Recapping 2016: What will happen in the upcoming year?

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JANUARY

On January 11, No. 2 Alabama defeats No. 1 Clemson 28-21 for its fourth National Championship since 2009.

A win at the Australian Open gives Serena Williams her 22nd Grand Slam title. She then is two behind Margaret Court for the all-time record.

The NFL playoffs will unfold every weekend, and our winners are as follows: Steelers over Bengals, Chiefs over Texans; Seahawks over Packers, Vikings over Redskins; Patriots over Steelers, Broncos over Chiefs; Seahawks over Panthers, Cardinals over Vikings; Patriots over Broncos, Cardinals over Seahawks.

The NHL's new 3-on-3 All-Star Game format is a big hit and the event's ratings are highest in years.

FEBRUARY

On February 7, inside a packed Levi's Stadium in San Francisco, Carson Palmer earns MVP and guides the Arizona Cardinals past the New England Patriots for their first-ever Super Bowl victory.

Kobe Bryant, the NBA All-Star Game's leading vote-getter, earns the loudest cheers from fans, but is merely a footnote as MVP Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry guide the West to an easy victory over the East.

MARCH

March Madness is everything we usually ask for -- except we go yet another year in which a No. 16 seed fails to pick off a No. 1. Oh, and everyone's brackets are destroyed on Day 2.

APRIL

North Carolina, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Kansas comprise the men's Final Four -- but it's Providence that captures the nation's attention during their ride to the Elite Eight.

Michigan State overcomes North Carolina, 77-65, capping a year in which coach Tom Izzo records his eighth Final Four appearance and second national title.

UConn women's basketball team captures the program's fourth straight national championship by defeating South Carolina.

On Saturday, April 9 at Memphis, the Golden State Warriors surpass the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for the best regular-season record in NBA history with their 73rd win. The next night, they fall to the San Antonio Spurs but win their 74th game to wrap up a 74-8 campaign three nights later.

That same night, Manny Pacquiao defeats Timothy Bradley Jr. at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas -- and that victory turns out to be his final bout ever.

On Wednesday, April 13 at Staples Center, Kobe Bryant scores 19 points in his final game. He finishes his career third in scoring, sixth in field goals, 12th in 3-point field goals, 27th in assists, 15th in steals and 53rd in rebounds in NBA history. He also walks away with 18 All-Star Game selections, one MVP and five NBA championships.

John Salley Says Kobe Was Better Than Jordan at Age 27 - 'TMZ Sports'

The Eastern Conference playoff teams are: Cavaliers, Hawks, Heat, Raptors, Pacers, Celtics, Bulls, Hornets. The Western Conference playoff teams are: Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Rockets, Kings. Meanwhile in the NHL, the Eastern Conference playoff teams are: Capitals, Canadiens, Rangers, Islanders, Panthers, Red Wings, Lightning, Bruins. The Western Conference playoff teams are: Stars, Blues, Kings, Blackhawks, Wild, Predators, Canucks, Avalanche.

MAY

Days after Gary Kubiak announces that the Denver Broncos are moving forward with Brock Osweiler as their starting quarterback, Peyton Manning announces his retirement, effective immediately.

The Washington Capitals edge the Montreal Canadiens in a thrilling seven-game Eastern Conference Finals, sending Alex Ovechkin to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in his career. Meanwhile, Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings down the Dallas Stars in five games in the Western Conference Finals.

The Cleveland Cavaliers defeat the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, while the Golden State Warriors edge the San Antonio Spurs in a six-game slugfest.

JUNE

MVP Stephen Curry and the Warriors repeat as champions, ousting LeBron James (now 2-for-7 in the NBA Finals) and the Cavs in six games.

Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick helps the Los Angeles Kings shut down the high-octane Washington Capitals in six games, clinching a third Stanley Cup title in five years.

On Friday, June 30 at Yankee Stadium, Alex Rodriguez blasts his 13th homer of the season to become the fourth player to reach at least 700 home runs in a career.

JULY

Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Ken Griffey Jr. and Tim Raines are elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

On July 9, Ronda Rousey gets revenge and takes down Holly Holm to reclaim her title.

The American League defeats the National League in extra innings after Troy Tulowitzki smacks a game-winning hit against Mark Melancon at the MLB All-Star Game in San Diego.

AUGUST

Over 10,000 athletes from over 200 countries participate in an overall successful 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The final medal count is as follows: United States, China, Russia.

On Monday, August 29 at Citi Field against the New York Mets, Ichiro Suzuki knocks his 65th hit of the season and finally joins the 3,000-hit club. He brings his Japan and MLB hits total to 4,434, which continues to shatter Pete Rose's 4,256 mark.

SEPTEMBER

On Sept. 9, Allen Iverson, Shaquille O'Neal and Yao Ming headline one of the most star-studded lists of Pro Basketball Hall of Fame inductees ever.

Jordan Spieth caps another historic year in which he wins three majors with his final victory of the season at the TOUR Championship.

Serena Williams captures the US Open and completes the Grand Slam.

