Armadillo's Den:
Tuesday's List of 13:
Nobody asked me, but.....
How home favorites, dogs do in league play. On college hoop page
NBA info now posted on CB page; also, info on every NHL game

College basketball info every day thru Final Four

Tuesday's six-pack
Six of the best minor league prospects for the Boston Red Sox
1) Yoan Moncada, 2B-- Won't be 21 until May; hit .278 in first pro season.
2) Rafael Devers, 3B-- Hit .300 in first 185 minor league games.
3) Andrew Benintendi, OF-- At 5-10, 170, has surprising pop in bat.
6) Brian Johnson, P-- Florida alum pitched four innings in majors LY.
12) Marco Hernandez, 2B/SS-- Hit .326 in Eastern League LY.
17) Trey Ball, P-- Went to same high school in Indiana as Steve Alford.

NFL Job Interview Advice of the Day
"Staff is the single most important thing, because it shows judgment. Everything else in the (job) interview can be scripted, but staff is judgment. If he has the staff wrong, I’m not going to hire him.”
Former NFL GM Charley Casserly

Daily quiz
Celtics coach Brad Stevens used to coach which college team?

Monday's quiz
Four NFL teams have never played in the Super Bowl: Houston-

Sunday's quiz
Dick Vermeil and Pete Carroll are the only two coaches in football history to win both the Rose Bowl and the Super Bowl as head coaches.

Super Bowl records- most passing yards in a Super Bowl:
keep in mind there have now been 50 Super Bowls (100 QBs).
3) 365 yards, Kurt Warner, Rams vs NE-- Super Bowl XXXVI
2) 377 yards, Kurt Warner, Cardinals vs Pitt-- Super Bowl XLI

1) 414 yards, Kurt Warner, Rams vs Tenn-- Super Bowl XXXIV

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Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody wasked me, but....
13) Knicks fired coach Derek Fisher Monday; there is an awful lot of politics in pro coaching. Fisher went right from playing to being a head coach, a bad idea to begin with, but the Knicks improved this year because of adding Porzingis, but they've lost nine of last ten games. Phil Jackson figures to pursue Luke Walton this summer.

12) Steve Kerr turned down the Knicks job before they hired Fisher; would Walton take it? He is a west coast guy all the way, and with his success as interim coach of the Warriors, he might be able to wait for a better situation than the dysfunctional Knicks.

11) Total betting handle in Nevada on the Super Bowl was $132.5M, including one guy who risked $623,642.75 with Carolina on the money line to win $327,969.60. All the Panthers had to do was win-- whoops.

10) Opening line on next year's Super Bowl in Houston: NFC, -2, total of 48.5.

9) Very good article here on how NFL coaches interview for head coaching jobs. It is an interesting process-- learned a lot reading this article.

8) Kevin Durant had a media pass as a photographer at the Super Bowl.

7) Broncos gained 194 yards Sunday, least ever by a Super Bowl winner. They also hit Cam Newton 13 times; he had been hit an average of 3.4 times a game this year.

6) George Karl used to work for ESPN; nice of the network to continually speculate on exactly when he's going to be fired by the Kings this week. Sacramento was playing OK until they lost a great double OT game with Charlotte couple weeks ago- that loss propelled them into their current freefall. Freefalls cost coaches their jobs.

5) Villanova is #1 in the AP basketball poll for the first time, even though they won the 1985 national title; that leaves seven schools who have won a national title without ever having been #1 in the polls. Maryland is one of those teams.

4) I was looking at a list of college basketball players who play the highest %age of their team's minutes: LaSalle has three of top eight kids on the list. Their subs have played the 4th-least minutes of any bench in the country.

3) College hoop teams who score the highest %age of points on 3-pointers:
North Florida (18-8) 44.7%, Akron (19-4) 44.5%, Wyoming (12-13) 41.6%.

2) College hoop teams who score the highest %age of points on foul shots:
Howard (10-13) 29.2%, Towson State (17-8) 27.0%, Memphis (14-9) 26.6%.

1) Scoring in college basketball is up 9% this year; it would go up more if they put the NBA's continuation rule into the college game. Wouldn't take much, just let the refs let more baskets count after fouls. Would be a positive change.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday.......
13) Broncos 24, Panthers 10-- In the excellent football movie Any Given Sunday, Al Pacino's character says more than once, "On any given Sunday, you're going to win or you're going to lose. The question is, can you win or lose like a man?"Cam Newton is going to have to learn that an NFL QB has to the face the music, win or lose.

When you lose, you have to grit your teeth and answer the media's questions, no matter how much you might hate it. Thats why quarterbacks and coaches make the big bucks- it is part of the job. Maybe you're purposely boring like Belichick, but you can not storm off the stage like a frustrated 10-year old. its not what a quarterback does,. .

12) Underdogs covered seven of last nine Super Bowls, winning six SU.

11) It was a sloppy Super Bowl and that includes the officials; when Ron Rivera watches this tape, he is not going to be happy with the officiating.

10) Next September 8, Broncos will host the 2016 season opener on a Thursday, the new NFL tradition, but that Bronco team is going to look a lot different than this one, with Peyton Manning probably retiring.

9) If you're Brock Osweiler and Broncos don't put the franchise tag on you, aren't you better off getting paid somewhere else, where the team has lesser espectations? There is nowhere to go but downhill in Denver; will be interesting to see what he does.

8) Houston Texan fans have to be bittersweet; Gary Kubiak went 63-66 in his eight years as the Houston coach, winning two playoff games. Basically, his tenure was one of underachieving. Then he goes to Denver and wins a title in his first year. Oy.

Also, Wade Phillips' dad coached the Houston Oilers for six years (59-38), so seeing his son hoist the Lombardi Trophy had to make Texan fans at least a little happy.

7) Rough week for Hofstra's basketball team; on Thursday, they lost 70-67 at home to NC-Wilmington, after being up 38-18 with 2:24 left in first half. On Sunday, they lost 98-95 in OT at James Madison, after leading 45-31 with 1:02 left in the first half. For a team that starts three seniors, that not good.

Hofstra's subs play the 2nd-least minutes of any bench in the country and it shows late in games. Hope they're having a big recruiting year- lot of points are graduating.

6) North Carolina/Oklahoma both lost Saturday, the first time since Feb 2, 2013 the #1 and #2 teams in country lost on the same day.

5) It cost $7 for a bottle of water at the Super Bowl. .An average-sized bottle.

4) San Diego State's basketball team has won 161 games in a row when they led with 5:00 to play; streak almost ended Saturday, but they escaped with an OT win over the Lobos at Viejas Arena, after trailing by 5 with 0:15 left to play.

3) Did my taxes Sunday; they ask you if you want to contibute $3 to any political campaigns-- ha!!! Maybe someday I'll do a list of 13 things I'd rather do than give money to a weasel politician- it'll include just about anything.

2) Mexico played Venezuela in the Caribbean (baseball) World Series Sunday; their uniforms were covered with advertisements, something different to see.

1) Phoenix Open golf tournament actually overlapped for close to a half hour with the Super Bowl, with the playoff in Phoenix going four holes. Weird to see another major sporting event going on while the Super Bowl was being played.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) First of all, congrats to Rams Orlando Pace, Kevin Greene on getting elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Greene was born in Schenectady, NY, hometown of Pat Riley, about 10 miles from Armadillo World Headquarters.

12) Kansas State 80, Oklahoma 69-- You go 6-24 on the arc when you normally shoot 40%, you'll probably lose.

11) Notre Dame 80, North Carolina 76-- ND was 31-38 on the foul line, scoring 80 points while turning ball over only twice the whole game. That doesn't happen much. Tar Heels were #1 in country, then lost two games in a row.

10) Pacific 77, BYU 72-- Cougars beat St Mary's Thursday, then lost as a 16-point home favorite here- they're not a good defensive team.

9) Fresno State 111, UNLV 104 2OT-- Wheels have fallen off for Rebels, now their freshman center Zimmerman is hurt- they're out of big players. Interesting though that George Karl might get fired; would he be interested in coaching at UNLV?

8) West Virginia 80, Baylor 69-- Mountaineers are on top in Big X, which will get at least six of its ten teams into the NCAAs.

7) Bad Beat of the Day: San Diego State (-6.5) 78, New Mexico 71-- If you took the points with the Lobos, don't watch SportsCenter. New Mexico led by five points with 0:15 left in regulation, getting 6.5 points and they didn't cover. Oy.

6) Illinois State 58, Wichita State 53-- Shockers led by 12 at half; this was their first loss since December 19 at Seton Hall. Illinois State shot 27% from the floor and won, which almost never happens- Wichita scored 20 points in second half.

5) Marshall 109, Tex-San Antonio 91-- Mike D'Antoni's brother is Marshall's coach; they run like hell, scoring 98.3 ppg in last three games. Thundering Herd is 8-3 in Conference USA, after starting its pre-conference schedule 0-6.

4) Michigan State 89, Michigan 73-- Game wasn't nearly this close; Spartans drilled 14-22 on arc, are 47-80 on the arc in last three games. Thats 58.8%!!!!

3) There were 201,003 spectators at the Phoenix Open golf tournament yesterday; some of them were drinking. Sounds like it needs to be added to my list of visits to make in the near future. Could also do college basketball and the Suns while there.

2) Why do college basketball teams bring their benches onto the court during breaks in action? It makes no sense; NBA teams don't do it and they have fans closer than lot of the college teams. Do coaches not want to be heard chewing out their players?

1) South Carolina 81, Texas A&M 78-- Huge win for Frank Martin's team, which is 20-3 but having played non-conference schedule #288, was lacking in quality wins. On Selection Sunday, this game will be huige for them.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Louisville self-imposed a postseason ban in its basketball team Friday, trying to head off a more severe (and longer lasting) penalty from the NCAA, one tha would negatively impact its recruiting. So no Louisville in the postseason next month; thats two of the top 25 teams (with SMU) that will be done too early this season.

12) Rick Pitino made a big thing out of feeling sorry for his two graduate transfers who came to Louisville to play their senior season for the Cardinals, leaving Drexel, Cleveland State for greener pastures. I have no sympathy for the kids- they bolted on their old teams for business reasons- well, business can be harsh sometimes.

Drexel is 3-19, Cleveland State 7-17; wonder what their coaches think?

11) I am told in the PR business it is known as "a Friday news dump", getting bad news out to the public just before the weekend, when the most people are not paying as much attention. We had Louisville's debacle, Iowa State suspending a player and USC AD Pat Haden retiring all announced 48 hours before the Super Bowl.

10) Yale's Brandon Sherrod had an amazing streak snapped Friday; he made 30 consecutive shots from the floor, but finally missed one. Yale hasn't won an Ivy title since 1959; they came thisclose LY, but are in first place now, with nine games left.

9) Bad Beat of the Week: Illinois (-7) 110, Rutgers 101, 3OT-- Wednesday's game was a horrific beat for Rutgers backers, not covering a triple OT game when you're +7, especially since Rutgers hit a ridiculous 3-pointer to tie the game at the buzzer of one of the OTs. But I have one question for people who bet on Rutgers:

They're a really, really bad team; how can you bet on Rutgers in the first place?

8) Richard Dreyfuss is playing Wall Street crook Bernie Madoff in a new movie and that makes it worth watching. Our two favorite Dreyfuss roles are the compulsive gambler in Let It Ride and the actor-turned-dictator in Moon Over Paradoor.

7) If you care about such things, over the last nine years, the average length of the national anthem before the Super Bowl was 1:57.

6) In Super Bowl history, the first score was: TD 24 times, 22 FGs, 3 safeties.

5) Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley and Purdue coach Matt Painter were both in the movie Blue Chips, as players, Hurley was Indiana's point guard in the movie.

4) St Mary's has had 18 Australian players since Randy Bennett has been coach of the Gaels, best of whom were Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova.

3) Golfer Steve Stricker turns 50 in 13 months; if he wants to play a lot of golf, he could make a small fortune on the Senior Tour, since he is still very competitive on the PGA Tour. Senior Tour is one place where being a rookie is an advantage.

2) Many thanks to Geek Squad at Best Buy, who put a quick end to this laptop's mouse problems during the week. Quick and inexpensive-- good place to shop.

1) NFL Network's Super Bowl pregame show starts at 9am Sunday; the game is 6:30 at night. Thats an awful lot of banter for one day.

Friday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) I'm watching Blue Chips as I type this; a great movie that I haven't seen in a long time. Nick Nolte, Shaquille O'Neal, Mary MacDonnell, Penny Hardaway, Ed O'Neill, Alfre Woodard- Rick Pitino even coaches one of the other teams in the first scene.

There is one scene where Nolte's character is recruiting a midwestern kid whose father is highly religious; of course the coach pretends to be the same religion, but when the father asks, "First Baptist or Southern Baptist?", he has to guess which one. Good thing for the movie he guesses right.

12) Which reminds me of these politicians who are running for President; they'll say whatever they can, if they think it'll get them votes. Ted Cruz babbles on and on about the Washington establishment, but his wife works for Goldman Sachs. Oy.

11) If you like college basketball, is a great website; lot of stats, solid knowledge. They had an article this week saying how the Washington Huskies have had 36 players (now 37) players foul out of games this season. Next highest on the list is Bradley, with 23. Washington is young and aggressive, a good team, but they do commit a lot of fouls.

10) In case you're wondering, the record is 50 disqualifications, set by Providence in 1987. Coached by Rick Pitino, with Billy Donovan as a point guard, they also made the Final Four, so maybe fouling a lot isn't such a bad thing. Playing passively is worse than being too aggressive..

9) Michigan is the only team this season that hasn't had a player foul out this year. Was weird the other night seeing Indiana go on a 28-0 run against the Wolverines the other night. Doesn't happen a lot at that level.

8) I'm not big on Jay Bilas as a TV analyst, but he worked an NBA game on ESPN with Mike Breen and Doug Collins and they made a great team. Lot of good talk about regular basketball stuff, not much BS. Bilas/Collins have a relationship because of Chris Collins having worked at Duke- they were good together.

7) Washington Wizards are the only NBA team this season with a better road record than home record.

6) Last time the Denver Broncos didn't sell out a home game? 1969.

5) Fred McNair is the new football coach at Alcorn State; he is the brother of the late Steve McNair-- Fred spent three years here in Albany as the backup QB for the Firebirds in the Arena Football League. We wish him well.

4) Good luck to Jonny Gomes, wh is headed to Japan to play for Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan. Gomes was a marginal big leaguer, but a great teammate. When Ray Fosse spoke glowingly of him on A's telecasts, as far as his reverence for the history of the game, that spoke a lot. He could be a manager someday.

3) Raiders-Texans are going to play a game in Mexico City next year; the first NFL game in Mexico since 2005.

2) Career tip: If you're an NFL player, especially a marginal one, its a very bad idea to get caught in a prostitution sting a week before the Super Bowl. I'm just sayin'...

1) There is one reason why NBA basketball is better than college basketball and it has nothing to do with the rules. College basketball has better rules, but the NBA has the greatest players on the planet!!! There are nitwits who want to foist NBA rules on the college game, but unless you have Steph Curry's talent level, it won't matter.

Thursday's List of 13: Looking at obscure Super Bowl prop bets
Apparently has lines on all these props; if you're a compulsive gambler, Super Bowl week can be tough. One sportsbook in Las Vegas puts out a 40-page pdf file with all the wagering possibilities for Sunday.

13) Will the Panthers player who scores their first TD give the ball to a boy or a girl?
Boy: -200...........Girl: +150

12) How many times will "John Fox" be said during the broadcast?
Over 1 (-$140)..........Under 1 (even)

11) How many times will Archie Manning be shown during the broadcast?
Over 1.5 (even).............Under 1.5 (-$140)

10) How many times will John Elway be shown during the broadcast?
Over 2.5 (even).......Under 2.5 (-$140)

9) What color will Beyonce's footwear be at halftime?
Black 3/2....Gold/brown 5/2......White 11/4.....Silver/grey 19/4......other 7/1

8) How many viewers will watch Super Bowl 50?
Over/under is 117,000,000 viewers

7) What will the Nielsen rating be for Super Bowl 50?
Over/under is 48.5 (Last year's rating was 49.7)

6) Will there be a penalty for excessive celebration?
Yes +$250..........No -$400

5) Will either backup QB take a snap during the game?
Yes +$200.......No -$300

4) Which will be higher:
Donald Trump's % in New Hampshire primary: -$200
Points scored by winning team in Super Bowl: +$150

3) Which will be higher:
DeMarcus Cousins points + rebounds on February 7 (-$105)
Cam Newton's rushng yards (-$105)

2) Which will be higher:
Goals scored in Montreal-Carolina game February 7 (-$105)
Total receptions by Carolina TE Greg Olsen (-$105)

1) Will the person who calls the coin toss be right?

Wednesday's List of 13: Looking at some college basketball.....
13) Mid-American Conference-- Everyone has 2+ losses already; #78 Akron is only MAC team ranked above #138 in country- their coach Keith Dambrot was high school coach, where he coached Lebron James. MAC has been a one-bid league 14 years in a row- their last NCAA tourney wins were by Ohio U in 2012. .

12) Missouri Valley-- Wichita State had injury problems in November; they've got no such problems now, are 10-0 in Valley. . Southern Illinois has had a resurgence, while Northern Iowa has regressed. Last three years, MVC teams are 4-1 in first round of the NCAA tournament.

11) West Coast-- Since 2003, WCC is 20-23 in NCAAs; Gonzaga is 14-12, rest of league is 6-11. Gonzaga/St Mary's, followed by BYU. I'm writing this on Groundhog Day, so it seems fitting- this league is same every year. Pepperdine has made strides; rest of this league stinks.

10) Mountain West-- San Diego State, then everyone else; UNLV is 4-6 despite being favored in nine of ten games. Last four years, league is 6-12 in NCAAs, with Aztecs in 2014 only team to make Sweet 16. No guarantee this league gets more than one team in NCAAs this year; if San Diego State wins conference tourney, no way they do.

9) Colonial-- Four teams within game of first place; four teams tied for first place LY. VCU/George Mason made Final Four from CAA in last decade, but both defected to A-14. This year, CAA is #9 conference; if that holds, it'll be their best rating in last 13 years-- last three years, CAA is 0-3 in NCAAs, losing by 21-15-4 points.

8) Atlantic 14-- VCU/Dayton/St Joe's look good for NCAAs; Rhode Island has been decimated by injuries. Still think 14 teams is too many for one league, but then again, no one asked me. From 2011-13, A-14 was 9-3 in first round games; last two years, they were 2-6, plus Dayton's play-in win (at home).

7) American-- SMU is 19-2 but is ineligible for postseason; four teams are tied for second with three conference losses. UConn/Cincinnati should get to NCAAs even if they lose conference tourney. League is 10-4 in NCAAs in its first two years, with UConn winning national title two years ago.

6) SEC-- Kentucky is 2-4 on SEC road; its hard to totally rebuild your squad every year with freshmen who think they should be in the NBA. Texas A&M is est team in SEC now; Vandy/LSU seem to be best teams who are on bubble. South Carolina has hardest part of its schedule ahead. SEC teams are 19-5 in first three rounds of NCAA's the last three years; five of ten teams made Elite 8, three made Final Four.

5) Big 14-- From 2011-14, this league was #1 in Ken Pom ratings every year; LY they were #4, now #5. Ohio State-Wisconsin-Illinois have regressed, Minnesota has fallen off the face of the earth, Iowa has its best team in years, with four seniors starting. Last six years, league is 28-10 in first round games, 17-11 in second round, 9-9 in third round, 6-3 in regional finals, but no national titles.

4) Big East- I'm not going to rant on goegraphy here, but I should. Midwest teams are dragging league down this year, them and St John's, which is basically an expansion team. How are teams in Chicago/NYC the worst teams in this league? Refigured Big East is 6-4 in first round games last two years; they were 8-8 the last two years prior to realignment.

3) Pac-12-- Weirdest of seasons in college basketball; no great teams, none. Oregon is 7-2, four other teams are 6-3. UCLA is tied for 7th. Andy Enfield has USC tied for 2nd, Arizona has been wracked by injuries. Ben Howland got UCLA to three straight NCAAs in 2006-08; no Pac-12 team has been in Final Four since then. Since 2003, Arizona is 5-8 on second weekend of NCAAs, with no Final Fours.

2) ACC-- Is it my imagination, or are lot less of these games on TV than there used to be? We see more SEC/Big 14/Big X now. Duke is 5-4 in ACC, a down year for them; North Carolina seems like best team. Last three years, ACC won 14 of 16 first round games, 8-6 in second round, 4-4 in third round, 1-3 in regional finals. Last year's Duke team was ACC's first Final Four team since 2010.

1) Big X-- This league is really good this year, really tough, no easy outs. I feel bad for the West Virginia kids, who got sold out by the athletic department because of money involved with football. Shortest road trip in conference for West Virginia is 700 miles to Ames, Iowa. Last three years, Big X is just 8-10 in first round NCAA games.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Louisville 71, North Carolina 65-- First half of this game was a brickfest; UNC was 3-17 on arc for the game-- they're shooting 30.2% for the year. No bueno.

12) Two of Louisville's best players this year are Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, a pair of graduate transfers, Lee from Drexel, Lewis from Cleveland State. As an Oakland A's fan, I'm sensitive to big-money teams poaching players from schools with less cash, so this "free agency" that has popped up in college basketball bothers me.

ESPN's announcers didn't seem too anxious to talk about the graduate transfer rule, but I'm wondering what the coaches of Drexel (3-18) and Cleveland State (7-16) think?

11) One of the great lines I've ever heard was back when I was an assistant high hoop coach-- this is November of 1993, I'm pretty sure, after we lost our second game of what would be a very long season. The head coach looked at the players and said, "......when things start going bad, the rats start jumping off the ship."

I'm not doing it justice; but he delivered the line with great timing and disdain, but it underlines one of the unfortunate facts of our culture-- people are frontrunners, and as I start to learn more about politics from watching too much TV, it appears that this may be more true in politics than it is in sports. Someone loses and people are fast to hop off the bandwagon. It is too bad.

10) Donald Trump got beat last night, the headline the front page of the NY Daily News today is: "Dead Clown Walking". When you're cocky and arrogant and then you lose, people take pleasure in piling on. We'll see how this plays out.

Mike Tyson once said: "Everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Now we'll see how Trump reacts to figuratively getting punched in the mouth.

9) Weekly update on Showtime's Billions: You watch a show like this and you hear about politics, the less you like or trust people. Just a bunch of weasels.

This week, the main character buys stock in a snack food company that made his favorite snack as a kid, because they changed the recipe to increase profits and now the snack doesn't taste as good. So he buys stock in the ompany, gets two board members fired, one of whom is sleeping with his main rival's father (its a soap opera, dammit).

8) No one told the Phoenix Suns players the team fired coach Jeff Hornacek; how do you run a business that way? There are only 15 players; how difficult would it be for a group text to go out?

7) NHL teams playing on second night of a back/back are 83-114 this year against teams that didn't play the night before. Under is 12-9 (with several pushes) in games involving two teams who were both on back end of a back/back.

6) Brandt Snedeker won the Farmers Open golf tournament Monday; he was the only guy in the field to break par (he played his 4th round Sunday) in the last round, which had an average stroke count of 77.9, the highest 4th-round scoring average on Tour in the last 33 years. Brutal winds made the course really difficult.

5) Golfer Jim Furyk is out for three more months after wrist surgery

4) Duke is out of the top 25 for the first time since April, 2007.

3) Terrible news for UNLV's Ben Carter, who blew out his ACL Saturday night in the loss to San Diego State. Tough guy, a glue guy, hard to replace.

2) Texas 67, Baylor 59-- I think Shaka Smart is little bit overrated; he got the Texas job because of his pressing style at VCU, but because of the roster he inherited, this Texas team is playing at pace #319 in country, very slow. Anyway, Texas is 6-3 in Big X- this was a good win for them. I'm just curious as to how Smart will recruit the next couple years, if he'll try to re-create Havoc and press like West Virginia does.

1) This is 2016, technology is running amok and yet in Iowa, they have an outdated way to choose who wins their state's delegates. It makes no sense, but it is how things are done. maybe at some point, they can join the 21st century. One thing for sure, it'll be four years before any of these politicians step foot in Iowa again.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) In the last 20 years, there have been 19 individual seasons where a player scored 24+ ppg with 7+ assists a game; of those 19, the only player not to make it to the All-Star Game? Damion Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers.

12) This is how big a rebuilding job Chris Mullin has at St John's; when Villanova was at Madison Square Garden yesterday, they were a 20-point road favorite. I chart teams in 23 different conferences; no one else has been a 20-point home dog this year.

11) St John's/Knicks both had home games at MSG Sunday; Clippers/Lakers both had games in Staples Center; would be interesting to know how many fans paid to see both games. Thats a good day, two NBA games in the same building.

10) Someone said on TV this weekend that when the Selection Committee looks at Syracuse for the NCAA tournament, they'll catch a break by playing much better since Jm Boeheim came back from his suspension. This seems asinine- its not like Boeheim was out with an illness, he missed nine games because his progam broke rules.

Why should Syracuse get the benefit of the doubt because their program cheated?

9) How does Johnny Manziel not have his own reality show?

8) Someone did an anonymous poll of NBA players/coaches, as far as who the best and worst referees are: According tot his survey, the best thee are:

Danny Crawford-Joey Crawford (not related)-Marty McCutchen
Worst three refs: Scott Foster (by wide margin), Lauren Holtkamp, Marc Davis

7) NHL owners must be happy with their business; commissioner Gary Bettman had his contract extended thru 2022 this weekend.

6) Phoenix Suns fired coach Jeff Hornacek last night; it won't help. Phoenix has a bad team and its best player is out for the year. Good players win games.

Brooklyn Nets are 2-9 since changing coaches; Cleveland Cavaliers are 4-1- they were winning before they changed coaches. Will be interesting to see where David Blatt surfaces, whether it is the NBA, college or even a television job. If he did NBA games on TV, how critical would he be?

5) Tom Thibodeau got fired by the Bulls LY after going 255-139 in five seasons, but only 23-28 in playoff games; well, under Fred Hoiberg this year, Chicago is 26-20 and treading water in the East- they're 4-7 in their last eleven games. Not an improvement.

4) NBA banned sideline cameras at midcourt this weekend, a safety issue for refs and players; actually, Lebron James tripped over one last week and tweaked his ankle. If Lou Amundson had tripped on a camera, they'd probably still be there.

3) Tennessee-Virginia Tech are playing football at Bristol Motor Speedway next September, in front of a crowd expected to be around 160,000.

2) Its getting tough to listen to Dick Vitale on TV these days; only reason I stuck with the audio of the Oklahoma-LSU game Saturday was because Brent Musberger was working with him, and I enjoy his work. Vitale has his shtick, and seems to have been thrown off his game by Jay Bilas getting the #1 game on Saturdays now. ESPN's roster of college basketball analysts has taken a hit the last few years.

1) Carolina Panthers are ninth team to get to the Super Bowl with either zero or one loss; the other eight teams went 5-3 in their Super Bowls.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Kansas 90, Kentucky 84 OT-- If the games at the Final Four are this good, CBS will be very happy with the TV ratings it gets. Tyler Ulis played the whole game for Kentucky; Wayne Selden played 44:00 for Kansas. Great effort by both teams. .

12) Oklahoma 77, LSU 75-- Ben Simmons is a kid, a freshman in college in a new country who is going to be a great player; for the love of God, could you get the kid one shot in the last 4:46 of a close game? He is your best player.

That said, I can't take TV people criticizing the kid for not being more forceful; he is a freshman- its up to the point guard and the coach to get him shots. LSU is 13-8; this win would've put them on the bubble. Not a lot of marquee games left for them.

11) Big X went 7-3 in their 10-game challenge with the SEC, 4-6 vs spread. Favorites from the Big X went 3-3 vs spread; SEC favorites went 3-1.

10) Providence 73, Georgetown 69-- Friars play better on the road than at home.

9) Houston 97, East Carolina 93 2OT-- Players in this game were cramping up on the court, during the second OT. Eight kids played 40:00+- not many teams have lot of depth, as we watch games cross-country all day long.

8) Milwaukee Brewers traded SS Jose Segura to Arizona in 5-player deal, opening a spot for Orlando arcia, their #1 minor league prospect. .

