These are all the things we'd like you to quit predicting as imminent for 2012. They didn't happen last year, or in 2006, so stop all of it immediately. Also, someone please find ripped D'Angelo. My lady-friends miss him dearly.
The Death of the Spread Offense. There's Gary Danielson, telling you in 2008 that Florida would be the last spread team. And look, there's all those fun books published around the turn of the century proclaiming the "end" of things. Eschatology is the study of ends, and here is the fun secret of all eschatology: unless it begins and ends with "everything dies," it is utterly full of crap.
Nowhere is this truer than in a game like football where strategy is worked and reworked by coaches looking for an edge in competition. Four years after Danielson echoed the internet's Cassandras proclaiming the end of the spread, four of the top five offenses in FBS football were spread offenses: Houston, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Oregon. One nearly made the national title game, another produced the Heisman Trophy winner, and another won the Rose Bowl.
Let's not stop there. The dead spread also just got hired at Ohio State. The zombie corpse of the spread offense also manifests itself in the playbooks of others blatantly jacking whole pages of its schemes, the continuing emphasis by defenses on recruiting capable nickel corners and creating schemes around them, and most entertainingly, the NFL having to craft offenses around the dual-threat quarterbacks coming out of spread systems.
But sure, le spread, il est mort. This is just the fingernails and hair growing on the corpse. The corpse that just stole our car with our wallet in it. Man, that corpse can move. Just look at it go.
The Advent Of The Segway. Remember that the Segway did not even have a proper name, so secret and fearsome was it and its effect on the world as we know it. It did change things, to be fair. It gave your grandfather a new and innovative way to fracture his hip on vacation, and gave the despicably lazy a new way to see the world before falling over facefirst into exotic cobblestones the Segway cannot negotiate. Someone probably wrote a book called The End of Walking about the Segway. I hope this person is selling their blood for food right now.
The Inevitable and Instant College Football Playoff. This will be happening, but not with the kind of speed everyone seemed to accept glibly 10 years ago. Ten years ago, college football was like, "Oh, it's inevitable, it'll all work out, we'll just get a playoff." This was a lot like your life plan at 23. "Yeah, I'll graduate, and then I'll just chill for a while, and then--"
[AMAZING THINGS HAPPENING IN MONTAGE]
"--then I'll be where I want to be: in a mountaintop home decorated with tasteful exposed timbers, endless flatscreens, several loyal hounds, and three compliant and utterly stunning wives. I figure you need, what, $400 and three years to make this happen." This was your plan. Do not lie.
You also thought Entourage was a documentary and a viable life plan, and that someone smart was in charge of college football. (Edit: you thought "someone" was in charge of college football, period.) Then real life came along and kneecapped your stupid ass right quick-like, and a decade passed before anyone even really started talking about a playoff.
You now make an important edit: any transaction that important involving more than two people and more than $1,000 in cash value takes 10 years of solid bribery to complete, and will be so headachingly awful in its execution that it may make you question the very purposes of doing anything in the first place. Also, Entourage was not a documentary, but Arrested Development was.
UNC is totally a sleeping giant. One of the most reliable disappearing predictions of college football history. We used to think this was based on real data, though. North Carolina is a large state university in a major football conference. There are many rich people happy to write checks, and many talented football players in a state with a good-sized population. Logically, there is no reason for North Carolina not to be consistently good at football, and perhaps even great with the right management.
Logic has nothing to do with how a lot of things work out, though, and North Carolina football is less sleeping giant, and more those giant fungi that technically qualify as the world's largest living organisms. I know it's there, and I know it's technically alive, and yet you wouldn't exactly qualify it as alive-alive, would you? Larry Fedora could change all this, but be pragmatic about that optimism. Success for UNC would be turning them into an 8-5 team year in and year out, and make Larry Fedora the greatest giant-fungus wrangler of our time.
(Note: Maryland is also a giant fungus football program, large and undoubtedly "alive" but not really alive. This may explain why Randy Edsall was hired in the first place as he keeps players in the dark about where they can transfer, and appears to be adept at feeding them pure bullshit.)
