The Great Dentoni!
Felling faint, our fabled fabulist flies fearlessly forward, forecasting fantastic fabrications foretelling future fact and fiction. Factoring fate and fortune, flaws and failures, fakers and flankers, fear not! Finally foisted upon you fine folks, the final forecast for 2014:
January: Georgia begins the New Year with a 45-31 defeat of Nebraska. New quarterback Hutson Mason completes 42 of 46 passes for 440 yards and six touchdowns, breaking Aaron Murray’s bowl records set one year ago.
“Maybe we were playing the wrong guy at quarterback all this time,” observes Coach Mark Richt ... In the wake of Tech’s stunning 24-3 upset of Ole Miss, defensive coordinator Ted Roof resigns to take the same position with the Falcons.
“Give me smart guys and a month to prepare,” says Roof, “and my defense will stop anyone.” ... In the final BCS championship game, Florida State goes into the victory formation, needing a single snap to clinch a 47-42 win. But what in the name of Joe Pisarcik happens? The snap eludes Jameis Winston’s hands, Auburn’s defensive line surges forward, the ball is kicked sideways, cornerback Chris Davis scoops it up, and there he goes! A miraculous championship!
February: A gorgeous Groundhog Day in the Meadowlands, with temperatures hovering in the high 20s, winds at a crisp 35 miles per hour and snow! Coming down sideways, so thick the cameras can’t pick up the Seahawks and Patriots somewhere on the field. Ah, football in February in New Jersey! What a concept! Apparently the Seahawks win, but we have to take the officials’ word for it. No one sees a single play. But, hey, the ads were great!
March: Starving for a championship they can actually observe, fans watch March Madness in record numbers. Wisconsin, Michigan State, Syracuse and Duke give the Final Four a decided ACC-Big Ten Challenge feel. Jabari Parker proves to be the best player not recruited successfully by John Calipari, and the best player on the floor, as Duke gives Coach K his fifth championship. Afterwards, Coach K denies rumors that he’s off to coach the Lakers.
April: With Evan Gattis firmly entrenched behind the plate, doing a masterful job of handling a superb pitching staff, the Braves leap out to a 14-2 start. Incredibly, B.J. Upton leads the league in batting average and stolen bases, while Dan Uggla leads in homers and walks ... Over four beautiful days in Augusta, Phil Mickelson gets into one of those grooves, and he leads the Masters from start to finish. His fourth Masters title ties him with Arnold Palmer.
May: The Hawks extend the Heat to seven games in a rousing Eastern Conference finals, the first Hawks season to generate excitement for the next in quite some time. “It’s all part of the process,” says coach Mike Budenholzer.
June: Mickelson returns to Pinehurst, the scene of his first excruciating U.S. Open loss. This time, he finally exorcises the demons. “All credit goes to Bones,” says Mickelson, referring to his caddy, “He’s the one who left my driver at the hotel.”
July: The Braves lead their division by 11 games at the All-Star break, as B.J. and Dan continue to pace the league leaders. Their amazing renaissance prompts a Sports Illustrated cover story under the headline, “Who Are These Guys?”
August: After defending his British Open title, Mickelson adds incredible excitement to the oft-overlooked fourth major, the PGA Championship. Record crowds inundate Valhalla Golf Club to witness an historic Grand Slam. Guarding a two-stroke lead, Mickelson drives into a fairway bunker on the left side of the final hole, hits into the pot hole bunker left of the green, and takes double bogey to lose by one. “All my fault,” laments Mickelson. “I never should have hit driver.”
September: Georgia rocks into the Hutson Mason season with a 42-10 dousing of Clemson. “Wow!” says Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. “It’s like they just gave Murray a different number!”
October: The U-Boys finally run out of steam. Sigh. The Braves lose in the opening round of the playoffs to the Giants, as Tim Hudson wins the clincher. Sigh. Hudson also wins Game 7 of the World Series, as the Giants edge the resurgent Indians. Sigh.
November: The Falcons continue to bounce back, battling for a playoff spot behind an offense leading the league in scoring. But the defense remains, shall we say, porous.
December: Georgia caps a perfect season with a 42-24 win over Ole Miss for the SEC championship. Mason sets school season records for touchdown passes, yards and completion percentage. Beyond Georgia, chaos reigns supreme. No less than eight one-loss teams all claim a right to one of the three available playoff spots. Sure enough, everyone laments the demise of the BCS.
Denton Ashway is a contributing columnist for the The Times. His column appears Wednesdays.