Looking ahead 2010: Sports

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 2, 2010

As the new year arrives, there is much to look forward to in the world of sports in Pike County.

In the foreseeable future, there is much to look forward to.

The Troy Trojans football team will be looking to win its 10th game of the season in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile against Central Michigan on Jan. 6.

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This is the only bowl game, besides BCS matchups, to have two conference champions play one another.

The Trojans’ opponent, Central Michigan, won the MAC this past season and is currently 10-2 and ranked in the Top 25.

A win would give the Trojans its first 10 win season since joining the FBS back in 2001 and would be its second win on national television, with the first coming back in October at home in a win against Middle Tennessee State.

Not too much longer after the final horn will have sounded in Mobile, Trojan fans will find out which new faces will be in cardinal for the next couple of seasons as the college signing day will take place in mid-February.

The first few months of 2010 will also be key for both of Troy’s basketball teams. Both teams have a chance to compete for a league title, but will need to win some key games down the stretch.

The Trojan women have an especially tough league slate, as they must face nationally ranked Middle Tennessee twice, as well as Arkansas-Little Rock and Western Kentucky, both of whom are currently receiving votes for the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

Troy will need to win at least two of those games to have any shot at a regular season title.

A more realistic goal for Troy may be a conference tournament title, which the Trojans will have a shot at when they travel to Hot Springs, Ark., in early March.

Meanwhile, the Trojan men also have visions of the big dance in their heads, but much improvement must be made in order to make those visions a reality.

The Sun Belt appears to be as wide open as ever, making every game Troy plays in 2010 especially important.

Troy has a shot at a regular season title, but will have to deal with other contenders such as South Alabama, Denver, North Texas, Western Kentucky, Arkansas-Little Rock and Middle Tennessee.

All of those teams will come to Trojan Arena this season except for UALR, while Troy will have to make trips to Murfreesboro, Tenn., Bowling Green, Ky., and Mobile.

Also, Troy will have its first-ever meeting with NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas. Thomas is the head coach at Florida International, and will make his first visit to Trojan Arena on Feb. 13.

Much like the women, however, Troy’s best chance at a league title and only chance at an NCAA berth will come in Hot Springs.

With the parity in the conference this season, nearly every team in the Sun Belt will have a legitimate shot at winning the conference tournament.

If Troy can get hot at the end of the season, it could be the Trojans who go dancing.

Along with football and basketball, Troy’s baseball, softball and tennis teams will be looking to compete for their respective conference titles.

As far as high school sports are concerned, the upcoming spring is always a busy time for multiple teams and 2010 will be no different.

Baseball, softball, tennis, track and field, golf and soccer will all be kicking off in the next couple of weeks.

Basketball teams will be looking to secure their positions in the forthcoming state tournaments as well.

Prep and collegiate players won’t be the only ones hitting the fields – Troy’s youth will be doing the same as recreation basketball and baseball will be gearing up again.

Troy has experienced quite a bit of success in both, especially in baseball thanks to the Junior Dixie Boys baseball World Series Championship in 2009.