Somewhere in the Columnist’s Code of Professional Responsibility it is written that New Year’s Day must be filled with predictions that are equally obvious and incorrect.
Not here. Not today.
Given my 2012 track record, I am not going to tell you again how the Colts will be lucky to win five games or how the Angels will win the World Series. Instead, here is a look at what just might happen. Or not.
Jan. 7: Manti Te’o runs back a strip sack 98 yards, stopping at midfield for a Heisman pose, as Notre Dame shuts out Alabama 17-0 to win the BCS national championship. Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly is nominated for sainthood on a fast track after scholars agree he has performed a miracle.
Jan. 20: A huge snowstorm descends on Denver just before the long-anticipated AFC Championship Game between the Broncos and Colts, leaving 5 feet of the white stuff behind. When workers cannot clear the stadium for play, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell orders the game moved to Lucas Oil Stadium.
The roof is open, despite Peyton Manning’s request to the contrary, as Andrew Luck leads a last-minute drive for a winning score and Super Bowl berth.
Feb. 3: Luck throws four touchdowns and five interceptions as the Colts use Pat McAfee’s 65-yard field goal to defeat Seattle 45-43 in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. The game is delayed for an hour after hometown fans demand an explanation of how Saints quarterback Drew Brees was not selected to the Pro Bowl after passing for more than 5,000 yards for a second consecutive season.
March 1: After a baker’s dozen of cupcake nonconference games and no true road contests, IU and Kentucky both struggle in early conference play. They agree to a home-and-home series for the next 100 years. “We need to play each year in a tough arena to prepare for March,” says UK coach John Calipari. “Besides, this is for the fans.”
May 28: Roger Penske, while visiting the Speedrome, picks the winner of the second heat race to drive the Indy 500 ride that Tony Stewart turned down. The car, which becomes known as Smokeless, captures the hearts of Speedway fans. It leads until Lap 199, when the driver momentarily believes that he is driving on a figure-8 course.
June 30: Danny Granger comes off the bench to drill three late 3-pointers as the Pacers topple Utah for the NBA title. Gordon Hayward just misses a 50-foot 3-point attempt at the buzzer in the deciding Game 7. Stung by tumbling TV ratings in the wake of an otherwise tremendous series between two small-market, starless teams, the NBA creates a “tradition adjustment” so that any team that does not draw a 20-market share rating from Arbitron is excluded from the playoffs.
July 15: Three reporters show up to hear Commissioner Gary Bettman announce an end to the NHL lockout. In an unusual coincidence, geologists report substantial cooling at the Earth’s core.
Aug. 6: Major League Baseball announces a special asterisk wing to its Hall of Fame for all players whose indiscretions marred otherwise exemplary careers. Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds join Pete Rose, Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth in the first class.
Oct. 29: An archaeological team in the mountains of Guatemala unearths an ancient Mayan calendar that predicts the Cubs will win the World Series in ... oh wait, the calendar doesn’t go that far.
Nov. 16: Undefeated IU and Purdue battle for the Old Oaken Bucket and a chance to go the Big Ten Championship Game. Faced with overwhelming demand for tickets, IU athletics director Fred Glass limits attendance to those fans who can correctly identify if the teams play in the Legends or Leaders division. There are 50,000 empty seats.
Dec.14: The third annual Crossroads Classic is conducted at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, with Evansville replacing Butler in the basketball event also featuring IU, Purdue and Notre Dame. The Bulldogs, the only team to not lose in the two years previous, have left the series to find more challenging competition.
Dec. 31: Your favorite local columnist reviews his 2013 predictions and learns that he is correct about absolutely nothing. His wife is not surprised.