Ryan Hughes’s 2024 Sports Predictions


Looking back on 2023, who could have predicted the stories that shook the sports world over the past 365 days. Whether it be that Damar Hamlin literally died on the field and was cleared to play football again eight months later, or the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights living up to owner Bill Foley’s “Cup in 6 Years” prophecy, 2023 was a year to constantly scroll through Twitter—and then X—and impatiently wait for the newest story to break.

With that in mind, welcome to 2024! After a year that was so incredibly unpredictable, one should expect that same level of unpredictability in the new year. However, the temptation to predict what 2024 will be for the sports world is too nagging to subdue. Here are my predictions across the Sports World in 2024.


The Colorado Buffaloes Finish in the Top-25 Next Season.

After starting 3-0 this season—and being ranked 18th in the Nation by AP entering Week 4—The Colorado Buffalos collapse began with an embarrassing 42-6 defeat against the Oregon Ducks. From that point forward, the hype had died around Colorado, but I’m optimistic for Colorado in 2024.

Coach Prime’s recruiting class was horrific, ranked worse than Western Kentucky and 2-10 Vanderbilt by 24/7 Sports, but he did manage to land the top interior offensive line recruit in Jordan Seaton. Where Colorado really shined though was in the transfer market, netting the 2nd best Transfer class, which includes 4-star IOL Tyler Johnson from Houston.

These two upgrades alone should provide a huge boost to an O-Line that allowed 56 Sacks in 12 games. Not to mention another year with Travis Hunter, Shedeur and Shilo Sanders, Colorado will make a bowl-game at the least.

Returning to the Big-12 has some winnable matchups for Colorado, who will play 9 in-conference games next year. The No 25. Volunteers went 8-4 this year, and I think that is possible for Colorado this year.

Bill Belichick Goes to the Los Angeles Chargers

This has been a massive argument for me and my family over the past two months. As diehard New Englanders, entertaining the thought of Bill Belichick getting fired feels sacrilegious, but it is what I think must be done.

The Patriots have been awful over the past two seasons, and in a league that runs under the mentality of “What have you done for me lately” Belichick has set the franchise back years with his horrific drafting. The last 1st round pick to sign a second contract in New England was Dont’a Hightower—which would have been signed in 2016. Since then, it has been 1st-round bust after 1st-round bust.

So why would any team take a fly on this coach that I’m basically saying has been passed by the rest of the league? On paper, the Los Angeles Chargers have a well-rounded team. A Pro-Bowl caliber QB, a Top-5 Running Back and Wide Receiver, defensive anchors Khalil Mack and Derwin James, their roster is far better than their 5-11 Record. After firing analytics-minded head coach Brandon Staley—who really should not have lasted this long—and GM Tom Telesco, the Chargers need a new identity. I think Bill Belichick could be that guy. He’s still a solid coach, he gets the best out of his players. Do I have concerns about his capacity to identify draft-eligible talent? Yes, but the window for the Chargers to be competitive before their stars walk is starting to close. It is better late than never—and I genuinely want Belichick to surpass George Halas and become the winningest coach in NFL History.


The Dodgers Break the ’01 Mariners Record of 116-46, Still Don’t Make the World Series.

It’s a cruel irony that the winningest regular season teams across the Big-4 Sports (and the MLS) cannot claim themselves to be champions. I don’t think that irony stops here. The Los Angeles Dodgers are team stacked with talent; with Reigning MVP Shohei Ohtani—alongside former MVPs Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts—The Dodgers are destined to be a super team. With starting pitching help in Tyler Glasnow and the return of Walker Buehler, there is no way the Dodgers don’t win the World Series, right?

Well, every team that had a bye in the first round of the playoffs—with the exception of the Houston Astros—was knocked out in the Division Series. Waiting five days to play baseball is destined to cause players to have some rust, and I think a team like the Padres or Reds could take advantage of the Dodgers because of that.

The “Bryce”maid gets his Ring,

Bryce Harper has always been the bridesmaid, never the bride. He left Washington—and they immediately went and won the World Series. He wins the National League MVP in 2022, swings the Phillies to a World Series appearance, and watches from the dugout as Dusty Baker’s 30 year wait for a World Series win as a manager comes to an end. In 2023, he watches another young, promising outfielder help led his team to a World Series appearance. There perhaps is no player as cursed as Bryce Harper, but this is the year he gets the one trophy that has eluded him.