7) Apparently there is nothing in NFL rules that says Raiders cannot move to Las Vegas; Jerry Jones doesn't want them in San Antonio and they seem reluctant to move to Santa Clara to share Levi's Stadium with the 49ers, so Vegas is an option.

6) With a week until the Super Bowl, a huge majority of $$$ being bet on the Super Bowl has been bet on Carolina so far. Underdog bettors are likely wating to see how high the spread goes; would expect lot of Denver fans to head to Vegas next weekend to bet on their team. Carolina's bandwagon is suddenly getting pretty crowded.

5) Long Beach State 78, Hawai'i 64; UCSB 76, Cal-Irvine 60; Top two teams in Big West both lose for first time in league play.

4) Wizards 123, Rockets 122-- Dwight Howard got ejected for the second game in a row, this time with 8:08 to play. His team could've used him.

3) Virginia 63, Louisville 47-- Cardinals had 14 points at the half. Fourteen. Virginia had been 0-3 on the road in ACC games.

2) Channel 687 on DirecTV is one of the better college basketball channels on the dish; ROOT Sports shows lot of games from the west, smaller leagues. Games from Mountain West, WCC, Summit, even some lesser ACC games.

1) We're six weeks from Selection Sunday; Monday is February 1- the second half of conference play is beginning. An excellent time of the year.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Chargers will play the 2016 season in San Diego; it remains to be seen where their permanent home will be, but this keeps the Raiders in limbo and gives the Rams LA to themselves, at least for next season- they'll share the Coliseum with USC. San Diego is the 8th-largest city in America; they're going to have an NFL team, whether it is the Chargers or someone else which plays into the Spanos family's decision to keep that door open. Not sure if the NFL would approve the Raiders going to Las Vegas.

12) Over last 15 years, penalties called in NFL playoff games are 18% less than in the regular season, confirming our suspicions that referee supervisors micromanage their employees so badly it makes the game less fun to watch-- too many penalties.

11) Player on the NHL's Calgary Flames cross-checked a linesman during a game and is suspended- he's lucky if they don't suspend him for a year for such a blatant try to official. Doesn't this genius realize the games are televised and they show replays of things that happen? He should be suspended just for being stupid.

10) Paul Allen owns the Seahawks and Trailblazers; he is worth around $18B, and is said to be a good guy. Recently his yacht tore up 14,000 square feet of protected coral reef in the Cayman Islands-- he will be fined $600K, which is like fining me $25.

9) Player on Manhattan got a technical foul for flopping, after the refs looked at an instant replay of the incident, where the Manhattan player acted like he got whacked in the head by the Iona guy who had the ball. First time I've seen a defender given a technical foul for faking it since back when I was in high school in the mid-70's.

8) Golden State is a 17.5-point road favorite at Philly today, most an NBA visitor has been favored by since Miami was a 17-point favorite in New Orleans on April 2, 2008. Warriors are 14-7-1 as a road favorite this year.

7) College football signing day is Wednesday, so you'll see coaches getting contract extensions, to reassure recruits the coach will be there throughout their playing days. Brian Kelly (ND) and Kyle Whittingham (Utah) got extensions late this week.

6) Laker GM Mitch Kupchak's son is a freshman at UCSB, where he's started the last ten games for the Gauchos. Quite a compliment for a program if the GM of an NBA team sends his kid to play for you. UCSB is struggling this year, but has been a perennial upper-division team in the Big West.

5) Barry Trotz was the coach of the Nashville Predators for 15 years, a really long time for a guy to coach the same pro team. This weekend he is back in Nashville as a coach in the NHL All-Star Game. He wouldn't be human if he didn't feel at least a little more satisfaction because the game is in Tennessee.

4) How much time and effort goes into choosing which color tie a candidate wears during one of these Presidential debates? There have to be consultants for that, right?

3) One of the anchors on CNN or MSNBC this week signed off for the hour by saying, "Don't forget to friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter". Somehow, and this will make me sound old, I'm sure, but I can't picture Walter Cronkite or Tom Brokaw ever saying that. I could be wrong.......

2) Susan Sarandon introduced Bernie Sanders at a rally in Iowa this week; if you told me to guess how far apart in age those two are, I would've missed badly. Sanders is 74; Ms Sarandon is the most attractive 69-year old woman on the planet.

1) One of my pet peeves is when people say "I can't write". Everyone can write; if you can talk, you can write. People get intimidated by the keyboard and the computer screen. if you get writer's block, take a tape recorder and talk into it. Tell stories, make lists, just talk. then transcribe the tape and, voila-- you've written!!!!

Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) Seven New England Patriots were voted into the Pro Bowl; none will play. None of them were replaced by other Patriots. In probably unrelated news, the NFL named their all-time Super Bowl team and neither Brady/Belichick were on it.

12) Speaking of the Pro Bowl, that is the one football game I rarely watch-- can't remember the last time I've seen it. Having Michael Irvin/Jerry Rice draft the teams doesn't exactly make the game any more appealing for me.

11) Denver Broncos are taking all their employees to the Super Bowl; around 300 people. Apparently not every team does this-- it can't be cheap, but NFL teams make so much money, doubt that is a factor. Nice thing to do, isn't it?

10) Former Oregon State coach Craig Robinson was debating wisdom of putting a hand up while closing out a 3-point shooter last night, at the Richmond-GW game. Lot of basketball coaches are more in line with Mark Jackson's thinking-- he always said on ESPN if a defender didn't put his hand up, "Hand down, man down".

Robinson claimed putting a hand up helped the shooter line up his shot; I know he is the President's brother-in-law and all, but I'd have to disagree with him on this.

9) If you beg out of playing in the NHL All-Star Game because of injury/illness, you are not allowed to play in your team's first game after the All-Star break.

8) Clete Blakeman, who was a backup QB at Nebraska in his college days will be the ref at the Super Bowl- it is his first Super Bowl. Curious to me how they've never had Gene Steratore ref a Super Bowl-- it can't be that he refs college basketball, since Bill Vinovich reffed the Super Bowl LY and he does college basketball games, too,

7) Why can't the Raiders/49ers just share Levi's Stadium? 49ers seem open to it, but Mark Davis is in Las Vegas today, looking at sites for a potential new stadium. Unsure if the NFL would let a team relocate to Las Vegas. Interesting option, though.

6) Clemson Tigers are 8-0 against the spread in the ACC; Charlotte is 8-0 vs spread in C-USA games; neither team was a preseason contender in their league.

5) New York Mets' Class A farm team in South Carolina is the Columbia Fireflies; apparently their hats this season will glow in the dark. Seriously.

4) Golden State Warriors are moving from Oakland to San Francisco in four years, when their new arena is done; I'm wondering if they'll still have the great home court advantage they have now in Oakland? New arena means more expensive tickets which means wealthier fans who care less about the game than less wealthy people.

3) Wisconsin hired Justin Wilcox as defensive coordinator; he spent last two years at USC, had previously worked at Oregon, Boise State. ESPN needs to do a feature on how a lot of these assistant football coaches are total nomads, going from one job to another almost every year. Bears coach John Fox once worked in a different place for eight consecutive years and I think Iowa State was the best plaxe of the eight. .

2) Interesting time of year; in middle of night, there is live golf on TV from Qatar, Singapore, live tennis from Australia. I remember sitting in a bar in Vegas last March, and the next day's golf tournament had already started on TV. It is worse in July and the British Open is on-- that starts at about 11pm Las Vegas time every day.

1) This has been an unusual year; the NBA All-Star Game is in Toronto, the NHL's All-Star Game is in Tennessee. One of the leading contenders to be President of the United States insults over half the country and gets away with it-- go figure.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Teams wearing white won 10 of the last 11 Super Bowls; Denver chose to wear white next week, since they're 0-4 in Super Bowl with orange jerseys on.

12) There were a total of 14,073 walks in in 2,430 major league baseball games LY; in those 2,430 games, the leadoff hitter in the game walked 144 times. There were four bases-loaded walks that ended games, walk-off walks.

11) Salaries of basketball coaches at some lesser-known successful programs:
Xavier coach makes $1.2M, Richmond's coach $700K, Northern Iowa's $600K.

10) In the NBA, Houston-Portland-Sacramento have all played 12 sets of back/back games, the most in the league so far. Minnesota has played seven, the least- they are 0-7 in the second game of back/backs, 3-4 vs spread.

9) Under is 110-96 this season in NBA games when a team playing the second night in a row faces a team that had the previous night off.

8) Home teams playing the second night in a row are 52-38 vs spread this year.

7) Nikola Mirotic of the Chicago Bulls will be out for a few weeks after he had an appendectomy; he should be back after the All-Star break.

6) Watching San Diego State-Nevada game Tuesday night, Nevada players did some interesting pre-game drills, one of which was dribbling a basketball and a tennis ball at the same time-- sharpens your hand/eye coordination

5) Someone voted for David Eckstein for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Why?

4) Gas is $2.23 a gallon here in beautiful upstate New York; I am told that down in Daytona Beach, it is $1.72. Lot of greedy bastards here in New York State.

3) Texas A&M's loss at Arkansas last night was 22nd loss this season by a top 5 college basketball team- there were 21 of those all of last season.

2) Kansas hoop coach Bill Self has a career record of 200-9 at Allen Fieldhouse.

1) Happy birthday this week to the great Bob Uecker, the former major league catcher and current analyst for the Milwaukee Brewers. Uecker made himself famous with self-deprecating humor, but he did homer off Sandy Koufax, Gaylord Perry. He once joked that he hit a HR and the other team's manager came to the mound, with the pitcher's suitcase-- Uecker's career batting average was exactly .200.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week Musings........
13) Blake Griffin has been out since Christmas with a quadriceps injury, now he is out another 4-6 weeks after breaking his hand when he punched a member of the team's equipment staff outside a Toronto restaurant. Not good.

Some advice for the equipment guy.........
-- Blake Griffin is a very large man. probably a bad idea to get him so mad that he wants to break his hand on your face.
-- No matter who is at fault here, Griffin is one of the team's stars; the other guy is a member of the equipment staff. Guess who is going to lose his job over this.

12) Why some teams win and some teams do not: You see Jonathan Simmons with the Spurs, you see how explosive he is going to the basket and you figure he will be their next guy to emerge as a star, after toiling in obscurity. Then you realize he was on the Nets' summer league team in Orlando last summer and you wonder why they let him go to the Spurs' summer league team a couple weeks later in Las Vegas.

The Nets should've signed him up when they has the chance, but they hesitated and then he was gone to the Alamo, playing for a better team that is smarter than the Nets.

11) Scapegoats: Green Bay fired their RB and TE coaches, Patriots fired their OL coach because, you know, someone has to get the blame for the team losing.

10) There is a new show on Showtime called Billions, about Wall Street and all the deals/cheating that goes on and the authorities who try and catch them. The main guy in the show usually wears t-shirts even though he is, as the title suggests, worth a lot of money. One of the storylines last week involved the t-shirt guy paying a college $100M to put his family's name on one of the buildings, which already had someone's name on it. The guy at the college didn't understand why it had to be THAT building

Turns out the t-shirt guy comes from modest means; he was a caddy at a country club as a kid-- a looper, as my friend Joe would say. Back in the day, t-shirt guy had been a caddy for the rich family whose name was on that college building and when the old man had a bad day golfing, he blamed it on his caddy and had t-shirt guy fired from the country club as a caddy. T-shirt guy never forgot that.

Thirty years later, the rich family had fallen on hard times; the old man was deceased, the rest of the family needed money fast or they were going to go broke and t-shirt guy found this out, so he paid the college off, then tossed the family $25M so they could see their name physically removed from the building and replaced by his. Vindictive.

Anyway, the show is on Sunday nights and it isn't bad.

9) Kansas basketball coach Bill Self was once college roommates with singer Garth Brooks, who was a javelin thrower at Oklahoma State- Self played basketball.

8) SNY in New York City televises Mets games all summer; they promote their channel as "just New York sports", which is fine, but the Loud Mouths program had a thing on the other night where they showed the pictures of four NBA head coaches, and the two hosts admitted they had no idea who three of them were. They both knew who Quin Snyder was, because he coached Missouri and played at Duke.

If you're running this station, do you want your hosts telling viewers how little they know about the NBA? Especially since Nuggets coach Michael Malone spent four years as an assistant coach with the Knicks? Guys get paid decent money to give their opinions on stuff and it turns out they're ignorant about one of the most popular sports. Not their finest moment.

7) Remember the movie Scent of a Woman, when Al Pacino plays a blind guy who had been injured in the Marines? Chris O'Donnell plays a prep school kid who serves as Pacino's aide for a while. In one scene, Pacino does the tango in a Manhattan restaurant with this beautiful young lady, who looked vaguely familiar to me.

So I look her up on the Interweb; her name is Gabrielle Anwar; she was the co-star in USA Network's Burn Notice that ran the last few years, about former spies who do special ops-type stuff in Miami to assist people who need their help. 20 years later and she is still quite beautiful.

6) This Saturday, the Big X and most of the SEC take time out from conference play for a series of televised games that should raise the RPI's of everyone involved. The Big X-SEC challnge should be fun. Some of the better games:

Ole Miss-Kansas State.....LSU-Oklahoma....Iowa State-Texas A&M.....and the best game of the day, Kentucky at Kansas.

5) Wayne Gretzky wore #99 thru his whole NHL career; the number has been retired by the league. But in his first game with the Edmonton Oilers, back in the old WHA, Gretzky wore #24. After that game, he requested #99 and that was the end of #24.

4) There have been 221 coaching changes in the NBA since Gregg Popovich has been coach of the San Antonio Spurs. 29 other teams- thats 7.6 changes per team.

3) George Karl has the Sacramento Kings contending for a playoff spot- don't read articles anymore about his impending dismissal. DeMarcus Cousins is playing really well and they have some solid players around him. Fun team to watch. Cousins has to be on the All-Star team or the thing is a joke.

2) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was quoted recently as saying that spread offenses in college have hurt the development of offensive linemen for the NFL, because in a spread offense, linemen don't do lot of the things that NFL lineman have to do in an NFL-style offense, so when they move up to the pros, there is some remedial training that has to be done, which sets their development back some. Makes sense.

1) Dan Gable is the John Wooden of college wrestling; he won 15 national titles as the coach at Iowa, after he won a gold medal at the '72 Olympics himself. His career record as a college wrestler was 181-1. Pretty tough guy.

I mention this because 35 or so years ago, our paths crossed. The wrestling team at UAlbany had a triangular match with Springfield College and Iowa, a very big deal for them. Iowa was in midst of winning ten national titles in a row. There was only one problem- they needed someone to run the clock on the main scoreboard, since they didn't always have matches in the big gym.

I was the basketball manager at Albany, I was good at running the panel for the scoreboard over the basketball floor, so I was elected timekeeper for the day. About three minutes before the first match, with the legendary Gable standing about 20 feet from me, I realized that I had no idea how this all worked-- I had never seen an actual amateur wrestling match, only pro wrestling on TV. No clocks in the WWE.

When did I start the clock? Stop it? How would I know what points to put up? What if Gable passed one of his wrestlers a foreign object? Oh wait, that doesn't happen here, but panic set in. Actually, it was more like terror.

Luckily for me, the referee on the main court was the father of a friend of mine from high school-- I called him over and explained my anxiety. He was cool and explained that he would signal points to me and that the clock ran pretty much like basketball-- on the referee's signal. After that, it was fairly uneventful-- Gable didn't put me in a sleeper hold or anything, and that was my brush with one of the most successful coaches in the history of college sports.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) TV ratings for Sunday's football games were up 8% from LY, despite the NFC game being a lousy game to watch, so good for the league there.

12) Carolina LB Thomas Davis broke his arm Sunday, but expects to play in Super Bowl, reminiscent of Jack Youngblood playing in Super Bowl XIV with a broken leg he suffered in a playoff game.

11) Obscure fact of the day: This is the 11th Super Bowl in a row with at least one Texas Longhorn alum playing in it.

10) There are 33 undrafted free agents playing in the Super Bowl this year- it isn't ridiculous to suggest an NFL team's personnel guy is more important than the team's coaching staff. You have to have good players to coach.

9) In two games against Denver this season, the Patriots were 4-28 on third down. In the regular season, New England was 88-215 (40.9%) on third down.

8) Southern Mississippi needs a new football coach; Todd Monken is the new OC of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Signing Day for college football recruiting is eight days away, so this is an awkward time for that to happen.

7) Bulls' coach Fred Hoiberg is so popular in Ames, Iowa that he is known as The Mayor; he played and was later the coach at Iowa State. Hoiberg's daughter goes to rival Kansas, where she works part-time in the basketball office.

6) There are obviously 12 teams in the Pac-12; eight of their 12 basketball teams are either 5-2 or 4-3 in the standings right now. Cluttered race.

5) Washington Huskies are getting more points from their freshmen than any team in the country. Lorenzo Romar has done a tremendous rebuilding job this year- they basically blew up their team from LY and started over, and it has worked.

4) Siena's Lavon Long made all seven of his shots at Canisius Sunday; he was also 11-11 on the foul line, the first college player to put up numbers like that since 2001.

3) Reading a lot about the Lebron James/David Blatt stuff from last week, it dawns on me that Blatt might be better suited as a college coach. He seems to have a fairly big ego and in the NBA, until you've won an NBA title, coaches don't get a whole lot of respect from the players. College hoop is more of a coaches' game.

2) Sales at McDonald's were up 5.7% in the 4th quarter of 2015, the first quarter in which McDonald's offered 24-hour breakfasts. Smart idea that was long overdue.

1) Place called Glengary, WV had 42 inches of snow last weekend- thats 3.5 feet of snow!!!!! New York City had 26.5 inches, their 2nd-most ever.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.........
13) Broncos 20, Patriots 18-- Peyton Manning is 6-9 in his first playoff game of the year, 5-1 in his second one. His commercials will be all over TV long after we are dead and buried. Would be interesting to see his tax returns.

This will be Denver's 8th Super Bowl, under five different head coaches.

12) Panthers 49, Cardinals 15-- Carolina gets to its second Super Bowl; its coach the last time was John Fox, who was Denver's head coach until he was replaced by Gary Kubiak two years ago. Panthers are listed as a 4-point favorite.

To nitwit owners who fire coaches every two years: Ron Rivera was 13-19 in his first two years with the Panthers. Some teams would've fired him then.

11) Sunday's highlight for me was having dinner at a bar, watching the Carolina game and listening to three women to my right talking about how one of their friends married a guy, while he was still in jail. None of my business, but it begs the question......

What do you get the happy couple as a wedding present?

10) Temple 89, SMU 80-- Last unbeaten goes down. Owls made a season-high 14 3's in a game pushed back a day by snow. Question for Mustangs now is their motivation for the rest of the regular season, since there is no postseason for them.

9) Providence 82, Villanova 76 OT-- Rough day to be favored in Philly, as Wildcats got beat by Friars in the best game of the day. Having been in Philly a few times, I have no idea where they put 22 inches of snow, which they had this weekend.

8) Carolina Panthers' owner Jerry Richardson is first owner since George Halas who also played in the NFL; he has been the recipient of a heart transplant, too.

7) San Diego State Aztecs' hoop team is 19-2 in its last 21 overtime games.

6) Bad Beat of Weekend, Month, Year???-- Northern Kentucky 82, Ill-Chicago 69, in overtime. UIC was a 12.5-point underdog; you get 12.5 points and game goes to OT, you're not happy but you figure you still will win- not so fast. Flames are still winless against D-I teams this season.

5) I swear I heard this right on Golf Channel last night: Jordan Spieth gets $1.3M just for showing up and playing at the Malaysian Open this coming week. Not $1.3M if he wins, $1.3M just for showing up. Oy.

4) Since 2000, Utah State's basketball team has the 6th-best winning %age in the whole country-- never would've guessed that.

3) If you care about such things, in the United Arab Emirates, the weekend is Friday, Saturday, not Saturday./Sunday. Go figure.

2) Cleveland Cavaliers were 97-215 in four years that Lebron James was in Miami; they're 83-41 since he came back.

1) Was glad that ESPN showed Stephen Curry 90 minutes before his game Friday night, doing ballhandling drills and practicing his craft. Thats why he is so good, he works his ass off at it. Kids need to realize that practicing skills improves your game more than playing in actual games does.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Nevada 65, UNLV 63-- Former NBA coach Eric Musselman is the new coach at Nevada; this was his first game against rival UNLV. Musselman went to college at the U of San Diego, where his roommate was George Tarkanian (yes, his son).

12) ESPN struck gold with former Stanford/Cal/Warrior coach Mike Montgomery as analyst of the UNLV-Nevada game. He is smart, relaxed behind the mike-- you learn stuff listening to him.

11) Ball State, Iowa State were only teams that played yesterday that turned the ball over more than 20 times; odd thing is, they both won and on the road at that.

10) Ball State 88, Eastern Michigan 87 2OT-- Speaking of which, maybe the worst 0:15 of officiating we'll see all season at the end of the second OT. Seriously.

EMU led 87-85 with 0:18 left, Ball State misses a 3 from the left wing. Rebound goes into the right corner, where an EMU player grabs it, is trapped by three guys on Ball State, at least two of whom seem to foul him, or in worst case, cause a tied ball.

But the officials swallow their whistles, a Ball State player emerges from the scrum by taking at least four steps with the ball- he passes to a teammate, who hits a 3-ball to win game with 0:00.7 left. This game was in Ypsilanti; home fans weren't happy.

All three of these refs should be suspended for blatantly failing to do their job.

9) Ark-Little Rock 68, Tex-Arlington 62-- Game between Sun Belt titans was 42-14 at the half, Little Rock.hung on in second half; Arlington got within four in last 1:00.

8) Pepperdine 71, BYU 65-- Cougars came back from 10 down at half to win at LMU Thursday, but Waves got best of them here. BYU was just 6-22 on the arc.

7) Bulls 96, Cavaliers 83-- Tyronn Lue's first game as head coach in Cleveland did not go well. Lue says the Cavaliers aren't in good enough shape. To be continued....

6) California 74, Arizona 73-- During this game, Bill Walton talked about: volcanoes, Lou Brock, alignment of the planets, Bugs Bunny, San Quentin, Apple computers, as well as his grandson. He also fit in commentary on Cal's dramatic win- they went 2-0 at home this week, even without injured point guard Tyrone Wallace. Big week.

5) Louisville 75, Georgia Tech 71-- Tech led by 7 at half, Cardinals rallied for third win in a row. Coach K's son-in-law was analyst for this game; he was shilling for the ACC as strongest league in the country. Apparently, he hasn't seen any Big X games.

4) Cal-Riverside 74, Long Beach State 72-- Riverside coach Dennis Cutts is a fellow Albany alum and a good coach; big win for him here. Long Beach made 13-24 from the arc and still lost- that doesn't happen very much.

3) Indiana 89, Northwestern 57-- Impressed with how much better Hoosiers are now than they were in November, when they lost to Wake Forest, UNLV. They're 7-0 in a Big 14 that isn't nearly as good as everyone thinks it is, but they are 7-0.

2) Biggest upset of the day: South Florida (+16.5) 71, Houston 62.

1) Duke and Michigan State ended their three-game skids. Spartans were especially emotional after beating Maryland at home-- was fun to see kids show genuine joy at winning one regular season game. Maybe it was more relief than joy, but still.......

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Odd fact of the day: John Calipari doesn't go to his team's pre-game meals; he wants his team to relax, so he stays away from them while they're eating.

12) Cincinnati Bearcats will be doing an $87M upgrade of their basketball arena after the 2016-17 season; they haven't decided where they'll play games in 2017-18. Puts more pressure on the coach, having that much $$$ poured into the program.

11) Back in October, I was lucky enough to go to a UNLV basketball practice; they have a brand new practice facility, a building that is first class in every way. Took a lot of cash to build it and rich people (boosters) aren't patient, so when the Rebels lost five of six games around the holidays, coach Dave Rice was fired.

The night of the practice I went to, there was a booster event at the practice facility; they have these donor cords with check boxes for how much you'd like to contribute to the program, ranging from $3,000 to $20,000 with an "other" box. UNLV flies charter for conference road games, an important upgrade for the program, but it ain't cheap.

My point is this: teams like Cincinnati/UNLV get donors to provide enhancements for the programs, but those boosters want results. No results? Heads can roll.

10) Speaking of unhappy rich people, the Cavaliers' owner fired coach David Blatt, who was 30-11 this year and lost in NBA Finals LY, his first as an NBA coach. Only people in the Cavaliers' inner circle know what the deal is, so I'm not going to criticize the move, or praise it. Not many 30-11 coaches get fired, though.

9) Cavaliers went out of their way to say that Lebron James wasn't notified of Blatt's firing until it actually happened; I really don't believe that, and even if I do believe that, I'm not sure it would be smart to change coaches without talking to James first. Former NBA guard Tyronn Lue is the new coach, by the way.

8) Not sure if they still do it, but Princeton used to spend eight minutes of every practice working on all kinds of layups that they might take as a result of cuts made in their offense. as Watching Belmont play Thursday night; their bigger guys are good at using the basket for protection from more athletic shot blockers on reverse layups.

7) From 2005-08, Marist went 37-17 in MAAC with Matt Brady as coach; Brady moved on to James Madison. since then, Marist is 27-102 in MAAC games.

6) Steve Kerr came back to the Warriors' bench last night; Jason Kidd is coming back from back surgery next week. Milwaukee is 8-7 under interim coach Joe Prunty sduring Kidd's absence.

5) Bob Huggins has been basketball coach at West Virginia for nine years; during that time, the school has had five school presidents and three athletic directors. Seems to me that five school presidents in nine years is an awful lot.

4) Houston Rockets put Andre Drummond on foul line 36 times in Detroit's 123-114 win in Houston the other night- he was 13-36, the most foul shots any NBA player has ever missed in one game. Very discouraged to see shooting that bad.

3) Mike Vrabel is the linebackers' coach for the Texans; he turned down a chance to be Chip Kelly's defensive coordinator in San Frasncisco. Interesting decision.

2) New Orleans Pelicans' star Anthony Davis stands to lose a potential $23M in contract incentives unless he makes all-NBA this season, which is unlikely. Not getting voted to the All-Star team makes the all-NBA thing the deciding factor.

1) Good luck to the selection committee for the NCAA hoop tournament; what an odd season. Seeding is going to be impossible. Lot of guys on TV think mid-major teams like Valparaiso or Belmont will make lot of noise in March.

Friday's List: Ranking the months of the year......
This list is totally subjective; weather plays into it. Make your own list-- when you are retired, though, there are no bad months. Just some are better than others.

12) January-- If not for college basketball, this would be a long, cold month. At least now when I hear the wind whipping outside in the morning, I pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep- no trudging to work in cruddy weather. Football playoffs are only a lot of fun if your team is in them; I'm a Ram fan, so........

11) February-- Lot like January, only shorter so it ranks higher. Chinese New Year is next month and 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. Spring training starts and there is a February 29th this year. Most famous people I can find with February 29 birthdays are motivational speaker Tony Robbins and hockey legend Henri Richard.

10) May-- NBA/NHL playoffs, weather is pretty good. Kentucky Derby but this has always been a pretty quiet month for me, except for the four years where I coached Little League, which was an experience all to itself. Very little taught me more about people than watching them watch their young kids play ball. I have

9) June-- Lot like May, only better weather. When I was a kid, this was by far the best month of the year, with school ending for the year. Minor league baseball is one of the best entertainment values there is-- we have a short season team over the river in Troy (Astros' Class A team). $7 for a night out is a good deal.

8) April-- Opening Day of baseball season, NFL Draft, plus I usually go to Las Vegas in April and that is prime pool season-- I highly recommend it. I'll be the guy wearing sunglasses, covered in towels so I don't get sunburned. Made that mistake once, never again. Nothing quite as relaxing as an afternoon by the pool.

7) October-- Quietest month for this website; baseball playoffs, football, and prep starts for college basketball. Weather is still decent but it starts getting dark too early. Halloween in Las Vegas is different than Halloween anywhere else; its, how can I say this.......just more fun. More people are into Halloween there.

