- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 1, 2009

This prospective peek at the fun and games of 2009 guarantees it will be a better year for somebody, somewhere.

January - Penn State demolishes Southern Cal 42-7 in the Rose Bowl, and 82-year-old coach Joe Paterno crows, “Who says this is no country for old men?” … After Oklahoma wins the BCS championship by beating Florida 21-17, coach Bob Stoops laments, “I only wish we could have played in the EagleBank Bowl in Washington.” … Dan Snyder fires Jim Zorn as Redskins coach and says the team will consider any qualified successor as long as his name is Bill Cowher.

February - With the Wizards’ record at 8-33, team president Ernie Grunfeld dismisses coach Ed Tapscott and rehires Eddie Jordan because “I’m man enough to admit when I’ve made a mistake.” … The Caps, led by Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin, dominate the Southeast Division so completely that the NHL limits each team to one player with any form of “Alex” in his name. … As the Nationals open spring training, club president Stan Kasten promises “a complete turnaround this season - no more than 95 losses.”

March - Following an intensive nationwide search of TV analysts, the Redskins land Bill Cowher by promising him 5 percent of concessions revenue at FedEx Field, 10 percent of Six Flags and a job in President Barack Obama’s administration, should he re-retire from coaching. … The NFL relegates the Lions, winless in 2008, to the Canadian Football League. … Georgetown makes the Final Four when former coach John Thompson Jr. sends his son to bed without supper after a disagreement and takes over the team.


April - Slugger Mark Teixeira christens the new Yankee Stadium with a game-wining home run in the season opener and is kissed on the lips by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani as he crosses the plate. … Throwing out the first ball at the Nationals’ home opener, President Obama displays better stuff than any of their starting pitchers. … The Wizards finish 15-67 and hire former star Wes Unseld as coach for next season.

May - With the Nationals off to a 10-30 start, general manager Jim Bowden fires manager Manny Acta and puts in an emergency call to Frank Robinson in California. … The Caps breeze to their first Stanley Cup, causing widespread hysteria among the 613 Washingtonians who consider the NHL important. … Bill Cowher trades Jason Campbell to the Lions and says Colt Brennan will be the Redskins’ starting quarterback.

June - After sweeping the Celtics in the NBA Finals, the Lakers visit the White House, where President Obama tries to drive the lane in an impromptu pickup game and is body-slammed by Kobe Bryant. … Playing on two good knees, Tiger Woods repeats his Masters victory in the U.S. Open, beating runner-up Vijay Singh by 18 strokes and causing the cancellation of the British Open and PGA Championship for lack of competition. … Mark Teixeira approaches the halfway point of the season with 40 home runs, and record-holder Barry Bonds demands that he be tested for steroids.

July - Roger Federer wins the Wimbledon men’s singles championship playing by computer from his home in Switzerland. Venus and Serena Williams share the women’s title by mutual agreement. … Jim Zorn, new coach of the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos, obtains Jason Campbell from the Lions on waivers. … The Nationals put together a 12-game winning streak to take over the NL East lead from the Mets, who begin their annual swoon earlier than usual.

August - The Redskins lose their preseason opener to Jim Zorn’s Eskimos by two touchdowns, and Bill Cowher throws a hissy fit afterward. … The Phillies sweep the Nationals in a four-game series to take the NL East lead but are booed by Citizens Bank Park fans for not winning all the games by shutout. … In the American League West, the Angels are so far ahead that even small children can spell “Scioscia.”

September - Redskins quarterback Colt Brennan loses a Week 1 duel with Drew Brees, passing for 113 yards to Brees’ 397 as the Saints edge the Redskins 49-7. After the game, Bill Cowher threatens to hold his breath until he turns blue. … With the Nationals on a 17-game losing streak and again last in their division, majority owner Ted Lerner names his son Mark as general manager, replacing Jim Bowden. … Maryland opens its football season by losing to either Northern or Southern Illinois as coach Ralph Friedgen tries to figure out which.

October - The Phillies repeat as World Series champions by whipping the Angels in seven games, but nobody in Philadelphia notices because the Eagles have started their season. … The Yankees fire manager Joe Girardi after folding down the stretch and rehire Joe Torre when Billy Martin’s ghost proves unavailable. … The Lions end their 24-game losing streak by nipping Jim Zorn’s Eskimos 19-18.

November - Maryland roars back after losing three of its first four games to earn a repeat trip to the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, as its loyal fans mourn. … The Redskins drop to 3-9 by losing to the Giants, and coach Bill Cowher is suspended by the NFL for chewing off his own mustache on national TV. … Alexander Semin of the Caps changes his first name to Nikolai so he can be reunited with Alex Ovechkin.

December - After the Redskins miss the playoffs again, owner Dan Snyder eats the rest of Bill Cowher’s fat contract and hires Marty Schottenheimer, saying, “I’ve always loved the guy.” … In his holiday message, President Obama notes, “When I promised change in Washington, I thought it would extend to all the city’s pro teams. Go Bulls! Go White Sox!” … Desperate sports columnist guarantees 2010 will be a better year for somebody, somewhere.