Armando V.’s Bold 2012 Predictions, By Sport

Everyone else does this shit, so I might as well too. “Filler”, you say? You’re GD right it’s filler! I just pumped out two gems for goodness sakes, gimme a break.

Before I get started, let me break some news that Casey will appreciate: from this point forward, I will no longer be known as “Armondo V.” – I am finally correcting my name to the more accepted “Armando V.” – and it’s all for you, Bangers. It’s a new era for us… all of us… and this minor vowel shift is my way of showing you that I’m totally committed to providing solid content for the ?! in 2012 and beyond.

(The real reason that I’m doing this is that I’m sick of Casey misspelling my damn name, or rather, of me misspelling it and Casey never humoring me. Righteous bastard. Anyway.)

NBA: “That Other Team From Los Angeles” will take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
I know this isn’t exactly bold, because a lot of people are saying the same thing… but do they really believe it? It’s the sexy prediction, but I’m not in it to be sexy, folks. We already know what Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are capable of, but to find the most important parts of this ship, you have to look beyond Kia Dunk Man and CP3. Chauncey Billups brings the kind of experience that coaches should salivate over, and will have the kinks worked out of his on-court symbiosis with CP3 in short order. Caron Butler would have been much more of a factor in the Mavs’ run if he didn’t spend 65% of the regular season and the entire postseason on the shelf, and will prove it this season. DeAndre Jordan is a mad underrated force down low; dude already registered 11 blocks this season, IN TWO GAMES.

The Heat and Mavs will have a good run; Oklahoma City will do swell if Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook would knock off their pissing matches; and Indiana’s young squad (4 of 5 starters have 3 yrs. experience or less) will turn lots of heads. But at the end of the day, it’ll be Vinny Del Negro and rest of the Los Angeles Clippers hoisting the trophy high.

CBB: A top-10 team will be exposed for sudden and major violations, preventing them from being in the NCAA tournament.
The interesting part is that this school’s sanctions will be imposed when that team is already deep in the tournament (think Sweet Sixteen or deeper), presenting an unprecedented problem. Should their opponent be given a bye into the Elite Eight, Final Four, or even the title game? Should a previously-eliminated team get to come back into the fold, and if so, which team? Or maybe reverting to something even more drastic, like instituting a temporary round-robin format to make-up for the sanctioned team without the entry of a squad that already lost? Probably the most far-fetched of any prediction, but it would make for a very interesting outcome.

NFL: The Green Bay Packers will NOT win the Super Bowl.
Since the 2011-2012 Super Bowl will occur in ’12, it’s fair game for us. It’s been proven that teams will step-up in the playoffs, and since GB is already playing at such a high level offensively, it’s going to be hard for them to really improve. On the other side of the ball, however, they’re dismal. Not Baylor/Washington dismal, but stats don’t lie: GB is 1 of only 2 teams to be giving up over 400 YPG (NE is the other one), they’re giving up 12.6 yards per reception (26th), and they’re allowing teams to convert third downs almost 43% of the time (27th).

The only shining star on the defense is the INT column, as they have come down with 29 this season (8 more than the nearest team). But that alone won’t be enough to take out solid NFC squads like New Orleans, Detroit and San Francisco, not to mention ANYONE in the AFC North. Eventually, the lack of defensive prowess will catch-up to the Packers, and they will be sent… giggle… packing. Yep, you knew that was coming.

NCAAF: Under the direction of the great Urban Meyer, THE Ohio State Buckeyes will go undefeated, winning the Big Ten title and a spot in the National Championship game.
Unfortunately, they will be playing against an SEC team. And we all know how that will turn out. The fact that one of those losses came to the same Urban Meyer makes no difference. As long as the SEC exists, the Buckeyes will continue to be shut out of holding the Crystalline Football Thingy.
Oops. Forgot about those silly sanctions… my bad. I still stand by the Buckeyes going undefeated; they just won’t get to play in any reindeer games after the regular season. Hope you learned your lesson, boys.

MLB: Yu Darvish will have one of the most dominant seasons in MLB history, recording the lowest ERA, lowest WHIP, and most strikeouts in the major leagues in 2011.
Darvish will punish opposing batters throughout the entire American League with his vast repertoire. Darvish primarily throws a 4-seam fastball in the 91-94 MPH range and an 80 MPH slurve; those pitches are backed up by a 2-seam fastball, a cut fastball, a curve, a splitter, and a changeup.

Thanks to these pitches and his ridiculous control, Yu will be a pivotal part in the Texas Rangers returning to the World Series for the 3rd time in 3 seasons. Question is: how will he step-up when it counts the most? And how many World Series do the Rangers have to lose before we can call them the Texas Bills?

NHL: Sweeping rules changes will be enacted to combat the string of concussions.
They will be swift, and they will change the look of the game forever. There will be an increase of penalties/fines/suspensions for targeted hits, as well as the hiring of a group of independent neurologists to ensure one being present during every game. Also, the league will lean on the NFL to improve the player helmets, catering the new helmets to look more like their NFL brethren. And the final, and arguably largest, change: no more fights. The league will no longer risk a player getting cold-cocked and falling backward to La-La Land.

Fans will be enraged – hell, players and coaches will probably be enraged too – but ultimately concussion cases will be reduced, so no one will be able to argue against the changes.

MMA: Brock Lesnar will reti… damn, too late… in that case, Anderson Silva will retire.
What does he have to work for? He’s loved by an entire country, he’s earning Anderson Silva money, and he just has to beat one more dude to officially be crowned King of 185 Forever No Matter What No Backsies. He could go up in weight and clean out another division, but let’s face nature’s cold hard truth: he’ll be 37 in 2012, and Father Time will eventually catch up with him. To put it another way: if Fedor Emelianenko had retired after beating Brett Rogers, would he be viewed as the best HW, if not the best fighter, of all time? And Fedor still had several fighters that he hadn’t dispatched in his division.

Silva hasn’t lost in almost 6 years, and hasn’t been beaten in over 8 years. Why not beat Chael Sonnen in 2012, and call it quits after that? He’s never been knocked out, and never really been physically damaged in a fight – at least not since being in the UFC – so he can still have a very happy, healthy, post-fight life with his wife and 5 kids.

In a world where athletes usually go until they physically cannot go anymore, Anderson Silva can easily go out on top, all but cementing his Greatest of All Time status.

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