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Surviving the Football-Free Doldrums in Dallas: A Guide

You, my football-fiending friend, have just survived the toughest weekend of the year: the first with no NFL games of any kind, and the one that stands the longest from training camps in July and the 2019 season's first weekend in September. The Mavericks aren't going to make the playoffs, and it's going to be October before you get to watch Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis on the same court. The Stars are good defensively but can't score, and the Rangers, well, let's just hope they don't lose 90 games.

The Cowboys aren't the only game in town, but there are times, the last couple of years being one of them, when they suck all the air out of the Dallas sports room. That doesn't mean you, Dallas sports fan, should check out for the summer.

Here are seven local sports stories worth watching over the spring and long, hot summer.

1. Can Jordan Spieth get it back?
After winning three tournaments, including The Open Championship, in 2017, Dallas' best golfer stumbled in 2018, failing to win. This year, Spieth gets two great shots to win his fourth major championship. In April, he'll be one of the favorites to win the Masters, a tournament at which he's always excelled. Two months later, he'll take aim at his second U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, a course where he won in 2017. 

Errol Spence Jr.
Errol Spence Jr.
Porfirio C. Barron Jr.

2. Will Errol Spence become a star? Spence, DeSoto's homegrown welterweight champion of the world, will fight his biggest fight yet at AT&T Stadium on March 16 when he takes on Mikey Garcia. Garcia is 39-0, but he's moving up two weight classes to take on the 24-0 Spence. The fight's going to be on pay-per-view, and the lights have never been brighter for Spence.

3. Are the Stars ever going to figure it out? The Stars have looked better over the last couple of weeks after a first half plagued with uninspiring hockey. Chances are, they're going to make the playoffs in April. They won't have a high seed, but playoff hockey is always great. Worse teams than the Stars have gone deep in the playoffs.

4. Just how bad are the Rangers? Here's hoping they're real bad, like bad enough to get a top-three pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. There's no reward for being mediocre in professional sports. From April until early September, let's hope they suck, then we can tune out.

Luka Doncic needs help.
Luka Doncic needs help.
Wiki Commons

5. Will the lottery pingpong balls finally bounce the Mavs' way? Having acquired Doncic and Porzingis, the Mavericks are on the verge being a team capable of winning a couple of playoff series. May 14's NBA draft lottery will go a long way to determining whether they'll be contenders in 2019-20 or 2020-21. If the Mavs pull a top-five pick, they'll be able to draft a plug-in complement to their two stars. If they don't, their first-round choice is going to the Hawks to complete the deal that brought Doncic to Dallas.

6. Is UNT basketball worth caring about? It's not even Valentine's Day, and the Mean Green have already won 20 games. They enter the meat of their schedule at 20-5, poised to make March's NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010. They could be the only DFW school to make the dance, so get on the bandwagon early.

7. What about FC Dallas? March 2 brings FC Dallas' season kickoff against the New England Revolution and the first game in charge — that counts at least — for new head coach and former academy director Luchi Gonzalez. Despite flashing as one of MLS' best teams at multiple times in recent seasons, Frisco's finest have frequently underachieved, especially in the playoffs and international play. Checking in a few times early in the year to see how Gonzalez commands his charges is a good idea.  

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