A round-about of what’s happening in the sports world + some 2nd half of 2017 predictions for you in today’s quick hitters:
-So the latest rumor in NBA circles is that the Suns will meet with free agents Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap this weekend. Griffin is the more flashy name but considering his injury history, I’m all for Phoenix bringing in the steady, yet under-appreciated Millsap instead.
-Speaking of wacky NBA moves, Chris Paul to the Rockets? James Harden had an MVP-type season as the point guard so let’s bring in arguably the best ball distributor in the league? I don’t get it at all for Houston. This doesn’t make them closer to beating Golden State…let’s be honest.
-I’m going to spoil something for you baseball fans – Joe Maddon – the World Series-winning manager of the Chicago Cubs is overrated. He’s not clearly the quality of manager he gets credit for – in fact, if the Cubs had lost Game 7 to the Indians last year, I truly believe Maddon would be on the hot seat right now.
-Maddon makes a boatload of “well that’s freakin’ stupid” baseball decisions. From his severe overuse of Aroldis Chapman in last year’s World Series to the wacky lineups he puts out on a daily basis, as a big Cubs fan, I’m tired of it. His novelty has worn off. With a roster this talented, to only be one game over .500 almost at the midseason point is a TREMENDOUS disappointment.
-Tennis-legend John McEnroe said this week that Serena Williams, arguably the most famous female tennis player of all-time would be ranked 700th on the Men’s Tour. At first I wanted to disagree. Maybe 700th was too low? Then I thought about this argument. Take the UConn women’s basketball team – a powerhouse in the sport. Put them up against the worst men’s college team…who wins? I’ll set the line at men’s team -31.5 points. I don’t mean to be sexist…but comparing the physicality of men’s and women’s sports is like comparing apples to oranges. McEnroe might be right about this one.
-One essential I recommend for summer reading: Phil Steele’s College Football Magazine. There’s more info in that nearly 400 page magazine than you can possibly imagine. I just bought my copy yesterday and can’t wait to dive in! If you love the sport like I do, this is a must read.
-Speaking of college football, the new UofA uniforms…eh, I’ll give them a C+. I like the helmets a lot, hate the numbers on the jerseys, and don’t like stripes on the shoulders. When will Nike learn, sometimes simpler equals better. One plus compared to the older unis, thank God the gradient is gone. Purple (a mix of red and blue actually) is not a Wildcats color.
-It was pretty cool that Mike Joy (voice of NASCAR on FOX) and Craig Bolerjack (voice of the Utah Jazz and play-by-play man of the Hampton-Iowa State game in 2001) both retweeted my under-appreciated PBP calls article from Wednesday! The power of social media…
— Mike Joy (@mikejoy500) June 29, 2017
Predicting the 2nd half of 2017 from a sports perspective:
- One player in baseball will have a 40+ game hit streak in the 2nd half of the season. By September, pennant races won’t be the only thing baseball fans will be focusing on.
- The Cubs win the NL Central but lose to the Nationals in the first round of the playoffs. The Diamondbacks win the NL Wild Card game but lose to the Dodgers in the National League Division Series.
- Before the season, I predicted a Cubs-Astros World Series. Let me change that to Astros-Dodgers with Houston winning in 7 games.
- Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks) and Jose Altuve (Astros) win the MLB MVP Awards. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) and Chris Sale (Red Sox) win the Cy Young Awards. Nothing earth-shattering there.
- The Cubs projected pitching staff on 12/31/17 will be: Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Sonny Gray (currently on the A’s), Mike Montgomery, and Alex Cobb (currently on the Rays).
- Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Mark D’Antonio (Michigan State), Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M), Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss), and Jim Mora (UCLA) will be the most notable college football head coaches on the move this Winter. Rich Rodriguez and Todd Graham from the Arizona schools will be right there with them.
- The winner of the Florida State-Alabama game on September 2nd WILL NOT be playing for the National Title. Neither will Ohio State.
- Marvin Lewis (Bengals), John Fox (Bears), Sean Payton (Saints), Todd Bowles (Jets), and Chuck Pagano (Colts) will be among the coaches coaching their last games with their respective teams on 12/31/17.
- The Patriots will finish up a 16-0 regular season for the second time in team (and NFL) history. Meanwhile their rivals, the New York Jets will go 1-15.
- Christian McCaffery (Panthers) will win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
- College Basketball’s one-and-done rule will be changed. High school players will be allowed to enter the NBA Draft beginning in 2020.
- The consensus #1 team in the country entering the start of conference play in college basketball: the Arizona Wildcats.
- The Cleveland Cavaliers will not be in first place in their division come the end of the 2017 calendar year. With LeBron James-to-LA rumors in full swing, the Cavs will significantly underachieve to start the new NBA season.
- The last two Major Championships of 2017, the British Open and PGA Championship will also be won be first-time major champions.
- Jimmie Johnson will win his 8th NASCAR championship – a record that will NEVER be broken.
- Arrogate wins the Breeders Cup Classic at Del Mar – cementing his legacy as the greatest (modern day) horse of all-time that never competed in a Triple Crown race.