Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Is In The Air: 2012 Championship Predictions

By Adam Maher / @ArtoMar1

Spring is nearly here, the March winds its morning yawn. Another winter will soon be left behind at our backs as thoughts of summer slowly turn into awesome reality.

The NFL season, sadly, is over - but, by its stressful smashes, exciting clashes, outrageous fines, forbidden celebrations, embarrassed cheerleaders, miscreant bounties, lockout ripples, murders, murder accusations, weed, coke, steroids, hair commercials, Sir Thomas of Braid, Hex Ryan, CYBORG, tim tebow, Peyton Manning's stupid neck, big uglies and Godspeed the Giants won the Super Bowl, we sports fans are ready for some NBA playoffs, Major League Baseball, PGA Tour Majors and Champions League knockout stages. Did I forget to say MARCH MADNESS. One more thing: Stanley Cup.

Only question is, who will hoist the trophies this year?








Here's how I think it'll all play out in 2012 (in no particular order):

The Miami Heat will beat the OKC Thunder in the Finals.  
LeBron, now at the quintessential man-making age of 27, will finally become one this postseason. Unlike most American men, whose coming of age consists of landing that first big client, publishing that first paper, or buying that first car, LeBron's coming of age will be in the form of his first NBA title ring. He will average just as many points per game throughout the Finals (27), thus beginning his ring-bearing reign over Kevin Durant and the rest of the league as basketball's finest athlete of all time for years to come.

The Angels will beat the Marlins to win the World Series. 
The Machine will get his back-to-back World Series trophies, and the Angels won't mess up and give the MVP to someone else. He will also appear in a Jonah Hill movie(1). 

Ozzie Guillen, now geographically closer to his home country and language, will flourish in the dugout (and on twitter(2)) like never before. Sorry Mets fans, but Jose Reyes will win the National League MVP.

Kansas will win March Madness. 
If Tyshawn Taylor can get his mind off Twitter for TWO SECONDS, the former 32-0 St. Anthony point guard from Hoboken, NJ will not only win the Bob Cousy Award four days before going to the Final Four, he'll win a national championship. After losing to Baylor in the Big 12 Conference Semis, the Jayhawks learned a valuable lesson: as of today, they have no right to think they're the best team in the country. But that will change come the first week in April, as Kansas bounces back and once again makes the weird kid in your ESPN NCAA tournament bracket facebook group the smartest sportzbro you know.

St. Louis will win the Stanley Cup. 
The Brian Elliot Blues didn't get a Jason Klau SportzBroz write-up for nothing. And Jaraslov Halak is as good if not better than his partner. The two have split time to keep the Blues' net tidy, as Elliot is the only goalie in the NHL who has played at least 30 games who has a better save percentage than Henrik Lundqvist. 

Speaking of the handsome New York net-minder, the Rangers are insanely good at finding ways to win this year with him at the helm - I witnessed them come back from 2-1 and 3-2 deficits to win 4-3 in overtime at MSG against the NHL's top scorer, Steve Stamkos, and the Lightning three weeks ago - but come late April the Rangers will not be able to detune the much-better-than-Tampa Blues, who with just under a month left in the regular season currently have the best record in the NHL (44-18-7).

Barcelona will win the Champions League Final. 
Messi is hands down the greatest player in the world. Barce just won against a very good Leverkusen side on aggregate 10-2. In that aggregate, Messi scored the most goals ever seen in a single Champions League game (5), and only through the Round of 16, the young Argentine has already tied Ruud van Nistelrooy's record for most goals in a Champions League season (12). 

Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid don't have any team chemistry so count them out. Man U headed home for England in December after the group stages - it was only the second time United hadn't reached the Round of 16  in as many seasons. Inter Milan is out thanks to Marseille, who doesn't stand a chance, Chelsea FC and Bayern Munchen are all still in contention, but much weaker than Barce. The only other contender, A.C. Milan, barely beat a frail Arsenal side led by Tomas Rosicky to get through last week.

