SAPAKOFF COLUMN:2013 preview: Heisman run for Clowney, One Direction to Bridge Run redemption
A 2012 that included the PGA Championship, a South Carolina-Clemson baseball thriller at The Joe and a Home Run Derby on an aircraft carrier is hard to top.
Most buildings don’t have a 13th floor.
But ‘13 might be our lucky rebuilding year, a lot of Lowcountry sports excitement without the baggage (Cooper River Bridge Run delay, annoying golf traffic, slippery Yorktown hardwood).
The mostly sunny forecast for the next 12 months:
Hanahan High School graduate Chris Brown makes a clutch catch for Notre Dame but Alabama outlasts the Fighting Irish to win the national championship. Nick Saban meets with six NFL general managers the next day at a secret location in Key Largo but stays loyal to Alabama — for one more year.
Summerville High School graduate A.J. Green leads the Cincinnati Bengals to an NFL playoff upset.
Inspired by promotions including Princess and Pirates Day, Wounded Warrior Night, Mascot Mania and Pack The House Night, the South Carolina Stingrays go on a tear. They also gain ground on the dastardly Greenville Road Warriors where they are vulnerable, at home.
The College of Charleston makes it to the championship game of the Southern Conference basketball tournament, but loses to Davidson in overtime.
Charleston Southern makes the NCAA basketball tournament. The Buccaneers win a “play-in” game in Dayton.
The Atlanta Braves have spring training without Chipper Jones in the organization for the first time since 1990, when closer Craig Kimbrel was a year old.
Apologizing for the nearly one-hour delay at the 2012 Cooper River Bridge Run, race officials arrange for a free Starbucks Startline and a 10K-themed post-race concert featuring One Direction, Taylor Swift and NeedToBreathe.
Serena Williams becomes the first Family Circle Cup repeat champion since the tournament moved to Daniel Island in 2001.
Rory McElroy wins the Masters, his third major. He credits the Ocean Course for added confidence and a performance so dominant the 2012 PGA Championship was a Sunday “Snore by the Shore.”
Some Charleston golf enthusiasts report that travel from here to Augusta takes less time than from West Ashley to Kiawah Island last August.
The shrewd New England Patriots snag South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore in the NFL draft.
Brad “The Big” Keselowski wins at Darlington on his way to repeating as NASCAR champion.
South Carolina and Clemson, looking forward to NCAA baseball tournament success, host regionals. College of Charleston and Coastal Carolina make the field. The Citadel, much improved, makes a Southern Conference tournament run but falls short.
The Charleston RiverDogs are not hosting the South Atlantic League All-Star Game, thus no national splash Home Run Derby at the Yorktown. But everyone loves Zombie Night at the ‘ol ballpark.
The Gamecocks at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., are picked to finish third in the SEC East. Steve Spurrier loves it, and gleefully picks Georgia to defeat Florida in the national championship game.
Clemson upsets Georgia to open the season.
The Citadel football team avoids looking ahead to its regular season finale at Clemson and gets off to another fast start.
The Heisman Trophy race heats up. South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd are in the mix coming down the stretch.
Clemson, though picked to finish 12th in the ACC, wins the Charleston Classic basketball tournament.
The second annual Carrier Classic at the Yorktown actually includes a men’s game this year as classified Navy technology allows for ideal Yorktown playing conditions despite cool, humid, night air. The game tips off at zero dark thirty.
Goose Creek High School wins another state football championship. Gator fans immediately don “Back to Back” T-shirts, still ticked off about a 2012 court ruling that kept Goose Creek from defending its 2011 title.
Clemson and South Carolina accept pleasant bowl bids, but don’t quite make the cut for college football’s first final four playoff.
The Patriots activate Marcus Lattimore for the NFL postseason.
Reach Gene Sapakoff at 937-5593 or on Twitter @sapakoff