When it comes to sports and making predictions about scores, teams, seasons and athletes in general, sometimes it's better when you keep your mouth shut.
In the heat of the moment, things are said that either seem so off-the-wall or so ridiculous that they are unfathomable.
And in most cases, the predictions do not happen and turn out to bite the athlete or reporter or prognosticator in the butt. This is a cause of laughter for you and me.
Here is a look at some of the most ridiculous predictions in sports. Whether they rang true has nothing to do with the fact it was spoken in the first place. When the prediction took place, sports fans did a double take asked, "Did they really just say that?"
This list has no true order to it. It is a composite of some of the boldest predictions made in sports. Just enjoy.
Seen by many as one of the worst if not the worst busts in NBA draft history, the Portland Trailblazers made LaRue Martin, a center out of Loyola, the first pick in the 1972 draft.
Martin, who played well in the college ranks and even played better than UCLA's Bill Walton when the two played head to head, was supposed to be the next NBA great center, along with Kareem, Wilt, Bill Russell and others.
Martin was plagued by injuries and drug issues in his professional days and never amounted to more than a journeyman.
It's a lot to ask a 13-year-old to revolutionize a world sport. But Freddy Adu was not given any leverage. In 2003, he was the "it-factor" in professional soccer when he signed a professional contract.
Adu could never live up to the expectation.
"Adu was 14 years-old when he inked his deal and became the youngest athlete ever to sign a professional contract in the United States, according to realclearsports.com.
If you look at his first season stats, you could say he was a success. "He had 5 goals and had 3 assists. He was captain of the United States U-20 men's national team in which he scored a hat trick at the group stage of the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He also was one of 18 members of the United States’ 2008 Olympic team."
But with so much riding on his fame and the fact he was so widely publicized, he never has been able to live up to those expectations.
If anything baseball agent Scott Boras says means anything, then Brien Taylor was supposed to be the next great thing in baseball.
“He wasn't a good No. 1 draft pick," Boras once said of Brien Taylor. "He was a great one."
Obviously, the Yankees thought so as well, and signed the high school prospect.
Taylor injured his shoulder in a fight and went downhill from there.
According to realclearsports.com, "The Yanks finally released him in 1998, seven years after they drafted him. In his final appearance ever, Taylor lasted just 2.2 innings and gave up 11 runs on nine hits. He is now forever known as the second player ever to be picked first overall in the MLB Draft and never reach the majors."
He still looks older than me.
Oden never materialized into the man child he was supposed to be: a dominant big man in the NBA and the second coming of Bill Walton for the Portland Trailblazers.
LaRue Martin, Sam Bowie, Greg Oden.
Oden may have looked the part at Ohio State when the Buckeyes were playing for a national title against Florida, but he has been anything but successful after injuries have sidelined him.
According to jocknuts.com, "In three seasons, Oden has played the equivalent of one full NBA season, 82 games."
That isn't the kind of production a team looks for in a superstar center.
This is one of those incidents where an owner really overstepped his bounds.
Dan Gilbert, in reaction to LeBron James "taking his talents to South Beach" and how the King of the NBA held the league hostage while he decided where he wanted to play the 2010-2011 NBA season, lashed out at his former player in a tweet.
You can read this on muscleprodigy.com.
It did not go over very well. James left the Cavaliers a shell of itself, with it needing oxygen to get over the loss of the hometown hero. Gilbert did not have many nice things to say about the move to Florida and reacted in this Twitter verse.
"I personally guarantee Cleveland will win an NBA Championship before the self-titled 'King' wins one."
Just if Gilbert is reading, didn't Miami with LeBron James win the NBA Title last season?
In the 1970's some dude named Bobby Riggs swore that because he was a man, he could beat one of the greats in professional tennis of all time, Billie Jean King.
It did not matter if Riggs, who was not the athletic type and did not show any true athleticism, was bigger, stronger or tougher. He felt because he was a "male" he could beat the legend.
But he couldn't. In the Houston Astrodome, for all the world to see in 1973, King beat the man who claimed he could not be beat.
He came to Austin and helped put this program further on the map than it had already been. The former FSU graduate has come a long way since his days as a head coach at North Carolina.
