From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:
As we draw closer to the end of a pandemic-ridden 2020 — the deadliest year in American history — it is hoped that 2021 will be somewhat brighter, with turning the corner of COVID-19.
The sports world was clearly interrupted, about four months to be precise, but 2021 should provide memorable moments — and most importantly, scheduled sporting events can hopefully be contested when and where they should be.
Here is my fearless forecast for thrills and spills to occur in 2021:
n With the No. 1 NFL draft pick secured and that selection will be Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars will fire ex-Syracuse University and ex-Bills head coach Doug Marrone this coming Monday, and later in the month, introduce Urban Meyer as the next sideline boss.
n Alabama will defeat Clemson, 37-27, in college football’s national championship game Jan. 11.
n MLB key free-agent signings will include outfielder George Springer by the Mets and starting pitcher Trevor Bauer by the Dodgers.
n Though they are currently playing with their heads in the clouds, the Chiefs will top the Saints, 26-21, in Super Bowl 55 on Feb. 7.
n Sick of his antics and immaturity, the Rockets will trade scoring guard James Harden to the 76ers for Ben Simmons and a second-round draft pick.
n After a rocky 2020, Kyle Busch will capture the Daytona 500 race in February.
n March Madness will be held at one site, Indianapolis, and Gonzaga will no longer be a bridesmaid, beating Villanova in the national title game behind Corey Kispert’s 28 points.
n Patrick Reed will win The Masters golf tournament in April.
n LeBron James will miss three weeks of the regular weeks with a bad ankle, and that could be a good thing for his 36-year-old body. He returns to lead the Lakers to a repeat of their NBA crown.
n In the NHL’s reduced 56-game regular season, the Golden Knights win the President’s Trophy, but the Maple Leafs will take their first Stanley Cup since 1967.
n There will be three no-hitters thrown in the 2021 MLB season.
n And on a local note, fall high school sports, including football, soccer and all the others, will return in earnest in September.
n Richie Rich’s Top 10 rankings in the NFL: 1. Bills; 2. Packers; 3. Chiefs; 4. Seahawks; 5. Saints; 6. Dolphins; 7. Buccaneers; 8. Ravens; 9. Steelers; 10. (tie) Titans, Browns.
Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at email@example.com