* The NFL wild-card playoff games were mostly duds, with the exception of the Seattle-Washington intrigue in the NFC. Hopefully, this weekend’s divisional games will live up to the hype. A couple of the games look special.
* Seattle travels across the great country to play Atlanta on Sunday afternoon, just a week after jetting across the U.S. to play Washington. Is this a big deal? I tend to think not. But to hear former players talk, you’d think these guys were shackled on the plane and kept from food and water while they make their journey. Hmmm, they must fly American. That’s a little joke, American. Lighten up. Anyway, I like the Falcons in this one, just because I want the Falcons to win this one. Why? I sort of adopted Atlanta as “my team” this season. But this should be the best of the weekend’s playoff games.
* By all accounts, the Houston Texans are dead on the vine. Nobody – and I mean NOBODY – is giving them a shot on Sunday at New England, which is a 9 1/2-point favorite. Listen, I know Houston’s offense has struggled mightily of late. Matt Schaub no longer looks like a top-flight quarterback and Andre Johnson has lost something, too. Outside of running back Arian Foster, the Texans are firing a lot of blanks. But Houston has a good defense, although you wouldn’t know it from how it fared at New England earlier this season. Still, I like the Texas to cover the spread, although the Pats should win.
* Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the best in the game. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick shouldn’t even be the 49ers’ starter, in my opinion. Alex Smith, you really got the shaft this season. Maybe you’ll end up in Kansas City with Andy Reid? You’d love that, wouldn’t you Alex? Alex? Hello? Anyway, I think the Packers are unstoppable and expecting them to get to the Super Bowl. Rodgers has the most weapons in the league and he knows how to use them. Give me Green Bay here.
* Denver is not 9 1/2 points better than Baltimore. Sorry, just don’t see it. I know the Broncos have Peyton Manning, some really nice receivers and a stout defense. But Baltimore isn’t chopped liver. I think this is the easiest game with the spread to pick this weekend. Denver wins, but not by 10.
* I have seen four of the nine Oscar-nominated movies and hope to see a couple of more this weekend. My early favorites for the major categories: Best Picture – Lincoln; Best Actor – Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln; Best Actress – Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty; Best Supporting Actor – Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook; Best Supporting Actress – Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables; Best Director – Steven Spielberg, Lincoln.
* Has Rob Ryan been hired yet? Oh, well it’ll happen Rob. Five more minutes.
* Biggest two Oscar snubs: Ben Affleck, Argo (not nominated in acting or directing); Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty (director).
* I’m working on a Cleanthony Early column for Sunday’s paper. Has any Shocker player grabbed a fan base and shook it the way Early did with his 39-point performance against Southern Illinois on Wednesday night at Koch Arena? What an interesting player.
* I think I’ll drive out to Dodge City next Thursday and watch basketball for a full day in the Dodge City Tournament of Champions. I haven’t been to Dodge in years. Yes, I think I’m going to do that.
* There are a couple of really interesting college basketball games on the tube tomorrow morning at 11, before all of the football gets going. I’m interested in Duke at North Carolina State and Minnesota at Indiana. There is wall-to-wall college basketball. Also might try to fit in Oklahoma State-Oklahoma, St. Louis-Temple and Arizona-Oregon State.
* Football, though, takes preference. So there will be a lot of flipping back and forth.
* Did you see the season premiere of “Justified” Tuesday night on FX? What a great show.
* Speaking of television, do you know that I have not watched a single episode of “The Big Bang Theory?” I’m not proud of this and will soon start to watch the series, from Season 1, on Netflix.
* I wasn’t really offended by Brent Musburger’s comments about A.J. MCCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb, the other night during the BCS national championship game. I just though it was kind of sad. Musburger needs to go away. I’ve said it for years. It’s not about his age, it’s about his ability. He’s just not a good broadcaster anymore. He’s become a caricature of himself. He’s more than happy to become the story, instead of being content to tell the story.
* I would suggest everyone read the cover story in the sports section of today’s “USA Today,” about the families of the two men who were stabbed to death outside of a nightclub in Atlanta 13 years ago. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was originally charged with double murder in the case, but struck a deal with prosecutors in exchange for his testimony against two of his companions that night, both of whom were acquitted. Nobody has ever been charged with those murders and Lewis has since become an iconic figure in America sports, as much for his strong character as his outstanding ability as a football player. But the families of the victims haven’t forgiven Lewis. It’s a compelling story.
* Does any professional sports franchise matter less than the Washington Wizards?
* Why don’t I have an iPad?
* I’m a picky eater. It used to drive my relatives crazy when I was a kid. I’m better now than I used to be, but still not great.
* Why don’t I like tomatoes? I like everything tomatoes are used to make?
* KU fans are going to be very sad to see Ben McLemore leave after this season. One is not enough. Losing Xavier Henry and Josh Selby was no big deal. Losing McLemore will be a big deal.
* I’m loving the new Downtown YMCA. The third-floor track is tremendous with the views of Wichita. It makes working out there fun.
* Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle, who played at Southeast, will be a good NFL player. Maybe even better than good, but not quite great. Is that “very good?”
* Thanks for reading today, everyone. You know how these Friday musings work; they’re really off the cuff. No rhyme nor reason, in some cases. Have a great weekend and watch a lot of sports on television. That’s what I’m going to be doing.