The Patriots already have a built-in excuse: They just couldn't get over the hump.

The Patriots already have a built-in excuse: They just couldn’t get over the hump.

Princess, a prognosticating Bactrian camel at New Jersey’s Popcorn Park Zoo, is picking the Giants to win Super Bowl XLVI, and she has the track record to back it up: 5-1 in the past six Super Bowls and a lifetime record of 88-51 predicting NFL winners, including 14-6 this season.

Trainers give her two graham crackers — one with each team’s name on it — and the one she chooses first is the predicted winner. Her fame is spreading.

“We have guys calling up on Sunday morning wanting to know who Princess has picked that week,” zoo GM John Bergmann told AP. “One guy even asked if she does lottery numbers.”

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• At “Packers fans relieved to have more time to explore all that Green Bay has to offer this winter.”

• At “Tim Thomas asks Bruins to be paid in gold.”

Wrestling 1, Volleyball 0

Joanna Hensley, the volleyball coach at Florence (Texas) High School, has been placed on administrative leave after winning an oil-wrestling competition — and $200 — at Hardtails Bar and Grill in neighboring Georgetown, Austin’s KVUE-TV reported.

Herein lies the rub: The viscous substance in question was baby oil, but school officials consider it Texas crude.

Degree of difficulty

“Just one time,” wrote Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, “I’d like to see those Winter X Games daredevils attempt their stunts on rented skis.”

Not dead yet

A fast-spreading Internet rumor last week sent publicists scurrying into damage control to insist that still very much alive was:

a) Cher

b) the Washington Wizards.

Team spirits

More than 50 million cases of beer will be sold in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, The Nielsen Company estimated.

Or roughly 2 ½ seasons’ worth in the Red Sox clubhouse.

Talko time

• Times reader Bill Littlejohn, on a sure tipoff to Baltimore defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano’s neighbors that he’d been whisked away by the Indianapolis Colts: “Moving vans in the middle of the night.”

• Kevin Paul Dupont of The Boston Globe: on the birthplace of Minnesota Wild defenseman Justin Falk, Snowflake, Manitoba: “A town where no two people look alike.”

• Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, after Jeff Fisher chose to coach the Rams instead of the Dolphins: “That’s sort of like choosing the beets over the Brussels sprouts.”

Pick of the letters

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari says he got a fan letter from a dog, complete with a paw-print signature.

Veteran Wildcat watchers suspect it came from one of Rupp’s Runts.

Dwight Perry: 206-464-8250 or