To be honest, 2014 was not a good year for the predictions business.
Who foresaw the Cowboys emerging from their 8-8 rut to become the beasts of the NFC East?
Who knew that Prince Fielder would need surgery and hit only three home runs?
Who expected Baylor and TCU to be clawing it out for a College Football Playoff berth?
Who in Cleveland thought they would be cheering LeBron James’ return?
I’m blaming it all on global warming.
Surely, the next 12 months won’t be so fraught with the unexpected. Here, therefore, for the 33rd consecutive year in the Star-Telegram, is my peek ahead at the year in sports.
Historical note: The Hollywood hit Back to the Future Part II was set in the faraway year of ... 2015! I can feel a surge of Biff Tannen clairvoyance coming on.
New Year’s morning headline: Boykin, Green help TCU grind out 20-17 Peach Bowl victory over Ole Miss ... Baylor survives wild finish to beat Michigan State 51-45 in Cotton Bowl ... In first-ever playoff semifinals, Alabama snuffs Ohio State 35-7 in Sugar Bowl, and Oregon overwhelms Florida State 42-28 in Rose to advance to title game at AT&T Stadium.
Dez Bryant catches three TD passes and Cowboys defeat Detroit Lions 31-24 in NFL wild-card round ... Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Craig Biggio elected to Baseball Hall of Fame ... Marcus Mariota accounts for four touchdowns, and Oregon races to CFP national championship with 37-31 win over Alabama ... Bob Sturm announces he’s leaving KTCK-The Ticket to become lead sports columnist at The Dallas Morning News.
In frigid, 15-degree weather at Green Bay, Packers end Cowboys’ season 42-13 ... Aaron Rodgers-to-Jordy Nelson TD pass in final minute gives Packers 27-24 upset over Seahawks to win NFC title ... New England’s Tom Brady earns sixth trip to Super Bowl with 27-16 victory over Denver Broncos ... Kurt Warner, Junior Seau, Marvin Harrison, Orlando Pace and Jerome Bettis elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame ... Owner Jerry Jones rewards coach Jason Garrett with 10-year contract extension.
Brady stakes claim as greatest QB ever as Patriots defeat Packers 33-24 in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz. ... Singer Katy Perry is late scratch from halftime show and replaced by “Weird Al” Yankovic ... Brad Keselowski wins rainy Daytona 500 ... George Riba retires from WFAA-Channel 8 after 37 years. Describes relationship with Dale Hansen: “I never met the man.” ... Baseball spring training camps open ... Returning Alex Rodriguez discovers his parking space at Yankees’ Tampa camp has been given to Chase Headley ... Record crowds flock to Surprise, Ariz. — to see the defending AL champion Kansas City Royals, of course.
Kansas wins Big 12 basketball tournament ... Seven Big 12 teams earn invites to NCAA tourney, including 20-11 TCU ... Coach Trent Johnson’s Frogs seeded 10th in East Regional and face LSU in opening round ... As season nears, new manager Jeff Banister names Rangers starting rotation of Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Ross Detwiler and Nick Martinez ... Ryan Rua begins season as starting first baseman, with Prince Fielder as DH ... Michael Choice, Leonys Martin and Shin-Soo Choo will open in outfield ... “I like our team,” GM Jon Daniels announces ... Wynn Las Vegas Sports Book lists Rangers’ odds of winning AL pennant at 75-to-1 ... Arizona eliminates Texas Longhorns in NCAA West Regional ... Kansas falls to Louisville in South final ... Rangers’ Jurickson Profar begins season on disabled list.
Kentucky beats Duke, and Louisville defeats Arizona in NCAA basketball semis ... Kentucky completes near-perfect season, defeating rival Cardinals for NCAA title ... Kevin Harvick captures Duck Commander 500 Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway ... Cowboys radio voice Brad Sham inks long-term deal for “Romo-sized money” ... Jonas Blixt wins Masters, edging Rory McIlroy in playoff ... Salary cap concerns prompt Owner Jones to release Cowboys veterans Brandon Carr and Rolando McClain ... Dez Bryant given franchise tag and one-year contract for $12.7 million ... Free agent DeMarco Murray signs with New York Giants ... Over a Wednesday dinner, Jones family unanimously votes to impose one-cent sales tax on all Frisco residents ... Mavericks finish 56-26 to earn third seed in NBA Western Conference ... Tennessee Titans make QB Jameis Winston of Florida State No. 1 overall pick in NFL Draft. ... Cowboys select defensive end Dante Fowler of Florida with their first pick.
Carpe Diem nips Texas Red at wire to win 141st running of Kentucky Derby ... Mavericks defeat Memphis, four games to two, in first round of NBA playoffs but fall to Portland in seven games in next round ... TCU beats Nebraska in NCAA baseball Super Regional to advance to second consecutive College World Series ... Dallas’ Jordan Spieth earns plaid jacket as Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial champion ... Jason Dufner wins AT&T Byron Nelson Championship ... Will Power gets checkered flag at Indianapolis 500 ... KTCK-The Ticket’s Mike Rhyner celebrates 60th year in broadcasting.
