By MARK KNUDSON @MarkKnudson41 Special to WoodyPaige.com
January 8th, Atlanta: Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield throws three touchdown passes and runs for another has Oklahoma, seeded second in the four-team College Football Play-off takes down fourth-seeded Alabama 38-35 to win the school’s eighth national title and their first since 2001. During the traditional post-game handshakes, Mayfield grabs the crotch of Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban as the two share an awkward chuckle at midfield.
February 4th, Minneapolis: The Jacksonville Jaguars, who entered the AFC play-offs as the #3 seed, topple the favored Philadelphia Eagles 17-13 to win Super Bowl LII. The Eagles, playing without star quarterback Carson Wentz, can’t manage much offense against the vaunted Jaguar defense, which registers seven sacks and harasses Eagles QB Nick Foles into three interceptions. Jags defensive lineman Malik Jackson has three of the sacks and is named the game’s MVP. Afterwards, Jacksonville Vice President and former New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin trolls his former team, offering to bring the Super Bowl trophy with him to New York “for a nice visit.”
February 25th, PyeongChang, South Korea: American ski racing superstar Lindsey Vonn, sporting a brand new gold medal, says at the conclusion of the closing ceremonies for the XXIII Winter Olympic Games that she is considering retiring from ski racing and entering the political arena. An outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, Vonn pledges to begin campaigning for progressive candidates and will herself be a candidate for national office in 2020. Trump responds by calling Vonn, “A hater and a loser” for not winning both of her races in these Olympics. “I like people who win all the time, not just half the time,” the President tweets.
March 11th, Palm Beach, Florida. New York Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton hit back-to-back homers in consecutive innings as the Yanks clobber the Miami Marlins 13-3 in Grapefruit League action. It’s Stanton’s first appearance against his former team since being traded to the Yankees in December. The four blasts travel a total 1,894 feet combined. Marlin’s exec Derek Jeter, the former Yankee standout, tells the media after the game that trading Stanton to his former team wasn’t his first choice, but that moving him to an American League team was. “If we are going to fix this franchise on and off the field, the last thing we need is to face that guy multiple times this season. He’s obviously pissed off.”
April 2nd, San Antonio: Led by sensational freshman Marvin Bagley, Duke turns back Coach Bobby Hurley and Arizona State 85-80 to win another NCAA title. It’s the school’s sixth all-time and third since 2010. Bagley leads the Blue Devils with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and stuns no one by announcing he’s leaving for the NBA Draft immediately – and won’t even be accompanying the team back to campus. “I already have all my stuff packed and out of my dorm room man. I’m outta here. Time to get paid.”
June 17th, Cleveland: The Houston Rockets shock the basketball world – again – by beating the favored Cleveland Cavaliers 133-117 in Game Seven of the NBA Finals to win the franchises third NBA crown. The Rockets upset heavily favored Golden State in the Western Conference Finals before taking the Cavs to the brink and overcoming another triple double from LeBron James (38 points, 17 rebounds and 15 assists.) NBA MVP James Harden scores 40 points and 12 assists to lead the Rockets. It was vindication for Houston Head Coach Mike D’Antoni who finally won a title with his fifth NBA team. “My style of play isn’t for everyone,” D’Antoni smiles during the locker room celebration. “But I’ve never lost faith in it. It works when management believes in you.”
August 1st, Foxborough, Mass: New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady signs a new five year contract that replaces his existing deal, but refuses to call the contract his last. “I think I can play past age 45,” Brady states. Head Coach Bill Belichick announces that Brady will not play in the preseason and that anyone who touches him during practice will be cut from the team immediately.
October 20th, Knoxville: Junior quarterback Jalen Hurts throws a pair of scoring passes and rushes for 187 yard and two more scores as Alabama crushes Tennessee – coached by former Tide defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt – by an ugly score of 54 – 9. Hurts immediately leaps to the front of the Heisman race. In his post game press conference, Alabama coach Nick Saban tells gathered media he will no longer speak to anyone or any media entity that uses the word “Heisman” in any manner before the end of the regular season. “That’s more of your poison,” Saban states. Hurts ends up winning the award in a landslide.
October 29, Washington, D.C.: Stephen Strasburg strikes out 11 in eight innings and Bryce Harper hits a pair of two run home runs to lead the Washington Nationals to a 6-2 win over the New York Yankees in game six of the World Series. The win gives the franchise its very first World Series championship and denies the Yankees their 28th. Harper is named MVP after hitting .311 with four homers in the series. A champagne soaked Harper says afterwards, “My agent told them (the Yankees) they shouldn’t make the trade for Stanton…that I’d be available in a couple of years. Now who’s your rightfielder?”
November 24th, Columbus, Ohio: Top ranked Ohio State blisters rival Michigan 37-6 to complete an unbeaten regular season. Sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins rushes for 210 yards and two touchdowns in the route. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who remains winless against his school’s biggest rival, announces after the game that he plans to return to coaching in the NFL next season. The following week the Buckeyes trounce Nebraska for the second time this season to win the Big Ten title. Ohio State, Pac 12 champion USC, ACC champ Miami and SEC winner Auburn are selected to make up the four team College Football Play-off field.
Happy New Year!