by Robert Ferringo - 01/05/2005
Well, I correctly forecasted that Texas would win the Rose Bowl so I'm off to a good start in 2006. That got me thinking - what other prognostications do I have for the next twelve months? While my powers of premonition are peaked, I've come up with 10 surefire bets for this Year of the Snake:
1) Chicago defeats Denver 15-3 in the first Super Bowl without a touchdown.
The highlight of the coverage leading up to The Game is a fight to the death on live TV between Woody Paige and Jay Mariotti. Paige has him beat, but can't go through with the execution. Mariotti then stabs Paige in the back as he is walking away.
The focus after the Super Bowl isn't about Chicago's dominating defensive performance (three safeties) or the Bears' place among the all-time great underdogs. Instead, the buzz is about Fox's new show "Who Wants to Marry a Midget Stripper", for which the network runs 72 ads and promos during the game. The idea is for 12 fetish freaks and widowers to compete for $1 million and the chance to marry Sunset, the midget stripper. Joe Buck says it's the next Big Thing.
2) IOC President Jacques Rogge admits that Olympic Ice Skating is fixed.
But no one cares. Instead, the ratings for the Winter Olympics quadruple. In response (and in an attempt to compete with Fox's runaway hit, "Midget Stripper") NBC and Rogge decide to cancel all of the other events and turn skating into a bizarre knock-off of American Idol. The world votes for the winners, who move on, and the losers are forced to work in Nigerian diamond mines.
The day before all of the other sports are cancelled, Canada defeats Russia 5-3 in hockey to win the gold medal.
3) Duke becomes the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in the first round of the men's NCAA tournament.
The Blue Devils are upset 68-67 by Florida Atlantic when Sheldon Williams misses two free throws with 0.4 seconds left.
However, Myles Brand calls an emergency meeting. After a grueling eight-hour session, the outcome is reversed and Brand declares a new NCAA mandate that automatically seeds the Blue Devils in the Final Four each year. Connecticut still dominates Duke in the championship.
Early Elite Eight predictions: Duke, Connecticut, Kentucky, West Virginia, N.C. State, Winthrop, UCLA and Texas.
4) Michelle Wie comes up short in her bid to become the first woman participant at the Masters.
However, Paula Creamer and Anika Sorenstam show up in Augusta. Not to play, of course, but to settle their feud the one way that Augusta National members find "acceptable" - a mud wrestling match in Hootie Johnson's private suite with two dozen drunken, filthy old Georgians hooting and hollering and throwing money around like swine. I'm listing Creamer as the 4-to-1 favorite.
And Wie? She'll be at Augusta in 2008.
5) Danica Patrick fails in her bid to become the first woman to win the Indianapolis 500.
Helio Castroneves passes Patrick on the second-to-last lap to claim the checkered flag. Patrick is frustrated afterwards, but takes solace in the fact she'll be back next year.
Shortly after the Indy 500, Patrick discovers that she has replaced Mia Hamm, commercially, as the dominant-female-athlete-who-is-moderately-hot-but-has-little-or-no-personality. She immediately goes into seclusion. Four months later she files for divorce after realizing that she did, in fact, fall for one of the oldest tricks in the book: she married her physical trainer, who is also twice her age. Patrick then quits racing to team up with Tara Reid and Paris Hilton for a tour of Southeast Asia in Taradise II on E!.
6) Commissioner Gary Bettman cancels the NHL playoffs.
Instead, the captains from each of the playoff-eligible teams square off in a video game hockey tournament. The tournament is a cross between ESPN's Madden Nation and The Running Man. NHL Hockey '93 for Sega is used, and everyone enjoys making "little Wayne's head bleed for Super Fan No. 99 over here."
Oh, and Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson beats Detroit captain Steve Yzerman in a vicious six-game series.
7) Brazil outlasts England to win the World Cup; World War III narrowly avoided.
The championship game almost doesn't happen. After England wins a shootout against host Germany in the semifinals, massive rioting and a mobilization of the German army takes place. The European Union moves to the brink of total collapse.
This is only topped by the massive chaos that erupts in South America after Brazil beats Argentina 2-1 in the other semifinal. The communist government of Argentina makes veiled threats towards the democratic government of Brazil, causing an outburst of machismo not seen since Tony Montana took on Sosa's assassins in 1983. However, WWIII is averted when China threatens to nuke all four countries.
8) Detroit and San Antonio play the first scoreless quarter in NBA history.
The Pistons and Spurs pummel one another in the opening quarter of Game 7 during their epic NBA Final. The scoreless streak is snapped when Pistons forward Ron Artest banks in a 3-pointer. That shot ignites the home crowd, and Detroit goes on to win 88-71. The victory sets up a rubber-match in the finals for 2007.
9) Republicans sweep the mid-term elections; add 18 more seats.
Bet big on the War Machine this year. The American people come to realize that they are actually in favor of torture, propaganda, fascism and candy. The Republicans celebrate their landslide with a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, declaring a New World Empire and riding on a fleet of Elephants. After the parade they rip out the elephant's tusks and use them to build a throne for King Bush, and celebratory bonfires are seen for miles.
A few weeks later, someone raises questions about the fact that in all the regions where Republicans unseated Democrats, electronic voting machines with no paper trails - manufactured by Halliburton - were used. No one cares.
10) Barry Bonds is denied in his quest for the home run record.
A noticeably thinner Bonds manages only seven home runs in 2006, nudging past Babe Ruth for second place all-time. His 2006 campaign is marred by neck injuries, brought on by the fact that his deflated body is no longer strong enough to support his enormous head. Bonds is dejected and decides to retire. Soon after he inks a deal as a spokesman for a bobble head manufacturer out of Tallahassee.
In other baseball forecasts: George Steinbrenner fires Brian Cashman in early May after he discovers that Johnny Damon can't pitch, and Julio Franco wins the NL batting title while leading the Mets to a 4-1 World Series win over the Indians.
I won't be asked to make any predictions for 2007.
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