From the Sidelines

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 29, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / December 29, 1999

There’s a nagging voice in the back of my head telling me to pick another topic for this column. Do anything but make predictions for the new year itis crying out.

Remember saying that a team West of the Mississippi would not win the NCAA Tournament in 1995, it reminds me. Well, didn’t UCLA capture thetitle that year? And how about that prediction that the LSU would have no power in 1997? All the Tigers did was set the NCAA record for home runs that season.

But that was the 1990s, I try to reason. This is a new year, a new decadeand a new millennium. So far I’m perfect in 2000. Of course, the new yeardoesn’t start for another four days. So, putting that record on the line andglancing into the crystal screen of the computer monitor, here goes my forecast for the new year in sports.

The Y2K bug goes haywire and causes the AP computers to proclaim the New Orleans Saints as the model franchise of the 1900s.

Virginia Tech hangs tough but a late Florida State defensive stand preserves the Seminoles’ victory in the Sugar Bowl and gives them the national championship.

Mark Brunell throws three touchdown passes and Fred Taylor rushes for over 100 yards to offset a three-touchdown performance by Randy Moss as Jacksonville outlasts Minnesota in the highest scoring game in Super Bowl history.

New Orleans favorite and Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning wins the NFL’s MVP award.

Nick Saban does a good job of late recruiting as LSU finishes with a top 15 recruiting class. Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie laments the loss of theIrish’s two scholarships, saying he cannot get the fourth-string punter the team so desperately needs.

LSU, Tulane get invites to the NIT. Michigan State defeats Duke for NCAAtitle.

NCAA announces creation of playoff system to determine national champion in college football. The date – April 1. The organization recantsthe next day.

Tiger Woods continues dominance of 1999, wins second Masters.

Mike Ditka tries the opposite approach on Draft day and offers Ricky Williams for a team’s entire draft. To no one’s surprise, there are notakers.

LSU, Tulane, Louisiana-Lafayette get regional invites in college baseball.

LSU, Tulane fall in Super Regionals. Stanford captures NCAA title.San Antonio upsets Los Angeles in Western Conference finals, dispatches Miami in five games to win second straight NBA title.

Detroit captures Stanley Cup with seven-game victory over Philadelphia.

Sergio Garcia captures first major with victory at U.S. Open. Garciacontinues to win the hearts of golf fans by dedicating victory to Payne Stewart.

Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras play one of the most exciting U.S. Open finalsin history with Sampras getting win.

Justin Leonard wins British Open. Davis Love III closes out the Majorswith his second PGA Championship title.

Americans continue to do well at Summer Olympics, run away with medal count.

It’s New York, Cleveland, Oakland and Detroit in the AL playoffs; Atlanta, Cincinnati (with newly-acquired Ken Griffey Jr.), Colorado and surprisingMontreal in NL. Yankees defeat Reds in six for third straight World Serieschampionship.

All eight River Parishes schools advance to state football playoffs.

Jake Delhomme becomes the Kurt Warner of 2000, leads Saints to 10-6 record and playoff berth. Williams finds magic potion while walking inFrench Quarter, stays healthy for entire season and rushes for 1,400 yards. Ditka hailed as genius, declines offer to run against Marc Morial formayor. Tom Benson raises ticket prices.It’s “Air Saban” in Tiger Stadium as Rohan Davey leads suddenly wide- open offense to Peach Bowl against Gerry DiNardo-coached North Carolina State.

Tulane goes to Independence Bowl, faces surprising Vanderbilt team.

Alabama, Penn State play for national title.

This writer acquires a new computer monitor after striking out on most of the above predictions.

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