Well, January has arrived. We had a heck of a fun year in 2012, with tons of amazing moments, big wins, and thanks for a season’s worth of unseasonably warm Friday nights.
At The List HQ, we can’t stop wondering about what’s in store for 2013 now, though. Who will win state? Who’s going to make history? Will anyone save this column on their computer and point out later how stupid we were? These are all excellent questions.
With the power of some newfound time-machine technology, we’re going to look into the future and tell you our top 10 predictions for the new year, so we can save you the time of actually watching 2013’s sports and you can actually get some stuff done around the house.
10. Changes in Class A football
We don’t think we were the only ones a bit baffled by the new dual-bracket, power rankings-dependent playoff format in Class A this year. The public-private split did its job, but the brackets had to be released later than the other classifications’, and our addled minds struggled to piece it together. With late 2013’s reclassifications, look for some adjustments.
9. Cobb football title drought continues
The 2012 playoffs were pretty painful for the Cobb folks who thought this might be the time to break the infamous 45-year state title-less streak, as hopefuls Lassiter, McEachern and Walton all went out in the first round. North Cobb carried the Cobb flag to the semifinals but couldn’t overcome a lack of steady defense. Stars like Lassiter QB Eddie Printz and Walton RB Tyren Jones are gone. North Cobb will score plenty of points again, but the Cobb drought goes on.
8. Wesleyan girls hoops wins … again
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Wolves have won a state title in five straight years, eight of the past nine and nine of the past 11. The only season in the past nine when they didn’t win, they lost to Greater Atlantic Christian in the final. The roster is still teeming with talent, and they’re off to a 10-1 start. Pencil them in for a 10th title.
7. Watson runs for record
Gainesville QB Deshaun Watson already became just the third quarterback in state history to throw for 4,000 yards, with one more year to go. He ended up with 4,011, 449 yards shy of the record, set three years ago by Lassiter’s Hutson Mason. Divide that out by 15 games, and Watson may need to up his average by 30 yards per game to catch Mason. He’ll do it.
6. AAU keeps gaining influence
Boys basketball fans often bemoan the outsized influence AAU seems to have on the game, on recruiting, on college hoops, etc. For those who hate it, feel free to skip to No. 5 before we tell you the future: It’s only getting worse. As we see more of the top players continue to coalesce around the same handful of programs, we can pretty safely say there’s no sign of this trend abating. And it’s growing bigger and bigger on the girls side too.
5. Chubb takes the rushing mark
Cedartown’s Nick Chubb already got the regular-season record this year, hitting 2,721 yards, but his team finished 6-4 and didn’t make the playoffs. He won’t let that happen in 2013. The total season record is 3,172. Give him a few more regular-season yards, along with two playoff games, and the record will be his.
4. Columbus baseball wins No. 4
Teams winning three straight titles in baseball has become almost routine the past several decades. Columbus, Wesleyan, Gainesville, Pace Academy, Evans, Harlem, Marist and Americus have all done it since 1964. But only one team in GHSA history has won four straight – the legendary Richmond Academy crew that rolled off seven consecutive titles from 1951-57. Columbus joins them in 2013.
3. Gwinnett rolls in AAAAAA football
Since Brookwood broke the state-title ice for Gwinnett County in 1996, a Gwinnett school has won in the state’s highest classification in nine of 17 seasons. And while Brookwood and Parkview won six of those first seven, Grayson and Norcross have broken through to help give the county three straight crowns. Look for Gwinnett’s hot streak to continue in 2013.
2. Small group dominates boys hoops
Boys basketball has rarely been as consistent and predictable as it is now. In the four highest classifications, only six total teams have won state titles over the past three seasons – Milton and Norcross in AAAAA, Miller Grove in AAAA, Columbus in AAA, GAC and Laney in AA. Now, each team has shifted one classification up, they’re all off to great starts against tough competition, and they’re in position to do it again. Three of these teams will win state titles in 2013.
1. Tony Parker will leave UCLA
The former Miller Grove star picked UCLA over some of the top programs in the country, after leading the Wolverines to four straight basketball titles. Just before Christmas, he tweeted “A lot of (people) told me this wasn’t for me I wish I would’ve listened,” igniting rumors he could be unhappy with averaging just 8.8 minutes per game. He wouldn’t be the first to leave recently, as former teammates Joshua Smith and Tyler Lamb both left a few weeks ago. Parker would have no shortage of options if he left Westwood.
Now we want to know what you think. What are your predictions for 2013? Do you think any of ours have no chance of happening? Will UCLA have any players left by 2014? Let us know in the comments here or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.