In 2011, I stayed at South Point Hotel off the Strip, which also happened to host the Fetish and Fantasy Ball on Halloween night. Red carpet, TV camera, some costumes that were amazing. Very interesting elevator rides.

6) July-- This is a good basketball month; AAU in Florida or Vegas, NBA Summer League. One year it was 95 and humid in Florida, but the air conditioning in the Milk House at Walt Disney World was cranked so high I went to the mall to buy sweats to wear in there while I watched games. Sitting by the pool at night and reading college football magazines is also an annual July happening.

5) August-- The big thing in upstate New York in August is the racetrack that runs for six weeks at Saratoga, ending on Labor Day. Good social scene at night, lot of racing during the day. The first time I was in Las Vegas: August 1, 1986- it was 112 outside and I'm in a sportsbook, watching horse races from Saratoga, which is 20 miles from my house. They've over-commercialized it recently, but it is still a fun day.

4) September-- Worst month when I was a kid- who wants to go back to school? I wonder if teachers dreaded it as much as I did. But now as an adult, football is getting started, baseball pennant races are happening, it is still summer weather. Nothing bad about September anymore.

In September 1973, I rode a school bus for the first time, after walking to school in grades K-8. Public school in 9th grade was a new experience-- 720+ kids in the school, all 9th graders and I knew five of them. Five. The first week was a little scary.

3) November-- Busiest month for the website; overlap between college football/hoop gets crazy, plus the NBA gets started. I'm thinking the NBA will become a better game to handicap as they stretch out the season more, to reduce back/backs for teams. When I was working, November had three holidays, never a bad thing.

2) December-- You can get really good rates at hotels in Las Vegas if you go the week before Christmas-- you can get suites fairly cheap. Christmas, New Year's Eve, people putting up trees/lights for my birthday; what could be bad about December? Snow is a potential problem. People are usualy in better moods in December.

1) March-- I'm a big college basketball fan, so March is an excellent month, though you aren't out of the woods with weather yet. Plus there is spring training baseball every day-- I'm thinking of a trip to Arizona to see the A's next March. Have never done the spring training thing-- am told it is lot of fun.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Actor Jamie Foxx pulled a guy out of a burning car yesterday and saved his life; took lot of guts to do that. Good for him.

12) Nebraska 72, Michigan State 71-- Spartans have not only lost three games in row, they've lost their last three games against Nebraska. big win for Tim Miles' team. When was last time Duke/Michigan State were on losing skids at the same time?

11) Pistons 123, Rockets 114-- Detroit was 35-59 on foul line; Houston was the first team since 2007 to be called for 40+ fouls (41) in one game.

10) Knicks 118, Utah 111 (OT)-- New York is now 22-22 and only half a game out of the 8th spot in the East. Much improved team this year.....

9).......lot of credit goes to rookie Kristaps Porzingis, whose jersey is the #4 seller in the NBA this season. Great draft pick by Phil Jackson.

8) Baylor 79, Kansas State 72 2OT-- Three of top six teams in country play in the Big X, but none of them are in first place in league play- Baylor is.

7) Former SMU Mustang Keith Frazier transferred from SMU to North Texas; it was his eligibility that got SMU in hot water with the NCAA. Frazier should be a difference maker in Conference USA, when he becomes eligible.

6) Villanova 72, Seton Hall 71-- Wildcats have won 22 in row in Big East; Pirates start five sophomores, should be very good for the next 2+ years.

5) is a terrific addition this season- can watch almost any game in the country now on my laptop, even if it isn't on TV.

4) So many college hoop teams lack depth, playing seven guys, maybe eight. South Florida has four scholarshop kids sitting on the bench out of uniform- they're transfers for next year or injured players. Teams like West Virginia who actually have guys on the bench who can play have a big advantage. Even Duke plays six guys now.

3) Tennessee Titans named Dick LeBeau defensive coordinator, with the last DC Ray Horton moving on to the same job in Cleveland. Coach LeBeau will turn 79 two days before the Titans' season opener in September. He is a very young 78 right now.

2) San Diego Padres signed closer Fernando Rodney to a $2M deal yesterday.

Also in baseball, the Marlins finally moved their CF fence in 11 feet for next year. I care about this because Stanton/Ozuna are both on my fantasy team- you have the #1 power hitter in baseball, then you build a park with a fence 417 feet from the plate and a 20-foot fence. How can people with so much $$$ be so stupid? .

1) Pamela Anderson spoke to the French Parliament yesterday; no idea what it was about, but I bet attendance was lot higher than normal. I'm just sayin'.......

Wednesday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a winter day.....
13) Tuesday was the worst kind of winter day here in upstate NY; temps in 20s, but with a vicious, cutting wind that would cut thru any number of layers of clothes, and make you question your intelligence for choosing to live here. The good part is the wind will be gone today and a normal 25 degree day will feel like springtime.

12) Maryland 62, Northwestern 56 OT-- Wildcats are 15-5, 2-4 in last six games; on Selection Sunday, if Northwestern doesn't make the tournament (again), they can look at this game as a big reason why. Winning at Maryland would've been huge- they have a #264 strength of schedule (#346 non-conference) and badly need quality wins. Right now, their best wins are at home over Wisconsin/Nebraska- no bueno.

11) How on God's green earth does getting an endorsement from Sarah Palin help someone become President of the United States? I'd rather get an endorsement from Julianne Moore, who played Ms Palin in a movie called Game Change. Ms Palin is a walking, talking Saturday Night Live skit; Tina Fey had to be delighted yesterday.

10) Oklahoma State 86, Kansas 67-- Cowboys had lost four in row coming into this game, third straight loss for Jayhawks in Stillwater. It is January 20 and I have zero freakin' idea who the best team in the country is. An interesting season.

9) South Carolina 77, Ole Miss 74 OT-- Gamecocks scored the last 11 points of regulation, handing Ole Miss a bitter loss. Gamecocks are an underappreciated 17-1, with only loss at Alabama- they don't play A&M or Kentucky until next month.

8) When Duke lost to Syracuse Monday, they were 13-25 inside arc, 10-37 outside the arc, only 6-9 on foul line, very un-Duke-like numbers. If you do not attack the basket, you're not going to get calls from refs. Duke doesn't play great great defense because they have no depth; now they're not getting the ball inside on offense.

7) RIP coach Johnny Bach, one of Phil Jackson's assistants with the Jordan-era Bulls. Coach Bach grew up in NYC at the same time as my dad, who would tell stories about his high school playing Bach's high school. Coach Bach and Tex Winter teamed to give Phil Jackson a pair of experienced voices to lean on, when he needed it. RIP, sir.

6) Eagles introduced Doug Pederson as their new coach, where he was grilled over the Chiefs' play-calling late in their loss at New England Saturday. Didn't take long for the honeymoon to end there.

5) UNLV 80, Utah State 68-- Ten days, UNLV changed basketball coaches; they are 3-0 since then, winning all three games fairly easily, begging the question:

a) UNLV changed basketball coaches ten days ago..........they were 0-3 in league.
b) Since then, UNLV is 3-0, winning by 12-36-12 points.
c) Did a) cause b)? If the Rebels keep winning, the powers-that-be in the desert are going to have a very interesting decision to make- promote the (much cheaper to hire) interim coach to permanent coach, or go national and hire a big name? .

4) There have been 22 OT games in the NFL this season; five of the 22 ended with a TD being scored by the team having the ball first.

3) San Diego State 73, Fresno State 67 OT-- For team with such great experience, Fresno plays too willy-nilly for me. Bulldogs are #12 in experience in country, but in last 0:10 down 3, Marvelle Harris (4-20 from floor) jacks up a hideous 3-pointer with 0:06 left and its an airball, which is rebounded by the shortest player on the court under the hoop, who races out to the corner and knocks down a ridiculous fadeaway 3 to tie the game at the buzzer. Fresno was right for the wrong reason.

If you bet Fresno +7.5, you needed a 3-pointer in last 0:20 of OT to cover. Aztecs are on a winning streak now, but they're still offensively-challenged.

2) Pacers 97, Suns 94-- Phoenix is 13-30; they should bring Mike D'Antoni back.

A story to close out today.........
1) Long time ago, I coached Little League in a wealthy suburb; one year, a doctor was one of my assistant coaches. Smart guy, but he hated the way I coached and we did not interact that much (hard to believe, huh?). Anyway, the doctor loved to play golf-- that year, Arnold Palmer came to the area in a charity event, and the doctor did volunteer work that day and met Mr Palmer.

So the next day at our Little League practice, I asked the doctor how the golf outing was. He was not prone to praise or overstatement, but he looked at me and said, "It was the greatest day of my life." That is the effect Arnold Palmer has on people.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Detroit Tigers signed Justin Upton for $22M a year for six years, which tells me there is something about Yoenis Cespedes that the general public doesn't know. I'd rather have Cespedes than Upton, although Cespedes is two years older.

12) Warriors 132, Cavaliers 98-- Ugly no-show at home for Cleveland. You play the team that beat you in the Finals last year, you're supposed to compete.

11) Knicks 119, 76ers 113 2OT-- New York was 25-30 on the foul line; Philly was 13-25. Sixers had rallied back from down 18 late in third quarter.

10) Charlotte 124, Utah 119 2OT-- Solid set of afternoon games in the NBA. Kemba Walker had 52, the first Hornet ever to score 50+ points.

9) Purdue 107, Rutgers 57-- If you're in your third year as coach of a Big 14 team and you lose by 50 at home, it is time to start updating your resume. There are lot of good basketball players in New Jersey-- no excuse for Rutgers to be this bad.

8) Robert Morris won the NEC tournament LY, won a play-in game in the NCAAs, but last spring Clemson poached their best player, 6-3 G Marcquise Reed (he is sitting out this season at Clemson) and now Robert Morris is 4-15 and floundering. It is a free country, but poaching players from mid-majors is a growing trend and it stinks.

7) You'll see some Saturday afternoon NBA games starting later this month for this reason: the league now has a Saturday night TV deal in Europe- since they're 5-6 hours ahead of us, for games to be shown live there they have to be afternoon games here.

6) Odd stat: West Virginia won the Big East tournament in 2010, then made it to the Final Four in DeSean Butler's last year there; since then, the Mountaineers are 0-5 in conference tournament games- that surprised me.

5) Guy in the Australian Open Sunday night was wearing two different sneakers as he played, one black, one orange. Hopefully this is not a portent of the future. Some wiseguy said he probably has another pair just like that one back in his hotel. .

4) I enjoy the instant replay system in tennis; it is quick and it makes a difference.

3) This is the first time since 2004 that both conference championship games have the #1 seed playing #2 seed. Home sides were 4-0 this past weekend, after being 0-4 the week before. Sunday should be an interesting day.

2) It wound up not mattering Saturday night, but Patrick Peterson drew a taunting penalty as he ran back an INT for a TD, turning and waving to guys who were chasing him. How stupid can he be? If not for another Arizona penalty on the same play, he would've cost his team a TD in a game that wound up going to overtime. Wise up!!!

1) If you like politics or are interested by it, there is a good reality show on Showtime called The Circus, about this year's Presidential race. Lot of behind-the-scenes looks at rallies, interviews with candidates. Stuff we don't normally get to see.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) Utah 59, Oregon State 53-- I'm leading with this because with 2:56 left in a tie game, Oregon State's Jarmal Reid tripped an official on purpose as play moved to the other end of the floor-- the official (former NBA ref Tommy Nunez) called a technical and Utah went on to win 59-53.

Beavers had taken a 52-50 lead with 5:28 left, but scored only one point the rest of the game and fell to 2-3 in Pac-12 play. Mr Reid is going to be suspended for multiple games, I am pretty sure. Utah outscored OSU 18-5 on the foul line, but thats life on the road a lot of the time. No excuse for losing your poise like that.

12) Panthers 31, Seahawks 24-- Game was 31-0 at the half.; Seahawks fought back, but the hill was too steep to climb. Carolina remains vastly underrated at 16-1.

11) Broncos 23, Steelers 16-- Peyton Manning has been in playoffs 15 times; he is now 6-9 in the first playoff game of a season. Tom Brady is 11-2 in such games. That said, Manning is 4-1 in the second playoff game of a season.

10) Of the eight QBs who started in playoff games this weekend, six were drafted in the first round; only Brady and Russell Wilson were not.

9) Steelers kicker Chris Boswell went to college at Rice, where his roommate and holder for kicks during Owls games was one of Gary Kubiak's sons. Small world.

8) Been reading a lot about offensive gurus who become NFL head coaches; seems like the "fun" part of the job is calling plays, the technical football stuff, but when you become a head coach, lot of that gets delegated to assistants, while the head coach does a ton of media stuff and CEO/administration-type stuff, the less fun part.

Will be interesting to see if Hue Jackson/Dirk Koetter/Ben McAdoo continue to call plays or if the weight of all that becomes too much and play calling gets passed off. When Mike Martz became coach of the Rams, it was a problem because he was poor with interpersonal relationships-- he was a genius play caller, but not much else.

7) Tennessee Titans are hiring Bobby April as special teams coach; Titans will be 9th of 32 NFL teams that April has been special teams coach for.

6) Interesting discussion on Golf Channel during the Hawaiian Open this weekend as to whether you can practice golf too much. 52-year old Vijay Singh was playing well and he practices so much, that is why it all came up. The consensus seemed to be that for most golfers, there are diminishing returns to excessive practice, but it works for Singh, who continues to compete with the younger guys.

5) Odd golf stat: Only once in the last six years has Adam Scott finished in the top 100 on Tour in putting. How can someone who is so good struggle so much to putt?

4) Unsuual that the 18th hole at Wailea CC is a par-5, don't see that a lot on Tour. Makes for more interesting ends to tournaments; guys can get eagles to finish up.

3) Single digit underdogs were 50-29 vs spread in college hoop Saturday/Sunday, as a season of unexpected outcomes continues.

2) Florida State 69, Virginia 62-- Highly touted Cavaliers are 0-3 on ACC road, with losses to Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Florida State- they still have to go to Louisville, Duke and Pitt. Seminoles remain a difficult team to figure out.

1) Serious question that came up this weekend; e-mail me with your answer, if you have one: If a little kid is left alone to play by him/herself, is he/she more likely to develop a good imagination, or does that not matter? Some people think that kids have so many structured activities that it inhibits their ability to think freely as they become adults. I hadn't thought a lot about it until yesterday.

E-mail me at with your opinions.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Cardinals 26, Packers 20 OT-- Tremendous drama at the end. Some thoughts:

-- No matter what, Aaron Rodgers is freakin' awesome.
-- Football coaches try to get cute with clock mamagement and wind up looking like stupid people. Sometimes being conservative is the right play.
-- Media has to be happy that the possibility of a trip to Green Bay next week is out.
-- How hard is it to flip a coin? How do you do it without the coin turning over?
-- For the last 24 years, Green Bay has had Favre/Rodgers at QB, two Hall of Famers. They've won two Super Bowls, which has to be described as underachieving.
-- Mike McCarthy has lost seven playoff games, five on the last play of the game.

12) Really a fun day, watching college basketball for 13 hours, except for Cardinal game mixed in there. I'm not sure what the right word is, but it is hard to tell what will happen from one day to the next. Parity-unpredictability-mediocrity?

11) Oklahoma 70, West Virginia 68-- If these teams played for the national title, it wouldn't be a big shock. Really high level game. has Big X with three of the five best teams in the country-- these two plus Kansas.

10) VCU 94, Richmond 89 OT-- Game seems like it was two days ago, but it was a 2pm game. Neighborhood rivalries are awesome; these schools are five miles apart.

Richmond had a 2-point lead and the ball with 1:47 left in regulation; they come out of a timeout with six men on the floor-- one-shot technical foul. Game winds up going to OT and Richmond lost-- coach Mooney's brush-by handshake with Will Wade was not very friendly. The rematch at VCU will be interesting.

9) Clemson 76, Miami 65-- In last seven days, Tigers beat Louisville-Duke-Miami, all at home. At some point they have to go on the road, but what a week!!!!

8) Notre Dame 95, Duke 91-- Duke can't defend because if they get in foul trouble, they're screwed since they have zero depth- six good players. Irish have now won four of their last five games against the Blue Devils.

7) North Carolina 67, NC State 55-- This is hard to believe, but Tar Heels are 5-0 in the ACC for the first time in fifteen years.

6) Gambling is hard: 76ers won by 25 last night. Golden State lost by 18.

5) Gambling is hard, part 2: Florida Atlantic 63, Louisiana Tech 61-- Tech (-5.5) was up 20 at the half, but lost to the 4-14 Owls. Oy.

4) Virginia Tech 78, Georgia Tech 77-- Buzz Williams has Hokies 4-1 in the ACC, with all four wins by 1 or 2 points or in OT.

3) Auburn 75, Kentucky 70-- This will help Bruce Pearl's recruiting down the road, but his team is really banged-up right now.

2) LSU 76, Arkansas 74-- ESPN has to shut up about Ben Simmons; he is a kid who will be a great player when he grows into an adult, but that is not this year. To listen to ESPN's voices, you'd think he was Magic Johnson right now. He is not, but he will be very wealthy this summer, when he is the first pick in the NBA Draft.

Apparently, Simmons' "high school" team in Australia didn't play home/away games like teams do here; they played in all neutral court tournaments, so Simmons is not used to playing home games where fans root like hell for you, or road games, where fans work like hell to distract you or irritate you. He is learning a lot this year.

1) This college basketball season is summed up by this fact: the only unbeaten team in Division I can not go to their conference tourney or the NCAAs, because their coach is a serial cheater. If SMU finishes 30-0, will it put a cloud over March?

Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) So it is January 16 and already my fantasy baseball team has a setback for the coming season. Jose Reyes got into an argument with his wife and was arrested back in October and the trail is starting April 4, which happens to be Opening Day. MLB will make an example of him and suspend him, so I guess I need a new shortstop.

12) Yoenis Cespedes is looking for a six-year, $132M deal; the Orioles are offering him $15-18M a year, not very close. No one else seems that interested, which makes me wonder why. Guy has been in the playoffs three times in his four MLB seasons.

11) Wal-Mart has roughly 11,600 stores worldwide; they're closing 269 of them. Is it possible some of these stores lose money, or just don't make enough?

10) They built a new arena in Las Vegas with no parking lot; in something that may or may not be related, MGM Grand and ten other Las Vegas hotels are going to start charging overnight parking fees (less than $10 a night).

MGM is also spending $54M on a new 3,000-space parking garage that will be near the new arena. The new arena is going to help local cabbies.

9) Antonio Brown/DeAngelo Williams are out for Sunday's game in Denver; could be that the biggest winner in Cincinnati last week was the Broncos.

8) Tampa Bay Bucs' coach Dirk Koetter was 26-10 at Boise State, 40-34 at Arizona State when he was a college coach- he was only 21-28 in Pac-12 games at ASU. His defensive coordinator in Tampa will be Mike Smith, the ex-coach of the Falcons.

7) Koetter's hiring gives Idaho State two alums as NFL head coaches, Marvin Lewis being the other one. Wouldn't have guessed that.

6) Detroit started season 1-7, went 6-2 after changing offensive coordinators, and that saved Jim Caldwell's job. Guess they didn't want to make Jim Bob Cooter their head coach, the way Tampa Bay did with Koetter.

5) Colts hired ex-Miami coach Joe Philbin as its offensive line coach. Vikings hired another ex-Dolphin coach, Tony Sparano as its OL coach.

4) Monmouth 110, Iona 102-- Hawks scored 66 points in second half of wild game that ended with near-brawl between teams in the handshake line. Winning is the good news for Monmouth; bad news is that there is no way King Rice will still be the coach there next season-- a school with deeper pockets will sign him up this spring.

3) Mavericks 83, Bulls 77-- Jimmy Butler had four points; he had 53 in Chicago's last game, an OT win in Philly. Bulls are not playing very well right now.

2) One of my least favorite rules in sports is the NBA rule where you can advance the ball into the frontcourt by calling a timeout. It is an artificial way to create drama at the end of games. I hear people on TV now pushing for college hoop to add the rule. Making college ball more like the NBA is not a positive change.

1) If the price of oil keeps going down, how come gas is still $2.29 a gallon at the greedy bastards' Mobil Mart up the road from my house?

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
Lot of NFL coaching news Thursday.........
49ers signed Chip Kelly; the 49er Gift Shop had Colin Kaepernick jerseys on the clearance rack, but once Kelly got hired, those jerseys aren't clearance items anymore-- he is the ideal QB for Kelly's offense.

12) Giants promoted OC Ben McAdoo to head coach, crediting his work with Eli Manning the last two years. I have some questions/comments about this.

-- How much of Eli's improvement is McAdoo, and how much is Odell Beckham? In Philly, Nick Foles threw 27 TDs with two INTs when he had DeSean Jackson on his team. Foles went to St Louis with subpar WRs and he got benched.
-- Giants retained Steve Spagnuolo as DC; his defense was NFL's worst LY.
-- They fired a Hall of Fame head coach but kept the coordinator of the worst defense in the league? Thats either stupid or age descrimination. Or both.

11) Tampa Bay hired OC Dirk Koetter as coach; they fired Lovie Smith because they didn't trust him to hire an OC who would work well with Jameis Winston once Koetter got a head coaching job elsewhere. Weird way to run a $1B business.

10) Philly will turn to Chiefs' OC Doug Pederson as its next head coach. Pederson is the answer to a trivia question; he played QB for Miami in the game that Don Shula became the winningest coach in NFL history, in 1993 against the Eagles.

9) Rex Ryan hired his brother Rob as a defensive assistant; Buffalo's defense was better before Rex Ryan became the Bills' head coach.

8) NFL Network airs a replay of Super Bowl I tonight; 17 Hall of Famers played in that game which ironically was played in the LA Coliseum, which has been in the news a lot this week, with the Rams moving back to Los Angeles this coming season.

7) Hurricane Alex is the first January hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean since 1938.

6) Major League baseball put in a new rule for 2016: every team has to have a full-time Spanish translator. Not sure why you wouldn't have one anyway, as well as have your coaches be bilingual, with so many Hispanic players these days.

5) Dodgers have six people working in their front office who at one time were GMs of a major league team. Thats a little top-heavy, no?

4) Former NBA player Corey Maggette works Big West games on Prime Ticket in LA; he pointed out last night that Cal-Irvine's 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye wears low-cut sneakers when he plays, almost like deck shoes. Very unusual; I'm guessing he gets his ankles taped, but you don't see many players wearing low-cut sneakers.

3) San Diego State's Skylar Spencer is a lefty, but when he was shooting 30% on the foul line, it was suggested that he shoot free throws right-handed. He has improved his %age into the upper 50's and looked like he had good touch in Wednesday's game.

2) Pro golfer Kevin Kisner lost three playoffs last year, the first PGA golfer to do that since 1937-- he later won a tournament too, so it was a big money year for him, making $3,567,939. You still make a lot of money when lose a playoff.

1) So far in the Atlantic 14 this season, favorites are 20-8 against the spread.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Clemson 68, Duke 63-- In last four days, Tigers beat Louisville/Duke, both home games, the best stretch in years for Clemson basketball. In those two games, Clemson took 57 foul shots, their opponents 23. Landry Nnoko was a beast in this game.

12) Should be noted that Clemson's Littlejohn Coliseum is being refurbished this year; Tigers are playing games in Greenville, SC, sharing the building with an ECHL minor league hockey team called the Greenville Swamp Rabbits-- tremendous name.

11) Forbes Magazine reported that the Rams are worth twice as much now as they were two days ago, before they moved to LA. Stan Kroenke has to pay NFL $550M to re-locate, but the team is worth more than that and doubled in worth, so he's already re-couped the $550M, and then some. I was happy today when I found a quarter and a dime on the floor of my car-- everything is relative.

10) Found it ironical that late Tuesday nite the movie Wall Street showed up on TV, where Michael Douglas' character tells an audience that ".....greed is good." This was a couple hours after NFL owners resorted to a secret ballot to make sure the guy with the most money won the re-location competition. Real life is stranger than fiction.

9) Philip Rivers might not be happy about the Chargers potentially moving, but he has to be happy Ken Whisenhunt is back as Chargers' offensive coordinator. Rivers had a big year in 2013 when Whisenhunt was OC for the Bolts.

8) Miami Marlins gave 2B Dee Gordon $50M for five years; he's been a very good leadoff hitter the last few years. Marlins have Mattingly as manager, Barry Bonds as a hitting coach- they should be very interesting to follow.

7) Alabama 73, South Carolina 50-- Rough night for Gamecocks, who lose for first time in 16 games this season. Solid week for Crimson Tide sports.

6) Still amazed that Alabama did the onside kick in a tie game with less than 11:00 left Monday night. Takes lot of onions to do that.

5) Sign of the times: 14 SEC basketball teams, 28 international players.

4) Cleveland Browns hired Hue Jackson as head coach; he went 8-8 in his one and only season as coach of the Raiders in 2011- he was OC in Cincinnati the last couple years. Marvin Lewis has lost three coordinators to HC jobs the last three years.

3) The great Bill Raftery announced two basketball games in same day on two different networks Sunday; Ohio State-Indiana on CBS, Villanova-Butler on FS1.

2) NFL free agency starts March 9, so Chargers really have to decide before then where they're going to play in 2016- their official deadline to inform the league for its '16 plans is March 23. Lot of loose ends to tie up in six weeks.

1) RIP Jim Simpson, 88, the first play-by-play guy ESPN used when they started in 1979- he also worked a lot for NBC before that. I'm pretty sure Simpson was working the first time Dick Vitale got behind an ESPN mike. If you're my age you heard him work a lot of different events, including lot of AFL games. RIP, sir.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random thoughts with Rams off to LA....
13) I've been a Ram fan since I was six years old, watching them lose to the Packers on our black/white TV with my dad-- I loved their helmets, and became a huge fan as coach George Allen turned them into a contender.

Roman Gabriel, Deacon Jones, Dick Bass, Jack Snow- the heroes of my youth.

Tuesday night's news that the Rams are heading back to LA brought mixed emotions; I live in New York, so it really didn't matter where they wound up-- I just wanted the situation resolved so players/coaches can get settled and get about the job of winning.

12) I was at the 2000 NFC title game when the Rams beat Tampa Bay to made it to the Super Bowl; it was an awesome weekend. St Louis is a very friendly place, so it is sad to see them lose a team. Hopefully they'll get another team soon, but the fact it that St Louis is a baseball-first (and second) town, so they'll get over this.

11) Rams owner Stan Kroenke is called "Silent Stan"; he seldom speaks publicly, but in July 2010, I talked to him at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas- he also owns the Denver Nuggets. He is a businessman first, a really rich guy who knows how to make deals. I took him off guard that day in 2010, but he was polite and talked to me for 10 minutes or so. Was interesting hearing him talk at the press conference last nite.

10) I am not wealthy and do not understand business, so how this all happened is out of my realm, but here is the fallout: Chargers have a year to decide whether to join the Rams in LA or stay in San Diego- if they stay in San Diego, then the Raiders have a year to decide if they want to return to LA or go somewhere else.

As far as 2016 goes, the Rams will be in LA, probably at the Coliseum, the other two teams are in limbo right now.

9) When Clemson scored with 0:12 left Monday night to make final score 45-40, it caused a $10M swing in Las Vegas, with the line at Alabama, -6.5. Nothing like the reactions in the sportsbook when stuff like that happens-- great theater.

8) 40 bowl games this year; over was 26-14 in those forty games.

7) Alabama's nine assistant coaches banked a combined $1.1M in bonuses when they won Monday night; the players got free hats and t-shirts. SEC wound up 9-2 in bowl games this season.

6) Ben Roethlisberger has torn ligaments in his shoulder, will be interesting to see if he plays Sunday (I think he will) and how effective he can be in Denver if he does.

5) Miami Marlins signed P Wei-Yin Chen for five years, $80M. Good move.

4) There is a 16-year old Cuban OF named Lazarito Armentrano who is now a free agent and will be highly sought after by big league teams.

3) Colorado Rockies gave Gerardo Parra a 3-year deal, now will try to deal one of its other OFs for pitching, maybe to the Orioles. If you have a pitcher on your fantasy team who gets traded to the Rockies, it is a very unhappy day.

2) Minnesota Vikings fired their offensive line coach Tuesday; guess it was his fault the kicker missed that short field goal.