Riley Ferrell strikes out side in ninth as TCU wins first NCAA College World Series title, defeating Florida ... Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Golden State Warriors for NBA championship ... 76ers select Duke’s Jahlil Okafor with No. 1 pick in NBA Draft ... Bubba Watson wins U.S. Open golf championship at Chambers Bay, Wash. ... Helio Castroneves takes Firestone 600 IndyCar race at TMS ... Big 12 Conference presidents vote to keep money coffers strong and deny expansion invitations to Boise State, BYU and University of Phoenix.
Rangers, mired in third place in AL West at All-Star break, call up 20-year-old outfielder Nomar Mazara from Double A Frisco ... Blue Jays, Nationals have best records in MLB at break … Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova win Wimbledon singles titles ... Jean-Christophe Peraud becomes first French rider in 30 years to win cycling’s Tour de France ... Nursing his sore back, Tony Romo watches from sideline as Cowboys open training camp in Oxnard, Calif. ... At deadline, Rangers trade infielder Jurickson Profar and pitcher Jake Thompson to slumping Dodgers for pitcher Zack Greinke ... Rangers left-hander Martin Perez returns from disabled list ... Cowboys mascot Rowdy pulled over by Irving police at traffic stop and arrested for “failing to wipe that stupid grin” off his face.
Rangers call up catcher Jorge Alfaro and slugger Joey Gallo from Triple A ... Preseason college football polls show 1. Oregon, 2. Alabama, 3. TCU, 4. Georgia, 5. Ohio State ... QB Johnny Manziel named Browns’ starter ... Cowboys lose exhibition games to San Diego and Oakland ... TxDOT announces new toll road that will link Watauga and Haltom City. Project will take 10 years to complete ... Under union pressure, NFL commish Roger Goodell amends league’s new domestic violence policy to read “no harm, no foul.”
Baylor and TCU roll in football season openers ... Texas falls at Notre Dame ... Aggies defeat Arizona State in Houston ... Cowboys drop exhibition games to Texans and Broncos ... Baylor eagerly devours cream puffs Lamar and Rice ... Frogs roll over Stephen F. Austin, SMU and Texas Tech ... Texas rebounds, beating Rice, Cal and Oklahoma State ... A&M loses to Arkansas at AT&T Stadium ... Cowboys fall in Sunday night season opener to Super Bowl champ Patriots but rebound with wins over Atlanta and Tampa Bay ... KTCK-The Ticket’s Craig Miller and George Dunham agree to star in sequel to The Interview. Plot in sequel will be to “take out” Vladimir Putin ... Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams win U.S. Open tennis singles crowns.
Rangers finish 90-72, third place in AL West ... Prince Fielder finishes with 41 home runs ... Mazara second in AL rookie of year balloting ... Gallo hits 12 homers in brief preview ... Baylor continues its roll with wins over Tech, Kansas, West Virginia and Iowa State ... TCU struggles against both Texas and Kansas State, but Frogs prevail ... Longhorns knock off Oklahoma in annual State Fair shootout ... Rough month for Aggies with losses to Mississippi State, Alabama and Ole Miss ... Cowboys can’t stop Aaron Rodgers, fall at Green Bay, but defeat Eagles, Giants and Panthers ... Toronto outlasts Detroit in ALCS, St. Louis defeats Nationals in NLCS ... In World Series, Josh Donaldson homers in ninth, lifting Blue Jays to Game 7 victory over Cardinals ... Noted septuagenarian Aledo scribe Randy Galloway retires for second time ... maybe.
Cowboys lose at Buffalo, score victories over Jets and Vikings, and then drop annual Thanksgiving Day game to Seattle ... TCU rises to No. 2 in CFP standings before losing at Oklahoma. Frogs spank Baylor at home to finish season 11-1 ... Texas defeats Kansas and Tech, loses on road at West Virginia ... A&M defeats Western Carolina and Vanderbilt but falls to Auburn and LSU to end season at 6-6 ... Baylor loses on road at Kansas State and TCU, defeats Oklahoma State but falls to Oklahoma for first defeat at McLane Stadium ... Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins AAA Texas 500 NASCAR race at TMS ... KXAS-Channel 5’s Newy Scruggs resigns to become athletic director at North Carolina.
Cowboys rebound from loss to Seahawks with wins over Washington and New Orleans, then lose to Giants and win at Washington ... With 10-5 record, playoff berth will be on line in post-New Year’s season finale at Philadelphia. Texas wins classic regular-season finale against Baylor. Longhorns finish 9-3 in second season under Charlie Strong and will face LSU in Texas Bowl ... Baylor finishes 8-4 and will play Arizona State in Alamo Bowl ... Oklahoma heads to Sugar Bowl to face Auburn ... TCU makes CFP four-team field. Frogs will face Alabama in Cotton Bowl semifinal ... Oregon and Georgia will meet in Orange Bowl semifinal ... CFP announces it will expand playoff field to eight teams for 2017. Four first-round games will be played at campus sites on weekend after conference title games ... North Korea-based cyber attack prevents publication of 2016 Star-Telegram predictions column.
Happy 2016, anyway!
Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697