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FORD: Bold predictions for 2017

With every new year comes an abundance of excitement and optimism.

A new year offers a new beginning where we can leave all our misdeeds and faults behind us and look to the possibilities ahead.

As we stride into the new year, I see a sports world filled with possibilities. I also have a few bold predictions about how things will shape up in 2017.



ON THE GRIDIRON

— In 2017, Colin Kaepernick will leave the San Francisco 49ers and test the free agency market. The polarizing quarterback will land with the Kansas City Chiefs as a backup, only to get the starting job handed to him midseason after Alex Smith goes down with an injury. Smith will handle it like a pro. Kaepernick will cripple the Chiefs for years to follow.



— After a quick exit from the upcoming playoffs, the Oakland Raiders make it official and head south to become the Las Vegas Raiders. They will be the most exciting team in the NFL and, if Derek Carr stays healthy, they will be a Super Bowl contender.

— Following in the footsteps of Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and LSU’s Leonard Fournette, college football players destined for the pro ranks will start skipping their entire freshmen and sophomore seasons to avoid injury and prepare for NFL draft.

HOOPS

— The Sacramento Kings will make the NBA playoffs. I’ve predicted this for the past four years, but this year it finally happens. DeMarcus Cousins and company will pull it together long enough to grab the No. 8 seed in the West. They will then be promptly eliminated by the No. 1 seeded Warriors.

— Former Kings coach George Karl and Kings center DeMarcus Cousins get their own TV show on NBA TV with an odd couple-type premise. The more they get to know each other the more they find out they have a lot in common — they both are talented at their chosen profession, they both think they are better than everyone else and they both have careers that yielded zero NBA titles.

— The Warriors and Cavaliers will meet in the NBA Finals for a third straight season. Durant is the difference as the Warriors win the series in six games. Durant wins the Finals MVP. The Cavaliers then start courting James Hardin to join their team the following season.

AROUND THE DIAMOND

— The Giants came up short of upsetting the Chicago Cubs in the playoffs in 2016. And, that is just fine, the long-suffering Cubs fans needed that World Series win more than Giants fans did. In 2017, the Cubs will once again be the favored team to win it all, but complacency will doom them down the stretch, opening the door for the Giants to bring another title back to the Bay Area.

DOPERS PARADISE

— The Russians have set a new standard for cheating. But, instead of backtracking and fixing the problem, the country embraces the idea of juiced up humans and begins its own sporting event that encourages chemically enhanced athletes to compete. It is criticized by most of the sporting world, but it is awesome to watch on TV.

LOCHTE’S LEGACY

— Disgraced Olympian Ryan Lochte starts his own public relations firm dedicated to helping athletes who think their celebrity allows them to act like entitled, destructive 13 year olds. He gets a ton of work. Oddly enough, all of his clients turn out to be victims of armed robberies that took place in foreign countries.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.


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