1) RIP Andrew Smith, who passed away yesterday at age 25; he played for Butler when they played in back/back national title games a few years back. A damn shame when someone passes away so young. RIP, sir

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Alabama 45, Clemson 40-- Some quick thoughts on this exceptional game:
-- Special. Teams. In fourth quarter alone, Alabama recovered an onside kick and ran a kick back for a TD and that was the difference.
-- Deshaun Watson should've won the Heisman Trophy. Period.
-- It is fair to list Nick Saban as one of the greatest college coaches ever; he's won five national titles, four at Alabama.
-- That said, Saban chose Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees as a free agent QB when he was coaching the Dolphins- had he picked Brees, he likely never would've become the Alabama coach, because he would've stayed with Miami.
-- Florida coach Jim McElwaine, who was very relaxed/friendly on ESPN2 with the other coaches, pointed out matter-of-factly that Alabama will probably have a staff meeting tomorrow to deal with recruiting- they get 12 hours to enjoy the title, and that is it. Not sure that is healthy, but thats the business.
-- Signing Day is three weeks from Wednesday; future games are won/lost then, so it imperative that coaches work like hell on recruiting for the next three weeks.

12) Wound up watching the game on ESPN2 with five college coaches and ESPN's Chris Spielman/Brian Greise sitting in a room giving commentary. Can learn lot more listening to coaches, but that coaches' clicker, where they rewind plays over and over quickly, it just makes me queasy.

11) Wednesday's Powerball jackpot is $1.4B, thats billion, with a B. Never bought a ticket myself, though I did go in with co-workers back in my working days. What in God's name would you do if you won that much money?

10) Playing field used for the Clemson-Alabama game is not the same one the Arizona Cardinals use; they keep the grass fields outside the dome and wheel them into the dome for the game.

9) There are rumors that Chick-fil-A is coming to Albany, which would be excellent news for me-- they say they don't have a site yet, but hopefully will soon. Love their chicken sandwiches. Still have to try the new Sonic about ten miles from here.

8) The outgoing university president at Alabama make $545K last year. Strength coach for the Alabama football team will make $600K next season. Strength coach at Clemson needs a new agent; he makes $245K a year.

7) I'm still amazed at how NBA coaches are standing there coaching their teams and there are fans sitting six inches from them, right there on the sidelines. There have to be interesting conversations that go on, like when Jack Nicholson used to sit by the visitors' bench at Laker games.

6) Robert Griffin III will be a free agent this winter; if you ran an NFL team and needed a QB, would you take a chance on him? Can he lead a team? When the 2016 season starts it will be 20 months since he's played in an NFL game.

5) UNLV hosts New Mexico tonight, two days after they fired coach Dave Rice; it is ironic that the picture on tickets for tonight's game is Coach Rice and that Elijah Brown plays for New Mexico- he is (former Cavaliers coach) Mike Brown's son. Rumors out there are saying that Mike Brown is a popular choice to be the Rebels' next coach.

4) NFL suspended Vontaze Burfict for three games for his hijinx during the playoff game Saturday night, all of which sets up the inevitable Steeler-Bengal game on Sunday Night Football in Week 4 next season.

3) ACC ran a promotional video at halftime of the game last night; one of the players they touted as a former ACC player was Russell Wilson, who transferred from NC State to Wisconsin before his senior season.

2) So Tom Brady and I have two things in common:
a) We both attended state universities.
b) Neither one of us has ever had a drop of coffee.

Other than that, there are zero similiarities. None.

1) First spring training workouts are only 37 days away-- Reds-Phillies-Giants.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) We start with disappointing but not surprising news: UNLV fired its basketball coach Dave Rice Sunday after the Rebels started 0-3 in conference play. A national search will take place for the next coach. Dave Rice is a good man, a very patient guy who has an autistic child, which requires great patience, but his teams didn't play to their talent level and at the end of the day, it is a performance-based business.

12) Carnage wasn't limited to the college game; Lionel Hollins was let go by the Nets Sunday, with Brooklyn languishing with a 10-27 record and a big payroll. GM Billy King was also re-assigned; how he ever gets these jobs is beyond me.

11) Seahawks 10, Vikings 9-- Minnesota missed a 27-yard FG wide left in the last minute on a frigid day in the Twin Cities. Vikings led 9-0 in 4th quarter but failing to score a TD wound up costing them the game. In 260 NFL games this year, Denver is the only team to win a game without scoring an offensive TD-- they did it twice this year, in Weeks 1-5.

10) Before the game, 88-year old Bud Grant, who led the Vikings to four Super Bowls, came out for the coin toss without a coat on, with the temp at -6. The whole game reminded me of my teenage years, when the LA Rams went to Minnesota three times in playoff games in frigid conditions and came up empty in all three against Grant's Vikings. No bueno. How I hated Metropolitan Stadium; when they knocked it down, they built the Mall of America on the same spot. Better use of real estate.

Quick trivia on Grant: He also played for the Minneapolis Lakers and played in the lowest scoring game in NBA history. Interesting guy.

9) Chuck Knox was the coach of those really good Rams teams in the 70's; he went 186-147-1 in 22 years as a head coach, but was only 7-11 in playoff games, never making the Super Bowl, a little bit like Marvin Lewis, who is 112-94-2 in his regular season tilts, 0-7 in playoff games. Going to be a long winter for Bengal fans.

8) Not only did Arizona lose two basketball games in LA this weekend, they lost leading scorer Allonzo Trier for 4-6 weeks with a broken hand. These days, very few teams have much depth; injuries like this are tough to overcome.

7) Wake Forest 77, NC State 74-- Deacons are 8-0 in games decided by six or less points- they're on the right track under 2nd-year coach Danny Manning.

6) Illinois 84, Purdue 70-- Illini were 10.5-point home underdog. Big win.

5) Jason Garrett is 17-28 (60.7%) on replay challenges in his career, best of current NFL head coaches. Detroit's Jim Caldwell (16-27, 59.3%) is next best.

4) Villanova 60, Butler 55-- High-level Big East game; along with Xavier, these are the best teams in the conference this season.

3) Indiana 85, Ohio State 60-- This game was 48-18 at the half; rough game for the Buckeyes, who are #346 in experience this season. .

2) When Knile Davis ran the opening kick back for a TD in Houston Saturday, it was the fifth opening kickoff in playoff history run back for a TD.

1) I think it is important to remember when these coaches get fired that they have families like the rest of us and job changes affect a lot of people. Yes, they make a lot of money but would you want your job history chronicled in the local paper or have nitwits like me writing about you from 2,300 miles away?

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) USC 103, Arizona 101 4 OTs-- Andy Enfield is turning around USC's fortunes; they're 14-3, 3-1 in Pac-12, winning this wild game, as Arizona goes 0-2 on its swing to Tinseltown. Nine players played 40:00+ in this marathon.

12) Pitt 86, Notre Dame 82-- January 9-- it was Pitt's first true road game all season. Teams from big conferences are playing fewer non-conference road games, making it harder to gauge what they'll do when they get to conference play.

11) North Carolina 84, Syracuse 73-- ESPN treated Jim Boeheim like he was coming back from two tours of duty in Middle East, as opposed to a suspension for coaching a program that skirts the NCAA's rules. It pays to be friends with Coach K.

10) Biggest upsets: LaSalle/Southern Miss both won as 12-point home dogs. LaSalle only used six guys the whole game- the one sub played 15:00.

9) Georgia Tech 68, Virginia 64-- Big win for Brian Gregory; they talked a lot on the Wisconsin game yesterday that Tony Bennett could probably have the Badgers job if he wants it, but is Wisconsin a better job than Virginia?

8) South Carolina 69, Vanderbilt 65-- Gamecocks are a very quiet 15-0; guess they will have to beat Kentucky before anyone believes in them.

7) Washington 99, Washington State 95 OT-- Huskies are atop Pac-12 at 3-0; USC is 3-1, Arizona is 1-2, UCLA 2-2. No easy outs in this league

6) Wichita State 83, Southern Illinois 58-- Salukis are much-improved, but their first taste of the big-game atmosphere didn't go well against the veteran Shockers.

5) Wm & Mary 78, Northeastern 60-- Tribe avenges loss to Northeastern in finals of CAA tourney last March. CAA is a wide-open league once again.

4) Omaha 79, South Dakota 73-- Mavericks were down 52-31 with 15:12 left but won despite playing zero possessions of man/man defense during the comeback. They have solid, veteran guards who are ballhawks. Omaha attacks basket well, gets to foul line a lot- this was an exceptional road win.

3) Wyoming 59, UNLV 57-- Dave Rice is a terrific guy, but this UNLV team is now officially a train wreck and change is on its way, just a matter of when. You watch the game and you get the feeling the coaches have no idea who they really trust to put on the floor in the last 3:00 of a close game. And it shows.

2) 13 hours of watching college basketball is a fine way to spend a winter day.

1) Could somebody please buy Mike Tomlin a jacket? Guy is standing outside in a freakin' typhoon and doesn't know enough to put a coat on.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.....
13) ESPN's Adam Schefter had a great NFL stat this week: Four QBs who start for the road teams this weekend have made a combined 37 playoff starts; four home QBs have started zero playoff games.

12) Drafting ballplayers is an inexact science; smart people make some hideously bad decisions. Why are the Warriors great? Steph Curry was the 7th pick in the 2009 draft. Klay Thompson was the 11th pick in the '11 draft. Minnesota had two picks in the '09 draft ahead of Golden State; they took Ricky Rubio/Jonny Flynn. Yikes.

11) I laugh when pro golfers act disgusted with shots they hit, then the ball winds up 20 feet from the hole. Of course they're very precise and their winning/losing rides on getting as many shots as close to the hole as possible, but I can't hit two shots in a row on the fairway and they're such perfectionists.

There must be some epic temper tantrums off camera when these guys have bad days.

10) Then there is the Ally bank commercial, when the guy plays golf with his boss and cheats for his boss- that commercial makes me want to puke. I could never do that which probably explains my mediocre career as a civil servant........lolol

9) Ole Miss opened its new basketball arena this week and TV guys were raving about how nice it is. One thing about facilities though; when the rich donors cough up major money for better facilities, they expect to see an upgrade in the win-loss record.

Nebraska upgraded its facilities and is struggling, which has turned up the heat on Tim Miles. Auburn has new facilities and quickly fired Tony Barbee when he struggled in the SEC after it opened. Rich people are impatient; they expect results.

8) Speaking of which, Georgia's offensive coordinator makes $850K, the OL coach will make $650K, more than just about every MAC head coach.

7) The guy who was St Louis Cardinals' scouting director hacked the Astros' scouting database not once, but twice; thats a federal offense and he pled guilty on five counts of corporate espionage this week- the could could go to jail for five years.

6) One of the things in the leaked documents that were hacked was that the Marlins would've traded Giancarlo Stanton to Houston for Carlos Correa, George Springer. Seeing as I have Stanton in my keeper fantasy league, knowing he could be playing 81 games in Minute Maid Park instead of Miami's cavernous yard makes me sick.

5) Over the last 20 years, under is 20-13-1 in NFL playoff games involving teams who are divisional rivals, such as Steelers-Bengals tonight.

4) Washington Nationals traded former closer Drew Storen to Toronto Friday; Nats fell apart late LY- their bullpen imploded when they acquired Jonathan Papelbon and moved Storen to a set-up role.

3) Minnesota Vikings are only NFL team this year that started same five offensive linemen in all 16 games; thats good scouting, good coaching and a lot of luck that none of them got hurt.

2) Oakland Grizzlies of Horizon League have a player named Max Hooper who is 58-129 (45%) outside the arc this year; he hasn't taken one 2-point shot in a game!!! He scored a layup in a scrimmage during practice the other day and the coach stopped practice so the team could give him a standing ovation. Seriously.

1) Jim Boeheim returns from his nine-game suspension tonight, team went 4-5 while he was away. ESPN will treat him like a hero, but he was banished from the team because the program cheated and to say he didn't know what was going on is comical. Coaches are control freaks; if they don't know, its because they don't want to know.

Friday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) One college basketball rule that should be changed to increase scoring: when a TV timeout is due and a foul is committed, the TV commercials happen before the foul shots are taken, which makes them harder to make, especially late in a close game. No way to prove this, but I'm telling you more foul shots would be made if the foul shots were taken before the TV commercials, the way they used to be.

12) Your Powerball jackpot is $675M. Good luck to everyone. What would you do if you won that much money?

11) Supposedly the Buccaneers fired Lovie Smith because they do not want to lose OC Dirk Koetter, who worked very well with rookie QB Jameis Winston this year. Smith had six OC's in his 11 years as a head coach; word is Bucs' front office did not have faith in him to find another reliable OC to work with their franchise QB. That is an indication that Koetter could be the Bucs' new HC.

10) Mike Piazza is the first catcher elected to the Hall of Fame since Gary Carter was elected in 2003.

9) 49ers fired coach Jim Tomsula after only one season, which seems unfair, then you realize the guy gets $14M to go away and you stop feeling sorry for him. He can go be an assistant coach somewhere, or try for a TV job or just buy a really nice couch and lay on it for the rest of his life- he's set for life financially.

8) George Karl's son Coby is an assistant coach with Knicks' D-League team in Westchester. He played ball at Boise State, is working his way up the coaching ladder.

7) Six of the ten basketball coaches in the Big X have coached in a Final Four.

6) Not only does Nick Saban make around $7M/year as football coach at Alabama, he is part-owner of a Mercedes dealership in the Tuscaloosa area. So every time one of the rich boosters buys a fancy new car, he's lining coach Saban's pockets even more.

5) Sign of the Times: A daytime show on ESPN this week was discussing betting props for the Clemson-Alabama game Monday night. Interesting stuff; I'm sure the casinos are treating this game like a mini version of the Super Bowl.

4) In his great pitching career, one that will end up in the Hall of Fame eventually, Trevor Hoffman threw to 41 different catchers, first of which was Kevin Higgins, who is now an assistant coach at UNLV. Higgins played in 71 big league games, 26 as a catcher-- pretty good claim to fame, the first catcher for a future Hall of Famer.

3) Rockets are 11-4 if James Harden scores 30+ points, 7-15 when he does not.

2) 1.1 million people entered Germany just last year, looking for asylum from other countries; what the hell do you do with 1.1 million extra people?

1) Every HS/college basketball player should've watched D-League showcase on NBA.TV this week-- there are 19 teams in the D-League, thats roughly 190 guys that are really good basketball players who can't make an NBA roster. Should make guys who are marginal prospects think twice about leaving school early-- it iis really, really hard to make an NBA roster. Maximize your skillset before you go for the money.

Thursday's Den: Ranking the NFL's playoff teams.......
12) Green Bay-- Rodgers was sacked 14 times in his last two games.

11) Washington-- Won last four games, three of which were on road.

10) Houston-- 7-2 in their last nine games after a 2-5 start.

9) Minnesota-- Going to be sub-zero for their game on Sunday.

8) Cincinnati-- Their last playoff win was in 1990: I had hair then!!!!

7) Steelers-- I beat this to death every time an NFL team fires a coach too soon; the Steelers have had three head coaches...........since 1969

6) Seahawks-- Ted Cruz was born in Calgary; if he shows up at a campaign event wearing a Calgary Flames jersey I promise to vote for him. Have some fun with it.

5) Chiefs-- They haven't lost since the Royals won the World Series; they haven't won a playoff game since 1993.

4) Denver-- Don't have lot of confidence in their chances, even at home.

3) New England-- Who are the three people who didn't vote for Junior Griffey for the Hall of Fame? They need to be identified.

2) Arizona-- Now is the hour for Carson Palmer and the Redbirds. Why did Mike Piazza have to wait four years to get into the Hall of Fame?

1) Carolina-- Think about Lovie Smith getting fired last night; in Ron Rivera's first two years with the Panthers, they went 13-19, but they kept him and they're 34-13-1 in three years since then. Firing a guy after two years makes very little sense.

Wednesday's List of 13: Rambling on a winter day......
13) Thank God I don't root for the Cleveland Browns.

They're rebuilding their front office; since the season eneded, they promoted a lawyer to head of football operations- he has full control of the roster and transactions, but he is a lawyer and not a GM. Maybe he's a genius; we don't know, but he has no football background that we know of. Its like making me GM of the Vancouver Canucks.

Then on Tuesday, they poached an efficiency expert from another team to help the Browns get more from the analytics movement-- they hired Paul DePodesta from the New York Mets. DePodesta apparently once had a small job with CFL's Baltimore Stallions before his baseball career began-- he played football and baseball at Harvard, but what on God's green earth are they doing? Hire a football person!!!!

12) DePodesta was the inspiration for Jonah Hill's character in Moneyball, a smart guy who played college football/baseball but rose quickly in the world of pro sports thanks to an analytical approach that helped the Oakland A's make the playoffs despite a small payroll 10-15 years ago. He later was GM of the Dodgers for a while but has never held a job in the NFL. Browns fans have to be a little queasy about this. .

11) Golden Corral had a deluge of commercials on TV last weekend about how they serve breakfast for dinner and lunch, so I go there Monday morning to have some pancakes, some bacon-- I'm not a morning person, but I happened to be awake so off I went. One small problem; Golden Corral doesn't open until 11am.

So the place that buys tons of TV commercials promoting the fact that they'll serve you breakfast all day long, isn't open when breakfast actually takes place. Oy.

10) Want to win a bar bet? Will Clark hit the most home runs (six) off of Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, hitting six taters in only 39 plate appearances.

9) There are nine states in this country where when you vote, you can just pull one lever and automatically vote for all the candidates from one party or the other.

8) Serious question: How do you vote for Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens for the Hall of Fame and not vote for Pete Rose? Bonds and Clemens cheated, plain and simple. Rose bet on games; which is worse?

7) Kansas 109, Oklahoma 106 (3OT)-- From Monday night, this was one of the best college basketball games I've ever seen. Oklahoma was 16-33 from arc, Kansas 11-22, in a 55:00 game where eight kids played 43:00+. Buddy Hield played 54:00, scored 46 points, had 7 assists. Sooners went 21:02 in this game without subbing once.

It is possible these teams could play three more times: Feb 13 in Norman, again in Big X tournament, then in Final Four???? It would be a very good national title game.

6) 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick has torn ligaments in his right thumb, a torn labrum in his left shoulder and a rod in his left leg. Other than that, he is fine. Whoever the next coach of the 49ers is has to deal with that mess of a QB situation and if the 49ers cut Kaepernick loose, which team will roll the dice and sign him up?

5) NCAA had been investigating San Diego State for various improprieties but this week they exonerated the Aztecs, which almost always gets a lot less press than when the investigation is announced. Go figure.

4) Apparently New Orleans Saints want a 2nd-round draft pick in exchange for coach Sean Payton. If they deal Payton, it would be hard to imagine them keeping QB Drew Brees around- they would probably go to a total rebuild.

3) 1972 USC Trojans had 33 players who wound up being being drafted by NFL teams, including five first-round picks- thats a lot of great players on one team. NFL Draft was longer back then than it is now, but still, thats almost half the team.

2) Tom Coughlin is a 69-year old white guy who coached the Giants to two Super Bowl titles but was fired as coach this week after three losing seasons in a row.

Jerry Reese is a 52-year old black guy who was GM of the Giants for those same two Super Bowl titles, but he keeps his job despite those three straight losing seasons.

Tuesday, the Giants held a press conference where the undercurrents of ageism and racism collided head-on. It was interesting to watch. It'll be fascinating to see who the Giants hire to replace Coughlin and if Coughlin coaches elsewhere.

1) With the Giants changing coaches, Seattle's Pete Carroll is now the oldest head coach in the NFL, at age 64.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Jets' owner Woody Johnson is finance manager for Jeb Bush's Presidential campaign, so of course Donald Trump had to bust his chops when the Jets didn't make the playoffs. 30 years ago, Trump tried to become an NFL owner; now world history may be different because he didn't get a team.

12) LSU hired a new defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda, who comes to the bayou from Wisconsin. What makes it interesting is that LSU-Wisconsin open next football season against each other at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

11) Since start of the 1997 season, Dallas Cowboys are 152-152.

10) North Carolina 106, Florida State 90-- Brice Johnson had 39 points, 23 boards for Tar Heels, who ran all over the spineless Seminoles in Tallahassee.

9) West Virginia 95, TCU 87--- West Virginia's athletic department sold the hoop team down the river when they joined the Big X. Find a map and locate West Virginia. The other nine teams in the league are in Iowa, Kansas (2), Oklahoma (2), Texas (4). Not a lot of short road trips in that group-- Ames, Iowa is their shortest one.

For second game in row, a West Virginia player got a technical for doing a chin-up on the rim after a dunk- this kid got an loud earful from Bob Huggins.

8) Tom Coughlin's firing (you really think he quit?) ends an NFL-record streak of 183 straight games with same starting QB/head coach. Eli Manning has never played for another head coach in the NFL. 183 games is 11.5 years; thats a record that may go a long time before it is broken, same starting QB and head coach.

7) If I owned the Cleveland Browns, I hire Coughlin to run the whole operation; he had the expansion Jaguars in the playoffs in his second year there-- the guy still has a lot to offer and the Browns need structure and continuity.

6) Bobby Hurley has four technical fouls in his first 14 games as basketball coach at Arizona State; he went all-WWE Sunday night, getting thrown out of the game with 0:59 left in a home loss to Arizona. By way of contrast, someone posted on Twitter Monday that Northeastern coach Bill Coen has been there nine years and has never gotten even one technical foul.

5) Washington Huskies have a basketball player named Malik Dime who, fittingly, wears number 10. Mr Dime is an excellent shot blocker for the improved Huskies, who beat USC Sunday after being down 22 at one point.

4) Upset of the Day: Colts gave Chuck Pagano a contract extension, a total upset after they let the guy coach this year as a lame duck. It was just assumed Pagano was a goner, especially after the Colts struggled with Andrew Luck hurt, but Jim Irsay is the Colts' owner and he is an unusual guy. I think this was a good decision; you wonder if the GM will go, since Pagano and he have been at odds over personnel issues.

3) There is this guy on latenight TV commercials who looks like Rollie Fingers and sells pillows- they never say how much the pillows cost, but if you buy one, you get a second one for free. I had to look it up; the two pillows will set you back around $100- I am told that is too expensive, so I passed- they're supposedly good pillows.

2) It is my experience that the first foul shot of a game is the most difficult for most players; even really good shooters. If you're looking for a guy to foul at the end of the game, pick out someone who hasn't taken a free throw yet in that game.

1) If you're chilly this week (it is 7 degrees outside as I type this), keep in mind the PGA Tour starts Thursday in Kapalua. At least it is warm somewhere.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday......
13) Vikings 20, Packers 13-- Second abominable week in row for Green Bay, which now goes to Washington next week, while Seahawks visit Minnesota. If my team had Aaron Rodgers, I'd sure as hell find him some receivers who can get open.

12) Bills 22, Jets 17-- Jets had ball in red zone down 19-17 with just over 4:00 left; you figure they at worst get go-ahead FG, but Fitzpatrick threw INT in end zone and their season comes to an unfortunate end. Jets were +18 in turnovers in their ten wins, -15 in their six losses. Sometimes its that simple.

11) Steelers 28, Browns 12-- Cleveland fired its GM before the game, the coach after the game. Next year they'll have their sixth HC in nine years. Pittsburgh has had three head coaches since 1969. Hire a coach, then give some freakin' time. Oy.

10) Eagles 35, Giants 30-- Tom Coughlin will be in the Hall of Fame; he obviously doesn't want to retire, but Giants have had three straight losing seasons and only one playoff spot in last seven- that gets you fired.

But when you've won two Super Bowls you get to "resign" or "mutually agree to part ways". Has to be very awkward for the Giants' front office-- "....nothing ends well or else it wouldn't end". That line from the bartender in the Tom Cruise movie, Cocktail, whose name, coincidentally, was Doug Coughlin.

9) Colts 30, Titans 24-- Tennessee clinches first pick in draft; you know they're not taking a QB-- maybe they'll deal the pick for multiple selections. Cleveland will pick #2 and Dallas #3- those two teams will have very interesting offseasons.

8) Seahawks 36, Cardinals 6-- Seattle goes on road in playoffs next week but they are a team no one wants to play. Arizona gets the #2 seed and has next week off- they will want the #3 seed to win next week so they don't have to play Seahawks again.

7) Broncos 27, Chargers 20-- Peyton Manning came out of the bullpen with Broncos down 13-7 in third quarter, promptly led go-ahead TD drive, and has his starting job back. This winter, what will Denver do with Osweiler? Manning will be retired and the Broncos are going to need a franchise QB.

6) Texans 30, Jaguars 6-- Houston recovers from its 2-5 start to win the AFC South; when I watched Hard Knocks last summer, wasn't impressed with Bill O'Brien at all- thought he butchered the QB situation, and Texans did wind up starting five different QBs this season, but now they're in the playoffs, thanks to Andrew Luck being hurt and the division being a bad division.

5) Dolphins 20, Patriots 10-- New England is 2-4 in its last six games after their 10-0 start; Patriots had only 12 first downs, 196 TY. Hard to tell if they're playing possum or if they have real issues, but they'll have next week off to work on them.

4) Redskins 34, Cowboys 23-- Dallas went 1-7 at home this year; they'll have the #4 pick in April's draft. Tony Romo will turn 36 right around the time the draft happens; might be a good time to pick a franchise quarterback.

3) Lions 24, Bears 20-- Detroit won six of its last eight games and one of the losses was the Green Bay Hail Mary in that Thursday night game- the question is now, will they fire Jim Caldwell after almost everyone else got fired during the season?

2) Chiefs 23, Raiders 17-- KC started season 1-5, so just making playoffs is big deal; they head to Houston to face a team they're better than. Chiefs won 27-20 in season opener at Houston, then didn't win again for six weeks.

1) Panthers 38, Buccaneers 10-- Carolina is highly underrated; they're heading into playoffs at 15-1 and the #1 seed in the NFC. Last two Super Bowls were #1-seed vs #1-seed; in 20 years before that, it only happened once.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) TCU 47, Oregon 41 OT-- Hasn't been a great bowl season, but this game was an epic comeback by TCU, which trailed 31-0 at halftime-- their star QB was arrested, suspended after a bar fight during the week. This ties the record for biggest comeback in a bowl game, tying Texas Tech's comeback from a 38-7 deficit to beat Minnesota in 2006 Insight Bowl-- the Gophers' coach was fired shortly after that

12) SEC football-- SEC teams kicked butt in the bowls, winning/covering eight of ten bowls, with only losers Florida/Texas A&M, both of whom had severe deficiencies at quarterback. Hell, LSU has a lousy QB and they hung half a hundred on Texas Tech.

11) Oklahoma 87, Iowa State 83-- Monday night's Kansas-Oklahoma game will be a showdown between #1-#2 teams in country. Jayhawks pounded on Baylor, making 11-19 from arc. Sooners won a tough game over a veteran Cyclone squad.

10) Xavier 88, Butler 69-- Bulldogs went 11-1 pre-conference but are now 0-2 in Big East and the 11-1 stuff is all forgotten. Their Big East opponents shot 22-47 from arc and that won't last, so this is just a bump in the road for Butler.

9) Iowa 70, Purdue 63-- Boilermakers honored the great shooter Rick Mount at half of this game, when they led by 17, but then Hawkeyes made an unlikely comeback and are now 2-0 in Big 14 play. Purdue has terrific big guys; how good are their guards?

8) LSU 90, Vanderbilt 82-- ESPN now has a "beat-it-to-death" approach to how they promote their network; you'd think Ben Simmons was a combination of Dr J, Lebron and Kareem the way they hype his every move. LSU-Kentucky is on Tuesday, if you missed it. Simmons is really good- he had 37 points, 14 rebounds in this game.

7) West Virginia 43, Arizona State 42-- Are football coaches stupid? Arizona State scored a TD with 4:58 left to go up 41-36; at that point, there is no difference between being up by 5 or 6 points- you lose if West Virginia scores a TD, so ASU has to go for two points, but they don't. And they lose. Their coach makes $2.7M a year- this isn't the first time this year that happened. Tennessee lost to Florida in a similar fashion.

