By: Dave Baker
With 2012 all but in the books, it’s time to look ahead to 2013. Taking stock of your life is swell and all, but why waste time brooding over missed opportunities and scheming for the new year? Leave your life stock alone. The Bake Shop’s cooked up some distractions for you with 32 completely insane but totally realistic predictions concerning everything from sports to entertainment, politics, economics, and whether or not Disney will ruin Star Wars. Joining us for the final column of 2012 is my close friend and guest writer Erik ‘Weedge’ Nisson. A Journalism student at the University of Alabama, Weedge has worked for UA’s Athletic Department and interned for the Denver Nuggets corporate branch. He loves Boston sports, the Green Bay Packers, day drinking, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of sports. Dude’s like John Clayton, but better.
1. Peyton Manning caps off a comeback for the ages by leading the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl win over the Seattle Seahawks. Denver is one of the most complete teams entering the postseason and playing some of their best football at the right time. In his preseason preview, Grantland Editor-in-Chief Bill Simmons anointed Russell Wilson the league’s next superstar, and picked the dark horse Seahawks to make an improbable Super Bowl run. After dismantling the 49ers and amassing staggering statistics enroute to a four-game winning streak, Wilson looks poised to add a major twist to the 2012 rookie QB narrative. There will be no living with Simmons if he called this one right. Wilson will have to reach down deep to find a pair of balls big enough to take down this old man in a game of one-on-one.
2. The NHL lockout cancels the 2012-2013 season, reminding Americans that they don’t give one one-hundredth of a shit about hockey. With so many players unemployed and refusing to get involved in the seedy world of eastern European hockey, the VS network resurrects a cornerstone of the early 90s: American Gladiators. Get excited, America. The fourth major American sport is one failed NHLPA meeting away.
3. Showrunners at HBO will pull the plug on Girls midway through its second season, citing that “viewers are tired of seeing fat chicks naked.” Their press release will end with a polite but emphatic message to all hipsters: get a fucking job.
4. David Stern levies a five-game losing streak against the New Orleans Pelicans for having a stupid name. Should I not be referencing levies in a post about New Orleans?
5. A sex scandal involving two major American athletes will surface. Our sources indicate Tiger Woods and Josh Hamilton’s tattoos are involved.
6. Hostilities between Israel and Iran will reach a boiling point. President Barack Obama will send newly appointed diplomats Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson to Jerusalem to mediate the situation. Everyone will agree their performance in peace talks far exceeded any comedy they’ve done in the last nine years.
7. Tim Tebow will win the QB competition in Jacksonville outright this offseason, and lead the Jaguars to a 7-9 record in 2013. Considering they play in a lackluster AFC, that record should sustain their playoff hopes through week 17.
8. The impending shortage of bacon will result in an economic collapse and a breakdown of all basic social services. If President Obama hasn’t formed a task force to intervene on this crisis by now, I’m calling for his immediate impeachment.
9. D’Jango Unchained will go toe-to-toe with Lincoln at the Academy Awards, but Zero Dark Thirty will upset both of them.
10. The Chicago Cubs will lose 80-plus games and President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein will call that “progress.”
11. Notre Dame will put forth a monumental effort against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS National Championship game, only to lose on a last-second field goal after a highly questionable pass interference call. Let the “Nick Saban is the Devil” memes begin.
12. The New York Knicks will upset the Miami Heat in an Eastern Conference Finals that becomes an instant classic. A completely spent Knicks squad fails to show up for the NBA Finals, however, and loses in five games to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
13. The United States withdraws all military personnel from Afghanistan and the Taliban regime regains control over a chaotic and fragmented state.
14. Sasha Obama invites Justin Bieber to her junior prom and Bieber declines the invitation via Twitter.
15. The NFL offseason centers on the most intriguing head coach carousel in recent years. Norv Turner is named head coach of the New York Jets; Jon Gruden comes out of retirement to rejuvenate the Oakland Raiders and despite whirlwind reports that Bill Cowher is in talks with the Chicago Bears, ownership goes for the cheaper, unheralded journeyman offensive assistant coach, and the Bears fully commit to rebuilding around Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and Matt Forte.
16. Taylor Swift will have a drunken one-night stand with Jonah Hill hours after being dumped by that young Kennedy. Her handlers will quickly dismiss the photos of the two canoodling saying that they’re “just friends.”
17. Jonah Hill will gain 50 pounds.
18. Derrick Rose’s return to the United Center will be dubbed one of the greatest moments in Chicago sports history. It will only get better after he drops 30 points in his debut and restores the Bulls to an Eastern Conference powerhouse.
19. The season three finale of Game of Thrones will incite a riot. Seriously, shit’s about to get really real.
20. Working in collusion with lame duck President Barack Obama, Hilary and Bill Clinton will become the faces of an historical campaign to improve the gun control laws in the United States. No nation, past or present, has a history of gun violence as lengthy or horrifying as the United States. It starts at home. Guns need to be taken off the street and made virtually inaccessible to average citizens. The NRA can stand behind an archaic amendment all they want, but no one needs an assault rife in their home. The body count is rising; it’s time to put the weapons down.
21. Whichever new comedies NBC green lights will be utter failures compared to Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, and The Office.
22. Jabari Parker’s decision to attend Duke University will keep him standing on the outside of Chicago’s inner circle of basketball legends.
23. Brian Urlacher will enter free agency and sign with the New England Patriots.
24. Season six of Californication might surprise some people.
25. Robert Pattinson will break up with Kristen Stewart and have a burnout of Robert Downey Jr. proportions.
26. The student loan bubble will burst, resulting in the next major recession.
27. Disney will attempt to reboot Star Wars in a style reminescient of The Dark Knight, adding better-developed characters, a slight edge, and an overall darker feel to the movie. Zach Efron will likely be cast as Luke Skywalker and there will be all kinds of creepy sexual tension between him and the relative newcomer playing his twin sister, Princess Leia. It will fail miserably.
28. Josh Hartnett will experience a career resurgence. Just kidding.
29. The Los Angeles Lakers experiment will end in disaster, and Dwight Howard will be a Brooklyn Net at the start of the 2013-2014 season.
30. Canada will invade New England in retaliation for Benedict Arnold’s invasion of Quebec in 1775.
31. The 2013 NFL Draft will be so uneventful that Todd McShay is forced to start taking anti-depressants.
32. Vladimir Putin will finally drop all pretenses and redub the Russian Federation as the United Soviet Socialists Republics.