There are questions left to be answered

    The ball has fallen, and we’re finally getting used to writing “”’04″” on our checks. The year that saw the cleanest reputation in sports fall into legal trouble, the Cubs bobble a chance to play in the World Series, and a 14-year-old kid sign a major league contract has come to a close, and a new year has begun.

    While others predict what will happen in politics and movies, here is my shot to foresee some of the biggest stories that may come about in the world of sports in 2004:

    The Chargers end up playing in L.A. and win. The Bolts turn their backs on the last section full of faithful fans that they have and decide to move up the I-5 to the L.A. Coliseum, where they finally enjoy a winning season.

    The Expos end up playing 162 road games. The team that is supposedly based in Montreal, but played less than 81 games there last season, will go on the longest road trip in major league history in 2004.

    Barry Bonds is found using steroids. A year after Sammy Sosa’s “”batting practice bat”” exploded and left fans wondering if he cheated, baseball’s other slugger will also have an asterisk next to his name in the record books for bulking up by using illegal substances.

    Kobe and the Lakers will regain their dominance in the league of criminals. Although the Lakeshow will undoubtedly sputter into the playoffs, the purple and gold will go 16-0 after they decide that the postseason is a good time to start caring about winning games.

    The BCS will again award the No.3 ranked team. The system that is so good at stirring up controversy will once again manage to pit the No. 2 and No. 3 team in the country to play for the college football crown. If the Bowl Championship Series hasn’t worked yet, there is no reason to believe that the computers will find the true national champion next season. My solution? I think that title contenders like USC should aim for the No. 3 ranking, and that way they will be sure of a trip to the final bowl game of the year.

    At least this past college football season didn’t end in the real champion getting completely snubbed. Congratulations, Men of Troy for earning at least a piece of the title and making it very easy for everyone in the nation to see that the BCS is a perfect example of what college football should not use.

    But maybe the end of the college football season was a fitting close to 2003. Throughout the year, questions were asked about how young stars like Lebron James will fare as professionals, how legal troubles always surround athletes like the Portland Jailblazers, and if there should be one more game to find the true national champion. Hopefully we’ll see some of the answers to these questions in 2004.

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