Richie Whitt, CBSDFW.COM

*Amazing but true: The Dallas Cowboys could be NFC East champs in nine days. And it ain’t that complicated at all. Here’s the deal: If the Cowboys beat the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, the New York Giants lose to the undefeated Green Bay Packers on Sunday and then Dallas beats NY Dec. 11 at Cowboys Stadium, the division is clinched. Crazy.

*After failed bids to land the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers, now Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban is attempting to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. The dude is nothing if not persistent, stubborn and rich enough to never let his dreams die. Selfishly – as a MFFL – I hope it falls through so he can remain solely focused on his basketball team.

*Cowboys started the season at 20/1 odds to win Super Bowl. Today they’re 14/1. Best betting bargain? San Francisco 49ers started at 60/1, now 11/1.

*One of the beauties of sports is the freedom to revel in the abject failure of another team. Seahawks 31, Eagles 14 wasn’t a particularly good game last night and it certainly had no NFL playoff implications, yet I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Philly’s misery – from Cliff Lee and the Phillies to Vince Young’s “Dream Team” – is always as delicious as it is hypnotic. How many of y’all predicted that after 12 games the Cowboys would be 8-4 and the Eagles 4-8? And who had Laurent Robinson being a more productive receiver this year than DeSean Jackson?

*Nonetheless, I find it difficult to manufacture any hatred for Andy Reid.

*Need some input here. For seven of the last 10 nights a gray pickup – if it was white I’d have moved already – has parked right outside my house on the curb. Not exactly blocking my driveway, nor getting in the way of the mailbox. Just there. And I have no idea who it belongs too. Out of curiosity, I’m curious. My neighbor straight across has no idea. There’s not another car on the street so parking is plentiful. And the surrounding houses all have empty driveways. If I leave a note to ask “What the what?!” am I A) A crotchety old man who needs to worry about more important things? B) A vigilant American appropriately concerned with stuff that doesn’t look or feel right? C) Infringing on a dude’s right to park in anonymity while he has an affair?

*Speaking of relishing demises in sports, Texas A&M‘s disastrous campaign has also been particularly satisfying. The blowhard Aggies returned 18 starters and began the season ranked No. 8. A slew of losses despite double-digit leads crashed with a home loss to Texas on Thanksgiving night. In the wake of 6-6 coach Mike Sherman was fired on Thursday. Sherman went 25-25 with a .500 persona to match in Aggie Land. A&M is apparently going after Houston’s Kevin Sumlin. Too bad they didn’t nab the perfect fit: Mike Leach.

*Hot.

*Not.

*Shame on Topeka, Kansas radio talk-show host Jake Lebahn for Tweeting/reporting that Texas coach Mack Brown would retire after Saturday’s game at Baylor. That’s the kind of gaffe that keeps you toiling in Topeka like … forever. All of us in the media have been wrong before, but it’s usually on predictions on a game, not a hard-news item as big as that one. Yikes. In this instantaneous age of Twitter, credibility – or loss thereof – is only a click away.

*Don’t look now but basketball is back, Beavis & Butthead has returned to TV, the stock market is up and unemployment is down. Is it safe to be happy again?

*So on Christmas Day the Mavs will raise a championship banner to the rafters in American Airlines Center, but they won’t get their rings. Seems Cuban wants to milk last year’s success with separate game-night ceremonies. Fine by me.

*I think the real NBA lockout wasn’t owners vs. players but rather small-market vs. big-market owners. Because they don’t have a “franchise player” tag like the NFL, the NBA will be damaged by Denver losing Carmelo Anthony, Utah not being able to keep Deron Williams and now New Orleans losing Chris Paul to New York.

*I was sitting here worrying about the Cowboys’ backup quarterback situation with Stephen McGee, then I perused the other NFL No. 2s and I don’t feel so bad. In Green Bay it’s Matt Flynn. The Giants would turn to David Carr. The Bears’ backup to Caleb Haney is somebody from Idaho named Nathan Enderle.

*Surely we’ll hear more about this when baseball’s Winter Meetings come to town at The Anatole next week, but for now Texas Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels says he’s fine moving forward with Mitch Moreland as the 1st baseman. As in, for now “No thanks” to Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols. For now.

*I’m not a huge rap/hip-hop guy, but I know enough to know J. Cole > Drake.

*Don’t know if he will, but I know he should: Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III winning the Heisman Trophy, of course. He’s taken that team to eight wins, including Game-of-the-Year candidates in victories over TCU and Oklahoma.

*Movie that Steven Spielberg should be ashamed of: Super 8. So there’s these kids. And they’re making a home movie. During filming there’s a big train wreck. Plastic cubes spill everywhere. Then the giant alien … Oh forget it.

*Why does Pitbull always say “Dale” as his catchphrase? I think it means everything from “It’s on!” to “Here we go!” but I’m open to suggestions.

*When he wasn’t shredding the Eagles’ disinterested defense, Marshawn Lynch was last night gobbling Skittles. Damn, I love Skittles. Gonna grab a bag today.

*I’m hearing that when – not if – network TV comes sniffing around Stars’ long-time analyst Daryl Reaugh and he leaves, the team would name as Ralph Strangis’ new partner a guy named … Bob Sturm. And he’s perfect for the gig.

*Sports Illustrated announces its 2011 Sportsman of the Year on Tuesday. Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers will probably win it as the safe – yawn – choice. But he shouldn’t. I’m hoping for Dirk Nowitzki, who finally won a title after decades of criticism while putting America on his back in defeating the hated Heat. Most deserving of the award? Novak Djokovic. Dominated tennis to the tune of a 64-3 record and won three Grand Slam tournaments on different surfaces. He went 10-1 against Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, losing only to Federer in the semis at the French Open. Nobody dominated their sport like tennis’ Novak in ’11.

*This is going to be tricky, but I’m gonna try it anyway. I hereby invoke Failure Jesus upon the irritating and overrated noggin’ of Tim Tebow. Just to see if Failure Jesus has any pull over actual Jesus. Getcha popcorn ready.

*After walk-off wins over the lowly Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins, the Cowboys are likely in for another nail-biter Sunday in Arizona. Kevin Kolb is back at quarterback, replacing the ridiculously inept John Skelton. And with Dallas, things often get dizzy in the desert. Cowboys have lost six of their last seven in Arizona, including wonky scores of 27-26, 32-31, 13-9, 9-6 and, in 2008, by 30-24 when they lost in overtime on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. They’ll win but, again, it won’t be easy. Tony Romo: 19-2 in November; 7-10 in December.

*This weekend? Today I’m at the Fan Sports Lounge with RAGE. Tomorrow night is the sorta Big 12 Championship Game in Stillwater and on Sunday, of course, back to the FSL for the official Cowboys-Cardinals pre-game show on 105.3 The Fan at Noon. Don’t be a stranger.