It’s the calm before the storm.

The winter sports season begins next week. Before we know it, we’ll be up to our elbows with wrestling and boys and girls basketball.

There’s still one fall team still playing as the East Central College volleyball squad prepares to compete later this week at the national tournament.

So who will be some of the better teams in the area this winter?

While that’s hard to say for sure, I do think there will be a lot of winning going on this winter in our area.

The first team that comes to mind is Washington wrestling.

The Blue Jays are loaded. And they have really high goals and expectations for the season.

There’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll have a successful season. They had a good season last year. This year could, and should, be better. It could be a really special season.

It’s going to be a strong wrestling season in the area overall.

It looks like Union, St. Clair and Pacific all will have solid teams as well.

I’d expect this season’s state wrestling tournament to be very well represented by area participants.

Borgia is not competing in wrestling this winter.

What about basketball?

You know Borgia’s boys and girls both will be solid.

This season, Washington also should have good boys and girls basketball going on.

There figures to be a lot of wins coming from the Washington and Borgia winter sports varsity teams.

Could the Knights and the Blue Jays meet in the Gold Division championship game at the Turkey Tournament the Saturday after Thanksgiving? It could happen.

A popular question I always get this time of the year is who is the boys basketball team to beat in the Four Rivers Conference this season?

Pacific was picked by the coaches to win the conference. Sullivan was second and St. James third. Those are three solid choices.

A sleeper could be Hermann. Watch out for the Bearcats.

FRC girls basketball has been strong in recent years, and the same should be true this season.

You can go down the list, Sullivan, St. James, Hermann, Pacific, Union, St. Clair, New Haven and Owensville. They all win. There isn’t a weak link in the group.

New Haven has reached the Class 2 state championship game for two straight seasons and could make it three in a row this year.

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There’s been a lot of winning going on this fall at the University of Missouri.

Did you know that the Mizzou volleyball team currently is 31-0 overall, 15-0 in the SEC and ranked fourth in the country?

The volleyball squad likely will win the school’s first-ever SEC championship.

What a year it’s been in volleyball with Borgia and Hermann both winning state championships and Mizzou on a roll.

The Mizzou football team has three, maybe four, huge games left in a memorable season.

The Tigers (9-1) play Saturday at Ole Miss and then host Texas A&M in their home final Nov. 30.

Both games will be big challenges. If they win both, the Tigers will play in the SEC championship game Dec. 7 in Atlanta and should secure a spot in a BCS Bowl game.

Even if they lose to Ole Miss and/or Texas A&M, a bowl game is still in the future.

So what bowl games are possibilities for Mizzou?

Well, if the Tigers split their final two games, we’re looking at possibly the Chick-fil-A Bowl Dec. 31 in Atlanta, the Capital One Bowl Jan. 1 in Orlando or the Outback Bowl Jan. 1 in Tampa.

If Mizzou wins out, the Sugar Bowl Jan. 2 in New Orleans is possible, or who knows, maybe even the BCS national championship game Jan. 6 in Pasadena. Why not dream big?