Another Christmas is in the books as a tuckered out Santa Claus returns to the North Pole for a long winter’s rest, the carolers can relax their vocal chords for another 11 months and the folks who overate during the holiday parties can decide how to get rid of those excess pounds that somehow crept onto their bodies.

Football fans got a huge dose of their favorite sport last weekend as several high school state champions were crowned, the bowl season got under way for the college football buffs and the National Football League playoff picture became a bit clearer as the league heads into its final week of the regular season.

The fact that Navasota went 16-0 and won the Class 3A Division II state championship should soften the blow of the only loss suffered this season by the West Orange-Stark Mustangs. In fact the ‘Stangs scored as many points as any of the Rattlers’ opponents.

Navasota outperformed Gilmer in every phase of their state championship game Friday, winning by an overwhelming 39-3 margin at Jerry Jones’ Palace in Arlington.

The same scenario occurred for the Newton Eagles who lost their only game to Cameron Yoe in the semifinals. The Yoemen posted a perfect 15-0 record after whipping Daingerfield 38-20 last weekend.

Other state champs included Allen and Katy in 5A, Denton Guyer and Cedar Park in Class 4A, Cameron Yoe and East Bernard in Class 2A and Stamford and Munday in Class A.

The bowl games began the weekend before last as Arizona nipped Nevada 49-48 in the New Mexico Bowl, Utah State overpowered Toledo 41-15 in the Potato Bowl and last weekend BYU soundly defeated San Diego State 23-6 in the Poinsettia Bowl.

In Friday night’s Beef O’Brady Bowl Central Florida whipped Ball State 38-17, Louisiana-Lafayette outlasted East Carolina 43-34 in the New Orleans Bowl early Saturday and Boise State nipped Washington 28-26 in the Las Vegas Bowl later on Saturday.

College football fans should be in Seventh Heaven watching bowl games this week and next. There will be a total of 28 more bowl games—including tonight’s Little Ceasars Bowl—that still need to be played. The BCS national championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame concludes the bowl barrage on Jan. 7.

The two Lone Star State’s NFL franchises both suffered setbacks Sunday playing opposite brands of football.

The Dallas Cowboys kept coming back from two touchdown deficits to tie the New Orleans Saints, only to lose 34-31 in overtime while the Houston Texans couldn’t generate any offense a fell to the Minnesota Vikings 23-6.

In fact if the rumor got out that Houston’s head coach Gary Kubiak let a 10-year-old Pop Warner player call the offensive plays, nobody would probably doubt it. It’s hard to believe a team that has defeated a dozen NFL teams couldn’t score a touchdown on a first-and-goal from inside the one-yard line.

However, the loss cannot be pinned on Houston’s defense, which played very creditably and held Adrian Peterson to 86 yards rushing. The Texans’ biggest problem is that they were on the field almost all the time thanks to the offense’s threes-and-out.

The Texans still have a good chance of winning the American Football Conference and hosting all of the playoff games at Reliant Stadium if they can beat the Colts at Indianapolis Sunday. But they will have to play much better away from home than they did Sunday at Reliant against Minnesota.

If the Texas beat Indianapolis they will be the No. 1 seed in the AFC. If the Texans lose, Broncos lose and Patriots lose the Texas still are the No. 1 seed with Denver No. 2 and New England No. 3. If the Texans lose, Broncos win and Patriots lose, the Texans are the No. 2 seed, with Denver No. 1 and New England No. 3.

If the Texans lose, Patriots win and Broncos lose the Texans are the No. 2 seed with New England No. 1 and Denver No. 3. If the Texans lose, Broncos win and Patriots win the Texans are the No. 3 seed with Denver No. 1 and New England No. 2.

And thanks to the New York Giants big 33-14 loss in Baltimore Sunday, the Cowboys can win the East Division championship Sunday with a victory over the Washington Redskins Sunday.

And while on the subject of huge losses, the mighty San Francisco 49ers ventured north to Seattle and received quite a whipping from Earl Thomas and his Seahawks’ teammates—like 42-13 in a nationally televised Sunday night game. The 49ers did manage to score a “garbage touchdown” in the final two minutes to avoid being shut out.

The win puts the Seahawks in the playoffs and the top wild-card position in the NFC with a 10-5 record while the 49ers fell to 10-4-1 and must beat lowly Arizona Sunday to avoid surrendering the NFC West Division title. Seattle concludes the regular season at home against St. Louis Sunday.

Division winners in the AFC include Houston, New England, Baltimore and Denver with Indianapolis and Cincinnati the wild cards. The NFC division winners are Atlanta and Green Bay, with San Francisco in the driver’s seat and Seattle  the probable wild card and the winner between Dallas and Washington winning the NFC East.

KWICKIES…Barry Wilner of the Associated Press had a pretty good week in his Sunday Blitz column where he picks the winners of the NFL games. This week he only missed the St. Louis Rams/Tampa Bay Bucs game, the NY Giants/Baltimore Ravens game and of course our feeble Houston Texans/Minnesota Vikings game. He’ll have a tougher time next week, because it will be hard to tell which coaches plan to rest their starters.

The Houston Astros announced Friday they have signed right-handed reliever Jose Veras to a one-year contract. The 32-year-old Veras has logged time with the New York Yankees, Cleveland, Florida, Pittsburgh and the Milwaukee Brewers. He has a 4.01 career ERA with 328 strikeouts and 172 walks in 314 innings. He was 5-4 with a 3.63 ERA last season with the Brewers.

The NCAA is expected to vote at its convention Jan. 19 on recommended changes in the recruiting of athletes in all college sports. One proposal would allow coaches to begin contacting potential high school recruits after July 1 of their sophomore year. A second proposal would remove limitations on how or how often coaches contact recruits when they’re allowed to. If approved, the new rules could take effect Aug. 1. Two other proposals would allow recruits and college athletes to accept up to $300 beyond normal expenses to participate in non-scholastic events, according to the Associated Press in Sunday’s publications.

JUST BETWEEN US…I’m kind of glad the Mayan calendar was wrong about the world coming to an end last Friday. I still like waking up every morning and even writing this Korner continuously since Sept. 12, 1966 and best of all getting to wish all of you readers a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!