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2013 Banner Year for Indiana Sports

Eric Smith
ISR Racing Beat Writer

INDIANAPOLIS- It doesn’t get much better than what we saw in 2013 in terms of sporting events in Indiana. No, none of the teams won a championship per say, but they did treat us to a fantastic ride starting in January of this year and still have most of us anxiously watching games on the edge of our respective couches.

It started in early January when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team played the Alabama Crimson Tide for the BCS National Championship in Miami. Unfortunately Notre Dame was blown out in the game, but they did treat us to a perfect 12-0 regular season to land themselves in the title game.

Photo Courtesy of theprevailingethos.com
Photo Courtesy of theprevailingethos.com

After that, the Indianapolis Colts who were supposed to be in a rebuilding year treated us to another playoff game after a one-year hiatus. Yes, the Colts lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on the road, but they also overachieved after many predicted them to finish in the bottom five of the league.

Those two teams and the rebirth of hoops in the Spring gave Indiana a strong year up to this point.

The Indiana Hoosiers won the outright Big 10 regular season title going 14-4 in conference play and earning a No. 1 Seed in the NCAA Tournament. The year didn’t end like IU fans wanted as they were ousted by Syracuse in the Sweet 16, but it was another banner year for IU as they’re primed for another run this season.

The Butler Bulldogs and Notre Dame also made NCAA Tournament appearances to give Indiana very good representation in March.

Then, the Indiana Pacers won the Central Division championship en route to a magical playoff run that ended in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. That team stayed in tact this offseason and currently sit tied for the best record in the NBA at this moment.

Don’t forget what we saw in May when fan favorite Tony Kanaan won his first Indianapolis 500 in what was considered the best race in the 97 year history. We saw a record 68 lead changes and the most popular winner in the races history.

Also, Indianapolis native and Butler grad Ed Carpenter won the pole for the famed race in emotional fashion on Pole Day.

Does it get better than that?

In July, Indiana’s Ryan Newman won the pole in dramatic fashion setting the NASCAR track record at IMS then backed that up with his first Brickyard 400 win.

It was honestly the best year ever out at 16th and Georgetown.

Don’t forget about the Boys of Summer out at Victory Field. The Indianapolis Indians treated us to an 86-64 West Division Championship winning season. Attendance was the highest in the entire minor league system again as the Indians played arguably some of the best baseball anyone could watch.

So lets recap. We saw a Colts Wild Card Playoff team, Notre Dame reach the BCS Championship Game, IU win the Big 10 Title, the Pacers win the Central Division Championship and reach the Eastern Conference Finals, the Indiana Fever make the WNBA Playoffs, the Indianapolis Indians win the West Division Crown, Hoosiers winning both poles for the two biggest races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway while one in Ryan Newman backed that up to a Brickyard 400 win and the most popular IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan being the most popular win in the Indy 500’s 97 race history.

That would be enough for a decade right?

Nope that was just to get us started this year.

We had a lot to Cheer for this Fall.

The Colts won the AFC South division crown and sit 10-5 entering the final game of the season. We saw Peyton Manning come back to town to play the biggest game in Lucas Oil Stadium’s history as his Denver Broncos faced the Colts. To make things better the Colts won the game on a national stage.

In college football we saw Ball State have a 10-2 season which landed them in the Go Daddy Bowl in January. It was just their third 10+ win season in 86 years of football up there in Muncie.

Four in-state teams have NCAA Tourney hopes again as IU is 10-3 entering Big 10 play, Butler is 9-2, Indiana State is 10-3 and Notre Dame is 8-4. Purdue is right there too at 10-3 although they’re still probably one year away from a tournament bid.

Also factor in like I said earlier the Pacers are tied for the best record in the NBA at 23-5 and look like a true title contender.

We could have yet another banner year in 2014 as the Colts and Pacers look to be real championship hopefuls while one of those four college basketball teams have a shot at cutting down the nets in Dallas in March.

We also have a new race at Indy in May with the IndyCar Series running on the road course to kick off the Month of May festivities and the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 at the end of the month where we should see speeds get into the 230 mph range.

The apron is also coming back in July for the Brickyard 400 weekend so there’s plenty to look forward to out at IMS as well.

It’s a good time to be living in Indiana. Sit back and enjoy it. We at ISR are going to bring you the best coverage on everything Indiana related for a great 2014.

Eric Smith is a Senior Writer for the Indy Sports Report covering Racing. He’s covered both IndyCar and NASCAR action since 2009 and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by both the IndyCar Series and all three divisions of NASCAR racing. Follow Eric and the Indy Sports Report on Twitter.

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