There's no doubt what the top sports story of the year is going to be -- the sexual assault scandals at Penn State and Syracuse. The number of victims, how each school addressed the problems, the potential for cover-up and the ramifications of the national image each school has are just a few of the items that will continue to be addressed as the new year unfolds in less than one month.
But what will the second most important sports story of the year be?
What follows is a list of some of the stories that generated plenty of headlines this season, and they are ranked in no particular order. Your vote is encouraged. At the end of the month, I'll provide my 2011 review of the top sports stories.
1. A plane crash in Russia kills every member of the Lokomotiv hockey team
2. A horrible crash on the track claims the life of Indy racer Dan Wheldon
3. Two of the greatest Yankees of all-time -- Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera -- reach important milestone marks
4. The NFL and NBA lockouts
5. The St. Louis Cardinals complete an improbable run to a World Series championship
6. UConn completes its own improbable run to an NCAA men's basketball championship
7. Conference realignments throughout college sports
8. Peyton Manning's neck injury sets up a potential 0-16 season for the Indianapolis Colts
9. The scandals at Miami and Ohio State
10. The ownership mess that is the Los Angeles Dodgers
11. Japan's national women's soccer team wins the World Cup (beating the U.S. in the final)
12. Serena Williams is treated for a serious health issue