With 2013 giving way to 2014, it's time for a few predictions that will, more than likely, be way off the mark. But what the hell, that means I'll be just like the rest of my sportswriting brethren. So...
PREDICTION ONE: CSN HOUSTON
The next status conference in bankruptcy court before Judge Marvin Isgur is scheduled for January 7, 2014. Here's guessing that Les Alexander will announce that he has reached a tentative deal with Jim Crane to purchase the portion of the network owned by the Astros, and another stay will be granted in the bankruptcy proceedings while the details are worked out. Alexander will purchase this portion for less than what Crane initially sought, but Alexander will pay Crane the money that he claims the network owes him for 2013. The parties will also reach a deal in which Crane sells the Astros broadcast rights to CSN Houston for an amount close to what Fox Sports Southwest is paying the Rangers.
By the time February roles around, Alexander will reach a deal with Direct TV, AT&T U-verse, Time Warner and SuddenLink to broadcast CSN Houston in the Houston region and the surrounding counties and presto, the Rockets games will be aired to everyone. By mid-March, Alexander will announce that he and Fox Sports have agreed to become partners in CSN Houston -- much like with CSN Bay Area. This will inject more money into the network, and Fox Sports will make CSN Houston available to the Fox Sports Southwest network as secondary programming, which will allow Astros games to reach the same broadcast footprint as when originally on FSN Southwest.
PREDICTION TWO: HOUSTON TEXANS
The Texans will hire Ken Whisenhunt to be the team's next head coach because he's a supposed offensive genius. Whisenhunt, who's only actually been an offensive genius when he's had a good QB to work with, i.e., Ben Roethlisberger, Kurt Warner or Philip Rivers, will decide that the team should draft Derek Carr with the first pick of the NFL draft. And to help Carr make the adjustment to the NFL, he will direct Rick Smith to sign Green Bay backup Matt Flynn.
As happened with Flynn at Seattle and Oakland, he will lose the starting job to Carr in camp. Carr will be lost to injury in the second game. Flynn will start the season's third game, and be awful, prompting the Texans to go through the Rolodex for available QBs and will run through Josh Freeman, Tyler Thigpen, John Skelton, Kellen Clemens, Josh Johnson, Chad Henne, Kevin Kolb, Vince Young, Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford.
Brian Cushing will be lost to a season-ending injury in the season's first game, and the defense will once again fall apart as Smith and Whisenhunt ignored the defense in the draft and free agency while attempting to fix the offensive line. The team will once again finish last in the AFC South. Bob McNair will state that he sees improvement, meaning that Rick Smith will once again keep his job.
PREDICTION THREE: HOUSTON ASTROS
The Astros will suck once again. But the suckidness won't be as bad because the team will actually win 63 games and thus not lose 100-plus games for the first time in the Jim Crane era. And for the first time in recent history, the Astros will not sell off any players at the trade deadline because there's nobody left to sell.
The good news is that Chris Carter won't strike out 200 times because he will spend a majority of the season tethered to the bench after Jonathan Singleton makes the major league roster out of spring training. Singleton doesn't exactly set the world on fire, but he's actually able to field a position and he strikes out at a far lesser rate than Carter. The Dexter Fowler trade will turn out to be a bust as the Astros discover that just because a guy puts up decent numbers at Coors Field doesn't equate to good numbers at any other ballpark.
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Jim Crane's fraud lawsuit against CSN Houston and Drayton McLane will return to state court once the bankruptcy case is dismissed. And once Les Alexander has completed the purchase of Crane's portion of CSN Houston, Alexander and the Rockets will be added as a defendant to the lawsuit.
PREDICTION FOUR: THE ASTRODOME
This time next year the Astrodome will still be standing, and will still be an empty, rotting, rusting hazard and eyesore. But despite the outcome of November's so-called final vote on the idiotic plan to save the Dome, the county commissioners will still be entertaining outrageous scenarios to save the place. None of these scenarios will have any private funding and they will demand taxpayer funds, and those who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for these pie-in-the-sky scenarios will once again be mocked.
But of course, it's still 2013 and I'll more than likely be proved wrong about absolutely everything.