As 2007 closes, and with it all its drama (steroids), success (New England Patriots) and failures (name a Minnesota sports franchise), we as a collective group of sports fans wait with optimism for 2008.
Is there anything to look forward to, though? Will the rich simply get richer and the weak organizations continue to struggle?
Not to be the scrooge of the new year, but my guess is we'll see much of the same as we saw in 2007.
NASCAR: Casey Mears will not be the most successful Hendrick driver this year. Another solid bet would be that a Hendrick driver wins the cup for the third straight year. Choosing who wins between Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and now Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a flip of a coin. Top contenders will be the Gibbs teams of Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin.
NFL: After winning the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, the New England Patriots will win 19 more games and repeat as Super Bowl champions with a two-year winning streak of 38-0.
The Patriots' main competition will again be the Colts, Steelers and Chargers. So much for parity in the NFL.
On the home front, Brad Childress will continue to prove he can't coach by allowing Tarvaris Jackson to throw the ball to Troy Williamson and the two stubs he calls hands. Childress will also either continue to limit Adrian Peterson to nine carries a game or pull a Mike Tice and tell every defensive coordinator on national television that Peterson will touch the ball 40 percent of the time.
PGA: Tiger Woods will win a tournament and then another and about four more after that. He will add three majors (the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship) to his 13 and climb within two of Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major victories.
He will not lead the U.S. to a Ryder Cup victory.
In a side story, Charles Howell III will not be linked to steroids.
MLB: The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will continue to spend like the United States Government and the Minnesota Twins will act like they are on major league welfare.
New York and Boston will both make the playoffs with one of them winning the World Series. My guess is it will be Boston in a repeat.
What will not happen is Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser will each win 20 games and have ERAs below 2.00. If the Twins expect to win, however, that will have to happen to hide an anemic offense.
On a related side note: The textile industry will take a major hit as less fabric is needed to make Major League Baseball uniforms and hats after steroids are finally out of baseball.
Tennis: To the females, I'm sorry to inform you that Andy Roddick will again be a non-factor on the men's tour. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will sweep the majors. After that who cares?
On the women's tour a Russian with a name that uses every letter of the alphabet will win a few tournaments, but until either Maria Sharapova or Serena Williams wins no one will care.
NBA: Who won it last year? It's gotten to that point for the NBA. Unless Corey Brewer turns into Michael Jordan Jr. and the Timberwolves win, is there a large delegation of people in the lakes area that actually care about the NBA? High school basketball finishes in March. The NCAA tournament is done in early April. Do we seriously need to wait a month and a half for the NBA to be done? Also, why does it take an hour for the final two minutes of NBA games to elapse?
But the Spurs are still good. Dallas and the Phoenix Suns will win many games and choke in the playoffs. The only new face to hit the late rounds of the NBA playoffs will be the Boston Celtics. But five is better than three and the Spurs repeat.
With the suspense of professional sports eliminated, and no need to give more of your money to millionaires, we can all spend time working on our New Year's resolutions, reading books to children or volunteering in our community, thus making 2008 the greatest year ever.
jeremy millsop, sports writer, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5856.
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