6) West Virginia 87, Kansas State 83 2OT-- Good day to be a Mountaineer; about 12 hours before the football team won, the hoop team pulled out a game in Manhattan in a brickfest where teams combined to go 6-39 from arc. Wouldn't want to have been a ref for this game-- ton of loose balls, lot of close calls, two screaming coaches.

5) Southern Illinois 75, Northern Iowa 73-- Two years ago, Barry Hinson publicly berated his Salukis, some of the kids fired back and a mutiny had to be averted. Now SIU is 13-2 and no one is getting berated. This is a huge win for Hinson, whose only losses this year are by total of seven points to UTEP, SI-Edwardsville.

4) Gonzaga 102, San Francisco 94 OT-- Dons had double digit lead in second half, but couldn't close the deal. Zags are 12-3 but not as strong as usual.

3) Montana State 74 Northern Arizona 72 OT-- Lumberjacks are 0-11 vs teams in D-I, but lost first two Big Sky games in overtime- they were up 8 with 2:55 left in this game. Not the best way to start a new year.

2) North Carolina 86, Georgia Tech 78-- Tech is improved, Carolina still struggles shooting from arc- they were 2-12 here.

1) Auburn 83, Tennessee 77-- Bruce Pearl's new team beats Bruce Pearl's old team, ending a 7-game series losing streak. Auburn has some injury issues, so they've been struggling, but this win had to make him feel good. Auburn's Kareem Canty is fun to watch if you like shameless gunners, but he's really good, shooting 41.2% from arc.

Saturday's List of 13: Some of this year's better bowl games.....
13) Duke 44, Indiana 41 OT-- Hoosiers gained 667 yards but lost; their kicker missed a FG on last play; he thought he made the kick. Duke wins its first bowl in 54 years.

12) Utah 35, BYU 28-- Rivalry game sold out Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, but in first quarter, Cougars turned ball over on their first five possessions and it was 35-0 Utah very early. I was in Westgate sportsbook sitting next to a guy who had bet on BYU- he was not happy. BYU wound up coming back- they had the ball late in game with a chance to tie the score, but Utah held on. Whittingham is now 8-1 in bowls.

11) Washington State 20, Miami 14-- Wonder how many times a Mike Leach team has been shut out in a half? Not only that, they hung on to win. Unusual.

10) LSU 56, Texas Tech 27-- You look at Texas Tech's chart for season; they allowed 300+ rushing yards in five of last eight games- it was evident that Leonard Fournette was going to run amuck in this game. He scored five touchdowns in an easy win.

9) Virginia Tech 55, Tulsa 52-- Frank Beamer goes out with a bowl win; almost 30 years ago I was at a Virginia Tech-Syracuse game in the Carrier Dome-- Syracuse killed them, 35-0, something like that, an awful game. The job Beamer did to lift the Hokies into national prominence shouldn't be understated.

8) Nevada 28, Colorado State 23-- Las Vegas Bowl wanted BYU-Utah instead of a Mountain West team, so these two schools from same league wound up playing each other- thats not supposed to happen. At least they hadn't played each other this year.

7) Baylor 49, North Carolina 38-- Bears lost their top two QBs, so they just ran the ball all day-- 84 times for 645 yards, Baylor ran 102 plays for 756 yards with its #3 QB taking the snap and mostly just handing the ball off.

6) The three 5-7 teams-- There are too many bowl games; lousy teams shouldn't be in bowls. So of course all three 5-7 teams won their bowl game.

5) Wisconsin 23, USC 21-- Trojans had won 14 in a row against Big 14 teams, but got upset here. USC desperately needs some continuity in its program; somehow they've kept winning enough games to get to bowls, but they'll be breaking in a new QB next year. Curious to see how Clay Helton builds his coaching staff.

4) Navy 44, Pitt 28-- QB Keenan Reynolds might've been Navy's best football player since Roger Staubach, its best athlete since David Robinson. He eneded his career with a home win; he has scored more TDs than any I-A player, ever.

3) Pre-game hype-- Always bet the over on pre-game hype; too much talking since ESPN seemingly has an infinite amount of time dedicated to promoting these games. ESPN actually owns ten bowl games, so they have a vested interest in hyping them.

2) Houston 38, Florida State 24-- Everett Golson missed his last college game due to a death in the family; he missed a year at Notre Dame because he got tossed out of the school. Disappointing career. Cougars had a great win here, both for themselves and the AAC, which went 2-6 in bowl games this year but won their biggest one.

1) Alabama 38, Michigan State 0-- Spartans lost two bowls to Bama in last six years by a combined score of 87-7; in between, they went 4-0 in bowls, winning all four by 4 or less points- they were underdog in all six of those games.

Friday's List of 13: Happy New Year, everyone.........
13) TCU QB Trevone Boykin cemented his status in the Nitwit Hall of Fame by getting arrested after a fracas outside a San Antonio bar, two days before the Frogs' bowl game with Oregon. Boykin had a bit of a rap sheet before this; he makes Johnny Manziel look like a choir boy. Good luck getting drafted in April.

12) After last night's dreadful playoff semifinal games, Alabama opens at -7 against Clemson in the national title game January 11. Odd Fact of the Day: Dabo Swinney is the fifth Clemson head football coach who went to college at Alabama.

11) Flipping channels between games last night, I stumbled upon CNN's New Year's Eve special from New York City. Anderson Cooper seems like a good guy, but how on God's green earth does Kathy Griffin keep getting jobs? She isn't funny. Amazing how many people come to Times Square every year to see the ball drop.

10) When Wisconsin upset USC in the Holiday Bowl Wednesday night, it snapped the Trojans' 14-game winning streak against Big 14 teams.

9) Golden State dropped from -8.5 to -3.5 after Steph Curry was declared out for the Dallas game Wednesday; Warriors got hammered by the Mavericks, but beat Rockets in Houston last night without Curry.

8) Why did Buffalo Bills announce that Rex Ryan was coming back next year? Was there doubt about this? Ryan finishes his first year as Buffalo's coach Sunday; would have been quite a statement had they fired him after one mediocre season.

7) There are a lot of horrificly sad commercials on latenight TV; please donate $$$ for homeless pets, terminally ill children, children in Africa, etc......only 50 cents a day to save an abused chicken. Seriously, who abuses chickens? I sense fowl play.

6) Ravens' WR Steve Smith tore his achilles in November, ending what was going to be his last year in the NFL. Now Smith says he is coming back next year, not wanting his career to end with such a bad injury. Wouldn't mind if he played for the Rams.

5) Bill Parcells never liked to draft a QB unless the kid had started for 3+ years in college; makes you wonder if USC's Cody Kessler has helped his case to make an NFL roster by playing his senior year for the Trojans. Too many kids leave school so early; they need game experience in order to improve.

4) Joe Buck did an hour interview show with Troy Aikman the other night; Aikman was saying if the Mets had given him a $200K bonus, he never would've gone to play college football at Oklahoma and would've played baseball instead. Pretty good show if you find it on TV-- I don't remember what station it was on.

3) San Diego is the 8th largest city in America? I had no idea. Why don't the Padres spend more money if they're a big market team?

2) Have you seen the GEICO commercial where the people at the 50th high school reunion are annoyed by the Peter Pan-type character who calls the one lady old? I'd love to see one of the guys choke-slam the little jerk the way The Undertaker used to do on pro wrestling, just slam him thru a table, then laugh- that would be excellent.

1) Hope y'all have a happy and healthy New Year. Life is short; have fun.

Thursday's List of 13: Our last article for 2015.......
13) Scott Kazmir gets $48M for three years from the Dodgers, who will probably start the season with an all-lefty starting rotation- very unusual. Kazmir started LY with the A's, so I've seen him pitch a lot. He was not 100% healthy last season- he came out early a couple times, fought thru it other times- buyer beware.

12) December 30 is a very strong day for celebrity birthdays: Lebron James, Sandy Koufax, Eldrick Woods. There will be guys in this world who read that and mark the calendar to have sex with their wife on March 29-31 every year.

11) Peyton Manning will begin Sunday as the backup QB for Denver, which could become interesting if the Broncos struggle early against San Diego.

10) So I go into Denny's for breakfast at 10am Wednesday and the place is packed!!! Doesn't anyone work anymore? Almost had to wait for a table. By the way, if you get the Grand Slam breakfast, its a better deal to get eggs/pancakes rather than a double order of eggs. Its a good food value

9) This older lady in Denny's has a new Patriots' jacket on; it says "Four-time Super Bowl champs" on it, with the years they won. I don't do it, but I'm dying to go up to her and ask her who the Patriots' coach was before Belichick. A non-bandwagon fan would know the answer (Pete Carroll) pretty quickly. I was curious if she knew.

8) Seton Hall 83, Marquette 63-- Pirates start five sophomores; if Kevin Willard can keep this group together, the next three years will be fun for Seton Hall fans.

7) Clemson sent its #2 WR home from the Orange Bowl, along with two other subs; rumor had them failing drug tests. Usually when kids get sent home from a big game like tonight's, the team has capable reserves ready to step in. Go figure.

6) NCAA reports that 44% of men's basketball transfers go to another D-I school, which means that 56% of them wash out and play at a lower level. There is nothing simple about recruiting and mistakes are often made.

5) Boston Celtics gave Kobe Bryant a piece of their parquet floor as part of their gift to him on his last appearance in Boston. They gave Julius Erving a similar gift when he retired from the 76ers; according to ESPN, years later, Dr J sold the gift for $15,766.

4) FS1 analyst in the first minute of DePaul-Georgetown game: "JTIII has done a great job with this Georgetown program....." OK, you've lost your credibility in less than a minute. He hasn't done a great job- if his last name isn't Thomposon, he would have been fired by now. Just ask Craig Esherick, the Hoyas' last coach.

3) I don't get ESPN's fascination with Stephen A Smith/Skip Bayless, professional nitwits who would fit in better on WWE telecasts. You try and watch talkshows and learn something, then all of a sudden one of these nitwits appears and chaos ensues. It makes no sense why they would be highly paid centerpieces of a TV network.

2) Odd fact of the day: Baylor didn't have any field goals longer than 40 yards this year. Memphis had seven field goals longer than 50 yards. .

1) Our condolences to Michigan State hoop coach Tom Izzo, who lost his dad this week at age 90. Losing a loved one is always difficult, but it is a little tougher when it happens around the holidays

Wednesday's List of 13: Our bottom 5, top 8 in the NFL.......
32) Titans-- Their fortunes took a turn last night when Eagles fired Chip Kelly. Hard to believe Tennessee won't bring him in next year to coach Marcus Mariota .

31) Browns-- Can knock Steelers out of playoff contention by beating them Sunday; problem is, they're 5-27 in last 32 games against Pittsburgh.

30) Jaguars-- Offense has progressed, defense has regressed; they're keeping coach Bradley next year, which is good, since they've improved overall this season.

29) Cowboys-- 1-10 when Romo didn't start; they cut Weeden, now he is leading the Texans to the playoffs. Will they trade for Johnny Manziel this winter?

28) 49ers-- I'm sure the taxpayers are thrilled that they blew up the team two years after they got their brand-new stadium. Is Gabbert the answer at QB?

8) Packers-- Their offensive line was awful last week; they host Vikings for the NFC North title and a home playoff game in Sunday night's regular season finale.

7) Steelers-- Need a win this week and need Bills to upset Jets to make playoffs. it is a very small difference between success/failure in the NFL, like having a good backup QB when your Hall of Fame starter gets hurt. Steelers are likely to miss playoffs due to getting swept by the 5-10 Ravens, who used a 4th-string QB last week.

6) Jets-- They're +18 in turnovers in their wins, -13 in losses; they had two fewer road games than usual, playing Giants in stadium they share, also playing a Miami "home" game in London. Fitzpatrick has had an excellent season, but only reason he starts is because a teammate (since cut) punched Geno Smith and broke his jaw this summer.

5) Seahawks-- Last week was first time in almost four years they played a game and never had the lead. They're going to play either Washington, Minnesota or Green Bay in playoffs next week; they'd be a hefty favorite over the Redskins.

4) Chiefs-- They were 1-5 and now they've won nine games in a row and could win their division if Denver slips up against the Chargers.

3) Patriots-- They've lost three of last five games after 10-0 start; they need win this week to sew up home field thru AFC playoffs. They're 9-2 in last 11 games vs Miami, so that looks like a pretty good bet.

2) Panthers-- I'm guessing they feel relieved after losing last week; now they can get down to business and prepare for the playoffs. I'm guessing they'd rather play either Packers/Vikings than Seahawks in first round of playoffs.

1) Cardinals-- Carson Palmer has never won a playoff game; this is the best chance Arizona will have of winning a Super Bowl for a few years. Can they do it?

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Broncos 20, Bengals 17 OT-- Highly entertaining game that put Denver in the playoffs; on their first three drives, Bengals gained 205 yards on 38 plays, scoring 14 points but missing a FG at end of the third drive, when they led 14-0.

From that point on, Cincinnati gained 90 yards on 35 plays over seven drives, scoring three points. Andy Dalton's thumb better start healing faster.

12) Navy 44, Pittsburgh 28--- Last college game for Navy QB Reynolds, who was a great player in his Middie career. This was first bowl win this year for the AAC.

11) Minnesota 21, Central Michigan 14-- Three 5-7 teams got to bowl games this year, because there are too many bowls and not enough good teams. Oddly, all three of the 5-7 teams won their bowl games and two of them covered as favorites. MAC ends this bowl season 3-4, after being 4-12 in bowls the previous three years.

10) Reds traded closer Aroldis Chapman to Bronx for four minor league prospects, none of whom are considered elite prospects. Chapman made $8M LY and is eligible for arbitration this winter, so this was mostly a salary dump by Cincinnati.

9) Phoenix Suns fired two assistant coaches, as they search for scapegoats for their terrible 12-21 start that won't get better soon since Eric Bledsoe just got hurt. Losing to a 2-30 Sixers squad that has Mike D'antoni as an assistant coach was probably the straw that broke the camel's back. Suns never should've fired D'Antoni as coach.

8) My flight home from Las Vegas Saturday night seemed so much shorter because I bought a John Grisham book and read most of it by time we landed here in beautiful upstate New York. Grisham is a great writer; he's written over 30 books and if you like to read, they're well worth your time.

7) Speaking of upstate New York, it is snowing outside as I type this, first time this fall/winter it has snowed at Armadillo World HQ. 76 days until Selection Sunday, 97 until Opening Day of baseball season. Snow is evil.

6) How times have changed: NFL teams used to play six preseason games. In 1976, Dick Vermeil's first year with the Eagles, Philly had two-a-day practices six weeks in a row. Now, I'm not sure two-a-days are even allowed.

5) Indianapolis Colts have a miniscule chance of making the playoffs, but they do have a chance. Problem is, Andrew Luck is still hurt; so is Matt Hasselbeck and they ruled out 3rd-stringer Charlie Whitehurst (hamstring), which leaves them with Miami alum Stephen Morris, who has never played in an NFL game, to be its QB Sunday.

4) NFL schedule trivia: After Sunday night's NFL game, the 2016 schedule will be established, as far as who plays who and where. The when is what makes the whole thing interesting; that gets released in April, but for instance, the loser of the Giants-Eagles game Sunday plays the Rams in London next year.

The winner of this week's Chicago-Detroit game hosts the Rams next fall.

3) Arizona Cardinals have 14 takeways (+12) in their last five games.

2) Guy named Mike Black is a spotter for Monday Night Football on ESPN; he was a kicker at Boise State in college and kicked for several teams in the Arena League, one of which was the Iowa Barnstormers, where his holder was a guy named Kurt Warner.

1) RIP Dave Henderson, who died of cardiac arrest this weekend at age 57. He was a key member of the A's 1989 World Series champs, and hit .298 with seven HRs in 36 career postseason games. From 1988-91 he hit 84 HRs for the A's and was an All-Star in 1991. He always played the game with great enthusiasm. RIP, sir.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday........
13) Rams 23, Seahawks 17-- St Louis sweeps Seahawks for first time in 11 years; at 7-8, Rams are finishing strong, but when they go 3-1 vs Arizona/Seattle and miss the playoffs, its an empty feeling. St Louis was +3 in turnovers; last two weeks, teams with +2 or better turnover ratio are 14-0 SU.

12) Bears 26, Buccaneers 21-- Tampa Bay faded down stretch, losing four of last five games; in those five games, Bucs started 37 drives 80+ yards from goal line, their opponents only 20. Bad special teams, lousy on 3rd down (9 of last 29). Up 14-13 in third quarter with ball in red zone, Winston threw an awful INT, giving up an easy FG. Chicago dominated game from that point on.

11) Falcons 20, Panthers 13-- First loss of season for Carolina; not sure it is worst thing, takes some pressure off- they can rest banged-up guys next week. Atlanta was eliminated when the Giants got beat in Minnesota last night- they started season 5-0, so missing the playoffs.makes this season a crummy one.

10) Bills 16, Cowboys 6-- Buffalo hosts the Jets next week, with chance to knock Rex Ryan's old team out of playoffs. Dallas is 1-10 with backup QB starting this year, and they used three of them. Broncos (Week 5) are only team this year to win a game they didn't score an offensive TD in, when other team did- Broncos also won a game in Week 1 when neither team scored an offensive TD.

9) Saints 38, Jaguars 27-- New Orleans had 10 drives; five TDs, three FGs, not good day for Jaguars, who have now lost four of last five games. If you're the Saints, would you trade your coach for a draft pick and if so, how high a pick would you want? Lot of rumors out there that the Dolphins/Colts are interested in Sean Payton.

8) Lions 32, 49ers 17-- Detroit won five of last seven games; if they're smart, they get rid of Jim Caldwell anyway, hire a defensive-minded coach who will keep OC Cooter on his staff. 49ers are 2-9 vs spread in its 11 losses, 4-8 vs the spread as an underdog of 6+ points. They must've really not liked Jim Harbaugh to fire him.

7) Chiefs 17, Browns 13-- Chiefs won last nine games (7-2 against spread) have made playoffs despite starting season 1-5. Cleveland lost nine of last ten games (2-8 against spread) as another dismal season comes to an end. This is good time to point out that all 16 games next weekend will be divisional rivalry games.

6) Colts 18, Dolphins 12-- Miami lost seven of last nine games (1-8 vs spread); their next coach will be a big name- they had ball in red zone five times in this game, scored only 12 points. Indy is still alive for playoff spot; they host hapless Titans, Houston plays Jacksonville. Still baffled how Ryan Tannehill never gets benched.

5) Jets 26, Patriots 20 OT-- Since OT rules were changed, three teams have started OT by voluntarily kicking off; Patriots twice, and Vikings vs Rams this year when the stiff wind dictated strategy. If Patriot defense kept Jets out of EZ on first drive, no one says a word, but they didn't.

Tom Brady used to date actress Bridget Moynihan- they had a kid together- the young man's name is John Edward Thomas, as in J-E-T. Not a coincidence. Apparently Ms Moynihan holds a grudge-- hope she bet the Jets in this game.

4) Texans 34, Titans 6-- Houston won six of its last eight games, despite using five QBs this season- they could be tough out in AFC playoffs. Tennessee lost six of its last seven games (0-6-1 vs spread); they're 1-10 vs spread when scoring less than 33 points. How happy will Jerry Jones be when Brandon Weeden starts a playoff game?

3) Cardinals 38, Packers 8-- Next week's Sunday night game: Vikings-Packers, so for second week in row, a game in frigid conditions gets moved from noon to 7:30pm local time kickoff. Does no one care about fans who buy tickets? Packers' OL was useless in this game. Arizona won last nine games; they were -3 in turnovers in both their losses- they're the best team in the NFL right now.

2) Ravens 20, Steelers 17-- Steelers now need to win in Cleveland and get help from Buffalo next week to make playoffs. Ravens found a competent backup QB in Mallett, who was cut by Houston when he missed plane to Miami game, after he took a day off when Hoyer was named starter this summer.

1) Vikings 49, Giants 17-- Tank job by Giants, who were eliminated when Redskins won Saturday night. If you owned the Giants and it was your money being spent, do you bring Tom Coughlin back as coach? It was pretty much assumed in the media last summer that if he missed the playoffs this year it was sayonara.

And if you do fire a coach who won two Super Bowls, who do you bring in who will be better? Do you fire the GM, who hasn't drafted well? Interesting questions.

Sunday's List of 13: Some notes on today's NFL games........
13) Bears (5-9) @ Buccaneers (6-8)-- Lovie Smith was 81-63 in nine years as Chicago's coach, winning NFC in third year, going 1-1 in playoffs next six years so they fired him. Can Smith's Tampa Bay players get him some revenge today?

12) Panthers (14-0) @ Falcons (7-7)--- Carolina (-8.5) spanked Falcons 38-0 at home two weeks ago, outgaining them 424-230 in game that was 28-0 at half. Atlanta is 1-9 vs spread in its last 10 games.

11) Cowboys (4-10) @ Bills (6-8)-- Kellen Moore gets his first NFL start in what is expected to be rainy, warm day in Orchard Park. Bills lost four of last five games; they won 33-17/30-21 in two home games since Halloween.

10) Jaguars (5-9) @ Saints (5-9)-- Saints lost six of last seven tilts thanks to a hideous defense; they've allowed 35.3 ppg in last seven games. Saints are 3-4 at home, 1-3-1 as home favorite- they allowed 166.4 rushing ypg the last five weeks.

9) 49ers (4-10) @ Lions (5-9)-- Detroit is 4-2 since its bye; only one of the wins was by more than eight points. 49ers are 2-8 vs spread in its 10 losses, 4-7 vs the spread as an underdog of 6+ points.

8) Browns (3-11) @ Chiefs (9-5)-- Red-hot Chiefs won last eight games (7-1 against spread) are 2-3 as home favorites, with wins by 10-8-7 points. Cleveland lost eight of last nine games (1-7 vs spread in last eight); they're 2-5 as road underdogs, losing last four away games, all by 17+ points.

7) Colts (6-8) @ Dolphins (5-9)-- Indy lost last three games overall by 35-35-6 points, scoring two TDs on last 36 drives- they've run for just 60 ypg in five post-bye games. Miami lost six of last eight games (1-7 vs spread); they're 2-3 as favorite- its last two wins were by total of three points.

6) Patriots (12-2) @ Jets (8-6)-- Jets are +18 in turnovers in eight wins, -13 in their six losses. Pats won eight of last nine series games; five of last seven were decided by 3 or less points. NE won three of last four visits here, with last two decided by total of four points.

5) Texans (7-7) @ Titans (6-8)--Tennessee lost five of its last six games (0-5-1 vs spread); they're 1-9 vs spread when scoring less than 33, a figure Texans allowed twice all year. Underdogs are 5-3-1 vs spread in AFC South divisional games, 1-0 at home.

4) Packers (10-4) @ Cardinals (12-2)-- Arizona won its last eight games; they're 2-4 as home favorite, with only SU loss to Rams in Week 4- Cards were -3 in turnovers in both their losses. Under is 8-3 in last 11 Green Bay games, 3-1 in four Cardinal tilts.

3) Rams (6-8) @ Seahawks (9-5)-- St Louis is 0-5 vs the spread outdoors this year- their only road cover was Week 4 win at Arizona. Rams are 0-10 in Seattle since they beat Seahawks 27-20 in '04 playoff game, when both of them got to playoffs at 8-8.

2) Steelers (9-5) @ Ravens (4-10)-- Ravens are down to #4 QB Mallett, who was cut by Houston when he missed plane to Miami game, after he took a day off when Hoyer was named starter this summer. In last three games, Pitt outscored foes 62-13 in second half; they're 5-1 as favorite this season.

1) Giants (6-8) @ Vikings (9-5)-- Minnesota is playng for playoff position; Giants are without Beckham- they got eliminated last night when Redskins won NFC East. NFC East non-divisional road dogs are 4-8 vs spread; NFC North home favorites are 8-4.

Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Ironic to hear Chicago Bull players whining about Fred Hoiberg being too easy on them, after they ran the last coach (Tom Thibodeau) out of town for being too tough on them. Coaxhing in the NBA has to occasionally resemble an insane asylum.

12) Gregg Popovich is a great, great coach; his teams are fun to watch and they win a lot, but would it kill him to be civil during these in-game TV interviews? He has the interviewers terrified of him- they walk on eggshells, hoping that he'll at least give a civil answer and not belittle them. Why be such a jerk?

11) QB Kyler Murray is transferring from Texas A&M to Oklahoma.

10) Dallas Cowboys finally put Tony Romo on IR; they were holding out hope that they could make the playoffs, but now they're out of it so no use in exposing Romo to further injury, so he is done for the last two weeks of the season.

9) UConn/Louisville have both lost their center for 6-8 weeks with injuries.

8) Oklahoma 83, Harvard 71-- Sooners were down 2 at half, came out with a 27-5 run to break the game open, then held off a late Harvard to run to win the Diamond Head tournament. Good weekend for both teams, really.

7) If you were looking at a Final Four right now, judged solely on this season's play, you'd look at Oklahoma-Xavier-Purdue in there, with the fourth team coming from a number of candidates, depending on injuries. Selection Sunday is still 11 days away, so a lot will change, but there doesn't appear to be a dominant team this season.

6) Minnesota Vikings are now -6 over the Giants Sunday night; line was 4.5 before the Beckham suspension was upheld.

5) Christmas is unusual in Las Vegas; several times I rode up in the elevator and no one was speaking English. Lot of people came into town for the weekend, so as I leave lot of other people are coming in. Place will be mobbed for New Year's Eve Thursday.

4) You watch NBA/college hoop games side-by-side in the sportsbook and the talent gap is glaring. Fran Fraschilla says a lot on ESPN how Euroleague is the second-best basketball in the world, well ahead of Division I college ball. Still think college ball would be better off if the best high school players went straight to the NBA, then the kids who go to college could stay there for 2-3 years, and it would give teams more continuity, and make it more fun to watch.

3) Paul Pierce has now played on Christmas Day the last four years, but for four different teams, which is odd. Celtics-Nets-Wizards-Clippers.

2) If somehow the Lakers don't finish with one of the three worst records in the NBA this year, they lose their first round draft pick in June. if they have one of picks 1-3, then they keep the pick. They really need that pick- they need more good players.

1) Virginia Tech suspended three players for their bowl game Saturday; only one of the three players starts (LB).

Friday's List of 13: Giving out Christmas gifts.......
13) To Jerry Jones-- A good GM so his team can start winning again.

12) New York Met fans-- New owners so their team is no longer run like a small market franchise. Losing Daniel Murphy to a division rival isn't good.

11) City of San Diego-- An upset, with the Chargers staying in town.

10) Philadelphia 76er fans-- You got Jerry Colangelo; things will get better soon.

9) Peyton Manning-- A happy and healthy retirement.

8) Yoenis Cespedes-- A big, fat contract with a team that will appreciate him and keep him; guy has been on four teams in last 18 months.

7) My friend Ken Thomson-- A network radio show that would befit his talent.

6) Kurt Warner-- A much-deserved weekend in Canton, Ohio this summer.

5) Tom Coughlin-- A spot in an NFL studio show, so we can pick his brain.

4) Pete Rose-- Induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Guy deserves it.

3) America-- A year with no murders. Just peace and quiet.

2) Cincinnati Bengals-- A playoff win. Just one.

1) All my readers-- Health and happiness. Its really all that matters.

Thursday's List of 13: Movie/TV memorabilia I'd like to have....
Couple days ago, people were Twitter were talking about what pieces of movie memorabilia they'd like to have- I expanded my list to include TV.........

13) Rocky Balboa's boxing gloves-- The original Rocky is one of the greatest movies ever; the sequels made a lot of money and helped launch the WWE craze, but other than the last fight scene in Rocky II, they can't touch the original.

12) The hat Ted Knight bought in the pro shop in Caddyshack-- You know the one, when Rodney Dangerfield asks, "You get a bowl of soup with that hat?"

11) The shiny jacket Steve Martin wore as a huckster preacher in Leap of Faith; he leaves in on the hotel bed for Debra Winger at the end of the movie.

10) The racing program Richard Dreyfuss used in Let It Ride, the classic comedy about a degenerate gambler having a very good day at the racetrack.

9) Miami Sharks football helmet from Any Given Sunday-- Al Pacino coaches a team with Dennis Quaid, at QB, Lawrence Taylor at LB; Jim Brown was an assistant.

