Because a lot of sites I visit are putting up predictions for the new year, so am I, and I’ll check back in at year’s end to see how I did:
- The year in sports is a massive disappointment. The Super Bowl pits the Dolphins against the Vikings. North Carolina, after an undefeated regular season, loses in the Final Four and the national championship pits UCLA against UConn. The game is a laugher. Cleveland beats San Antonio in the NBA Finals; the Knicks just barely miss the playoffs and LeBron James signs a contract extention to stay in Cleveland after winning his first championship. Mike D’Antoni agrees to a buyout soon thereafter to coach LeBron in Cleveland, condemning the Knicks to a decade of mediocrity. The Stanley Cup Playoffs pit the Calgary Flames against the Montreal Canadiens, and America tunes out. So does Canada when it turns into a four-game sweep that’s not that close. Neither the Red Sox nor Yankees make the ALCS, and one of them misses the playoffs as Tampa Bay and Philadelphia square off again in the World Series.
- Tiger Woods comes back too soon, finishing second in the Masters, and misses most of 2009, raising concerns he may retire. Jimmie Johnson wins yet another Sprint Cup in a laugher, and by the end of the season he’s winning races basically by showing up, with all the teams quitting. Rafael Nadal is the only player to win at least two majors of either gender, and Roger Federer never makes a major final. USC, Cincinnati, and Alabama are the only three undefeated teams by week 4; they stay that way through the end, and USC routs Alabama in the national championship. There are no BCS buster mid-majors. At least one minor league cancels either the 2009 or 2010 season, and at least one MLS team folds. The IRL cuts back drastically on the 2010 season, and doesn’t so much pass NASCAR as NASCAR passes it backwards. By 2012, though, the IRL is back to 2008 levels, and returns to ESPN in 2018. UFC effectively becomes NASCAR’s replacement as one of the four major sports, and shows it wasn’t moving to pay-per-view that killed boxing.
- The Olympics moves to ESPN and ABC after landing in Chicago. NBC immediately pulls out of the NHL following the 2009-2010 season. ESPN becomes the exclusive cable home of the NHL (beyond NHL Network) after 2011.
- The Saints challenge for the NFC South, and the Lions are at least respectable. Brett Favre retires and the Jets become the new Lions. Matt Cassel bolts from New England to join the Jaguars, who instantly become a Super Bowl contender. Tom Brady comes back a clearly different player, and the Pats begin a slow slide into mediocrity. The Cowboys self-destruct and don’t even challenge for the playoffs. The Titans trade Vince Young to Houston in the offseason.
- Barack Obama finds himself frazzled by the vexing economic crisis and various foreign crises. Troops are out of Iraq by June, but by August Iraq is effectively ruled by several cabals of warlords. Obama uses the money freed up by exiting Iraq to institute his own version of the New Deal, but it doesn’t work very well. Meanwhile little actual “change” happens, even from the politics of the last eight years, and when Obama calls in the military to break up a food riot in November, many in his own party compare him to Bush, and the “netroots” begin forming their own nascent political movement for 2012.
- By 2012, that movement has gained enough steam to attract attention (and support) from both major parties. However, the economic crisis has only gotten worse and the US has effectively become a vassal state of China… and the Republicans, as a result, prove far more resilient than expected after adopting a bizarre fascist-anarchist policy, a strange kitbashing of the politics of Ron Paul and George W. Bush. Before 2020, World War III has erupted, and America is Nazi Germany after the GOP win the 2012 elections, the last to be held under the Constitution of 1776. The 2016 Olympics become America’s 1936 Munich Games, and come complete with a past-his-prime Michael Phelps being dragged back to the pool. The world comes out of the war with the economy back on track, but set back to the Middle Ages if not before. China, India, and Japan become the new “modern” world powers with Depression-era technology, set back from reaching 1950s-era technology by the ravages to the environment. The Amazon becomes a desert; Canada and Russia become the world’s new breadbasket.
- The Internet undergoes its latest metamorphosis. By the end of the year, it is as good at watching video as the average television. In the short term, it only benefits from the deepening economic crisis. When the Obama administration passes a universal broadband bill, it sparks an Internet revolution, and blogs become the new MySpace, since you can at least theoretically make money off them. Internet advertising finally becomes viable, if only because nothing else is.
- Webcomics undergo an explosion during this time. A Penny Arcade TV series is commissioned for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block by year’s end. By 2010, a Girl Genius movie is in development, and rumors of an Order of the Stick movie persist as well. Sandsday becomes the biggest new thing in webcomics, and by year’s end I’m fighting off TV series offers of my own.
- Da Blog attracts two huge followings in particular: people looking for webcomics criticism, who singlehandedly make it ten times more popular than Websnark ever was, rendering my getting a real job unnecessary, and people looking for straight-dope political analysis. Da Blog plays a significant role in attracting new audiences to politics, healing the rifts of our political landscape, and shaping the aforementioned nascent political movement.
And that just left me incredibly drained and depressed. I think it’s better if I don’t try to predict what happens, and just try and enjoy the ride. You should try it some time.