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Last bird standing

2014 in sports: A look ahead

Well, this is it, 2013. Your plane to the Timeless Void is at the gate. They're about to board rows 26 through 32. Don't forget your carry-on luggage.

Oh, yes: And good riddance.

Sure, you had your moments, '13. You let Tony Kanaan finally win the Indianapolis 500. You oversaw the graceful exit of Mariano Rivera. And you kept Alabama out of the BCS championship game, sparing us another humorless celebration from Nick Saban, aka Robo Coach.

I swear that man would glower through Christmas morning.

Other than that, though, you were a major buzzkill, '13. You gave us, among other lowlights, the Boston Marathon bombing. You broke Tony Stewart's leg. You were the Year of the Racial Slur -- look over here, Sergio Garcia, Riley Cooper and Richie Incognito -- and, as a final kick in the tender parts, you're going out with retired Formula One champion Michael Schumacher in a medically-induced coma after a fall while skiing left him with severe head trauma.

Nice exit there, '13.

You won't be missed, which is why this isn't going to be about you. It's going to be about what happens in 2014. I can't vouch for any of it, so you can take it all with the requisite grain of salt. But here goes ...

In January, Florida State beats Auburn 65-64 to win the final BCS title. Jameis Winston makes eight 3-pointers. Everyone says it's the greatest basketball game in college football history.

In February, two things happen: The Green Bay Packers win the Super Bowl, and Danica Patrick wins the Daytona 500.

The Packers beat the Seahawks 38-31 after Seattle's defense loses track of Randall Cobb at some point in the first quarter and, after an extensive air and sea search, doesn't relocate him until the two-minute warning in the second half. By that time he's scored five touchdowns.

Patrick, meanwhile, wins Daytona when everyone else gets taken out in a 36-car crash with three laps to go.

In March, Duke wins the NCAA basketball tournament, beating upstart Faber College 112-57 in the title game. The Blue Devils are immediately stripped of the title when it's discovered that freshman sensation Jabari Parker has signed endorsement deals with Pepsi, Subway, Louis Vuitton and Tag Heuer, and has spent the last month of the season touring the country promoting his new book, "How I Got Mine."

In other news, the Fort Wayne Komets trade everyone but Icy. This apparently works because they immediately go on a tear that results in them winning the ECHL title without losing a playoff game.

In April, yet another underdog emerges at the Masters. This time it's an obscure driving range pro from Texas named Roy McAvoy ...

Oh, wait. That's been done.

In May, his career re-energized now that he's driving Dario Franchitti's old ride for Chip Ganassi, former hard-luck icon Tony Kanaan wins the Indianapolis 500 for the second straight year. Though once the most popular driver on the IndyCar circuit, the fans immediately turn on him, complaining that he "wins too much."

In June, bored out of his skull, Alex Rodriguez sues Major League Baseball again. America, bored out of its skull with A-Rod suing Major League Baseball, yawns extravagantly.

In August, the NFL announces further sweeping rule changes for the 2014 season. It is now only legal to hit a quarterback "between the belt line and the navel," unless it's Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning -- in whose cases defensive players "are allowed to breathe on said players, but not to excess."

In October, two things happen: The Cleveland Indians win the World Series and Alex Rodriguez, upset that he's not getting enough attention, sues Major League Baseball again, saying "I really, really mean it this time."

Everyone yawns again -- except in Cleveland, where the city is plunged into gloom because it can no longer mope around and complain that nothing good ever happens to it.

Finally ... in December, Notre Dame, having gone 9-3, accepts a bid to the Totino's Pizza Rolls/Bank of Laramie Bowl in Laramie, Wyo. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick pronounces it a "perfect fit" for the Irish.

In other news, 2014 exits stage left. Everyone agrees it was the worst year ever.

Ben Smith's blog.