The new year begins Sunday. Be not fearful about the turning of the calendar: We have already foreseen the future and thus are prepared for what is coming. So: He are our 100 predictions for 2017. (Here's how we did predicting 2016.) (We did poorly.)
1. Man, something terrible's going to happen to Tony Romo the minute he walks on the field Sunday. Don't mess with backs, man.
2. For the last time until you wake up on the morning of January 1, 2022, you will grumble at the College Football Playoff for playing its semifinal games on New Year's Eve. Next year, they're on New Year's Day, like they should be.
3. You will also wish they could have switched the games, so the Alabama-Washington game -- which was, of course, over by halftime -- could have been the late game so you wouldn't have to hold off all your NYE plans for that Clemson-Ohio State game, which went down to the final minutes. What a win for Clemson, though!
4. Though it's probably time to stop pretending you're going to make it to midnight every New Year's Eve. You're getting older. Stop pretending. Also, call your mother.
5. Your AFC Wild Card Playoff Matchups: Miami at Pittsburgh, Kansas City at Houston.
6. Your NFC Wild Card Playoff Matchups: Washington at Detroit, NY Giants at Seattle.
7. In the CFP title game, Alabama secures its place as one of the best college football teams of all time by trouncing Clemson, finishing an undefeated, mostly unchallenged season.
8. The game will be, in the parlance of The Solid Verbal podcast, a Crockpot game: Alabama lets Clemson slowly boil for three quarters, then turns a 17-7 lead into a 38-7 final score.
9. Nick Saban is still up at 5 a.m. the next morning, yelling at somebody.
10. Your AFC Divisional Playoff Matchups: Kansas City at New England, Pittsburgh at Oakland.
11. Your NFC Divisional Playoff Matchups: NY Giants at Dallas, Detroit at Atlanta.
12. Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. Probably.
13. Gonzaga will remain undefeated into February, getting everyone all excited again.
14. Your AFC Championship Game Result: New England over Pittsburgh.
15. Your NFC Championship Game Result: Dallas over Atlanta.
16. At one point, you will laugh that the Pro Bowl is in Orlando. Man, what a party. Like having the NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas, except the exact opposite of that.
17. We all end up with a Super Bowl that we pretend we don't want -- we'll call it The Rooting For The Meteor Super Bowl, or, alternately, The 2016 Presidential Election Super Bowl -- but it will end up breaking every ratings record because it is the Patriots and the Cowboys.
18. After a rare (these days, anyway) dull Super Bowl in 2016, we get a thriller between two flawed teams. Dallas takes a lead and tries to run behind its massive offensive line to secure the win, but the Patriots get the ball back, down four, with one minute left. Tom Brady has yet another signature moment, scoring on a naked bootleg as time expires as everybody loses their damn mind.
19. When Roger Goodell gives him the MVP Trophy, he does a variation on this, except the subtext in that commercial is in fact made text.
20. It'll be pretty freaking entertaining.
21. The tears of Cowboys bandwagon fans -- of which I might be one? -- will be so delicious that you won't even mind that Brady's doing it.
22. World Baseball Classic! That'll be a blast.
23. As usual, there will be a bunch of hardcore baseball fans -- the loyalists, the ones (like me) still poring through the annual Bill James Baseball Handbook -- who will grouse about the World Baseball Classic, who will say, "why is my team's pitcher in this game?" or "why are there pitch count limits?" or "why can I not enjoy things that exist solely to make me happy?"
24. The rest of us will get really into it, like we always do, while still recognizing that once every four years is probably enough.
25. The United States will lose earlier than you want them to.
26. It'll still probably end up being the best thing for that event.
27. Your World Baseball Classic winner: Japan!
28. The NCAA Tournament Bracket will leak again.
29. It'll be hilarious. Remember: They deserve it.
30. Your NCAA Final Four: UCLA, Duke, Kentucky and Villanova.
31. In the championship game against Villanova, Duke's Grayson Allen won't trip anyone, but he will have a petulant moment that finally pushes him past Christian Laettner as the most hated Blue Devil of all time. (He's the only serious contender, ever.)
32. Villanova ends up winning, in less dramatic fashion this time, to become the first college basketball team to defend its national championship since Billy Donovan's Florida teams.
33. Jim Nantz will say something dopey like, "Villanova doubles its pleasure" or something.
34. It'll be obvious he just wants to get to August for The Masters anyway.
35. Hey, The Masters! Tiger Woods will be there!
36. Now with Tiger Woods back and enjoying a (surely temporary) uptick in positive public sentiment, he'll be back to his old spot sucking all the oxygen out of the room by being the only golfer the networks are paying attention to.
37. He won't be back at his old spot of winning, though, and we'll have the odd experience of the major story being whether or not Woods will make the cut.
38. He has fallen so far that we'll applaud him when he makes it.
39. Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo will end up staying where they were last year.
40. Deep down, we'll all know it's because the Blue Jays are the only team that still wanted to deal with Bautista.
41. He'll probably have a huge bounceback year on a one-year contract, and we'll have to go through all this again anyway.
42. The Brian Dozier-to-the-Dodgers trade will finally go through.
43. This will cause most projection systems, which already have the two teams close, officially push the Dodgers ahead of the Cubs as most likely to win the most games next year.
