* I avoid as much of the Super Bowl hype as I can. Not that there aren’t good stories to be told. And I’m a sucker for a good story. But the sheer repetition of these stories overwhelms me, so much so that I probably miss some of the more rare, legitimate stories that come out of the two weeks preceding the Super. Just give me the game already.
* Count me as one of those who is sick of Ray Lewis this, Ray Lewis that. I think he orchestrates too much attention toward himself. I’ll be pulling for the Ravens on Sunday against San Francisco, but it has nothing to do with Ray-Ray.
* The difference maker in the Super Bowl? I think it’ll be 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He’s been unbelievable in both 49ers playoff games so far, once with his legs and once with his arm. He’s on an incredible run and as good as the Baltimore defense is playing, I don’t think the Ravens will be able to corral everything Kaepernick brings.
* So while I want Baltimore to win this game, I’m picking the 49ers, 31-21.
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* We’re having a small group of friends over for the game Sunday. I know, I know, it’s not like I could have a large group of friends. You people are just brutal.
* I love “American Idol” and this week it became clear to me as to why. It’s the stories of the singers that appeal to me most. AI must be telling those stories more this season. That or the stories are just that much more amazing than they’ve been in past years. I spend most of my time fighting back the urge to bawl like a baby while I watch this show because of the touching stories of many of the contestants. I think it’s the most American show on television, given the varied and often difficult backgrounds of those who want to become the next American Idol.
* The new judging panel is also catching on with me. I really like Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj, and just a few weeks ago I couldn’t have told you much about either.
* I’m looking forward to Alicia Keys singing the National Anthem before the Super Bowl, and also to Beyonce’s halftime performance. I think I’m part girl.
* Sylvester Stallone’s “Bullet to the Head” is getting some of the worst reviews in the history of cinema. Good. He should be ashamed for making such a movie, and for allowing such a title. I don’t know where the gun debate will lead us in America, but I do think that movies like this, with names like this, are not a part of any solution.
* I know, I’m a sports writer. What do I know about anything else? Stay out of politics. Fair points. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.
* I expect Kansas to have a fairly easy time with Oklahoma State on Saturday in Lawrence. And I think Wichita State will bounce back from its lackluster performance the other night against Indiana State and beat Northern Iowa on the road. The Kansas State-Oklahoma game in Norman is the most intriguing of the weekend. Both teams are in the thick of the fight for second place in the Big 12, behind perennial winner Kansas. I’ll be in Lawrence to see the Jayhawks on Saturday, by the way.
* If I was putting a starting five on the floor from the three Kansas schools, here’s how it would look: PG – Angel Rodriguez; SG – Ben McLemore; SF – Travis Releford; PF – Cleanthony Early (a stretch as he usually plays small forward); C – Jeff Withey. Point guard is tough. Elijah Johnson and Malcolm Armstead are good players, but I like Rodriguez as a floor general. You could make an argument for Rodney McGruder to be on this team, of course, but I think I’d go with McLemore. Releford is a tremendous defensive player and I think Early is the key player for the Shockers going forward. Withey is a no-brainer for this team.
* It irritates me when people I want to interview don’t return my call, especially when there’s nothing at all controversial about what I want to talk to them about.
* I’ve got a cool idea for a column coming up next week. But I don’t want to jink it. I will say that involves City League basketball past and present.
* I was inspired this past week by reading the tributes that my son, Jeff, and his half-sister, Sarah, wrote regarding their mother, Marilyn, who died last week. She was very proud of them, and rightly so.
* So glad I’m not going to be in Cedar Falls, Iowa, tomorrow afternoon for the Wichita State-UNI game. I’ve never been in that town when it was anything close to warm. I just checked, and it’s current 3 degrees in Cedar Falls, with a minus-10 degree wind chill. It is expected to warm to about 20 degrees tomorrow, though. The locals will be sun bathing.
* Tomorrow will be the four-year anniversary of the day I met my wife, over lunch at River City Brewery. It was a blind date kind of thing, after the exchange of several e-mails. We both ordered the chicken ceasar salad and I finished mine about 20 minutes before Debbie did. She talked up a storm. It wasn’t as if I left there thinking that I had just met the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. But over time, that’s exactly what I started to think. It’s what I think today. It’s what I’ll think tomorrow and the tomorrow after that.
* This is, I’ve decided, the mushiest blog I’ve ever written. Maybe it’s because Valentine’s Day is approaching.
* I just love you all.
* No I don’t. Not all. That was a blatant lie.
* I wonder if I’ll start paying more attention to the NBA after the Super Bowl? Maybe. I did watch quite a bit of the Phoenix Open on television yesterday. Like many others, I got wrapped up in Phil Mickelson’s remarkable round of 60 and his lipped-out putt on No. 9 (his final hole) that would have made him the seventh player in PGA Tour history to record a 59. I like Mickelson.
* The Wichita Wings are 6-13. That’s not gonna cut it.
* I love paying bills online. It almost makes me wish I had more bills to pay.
* Thanks for reading. I hope the musings didn’t come across as some romance novel rip-off, with all of its flowery jargon and loving remarks. See you next week and have a wonderful weekend.