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Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Updated: January 3, 6:42 PM ET
Page 2's 2008 month-by-month preview

Page 2

Well, it's finally 2008 -- what's in store for us sports fans during the next 12 months? Page 2 knows all.

Ryan Perrilloux
Ryan Perrilloux could be the difference when LSU faces Ohio State on Jan. 7.
BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (JANUARY)

• What we want to happen: A coming-out party for a future star. Whether it's Todd Boeckman or James Laurinaitis from Ohio State, or Ryan Perrilloux or Glenn Dorsey from LSU, we'd like to see an individual performance for the ages a la Vince Young in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

• What we don't want to happen: Les Miles and Jim Tressel suspend themselves after a heated pregame debate over sweater vests spills onto Bourbon Street and turns into an ugly full-scale brawl.

• What will happen: Ohio State will play possession football with tailback Chris Wells and take a slim lead into halftime. Then Miles will switch quarterbacks, from Matt Flynn to Perrilloux, finally remembering that Big Ten teams can't defend against mobile QBs. The Tigers will then pull away to win their second BCS title in five years.
-- Thomas Neumann

CHAMPS/AWARDS
Here's a rundown of Page 2 staffers' predictions for team champs and individual awards
in 2008.

WORLD SERIES OF BEER PONG (JANUARY)

• What we want to happen: The mothership picks this up for broadcast and gets better ratings than the NHL (not a stretch); the winning team actually remembers, well, winning.

• What we don't want to happen: Tony La Russa and Keon Clark enter the tournament.

• What will happen: Vomit, and possibly a few cases of atonic bladder.
-- Patrick Hruby

SUPER BOWL (FEBRUARY)

• What we want to happen: Pats-Colts and Cowboys-Packers in their respective conference championship games. Because we all know the other 28 teams in the NFL stink this year.

• What we don't want to happen: The Patriots go 19-0. Is there a way we can have the Patriots lose and the '72 Dolphins still don't get to celebrate?

• What will happen: New England 49, Dallas 21. Don't you feel sick already?
-- Kieran Darcy

PRO BOWL (FEBRUARY)

• What we want to happen: Page 2 editors send staff to Hawaii for week-long coverage -- then massive EMP burst over islands disables all electronics, leaving us with nothing to do but hit the beach. Aloha, suckers!

• What we don't want to happen: Anyone getting hurt during one of those celebrity flag-football games; massive EMP burst awakens dormant Godzilla.

• What will happen: Better ratings than the NHL. And probably the NBA, too. Is it NFL draft time yet?
-- Patrick Hruby

Kevin VanDam
C'mon Mr. VanDam, you can do better than that!
BASSMASTER CLASSIC (FEBRUARY)

• What we want to happen: A world record, of course ... with a prize-winning catch that no one will ever forget.

• What we don't want to happen: A performance-enhancing drug scandal. We love Bassmaster competitors because they do it the right way.

• What will happen: It wouldn't surprise anyone to see Kevin VanDam capture his third Classic title. But our hunch is that Ish Monroe of Hughson, Calif., will win his first, based on the fact that he might actually be Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, fishing under an alias and benefiting from last year's NBA Finals experience.
-- Thomas Neumann

WORLD FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS (MARCH)

• What we want to happen: A solemn moment of silence for Brian Sean Griffith, the former Tonya Harding bodyguard who played a key role in the clubbing of Nancy Kerrigan's knee (the most exciting thing that ever happened to the sport not involving Katarina Witt and Playboy magazine).

• What we don't want to happen: The lords of fashion in New York and Paris decide to draw inspiration from male figure-skating costumes -- fall's subsequent office-casual look resembles overdressed waiters, neo-futuristic kung fu fighters and extras from "The Pirates of Penzance."

• What will happen: Somebody somewhere will TWO FOOT THE QUAD! OH NO!
-- Patrick Hruby

NCAA TOURNAMENT (MARCH-APRIL)

• What we want to happen: A Cinderella goes even further than George Mason did. Butler in the national championship game, anyone? Hey, you never know.

• What we don't want to happen: Four No. 1 seeds make the Final Four. It's never happened before. And it would stink if it ever did.

