The end of a year always brings renewed hope for the upcoming year. Sports figures are like everyone else – we learn from the past to improve the future. There is a lot to write about with a new year, but I have narrowed it down to just a few thought-provoking topics.

The end of a year always brings renewed hope for the upcoming year. Sports figures are like everyone else – we learn from the past to improve the future. There is a lot to write about with a new year, but I have narrowed it down to just a few thought-provoking topics.

1. Missouri fans need to move on with the change to the SEC. The main question is whether the Tigers will be able to recruit quality athletes from the South who can consistently compete in the new conference. Basketball may provide the best shot for Mizzou to capture a conference championship. It only takes eight talented players to challenge at the top. Football may paint a different picture. The team will need to recruit 30-35 three to five star players each season in order to maintain a position with Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Arkansas and Florida conference teams. How many of the high school youth in the South have held a life-long dream to play at Missouri? It will present a tough challenge for MU.

2. The Chiefs had one of the most unusual seasons ever. It resembled a roller coaster ride at Worlds of Fun. To say that it was filled with ups and downs is an understatement. It is time for Scott Pioli to prove that he is not “all hat and no cattle.” That is a phrase I learned well while coaching in Wyoming and it describes Pioli and owner Clark Hunt to a T.

3. The Royals finally have a lot of young talent and have an opportunity to make some division noise. The fans have endured a lot of pain for a lot of years so the excitement level is growing. The time is now and the franchise has a small window of about five years to really shine before the free agent monster devours its young stars. Every dog has its day and it’s the right time for the Royals.

4. High school football in the Kansas City area has dominated the state for the past 12 years. Blue Springs South and Staley waved the banner high this year. I would expect the trend to continue. The area is filled with strong programs and great coaching staffs.

5. Division II NCAA football remains extremely strong with local MIAA teams. Pittsburg State won it all this year and the league has had eight straight semi-finalist teams. I believe the league will continue to grow even stronger in the near future.

6. The University of Texas topped the Forbes list of top money winners in American universities. The magazine placed the Texas team’s worth at $129 million per year. That may very well be true, but the Longhorn players are classic underachievers on the courts and fields!

7. Does Charlie Weis have enough energy and health to run the KU football program? He is a great recruiter and offensive coach but he’s going to need to come through. KU is paying millions for two ex-football coaches and an ex-athletic director. Forbes Magazine may need to come up with a loan for KU!

Time will only tell if folks have truly learned from mistakes made last year and turn things around in 2012.

8. The NBA is back and it seems like no one in Kansas City cares. I like that it keeps a lot of people employed aside from the players.

9. I haven’t missed a single snap in a Chiefs game – they desperately need quality depth in every position.

10 Tim Tebow is a great leader and role model but the jury remains out on his role as a franchise quarterback. You have to love his heart though.

n My quote this week is from Harry Truman, one of the all-time great U.S. presidents: “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities; an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.”