The Way I See It, my NFL conspiracy theory went down the drain when Laurence Tynes of the New York Giants kicked a game-winning field goal in OT to defeat the Green Packer Packers for the NFC title. For weeks I was informing anyone who asked, and a few that could care less, that a meeting between the Packers and the Patriots was contrived and the Chargers win over the Colts and the Giants win over the Cowboys was simply an orchestrated plan of the football powers. The Pack would dispatch of the Giants on their home frozen tundra and Arizona would welcome the two teams with the most to offer we football fanatics in this year's Super Bowl. The country clamored for a meeting of the "old man" and "the kid" and after Tynes missed a field goal in regulation with four seconds left on the clock, I knew I was on to their scheme. But then the "old man" throws an interception allowing Tynes a chance to redeem himself, and darn if he doesn't, flushing my theory down the cesspool of my sporting life along with many other cockeyed revelations that have preceded it.So whom do I cheer for come Sunday, Feb. 3? Using the same logic I have for many seasons past, it depends on who has the most Nittany Lions on their roster and that team would be the Giants. Kareem McKenzie, a 6-6, 327-pound offensive tackle, and Jay Alford, a 6-3, 304-pound defensive tackle are members of the Giants, while the only former Lion on the Patriots is Kyle Brady, a 13-year veteran, who stands 6-6, 280, and lines up as a tight end. Opposed to any NFL jerseys, I'll be wearing my Penn State blue and white and cheering for those New York Giants on Super Sunday.

This year's Super Bowl will feature two teams of which I have little interest. Probably the same can be said for most of you, but many of you will jump on the Patriots bandwagon as you'll want to see them become the first team to win 19 straight, including the Super Bowl.

Others will hope the Giants will end it for the egotistical, cheating, thieving bunch of Belichick bullies behind another Manning maniac. I'm going with the latter group of football fans.

Beat those Patriots and may the NFC East rise to glory until that team in the AFC West gains prominence. And no Curt, I'm not referring to those stinking Raiders.

NASCAR

The Super Bowl of racing, the Daytona 500, will be held on Sunday, Feb. 17. Fox TV will show all the action with the drivers scheduled to circle the track in earnest at 3:30 p.m.

Last year Kevin Harvick started in the 34th position and walked away with $1,510,469 first place earnings after driving his No. 29 Chevrolet to victory. It was a good day for General Motors as four Chevys finished in the top four spots. Following Harvick, who made his NASCAR debut in 2001, were Mark Martin (No. 01), Jeff Burton (No. 31) and Mike Wallace (No. 109).

Although Harvick ended the season as the second leading money winner ($7,494,593) and 10th in the point's race, 524 points behind winner Jimmie Johnson, he failed to win another race with the exception of the Nextel All-Star Challenge held in May. His best finish after the 500 occurred in June when he finished second behind Juan Pablo Montoya in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

The 500 isn't solely a race between the southern "good old boys", this year's classic could feature several more international drivers. Possibly making an appearance in the Florida extravaganza are Italy's Max Papis (No. 09 - Chevrolet), Canada's Patrick Carpentier (No. 10 - Dodge) and Jacques Villeneuve (No.27 - Toyota), Australia's Marcos Ambrose (No. 21 - Ford), Scotland's Dario Franchitti (No. 40 - Dodge) and of course Colombia's Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 - Dodge).

For those of us loyal to Keystone state teams and players, in this case drivers, there could possibly be two drivers competing in the 2008 Daytona 500 with Pennsylvania roots. Kirk Shelmerdine (No. 33, Chevrolet), a 49-year old Philadelphia native, owns his own racing team hiring Phil Harris as his crew chief. Shelmerdine has had two career starts at Daytona, his latest in 2006, when he started 42nd and finished 20th earning $272,008.

Pittsburgh also has a home grown driver in Norm Benning, (No. 57 - Chevrolet), a 56-year old driver whose highest earnings occurred on Feb. 14, 2002 when he finished 20th in Race 2 of the Gatorade 125 held at the Daytona International Speedway.

For many serious motor heads the call, "gentlemen start your engines" can't arrive soon enough. While others, sensitive to the cost of gasoline, hope this sport takes a hiatus. I side with the former. Bring it on.

BASEBALL

In case you missed it, the Chicago Cubs signed a couple of Phillies last week. Jon Lieber signed on as a free agent and Matt Smith signed a minor league contract with the National League, Central Division, team, who desperately wants to earn the right to play for the World championship.

FOOTBALL

With Super Bowl XLII scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 3, I must admit that the two teams I thought would oppose one another will be watching the game, as will I. Certain the Dallas Cowboys would be opposing the Indianapolis Colts, I'm not certain who I'll cheer for as neither the Packers or Patriots excite me.

As an aside Tom Brady last won the Super Bowl MVP when the Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII by a 32-29 score. I'll give you my pick in next week's edition.

Penn State (9-4) finished outside the Associated Press Top 25 following the 2007 season with only Ohio State (5th) cracking the Top 10 from the Big Ten Conference.

Not surprised at the rankings when you consider the Lions only managed a tie for fourth in the their Conference and barely defeated a lackluster Texas A & M team in the Alamo Bowl. In addition two of the teams (OSU and Illinois), who finished above them in the Conference, were humiliated in their respective bowl games.

So what does it look like for the Lions in seasons to come? Probably not to shabby if PSU is able to sign Jennette High School quarterback, Terrelle Pryor (6-6, 225, 4.40-seconds 40-yard dash), but otherwise we'll have to depend on four-star or two-star players to win the Conference and perhaps a National title.

FISHING SEMINAR

On Saturday, Feb. 16, from 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Keith Kaufman will offer his annual "Striped Bass Fishing Workshop" at the Willow Street Fire Company in Willow Street, Pa., near Lancaster. Expert anglers will use Powerpoint, slide presentations and tackle demonstrations to provide in-depth information on catching big stripers in the Chesapeake Bay, on Susquehanna Flats and in the Susquehanna River. Topics include casting, jigging and live bait fishing. Free door prizes. Advanced registration is only $25 and $15 for women and children (admission at the door will be $30). Call Kaufman at 717-284-3385 to register or for more information.

Have a great week.

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