How to ruin a clean slate: 2018 predictions

Throughout my life, I’ve tried to remind myself to always expect the unexpected. The world has a way of continuing to shock us on a daily basis, even when we think we’ve seen it all. I mean, just look at the executive branch of our government for proof.

Sports are no different. Whether it’s 28-3 in the third quarter or a three games to one lead in the NBA Finals, counting unhatched chickens is never wise. But maintaining your counting skills is a good thing, so just count other stuff.

Despite all the unpredictability we deal with, I’m going to attempt some prognostications for the coming year. Some may be good, some will surely be bad, all will be unwise wagers. Heed these predictions at your own risk.

Gabriel Medina will unseat John John Florence as WSL world champion.

This prediction doesn’t bring me much joy, but I think Medina is ready to return to the top of the rankings and win his second world title (2014). His start to 2017 put him in a tough position and he still almost came back to win it at Pipeline. The Aussie leg should be better for him this time around and the removal of both Fiji and Trestles from the 2018 schedule will be to his liking. It’s going to take his best efforts, but Medina will eclipse John John.

Matt Wilkinson will not finish in the top 10 of the WSL rankings.

The past two seasons have featured some fantastic performances from Wilko, who has three event wins and two runner-up finishes over that stretch, finishing fifth each season. But Wilkinson will fall out of the top 10 in 2018. The removal of both Fiji and Trestles will severely hurt his chances at a world title run and he doesn’t have the complete repertoire to make up for it at the other locations.

Courtney Conlogue will win the WSL women’s world title.

The most convincing reason I can give is that it’s just her time. Conlogue has been pushing the other world title contenders since 2012, but she hasn’t ended the year with the yellow jersey yet. Adding Indonesia, Jeffreys Bay and the Surf Ranch seem like good pickups for her style. Choosing a women’s champion is so difficult because of the skill and depth, but Conlogue is ready to make the leap.

The Falcons will return to their second straight Super Bowl (and lose again).

The Falcons are not as good as they were last year and it isn’t really that close. But, their path to the Super Bowl as the No. 6 seed in the NFC is actually fairly favorable. They head to Los Angeles this week to face the Rams in a game that seems to be the most likely underdog win of Wild Card week — and there’s usually one. They would then head to Philadelphia to face the Wentz-less Eagles, then probably to Minnesota for the NFC Championship game. Vikings fans will be seeing the missed Gary Andersen field goal from 1998 over and over again. Plus, they’re the Vikings. Something has to go wrong, right?

The Cleveland Indians will win their first World Series since 1948.

Something bizarre happened to the Indians in the postseason. I don’t know how to explain it, but they just fell apart against the Yankees. Losing Carlos Santana will hurt, but they’re a young team with elite pitching and more than enough offense to go the distance.

The Warriors will win another NBA Championship.

Yada, yada, Curry, Durant, yada, Klay, Draymond, yada.

The Oklahoma Sooners will win the NCAA men’s basketball championship.

I had a tough time choosing between Oklahoma and Duke, so I decided to avoid the ensuing nausea that would come with picking the Blue Devils.

The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors will go 9-7 in conference play.

The men’s squad has been solid in the early going, but needs to show that it can win on the road. A winning conference record and an 18-win season would be phenomenal for Eran Ganot’s unheralded group. I actually see it happening.

Georgia will defeat Alabama for the College Football Playoffs Championship.

Nick Saban was complaining again on Tuesday. Therefore, let’s go Dawgs.

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David Simon can be reached at dsimon@thegardenisland.com.

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