8) The Cross of Lorraine ring Magnum, TC and Rick wore in Magnum PI; it is a symbol thought to be first used by Joan of Arc.

7) Poker chips that were used in Teddy G's poker club in Rounders.

6) Hamilton Mustangs' jersey from the Rob Lowe/Patrick Swayze hockey movie, Youngblood. Thats the movie where the coach says in between periods of a road game, "I didn't come halfway to the (bleep)ing Arctic Circle to lose to these goons!!!!"

5) Eddie Albert's pitchfork from the great 60's comedy, Green Acres.

4) Henry Steele's high school letter jacket from 1977 basketball movie One on One, which was filmed in the gym that Colorado State still plays in.

3) The Batphone, the red phone Commissioner Gordon used to call stately Wayne Manor when he needed crimefighting help from Batman, which was every week. The commish was so clueless he didn't recognize that Batgirl was his own daughter.

2) Oscar Madison's typewriter from The Odd Couple; yes kids, there was a day that if you made a mistake typing, you had to use whiteout to correct the mistake.

1) The basketball Bob Cousy shot free throws with in his scene with Nick Nolte in Blue Chips; Cousy doesn't miss in the dimly-lit gym, most of the dialogue between them in that scene was ad-libbed and the scene was shot in one take.

Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Canisius 108, UL-Monroe 96, 3OT-- Griffins were down 13 with 1:02 left in game, tied it up, missed two FTs with 0:01 left in one of the OTs, then shut ULM out 12-0 in third overtime for the win. ULM's coach was sick and missed the game, which was played in a nice arena with about 80 people watching-- I was at the game before this one in the same arena. Good hamburgers.

12) Michigan State 99, Oakland 93 OT-- Grizzlies are coached by Greg Kampe; he is a very good coach who gives his players lot of freedom. This game could be red flag short-term for Spartans, who are without star Valentine for couple weeks.

11) Virginia 63, California 62 OT-- Golden Bears were up 7 at half, up 5 in first OT, but Virginia scored last six points of the game to win. Cavaliers made 7-12 on the arc, shot only 33% inside the arc.

10) Texas Tech 65, Little Rock 53-- First loss of season for the Trojans, whose new coach Beard was a Tech assistant for ten years.

9) South Carolina 75, St John's 61-- Frank Martin's Gamecocks are still unbeaten; they've played the #295 schedule, with top 100 wins over Tulsa/Clemson.

8) Houston 94, Wyoming 89, 2OT-- Kelvin Sampson's team is 9-2, but against #350 schedule, 2nd-easiest in country so far.

7) Pistons 93, Heat 92-- Stan VanGundy has Detroit at 17-12; much improved.

6) Ball State lost head football coach Pete Lembo to Maryland, where he will be the special teams coach/assistant HC. Second year in a row a MAC school lost its HC to be an assistant for a big money program- Dan Enos left Central Michigan LY to be a coordinator at Arkansas.

5) Iowa State 81, Cincinnati 79-- Quality road win for Cyclones after their loss to Northern Iowa over weekend; State played only seven guys, with two subs playing 16-11 minutes. Cyclones really need to have a big recruiting class this year.

4) Mike Leake gets $80M for five years to pitch for St Louis. His career record is a decent 64-52, 3.88 in 172 career starts- great majority of that was in small ballpark in Cincinnati, so bigger park, better team-- that adds up to $16M a year.

3) Kansas 70, San Diego State 57-- Aztecs are disappointing 5-5, Mountain West figures to be a one-bid league- they don't have anyone ranked above #70. San Diego St is a lousy offensive team; their defensive numbers are about same as usual.

2) TCU's star WR Josh Doctson will miss Horned Frogs' bowl game, very good news for Oregon. Doctson's presence in lineup opened up lot of stuff for other offensive options for TCU- they struggled badly with him and QB Boykin hurt.

1) Hawai'i 68, Northern Iowa 52-- NCAA handed down penalties to Hawai'i during day yesterday, but oddly, Warriors can go to NCAAs this year- they'll be ineligible in 2016-17. This is temporary good news for a team that might win the Big West.

Tuesday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a winter day........
13) Many thanks to Ken Thomson of SportsX Radio for having me in studio as a guest on last night's show; if you really like sports, thats a good show to listen to-- you will learn stuff if you tune in.

12) Lions 35, Saints 27-- Funny how Monday Night Football finds its way to the Big Easy most every December- they must have some good Christmas parties. Will be interesting to see if Saints bring Sean Payton/Drew Brees back next year.

11) I'm guessing Steve Harvey's career as a beauty pageant emcee is over, after he butchered the end of the Miss Universe Pageant Sunday night. He announced a winner; problem is, he announced the wrong contestant as the winner and it took five minutes to sort it out and get the right winner named. Very, very awkward.

10) Nothing says the holidays here in Las Vegas like the sounds of slot machines combined with an instrumental version of Frosty the Snowman. Tremendous.

9) St John's lost to College of Incarnate Word and NJIT last weekend, after they had beaten Syracuse the week before. Going to be a long winter for Chris Mullin's team. 2016 is a leap year too, so February has one more day than usual. \

8) Kellen Moore is getting his first NFL start this weekend, for the Cowboys in Buffalo; Moore is the 4th starting QB for Dallas in their 15 games.

7) I've talked a few times about the movie Leap of Faith, where Steve Martin plays a travelling preacher/huckster- excellent movie. Sunday morning I put the TV on and this guy is on TV preaching, not unlike Martin, except with a few less theaterics and in an arena that has to house an NBA or NHL team-- 15-18,000 people- it was packed.

This guy is buying time on USA Network; he must be freakin' loaded- he looks like Jason Sehorn. Apparently he's written a bunch of books too. Good for him.

6) Was bothered by an interview I saw on ESPN's pregame show Sunday; Michael Strahan, an ex-Giant, interviewing current Giant Jason Pierre Paul about his injured hnd that was damaged while he was messing around with fireworks last July 4th. It wasn't journalism, it was two pals sitting around berating the media because some of them called Pierre-Paul "stupid" and other things after his costly injury.

If you're a professional athlete whose career is shortened because you messed around with explosive devices you aren't an expert with, I'm sorry-- that makes you stupid.

5) Odell Beckham Jr is suspended for Sunday night's game at Minnesota, the last Viking outdoor home game, with their new dome opening next season. My thought is to suspend him for Week 17 instead, a game with the Eagles that could decide the NFC East champ. That would be more of a penalty than suspending him for this week.

4) Ray Lewis actually blamed Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning for Beckham's bad day Sunday; Lewis says Coughlin/Manning should've pulled Beckham away, given him a lecture before things got out of hand. Why not just blame Beckham for losing his cool? Would it be so hard to do that? How is it possibly the quarterback's fault?

3) Other than late reports who is playing/sitting, NFL pregame shows I've seen are mostly huge wastes of time. These shows need to let the "experts" pick games against the spread. It is 2015, for Pete's sake- join the rest of the world.

2) WCC conference play started last night; all four home teams won, with three easy wins and Pacific's OT win over Santa Clara.

1) Oregon 72, Alabama 68-- Ducks were down 12 at half in Tuscaloosa, rallied to win behind a strong second half. Dana Altman is an underrated coach.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday........
13) Steelers 34, Broncos 27-- Denver led 27-13 at half, never scored again; in second half, they ran nine drives: 35 plays, 72 yards, zero points. Bad news for Jets, Chiefs as teams scramble for AFC Wild Card position.

12) Panthers 38, Giants 35-- In 2001, Vince McMahon owned XFL, a minor league football operation that was part football, part-WWE. This game resembled that, with Norman/Beckham swatting each other throughout the first quarter as officials refused to police the action and Troy Aikman bitched about it in the FOX TV booth.

Carolina led this game 35-7, blew the lead, won on a last-second FG, but not before both sides were an embarrassment to their employers, with Norman/Beckham swatting each other during/after most every play. Beckham had three personal foul penalties, scored the tying TD, both of which I'm guessing will lead to more commercials.

11) Chiefs 34, Ravens 14-- "More games are lost than won."- George Allen. Chiefs had two defensive TDs, one of their two TD drives was 24 yards, as Jimmy Clausen falls to 0-3 this season with losses by 26-0/35-6/34-14 scores. Chiefs haven't lost since the Royals won the World Series- they still have work to do to make the playoffs.

10) Texans 16, Colts 10-- Houston takes over first place in AFC South behind 5th-string QB Weeden, who was cut by Dallas earlier this season. Texans are 7-7 after 1-4 start, so they'll have positive momentum if they make the playoffs, and a home game in the first round. Colts and Giants are both going to be looking for new coaches soon.

9) Falcons 23, Jaguars 17-- Atlanta ends six-game skid by going 7-14 on 3rd down; Jags were 0-8. Game swung in last 0:10 of first half; down 14-3, Jax had ball on 1-yard line but pass was picked and run back 86 yards, where Falcons kicked FG on last play of half to go up 17-3. 6 or 10-point swing was the difference.

8) Vikings 38, Bears 17-- Minnesota-Green Bay could be playing for first round bye in Week 17; Minnesota was +2 in turnovers here. This week, teams that were +2 or better in turnovers are 6-0 so far. When Vikings average 10.5 ypa, they will win, since that is one of weaker parts of their game.

7) Patriots 33, Titans 16-- Now there are rumors that Bill Polian is going to come to Nashville to run the Titans and bring in Peyton Manning to work with him in the front office. Chicago OC Adam Gase is rumored as a probably head coaching candidate.

6) Redskins 35, Bills 25-- Washington has leg up on winning NFC East; they threw for 10.6 yards/attempt in this game, as rumors persist that Rex Ryan and front office aren't getting along. Buffalo just played five road games in six weeks, which is unkind scheduling; they get Kellen Moore's Dallas Cowboys in Orchard Park next week.

5) Packers 30, Raiders 20-- Green Bay scored two TDs in 0:15 to take an early 14-0 lead on a rainy, dismal day in Oakland. Raiders are 2-5 at home and could be playing their last game ever in the Coliseum against the Chargers next week.

4) Seahawks 30, Browns 13-- Russell Wilson is so valuable because of his mobility; Seattle was 9-12 on third down, ran ball for 182 yards and is a team no one wants to face in mid or late January. As for the Browns, they'll be a curious team to follow in winter/spring months. Not sure they know what they're doing.

3) Chargers 30, Dolphins 14-- Female blackjack dealer in casino here had a great Dan Fouts throwback jersey on today, the light blue one with big gold lightning bolts on each shoulder. Sad day for San Diego, probably their last game ever in Qualcomm, and that doesn't seem fair. San Diego supported the team, deserves to keep it.

2) Bengals 24, 49ers 14-- AJ McCarron is first Alabama QB since 1987 to start/win an NFL game (Rutledge); they scored three TDs in 4:23 near end of first half, on three scoring drives totalling 67 yards, with two 49er turnovers involved. 49ers are 0 for 6 on replay challenges this year, while former coach Harbaugh has his Wolverines in a New Year's Day bowl game. Maybe they should've kept him.

1) Cardinals 40, Eagles 17-- If I was an Eagles fan, I'd seriously question what the hell Chip Kelly is doing; they've gotten worse in Years 2-3 of his regime, but they could create chaos in NFC East by beating Washington Saturday night. Best part of the big Foles-Bradford trade for me is this: Rams get a mid-round draft pick in April. .

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.........
13) Star Wars movie took in $120M, just on Friday; how much overpriced popcorn was sold? I remember when VCRs came out, people said it would kill movie theaters, no one would go anymore. Uh huh.

12) Utah 77, Duke 75 OT-- Surprising result from MSG; Duke played seven kids, and one of those played only six minutes. Utes avenge LY's loss in Sweet 16.

11) Utah 35, BYU 28-- Tremendously tremendous day for the Utes, who beat their arch-rivals in the Las Vegas Bowl- this game was 35-0 in first quarter thanks to just an awful performance by BYU's QB. Then the Utes had to hang on at the end. BYU had a turnover on each of its first five drives of the game.

10) Speaking of BYU, could be that Bronco Mendenhall coached the bowl game for BYU because he is taking six of his assistants with him to Virginia. Cougars are going to hire an alum as head coach who is DC at Oregon State right now.

9) Rice 90, New Mexico 89-- Game was tied in last seconds when there was a wild scramble for a loose ball and Lobos called timeout with 0:00.1 left. Problem is, they didn't have a timeout left, Rice made the foul shot and escaped Albuquerque with an upset win that ain't going to help the Mountain West's power rating.

8) NC-Asheville 79, Georgetown 73-- If John Thompson III's last name wasn't what it is, would he still be the Hoyas' coach? Hoyas are 0-2 at home vs Big South teams and got drilled at home by 15 by Monmouth. I'm just askin'......

7) Northwestern 78, DePaul 70 OT-- Good lord, Doug Collins looked like he was going to have a heart attack watching his son's team play. Wildcats are 10-1- if they have a decent season in conference play, they might make NCAAs for first time ever.

6) Ohio State 74, Kentucky 67-- Buckeyes had been very ordinary up to this point; this Kentucky team ain't last year's Kentucky team.

5) Arizona 45, New Mexico 37-- Is it fun to play bowl games on your home field? This was Lobos' first bowl in eight years, but they didn't travel-- isn't that half the fun for the players? I know coaches like the extra practices, but the players don't.

4) Appalachian State 31, Ohio U 29-- ASU wins a bowl in its second year of I-A play. Both teams kicked a short FG in last 2:00 of this obscure but interesting game.

3) Good lord the Lakers are terrible- they're 4-23 and lost by 40 in Oklahoma. Do they get better when Kobe Bryant retires and they have more cap room?

2) Seton Hall 80, Wichita State 76 OT-- Shockers may have to win MVC tourney to get into the NCAA this year; their KenPom rating is 36 and MVC is only 12th rated league in country. They'll likely be a bubble team.

1) Dr Dre must be making a fortune off those headphones he sells; ton of people wore wore them on the airplane Friday out to Las Vegas. You know there is zero hope of conversation on the flight when you've got an aisle seat and the person next to you has headphones on.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Pistons 147, Bulls 144, 4 OTs-- Epic game. Andre Drummond had 33-21, Reggie Jackson had 31-13 assists for winners. Four Bulls played 44+ minutes; they have a game in New York tonight. Good luck there.

12) I'm tired of NBA types whining about teams hacking lousy foul shooters, but if you want to get rid of it, then any intentional foul is two shots plus the ball and hacking goes away five seconds later. Not just in last 2:00, the whole game.

11) Golden State 121, Bucks 112-- Why do the Bucks play so well against Golden State and so lousy against everyone else? Bucks led this game 70-58 at the half- they are only team to beat the Warriors this season.

10) When NFL posts penalty stats, I'd be curious to see them divided between five yard/procedural type penalties and 10+-yard penalties, which are more subjective in nature. I'm guessing every ref will call most all of the five-yard penalties, they're pretty much cut-and-dry. The major penalties are what differentiate officials.

9) You see Lebron James plow full speed into a fan sitting courtside, you wonder "Why hasn't this happened more often?" Luckily, Mrs Day is alright and out of the hospital, but she took quite a shot and probably hit her head on the floor, too.

8) Fomer Kentucky QB Patrick Towles is transferring to Boston College, which desperately needs a QB. Towles is grandson of Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning.

7) James Fraschilla was a scrub player at Oklahoma, now he is video coordinator for the Maine Redclaws of the D-League. His dad is Fran Fraschilla, who coached three D-I teams and now works on ESPN. The kid's connections got him in, now he's going to have to work his way up in the business. D-Legaue video coordinator is about as entry level position as there is in pro basketball.

6) Ok, mock me: I have never seen Star Wars. Ever. I've seen Moneyball 50 times, Invincible 20-25 times, Begin Again about the same. But never Star Wars.

5) Shaquille O'Neal looked pretty spry jetting around the TNT studio on one of those hover boards kids use now on Inside the NBA late Thursday night. As big a guy as O'Neal is, his hover board had to be specially made. He knew how to use it.

4) They said on TV last night the Golden State Warriors have a waiting list of about 19,000 people for season tickets; we'll see what happens to that when they move from Oakland to San Francisco in a couple years- list might get bigger.

3) Richmond got clocked by North Dakota State in I-AA football playoffs Friday, but the Spiders have very cool white helmets with that excellent spider logo on it.

2) College of Incarnate Word 73, St John's 51-- Oy. CIW is in Southland, they're a D-I school located in San Antonio but this is an ugly result for Chris Mullin's team. A Big East is never supposed to lose by 22 at home to a Southland team. Ever.

1) Today is a very good of college hoop but December has degenerated into a waiting period between the Thanksgiving tournaments and the start of conference play. Lot of these games still find coaches experimenting with lineups, or getting transfers eligible aftert the first semester. When conference play starts, you'll see a big difference.

Friday's Den: Ranking NFL QBs within tiers.........
I divided 33 NFL (two for Denver) QBs into four tiers, then ranked them within the tiers. I think Philip Rivers is better than Joe Flacco, but Flacco won a Super Bowl and Rivers hasn't played in one, so they're in different tiers. Rankings are for right now, with exception of the injured starters- their ranking is for when they were last healthy.

Tier One: QBs who won a Super Bowl
8) Peyton Manning-- One of the all-time greats is at the end of the trail.

7) Joe Flacco-- This was his first losing season out of eight in NFL.

6) Eli Manning-- Durable, immobile, won two Super Bowls. Funny how he and his brother are statuesque, while their dad was a lot like Steve Young, a scrambler.

5) Drew Brees-- Had advantage of playing in dome and being coached by Sean Payton, an aggressive playcaller. Wonder if Chargers regret letting him go.

4) Russell Wilson-- As Ram fan, root against him twice a year; he has many qualities like Joe Montana. Elusive, smart, much better runner obviously but he doesn't have Jerry Rice. He is really, really good, as his 50-19 W-L record suggests.

3) Aaron Rodgers-- Which was more seamless, Packers going from Favre/Rodgers or Colts going from Manning/Luck? Good management by both teams.

2) Ben Roethlisberger-- Go back to 2004 draft; Giants traded for Eli Manning, when they could've stood pat and taken Big Ben. Its worked out well for both sides, but if that draft happened again, you wonder how it would play out?

1) Tom Brady-- Why do quarterbacks run a 40-yard dash at the Combine?

Tier Two: Veteran QBs who haven't won a Super Bowl
10) Matt Ryan-- Has had a dismal year, Falcons' third losing year in row (16-29).

9) Alex Smith-- 49ers chose Kaepernick over him; was that the right move?

8) Matthew Stafford-- Plays in dome, for a team that has won one playoff game since 1957. Has 39-51 record; you watch him and think Lions should be better.

7) Jay Cutler-- 66-65 career record, going 27-13 from 2010-12, 39-52 the rest of the time. Bears lost 26-0 in one game he missed this year. Cutler might be underrated.

6) Tony Romo-- Dallas is 1-8 in games he missed this year, but a 2-4 playoff record also haunts him. 10 years as a starter, six playoff games. No bueno.

5) Andy Dalton-- 0-4 in playoffs, but 50-26-1 in regular season- Bengals were terrible before he became the QB. This was his best season until he broke his right thumb.

4) Andrew Luck-- Indy better be careful with him; lacerated kidney is nothing to mess around with. The way this season has gone, Colts will have new coach next year. Has 3-3 playoff record in four years (more playoff wins than Romo/Dalton combined).

3) Carson Palmer-- What QB wouldn't love playing for Bruce Arians? This is his best season, now he needs a playoff win-- his playoff record is 0-2 ('05, '09).

2) Cam Newton-- Win college, won in junior college, winning in NFL.

1) Philip Rivers-- 95-71 career record, 4-5 in playoffs; was drafted in same year as Eli and Big Ben. Has eight kids, so I'm guessing he leads NFL QBs in that category.

Tier Three: Less accomplished QBs
8) Nick Foles/Case Keenum-- Give one of them a decent OL and a tight end who can catch the ball, then we'll see. Rest of team is ready to roll- offensive ineptitude has kept this team from contention this year- they're really not very far away.

7) Ryan Tannehill-- Was WR for two years at Texas A&M, not sure what Dolphins see in him- his starting job never seems to get challenged.

6) Sam Bradford-- At least he stayed mostly healthy this season.

5) Blaine Gabbert-- Has played fairly well for 49ers this season.

4) Brian Hoyer-- Head coach is a QB guru, but Texans can't find a QB- Hoyer has been OK but now has concussion issues.

3) Blake Bortles-- Jaguars scored 115 points in last three games; they have hope.

2) Derek Carr-- Oakland has chance to get to .500 this year if they can upset Green Bay this weekend. Raiders management got him couple good WRs, which helps.

1) Ryan Fitzpatrick-- Playing for fourth team in four years, during which time he has started 50 games-- unique career. Hope he writes a book someday.

Tier Four: Young QBs
7) Johnny Manziel-- Second coming of Fran Tarkenton on the field; hopefully he will be little less active off the field. Curious what Browns will do with him this winter.

6) Tyrod Taylor-- Wasn't that good in college, sat bench in Baltimore for four years, has done pretty well as a starter this year. Maybe thats the way to develop a QB.

5) Brock Osweiler-- Same boat as Taylor, is 3-1 filling in for legendary QB Manning. Will be free agent this winter- will Denver sign him up longterm?

4) Teddy Bridgewater-- Seems a little bit like Alex Smith; doesn't screw things up, is mobile enough to move chains. Vikings move to new stadium indoors next year.

3) Kirk Cousins-- No one talks about RGIII anymore.

2) Marcus Mariota-- I'm sure Tennessee is happy with him, but not sure why they fired the coach. Teams with rookie QBs starting seldom win a lot.

1) Jameis Winston-- All the BS he put himself thru in college is gone now; he has done way better than most people expected in his rookie year. Went 27-1 at Florida State, is 6-7 with Bucs- big improvement. Future is bright in Tampa Bay.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Golden State is obviously best NBA team right now, but 3-4 years ago, when I was at the Las Vegas Summer League, it was striking that the Warriors had way more fans than any other team. I remember telling a friend of mine that if you didn't know, you would assume the Warriors were the best team in the NBA because of their big following, but at the time, they were nowhere near that. Strong, loyal fanbase.

12) Lebron James is making $22,970,580 this year; Kevin Love $19,689,000. Just seems a little weird; is Lebron underpaid or Love overpaid? Or both?

11) Bartolo Colon bags a $7.25M deal with the Mets for next year; not even sure if Colon will be in the rotation once Zack Wheeler comes back next summer.

10) Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo turned BYU down, will stay with Navy next season. You wonder if BYU being an independent hurts them as they try and get a new coach? Cougars aren't on national TV every week like Notre Dame.

9) UNLV has made a 3-pointer in 952 straight games, which is every game they've played since the 3-point shot came into college ball 30 years ago.

8) White Sox acquired 3B Todd Frazier from the Reds in a 3-team deal with Reds and Dodgers; scouts were criticial of the return Cincinnati got back, while thinking that the Dodgers are trying to stockpile young talent to make a run at Jose Fernandez in a potential trade with the Marlins.

7) NHL ratings are up 12% this year on NBC Sports Network telecasts.

6) There have been 24 head coaching changes in college football this year; 11 of the 24 teams are playing in bowls. Bowling Green-Georgia Southern is a bowl where both teams have had really good seasons but both head coaches are gone already.

5) If a team plays badly in a mid or lesser-level bowl game, does that automatically mean "They didn't want to be there"? You hear guys on TV say this all the time, but sometimes team play badly in big games too and you know everyone wanted to be in that game. I'm thinking coaching turnover might have more to do with preparation for a bowl game. Players tend to enjoy games no matter when/where they are.

4) UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone was hospitalized this week with a blood clot in his lung. Bruins play Nebraska in a bowl game next week, so obviously their prep for that game has been disrupted. Get well soon, coach.

3) Texas A&M has QB issues; Kyle Allen is transferring and Kyler Murray missed practice Wednesday, amidst rumors that he will be gone too, but it was reported last night that Murray will be back practicing Thursday and will start the Aggies' bowl game on December 30 against Louisville.

2) Ryan Mallett signed on with QB-starved Ravens; Houston cut him after he acted like a 10-year old when Brian Hoyer was named starter, then later missed a team flight. It says a lot that it took him so long to latch on with another team.

1) Los Angeles Angels have been in top 10 in salary the last 12 years, but missed the playoffs five of last six years. They won a World Series under Mike Scioscia, but it was in 2002. In lot of places, Scioscia would have another job by now.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week, mid-month thoughts.....
13) Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan abruptly retired last night, after Badgers beat Texas-Corpus Christi 64-49. Timing of the announcement seems odd, but I have a theory that Ryan wants his assistant Greg Gard to have a shot at succeeding him as Wisconsin coach and this was the only way that was going to happen.

12) CNN's crew analyzing Republican debate was outside the Venetian in Las Vegas last night; they looked like they were freezing their butts off. As I type this, it is 43 degrees in Las Vegas, 43 here in beautiful upstate New York.

11) Monmouth 83, Georgetown 68-- Hawks were 10-20 from arc, 31-37 on foul line as they led Hoyas just about whole way. Monmouth has beaten UCLA, Notre Dame, USC and Georgetown- they also lost at Canisius. UNC alum King Rice is the coach at Monmouth, at least for another three months, then he'll get a bigger job.

10) Going into Tuesday's games, college basketball scoring was up 5.28 ppg, so the new rules have influenced coaches to play more aggressively, which had created a lot more attractive product to watch, all of which will make this winter more fun.

9) ESPN will televise 38 of the 41 bowl games; they OWN ten of them. 80 of 128 college football teams are going to bowls-- it is just too many. You go 6-6 or 5-7 and you get a trip to the Bahamas or San Diego-- those teams don't deserve it!!!!

8) Last year, Eastern Washington QB Vernon Adams transferred from I-AA Eagles to Oregon in hopes of enhancing his resume for NFL scouts. Now it has happened again, as Montana State QB Dakota Prukop will transfer to the Ducks-- he chose them over Alabama. Whatever happened to loyalty? Whatever happened to finishing what you started? Tony Romo went to Eastern Illinois, Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard, future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner went to Northern Iowa.

If you're good enough, the NFL will find you, that I guarantee.

7) Parents, please teach your kids to throw lefty: reliever Jerry Blevins just signed a deal with the Mets for $4M for next season. I have great fondness for Blevins, who helped the A's make the playoffs in 2012-2013, but he has 16 wins, two saves in his nine major league seasons. $4M a year, thats million, with an M. Wow.

6) Eli Manning was playing flag football Monday night, going 27-31 against a team that blitzed him three times the whole game. Three times. Eli Manning is immobile, just like his brother and Odell Beckham is a great deep threat. How on God's green earth do you let him stand back there and throw the ball long all night?

5) There is a TV program on A&E called Married at First Sight where couples are matched and then get married, five minutes after they first meet. A friend asked me if this was a real show and it is; these people get married legally, then have six weeks or so to decide if they want a divorce or to remain married. No annulments. Oy.

My mom passed away in 2004; my one wish would've been to sit in a room with her while this show was on and just watch her boil over as it unfolded. She was religious and outspoken-- the over/under on her demanding the channel be switched would've been roughly 11.5 minutes, and I'm being generous. It would've been great fun.

4) Raiders' LB Khalil Mack had five sacks in Denver Sunday; if he played for a New York team, they'd be fitting him for his Hall of Fame jacket already. Oakland has a shot for a .500 season- they haven't had one since 8-8 years in 2010-11- their last winning season was in '02, when they lost to the Bucs in the Super Bowl.

3) Raiders' QB Derek Carr bought all of his offensive linemen flatscreeen TVs as Christmas presents. What do QBs on lousy teams buy their linemen?

2) Nick Young played over 400 minutes on floor at same time as Kobe Bryant, until he assisted on a Bryant basket. Thats hard to believe, but it was true until he finally assisted on a Bryant basket last week.

1) Baseball won't reinstate Pete Rose, which is fine; he is 74 years old so he wasn't going to coach or be in a front office job anyway-- he makes over $1M a year signing his name in Las Vegas 4-5 days a week, and he does studio work on FOX, so he has his hand in it a little bit, but the Hall of Fame needs to let him it. Here is why.

