should get his shot at calling real games instead of the NFL’s weakest AFC match up each week. His ability to turn those games into exciting television makes him more than qualified to replace the current CBS duo. Can you imagine him behind the wheel of a Les Miles game? Pure gold, Jerry. Regarding the robot, I just think that would be cool and have no other reason for inclusion.
7. The Green Bay Packers are going to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl.
Come on, I picked the Packers before the season. I can’t change now, right? I know the Patriots are the experts favorites but I think the Steelers match up with them very well and will eliminate them easily. Green Bay has been devastated by injury all season but with Aaron Rodgers back and a play-making defense, I think they can take down the Saints or Falcons and advance. The NFL might not be happy with a small-market team such as Green Bay in the fold but who wouldn’t love this match up between two of the most storied franchises in the league?
8. I don’t know when, where or the person involved but an NFL player will get arrested for a felony offense.
That’s pretty vague but it’s all I can get out of the magic 8-ball right now. My money is on James Harrison. The guy looks like he should be running the streets on The Wire not tackling quarterbacks in the NFL. Get ready for the barrage of texts, push notifications, tweets, status updates and hours of coverage on ESPN as the story breaks.
9. Twitter will continue to take over sports journalism.
I mentioned above how prominent it has become this year. The trend will only continue in 2011. You can even expect to see the first news conference held via Twitter. We are in the Social Media age and my generation and subsequent generations have no problem delivering any and all information through this platform. Also look for more regulations on the use of Twitter especially with college athletes.
10. The Arkansas Razorbacks will continue their ascension in the college football ranks.
This one is a little biased but I’ve never felt better about the state of the Razorback football program. Even if the Hogs lose the Sugar Bowl and Mallett to the NFL, I’m convinced Arkansas will be a top 10 team next year and compete for the national title. Most of that will rest on the shoulders of Tyler Wilson but with the returning talent and coaching of Bobby Petrino, I expect Wilson to succeed. 2010 was a great year for Hog fans. 2011 will be even better. Write that down.