OCTOBER

On Sunday, October 2 at Yankee Stadium, Alex Rodriguez goes 0-for-3 in his final chance this season to tie Babe Ruth with 714 career home runs.

On the same afternoon, David Ortiz is greeted to the loudest ovation of the season at Fenway Park -- his last regular-season game at the place he's called home since 2003. He homers in his final at-bat before the Red Sox begin their playoff run.

The Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros are the division winners, while the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels round out the American League playoff teams as wild-card winners. Meanwhile, the Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants are the division winners, while the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals round out the National League playoff teams as wild-card winners.

The Cubs defeat the Giants in seven games in the NLCS, while the Astros swept the Indians in the ALCS.


AP: Are Heyward, Cubs the NL Favorites?

NOVEMBER

Finally, after 107 years, the Cubs win the World Series by edging the Astros in six games.

Mike Trout and Kris Bryant win the MVP awards, Chris Sale and Max Scherzer win the Cy Young awards.


DECEMBER

A year after one of the worst overall performances ever, the NFC East rebounds to form one of the best division races in recent memory. The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins both make the playoffs, while Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers surprise many and compete for the NFC South crown -- losing out to the Panthers but clinching a Wild Card berth.

The Jacksonville Jaguars surprise and challenge the Colts for the division, but ultimately settle for a Wild Card as well. The Jets join the Patriots as the class of the AFC East, and both make the playoffs for a second straight year.


THE YEAR'S BEST PHOTOS:

29 PHOTOS
Best sports photos of the year 2015
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Recapping 2016: What will happen in the upcoming year?
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 14: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws his bat up in the air after he hits a three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers in game five of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 14, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 11: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots drops back to pass during the second half of the NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 11, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. The Patriots defeated the Cowboys 30-6. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: (R-L) Holly Holm kicks Ronda Rousey in their UFC women's bantamweight championship bout during the UFC 193 event at Etihad Stadium on November 15, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 31: Matt Shoemaker #52 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches to the Detroit Tigers during the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 31, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 29: Tyler Kennedy #26 of the New York Islanders skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the Detroit Red Wings at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 29, 2015 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Red Wings 5-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
DAYTON, OH - MARCH 18: Kyle Davis #3 of the Dayton Flyers goes to the basket against Chandler Hutchison #15 of the Boise State Broncos during the first round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 18, 2015 in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
LONG POND, PA - AUGUST 02: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford, crashes into his crew on pit road during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA - JANUARY 04: Nicholas Fairall of the USA competes on his first jump on day 6 of the Four Hills Tournament Ski Jumping event at Bergisel-Schanze on January 4, 2015 in Innsbruck, Austria. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 03: Carlos Gimeno of Spain competes in the Men's High Diving 27m preliminary round on day ten of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazanka River on August 3, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, connects with a right to the head of Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, during their welterweight title fight on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - The Baltimore Orioles bat against the Chicago White Sox during a baseball game without fans Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Baltimore. Due to security concerns in the wake of riots following the funeral for Freddie Gray, the game was closed to the public. Gray suffered a spinal injury in police custody and later died. (AP Photo/Gail Burton, File)
New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard throws before Game 2 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) is tackled by the face mask by Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Arthur Moats (55) in the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, in Pittsburgh. Moats was penalized on the play. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton (1) is introduced before an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
New England Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler (21) intercepts a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (83) during the second half of NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
New York Mets' Michael Conforto watches his home run against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning in Game 4 of the Major League Baseball World Series Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)
Miami Marlins' Dee Gordon slides safely past Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy during the fifth inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in Milwaukee. Gordon scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Martin Prado. Miami won 6-2. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin shoots during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
CSKA Moscow's Kyle Hines, right, in action with Olympiacos' Dimitris Agravanis, left, during the Euroleague Final Four semifinal basketball match between CSKA Moscow and Olympiacos in Madrid, Spain, Friday, May 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Fabio Fognini from Italy serves during his Madrid Open tennis tournament match against Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, May 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands steers his car during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, April 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a return to Marin Cilic of Croatia during their quarterfinal match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Friday, April 17 2015. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
United States' Carli Lloyd, right, celebrates with teammates after Lloyd scored her third goal against Japan during the first half of the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Miami Heat center Chris Bosh watches a shot bounce off the rim during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Los Angeles. The Heat won 104-90. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Ohio State players celebrate after the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Oregon Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. Ohio State won 42-20. (AP Photo/Tom Pennington, Pool)
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 23: Usain Bolt of Jamaica (R) wins gold ahead of (bottom to top) Justin Gatlin of the United States, Tyson Gay of the United States, Mike Rodgers of the United States and Trayvon Bromell of the United States during the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10: Ruben Tejada #11 of the New York Mets is hit by a slide by Chase Utley #26 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the seventh inning in an attempt to turn a double play in game two of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 11: Serena Williams of the United States leaves court with the Venus Rosewater Dish after her victory in the Final Of The Ladies' Singles against Garbine Muguruza of Spain during day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 11, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots is surrounded by the media after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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