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Ryan's Christmas Wish List

There's no doubt 2020 has been filled with uncertainty and uneasiness, and sports have provided the fans of America with a semblance of normalcy.

One thing that is certain is that Santa Claus is preparing his sleigh for that big, magical ride on Christmas Eve. He'll probably be wearing a mask, but the Big Guy's sack is stacked with gifts for all of us.

That includes gifts for those of us in the world of sports, from high school to professional. We all have Christmas wishes. Here are some of my biggest......

- Fans to be back in the stands.

This one is a no-brainer. Being able to watch our favorite teams on TV is a blessing as the country still grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Undoubtedly, we all miss those road trips to Fenway Park or Gillette Stadium. We all miss splitting a Pat's Pizza and a pitcher of beer before heading to Alfond Arena on cold January evenings.

Those days will come again. That's my biggest wish. So long as we continue to do our part and wear masks and practice social distancing, we'll be back in the stands in no time.

- An upgraded Patriots' offense

Again, it's not all on Cam Newton that the New England offense is one of the worst in the NFL. The wide receiver and tight end group is horrendous.

N'Keal Harry is heading towards "bust" territory. Julian Edelman is 34 years old and has absorbed tons of punishment.

Upgrading the offense should be high on Bill Belichick's Christmas list for the upcoming offseason, whether it's via the draft, free agency or both.

New England will have the salary cap flexibility to spend a few bucks this spring, and Belichick needs to take advantage.

2020 has been strange enough, yet it's odd to see longtime AFC punching bags Buffalo and Cleveland are ahead of the Pats in the conference playoff picture a week before Christmas.

- A way for high school basketball to happen

We all know Tourney Time will not happen this February due to Covid-19. But that doesn't mean our high school athletes shouldn't have a season.

So long as Governor Mills' indoor gathering limit remains at 50 - and it probably will for quite some time - a high school hoop gathering will probably consist of players, coaches, staff and media. And so long as the kids get to play a few games, that's OK.

They'll likely have to wear masks while playing, and that's also OK. It's doable.

Any high school athlete will tell you a season is better than no season. And I hope state officials find a way to let these kids have one.

- An expanded college football playoff

College football fans have been clamoring for this for years, and after the topsy-turviness that was the 2020 season, it's time to expand the field from four to eight.

Great teams always get left out of the playoff party - 2020 is going to be no different - and an eight-team playoff is a surefire way to get Power 5 conference champions into the equation.

That gives you five teams right there. That leaves three other spots. That's the way it should be. If that were the case this year, Notre Dame and Texas A&M, both great teams, would be in.

But unfortunately that's not the case, and one of those teams will get the fortune of being a huge underdog against the machine that is Alabama.

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