Predictions for 2018

Tarpon basketball rolling in non-district play
December 27, 2017
Tigers set to tangle with Notre Dame
December 27, 2017

Santa Claus passed and I didn’t get a lump of coal, so I guess that’s good.

Now, it’s time to focus my efforts and energies on the sports year which is coming at us full-steam ahead.

2017 was a banner year for local sports with several fun stories, which kept me on my toes throughout the year.

But looking into the imaginary crystal ball, I see several things – both locally and nationally – that I think will make 2018 even better.

So let’s have some fun and get this rolling.

Here are 7 predictions for the next 12 months.

1. Nicholls will return to the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs – This one is easy. The Colonels shocked the college football world in 2017 and made the playoffs. Except that it wasn’t a shock to folks locally who have been watching the Colonels build this thing from the ground-up over the past several seasons. Nicholls does lose some key players, but they also return the vast majority of their starters, which is a luxury many other FCS Playoff teams don’t enjoy. I trust Coach Tim Rebowe and staff to plug in quality players to fill the holes and I think Nicholls is a team that’s capable of going through the regular season unbeaten – even against Kansas and Tulane.

2. The Houston Rockets, not the Golden State Warriors, will win the NBA Championship – This one is a bit selfish for me, of course, because I am a big-time Rockets fan. But the proof is in the pudding. The Rockets are the best team in basketball. Since getting Chris Paul this offseason, the Rockets have started the season with 26 wins in their first 30 games, while beating the Cleveland Cavaliers, the San Antonio Spurs and, oh yeah, the Warriors, along the way. That’s enough to have me sold. The Rockets are the NBA’s kings. The one-two punch of James Harden and Chris Paul is too much.

3. The New Orleans will re-sign Drew Brees to a deal that will hurt their future – This is being hidden in the weeds right now because the Saints are winning games, but New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is not under contract for next season and the team can’t give him the franchise tag. So that means that New Orleans will have to re-negotiate with their star player or risk losing him to another team. I don’t see Brees playing for anyone else. That’s just sacrilege. But I also don’t see him giving New Orleans a hometown discount, either. I think Brees will sign a four-year deal for an awful lot of money in the final years, which will hurt the team’s future.

4. Robison will have record-setting season – It’s going to be fun to be a Vandebilt Catholic High School fan next fall. The Terriers, fresh off a 7-3 season, will return a lot of their weapons, including quarterback Andrew Robison in 2018. Robison progressed quite a bit from 2016 to 2017, adding mass to his body and polishing up some of his footwork and techniques. With another offseason to get prepared for his senior season, I fully expect Robison to get even better in 2017, which should make for a record-setting season for both he and his team next fall.

5. LSU football is going to wipe the floor with Miami to kick off 2018 – Miami was one of the darlings of the first few months of the college football season, opening the year with 10-straight wins to rise to the top of the polls. But they were a fraud. A lot of the wins were close, hard-fought games against inferior competition. Never was that more apparent than in the final two games of the year when Pittsburgh and Clemson both beat up on the Hurricanes, sending them to the Orange Bowl with their tail between their legs. Wisconsin is going to beat Miami in the bowl game and LSU is going to open 2018 by beating Miami, as well – soundly. Then, we will all know just how “back” Miami football actually is.

6. Nicholls men, women’s basketball teams will join baseball and softball to strongly chase the Southland Crown – I just said that four-straight Nicholls State University sports will chase the Southland Conference Title, which makes me feel like a compete homer. But I think facts are facts and the Colonels have the parts and pieces to make a run in each sports. Folks, Nicholls basketball is really, really good – both teams. The men are senior laden and talented. The women are younger, but have a good core group that complements an unbelievably talented underclassman crop. For baseball and softball, I don’t know quite as much about those teams yet, but I do know that I trust baseball coach Seth Thibodeaux and softball coach Angel Santiago. They both like the pieces they’ve accumulated. If they’re happy, who am I to question?

7. Rumblings will begin about Anthony Davis – The Pelicans are a complete train wreck. The team is in playoff contention, yes. But they’re nowhere near title contention, which means they’re stuck in the worst possible place to be in the NBA: the middle of the pack. Anthony Davis has been quiet while the team has muffed up every opportunity imaginable – from its coaching hire to its personnel to everything else. But I don’t that’s going to last much longer. I think the team will lose center DeMarcus Cousins in free agency and once that happens, the clock will be ticking on Davis – much like it was on Chris Paul many moons ago.

James HardenCOURTESY

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