I may have said the Rangers will repeat in 2024 on my Twitter, but I’m changing my mind.  The Phillies have a stellar pitching staff, led by the workhorse duo of Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, a bullpen that has the potential to go on another dominant postseason tear—similarly to 2022 before facing Houston—and an offense with Trea Turner, Bryson Stott, and Bryce Harper. Not to mention a GM in Dave Dombrowski who will dish out the money to win a Championship. I won’t call them a team of destiny just yet, but I have a gut feeling it is the Phillies Year.


The Arizona Coyotes Still Don’t Have a Permanent Home by the End of 2024.

Words cannot describe how little I care about the “Hockey in the Desert” experiment anymore. The Coyotes have been averaging 100% capacity at their home games in the Mullett Arena—which would be impressive if they didn’t play in a 4,600-seat arena. The Manchester Monarchs—who haven’t existed since 2019 and were an AHL turned ECHL team—played in an 11,700-seat arena.

Arizona is weirdly becoming a hockey paradise because of the ASU Sun Devils—who rent out Mullett Arena to the Coyotes. This leads me to believe that the Arizona Coyotes’ never-ending quest for a home arena has nothing to do with the team’s lack of success on the ice, it’s about unreliability from the higher-ups. Luckily, there hasn’t been any PR disaster out of the Coyotes this season, but history can speak for itself.

They’ve fallen out of favor in Phoenix, Glendale, and Tempe, and while I believe that time heals all wounds, I’m not convinced enough time has passed.

Linus Ullmark Gets Traded.

One year ago, when the Bruins were on their quest to earn the highest point total in a single NHL season, Linus Ullmark was someone I couldn’t fathom being moved. However, the Bruins have a problem that many teams would love to have. They have two really good goalies.

In a season in which the people thought the Bruins should have died—again—they somehow are on top of the Atlantic Division. The difference watching this Bruins team compared to last year’s is simple; they collapse at the worst possible times. I understand that they can’t be the same team as last year, but a 5-2 loss to Columbus, losing 4 of the last five before Christmas, come on.

I’m a firm believer that teams need to have a looming physical presence in order to compete for the Cup, it’s what won the B’s the cup in 2011, and what lost them the cup in 2013 and 2019. Could they trade a goalie to do that? They have Brandon Bussi down in Providence, and while he is no Ullmark or Swayman, he could be a solid backup or fringe starter if needed. He’ll also cost a lot less.

So why trade the reigning Vezina winner, Ullmark? Maybe I’m delusional? Maybe I don’t know hockey? I think it boils down to this. Swayman is younger, he might cost more, but he’ll be a better long-term investment, and somehow this Bruins team still looks like it could be a cup contender for a while. Ullmark’s value might be the highest it ever could be again. Get another enforcer on the blue line and go finish the story they failed to finish last year.


The Detroit Pistons Break the Bobcats Record for Worst Win Percentage.

Currently the 2011-2012 Charlotte Bobcats hold the “record” for worst win percentage in an NBA Season. Over a shortened season, the Bobcats 7-59 record meant they had a .106 winning percentage. For the Pistons to finish worse than that, they’d have to finish 8-74. This is where I think I’m a little too late to make this prediction. At 3-30 at the time of writing, they’d have to go 5-44 over the rest of the season in order to have that record.

The problem with the Detroit Pistons is undoubtedly this, they are abysmal defensively in the second half. I’ve never seen a team have a solid first half, only to collapse in quarters three and four. After ending their 28-game losing streak, hopefully they’ve found the key to being a “winning” team against, but nothing can be certain when they’ve looked this bad so far. I understand the league is high scoring, but they’ve only kept their opponent under 100 points once.

The Pistons have the talent to make something happen. Five former top-five picks, Cade Cunningham, James Wiseman, Jaden Ivey, Marvin Bagley III and Ausar Thompson, surely something can happen even if none of them have reached their fullest potential. With Monty Williams at the helm, this losing streak was unfathomable before the season started. Whatever is next for the Detroit Pistons, I think this team has become a team of the worst destiny imaginable: continuing to be historically bad.