* First of all, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I know I did. The food was out of this world (I’ve never understood that statement, given that we have no idea if there food out of this world) and the family was, as always, engaging. I’m a lucky, lucky man. This was my 58th Thanksgiving and I have them ranked from 1 through 58. But I won’t bore you with the rankings. Let’s just say this was a Top 10 Thanksgiving, but nothing like the one I enjoyed in 1964.
* My favorite Thanksgiving food is stuffing. I’ve fluctuated on this over the years. Ironically, stuffing almost always includes celery, one of my all-time least favorite foods. Yet I’m able to overlook the celery aspect of the stuff and eat about 23 helpings everything Thanksgiving.
* As I work on my musings, Nebraska and Bo Pelini are being crushed by Iowa. This gives me a little musings bounce, such is my disdain for Pelini. So could we have Nebraska, Texas and USC all in the hunt for new coaches soon?
* I haven’t liked Pelini since he chewed out Kansas State coach Bill Snyder after a game in Lincoln a few years back, before Snyder’s retirement that instead was a three-year break. K-State had just beaten the Huskers pretty good and Pelini’s interpretation of events was that Snyder and the Wildcats had run up the score. He was dead wrong, of course. And he was just an assistant coach at the time to Frank Solich. Snyder just looked at him, didn’t respond and ran toward the dressing room.
* Kansas and Kansas State meet in the Sunflower Showdown tomorrow afternoon in Lawrence. One problem: There’s nothing about this game that feels like a showdown. For most of the past 20-plus years since Snyder arrived in Manhattan, this has been a Sunflower Letdown. I don’t anticipate this one being different. I suppose I held out some small hope for a close KU-KSU game after the Jayhawks pounced on West Virginia a couple of weeks ago. But whatever good will Kansas earned with that win was refunded in full with last week’s embarrassing loss to Iowa State in Ames. I suspect that one sucked all of the life out of the Jayhawks once and for all. I’m looking for a 38-13 win for Kansas State.
* I watched KU’s Thanksgiving basketball game against Wake Forest on AXS, a channel I wasn’t even aware I had as a DirecTv customer.
* Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore received a two-year contract extension Friday. My, my, the pressure will be high for the Royals in 2014. They’re coming off an 86-76 season and fans will expect an improvement. They’re in the midst of an important off-season, during which they have to add some offense. They’ve signed left-hander pitcher Jason Vargas to a four-year, $48 million deal, hoping he’s next season’s version of Ervin Santana. The Royals will begin 2014 as one of the most interesting teams to follow. How will it go?
* I was chatting with my friend and Eagle colleague Paul Suellentrop earlier about the fate of the Shockers’ basketball team. I mentioned the U word – undefeated. As in was there a chance Wichita State could get through the regular season unscathed? Ridiculous, I know, to be even discussing this early in the season. But the conversation was fueled by what I perceive to be a remarkably-weak Missouri Valley Conference, a perception fueled by Indiana State’s one-point loss to Tulsa two nights ago in the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage.
* Undefeated? It’s a preposterous notion, except that isn’t there some chance the Shockers run through the MVC without a loss? A teeny-tiny chance? I can’t see WSU losing a home Missouri Valley Conference game. But maybe they’ll run into a buzz saw on the road somewhere. It’s possible, perhaps even probable. Then again, is there a buzz saw in the Valley?
* The rest of the non-conference schedule includes a Sunday noon game at Saint Louis, along with tests against ORU, Tennessee, Davidson and North Carolina Central at home and Alabama on the road. Saint Louis, Tennessee and Alabama are the most dangerous games. But isn’t there a chance the Shockers sweep those three games? A teeny-tiny chance?
* I’m just saying. Rolling around the idea of an undefeated season for Wichita State might not be as crazy as it sounds. Then again, it might. It’s a long season and there are a lot of games. Normally, basketball teams are fickle – even the great ones.
* Top five reasons for Ron Baker’s enormous popularity: 1) He can really play. His skills jump off the page; 2) He plays hard all the time, every possession; 3) He’s personable and funny and has no perceptible ego issues; 4) He’s got that hair thing going; 5) He’s from Scott City. Who doesn’t love a kid from Scott City?
* Denver vs. Kansas City on Sunday? I have no feel for this football game. It could go either way. Both teams have the look of clubs that are losing steam as the season goes. In fact, it’s tough to find an AFC that is gaining steam. The AFC is having a really difficult time of it. New England, maybe? But I’m not completely sold. This certainly isn’t one of the best Patriots teams, yet they’re as good a bet to reach the Super Bowl as anyone.
* The last time KC and Denver met – just two weeks ago in Denver – I picked the score spot-on. Denver 27, Kansas City 17. So I have to try and make it two in a row, right? But the first game was easy to pick, in my opinion. I barely even had to think about it. This one is so much tougher because of all the variables. Is Peyton Manning healthy? Is Tamba Hali healthy? Is the Chiefs’ defense healthy? I’m going with the Broncos because when these two teams are at full strength and playing their best, Denver is better. Broncos 30, Kansas City 24.
* If I could play the guitar, I think I’d play every day. For a few minutes, at least. It seems like something that would be soothing to the soul. And I would certainly sing along. I’m not sure why I never learned to play the guitar. I have nimble fingers and there is always a song in my head. Sometimes I think of the hours of enjoyment I could have culled from playing guitar and it makes me sad. I’m sad now, just thinking about it. And if you’ll harken back to my first musing, I was so happy coming off a wonderful Thanksgiving. It just goes to show once again the number of mood swings that accompany these musings on a weekly basis.
* I’ll be in Lawrence on Saturday for the KU-KSU football game. Then in St. Louis for the Shockers’ noon tip against the Billikens, an old Missouri Valley Conference team from back in the day. I’m looking forward to the weekend. Hope you have a good one, too.