-- He has more hits than anyone who ever played the game.
-- He changed positions mulitple times to help his team improve; all he wanted to do was win and he was a great player whose teams did win a lot.
-- Cooperstown, NY is a very small town that could use a boost and a ceremony with Rose would be the biggest weekend the Baseball Hall of Fame has ever seen.
-- He broke a rule and bet on baseball, so put it on his Hall of Fame plaque, say he was banned from baseball, but let him have his day-- he'll make a speech and then this will become a non-issue.
-- I'm not a Reds fan, but I think Rose deserves to be honored as a great player.

Tuesday's List of 13: Top 8, bottom 5 teams in NFL......
32) Ravens-- They move out of bottom five if Schaub comes back, but Clausen is just awful- he's started two games this year, with no touchdowns in 26-0/35-6 losses. 7 of nine Baltimore losses this season are by six or less points.

31) Falcons-- Lost seven of last eight games since a 5-0 start; they scored 36.8 ppg in first four games- they scored two TDs on last 29 drives and gave up almost 300 yards in first quarter at Carolina Sunday.

30) Titans-- They're 1-8 vs spread when they score less than 33 points; if you want to play a rookie QB, thats fine, he's going to be good, but how do you fire the coach if you know damn well you're going to struggle with a rookie QB playing?

29) Browns-- Their offseason will be fascinating; will they change coaches again- that would make six coaches in nine years in 2016? Will they keep Manziel? If they trade him, what do they get for him and then who plays QB? Interesting decisions loom.

28) Lions-- Good grief, I wish the Rams had Matthew Stafford; how can you be so bad with a QB like that? Detroit is 0-9 vs spread this year when they allow more than 16 points. Lions are on TV next Monday; think is my fourth time in row they've been on in primetime when I'm in Las Vegas, which I will be next week.

8) Vikings-- They move into a new domed stadium next year; Week 16 game with the Giants will be their last game in the Gophers' stadium. Need to win and right the ship this week by beating hard-to-figure Bears, who play lot of close games.

7) Bengals-- Giving them benefit of doubt in this spot, with Dalton hurt. McCarron makes first NFL start this week against 49ers, who play pretty good defense at home. If Bengals win one of remaining two AFC games, they clinch division, but can they get that valuable first round bye?

6) Chiefs-- On a freakin' roll with seven wins in row (6-0-1 vs spread); they're using WRs lot more this year, and had goal line stand at end of rainy win over Chargers last week. First team since '70 Bengals to win seven in row after losing five straight.

5) Packers-- Great fun to watch Rodgers play QB; never ceases to amaze me how he didn't get a college scholarship out of high school- he played a year of junior college ball in Boise. That said, Green Bay ran ball better in McCarthy's first game back as the playcaller for Green Bay.

4) Seahawks-- How great are the cameras they put in pylons? Give you great shots of close plays around the end zone. Whoever invented those deserves a raise. As for the Seahawks, they figure to be a very tough out in January, even if they're on the road.

3) Patriots-- Why does NFL make referees run to the stands and look at the replays himself? Why not have people in New York who look at these things and then decide what the right call is? Wouldn't this be a better, faster system? Was thinking other day whether or not Tom Brady will go on TV when he's done playing? Would be he good at it? You never know which ex-players will emerge as TV stars.

2) Cardinals-- Now-or-never for Arizona; they're going to win NFC West, have to win maybe one road game to get to Super Bowl. Carson Palmer's 36th birthday is in a couple weeks- this is their best shot to win a championship.

1) Panthers-- If Arizona has to win NFC title game on road, it'll be in Charlotte with the Panthers hosting. Carolina beat the Redbirds in the playoffs LY, but #3 QB Ryan Lindley was playing for Arizona and it was a lousy game. Palmer vs Newton for the NFC championshop would be a tremendous game.

Monday's List of 14: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday......
14) Steelers 33, Bengals 20-- This is how fragile success is in the NFL; Andy Dalton broke his right (passing) thumb, is out for the year- he might get back for the playoffs, but how long are the Bengals going to last in playoffs without him? This probably will cost them a first round bye, at least.

Wonder what the jackasses who booed Dalton at the celebrity softball game in Cincy last summer are saying now?

13) Eagles 23, Bills 20-- When LeSean McCoy was in Philly, he lived in a condo that didn't allow Christmas decorations on the doors that led to the hallway; McCoy's mom put them up anyway, no one said anything, so other people put them up. McCoy had 74 yards on 20 rushes in his return to Philly, but Bills had 15 penalties for 101 yards, Eagles five for 55. Third loss in four games for Rex Ryan's fading team.

12) Panthers 38, Falcons 0-- While network TV nitwits insist on putting Dallas on national TV most every week, Carolina is 13-0 and steamrolling towards going 16-0. This was a major tank job by freefalling Falcons, who gave up almost 300 yards in the first quarter. Atlanta has a big decision regarding Matt Ryan this winter- do they plan to go ahead with him as their franchise QB and if so, why?

11) Browns 24, 49ers 10-- Manziel was 21-31, 270 passing as Cleveland ended skid at seven games. Johnny Football has certainly improved this year, but are Browns using him to get ready for 2016, or to showcase him for a trade? Total yardage in this game was 481-221, Browns ran for 230, winning easily despite a -2 turnover ratio.

10) Redskins 24, Bears 21-- Condolences to Jay Cutler, whose brother-in-law was found dead in Utah this week, at age 30. Nine of last ten Chicago games were won by six or less points- Chicago lost three of its last four. Jay Gruden was head coach in Arena League for nine years, UFL for one; he is actually one of more experienced head coaches in NFL. Washington/Philly are tied atop NFC East at 6-7.

9) Rams 21, Lions 14-- At one point in this game, Rams had 3rd-and-3, Keenum took a quick drop, threw a 5-yard pass to Britt and the play gained seven yards and a first down- I jumped out of my chair and shook my fist-- they NEVER get first downs that easily, and I'm not being sarcastic. Actual progress. Aaron Donald is a beast at tackle and Hekker/Gurley also had big games, as St Louis ended a 5-game skid.

8) Chiefs 10, Chargers 3-- Gil Brandt pointed out that Chiefs are the second team in NFL history ('70 Bengals) to win seven consecutive games following a losing streak of five games- this was first of the seven they didn't cover. San Diego isn't a good team, but they've covered their last four road games. .

7) Saints 24, Buccaneers 17-- Damaging loss to Bucs' playoff hopes, as Saints win fourth visit in row to Bay Area, endng their 4-game skid. This turned out to be a good week for teams on long losing streaks (Saints-Browns-Rams). Saints converted on 12 of 17 third down plays, helping New Orleans to 9-yard edge in field position.

6) Jaguars 51, Colts 16-- Indy led this game 13-3 at 2:00 warning of first half, gave up a defensive TD before halftime, then two more TDs in first 3:11 of third quarter. Jags outscored Indy 42-3 in second half; at 5-8, they're not out of AFC South race just yet, with Texans losing badly Sunday night. As for Colts, who lost 45-10 last week, it is time to start speculating on who their next coach will be.

5) Jets 30, Titans 8-- My cousin texted me around 2:15: "....Titans stopped playing".

Jets are now +15 in turnovers in their eight wins, -13 in five losses. Jets ran for 183 yards, had 12-yard edge in field position. Only Tennessee TD was pass to Mariota. Jets-Steelers-Chiefs are tied for two AFC Wild Cards; Gang Green ends up with road games at Dallas/Buffalo and a home game with New England.

4) Raiders 15, Broncos 12-- NFL teams are now 1-25 when they don't score a TD on offense, the one win being the first Raider-Bronco game, so Denver didn't score a TD on offense in two games vs Oakland this year. Red zone failures in first half (three FGs on three red zone drives), dropped passes on big plays in second half doomed Denver here. The big question in Denver is going to be whether or not Osweiler keeps his job at QB, if and when Peyton Manning deems himself ready to play.

Jack Del Rio almost broke Twitter when he went for two with a 15-12 lead; turns out the Oakland long snapper hurt his shoulder, so they went for two instead of risking a fouled-up snap on a PAT with a backup snapper.

3) Seahawks 35, Ravens 6-- Former Viking coaxh Bud Grant liked to say "Its not who you play, its when you play them". Seattle played Chicago in only game Jimmy Clausen started for Bears; here they played Ravens in only game Clausen has started for them. The results? 26-0/35-6 wins. Clausen might be the worst QB in the NFL. Seattle looks like the #5 seed in the NFC, which will make them a hefty road favorite at the NFC East champ on Wild Card weekend.

2) Packers 28, Cowboys 7-- Dallas is now 1-8 with backup QBs starting; when NFL only has two 4:00 games and Cassel-led Cowboys are in one of them, its just terrible scheduling. Put the undefeated Panthers in the national spotlight more often, they've earned it. Biggest news here is that Mike McCarthy took play-calling duties back for Green Bay, who end season with Raiders-Cardinals-Vikings.

1) Patriots 27, Texans 6-- This game had all the suspense of a Harlem Globetrotters-Washington Generals tilt. NE is back as #1 seed in AFC, with Broncos/Bengals losing. Houston plays at Indy next week; in what could be a QB matchuip between Charlie Whitehurst-TJ Yates, with a division title on the line. Can the Rams get moved to this division? They're as good as any of those four teams.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Bucks 108, Warriors 95-- Golden State's 28-game win streak comes to an end; I'm wondering if anyone in Oakland is relieved the streak is over, so they can get on with the business of the regular season- the bandwagon will empty, lot of the media will be gone, and they can properly rest guys who are banged-up.

12) Our world is too impatient: Penguins fired coach Mike Johnston, even though the team has a 15-10-3 record. 15-10-3 ain't bad. Apparently the owners think things should be better, but its not even Christmas yet. We'll see how this turns out.

11) Chattanooga 61, Dayton 59-- Biggest basketball upset of the day; Flyers won at Vanderbilt earlier this week, now lose at home to a Southern Conference team. UTC has a new coach this year; the previous coach replaced Shaka Smart at VCU.

10) Texas 84, North Carolina 82-- Speaking of Shaka Smart, he got the biggest win of his brief Texas tenure when his Longhorns upset UNC on a late baseline jumper that just barely beat the buzzer. Tar Heels are now 0-2 in true road games.

9) I know the show is 90:00 because they can sell ads to fill 90:00 of TV, but why in God's name does ESPN waste 90:00 of airtime for a Heisman Trophy show? All that matter is the thirty seconds at the end the winner is announced- how can people watch the rest of it? What is said that already hasn't been said?

8) When Iowa State rallied back from 20 down to beat Iowa Thursday, kids stormed the court in celebration, during which a sports columnist was knocked down and he broke his leg. Few years ago, a high school star in Arizona was paralyzed when he was trampled in a similar court storming- the kid had a scholarship at Stanford waiting for him, but he can't walk anymore. Pretty soon court storming will be banned.

7) Xavier 65, Cincinnati 55-- Musketeers have now won six of last seven games in an intense inner-city rivalry- they're probably the best team in the Big East. .

6) Xavier-Cincinnati is so intense that it was moved off campus for a couple years to a neutral downtown arena, after a big brawl. When you see the refs assigned to a game like this, it is a big compliment to them. The three refs at Xavier last night were Jeffrey Anderson, Brent Hampton, Roger Ayers- they must be very good officials.

5) UCLA 71, Gonzaga 66-- Zags lost at home to Arizona/UCLA in last eight days; at what point do we call them a fraud, or is Karnowski's back injury the missing link to the Zags being a really good team? Gonzaga gets an awful lot of publicity, but other than taking the WCC every year, what exactly do they win?

4) Kansas 82, Oregon State 67-- Jayhawks were down 11 at half, outscored OSU 54-28 in second half. Beavers' coach Wayne Tinkle's son plays for OSU-- he shoots a lot of 3-pointers, he wears uniform number 3, his first name is Tres. Now that makes sense; the kid hit his first five 3's in this game, but made only one other basket.

3) Michael Cuddyer retired after 15 years in the big leagues; good to wrap up your career by playing in a World Series for the first time. Cuddyer banked just over $79M in his 13-year career- he would have made another $12.5M if he played next year. .

2) Marquette 57, Wisconsin 55-- Badgers have lost three home games already.

1) Carolina Panthers are 12-0, rolling along towards an undefeated season, but coach Ron Rivera's mom Delores thinks the Panthers should blitz more. Seriously, she knows a lot about football and thinks her son's defense doesn't blitz enough. Oy.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Jason Heyward bags an 8-year, $184M contract from the Cubs, leaving St Louis for its division rival. Heyward has played six full seasons; he's hit more than 18 HRs once, has never scored more than 93 runs or knocked in more than 82. He is 26, has been in one All-Star Game. One. $23M a year. Interesting.

12) If I'm Yoenis Cespedes' agent, the bidding starts at $24M a year. Not for eight years because Cespedes is four years older than Heyward, but he is the better player.

11) I could never own a pro sports team; if I offered Chris Davis $150M for seven years, and he didn't immediately sign the damn thing, then I'd have to tell him to go bleep himself and move on. It takes onions to turn down that much cabbage.

10) Johnny Cueto turned down $120M for six years from Arizona, which is why they went after Zack Greinke; curious to see if Cueto signs for more than that.

9) Popular wisdom on MLB Network and on Twitter was that the Braves got the better of the Shelby Miller-to-Arizona trade. Two of three players Atlanta got are minor leaguers, so it'll take a few years for the final verdict to come in.

8) Last year, I was criticial of the team Phil Jackson put on the floor with the Knicks, but he has more than earned his $12M salary by drafting Porzingis; he gives the team real hope going forward and is someone to build the franchise around. They need a couple more guys to become contenders, but at least their compass is pointed up.

7) Red Sox OF Mookie Betts has bowled four perfect (300) games; he took part in his first pro bowlers tournament this week in Reno. He bowled 224 in his first game.

6) I'm surprised that neither Arizona Cardinals/St Louis Rams have retired #13 yet; hopefully Kurt Warner gets in the Hall of Fame next summer, than both teams can do it next season.

5) Stephen Curry is 22-58 (37.9%) from floor in two games Klay Thompson missed.

4) Temple's Tyler Matakevich won the Chuck Bednarik Award, which goes to the defensive player of the year. Ironic since Temple is in Philadelphia and Bednarik was a Philly guy, playing in college at Penn, in pros with the Eagles.

3) Speaking of Temple, some of these SEC schools just shuffle coordinators around when a guy like Owls' coach Matt Rhule doesn't get a better job. Maybe Al Golden's struggles at Miami hurt Rhule's value-- Golden went from Temple to Miami, but this guy Rhule is a really good coach and will get a big job soon.

2) Sixteen players were taken in this week's Rule 5 baseball draft; for $50K, a guy drafted has to stay in big leagues all next season or he can bought back by his original team for $25K. This rule prevents teams from keeping guys in the minors forever.

1) I get tired of players saying they want to make more money because ".......the owners are making so much money." Well they're the damn owners, they're supposed to make a lot of money. How about lowering ticket prices now and then so the fans catch an occasional break? Players are making way more than enough money.

Friday's List of 13: Baseball thoughts on a mid-December day
Baseball's Winter Meetings were this week so with that in mind, some baseball stuff to ponder, with spring training a little over two months away.......

13) Houston Astros used the most (151) different lineups LY and made the playoffs; KC Royals used the fewest (83) and won World Series. No other big league team used less than 108 (Pirates) lineups.

12) Every NL team issued at least 28 intentional walks LY-- pitchers bat in the NL, so you often walk the #8 hitter to get to the pitcher. Nine of 15 AL teams issued less than 28 intentional walks- Bronx (16), Astros (17) issued the fewest.

Angels (45), Mariners (41) issued most intentional walks of the AL teams.

11) Every NL team attempted at least 48 sacrifice bunts; 11 of 15 AL teams tried fewer than 48 LY, with Oakland (17), Baltimore (26) trying the fewest.

Pirates (81), Braves (80) tried bunting the most; of the AL teams, Rangers (66) tried the most sacrifices. Texas manager Banister used to be Clint Hurdle's right-hand man.

10) Most major league managers are former catchers; Seattle (30) pitched out the most LY, followed by the Reds (28- managed by a former pitcher). Mets, Nationals had only one pitch-out each last year.

9) Every NL team pinch-hit at least 225 (Washington) times; San Diego (311) used the most pinch-hitters. Tampa Bay (219) pinch-hit 58 more times than any other team in the American League (Oakland, 161).

Platooning is an unfortunate epidemic in baseball these days.

8) I read an article that gave Billy Butler a 9% chance of getting to 3,000 career hits; he currently has 1,408 hits and has been putrid the last two years. If Butler has a 9% shot at 3,000 hits, then I have a 9% chance of dating Pamela Anderson, whose sons were once batboys for the Pepperdine baseball team, so you never know........

7) There were 44% more runs scored in Colorado home games than road tilts LY.

6) There were 15% fewer runs scored in Giant home games than road tilts LY.

5) Over last three years, Fenway Park has been friendliest to righty hitters; Camden Yards has been friendliest for lefty hitters (Chris Davis, take note).

4) Batters who came up with most men on base LY, and % of those runners he knocked in:
Carlos Santana 480 (13.8%)...Todd Frazier 468 (11.5%)....Eric Hosmer 457 (16.4%)

3) Of batters with 250+ PA, those who knocked in highest percantage of runners from third base:
1) Ryan Zimmerman (27-45, 60%), 2) Mookie Betts (33-58, 56.9%), 3) Juan Lagares (14-26, 53.8%).

2) Of batters with 250+ PA, those who knocked in lowest percantage of runners from third base:
295) Chris Coghlan (6-42, 14.3%), 294) Justin Maxwell (4-23, 17.4%), 293) Joc Pederson (9-50, 18%).

1) Best record in one-run games LY:
Pirates 36-17, Angels 35-17, Cubs 34-21, Braves 28-18.

Worst record in one-run games LY:
Blue Jays 15-28, A's 19-35, Phillies 16-27, Reds 18-29

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Why is Steph Curry such a great shooter? He works his ass off, thats why. He says he makes between 200-350 shots every day during the season and probably a lot more in the offseason. He once made 77 3-pointers in a row at a practice. You aren't born that way; if more players practiced this much, they'd shoot a lot better.

12) Cool trivia; Don Sutton is in baseball's Hall of Fame; his career record in the majors was 324-256. Turns out he lost one game in high school; the opposing pitcher in his one loss was Kenny Stabler, the great Raiders' quarterback.

11) I was in a deli for a sandwich earlier this week; guy at the register has the biggest arms I've ever seen, like one of the WWE wrestlers on TV. Turns out the guy is a pro bodybuilder but apparently there isn't a whole lot of money in that. Go figure.

10) Orioles offered Chris Davis a 7-year deal for $150M; how on God's green earth does he turn that down? Apparently Davis wants eight years, $200M. Granted, he hit 47 HRs with 117 RBI LY but that was playing half his games in Baltimore's closet of a ballpark. His numbers would go down most anywhere else. Just take the money.

9) Heisman Trophy is one of the most overrated things on earth; in what other sport is the Player of the Year award talked about so much?

8) Five years ago, Conference USA was the #8 basketball league in America; now, it is the #22 league, as the football maneuvering has crippled the basketball part. The mid-major leagues that are basketball-only have mostly all passed by C-USA.

7) Was pretty cool seeing Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton at courtside Tuesday nite watching UConn playing Maryland at Madison Square Garden. Those guys made ton of money playing in the NBA, but still took out time to cheer on the alma mater.

6) Paris Hotel is Las Vegas is getting a 10,000 square foot beer garden above Hexx restaurant that will seat up to 500 people. One thing about Las Vegas is places are always being improved/added. If you like to eat/drink, Vegas is where to go.

5) I think the NFL makes a mistake fining players for celebration penalties; I don't think it is a deterrent. My suggestion is to still throw flags for celebrations but get rid of the fines- it gives the media too easy a chance to rip the league ("No Fun League"). Let the players act out after they score TDs, let the coaches police things after player gets a penalty for being a selfish human.

4) If the Browns fire Mike Pettine this winter, they'll have their sixth head coach in nine years next season- this is no way to run a business, especially one worth close to $1B, thats billion with a B. Hire a coach, give him five years to run his program and recruit free agents-- things couldn't be worse than they are in Cleveland right now.

3) SMU has a good basketball team; they pounded Michigan by 24 the other night, but the Mustangs aren't going to the postseason this year because they committed academic fraud. Larry Brown was out of college coaching for 25 years, mostly because he put his last school (Kansas) on probation too. Hmmm....

2) Not only does Big X play a 9-game conference football schedule, now they're going to have to play at least one other Power 5 game every year. My guess is the phones at Vanderbilt, Purdue and Wake Forest are going to be ringing off the hook soon, since they're the perennial doormats in the other Power 5 leagues. .

1) I'm genuinely concerned that if Donald Trump became President, we would have a civil war in this country; you can't have a leader who openly insults more than half the citizens. Part of me thinks he is saying outrageous stuff on purpose so he will lose, but no matter what he does, he doesn't drop in the polls. Weird thing.

No matter what, some day all this is going to make one hell of a movie.

Wednesday's List of 13: Tell your statistics to shut up.......
I like numbers, think they can explain a lot, but not everything; some people don't like them as much, but there's enough room in this world for all kinds of ideas.

NFL moved kickoffs up to create more touchbacks, since most injuries were occurring on kick returns; as a result, more drives start 80+ yards from the end zone. Defenses and special teams that create short fields help teams win, but which offenses are best at driving the ball 80+ yards?

13) There are six NFL teams averaging 2.00+ ppp on drives starting 80+ yards from goal line (you lose points for defensive TDs/safeties allowed):

Cardinals/Steelers 2.28, Bengals 2.15, Raiders 2.13, Chiefs 2.08, Patriots 2.07.

12) Rams have started 80 drives 80+ yards from end zone, scored only 71 points on those drives; they're only NFL team averaging under 1.00 ppp in that scenario.

11) Other teams that struggle scoring on long (80-yard+) TD drives:

Rams 0.89, Browns 1.03, 49ers 1.19, Panthers 1.26-- Carolina has 10 drives of less than 60 yards and five defensive TDs, lightening the load on its offense. .

10) Chargers have started 92 drives 80+ yards from goal line, seven more than any other team (Saints), 12 more than any of the other teams. Hard to win when you're playing on a longer field than your opponent.

9) Patriots lead NFL with 15 TDs on drives of less than 60 yards, but they haven't scored a TD on defense or special teams this year- they gave up three on Sunday.

Bowl matchups were announced this week; some numbers on how conferences have done in recent bowl games.......
8) Big 14 teams have been an underdog in 27 of last 33 bowl games, going 13-20 SU in those games (14-17-2 vs spread).

7) SEC teams were favored in 32 of last 38 bowl games, going 25-13 SU, 23-14-1 vs spread, 5-1 in few games when they were an underdog.

6) Surprisingly good bowl league: Conference USA, which is 15-7 SU in bowls last four years, 12-8 vs spread (9-3 when favored).

5) ACC teams are 13-19 SU in their last 32 bowls, 3-8 vs spread when favored.

4) Big X games are famous for being high-scoring, but over last four years, bowl games involving Big X teams have seen 18 go under total, only ten go over.

Elsewhere in the world of numbers.........
3) Chicago White Sox used a lefty starting pitcher in 119 games LY, third-most by any team over the last 100 years.

2) Summit League is a mid-major basketball league that has teams like South Dakota State, North Dakota State, Oral Roberts, Denver; heading into Tuesday's games, teams from Summit League were 39-19 against the spread this year, pretty damn good.

1) Golden State Warriors are now 23-0 this season; they're 16-7 against the spread, 9-3 as a road favorite- their last seven games went over the total.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Steve Sarkisian is suing USC for wrongful termination; he is asking for a lot of money. He got fired for showing up drunk- he might even have coached a game or two under the influence. Takes a lot of onions to sue your employer after that happens.

12) Dodgers signed pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma as a free-agent; Seattle then filled that hole by acquiring Wade Miley from Boston. Iwakuma is good if he is healthy.

11) Speaking of the Dodgers, Peter Gammons wrote last week that new manager Dave Roberts wasn't allowed to pick any of his coaches-- very unusual. Why would you hire a guy who has never managed, then not let him pick any of his coaches?

10) Saints ran a blocked PAT back for two points Sunday, first time that happened in an NFL game-- rule has been in college for lot longer. Counting that block, there were nine PATs missed this week- there were eight missed all of last year.

9) UMass-Lowell 68, Boston College 66-- If you're in same league as Louisville, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia, and you lose to Mass-Lowell, its going to be a very long winter. Some BC players apparently got food poisoning at a Chipotle, too- they didn't practice on Monday.

8) When Austin Davis started for Cleveland Sunday, he became their 24th starting QB since 1999. If you own the Browns, just hire a coach, keep him there for a few years, give him a chance. Without continuity, it is hard to develop a good program.

7) Oklahoma 78, Villanova 55-- This game was played in a neat old arena on Pearl Harbor; no air conditioning, seats close to the court. It really did look like a summer league game. Both of these teams should be high seeds in March, but this was really a surprisingly easy win for Oklahoma.

6) Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House from 2007-11; she is obviously a very influential politician. About ten years ago, her husband was an investor in an ill-fated football league, the UFL. Apparently he and others lost tens of millions on the deal. I'm reading s book about a guy who coached in that league- must be nice to be rich.

5) In Matt Schaub's last nine starts, he's thrown six pick-6's; no bueno.

4) Indianapolis Colts fired OC Pep Hamilton earlier this year, replaced him with Rob Chudzinski. Problem is, Chudzinski doesn't know the language of Indy's offense, so when he calls plays, it has to go thru a third party so the QB gets the right terminology called in to the quarterback's helmet.

Wouldn't it be easier to let Matt Hasselbeck call his own plays? He's started 157 NFL games, he has to be able to call his own game. QBs called the plays in the old days-- it is not always progress when you change things.

3) Last four years, Big 14 teams have played in 33 bowl games; they've been the underdog in 27 of those 33 games, going 13-20 SU.

2) Under-reported sports story of the year: Remember Michigan State's miracle TD on last play of the game to beat Michigan? Well, when the Michigan State players ran on the field to celebrate, so many of them jumped on the pile that the kid who scored the TD dislocated his hip and is out for the year, may never play again.

1) Cowboys 19, Redskins 16-- Three NFC East teams are 5-7; they're all tied for first place, with Dallas at 4-8. You win your division, you get a home game in the playoffs; it is almost guaranteed that the #5 seed will be a hefty road favorite over the NFC East champ in the first round of the playoffs.

Monday's List of 14: Wrapping up a sports Sunday.......
14) Panthers 41, Saints 38-- This was like an old AFL game from the 60's, one of the most fun games I've watched in a while. Carolina won despite a -2 turnover ratio. Four weeks to go and the Panthers have a 2-game lead over the whole NFC for home field in the playoffs. Cam Newton needs to slide more; he took a beating in this game.

13) 49ers 26, Bears 20 OT-- Chicago missed a 35-yard FG on last play of regulation, missed a 40-yarder earlier, lost a game where they had a 13-yard edge in field position, which doesn't happen much. Chicago scored with 3:32 left to take 20-13 lead, but on last three drives, 49ers gained 135 yards on 10 plays, scoring tying/winning TDs.

12) Bengals 37, Browns 3-- Last week there were ten teams that were +2 or better in turnovers; Cleveland was only one of the ten to lose. In the first 14 games in Week 13, Browns were only team that was -2 or worse in turnovers. Teams that didn't score an offensive TD are 2-20 this year- two teams played each other, so really 1-19.

11) Titans 42, Jaguars 39-- Tennessee snapped 11-game home skid by beating Jags, last team they had beaten in Nashville. Jacksonville missed two PATs and a 2-point play. Marcus Mariota had an 87-yard rushing TD; Titans scored a defensive TD-- all five of its offensive TDs came on drives of 75+ yards.

10) Bills 30, Texans 21-- Dome team Houston caught break with good weather on a December day in western NY, but Bills threw 40-yard TD pass with 1:53 left for the winning score, ending Houston's win streak at four. Is it me, or was it a really bad day for kickers Sunday? Both teams missed a PAT in this game, Jaguars also missed two.

There were eight PATs missed in the NFL all of last year. There were eight missed and one blocked, just in today's games.

