With 2011 coming to close, it's time to go out on a limb and make my predictions for the coming year in sports. So, without further ado, here it goes:
1. Green Bay will win the Super Bowl.
The Packers have been to the Super Bowl in back-to-back years twice in their history and there is no reason to think they won't accomplish the feat for a third time. In a league that favors passing, the Packers have the best aerial attack in the game. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on pace to become the team's first MVP since Brett Favre shared the honor with Barry Sanders in 1997 and he has the most talented receiving core in the league at the end of his passes.
Prediction: Baltimore will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, but the Packers win 31-21, with Rodgers garnering MVP honors.
2. The Miami Heat will win the NBA Championship.
Love them or hate them, there is no denying the talent of the Miami Heat. With the conclusion of the NBA lockout, the Heat presumes to take that talent all the way to an NBA Championship. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have the benefit of another offseason of working together and there are rumors the team may bring in veteran forward Shane Battier to compliment the Big Three.
Prediction: The Oklahoma City Thunder wins the Western Conference to reach the finals, but the Heat prevails in six games.
3. Tiger Woods will win at least one major championship
The greatest golfer of our generation has had a tough few years: He has been through a very public divorce, switched caddies, had multiple surgeries and dropped to 50 in the World Golf Rankings. But with a solid performance at the Presidents Cup last month and his first victory in two years on Dec. 4 at the Chevron World Challenge, Woods' career appears to be straightening out. Woods will have to fight off a field of skilled and confident up-and-comers but barring another injury, he should win at least one Major and maybe more.
Prediction: Tiger wins the Masters, finishes inside the top 10 in the other three Majors and wins four tournaments overall.
4. Bobby Valentine will not be the answer in Boston.
There is a reason that until a few weeks ago Bobby Valentine worked for ESPN and not for a professional team: He is a mediocre manager. Valentine has a career .510 winning percentage as a manager and has not been with an MLB team since he was the skipper for the Mets in 2002. He fought with his general managers in New York and Japan, which led to his firing in both cases. Valentine is a talented in-game manager and brings an old-school mentality to the Red Sox, but he is too controversial and unpredictable to lead Boston to the World Series.
Prediction: Boston is knocked out of the playoffs in the first round, while Philadelphia wins it all.
5. LSU will beat Alabama – again.
LSU has already beaten Alabama once this year and they will do so again in the BCS Title Game. While both teams rely on their defenses and running games, the Tigers are simply better. ‘Bama has not beaten a top-10 team all year and does not even deserve the right to play LSU again. That right belongs to Oklahoma State, which has the potency on offense to challenge the stout Tigers defense.
Prediction: LSU 20, Alabama 13.