Forget to face the future? Fear not!
Finally flogging to the finish of another fine year, we again find our feckless forecaster defogging his Magic Eight Ball. In fine fettle, for sure.
Following, find the fearless fabrications of The Great Dentoni for The Year in Sports, 2012:
January: Paul Johnson calls an emergency press conference to apologize for smiling on the sideline during Tech’s romp over Utah in the Sun Bowl.
“I know I stepped totally out of character, but I found it amusing that people thought you could stop my offense if you had time to prepare for it. Fools!” Things really got amusing when the scoreboard hit 35-0. “But I should never smile during a game,” Johnson added. “Ever.”
Georgia beats Michigan State as Isaiah Crowell confounds his critics with 186 yards on 28 carries. … The Gator Bowl draws headlines as Florida fans pelt Urban Meyer with eggs during the taping of the pre-game show. … In the pseudo championship game, Alabama beats LSU, 9-6, in overtime, as the Tigers screw up four field goal attempts. Now what?
February: The Falcons reach the Super Bowl in Indianapolis (what luck!) and tote a 24-14 lead into the fourth quarter. But Denver’s mystical single-wing tailback Tim Tebow leads the Broncos to two touchdowns and a 28-27 win. “I repeat, he’s not going anywhere,” confirms Broncos exec John Elway, “except Disney World.” Laments Falcons defensive end John Abraham, “I think we got distracted with all the kneeling.”
March: What Madness? Syracuse, Indiana, Duke, and North Carolina comprise an all-blue-blood Final Four. Duke and Carolina go to quadruple overtime in one semifinal; Duke survives on a last-second tip-in by one of the Plumlees, but everyone is so tired, no one knows which one. The Devils have nothing left for the final against Syracuse. “See,” reminds coach Jim Boeheim, “I told you we’d be fine without Bernie.”
April: Rory McIlroy leads the Masters by seven shots as he stands on the 10th tee on Sunday. Overcome with the memory of the worst shot of his life, he cannot swing the club. Fortunately, there’s a hypnotist among the patrons, and he convinces McIlroy that he’s at the U.S. Open. He wins, despite the penalty for slow play incurred on the 10th tee.
May: The Braves just can’t shake out of their slump. They lead the league in pitching, but are last in almost every hitting category. As the 1-0 and 2-1 losses mount, new hitting coach Greg Walker preaches patience. “These guys got into some terrible habits. Breaking them is going to take some time. Heck, they had to hire two hitting coaches just to undo everything Larry Parrish did last year!”
June: The U.S. Open returns to historic Olympic Club in San Francisco, and everyone is sure to wear flowers in their hair. The scene of Jack Fleck’s incredible upset of Ben Hogan in 1955 and Arnold Palmer’s epic collapse to Billy Casper in 1966 doesn’t disappoint. Tiger Woods has command of the field, seven shots clear as he starts his final nine. Suddenly his wild driver returns, and in a stunning reversal, he’s overtaken by Phil Mickelson.
July: After finally realizing the folly of cramming the season into a condensed time span, the NBA Finals roll around. The Clippers, behind Chris Paul, down the Heat. The Nielsen ratings confirm that only seven people watched.
August: The drought breaks! Lopez Lomong becomes the first American winner of the Olympic 1,500-meter run since 1908. “It is the second largest thrill of my life!” exclaims Lomong. “Second only to escaping Sudan.” The U.S. dominates swimming and fares well in track and field, but why can’t this country produce a decent group of team handball players?
September: At last, the Braves start hitting — and they don’t stop. They average seven runs per game, and storm through the month with a 25-5 record. They sweep their final three games in Pittsburgh, clinching a wild card spot on the season’s final day. All after beginning the month 8½ games behind the Cardinals. “I feel like Phil Mickelson,” crows manager Fredi Gonzalez. “What goes around, comes around.” Jair Jurrjens wins his 20th game, and Martin Prado hits his 20th homer in the clincher. “Sure glad I didn’t trade those guys,” admits GM Frank Wren.
October: The Braves’ roll carries them to Game 7 of the World Series against the Angels. Leading 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth, closer Craig Kimbrell walks the first two batters, as pitching coach Roger McDowell remains in the dugout. Up comes Albert Pujols, and the sad result is the third walk-off Series-ending homer in history.
November: Undefeated, top-ranked Georgia hosts unbeaten, second-ranked Georgia Tech. “This is the type of game that every kid in the state of Georgia should want to grow up and play in,” observes Georgia coach Mark Richt. It’s all that and more, as Georgia comes back to down Tech, 29-28. “The kid’s just a workhorse,” says Richt of Crowell’s 28-carry, 232-yard performance.
December: Georgia wins the SEC championship game, and gets set to play the BCS final against … ACC champion Georgia Tech. “Look who’s smiling now,” notes Paul Johnson.