The assignment is to predict the next year in sports.

If it was that easy, Las Vegas would be just another city in Nevada with a bunch of pretty, but empty, buildings.

With that said, we are willing to take a shot at it. Some will be serious, some will be tongue in cheek and all will probably be wrong.

For fun we took a look at last year's predictions to see how we fared.

Apparently last year's crystal ball was a bit cloudy.

I'd like to say we predicted Desert Vista winning a state title in football and Mountain Pointe taking home its first baseball championship.

Not exactly.

There was a mention of Mountain Pointe football making the semifinals for the third straight year. It seemed like a slam dunk, but who could have imagined the drama the Pride had at quarterback, which is my point exactly.

It is all a guesstimate but hopefully makes for a fun read.

So here we go.


Let's stick with the football theme.

There is no way the Thunder can duplicate the euphoria surrounding the school's second state football title, but that doesn't mean they won't repeat.

The offensive line returns mostly intact, although the one piece gone - J.J. Dielman - is a huge loss, Jarek Hilgers is a load at running back, Kaleb Germinaro and his blinding speed will keep the fly sweep alive and well and Matt Young will bring a new dimension to the quarterback position.

The defense is going to have a bigger adjustment with the entire linebacker corps having to be replaced. The defensive line, led by Lorenzo Melvin, will be stout while Nick Farina and Austin Hicks bring stability to the back end.

But is it enough?

The schedule will be the same with big games against the Pride, Hamilton, Saguaro and Chandler as possible hazards.

I'm going to say Desert Vista beats Hamilton in the regular season, but is unable to repeat.

Prideful return

Mountain Pointe had a lot of drama mostly off the field last season. Some of that will continue as a transfer comes in to try and take the quarterback job from Caleb Buck.

The Pride gets back into the 10-win range with a much more disciplined team and coach Norris Vaughan and his staff make sure the roster is focused on football instead of all of the other craziness that engulfed the program a year ago.

Getting over the top

The Desert Vista boys golf team wants no part of being compared with the Buffalo Bills and do just that when the Thunder win the state golf tournament in 2012.

Desert Vista has finished second three straight years, but current sophomores Randy Ross, Matt Liringis and Colton Estevez get the job done.

History on the mats

The Desert Vista wrestling program sees its first three-time state champion in Robbie Mathers and the Thunder get two other champs but come up short to Corona del Sol for the Division I title to finish second.

Diamond matters

The Mountain Pointe baseball program lost a ton from last season's state winning team with the likes of Kevin Cron, Jordan Kipper and Quinn Tucker gone.

Brandon Buck's group will be awfully good this year with Joey Curletta, the Kingery brothers and Brantley Bell when it comes to offense, but it might be harder replacing Cron and Kipper on the mound.

If the Pride has some pitchers step up it could be another special year, but I'll say the team falls short of winning it all after another great regular season.

The Thunder just missed the postseason last year and had to sweat it out the year before to get the 16th and final seed.

There will be no such worries this season. Desert Vista, led by Hunter Rodriguez and Farina, easily makes the postseason and has a quality season.

Hardwood happiness

All four Division I basketball teams make the expanded 24-team field state tournament, but who will do the best?

The Mountain Pointe boys program has a lot of new faces but won their first eight games.

The Thunder boys team won 11 of their first 14.

The Thunder girls made the finals of the Nike Tournament of Champions.

The Pride's girls squad won 10 of their first 13.

All have good resumes, but who has the chops to really make a postseason run?

The Pride boys squad plays possibly the state's toughest schedule and I think that wears on them. They will win two postseason games but fall in the quarterfinals.

The Desert Vista boys have the area's best player in Danny Powell and as long as he gets some help from a third option behind Jeff Lowery the Thunder can make a run to the semifinals.

Pro picks

Here is my stab at the professionals.

The Suns go 29-37 and miss the playoffs again. Rumors swirl about Steve Nash and Grant Hill being traded, but stay in Phoenix for the course of the season. The Heat win the championship over Oklahoma City.

The Diamondbacks take a step back record-wise (they can't have that many comeback wins again) and finish second in the division to the Giants. They still get into the postseason courtesy of the second wild card. The Angels win the world championship, knocking off the Phillies

The Cardinals find out that Kevin Kolb isn't what they had hoped for and finish 7-9 in the 2012-13 season. The Packers repeat for the 2011-12 season over the Patriots.

The Coyotes win their first playoff series since moving to Phoenix, but fall in the semifinals. Boston repeats by beating Chicago.

So there you have it - the AFN's fearless 2012 predictions. Right or wrong, let's hope it is as exciting in Ahwatukee in the coming year as it was in 2011.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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