Learning Japanese/Chinese/whatever Because Your Child Will Be Homeless Without It. I have a kid. The minute your child is born other parents get curious about exactly how many ways you're going to fail your child in not preparing them for life as a fast-track Type A douchebag. The answer to all these questions is "No, I am a horrible parent." No, we didn't care about the colors of his toys. No, we are not going to wait in line at 5 a.m. for an application to an elite $15,000 a year preschool (<---those are words people use without blinking or laughing or coughing up blood). No, we are not going to feed him all organic chicken, because seriously sometimes in life you have to--nay, should!--eat a batter-fried chicken finger sewn together from the carcasses of mutant chickens bred in a Chinese bus terminal. (It makes them strong, dammit.)
Most importantly, we are not going to teach our child Chinese for the same reason smart people did not teach their children Japanese when the terrified and upwardly mobile lizard-people of 1985 suggested it. Teaching your child a language is a great idea, and makes brain connections and um ... well, other smart stuff no one can really explain too well when you press them for details. (People with great ideas like this, usually gleaned from reading one article online, can almost never explain them.)
We'll teach him Spanish, because it's useful. The idea of someone teaching their child Chinese is based on the idea that we'll all be taking vacuum tubes over to visit our new overlords the Chinese in 2035, and boy won't our wonderchild--who at this point has also mastered three other languages, has flawless teeth, and has lost any ability to socialize with other people in any tongue--will be at the forefront of international something or other JESUS I HATE YOU PEOPLE STOP JUST STOP.
Kids who were taught Japanese forcefully by their parents in the 1980s can now read manga and translate everything happening in terrifying Japanese pornography and horror movies, most of which is the word for,"No, teacher!" over and over again. Teach your kids Chinese, and they will learn there are literally billions of Chinese who will nod politely, smile, and then address you in English. Stop enrolling your child in your stupid Blade Runner remix of a future, and make sure they can do things like talk to the kid down the block.
TL;DR: I hate other parents, except for you. You're okay, I guess.
The death of the Big 12. The Big 12 has died in every feature film of the past five years, and yet still keeps plowing along with Texas snatching it off the cliff, pulling it from the submerged car, and jolting it back to life with the smoking paddles of a defibrillating television deal. If anything, the Big 12's new configuration makes it even stronger thanks to the now-naked assumption that the league represents a series of Texas franchise operations. Mack Brown is the regional manager, picking around in the parking lot to see if you didn't sweep any cigarette butts up this morning. (Dana Holgorsen is the punk throwing his whole ashtray out the window onto the ground, and then peeling out in his Dodge Challenger as Mack runs after him yelling.)
The Death of ESPN/Nelly. Never, ever assume someone will come along and knock off a titan, especially when said titan has the support of an entire industrial complex AND a legitimate chemical weapon (Skip Bayless) at its disposal. In 2005, ESPN was a loud, monopolistic entity making hundreds of millions of dollars shoveling stupid salad into the mouths of undiscriminating viewers, and occasionally peppering the stream of brain-sewage with kernels of joy like College GameDay and SportsCenter.
A challenger, it was proposed, had to arise, especially when you look back and realize they willingly thought Nelly was something to put on the ESPN: The Magazine cover.
Nelly took off his magic face band-aid sometime in 2002, and has not been seen since 2005. Please call your local Crimestoppers if you have seen him or any member of the St. Lunatics.
Today, in 2012, ESPN is a loud, monopolistic entity making hundreds of millions of dollars shoveling stupid salad into the still-gobbling maws of of undiscriminating viewers, and still overcharging for their cable fees relative to other networks. You still get the occasional nuggets of necessary viewing, but now have to endure their continued embrace of chemical weapons banned by international law. (See: Skip Bayless.)
There has been no serious challenger yet, and let's all stop suggesting there will be until another network gets a good 30 years of brand-build under their belt overcome in five years. True, it will happen eventually, but that doesn't make you a seer. It makes you an insurance company, and one that would give out very low rates on a nice policy on ESPN's life because they're not dying anytime soon.
Ripped D'Angelo. Also missing since 2003 or so. Please advise if seen, but do not give him any "Brown Sugar" no matter how sweetly he may sing his pleas. He literally means a bag of brown sugar, which he will eat with his hands.
While we’re here, let’s watch some college football videos from SB Nation’s new YouTube channel together: