MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

December 29, 2012

Crystal ball polished for 2013 - sort of

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor

— It’s been a year of ups and downs, and as we stand here today alive and well, we know the Mayans were wrong.

Chances are, most of these predictions will go that way. Some are merely wishful thinking. But as we move into a new year, let’s roll the dice and take a peek. Compared to a trip to a tarot card reader, all this cost you was a buck or so, counting the gas it might have taken you to get to the rack:

• January – Clint Chelf throws for 441 yards as Oklahoma State rolls to a 37-10 win over Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. ... Landry Jones overcomes two first-half interceptions and throws for 277 yards and the Oklahoma defense holds Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel to 148 yards total offense as the Sooners defeat Texas A&M 23-16 in the Cotton Bowl. Heisman voters petition Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to hire Mike Stoops as defensive coordinator. Jones says yes only if former Dallas coach Barry Switzer comes with him. Switzer declines. Oh, and you probably guessed it – Dallas is in the market for a head coach after Jones fires Jason Garrett following a 27-0 shutout loss to Washington in the season finale.  The NHL cancels its season for the second time in its history, prompting an international crisis as a hockey stick-wielding Canadian terrorist group seizes control of the NHL headquarters, promising to eliminate any U.S. presence in the game and its intentions to move the headquarters to Calgary, Alberta.

• February – Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady and the Patriots defeat Seattle in version XLVII, 47-37. Negotiations break down between Mike Holmgren and Jerry Jones on Holmgren becoming Cowboys coach when issues of personnel decisions get in the way.  Jon Gruden leaves similar negotiations with a “Chucky” face and no comment. Jones finally announces himself as the new head coach, giving assurances that Cowboys fans will see no surprises. .. Brad Keselowski wins the Daytona 500. ...  Valentine’s Day Massacre: Kevin Durant takes a hard shot by Dwyane Wade in the waning seconds of a 122-93 OKC win. Mom hugs Durant at courtside then way-lays Wade. Wade has a bruised jaw, Durant a severely sprained ankle and is out four weeks. Thunder lose six of seven and fall into the fourth playoff spot in the West, eight behind front-running Clippers. ... Muskogee wrestling finishes second in 6A at Dual State as does Vian in 2A.

• March – Fort Gibson girls defeat Anadarko 45-40 in 4A girls basketball championship rematch; Oktaha boys and girls make semifinals and lose to OKC Northeast. FGHS coach Jerry Walker retires and begins a WWE career posing as Brock Lesnar’s twin brother. ... Vian wins Class 2A wrestling tournament, Muskogee is third. Oklahoma State reaches sweet 16 in men’s and women’s basketball, Oklahoma in women’s hoops. ... Connors State men make NJCAA tournament but fall in first round. NSU women and men lose in MIAA semifinals.

• April – Duke, Michigan, Indiana and Louisville make men’s basketball Final Four; Duke defeats Indiana for championship; Baylor repeats as women’s champion defeating Stanford with UConn and Kentucky making the women’s semifinals. ... Tiger Woods breaks his majors slump with Masters title in a sudden death spectacle over Rory McIlroy. ... Thunder end up second behind Clippers in Western Conference, sweep Lakers in first round. ... Conference reshuffling kicks into gear again as Florida State, Clemson, Cincinnati and Georgia Tech accept invitations to Big 12. Remaining Big East teams, now given refugee status by Congress, are allowed to pitch tents outside the Atlantic Coast Conference office. Tulsa joins Mountain West, starting in 2014. ... Danica Patrick wins her first Nationwide race, taking it at Texas Motor Speedway.

• May – Sequoyah repeats as 5A slowpitch champion and a determined Muskogee squad sees a 12-game win streak snapped in a 13-9 loss to Jenks in the 6A semifinals. ... Fort Gibson’s boys and girls soccer teams reach the 4A semifinals before losing. ... Hilldale reaches the state tournament again in baseball but falls short of defending their title with a 4A semifinal loss to Weatherford. ...  Thunder beat Spurs 4-2 to advance to play Clippers in Western Conference finals... Balance the Books wins Kentucky Derby and Preakness, handlers consider withdrawal from Belmont due to a head cold.

• June — Durant scores 35 points to Blake Griffin’s 32, Thunder wins Game 7 of Western finals 111-108; then fall to Heat in six games in NBA Finals ....  Tiger Woods wins U.S. Open .... Shanghai Bobby denies Balance the Books a triple crown by winning the Belmont Stakes. Books finishes sixth. ... OSSAA shoots down any and all attempts to split Class 6A but approves a measure which allows schools to recruit from other districts, but then reverses that decision to refer for further study when it becomes confused as to whether recruiting already exists.

• July – McIlroy edges Woods with fourth-round 63 to win British Open. Dodgers feel the heat from the defending world champion Giants after losing a three-game series and Dodger ownership fund a surrogate owner group that buys the Giants with leftover cash from their lucrative TV contract. New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner appeals to Bud Selig to intervene “for the good of the game.”

• August – Matt Kuchar wins PGA. .... In his debut as Dallas Cowboys head coach, Jerry Jones loses 40-10 to Oakland. Afterward, Jones isn’t concerned that a change is needed other than “within the man in the mirror.”

• September – Quintahj Cherry throws for 200 yards and rushes for three TDs as the Roughers open with a 30-13 win over Sand Springs, giving coach Josh Blankenship his first opening day win at MHS.  Fort Gibson beats Hilldale 30-24 to keep “The Rock.”

• October – Jenks takes advantage on controversial pass interference call and goes on to score 21 unanswered points in fourth to stave off Rougher upset bid, 41-22.  MHS voice Bill Huddleston can’t get over the call that depicts “extreme Tulsa bias” and quits radio to become Jerry Walker’s “Paul Heyman” in the WWE. ... MLB playoffs – Wildcard winners: Rangers and Phillies; DS winners: Angels, Blue Jays in AL, Dodgers, Braves in NL; Dodgers beat Angels in seven games when Josh Hamilton drops a fly ball that leads to two eighth-inning runs. ... Hilldale gives coach Darren Riddle his second sport state title by winning the fastpitch title in 4A. ... Okay falls in volleyball quarterfinals in 4A, Muskogee volleyball makes its first regional championship game in sport history but loses in four sets in final.

• November – Aided by three consecutive wins over the summer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins Sprint Cup championship over Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson. ... Muskogee beats Bixby 32-24 to finish 6-4 and earns the fourth-place spot in District 6A-2, Hilldale wins 3A-7 and Fort Gibson is third in 4A-4. Other playoff teams: Wagoner in 4A, Keys, Checotah, Eufaula and Stigler in 3A, Vian, Haskell in 2A, Gore, Warner in A, Webbers Falls in C.  All go two rounds except Wagoner, which leads us to...

• December – Bulldogs beat Anadarko for second 4A title in three years. Also, Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma 33-32, wins Big 12 by a game over TCU and the Sooners. OSU paired with Alabama in Fiesta Bowl, Sooners to take on Florida State in Orange Bowl.. Tulsa wins Conference USA and returns to Liberty Bowl where the Hurricane beat Mississippi on New Year’s Eve. Arkansas defeats Michigan State in Music City Bowl. Otherwise, it’s another ho-hum bowl schedule that includes 16 interim or fired coaches – after, yes, making a bowl ... Happy 2014.

But until then, Happy 2013.