The year is coming to a close, and it seems like every year, they go by faster and faster each time. In the world of sports this year, there have been some major ups and downs. We have also had our moments this year in which we would see something that made us say, 'Did that just happen?'
To finish off 2007, I will take a look back at the athletes and games that I think made an impact in the sporting world. We'll take a look at the best games, the biggest losers and the breakout athletes, which I will start off with.
Every year, there is a certain someone that stands out in the crowd and makes us take notice. It could be a game that helped them advance to the next round in a playoff or it could be a game that helped their team win the whole thing.
Four individual athletes and one team make my list of this year's breakout performances.
5. Joba Chamberlain
His real name is Justin, but he's known to everybody else as Joba simply because his pudgy resemblance is of Star Wars icon Jabba the Hut.
Sure, it sounds hilarious, but there is nothing funny about this 22-year -old's fastball. He usually gets it clocked at around 99 to 100 mph. Plus his slider wanders around the high 80s.
The 6-foot-2 inch 235 pounder played just 10 games in the regular season with the Yankees, and came out of their farm system. No your eyes do not deceive you. This is a "true" Yankee and not a bought one. I didn't even know a farm system existed in the Yankees' organization.
As a reliever, he struck out 34 batters and had an impressive ERA of 0.38. Recently, he became the latest cover boy for ESPN The Magazine's Nextt issue as the next big thing, and if it holds well, we could see this guy continue to shut it down against opposing batters in the 2008 season.
4. Troy Tulowitzki
I know he is not the National League Rookie of the Year, but did Milwaukee's Ryan Braun score the game-tying run to help his team get into the playoffs? I didn't think so.
The 23-year-old made a name for himself with one of the most inspiring teams of the year, the Colorado Rockies.
Tulowitzki's year consist sof a solid .291 average with 24 home runs and 99 RBIs. The 24 homers became an all-time record for a rookie shortstop, and on April 29, he became the 13th player in Major League history to score an unassisted triple play.
Sure, Braun has the Rookie of the Year trophy, but Tulowitzki's team made the playoffs and if he continues to play well, we could see some bigger things for the Rockies.
3. Tim Tebow
He's just another running quarterback who loves to make trick plays.
That's what many people thought about the University of Florida's sophomore quarterback in the beginning of the season.
What Tebow did this year was amazing. He became the first NCAA quarterback to rush and pass for 20 touchdowns in a season.
I did not know what to expect out of this kid. No one did. The hype was on USC quarterback John David Booty and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden.
Though McFadden did make an impact, Booty faded to obscurity.
Tebow became the first sophomore in history to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday and because he is only a sophomore, it would not surprise me if this 20-year-old leads his team to another NCAA Championship before he moves on.
2. Dwight Howard
When Howard was picked No. 1 overall by the Orlando Magic straight out of high school, one name came to my mind - Kwame Brown.
Not many people knew much about this kid before making it to the NBA, but after realizing what kind of player he is, this guy could be looking at an MVP award by the end of the 2007-08 year.
Howard has already made a name for himself as a premier center, but this year could be his best year ever.
The 22-year old in his first 21 games of the season averaged 23.5 points per game with an astonishing 15 rebounds a game. In three of those games, Howard grabbed 20 rebounds.
He's also been a blocking machine as well averaging 2.9 blocks per game. In 12 of his first 21 games he has at least three blocks.
In a league where you are either good at offense or good in defense, Howard excels at both, and if he continues on with this impressive performance, there is no doubt in my mind that he will be this year's MVP.
1. The entire Kansas Jayhawk football team
Nobody, and I mean nobody, could have seen this coming. My pick for breakout performance goes to the Jayhawk football team.
Kansas has been known for its prestigious basketball team. It is the sport that the university looks forward to every year because it is one of the few sporting events the athletic department is good at,
But who would have thought that its football team would make such an impact it did this year?
Last season, the Jayhawks were not bowl eligible and nobody expected them to do well. All of a sudden they were undefeated in their first five games and were in the Top-25. Five games later, they are 10-0 and at No. 2 in the BCS standings.
Their lone loss was to Missouri, and although they had a very weak schedule, the BCS gave them an at-large bid to play Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. With a win, the Jayhawks would cap off a season that nobody saw coming.
Now comes the million-dollar question. Can this team pull if off again next year?
Next week, I will give you my list of the top-5 train wrecks of 2007.
Juan Carlos Reyes is a sports reporter for the Record Star. Readers may contact him at 361-387-4511 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org