With 2012 completed, let’s look forward to 2013. There are many topics to think about and many questions to be answered, so let’s get to it.
BCS National Title — On Jan. 7, Notre Dame will play Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game. Notre Dame has the No. 1 rated defense in college football, giving up just 10.3 points per game, but Alabama’s defense is No. 2, giving up 10.7 points per game. I expect a low-scoring game. If Alabama wins, it will be its third national title in the past four years, and the seventh consecutive title by a SEC team. Can Notre Dame stop the SEC’s run on the BCS?
Super Bowl — The Denver Broncos and New England Patriots look to be headed toward a showdown in the AFC Championship game, and the NFC looks up for grabs. Atlanta has a record that suggests that it is the cream of the crop, but they haven’t dominated. San Francisco switched quarterbacks mid-season and Green Bay has trouble keeping teams from scoring. And then there was the muddled NFC East, which included the Cowboys, Redskins, and Giants battling it out to see which one represented the division.
Giantism — Giants won two of the sporting world’s biggest prizes in 2012: the World Series (San Francisco) and the Super Bowl (New York). (And WWE’s 7-foot, 500-pound “Big Show,” once named “The Giant,” also became World Heavyweight Champion, for what it’s worth). Can Giants repeat in 2013?
Spring Training — Spring training gives hope to sad people known as Cubs, Astros and Royals fans. Theoretically, because everyone starts with a 0-0 record, any team has a chance to put together a magical World Series winning season, even the hapless (or hopeless) Cubbies.
Angels in the Outfield — With the Los Angeles Angels signing slugger Josh Hamilton, the Angels have people thinking of the greatest 3-4 hitters of all-time. Duos like Maris-Mantle, Ruth-Gehrig, Mays-McCovey, etc. The Angels lineup will include Hamilton and Albert Pujols, hitting 3 and 4, with Rookie of the Year/MVP runner-up Mike Trout leading off. The Angels will score a lot of runs, but the question seems to be, how many records can their offense break?
March Madness — Duke and Indiana have been early favorites to reach the Final Four, but you never know what can happen in March. We saw a preview of this when Butler beat No. 1 Indiana in overtime a few weeks ago. It will be fun, as always, to see which team will become the next Cinderella and which team will get its “one shining moment.”
Wrestlemania 29 — Who will face the Undertaker at Wrestlemania? (Sorry, that one’s probably just for me.
Heat Repeat — The story this summer will be if LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will be able to make it a repeat.
Wild West — The NBA’s Western Conference could be a free-for-all this summer. The Lakers were everyone’s preseason favorite, but have been a mess in the first two months. The Thunder traded away James Harden in training camp and you have to wonder if they will regret it. We assume the Spurs are too old, the Warriors are too young, and the Grizzlies are the Hawks of the West (great in regular season, awful in postseason). Maybe it will be the “other” team from L.A., the Clippers, who can completely shed the whole “laughing stock of the league” label they’ve always had with a Finals appearance. As long as Will Smith doesn’t write another song about the Wild West, it should be a fun postseason.
162 = 1 — Major League Baseball seems intent on staying with the one-game, wild card playoff structure; instead of moving to a three-game series like many players would like to see. Baseball plays a regular season of 162 games, and then tells wild card teams they have one game to prove their worth. Doesn’t really seem fair does it? Business-wise though, the one-game playoffs were huge for TV ratings, outdrawing the division series. Despite record attendance figures, declining TV ratings have been a problem for baseball in the past few years, so anything that helps them trend up will be a good thing in Commissioner Bud Selig’s eyes. After the infield fly debacle in Atlanta in 2012, baseball needs these games devoid of controversy in 2013 or people will see it as a sham, tune out and go back to watching Duck Dynasty.
#FreeTebow — Where will Tim Tebow wind up? And will he actually play? Or will we continue to have the most popular backup quarterback since Doug Flutie roaming the sidelines? This is the most important story of all for 2013! Okay, maybe not, but Skip Bayless sure makes it seem that way.
2013 Football — It seems kind of odd to start looking ahead to next year’s football season when this one’s not over yet, but this column is about 2013. It’s impossible to predict which team will make next year’s Cotton Bowl, but there are a few questions to ponder for next season: Can Cam Newton break his sophomore slump? Can RGIII, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson avoid one? Will the Saints rebound from their scandal-filled 2012? How much longer will Peyton Manning and Tom Brady play? Will “Johnny Football” lead Texas A&M to championship heights? Will the SEC continue to dominate NCAA football? Will this crazy conference expansion continue? Will the NCAA become one giant conference of 130 teams? Will Roger Goodell end football by deeming the sport too dangerous to play? Will “Girl Meets World” be as good as “Boy Meets World”? And will we finally find out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop?
So many questions!
Aaron May is a staff writer and videographer for Sports Spectrum. This column was published in the December 2012 Sports Spectrum DigiMag.