The Dear Observant Reader should know that the end of the college football season was, on a purely personal level, a complete disaster for your correspondent.

I had the great good fortune of spending over a week in the home of my dear friend Bill, his wife Vicki and their adult daughter Kelli in Illinois. All went well until Dec. 31, when both Bill and I came down with a nasty little virus (not the flu). Kelli soon caught it as well, with the result that the three of us spent Dec. 31 through Jan. 3 relegated to various couches, beds and recliners under differing levels of blankets, comforters and piles of pillows.

Somehow Vicki managed to stay fairly healthy and was an absolute angel, nursing over us and slowly bringing us back to the land of the partially-alive. The poor thing: Can you imagine dealing with two adult men who were, at the same time, badly sick? Few things are more pathetic than a man who is sick … God bless her for what she endured!

All during this period I drifted in and out of consciousness while watching as much football as possible. I was so ill Jan. 2 that I found I could not get myself fired up — for both the good and the much bad — in Alabama’s loss to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. My shame, of course, was as intense as my illness. Two consecutive losses? I have not had to endure such indignity since the final two games of 2008, with only 60 wins and three national championships in the interim to cool my throbbing temple.

One of the great annoyances during all these games was the incessant repetition of several commercials. I think I saw the stupid Sam Jackson "quicksilver" card spot and the aggravating Nissan drive-up-the-ramp-and-onto-the-train-and-get-there-early ad so many times it made me want to puke, a physical reaction that was something the virus I was suffering from had not generated.

Another tremendous annoyance was the ridiculous interpretation of the so-called "targeting rule." I understand the intent, but over at least a dozen games I must have seen the wrong interpretation of this rule at least seven or eight times, with the in-studio ‘guest official’ joining my opinion that the wrong determination had been made each time. Something must be changed, this offseason, to prevent a further mockery of the game.

ESPN did a fairly good job of covering the games, but the slurpfest during the Chick-fil-A Bowl between Duke and Texas A&M on New Year’s Eve was sickening. You would think Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (who, admittedly, played quite well) was the Second Coming. Not since the disgusting love showered on Tim Tebow have I seen someone so elevated to superhero status.

It is one thing to praise a player, but when it gets to the point that such slurping takes away from the broadcast of the game, it is time to stop tossing bouquets.

Now we enter the AFC and NFC Championship games, and, of course, there is no one left for me to root for, setting up a weekend of wishing-everyone-could-lose.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the War Chickens blow a three-touchdown led and lose to unworthy Florida State, to then see Carolina quarterback Scam Newton exposed was an added bonus.

Newton is, of course, my least favorite QB in the NFL. Tom Brady and Colin Kaepernick fill the next two spots, and guess what? Both are my picks to win (see page 9).

The only treat in watching New England defeat Indianapolis was that it was the last broadcast in the bland, boring career of color (beige being the highest level he ever reached) commentator Dan "homer" Dierdorff. The king of pulling for whoever was in the lead, Dierdorff somehow was, for some reason, given big money and national microphone to tell the audience nothing they did not already know while using replays to make points he had not made in advance, thus confirming the obvious. Good riddance.

————————————

While I was away on holiday break, I lost a friend and Perry a huge supporter and promoter with the passing of Glenn Theulen.

I always enjoyed chatting with Glenn and listening to his numerous stories. The man loved the city of Perry, loved the high school, loved the kids and bled Bluejay and Jayette blue.

Along with his close friend, Gail Davis, Glenn could always be found at Perry home games in every sport. Two chairs will be left off the baseline of home basketball games in memory of the pair I called "the two yahoos." Both will be — and already are — dearly missed.

I will also miss Jack Fierz, who also recently passed away and who was also a mainstay at Perry games. Doug Wood brought Jack along to most home contests and some road games. His was a familiar face pulling for Perry and he, too, will be missed.

The one consolation I have is the sure knowledge that all three now have the best seats in the house …