It’s that time of year again. The dust has settled on Super Bowl XLVII, though the advent of this week’s NFL Combine puts the spotlight on the next class of would-be heroes. The NCAA Tournament is still one month from tipping off and the NBA and NHL Playoffs are still some two months away.

I know. You’re ready for split-squad baseball and spring break vacations to parts unknown to do, well, whatever it is that you do in down time. First, we’ll rev up the engines and get things started on a new Sprint Cup Series campaign. The flag drops on the 55th running of “NASCAR’s Super Bowl,” the Daytona 500, on Sunday afternoon. It’s an historic event, with Danica Patrick set to race from the pole position (barring an incident during practice sessions) and Brad Keselowski looking to defend his 2012 championship. NASCAR will also introduce the highly-anticipated Gen-6 car (you can read about it here .

Of course, there’s always a bit of pageantry and ceremony to be had in the process. This year’s Grand Marshall will be actor James Franco of Spider-Man, Freaks and Geeks, Milk and Pineapple Express fame, among others. The promotional program for OZ: The Great and Powerful has kicked into full-gear, and I just wonder if Franco will appear in regular street clothes or drift away on a hot-air balloon?

Check out the life-like figurine being produced for this film release. I was in a Disney Store and found myself transfixed by the line of dolls (or are they just figures, or “action” figures?) of Franco and his co-stars. Alas, I did not see a Mila Kunis figure.