Presuming that nothing out of the ordinary happens over the final ten days of the year (and we know we shouldn't count on that!), the following ten stories make the list as the most important of the year.
10. The Los Angeles Dodgers become the laughingstock of baseball. Perhaps the second most iconic name in the majors, the Dodgers resemble the Bad News Bears because of an owner who attempts to use the franchise to bankroll his divorce. Shame on you, Frank McCourt.
9. A horrible crash during an Indy Racing League race claims the life of Dan Wheldon. The fingers of blame are pointing in every direction; regardless of where the blame lies, one of the sport's real gentleman dies far too young.
8. Peyton Manning's neck injury leaves the Indianapolis Colts without the quarterback most instrumental to his team's success. But it also sets up the Colts to draft a franchise quarterback in April.
7. UConn makes an improbable run to the NCAA men's basketball championship. The Huskies win 172 games in six minutes (or so it seems), going from a bubble team to the best team.
6. The St. Louis Cardinals make their own improbable September run to get into the post-season and then win the World Series. Now the franchise deals with the retirement of its manager and the free-agent defection of its best player.
5. The college sports landscape is changed. The SEC and the ACC expand to 14 schools, and the Pac-12 almost adds four schools. The Big East is gutted, and the Big 12 almost is. And all of this comes as universities prostitute themselves on the altar of the almighty dollar.
4. The Japanese women's national soccer team wins the Women's World Cup. Just months after the horrible earthquake and tsunami that brought the proud Japanese people to their knees, they rise as one to celebrate a world championship.
3. The NBA and NFL lockouts. Who won? Who cares.
2. An airplane crash takes the lives of every member of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team. The likelihood of pilot error overshadows the investigation as fans of one of the KHL's top teams grieve.
1. The sexual assault scandal involving former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. His indictment leads to the demise of head coach Joe Paterno, who cannot clearly address why he never stepped in to hold Sandusky accountable for what he was accused of.