In honor of Macaulay Culkin’s 27th birthday on Sunday, here are 27 predictions for my readers to chew on. (And since I don’t quite have 27 readers, some of you will have to chew on more than one. Hope there’s not too much gristle in there.)
(BTW, remember when Macaulay Culkin seemed to be a screwed-up kid, hanging around with Michael Jackson while his parents were in the midst of an ugly public divorce? In light of Britney, Paris, Lindsay, et. al, it seems now as if he was actually fairly normal for a young star. But it’s still weird that he’s the godfather to two of Michael Jackson’s children. Not weird that Macaulay’s a godfather, but that Michael Jackson has children.)
1. Ben Sheets will return before the end of the 2007 season. However, the Brewers will by then be in third place in the NL Central and Ben’s return won’t have the galvanizing effect the team and its fans had hoped.
2. Milwaukee Brewer fans will come to two realizations at the end of the season: 1) Ben Sheets is never going to stay completely healthy for one full season, and 2) It wouldn’t matter anyway if the rest of the rotation is going to be full of guys who couldn’t get Chevy Chase out, much less Chase Utley.
3. Following a pre-game feeding, newly-acquired Dodgers starter David Wells will explode on the mound one night a la Mr. Creosote in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. He will still post a better outing than that night’s Milwaukee Brewers starter.
4. Contrary to popular belief, Ned Yost will not be out of work this time next year. He will, however, not be managing a major league team but will be the new spokesperson for the Just for Men line of hair coloring products. Let’s all say it together: “Rejected!” (Still beats being in that asinine “Viva Viagra” commercial, though.)
5. Your NL division winners for 2007: As much as I’d like to say the Cubs will blow it, it’ll be the Cubs, Mets, and Padres. Your wild card: Arizona.
6. Your AL division winners for 2007: Boston, Cleveland, Seattle. And yes, I’m sorry, but the Yankees will win the wild card. That New York club’s been on fire since they fired George Costanza.
7. Your World Series: FOX is going to love this: Red Sox and Mets. Red Sox in six.
8. Moving over to football: Donald Driver will be ready for the start of the regular season. Brett Favre — along with every fantasy football player who drafted him — will be more relieved than the house guests on Big Brother 8 when Jen was evicted. (What, you don’t watch Big Brother 8? Are you nuts?)
9. After opening the season 0-3 and heading to Minnesota to play the Vikings (they of the stout run defense and unbelievably bad pass defense), Mike McCarthy will drop the idea of “ball-control” offense which has gotten them nowhere and he will turn Brett Favre loose. Favre will respond with a 4 TD, 40o-yard game and the Packers will ride a “pass happy” philosophy to the division title.
10. This season’s touchdown and yardage totals of Brandon Jackson and Vernand Morency combined won’t equal Ahman Green’s 2007 stats in Houston. And this after Green misses half the season due to injury.
11. The NFC North: Packers win, then Bears, Lions, and Vikings. Don’t get too excited Lions fans: Your team still stinks and will win only win five games. Yes, the Vikings will be that bad.
12. Aided by the best offense in football, the Patriots will win yet another Super Bowl. Their receving MVP: Not Randy Moss or Donte Stallworth. This guy named Wes Welker. (C’mon, my fantasy team’s success is riding on it!)
13. The Packers defense will be very good, finishing in the top ten in most important stats. Who won’t be that good: First-round pick Justin Harrell. Luckily for Ted Thompson, James Jones will be the steal of the draft and will remain a fan favorite for years. Until Thompson decides he doesn’t want to pay him anymore and the team reverts to a “wide receiver by committee” outlook.
14. The Wisconsin football Badgers will be almost — almost — as good as the preseason polls predicted. They will lose, however, to Ohio State and Michigan toward the end of the year.
15. Tyler Donovan’s stellar performance throughout the regular season will make Allan Evridge about as relevant to the team’s success as Allen Funt. (C’mon, the Candid Camera guy. You remember. See, now you’re smiling!) Nothing against Evridge, seems like a good guy and a nice player, just won’t get much of a chance to show it. (Just protecting myself from a potential beatdown. You never know who reads these things.)
16. Michael Vick will never play football again. In the NFL. He will play in the CFL. Seems like punishment enough. Sorry Canadians, you have a nice country and I’m sure the CFL is fun and everything, just no one this side of the border follows it. (Just protecting myself from another potential beatdown. Those Canadians can be very defensive of their homeland.)
17. This PGA playoff thing will never catch on. Golfers don’t like it, viewers are turning their attention to football and the MLB divisional races, and no one understands how it works. Plus Tiger takes it about as seriously as any stupid comment made by Rory Sabbatini.
18. Yi Jianlaing and the Milwaukee Bucks will come to terms. Michael Redd will stay healthy. Andrew Bogut will continue to improve. Guess what? The Bucks will be pretty good.
19. The NBA referree gambling thing will have no impact on the sports’ popularity or TV ratings. Translation: More people will still watch The Suite Life of Zach and Cody then any televised NBA contest.
20. David Beckham will prove to be the next big thing. In overhyped, underperforming, soon forgotten sports flashes-in-the-pan.
21. The Big Ten Network will not be added to Charter or Time Warner cable systems by the channel’s September 15 live airing of the Badgers/Citadel football game. It will, however, be added before the UW men’s basketball conference opener against Michigan (slated to air on BTN, along with many other UW men’s games). Ruined will be my plans to charge neighbors to come over to my house and watch the games on DirecTV. C’mon, I was going to throw in a pizza bagel and a fun size 3 Musketeers bar!
22. The UW women’s basketball team will outperform the men’s basketball team. Not in attendance, of course, but in wins and losses.
23. Hampered by his team’s collapse in the second half of the season, Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Ryan Braun will not win the NL Rookie of the Year title. Fans will be too disgusted by the time the winner is officially announced to care.
24. Barring injury, Wisconsin Badger tight end Travis Beckum won’t finish any game this season with less than 60 yards receiving.
25. Barring injury, Wisconsin Badger running back P.J. Hill won’t finish any game this season with less than 95 yards rushing. Why 95? Eh, my kid is into Cars and that’s Lightning McQueen’s number. Seems to make sense in some cryptic way.
26. The football Minnesota Golden Gophers will finish the season with more victories than the Minnesota Vikings.
27. Your 2007 National Champions in college football? I don’t buy that there is one until there is a rational playoff system implemented. And it’s only a matter of time — that’s the prediction.