44. Still can't help but feel they're gonna fall a couple games without Vin Scully.
45. The Cubs will get off to a slow start, and everyone will talk about the "hangover."
46. They'll straighten it out and still end up leading the division by five games or more by the All-Star Break.
47. We'll have another Kris Bryant situation on our hands with Philadelphia's J.P. Crawford.
48. The Kentucky Derby will be the first day that you can comfortably drink outside without having to wear a jacket.
49. The horse with the goofiest name will end up taking on way too many bets.
50. Your Premier League champion, alas, will be Chelsea. Welcome back, jerks.
51. Your Champions League qualifiers: Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and, of course, Arsenal, still reeling from getting wiped out by Bayern in this year's Champions League.
52. The USMNT will win its first two CONCACAF World Cup qualifier games, relaxing everyone who was terrified, after the two losses that cost Jurgen Klinsmann his job, that they might somehow miss the World Cup.
53. Bruce Arena will still make it clear he's just filling in, that he doesn't want the job full-time.
54. Christian Pulisic will do something to blow your mind.
55. Your NBA MVP: James Harden.
56. Someone, finally, will appreciate Mike D'Antoni.
57. Golden State won't set their wins record of last year, or even reach 70, but everyone will agree that they are better.
58. But it won't matter until they get Cleveland.
59. Your NBA Eastern Conference playoff matchups: Cleveland-Washington, Toronto-New York, Boston-Chicago, Charlotte-Milwaukee.
60. Your NBA Western Conference playoff matchups: Golden State-Sacramento, San Antonio-Memphis, Houston-Oklahoma City, LA Clippers-Utah.
61. Your NBA Conference semifinal matchups: Cleveland-Milwaukee, Toronto-Boston, Golden State-LA Clippers, San Antonio-Houston.
62. NHL Eastern Conference playoff teams: Columbus, Montreal, Pittsburgh, NY Rangers, Washington, Ottawa, Boston, Toronto.
63. NHL Western Conference playoff teams: Minnesota, Chicago, St. Louis, San Jose, Edmonton, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Nashville.
64. NBA Conference Finals results: Cleveland over Toronto, Golden State over San Antonio. Obviously.
65. We get another insane NBA Finals, one that goes seven games, again, and come down to an insanely intense Game 7 in Golden State, again.
66. This time, though: Kevin Durant takes over late and reminds us he's an MVP and the best player on that amazing team.
67. Warriors win the title. Durant takes Finals MVP. LeBron congratulations, then scowls and plans revenge.
68. Your Stanley Cup champion: Montreal over Minnesota in 6.
69. Atlanta United FC will stun everyone by having a massive fanbase right out of the gate. People are excited down here.
70. Your MLS Champ will be Seattle, again. It'll be a lot more fun this time.
71. Minnesota will win the WNBA Title.
72. Something weird and shady will go down during July's Confederations Cup in Russia.
73. Venus Williams will win three more majors. She's going to do this forever, people.
74. Your NL MVP: Kris Bryant, again.
75. Your AL MVP: Mike Trout, again.
76. Your NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, again.
77. Your AL Cy Young: Corey Kluber.
78. Your NL Rookie of the Year: Alex Reyes.
79. Your AL Rookie of the Year: Yoan Moncada.
80. Your National League playoff teams: Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles, Washington, San Francisco, St. Louis.
81. Your American League playoff teams: Boston, Cleveland, Houston, N.Y. Yankees, Seattle.
82. The surprise early-season 2017 NFL team will be the Philadelphia Eagles, who instantly establish themselves as the best team in that division.
83. Surprise college football team? How about Georgia? If they can beat Notre Dame on the road early (with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel back and Jacob Eason with a year of experience), they've got a should-be-down Tennessee team in late September and then only have one scary game left on the schedule (at Auburn in November). For all the struggles of Kirby Smart's first year in Athens, next year, and the future (with all the recruiting successes) has much goodness.
84. It is possible I am a little biased.
85. Your MLB LDS playoff results: St. Louis over Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles over Washington, Boston over Seattle, Houston over Cleveland.
86. Your LCS Results: Los Angeles over St. Louis, Boston over Houston.
87. The clinching game, Game 6, will be played in Dodger Stadium, and Vin Scully will show up to throw out the first pitch.
88. People will be really into that.
89. Your World Series winner: Los Angeles over Boston in six.
90. Clayton Kershaw wins the MVP, and finally, people drop it with the "postseason woes" business.
91. When he wins that award, he will still be only 29 years old.
92. Somewhere out there in America, the next Michael Jordan, or Tom Brady, or Mike Trout, will be born.
93. It will be a difficult year, full of strife and heartache and fear.
94. This is not because 2017 will be like 2016. It's because it will be like all years.
95. You will still find solace and distraction and comfort in sports.
96. We scream when we watch sports because it is a place where it is safe to do say, where all our crazy emotions can come out in productive ways.
97. OK, somewhat productive ways.
98. We'll make these predictions again next year, and so many of them will be wrong.
99. At the end of the year, we'll believe it's all gonna be better in 2018.
100. It won't be, but the belief is what matters.
Happy New Year, everyone. See you next year.