But for some reason, Mark Schlabach of ESPN thought that Colt McCoy's leaving the University of Texas would be it for head coach Mack Brown after the 2009 season.
It's a good thing that Schlabach was incorrect in his column on ESPN.com.
"Quarterback Colt McCoy and a big offensive line will lead the Longhorns to a Big 12 championship after they beat Oklahoma (the teams will be tied, fittingly, at the end of regulation)," Schlabach said. "Texas will take advantage of its soft nonconference schedule (Louisiana-Monroe, Wyoming, Central Florida and UTEP) to finish No. 2 in the country."
Schlabach added that after losing to the Gators in the BCS title game, "Coach Mack Brown will retire and turn the reins over to defensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp."
Isn't Muschamp the head coach at Florida, now? Hmmm.
Here is one for all you hockey fans out there.
Eric Lindros was supposed to light the hockey world on fire, the prospect that would control it.
"Lindros is hockey's Can't Miss Kid, the best prospect since Mario Lemieux in 1984. If Wayne Gretzky is The Great One, Eric Lindros is The Next One," said Glen Macnow in the 1991 Seattle Times article.
"Consider, for example, that he is probably the only 17-year-old athlete in the world with his photo on a trading card."
In all fairness to Lindros, his career did not take off like it was supposed to, mainly due to injury (concussions).
For all the hype, he may have been hockey's biggest bust ever, and one of the biggest sports' busts of all time.
Haven't we been down this road before?
The big, strong, cannon-armed passer who is supposed to come to a football team, invigorate the franchise and bring them back to the holy land?
That's what "Draft Expert" Mel Kiper said about LSU's JaMarcus Russell, who was chosen first in 2007 by the Raiders out of LSU.
Kiper, who has hit and missed on quarterbacks in the past (and since then) said Russell's talent was too good to pass up and he would be an elite quarterback in the NFL.
According to blackreign.net, "(Russell) is going to immediately energize that fanbase, that football team -- on the practice field, in that locker room. Three years from now you could be looking at a guy that's certainly one of the elite top five quarterbacks in this league. ...You're talking about a 2-3 year period once he's under center. Look out because the skill level that he has is certainly John Elway-like."
Russell is no longer in the league after flaming out in California.
One of the true supporters of Tim Tebow's talent since he has gotten to the NFL has been ESPN commentator Skip Bayless.
He is only a handful of supporters of the NFL high profile backup quarterback.
Bayless has never been shy of his feeling about how successful Tebow can be and has been a big proponent of the former Florida Gator's ability. This time, however, the more than gushing Bayless made a bold statement that has yet to be proven: Tebow, not current starter Mark Sanchez, can get this team to the playoffs.
"Tebow is a momentum playmaker who can be extremely difficult to defend if unleashed in an up-tempo shotgun spread with Greene lined up just to his right. He must be allowed to play fast on instinct and emotion. He's an underrated athlete and deep thrower. Even without Revis and Santonio Holmes, he can save the Jets' season."
The simple fact Tebow is not playing for the team currently (he has been injured with broken ribs) and the fact the Jets are one game out of the playoffs with Sanchez could prove Bayless' comments wrong.
The last time I checked, the "Ball Coach" was still finding ways to win the SEC.
Again, Mark Schlabach of ESPN was wrong in his assessment of Spurrier and the idea that he would call it quits after the 2009 season.
Sometimes, columnists just need to fill space on a computer screen.
"After believing South Carolina was ready and capable of challenging Florida and Georgia in the SEC East before each of the past two seasons, Steve Spurrier's patience has to have nearly run out. The Gamecocks will again have high expectations heading into 2009. And once again, South Carolina will fall short of its lofty aspirations."
The Gamecocks were a good football team in 2012, beating Georgia and staying in the SEC East race for most of the season, despite the injuries to star running back Marcus Lattimore.
And all of this was done on Spurrier's watch.
Shane Stephens at brobuffet.com said these predictions weren't expected to happen, but "he could see them happen in the 2013 NFL year.
What was he thinking? The Chargers in the AFC Championship Game?
