Friday musings

* I avoid much of the Super Bowl hype. There’s too much repetition and some of the football talk is way too technical for me. I’m FOOTball guy. Not FOOOOOOOOTBALLLLLLL GUUUUUUUUUY!!!!!!. I look forward to watching the game Sunday with some friends. I’ll be into it. I’m pulling for Seattle, even though I think Denver will win. I think Peyton Manning will have a great game and in so doing will create a discussion about whether or not he’s the greatest quarterback of all-time.

* Manning is certainly in that discussion now, before Sunday’s Super Bowl. But a second win – a second ring – will give his supporters more ammunition and credibility to make the Manning case. Personally, I think Joe Montana is the greatest quarterback in NFL history and that he’ll continue to be even if Manning and the Broncos beat Seattle. But Manning will gain momentum in the debate.

* Denver 27, Seattle 21. That’s my prediction.

* How will Evansville sophomore D.J. Balentine perform against Wichita State tomorrow afternoon at Koch Arena? Interesting question. Balentine is coming off a 43-point performance in a loss to Northern Iowa the other night. He’s averaging 23 points per game and he can really shoot. But the Shockers’ Tekele Cotton can really defend and he’ll likely draw the defensive assignment against Balentine. There’s not much intrigue about the outcome of the game – the Shockers should win handily. But at least the game within the game – Balentine going against Cotton – is interesting.

* It took three episodes, but I’m all in now on the HBO series True Detective. The guy in the gas mask and underwear shown at the end of last week’s episode looks interesting, huh?

* Didn’t we used to consider Matthew McConaughey a fringe actor? And hasn’t he exploded into being one of the the best actors in Hollywood? Fascinating. Every time I see this guy now, I’m wowed. And I haven’t even seen his performance yet in Dallas Buyers Club, which I’m told might be his best.

* Woody Harrelson ain’t too shabby, either. I can write “ain’t” in a blog. I wouldn’t get away with that in print. I love blogs.

* Timothy Oliphant is the only thing (he’s really not a thing, he’s a person) holding Justified together so far this season. Thank goodness for Timothy.

* I trek to Indiana State and Northern Iowa with the Shockers next week, with a stop in Rockford, Ill., in between to get some material for a Fred VanVleet column. I really hope the weather cooperates. I really, really hope that.

* I hope a lot of you will join us at Side Pockets on Feb. 16, March 2 and March 16 as we play out the Shocker Invitational. It should be fascinating. And interesting. And cool. Check Sunday’s paper for more details.

* I received poor conduct evaluations when I was in school. I’ve mellowed considerably since.

* Getting old(er) is a bizarre experience. Those of you who are there or getting there know what I mean. You others just wait.

* I used to enjoy political discussions. Now I loathe them. The discourse is alarming. I feel like Americans, in many cases, hate one another because of political affiliation. That’s not how it was supposed to work. Then again, it isn’t working. It’s so not working, in fact.

* I’m guilty of judging people for their political views, too. The problem is that clear lines have been drawn politically, especially with social issues. And they are the most divisive. We can have a courteous debate about the best way to get the economy going. We cannot have a courteous debate about abortion or guns. And I’m not sure we ever will.

* I’ve never depressed myself while doing Friday musings, but I’m on the verge. I need something positive for this next bullet item.

* Pitchers and catchers for the Arizona Diamondbacks report to spring training next Thursday. Now that’s positive. The Diamondbacks open the MLB season against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Australia this season on March 22, I believe.

* I was just watching Don Henley discuss his new album, Cass County. He says it will be released in early fall, after the Eagles’ tour winds down in the middle of June. It’s a country album, he said, with some “Americana” music. I can’t wait.

* Do I want to spend $114 so my wife and I can see Kenny Rogers at the Orpheum in May? I think I do but I haven’t yet and tickets went on sale today.

* Is there anything worse than freezing drizzle? I’m so sick of winter. I need a winter home somewhere warm, like San Diego. The only thing about redeeming trait of winter is college basketball. How would we get through winter without it?

* Thanks to Shocker players Ron Baker, Cleanthony Early, Fred VanVleet and Tekele Cotton for providing our bumper music on Sports Daily this week. And we also got six songs from Gregg Marshall. It was a fun music week.

* The Milwaukee Brewers could be a darkhorse in the National League this season.

* The Kansas City Royals are one pitcher away from being a serious – S-E-R-I-O-U-S – threat in the American League Central. Sorry, that pitcher isn’t Bruce Chen.

* I think Kansas will win the national championship in men’s basketball. I think Wichita State might play Kansas in the Final Four. I think it would be a heck of a game. Wouldn’t that be something?

* I might change my mind on that tomorrow. The college basketball season is fluid. But right now, KU looks like the best team in the country to me.

* It’s so hard to judge Wichita State because of the Shockers’ competition, or lack thereof, in the Missouri Valley Conference. I know WSU is really good. I’m not sure how really good. Know what I mean?

* I’m not sure there’s been a time in WSU history where the Shockers had four starters as talented as VanVleet, Early, Baker and Cotton. They all know their roles. Maybe Antoine Carr, Cliff Levingston, Tony Martin and Randy Smithson in the early 1980s? Or Carr, Levingston, Martin and Aubrey Sherrod? That’s pretty salty. WSU had Dave Stallworth, Nate Bowman, Kelly Pete, Dave Leach and the combination of Ernie Moore and Leonard Kelley in 1963-64. That’s pretty salty, too. I believe that team is the best in Shocker history.

* OK, have a cold, slippery weekend, everyone. Enjoy the Super Bowl. Enjoy tomorrow’s college basketball games. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.