Again, The Great Dentoni!
Finally, our factitious fabulist flies forward, focusing on fabricating fables and foretelling fate. Facing the future fearlessly, our feckless forecaster fillets favorites, figures failure, fractures factions, and finds fault, all in fine form.
Fear not the future! Fly fast-forward to 2016:
January: The Bryan McClendon era begins and ends at Georgia with a thrilling 9-6 thumping of Penn State in the bowl formerly known as the Gator Bowl. But not to worry! Jacob Eason arrives on campus within a week. “He could be the best quarterback we’ve had since 1960!” proclaims Fran Tarkenton. Kirby Smart arrives a week later, fresh off of Alabama’s 28-18 National Championship win over Oklahoma. “I can’t wait to play for another championship!” declares Smart upon his arrival in Athens…The NFL playoffs feature an epic upset, as Washington knocks out Carolina. “We never recovered from that loss to the Falcons,” laments Panthers coach Ron Rivera.
February: Why does the Super Bowl switch to numbers the very year it could be expressed in a single numeral? After surviving a wild upset bid engineered by Denver quarterback Brock Osweiler, the Patriots arrive in Santa Clara to defend their title. They face the Cardinals, who won two playoff games by a combined 63 points. The thrilling game ends tied at 33. Pats coach Bill Belichick wins the overtime coin toss, elects to defend, and scowls as Carson Palmer hits Larry Fitzgerald, who beats Malcolm Butler for the winning score. “There was no confusion,” Belichick declares later. “We just didn’t play good enough defense.”
March: It’s Tournament Time! As if they don’t garner enough media attention on their own, John Calipari and Rick Pitino (and their teams, Kentucky and Louisville) meet in a Regional Final. After UK escapes with a two-point win, Pitino signals the Kentucky faithful that they’re number one. Tom Izzo, Chris Mack, and Bob Huggins (and their teams Michigan State, Xavier, and West Virginia) join Calipari in a Contiguous Final Four. Huggins finally wins his first title (with his team, West Virginia.)
April: Play ball! No one can recite their starting lineup, but the Braves’ Kiddie Korps pitching rotation goes through three turns without losing…In Augusta, a Masters like no other shapes up, with Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day tied for the lead after three rounds. On Sunday, they’re all outshot by Louis Oosthuizen.
May: The Braves Express shudders to a stop, as Shelby Miller pitches a perfect game in his return to Turner Field. “I’m not doing anything different,” says Miller, “except maybe getting a little more run support.” Miller leads the majors with a 7-0 record and 1.12 earned run average…The Hawks make another playoff run, but come up short in the conference finals against LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
June: Cleveland celebrates like its 1964 as the Cavaliers present the city with its first championship in 52 years…The U.S. Open golf championship returns to historic Oakmont, and through three rounds, the only players under par are Spieth, McIlroy, and Day, all tied at one-under. Oosthuizen closes with a 67 and wins by one. “Winning two majors in a summer beats the devil out of finishing second in two!” exclaims Oosthuizen.
July: Don’t say anything, but on the north side of Chicago, it’s the Fourth of July every day as the Cubs hit the all-star break with a nine game lead. Manager Joe Maddon cautions, “We haven’t done anything yet.” He then answers a follow-up question with, “Ghosts? What ghosts?” Oosthuizen leads the British Open at historic Royal Troon by three shots entering the final round, but can’t finish. McIlroy defeats Spieth and Day in a playoff.
August: Historic Baltusrol hosts the PGA championship, and Phil Mickelson returns to form with a win. Oosthuizen, Spieth, McIlroy and Day all miss the cut.
September: Georgia Tech opens in Dublin, Ireland, but finds no luck, losing to Boston College, 20-16. “That’s a long way to go to turn the ball over five times,” observes coach Paul Johnson…The Kirby Smart and Jacob Eason Eras begin in Atlanta with a 28-20 loss to North Carolina. “I didn’t come here to lose,” says Smart.
October: The Braves play their final game in Turner Field. A hearty crowd of 12,411 cheers the team to a 5-3 win over Detroit which, ironically, played the first exhibition game in old Atlanta Stadium in 1965. The Braves finish 73-89. “That’s progress!” notes GM John Coppolella.
November: The Cubs lead Game Seven of the World Series, 4-2 heading to the ninth at Wrigley. No, sorry, you have to experience this for yourselves…Eason keeps leading Georgia to wins, and the defense keeps getting better. The Dogs finish 11-1 after taking advantage of five turnovers to defeat Tech, 35-10. “That quarterback might be the best they’ve had,” observes Johnson. “Of course, we tried to help out as much as we could.”
December: Alabama defeats Georgia, 28-24, for the SEC championship. “I didn’t come here to lose championship games,” growls Smart. “That’s a fine team and a fine quarterback they’ve got over there,” says Alabama coach Nick Saban. “I believe there’s a championship in their future.”