• What will happen: North Carolina vs. UCLA, on a Monday night in San Antonio. Tyler Hansbrough vs. Kevin Love -- what an individual battle that will be. You'll see Hansbrough cutting down the nets during "One Shining Moment." But Love will shine brighter in the pros.
-- Kieran Darcy

NFL DRAFT (APRIL)

• What we want to happen: When a player gets drafted in the first round, for the analysts to say, "You know what, it's really just a complete crapshoot. There's no such thing as a draft expert and, frankly, we have no idea if this is a good pick or not. Just look at this year's playoff quarterbacks. Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick. David Garrard was a fourth-round pick. Brett Favre was traded by the Falcons. Matt Hasselbeck was a sixth-round pick. Jeff Garcia was never drafted and is on his fifth NFL team. Todd Collins hadn't started an NFL game in 10 years. But this kid does have great upside."

• What we don't want to happen: Brady Quinn to make a special guest appearance with his girlfriend, hair gel and three-piece suit.

• What will happen: Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan will get drafted and be praised for his "size and arm." Meanwhile, some QB with a scouting report that reads "Poor build, very skinny and narrow, lacks mobility and the ability to avoid the rush, lacks a really strong arm" (actual report on Tom Brady, by the way) will fall to the fifth round and become a star.
-- David Schoenfield

NHL -- STANLEY CUP FINALS (MAY-JUNE)

• What we want to happen: Inspired by his first NHL fight, Sidney Crosby becomes the most complete all-around player in the sport's history.

• What we don't want to happen: Inspired by his first NHL fight, Sidney Crosby leaves hockey and embarks on a career on the Canadian mixed martial arts circuit.

• What will happen: The Stanley Cup Finals will go seven exciting games. As overtime begins in Game 7, NBC will leave the broadcast to start a rerun of "American Gladiators" at its regularly scheduled time.
-- DJ Gallo

Steve Nash
Is this the year Steve Nash and his Suns finally reach the top of the mountain?
NBA FINALS (JUNE)

• What we want to happen: The Suns finally win the chip, and Steve Nash officially becomes the second-greatest point guard in NBA history.

• What we don't want to happen: Another boring "we have no chance of winning" Eastern Conference team reaches the Finals.

• What will happen: The Celtics will push the Spurs to seven games, but will lose. But next year the Celts will be better, and they won't lose.
-- Scoop Jackson

NBA DRAFT (JUNE)

• What we want to happen: UCLA's Kevin Love declares early, and goes second, to Memphis or Miami. And Golden State makes a draft-day trade for the perfect player who will put them in the 2009 Western Conference Finals.

• What we don't want to happen: Derrick Caracter leaves Louisville early, then is picked in the top 10.

• What will happen: A big man like UNC's Hansbrough or Ohio State's Kosta Koufos will go No. 1 to the Knicks, even though the Madison Square Garden crowd will be chanting O.J. Mayo's name. Mayo will be picked No. 3, in the tradition of MJ and Melo. And Kansas State's Michael Beasley (because of his past) will drop lower than he should, and he will be the steal of the 2008 draft.
-- Scoop Jackson

TOUR DE FRANCE (JULY)

• What we want to happen: Levi Leipheimer wins one for America and the old guys. Meanwhile, Slipstream finishes well enough to help clean up the sport.

• What we don't want to happen: The yellow jersey is replaced by a psychedelic T-shirt due to all the drug problems during the race.

• What will happen: Carlos Sastre will win in a refreshingly clean race. This is one sport that will wind up with fewer PEDs than before, if only because the riders are so thoroughly tested that they'll be afraid to cheat.
-- Jim Caple

ARENA BOWL XXII (JULY)

• What we want to happen: Jon Bon Jovi's Philadelphia Soul are probably the best shot Philly has to win something (anything!) this year, so we're hoping they nab ArenaBowl XXII -- followed by a celebratory parade with the Soulmates and a few JBJ monster ballads.

• What we don't want to happen: We hope Jessica Simpson doesn't start dating Philly's QB, Tony Graziani. Not only because he's a married man, but because the last thing Philadelphia needs is a curse.

• What will happen: The Chicago Rush, who picked up 15-year veteran QB Sherdrick Bonner and offensive sparkplug WR Damian Harrell, are certainly capable of hoisting the Foster ArenaBowl Trophy in '08. However, you can't count out the defending champ San Jose SaberCats or the Dallas Desperados, who have gone 28-4 the past two regular seasons. No matter who rules the arena in '08, we know we're all in for another dizzying weekend on Bourbon Street, as the ArenaBowl returns to New Orleans.
-- Mary Buckheit

SUMMER OLYMPICS -- USA BASKETBALL (AUGUST)

• What we want to happen: The 2008 squad inspires legitimate conversations that they are better than the original Dream Team.