Barcelona is possibly the best team the world has ever seen. Anyone who tells you otherwise should be banned from speaking until May 20, 2012 - the day after the day Barcelona wins the Champions League Final in Munich

Rory McIlroy will remain the world's #1 golfer all year.
Prepare to watch Rory go onto win two of the four major championships this year(3): The Masters and the PGA Championship.

Look for him to start and finish the year strong, with at least five top-5 finishes between the first and last majors this season (there are 21 PGA stops on the Tour between The Masters, April 5-8, and The PGA Championship, August 9-12).

So far this year on the PGA Tour, only 13 golfers have already earned at least one million dollars. Out of those same 13, Rory has earned the second most money ($1,876,000.000 as of this week). Funny thing is, on average, those 13 golfers have played in almost three times as many tournaments (5.5) as Rory (2), and the only guy who's won more money than 22-year-old McIlroy is Georgia-bred, 24-year-old Kyle Stanley, who's played more than three times as many events as Rory (7). stats via PGATour.com

Saying that Rory will win two majors this year is a safe bet. The kid is in the best shape of his career, he's shed the baby fat and is ranked #1 in the world. Like his predecessor, Tiger Woods, Rory, who's been a famous golfer since he was knee high to a grasshopper as well, will most likely hold onto the #1 ranking for a long time. What can I say, I believe in Rory's Glory - it's his time.

There you have it. My official Championship predictions for Spring/Summer 2012. Now, it's time to go light the grill, play some 3v3 backyard hoops, and watch the powers that be turn me into a psychic. 

PS:

Dear NASCAR, 

STOP!

Sincerely, 

Adam Maher

Send in your own championship predictions for 2012 to sportzbroz@gmail.com as we'll post them up!

Footnotes:
(1) Speaking of baseball and movies - I watched Angels in the Outfield from beginning to end for the first time in years earlier this week. And though I'm definitely not the first person to revisit a childhood movie and realize it's aged with beauty, I couldn't resist doing some research.

First off, this is by far Danny Glover's best work. Christopher Lloyd, Jay O. Sanders: both awesome.

Matthew McConaughey plays Ben Williams - the bright center fielder who makes the Angel-aided diving catch - wow, my respect level for McConaughey is at an all-time high. And who's the genius that decided Tony Danza should throw a shutout? God's thumbnail? What a classic. Touché, Walt Disney, touché.

The Angels in the Outfield we know and love hit the big screens in 1994, but is a remake of the 1951 same-name classic. The original screen play was written by Dorothy Kingsley, who wrote for Bob Hope, and George Wells, who six years later won Oscars for Best Original Story and Best Screenplay at the Academy Awards for his work on the movie Designing Woman. (IMBD)

In the original, the team that uses angels to win the pennant is the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the kid who sees the angels is a girl.

Star actor Paul Douglas confides in his young veil breacher.

Can you imagine what the baseball world would look like today if Jose Canseco had by God watched Angels in the Outfield the night before his hearing? "I had Angels with me," would have paled any steroid allegations, but instead he told us all that he had demons. Ryan Braun sighs.

New order of sportzbroz business: interview Jose Canseco and ask him if he believes in angels.


(2) Is it just me, or is Ozzie Guillen's twitter feed managed by Rachel Figeroa Levin?

"@Ryles29: @OzzieGuillen You prepared to deal with Philly fans?" - yes I deal with venezuelan fans all the time"

"comcast u got me waiting for long ass time"

"i thought the girl on all star game with green hair was rodman"

"I hope that with the players we have, I dont screw it up the way I have in the past."

I don't follow Ozzie on twitter, but I definitely make sure to check in every once in a while. It's good stuff. Logan Morrison could learn a thing or two from the big guy.

(3) No player has ever won all four majors in the modern era in one calendar year, though, Tiger has won four consecutive majors over the span of two years.

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