A smattering of thoughts to start the morning. Hopefully we'll have a very special Q&A later this afternoon -- one you won't have to stare at for four days as you simmer over past NFC title games.

*In years past, the Twins going 2-5 on an East Coast swing might have been more easily dismissed. But now? Even with that dramatic win over the Yankees, the road trip feels hollow. If the Twins are who we think they are -- and they have a payroll to show it -- the East Coast intimidation will not stand. They need to play like they belong, no matter the opponent and venue.

*The surest sign yet that Brett Favre is coming back came in the form of his silly little bet yesterday with members of the Southern Miss baseball team. He told the team that if they make the College World Series, he'll come back and play. The thing is: has anyone here ever made a faux bet like that? Whether you were 14 and it involved a girl (if I make this three-pointer, I'll ask Girl X out) or the example is more recent, you give yourself away even in the face of long odds. The thing you are willing to do if the bet comes through is the thing you really want. Count on Favre in purple in August. We've never been more sure of it in the past three months.

*The bigger mystery is LeBron James. If we had to guess, we'd say he'll wind up back in Cleveland. He'll enjoy the offseason attention, but in the end he'll stay close to his roots. In the mean time, though, it will be fun to see all the other teams slobbering and possibly tampering (sure seems like tampering to us) in regards to attempting to landing LeBron's services.