Hoffman's Houston
big and bold for 2021

Ken Hoffman reveals his boldest predictions for Houston in 2021

Ken Hoffman reveals his boldest predictions for Houston in 2021

Lina Hidalgo face mask
Our columnist thinks we'll see a lot more of Lina Hidalgo in the future.  Lina Hidalgo/Twitter

Remember last month when I “predicted” that the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, normally held in March, would be pushed back to May next year because of COVID-19?

And the very next day, rodeo officials announced, sure enough, Houston’s biggest event would be held in May?

Okay, full disclosure, I was told the announcement was coming. Hey, I know people.

But since I’m on a hot streak, here are predictions for 2021, without benefit of inside information or a little birdie. (Except for one of them, which is definitely 100-percent happening, guaranteed.)

A Texans stampede
The Houston Texans will rise from the dead and regain the AFC South title next year. Sure, 2020 has been a disaster, including some bizarre, almost comical last-minute defeats. The Texans are masters of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

But, a closer looks shows that more than half of Texans’ losses were by seven points or fewer. It’s not like they’re getting blown out week after week like the Jaguars. At least the Jaguars have something to lose for, the first overall pick and quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Texans don’t even have a first-round pick. (Thanks, Bill O’Brien, for nothing … in the second-round, either.)

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is super elite, J.J. Watt’s blood is boiling (he's staying), and the fans are still behind the team. Hire a capable general manager and a creative coach (no more runs up the middle every first down), and the Texans could be back in business next year.

Don’t forget, while the AFC South isn’t the toughest division, the Texans practically were serial champions in recent years, including last year.

More troubling than all the scoreboard losses, the Texans are a pockets-emptying 5-10 against the Vegas line, and a pitiful 2-5 at home. Maybe it was a good thing that 65,000 fans weren’t there.

Farewell, theaters
The next time I go to a movie theater will be never. It’ll be hard to find one. I’ve never forgiven the multiplex on Weslayan, now closed, for having a Marble Slab in the lobby, but they wouldn’t let you take your cone inside the theater. Plus they charged for parking, on top of having a loan window to buy a 25-pound Hershey Bar at the concession stand.

Instead of being annoyed by strangers in a theater, I can watch films at home and be annoyed by friends. It saves gas. Goodbye movie theaters, hello indoor flea markets.

What's next for Lina Hidalgo
If you think Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is one-and-done like a Kentucky basketball player, I think you’re wrong.

I’m predicting that Hidalgo, only 29, will announce that she’s running for governor against embattled Greg Abbott or whomever in 2022. Or, she waits and challenges Senator Ted Cruz in 2024. And I think she wins.

Hidalgo is one to watch, there’s more to her than meets the eye. She’s a national player now and will have no trouble raising a campaign war chest.

And for that matter, Ed Emmett
Despite his insistence to the contrary, former Harris County Judge Ed Emmett isn’t done, either. It’s human nature that he’d like his old job back (no more straight ticket voting in Texas), or maybe run for mayor of Houston.

The question is, which is the bigger, more important job? The way America works these days, it’s mayor of Houston.

Newstonians invade
Next year will see an unprecedented migration of people from up north to Houston. Once economically hard-hit northerners get vaccinated and see there’s still snow on the ground in May, they’ll head out of Dodge and Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Before COVID-19, Houston was poised to pass Chicago in population and become American’s third-biggest city in 2025. It won’t take that long.

Play ball...later
Two weeks ago, I predicted that Major League Baseball will delay the start of its season until May 1. I’m sticking with that. It makes too much sense.

The COVID vaccine won’t be available to the masses until April, so if baseball waits until May, teams may be able to play in front of big crowds from opening day. Basketball and hockey are cutting back their number of games in 2021, baseball can do the same. Baseball’s 162-game season is too many and too long, anyway.

The Beard is going where?
Frustrated by the Rockets inability to move him to the Nets, 76’ers, Blazers, or Celtics, James Harden will expand his list of “acceptable trade destinations” to include the Washington Generals and Alba Berlin of the German Bundesliga League.

Roll the dice on this one
Casino gambling will be approved — at least put on the ballot, which is the same thing as approved — by the Texas legislature. I hope the legislature doesn’t punk out and go half-assed with just slots and poker rooms. I want sports gambling parlors on street corners and video poker in supermarkets and airports.