As a GamingToday columnist covering the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball I don’t often get a chance to take a more whimsical look at what may lie ahead in each sport. But as 2015 fades into 2016 this is an appropriate time to look at what might be ahead.
These are not predictions, per se, but rather hopes and wishes for what might occur in a perfect world.
Since 2016 is an even numbered year it’s easy to predict San Francisco as baseball’s World Series winners. After all, the Giants won in 2010, 2012 and 2014 so the natural progression would have them keeping the pattern alive.
The Giants have strengthened themselves during the offseason and will be contenders although they may not even be favorites in the NL West with the moves Arizona has made thus far. And, of course, the free spending LA Dodgers will present formidable opposition.
From a more practical standpoint, however, this could be the season the Chicago Cubs finally end more than a century of frustration. Possessing arguably the best overall roster in the majors, and led by one of the game’s most respected managers, Joe Maddon, the Cubs are poised to take the next step after losing to the New York Mets in last season’s NLCS.
In the NFL it will be interesting to see how many coaching changes take place over the next few weeks. The firings and resignations will begin taking place almost immediately with the Monday following the end of the season, earning the moniker of “Black Monday” for that very reason.
Could this be the time for Alabama’s Nick Saban to return to the NFL and try to do what Pete Carroll has done after earlier failures as an NFL head coach. There are rumors Indianapolis will make a coaching change and Saban is at the top of Jim Irsay’s wish list.
If Saban decides to remain King of Tuscaloosa how about another college coach – Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio as a possibility? He’s taken the Spartans to a Bowl in each of his eight seasons and could be playing for this season’s National Title if he can pull an upset over Saban’s Crimson Tide.
Will Chip Kelly leave Philadelphia and return to the college ranks where his style of play at Oregon was extremely successful? Or will he remain for another season with the Eagles, perhaps being relieved of some of his authority as many of his personnel decisions did not work out at all in 2015?
Most importantly, in addition to continued attention to and advancements in player safety, I’d like the NFL to give serious consideration to dealing with what has been a horrible season of officiating.
What I’d like to see in college football is a quick expansion in the Playoff format to include eight rather than just four teams.
It makes no sense to call the new system a “Playoff” when at least one of the five Major Conferences has to be left out by definition! That and the lure of NFL dollars could result in more top flight college coaches opting to face the challenge of being a head coach in the NFL.
The Golden State Warriors have started to make a case for potentially being considered as the greatest single season NBA team of all time. Their 24-0 start, and their current 28-1 record, has gotten the ball rolling, so to speak.
Should the Warriors go on to set the record for all time wins in a season they would be worthy of being in the discussion. They are currently on pace for 79 wins and should they, in the unlikely case they achieve that number, the better debate might be which is the more impressive achievement – going 79-3 in the NBA or New England’s 16-0 NFL season of 2007. Or even Miami’s perfect season in the 1972 season. My vote would be the Warriors. And it would be without hesitation. Heck, even at 78-4 I’d vote for Golden State.
In contrast, the Philadelphia 76ers, currently 2-30, are on pace to a 5-77 season. As a freshman college student at Penn in 1973 I can recall the crowd booing when the 76ers won their seventh game of the season.
What caused this odd occurrence was that win number 7 occurred very late in the 1972-73 season and prevented the 76ers from being able to match that number of losses. 6-76 would have been an odd achievement but the franchise that would win an NBA Title a decade late finished that season 9-73. I don’t recall if the booing was as loud or as sustained as when Santa Claus got booed at an Eagles game in that same era.
With those thoughts in mind as we end what was a riveting and entertaining 2015, I wish all of our readers health, happiness and prosperity in 2016. Happy New Year to one and all!
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to GamingToday readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Email: [email protected]