Sports

The Year Ahead

If you are not a sports fan now, get in the game. This year is full of electrifying storylines and sensational events that are sure to captivate even the most apathetic bystanders.

The 2014 Olympic Games will demand the attention of the world. The games will take place in Sochi, Russia during the month of February. The NHL has once again cleared their schedule during the month to allow hockey stars from around the world to compete for the glory of their country.

Perhaps the most desirable medal in the games will be the Men’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal. In 2010, the United States lost to Canada in the Gold Medal game, 3-2 in overtime. The US seeks to win its first Gold in the sport since their 1980 victory, which became the plot to Disney’s Miracle film.

Snowboarding will also be featured again, which demonstrates the Olympic Committee’s desire to stay relevant while preserving tradition. Figure Skating and Curling will continue as regularly scheduled.

The 2010 Olympics left many Americans wanting more. Despite winning the most overall medals, Canada and Germany both acquired more of the coveted Gold medals.

In baseball, Miguel Cabrera is leading the majors in both average (.359) and RBIs (120) as he chases his second consecutive Triple Crown-a feat that has never been accomplished. The postseason races are heating up now, with the Pirates and Red Sox surprisingly leading their divisions.

This will be the second year of the multi-team wildcard format, which is sure to add drama for every team on the brink of postseason eligibility. Finally, the all-time leader in saves, Mariano Rivera, will be hanging his hat at the end of the season. On the gridiron, there is excitement on both the professional and amateur levels.

The NFL will be a continuation of last year’s storyline: youth vs. experience. Veterans like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will surely win a lot of games, but youngsters like Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, and Andrew Luck may challenge them and bring excitement on the way. Robert Griffin III still hopes to be healthy in time for the season.

In the NCAA circuit, the SEC figures to remain dominant, with five teams in the AP preseason poll top 10. The Alabama Crimson Tide will look for their third consecutive National Championship. Their biggest challenge may come in week two when they will face Texas A&M in week two in College Station.

Ohio State should not be overlooked. An undefeated 2012 season went largely unnoticed due to a NCAA penalty that made the team ineligible for postseason play and polls. The Buckeyes return nine offensive starters, including star quarterback Braxton Miller. A comparably easy schedule should also play to their advantage.

The four-team playoff system will not yet be enacted for this season.

Finally, conference realignment should be interesting. This will make more of an impact on Basketball and March Madness than Football.

The NBA will also be faced with a potential three-peat in the Miami Heat, who will retain LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, their seemingly unstoppable duo.

Derrick Rose will hope to return to the Bulls, who lost in the Eastern conference semifinals a year ago. This may be the boost they need to beat the Heat.

The ever-aging Spurs will look to return to the finals next year. The Memphis Grizzlies will be a team to watch. The newly bolstered Los Angeles Clippers will try to make noise, but will again be overshadowed by the Lakers.

The World Cup will take place in 2014, in June and July.

At MC, our future hangs in the balance of the impending decision from Division II.  An appeal has been filed and an answer regarding our divisional status should follow in a matter of weeks.

Outside of MC, there are plenty of sports to be followed and enjoyed throughout the next year. As for the Choctaws, keep your fingers crossed for acceptance.

– Andy O’Brien, Sports Editor

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