By Mark Nagi

Well, it is that time again. Time to get out the crystal ball and make some predictions on the year ahead in sports.

Some are actual predictions… some are tongue in cheek. It’s a fun game figuring out which are which!

Let’s light this candle.

In January, Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt will be rumored to be in the witness relocation program, as he hadn’t been seen or spoken publicly since the Vols lost in the 2020 season finale to Texas A&M. Pruitt is finally seen at Sam and Andy’s in Farragut near the end of the month, unable to pay for his meal since he brought no cash and as we all know they take no credit cards.

In February, the Buffalo Bills edge the Green Bay Packers 34-31 in Super Bowl LV. This sets off a celebration that lasts four months in western New York.  Tennessee’s men’s basketball team rattles off a 14 game SEC win streak, putting them in position to win the conference for the first time since 2018.

In March, the Vols win the SEC regular season and tournament titles, and advance to the Final Four for the first time in program history.  Tennessee fans paint “Barnes4Life” on The Rock.

In April, the Vols are eliminated in the national semifinals by eventual national champion Gonzaga. Tennessee’s football team holds the annual Orange & White Game at Neyland Stadium in front of friends and family. The Orange beats the White 24-21. Thanks to that result, Jeremy Pruitt is given a three-year contract extension.

In May, the Lady Vols softball team returns to the College World Series. The Vols baseball team gets to the NCAA tournament, advancing to the Super Regionals.

In June, the Los Angeles Lakers win their second straight NBA championship, the fifth title for LeBron James. At 58, Michael Jordan announces that he’ll return to the association in the Fall. The Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup.

In July, the Vols head to SEC Media Days.  Pruitt makes waves with a statement that brought back memories of Derek Dooley’s 2012 appearance. Pruitt says that the SEC won’t have Tennessee to kick around anymore. The media picks the Vols to finish 12th in the conference.

In August, the Vols football team is stunned to learn that Harrison Bailey, expected to be the starting quarterback, is quitting football to open a juice store. “It’s been a lifelong dream,” says Bailey. Pruitt considers playing the 2021 season without anyone lining up at quarterback.

In September, the Vols open the season with a resounding 45-17 victory over Bowling Green. In response, Tennessee gives Pruitt a seven-year contract extension.

In October, with the Vols now in the middle of a five-game losing streak, UT announces that the 1998 Vols will take the field against Alabama. Vegas favors the Tide by 205 points. Alabama wins by 198.

In November, Jeremy Pruitt is fired and receives a buyout worth more than the GNP of Peru. He is replaced by interim head coach Heath Shuler. Andy Kelly is installed as offensive coordinator with Carl Pickens hired as defensive coordinator. The Vols lose to Vanderbilt 75 to negative 10.  The gritty underdog Yankees win the World Series.

In December, Tennessee’s athletic department announces that they will let UT fans choose the next coach via a twitter poll. The Vols hold a press conference to introduce Donald Duck as the 28th head coach at Tennessee.

Is it 2022 yet?