• What we don't want to happen: The 2008 squad inspires legitimate conversations that they are better than the original Dream Team.

• What will happen: The 2008 squad inspires legitimate conversations that they are better than the original Dream Team.
-- Scoop Jackson

Keiko Mukumoto
The Olympics mean we'll all fall in love with sports like gymnastics again this summer.
SUMMER OLYMPICS -- EVERYTHING ELSE (AUGUST)

• What we want to happen: An athlete has a Bruce Jenner or Nadia Comaneci type breakout; international relations will forge a spirited rivalry with another country; someone will figure out a way to start a fantasy Olympics league to recapture a high level of interest in the event.

• What we don't want to happen: The marathon leaders collapse in mile 22 due to pollution; the government cracks down on protestors by making them eat the lead-based paint on toys.

• What will happen: There will be many protests by Falun Gong, lots of propaganda about the Iraqi Olympic team, and too many jokes about the pollution and traffic.
-- Jim Caple

LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES (AUGUST)

• What we want to happen: A celebration of sportsmanship and international competition between two teams loaded with the purest form of baseball enthusiasts: 12-year-old kids.

• What we don't want to happen: A celebration of law enforcement and interdepartmental cooperation when the entire rosters of both teams are busted for illegal possession of HGH and winstrol.

• What will happen: Some team from a part of the U.S. that always seems to be warm will play a team from Asia and the team with the most mustaches will win by eight runs.
-- Mike Philbrick

PGA -- FEDEX CUP (AUGUST-SEPTEMBER)

• What we want to happen: Tiger Woods and Rory Sabbatini face off in the octagon, for charity.

• What we don't want to happen: Top golfers, like Tiger and Phil Mickelson, skipping FedEx Cup events. But they will.

• What will happen: Tiger will win two majors, Mickelson will snag one, and an unknown will capture the fourth. And we'll be more interested in the Ryder Cup than any of them -- which the Europeans will dominate once again. Darn team players.
-- Kieran Darcy

NASCAR -- CHASE FOR THE SPRINT CUP (SEPTEMBER-NOVEMBER)

• What we want to happen: NASCAR switches to hybrids to cut down on gas consumption and help stem the tide of global warming. The term "rubbin's racin'" is replaced by "reducin', reusin' and recylin' is racin'".

• What we don't want to happen: A driver forgets to thank each and every one of his sponsors in Victory Lane. That would truly be tragic.

• What will happen: Hendrick Motorsports will dominate again. They'll then move their headquarters from Concord, N.C., to Bristol, N.H., to further consolidate sports greatness in New England.
-- DJ Gallo

WORLD SERIES (OCTOBER)

• What we want to happen: The Cubs make the World Series for the first time since 1945 but lose to the Twins, who decide to hold onto Johan Santana to reward the Minnesota taxpayers who funded their new stadium.

• What we don't want to happen: The Cubs win. It was bad enough having one obscenely rich team with obnoxious fans. But since 2004, we have two. The last thing we need is three.

• What will happen: In another dull series, the American League team will sweep the National League team, with each game ending shortly before midnight Eastern. Columnists will complain that games are ending too late for children to watch, suggesting that they be ought to be played during the day when the children are in school. Oddly, these same columnists will not suggest that "Monday Night Football" shift its games to the daytime.
-- Jim Caple

Pete Sampras
Will Pete Sampras make a comeback this year? Tennis fans would love that.
ATP/WTA TENNIS (ENDS IN NOVEMBER)

• What we want to happen: Just once to see Lindsay Davenport play with a racket in one hand and her baby in the other.

• What we don't want to happen: Roger Federer beats someone other than Rafael Nadal in the French Open final.

• What will happen: Pete Sampras will unretire to play singles in a lower-tiered tournament.
-- LZ Granderson

MLS CUP (NOVEMBER)

• What we want to happen: Becks rips his shirt off after scoring the game-winner and hoists the cup for all the world to admire, followed by an acceptance speech delivered in Beckham's gentle, elfin voice.

• What we don't want to happen: Last season marked the fourth time in four attempts that the New England Revolution came up short in an MLS Cup. We really hope they don't snap their championship skid any time soon -- we just can't stomach another team from Massachusetts presiding over the sports world.

• What will happen: Johan Santana will sport a "2008 MLS Champs" hat in his Red Sox postgame news conferences.
-- Mary Buckheit