As we close the calendar year of 2022, the Jags are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. One year ago to the date, Jacksonville lost to the Jets 26-21 to fall to 2-13. They finished at 3-14 and a complete mess from the Urban Meyer experiment. Now the Jags can win their division and host a playoff game if they win at Houston this week. Who would have predicted that and the job DOug Pederson has done and the development of Trevor Lawrence?
So with that, here comes 23 predictions for 2023:
1. Tom Brady is not the quarterback of the Bucs but he's also not in the FOX booth for the regular season full-time. Brady may be wearing a different uniform or may make an occasional appearance in the FOX booth, like the Super Bowl.
2. The Dolphins draft a quarterback in the fourth round with their pick from the Tyreek Hill deal and Mike McDaniel sells it as "you try to acquire talent at all positions" and the clock on Tua keeps on ticking
3. The Pac 12 reaches a new media deal that includes the majority of its game on Amazon for a higher price than what the Big 12 will make. Their commissioner will call it a win and forward thinking in a streaming world. The package will include up to six prime time games on CBS but will become a challenge for fans to find games and if they have no deal with ESPN they will realize how tough it is to get talked about
4. MLS fans will scream about the new media deal with Apple. Local fans will be furious initially about finding games and sports media will question the deal but in the end MLS will be fine. There will be enough games on regular TV to satisfy the audience. The question locally will be will attendance increase without a local TV station airing games?
5. Starting Christmas Day 2023, the Orlando Magic will be back on the NBA's holiday's schedule. Paolo is a star the league wants to showcase and there is no bigger day. Look for the Magic to play whoever drafts Victor Wembanyama in the 2:30p game next year.
6. The Magic will become everyone's favorite young team for the 2023-24 season with projections having the team battling for a four or five seed in the east.
7. LIV Golf lands a TV deal, likely with FOX and gets up to 10 of its tournaments televised. The battle with the PGA continues in the courts and ratings will be poor for LIV.
8. Texas and Oklahoma reach a deal with the Big 12 to exit one year earlier and move to the SEC for the 2024 season. The payout will be spread out over a number of years and it will include the Longhorns and Sooners playing a few non-conference games over the years as well. This allows the newly expanded playoff to have all teams settled into their new leagues.
9. The Commanders sell for a record $7B
10. FSU and LSU open the 2023 season at Camping World Stadium with both teams ranked in the top 10.
11. Serena Williams plays in at least two majors in 2023.
12. Sean Payton takes the Arizona job and returns to the NFL
13. One college football coach names names about tampering and it creates a domino effect where other coaches drop a coach or school and finger pointing is the new norm.
14. Messi is not playing for Miami FC in 2023, but Cristiano Ronaldo may be somewhere in MLS despite reports of his massive deal to play in Saudi Arabia
15. Aaron Judge starts slow in 2023 and the national media torches him with his new deal. Judge rallies with a strong second half of the season and finishes hitting .276 and 42 homers.
16. At least one local high school football team wins a state title but the issues over low pay for coaches becomes a bigger story, again, in 2023.
17. There will be lawsuits filed over college football players complaining money they thought they were getting from collectives are not paid.
18. Pickleball continues to grow and you will see more and more on your favorite sports networks
19. One big sports personality on a popular show will not finish the year in the same position.
20. The schedule for the expanded college football playoff for the 2024 season is announced and there are more weekday games than anyone thought.
21. The NBA finalizes plans to expand to 32 teams within four years. With the TV deal expected to jump from $24B to $75B, the league will focus on adding two teams and after the Suns/Mercury being sold for $4B, the expansion fee will likely start in that range. Most assume Seattle and Las Vegas are locks. If so, does Memphis and New Orleans slide to the east?
22. Four quarterbacks are taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Anthony Richardson is one of them and his draft profile will be all over the place.
23. The Magic play a game after Mother's Day in the 2023-24 season.
Final note: About six months after making a New Year's resolution, half of those are still successful.