I’m excited about 2019. Kauai went through a lot last year and though just turning the calendar to a new page doesn’t really signify much, it can at least allow us to reset our brains and look forward with optimism and excitement.
That being said, none of the teams I root for are very good (though they are all hopefully on the upswing) so it may not be a year with many banners being raised. Since I’m unlikely to enjoy my own success, I’ll have to settle for predicting the triumphs of others. Failures, too. That’s typically more fun anyway.
That optimism wore off pretty quickly, right?
So here are some quick prognostications that are sure to look foolish 12 months from now.
John John Florence will come back from injury to win his third world title: Being injured for most of the season deprived us of a full slate of John John in 2018, as he was looking to go for his third straight WSL world title. He has a long career ahead and made the right call in getting himself healthy. That patience will pay off in 2019 when he reclaims his rightful spot with the yellow jersey, currently held by Gabriel Medina.
Courtney Conlogue will finally win her first world title: This is the second straight year I’m predicting this outcome. Like Florence, Conlogue missed almost half the 2018 women’s season and never had a chance to compete for the top spot. But she won two of her final four events and will carry that momentum into 2019 to grab the first of what should be multiple world titles.
Tua Tagovailoa will win his second national championship with Alabama: Last year, I picked Georgia to win it all. Tua then came along and ruined that one. I don’t always learn from my mistakes, but I’ll try to this time around. Ewa Beach for the win on Monday.
Duke’s sensational freshmen won’t reach the Final Four: The Blue Devils are the best team in the country. Their talent is unmatched. They probably have three of the first five players who will be selected in this year’s NBA Draft. But Duke has just three Final Four appearances since 2002. Coach K hasn’t gotten the most out of his teams and despite their overwhelming ability, they’ll get tripped up again by a lesser opponent.
The Houston Astros will win the World Series: A lot of things went wrong for the Astros in 2018 and they still had a 1-0 series lead against Boston in the playoffs before the Red Sox blitzed Houston for four straight wins on their way to a title run. Jose Altuve had been playing through a knee injury since July, Carlos Correa had an inexplicable drop in production that can’t be sustainable, and they have now added Michael Brantley to play left field. Houston is ready to get back to the Fall Classic.
The Chicago Bears will win the Super Bowl: I’m not all that confident in what will happen in these NFL Playoffs. I picked the Colts and Cowboys on Saturday to go with the Ravens and Bears today. While it looked like the Chiefs, Saints and Rams were the only teams with a chance for much of the year, each has had some concerning performances down the stretch. Chicago has the type of team that can force each of them into mistakes to go with an offense that is much more dynamic than it gets credit for. They’ll probably have to do much of it on the road, but I think Chicago has the best mix and is playing the best at the right time to knock off the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
The Golden State Warriors will win the NBA Championship: They probably shouldn’t, even though they obviously should (if that makes sense). The Warriors aren’t playing like the best team and I don’t think they can dominate anybody they’ll face in the postseason, but it’s still going to be really hard to beat them four times if everyone stays healthy.
Some other thoughts that aren’t flushed out enough for their own paragraph: June Jones will hold four different jobs, Charles Barkley will tease a presidential run, James Harden will win the MVP, Eli Manning will remain the Giants quarterback, LeVeon Bell will sign with the Jets, Manny Pacquiao will beat Adrien Broner in a controversial (bad) decision.
Here’s to a great 2019!
David Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.