The Chargers, for all their offensive fire power, are one of the most disappointing teams in terms of record and performance. Despite their win over Pittsburgh last week, this would appear to be a Jekyll and Hyde team.
And for all that San Diego has been and hasn't been since Philip Rivers was installed as the team's quarterback, it looks like Norv Turner (team's head coach) and team general manager AJ Smith are finally at the end of their rope.
John Kruk is one of those guys who knows a lot about baseball, but that does not mean he should make predictions like these.
There has not been a 30-game winner in the Majors since Denny McLain in 1968. Incidentally, Johnson went 17-8 on the season for the New York Yankees.
Maybe Kruk got caught up in the hype that Johnson would help the Yankees make the postseason and possibly have the best season of his career.
Johnson never came close.
He was the can't-miss quarterback prospect with the athletic genes that were supposed to take him to stardom and beyond for the Oakland Raiders.
Todd Marinovich is one of those players you file under "bust" in the NFL.
According to the article, which lists Marinovich as one of the all-time "Can't miss prospects that missed," it states that "Marv Marinovich (Todd's father) took extreme measures in trying to develop his son into the ultimate athlete. Todd wasn’t allowed junk food as a kid and as a baby was on a strict diet of vegetables, fruits, and raw milk."
A little extreme if you ask me. And his extreme rise and fall in the NFL never developed.
See what happens when you "shoot" your mouth off?
Angry because he was cut from the United States National Team by Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Gilbert Arenas made some pretty bold predictions with regard to getting even. Both Nate McMillan and Mike D'Antoni were part of the coaching squad.
As reported on FanIQ.com, "Arenas recently dropped 54 points on Phoenix in an overtime game, and has stated on his blog that he will do the same in Portland in an upcoming February game, as revenge for being cut."
Arenas, for the record, only scored 31 points.
Todd Van Poppel was supposed to light Major League Baseball on fire. As a player with the Oakland A's, he was the "can't miss prospect" and the "New Nolan Ryan" in the majors.
That, we all know, never happened.
According to realcleartsports.com, "Van Poppel was drafted out of high school in the first round (14th overall; he dropped after expressing interest in attending college) by the Oakland Athletics."
Ironically, there was some talk that the Atlanta Braves would take him with their No. 1 overall pick (they instead chose some guy named Chipper Jones).
Looks like the Braves made the right call.
"You're not supposed to be as strong as I am. You're not supposed to be as fast as I am. You're not supposed to be as good as I am."
Tony Mandarich said it all, and then some. The focus of bigger, stronger, faster started and may have ended with him. In 1989, there was no greater offensive line talent than the Michigan State tackle.
And everything came with a price to pay. He was chosen ahead of Barry Sanders and was supposed to be the best offensive lineman to ever play in the NFL.
And the Green Bay Packers were counting on him being the best. Then, it all came crashing down. Steroid rumors and ineffective play led to his demise.
Mel Kiper, Jr. is one of those guys you can listen to all day and laugh at what comes out of his mouth.
And we can all laugh at his hair.
Kiper has been a draft analyst for ESPN for over 30 years. In that time, he has hit on a few players and missed on many. In this case, maybe he went overboard.
Kiper, in a story written on profootballtalk.com, went toe to toe with fellow draft analyst, Todd McShay. Let's just say both had differing opinions about Clausen and his career after Notre Dame.
Said Kiper in a story from profootballtalk.com, “That’s my rating. That’s my opinion, and I’ll stand by it. We’ll see what happens three years from now.”
Clausen wasn't a first-round pick, not even close. He was a second-round pick in 2010 by the Carolina Panthers and is now a backup to former Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton.
Leave it to Beano Cook. God love Beano.
Beano may have been the president of the Notre Dame fan club as much as Brent Musburger loves Southern Cal and Ohio State.
In one of Cook's famous predictions, he spoke about the "can't miss" prospect, Ron Powlus, who signed with the Golden Domers.
He was supposed to bring the college football program back to prominence. Powlus never materializes into someone named Theisman (that rhymes with Heisman) and the Irish never got back to the National Title picture.
But just listen to the magic of Cook. It is well worth it.