The VAR Guy is preparing to get his game face on. Some staff members love Tom Brady and Co. But our resident blogger is more of a Giants fan -- and hoping for the best out in Green Bay. But before the tailgating begins, here are the nine most read channel partner news stories from our blog network — The VAR Guy, MSPmentor and Talkin’ Cloud — for the week ending January 13, 2012.

9. Unified Communications in the Cloud: BT has launched a pilot program that involves hosted Microsoft Lync, Contributing Blogger Matt Weinberger reported. We've told readers multiple times that Lync is Microsoft's next multi-billion-dollar software business. Apparently, BT sees the opportunity as well.

8. Don't Panic, Do Learn: If you look back on 2011, you'll find at least three reminders of why we all need business continuity, according to guest blogger Curtis James, VP of marketing at StorageCraft.

7. You Never Forget A First Impression: Guest blogger Shannon Kohn, marketing and channel relations director at Datto, reminds MSPs why they need to make a great first impression.

6. Ask the Experts: At the SCALE 10X conference in Los Angeles, Talkin' Cloud previews the "Build an Open Source Cloud" day. Cloud services providers jumped in and read along.

5. Timely Advice: How can IT service providers overcome SMB customers' cloud objections? Guest blogger Justin Moore, CEO of Axcient, offered his advice.

4. Another Big Deal: This time the M&A chatter involved a managed services provider and a cloud services providers. The duo: OutsourceIT and GoBeyondIT. Plus, outsourceIT CEO Craig Guice said his company is considering two more acquisitions...

3. Familiar Theme: CompTIA is pushing more channel partner education into vertical markets. Contributing blogger Nicholas Mukhar offered analysis -- and readers tuned in.

2. Desktop Innovation: The VAR Guy's David Courbanou openly wonders if the Belkin Thunderbolt Dock can reinvent the desktop.

1. Making His Move: Former MSP Dave Sobel is jumping over to Level Platforms as director of community. It's part of a larger Level Platforms strategy that also includes some key technology enhancements.

Thanks for tuning in. The VAR Guy appreciates your attention...