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Future sports predictions

April 20, 2012

The school year is ending and with finals just right around the corner, that unfortunately means I only have a few columns left this year.

On the bright side when the school year begins in the fall, there will be a lot of sports news to watch and debate about. Until then, I decided to dig out my crystal ball and share with all of you what next year will bring for Wisconsin and Minnesota sports fans.

When it comes to hockey, Minnesota fans get the win by default.

Minnesota fans do a great job of one thing when it comes to their sports: dreaming. Every year Minnesota fans say the phrase,

“Wait until next year!” This phrase is used by every one of their teams except maybe the Vikings because it will be many years before they can compete for anything except the No. 1 overall draft pick.

When it comes to the Minnesota Wild, this phrase might actually just be true. Half way through the year the Wild were on top of the league. They were then bit by the injury bug.

Due to injuries, the Wild were forced to play 47 different players, the most in the league with 15 of those players being rookies. With all these different players having to step into their roles it will make for tough competition next year for sports.

The Wild will have depth and I predict them finishing fourth in their conference, making a solid run in the playoffs.

When it comes to basketball, Minnesota gets the slight win. The Minnesota Timberwolves started the year hot and Ricky Rubio was in the spotlight.

Apparently, the only reason they fell apart and did not make the playoffs was that Ricky Rubio got injured. In reality, the Western Conference in the NBA is just too strong and even with Rubio the Wolves were barely in position to make the playoffs.

Even with the star-quality play Kevin Love has given them, they cannot match up with the best teams in the league. The Wolves are young and the future does look brighter than it did at this time last year for them. I have a gut feeling that Rubio is not going to be able to stay healthy in the future. For the T-Wolves, I predict an eighth place finish in the West with an early exit next year.

The Milwaukee Bucks traded center Andrew Bogut who was the centerpiece of the organization not too long ago, but has been injury plagued and never fully filled his expectations.

In return was two guard Monta Ellis. Ellis is lighting quick and can shoot the ball but is the same type of player as young star Brandon Jennings. The Bucks rely too much on if Brandon Jennings is on or off that night and, unless they make a move, they are not moving forward next year.

For the Bucks, I predict exactly the same finish as this year.

When it comes to college football, Wisconsin gets the easy victory. The Badgers football team is returning Monte Ball behind what is arguably the most powerful offensive lines in the league. Quarterback Russell Wilson is gone, but the Badgers just got another transfer quarterback in Danny O’Brien. O’Brien will have all the time he needs to throw and should do a good job.

I predict the Badgers making it into a third straight Rose Bowl with the only difference being that the Badgers will end in victory this time around.

When it comes to the NFL, it is not even a debate right now.

The Minnesota Vikings are in the rebuilding process and even though I am not a fan, I hope they make the right decision come draft time and take offensive lineman Matt Kalil. If they for some reason trade this pick and do not end up with Kalil, then Viking fans may as well let their team move out to Los Angeles.

An offensive lineman pick is always safe and Kalil can anchor the line for young quarterback Christian Ponder and a hopefully healthy Adrian Peterson. I predict the Vikings finishing last in the division while showing progress and finishing 4-12.

The Green Bay Packers are returning almost everyone from their 15-1 season and are hungry to redeem their early playoff exit loss to the New York Giants.

Aaron Rodgers is in prime MVP form and I expect the Packers to improve the defense through the draft. The Packers have built their success through the draft and every year seem to snag a steal in the later rounds.

They did lose center Scott Wells but picked up a great veteran in Jeff Saturday at the center position. I am predicting more hilarious state farm commercials, a 14-2 record and another Lombardi trophy for cheesehead nation.

Ryan Tibbitts is a freshman majoring in journalism. He loves all sports but obsesses over his Packers.