9) Dolphins 15, Ravens 13-- Game was scoreless at 2:00 warning of first half, Ravens had ball, but then Schaub threw a pick, Miami scored on next play. 0:20 later, Schaub threw his weekly pick-6 and when Ravens were offsides on PAT, Miami went for two and got it, then held on to win despite going scoreless in second half. Ravens got ball on Miami's 41 after a fumble with 4:17 left, but did nothing with it.

8) Seahawks 38, Vikings 7-- Seattle brought its A-game to Twin Cities, kicked the Vikings butts, outgaining them 433-125; they've now won five of last six games, and the Packers are back atop NFC North. Seattle holds the second Wild Card now.

This seems like a good time to point that the A's have signed two free agent pitchers this fall; starter Rich Hill, who didn't start a big league game from 2010-14, and Ryan Madson who wasn't even in the major leagues from 2012-14- they're both 35 now.

7) Cardinals 27, Rams 3-- You can tell when a football team has surrendered; Rams are one of those teams. I'm not a big fire-the-coach guy; don't think Jeff Fisher should go, but I do think every offensive coach should be fired. Watch them play, then you tell me. Arizona has two losses this year; in both games, they were -3 in turnovers.

6) Buccaneers 23, Falcons 19-- Atlanta was 5-0 at one point; both of these teams are 6-6 now and game behind Seattle for second Wild Card in NFC. No division winner under .500 should make the playoffs; they should replace them with extra Wild Card, so the best possible teams make playoffs. Jameis Winston is pretty good, by the way

5) Jets 23, Giants 20 OT-- Giants drove ball 67 yards on 17 plays on an epic drive that took 11:21 off the clock, but with a 20-10 lead and under 9:00 left, they went for it on 4th down instead of kicking an easy FG and failed. On last three drives of game from that point on, Jets gained 212 yards on 35 plays, scoring two FGs and a TD to end a 5-game losing streak to the Giants in dramatic fashion.

Last four weeks of the regular season, New York media can start specualting on who will be coaching the Giants next year, because it probably won't be Tom Coughlin.

4) Broncos 17, Chargers 3-- Brock Osweiler is 3-0 as Denver's QB; they scored 17 in both of his road starts, getting a defensive TD here. Chargers lost fifth home game in a row- they were outscored 50-6 in last two home games. Could be that December 20 is last-ever home game in San Diego for the Bolts, who are likely moving to LA.

3) Chiefs 34, Raiders 20-- KC won/covered its last six games; Maclin caught couple TD passes in 4th quarter, then Chiefs scored a defensive TD to wrap things up- they have been plus in turnovers eight games in row now. Why exactly did the Eagles give up on Maclin- he has revitalized the Chiefs' passing game.

Derek Carr imploded in fourth quarter, throwing three INTs when Oakland led 20-14 after the third quarter. Chiefs' three TD drives in fourth quarter came on "drives" of 2-13 yards, followed by a defensive TD. Quite a turnaround this year for KC.

2) Eagles 35, Patriots 28-- Philly scored TDs on a punt return, a blocked punt and an INT return; thats how you pull an upset on the road. Luckily the NFL has Wild Cards since in five of eight divisions, the leader has a 3+-game lead- not lot of drama there. In two of the three close races, the whole division sucks (6-6 Colts, 5-6 Redskins are the leaders). Only the NFC North (Packers/Vikings 8-4) has a real quality race.

Philly's INT return for a TD was a 99-yarder, by the way. Eagles are 5-7, have their next three games at home- they're in thick of the playoff race.

1) Steelers 45, Colts 10-- In 2004, Giants traded with Chargers to get Eli Manning after the draft; San Diego got Philip Rivers. Ben Roethlisberger wound up with the Steelers. Now all three QBs are really good, but if that draft happened again today, wouldn't you take Big Ben first over the other two? I know I would.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) Michigan State 16, Iowa 13-- Spartans scored with 0:27 left to win Big 14 title and a likely spot in the national championship playoff. State's three best wins all came in game's final minute, over Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa- a memorable season.

Winning drive was an epic 22-play, 82-yard drive that took 9:04 off the clock; rarely do you get a 9:00 drive in college ball. It happens once in while in NFL, but not often there either. Senior Connor Cook got his 43rd win as Spartans' QB.

12) Bowling Green 34, Northern Illinois 14-- That was the good news last night; now the bad news- coach Dino Babers bolted Bowling Green for Syracuse, which was #117 in passing this year. Babers' Falcons were #1, albeit in a lesser league. It is second time in three years Bowling Green had a winning coach skip town-- Dave Clawson bolted for Wake Forest two years ago, where he has yet to have any success.

11) Texas 23, Baylor 17-- Bears actually ran out of QBs, were down to #4 guy who throws the ball like a punter; still, they were down 20-0, rallied and had ball with shot to win before RB fumbled on last drive. It makes me want to puke that three 5-7 teams are going to bowl games- simply put, there are too many bowl games.

10) Alabama 29, Florida 15-- How did the Gators win so many games with that kid playing QB? Not only is he a terrible passer, he got suspended earlier in year when he flunked a drug test. The other QB got suspended for using PEDs- if they made a movie with that storyline, nobody would believe it.

9) Warriors 112, Raptors 109-- Toronto had chance to hand Golden State its first loss, but missed couple of key FTs in last minute; Warriors are 21-0, the best start for any team in any pro sport- they play in Brooklyn today. I'm seriously wondering if at some point, losing a game will become a relief, so they can give Curry/Thompson bit of a rest? Its a very long season- they need to be somewhat fresh for the playoffs.

8) Couple of horrendous home losses that will hurt on Selection Sunday:
South Dakota 85, Minnesota 81, double OT
Missouri State 64, Oklahoma State 63

7) Clemson 45, North Carolina 37-- Tigers were up 14-9 in first half when punter decided to run for a first down on 4th and 14 and failed miserably. Dabo Swinney then went off on the kid, throwing a Mike Dtika-like tirade in the kid's face on the sideline.

The punter is an academic All-American who used to be a walk-on-- if they had lost this game, he might have been a walk-home punter.

6) More shocking than Zack Greinke's $34.3M a year deal is Jeff Samardzija somehow snookering the Giants into giving him $18M a year for five years- he was AWFUL last year, I mean terrible and I like the guy after his stint with the A's in 2014.

Johnny Cueto's agent had to be laughing his butt off when he saw those numbers.

5) Georgetown 79, Syracuse 72-- Hoyas spanked Syracuse in first game of a 9-game suspension for Jim Boeheim, which will carry into ACC play. Good news is that rest of this month is a parade of stiffs for Syracuse, so they'll right the ship soon.

4) Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez turned South Carolina down Saturday night for its head coaching job- media types were surprised. Following Steve Spurrier is not a good idea-- ask Ron Zook or Barry Wilson, who replaced the Ol' Ball Coach at Florida, Duke-- neither one lasted too long.

3) "They wanted the game more" was one TV analyst's description of Arizona's upset win at Gonzaga Saturday. How the hell does he know who wanted what? It is very simple; Arizona got down big early, then played really well in the second half and pulled an upset. It is lazy and a cliche to just say "they wanted the game more".

2) Atlanta Falcons are getting a new stadium in downtown Atlanta; the place they play in now, the Georgia Dome is only 23 years old. Why do they need a new stadium?

1) Arizona State 67, Texas A&M 54-- Solid win for Bobby Hurley's team over the 18th-ranked Aggies- they were up 25 in second half. At this point, Hurley has to be the odds-on favorite to replace Mike Krzyzewski at Duke when that day comes.

Saturday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) Seattle has led in 4th quarter of every game this year; they're on road for first time in five weeks. Minnesota has to win to stay atop NFC North after the Miracle in Motown Thursday night. QBs have similar style; this'll be a very good game.

12) Southern Mississippi won its last six games, scoring 48.2 ppg to get to C-USA title game with 9-3 record after being 4-32 SU the last three years; Western Kentucky won its last four games, scoring 50.5 ppg. USM is 9-2 vs spread this year, 4-1 as an underdog.

11) Houston won last four games, allowing 8.8 ppg; they're tied for first in division, would be Wild Card if playoffs started today. Buffalo just played three straight on road; they're not out of Wild Card race with win here.

10) Temple is 5-0 as an underdog this year, winning four, with only loss 24-20 to Notre Dame- their coach hasn't been mentioned for any of the openings yet. Houston managed to keep coach Herman away frm the SEC; this should be a fun game. .

9) Chiefs were + in turnovers seven games in row- they're +14 in turnovers their last five games. winning/covering all five, but defensive star Houston is out here and OL is banged up. Oakland is still in contention; they're 5-2 vs spread as underdogs.

8) Stanford won five of its last seven games with USC; they beat the Trojans 41-31 (+9.5) in LA Sept 19. USC changed coaches since then, has played better since Helton has been in charge. Stanford played Oregon/Cal/Notre Dame last three weeks, not the easiest stretch of games for a college team.

7) Arizona visits Gonzaga with big man Tarczewski (foot) out; good chance for the Zags to get some revenge for an OT loss in Tucson last year.

6) San Diego State lost at home to South Alabama Sept 19; they're won eight games in row since its 1-3 start, with all eight wins by 14+ points. Air Force won five of its last six games- they're 3-1 as an underdog.

5) Jets are +14 in turnovers in their six wins, -13 in five losses; they're 4-2 in Swamp this year- they covered one of last five games overall. Both teams call this stadium its home- jets are lucky it is a "Giant home game" giving them nine home games this year, plus a neutral field game in London that was a Miami home game originally.

4) Iowa is an underdog despite its 12-0 record; Michigan State won its two biggest games of the year without leading either one until the final play. Hawkeyes haven't won a bowl game since 2010; winner here probably makes the national playoff.

3) Indy is 4-0 when 40-year old backup Hasselbeck starts; they won last three games, covered last four- they're 5-0 vs spread as an underdog this year, but are 3-16 in last 19 games vs Steelers, losing 13 of last 15 visits to Steel City.

2) Alabama won SEC title game in '12/'14; they won last three games with Florida by average score of 37-12. Lot of dominos in coaching carousel are going to fall when this game ends. If Bama wins national title, will Saban go back to NFL?

1) Broncos won seven of last eight games with San Diego, is 2-0 with Osweiler as the starting QB; they've won last four visits to Qualcomm. Chargers snapped its skid last week after six losses in row- they're 0-8 if they score less than 30 points.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here......
13) We've talked about how fine a line there is between winning and losing in the NFL. here's an example. Mike Smith coached Falcons for seven years; in the first five years, he was 28-11 in games decided by 7 or less points. The last two years, he was 5-11 in games decided by 7 or less, and he got fired.

The bounce of a ball, here or there, an injury or two, an official's call.......

12) NFC East teams are 9-17 vs spread this year in non-divisional games.

11) Jets play a "road game" against the Giants this week; they also played one over in London against the Dolphins, which means they're really playing only six true road games this season, a pretty big advantage in short season of 16 games.

10) Davidson won't retire Steph Curry's number because he hasn't graduated from the school. They had a great player named Mike Maloy in the late 60's; same thing with him, he isn't in the school's Hall of Fame because he didn't graduate.

9) Will Muschamp made $1.6M this year to be the defensive coordinator at Auburn; Tigers are 6-6, Muschamp is trying to get a head coaching job but even if he doesn't get one, it looks like he won't be coming back to Auburn next year. Boosters aren't fond of shelling out huge money when the ballclub goes 6-6.

8) Arizona's big man Kaleb Tarczewski is out 4-6 weeks with a stress fracture in his foot, bad news for a thin, inexperienced Wildcat squad.

7) NCAA President Mark Emmert was chancellor at LSU when they signed Nick Saban as football coach in 1999- they gave him $1.2M, a huge amount back then.

6) Pittsburgh Pirates won 98 games this year without one complete game by a pitcher, most wins ever by team without a CG-- previous record was 83 wins.

5) In his last three games, DeAndre Jordan is 17-54 on the foul line. In the game before that, he didn't take a foul shot in 25 minutes; what were the Pelicans thinking?

4) Packers 27, Lions 23-- Green Bay was dead in this game several times, but Detroit wouldn't let them lose. After leading 17-0, Lions gagged game away in epic fashion, as they rushed only three guys on last play, giving Rodgers time to chuck ball down field 62 yards where Richard Rodgers made Motown miserable with the walk-off TD.

3) UCLA 87, Kentucky 77-- Bruins trailed 41-7 at half in LY's game; they led 9-2 in this one and were never headed, as Wildcats lose for first time this year. UCLA is 5-3, from everything we read/hear, there are lot of teams who could win a national title as there are no one or two dominant teams like last year.

2) Jim Boeheim's 9-game suspension starts Saturday-- he is away from the team the whole time, so pushing the suspension up to now is a big help for Syracuse- he'll be back after three ACC games, instead of nine. He'll miss games against stiff teams like Montana State, Colgate, Colgate and Texas Southern and will be back for games against Duke and Notre Dame.

1) Toronto Blue Jays put out their 2016 calendar recently, but one small problem; David Price is on the cover, the same David Price who just signed with the Red Sox for $217M over seven years. Whoops.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) First of all, our thoughts and prayers go out to the people in San Bernadino after yesterday's killings at a county office complex. It is just very sad; I'm not going to go on a rant here about guns or anything, but stuff like this needs to stop.

12) It is interesting how CNN brings in experts in to talk about these situations as cameras from helicopters show police activity. Former CIA people, police offficers, military experts- they all speculate on a fluid situation-- live TV is very interesting.

On to more pleasant subjects........
11) There is an interesting article in ESPN the Magazine on agent Jimmy Sexton, who is one of the major power brokers in college football- he represents fifty college coaches, and NFL players like Philip Rivers and Julio Jones.

Put it this way: last week, Alabama-Auburn, Florida-Florida State, USC-UCLA all played rivalry games. Sexton represents the head coach from all six of those schools.

10) David Price got $31M a year from the Red Sox; he's a damn good pitcher, but his 0-7, 5.27 career postseason record has to raise eyebrows. He is also 30 years old, so he will be 37 when his contract runs out. Lot of $$$ to commit to one player.

Price is 104-56, 3.09 in 213 career regular season starts; he was 18-5, 2.45 in 2015.

9) Miami Marlins are really going to hire Barry Bonds as a hitting coach? Does that mean he has to talk to the media? Don Mattingly as a manager, Bonds as hitting coach would put a lot of hitting expertise in Miami's dugout.

Mark McGwire is going to be the Padres' bench coach; interesting times we live in.

8) Mark Richt is the new football coach at Miami, his alma mater, where he backed up Jim Kelly in the early 80's. Richt is highly regarded as a person, averaged 9.6 wins a year at Georgia. I am very, very curious what Michael Irvin says about this hire.

7) Interesting development: Ivy League is considering having a postseason hoop tournament, starting in 2016-17. Guess they've finally seen the light that getting the whole league together for a weekend would be a money maker, plus it would give the league's basketball programs some national publicity. Right now, Ivy League is the only Division I league that doesn't have a postseason tournament.

6) 76ers suspended Jahlil Okafor for two games; they can't do anything right. This is why teams do exhaustive research on draft prospects and still, problems pop up and screw things up. I mean, the season is five weeks old and he's already had incidents involving the police three times. No bueno.

Meanwhile, Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis says the 76ers never worked him out before the draft. Seriously? The NBA should make these idiots sell the team, or hire a new GM, at the least. The guy running things now is an imbecile.

5) San Diego State-San Diego are playing basketball outdoors at Petco Park Sunday, just before the Chargers play Denver at Qualcomm. Interesting concept; Toreros have a new coach, Aztecs are offensively challenged. Big sports day in San Diego.

4) ESPN's Dan Dakich last night said that he's always thought Rick Pitino is the best coach in the country at player development. Interesting comment coming from a guy who both played and coached at Indiana.

3) Basketball scheduling note: Duke doesn't play a true road game until their ACC slate starts January 2 at Boston College. Until then, Blue Devils play nine home tilts, only one of which (vs Indiana, ACC-Big 14 challenge) is against a team in top 100.

They're also playing four neutral court games, all in New York City, all against top 50 opponents, all on national TV. Interesting how different teams schedule.

2) Central Florida signed Oregon OC Scott Frost as its new coach; UCF is a really big school, a sleeping giant athletically. Frost played at both Nebraska/Stanford, then played in NFL for six years with four different teams.

1) Michigan State 71, Louisville 67-- Funny how the new rule, really going back to an old rule, how coaches can't call timeouts while the clock is running, has created a few problems early on-- players haven't adjusted to calling timeouts yet.

Wisconsin 66, Syracuse 58, OT-- Jim Calhoun is worth listening to on TV; he talks lot slower than he did when he was coaching, he obviously knows a ton and gives out good basic basketball knowledge.

I have to look this up; teams that win these Thanksgiving tournaments at fun places tend to let down in their first game back on campus. Something I sense, have to find out for sure. There are peaks and valleys to every season.

Butler 78, Cincinnati 76-- You have to be damn good to score 78 on Cincy.

Wednesday's List of 13: My worst 5, best 8 teams in NFL.......
32) Titans-- They've lost 11 home games in row; they're 1-5 in games decided by 7 or less points. Will they go after Chip Kelly to coach Mariota? Is playing Mariota the best move, long-term? Titans have only 14 TD drives of 60+ yards- no bueno.

31) Saints-- Struggling team with an aging star QB; owner is in his late 80's, there is a squabble in his family over who inherits the team. In a more normal scenario, blowing the whole thing up and rebuilding would be wise, but do you change coaches to do it? Your coach and QB won a Super Bowl together; tough thing to break up.

30) Rams-- Nothing worse than a team that thinks they're contenders, then falls flat on their faces. Changing coaches this winter won't help; continuity wins, but they better fix the offensive line-- thats what holding this team back. Foles can play if he is given time-- they could use a tight end who can catch the ball, too.

29) Browns-- Maybe they'd be better off if Kevin Costner really was the GM, instead of playing him in a movie? They're trying to showcase Manziel for a trade, but he is such a damn fool, he can't stay off social media long enough to get dealt- who wants to deal with all his BS? If Browns are smart, they dump Manziel, play Austin Davis.

That said, I do think Manziel could become a good player, if he wises up, but he's run out of chances with Cleveland. Maybe he just wants out of there.

28) Cowboys-- How this team hasn't drafted a young QB is beyond me; now we get Matt Cassel for the next five weeks, then another spring/summer of how great Tony Romo is, despite his 2-4 playoff record. 10 years as a starter, two playoff wins, only six playoff games. They have to draft a quarterback in April.

8) Chiefs-- No one thinks Alex Smith is very good, but look at his record: 63-52-1 in the NFL, 22-2 in two years as the starter in college at Utah. He doesn't screw things up, he can run if he has to. You could do a lot worse than him.

7) Seahawks-- Secondary got torched by Big Ben Sunday but they also picked off four passes in a 39-30 win. Just when they started throwing ball more to Jimmy Graham, he blew out his knee and is done for the year. I know this; I'd be very nervous if I'm a #1 or #2 seed playing them in the playoffs.

6) Broncos-- Father Time is undefeated, something Peyton Manning is finding out; they've played better offense with Osweiler than they had with Manning at QB this season. Tall QB trivia: tallest QB in NFL history was Dan McGwire, a 6-10 guy out of San Diego State whose brother Mark is a little bit more well-known.

5) Vikings-- Minnesota has allowed one TD drive of less than 60 yards and no TDs on defense or special teams; they don't beat themselves. Vikings run ball with Peterson and Bridgewater is poised and doesn't screw things up- this is their last year playing home games outdoors. Good darkhorse playoff team.

4) Bengals-- Compare Tony Romo's adulation to Andy Dalton, who gets booed in his home city during the offseason; similar careers, similar lack of postseason success. This is a very good Bengal team; hope they win a playoff game this year. Maybe the nitwits in Cincinnati will appreciate what they have.

3) Cardinals-- I enjoy coach Arians' aggressive approach; they throw the ball down the field and they blitz, even when they're ahead. They play to win the game.

2) Patriots-- Gronkowski, Edelman, Amendola are all out; pretty soon, they're going to sign Gino Capelletti and Stanley Morgan to catch Brady's passes. Patriots have 14 TD drives of less than 60 yards, most in NFL; their defense/special teams are stellar.

1) Panthers-- Read a thing on Twitter yesterday that said how Panthers are the worst 11-0 team ever. What jackass writes stuff like this? They're 11 and freakin' 0, they are an undefeated team in December, with a QB who does nothing but win games. They're not getting enough credit, because all the media cares about are a handful of teams in the bigger markets. Probably works to the Panthers' advantage.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) What is the best way to develop quarterbacks? Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota have been thrown to the wolves to play as rookies this year, while Tyrod Taylor and now Brock Osweiler have become starters for the first time, both in their fourth year in the NFL. QB is obviously the most important position on the team; getting the most out of that position goes a long way towards having a winning team.

Taylor, Osweiler weren't great prospects coming out of college; in today's impatient society, high draft picks like Winston, Mariota are rushed into the lineup to sell tickets and generate revenue. Whether that is the wisest approach long-term is debatable.

12) NFL teams with no turnovers are 62-17 this year. Not counting the eight games where neither team had a turnover.

11) Clippers/Lakers were both at home at Staples Center Sunday, Clippers during the day, Lakers at night; wonder how many people were at both games?

10) Jordan Zimmerman gets $110M for five years from the Detroit Tigers; his career record is 70-50, 3.32 in 178 career starts, but now he'll face the DH in most starts, so his ERA figures to go up some.

9) Mike Jirschele is the Royals' third base coach; I'm guessing he doesn't make a lot of money, but over last two years, his playoff shares from the Royals' success have added up to just over $600,000. For a veteran player, that might not be a lot of money, but to a coach or trainer, thats serious cash.

8) Singer Marc Anthony is now a sports agent; his first client is Aroldis Chapman, the Reds' closer. When Anthony was married to Jennifer Lopez, they owned a small part of the Miami Dolphins.

7) Jimmer Fredette had 37 points, 8 assists for Knicks' D-League team last night; I'm guessing he'll get another shot at the NBA sometime this season.

6) In case you were wondering, former Detroit kicker Jason Hansen has NFL record for most 50+-yard field goals, with 52. Sebastian Janikowski has made 51. Hanson kicked more than half his games in a dome, so that helped.

5) Random question: Are there more or less injuries in games without huddles? I'm thinking as players get tired with no huddles, there are less violent collisions.

4) Few days before Utah State's first basketball game, one of their best players said he was transferring, but the school won't release him from his scholarhsip, which means the kid will have to pay tuition for the first year at his next school. People were quick to criticize Utah State, but it looks like they have a case here.

It was reported that UNLV coach Dave Rice called Utah State and told coaches that someone representing David Collette called UNLV, trying to gauge their interest in the kid playing there, not exactly ethical. So someone is shopping Collette around and Utah State is ticked off, and rightfully so. Player poaching is becoming an epidemic.

3) You can challenge pass interference in the CFL and in Grey Cup game Sunday, it became a pivotal play in Edmonton's 26-20 win over Ottawa. Eskimos got a penalty called after a replay review when they trailed 20-18 with 3:30 left. Interesting rule.

2) Charleston 70, LSU 58-- ESPN has to stop with the Ben Simmons hype; young man is going to be a very fine player, but LSU lost twice in Brooklyn and got waxed in Charleston last night. ESPN's announcers were adamant last two weeks that Simmons is the best college player in the country, but he isn't.......yet.

1) Ravens 33, Browns 27 OT-- Teams have lousy records, but this was a fun game to watch between divisional rivals. Game ended on a blocked FG for TD by Baltimore, which scored two TDs on special teams. All 11 Raven games this year were decided by 8 or less points, first team ever thats ever happened to.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday......
13) Broncos 30, Patriots 24 OT-- When he was in 9th grade, Gonzaga's basketball team offered Brock Osweiler a scholarship; good thing for John Elway he turned them down and played QB at Arizona State, where he started for only one year and a 6-7 season at that. It is very possible we've seen Peyton Manning play for the last time.

Michael Irvin's comment on NFL Network right after this game: "He just made a lot of money", referring to Osweiler. Funny how some people's minds work.

12) Seahawks 39, Steelers 30-- Not a big fan of NFL having only two 4:25 games and nine 1:00 games-- would like one or two more 4:25 games. Mike Tomlin's career record is 88-51; he's won a Super Bowl, but he does some odd things, like going for two in first half when score was 16-14, or that bizarre fake FG that blew up and led to Seattle's first TD. You have Big Ben, why fake a field goal?.

By the way, Roethlisberger threw for 456 yards but left late with a concussion.

11) Texans 24, Saints 6-- Houston is not only tied for first in AFC South, they'd be in the playoffs as a Wild Card if they started this morning. As badly as Chiefs-Texans started this season they'd both be in the playoffs right now. Takes good coaching to keep your players' heads in the game when things are going rotten.

Texans-Patriots game on Dec 13 is now a Sunday night game, replacing Seattle's game in Baltimore, which should make Ravens fans happier-- lot warmer at 1:00 than 8:30. .

10) Vikings 20, Falcons 10-- Speaking of things going rotten, Falcons have now lost five of last six games after a 5-0 start; Ryan threw an awful red zone pick when game was 7-3 and Falcons had driven ball for 66 yards in first 7:01 of second half. Natives in Atlanta weren't too pleased with that one, after the pick-6 Ryan threw last week.

9) Bengals 31, Rams 7-- Cincinnati is very good; this is the kind of game good teams win and leave no doubt about the outcome. Wheels have fallen off for a St Louis team that was 4-3 four weeks ago-- November wasn't a great month.

In today's society, patience is passe; fire the coach, change the QB, fire the GM- if you don't win, heads must roll. But think about these Rams; they blew the game last week in Baltimore, they lost in OT at Minnesota. win those two games, or the close game they lost to Pittsburgh, and they're 6-5 and tied for a playoff spot, and everyone is excited. The margin between winning/losing teams in NFL is very, very thin.

8) Colts 25, Buccaneers 12-- Indy is 4-0 when 40-year old backup Hasselbeck starts, 2-5 when Andrew Luck starts- they shut Bucs out in second half, and won despite 26 rushing attempts for 27 yards. Indy had 13-yard edge in field position, which is huge.

7) In basketball news, Michigan beat Providence 77-64 to win the Anaheim tourney and Xavier beat Dayton 90-61 in Orlando. Alabama left Florida with two wins, good weekend for them after getting whacked by Dayton in their opener. Oklahoma waxed Wisconsin by 17, Wichita State left Orlando with three losses.

Former President George W Bush was at the Brown-SMU game in Dallas.

6) Raiders 24, Titans 21-- Tennessee has lost 11 home games in a row; they scored with 4:41 left to lead 21-17, but Oakland scored with 1:21 left to snap a 3-game skid. There are rumors that Tennessee might go after Chip Kelly to coach Mariota, which would be an odd situation. If I'm an Eagles fan, it wouldn't break my heart.

5) Chiefs 30, Bills 22-- Andy Heck is offensive line coach for KC, which lost three linemen in this game, but they kept shuffling players and still ran for 158 yards, with no turnovers on a rainy day at Arrowhead. Tremendous coaching; offensive line play takes cohesiveness and teamwork- the Chiefs have won/covered five games in a row, and are now in the thick of the AFC playoff race.

4) Jets 38, Dolphins 20-- Jets are +14 in turnovers in their six wins, -13 in their five losses. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a warrior, playing with a screwed-up left thumb. As for Ryan Tannehill, he threw 58 passes in this game- they ran the bleeping ball nine times for 12 yards, in the whole game!!!! Tannehill is getting a lot of people fired.

3) Chargers 31, Jaguars 25-- All four AFC West teams won this week; Bolts ended a six-game skid here- their last previous win was final day of baseball's regular season. Someone suggested this week that the owners of the Rams/Jaguars trade franchises, as Shad Khan once tried to buy the Rams- then Stan Kroenke could move the Jags to LA.

2) Redskins 20, Giants 14-- These teams are tied for first in NFC 5-6. It is conceivable that all four NFC East teams could change head coaches this winter, but for now, one of these mediocre-at-best teams is going to make the playoffs. Redskins averaged 10.4 ypa in this game; Giants ran ball 13 times for 33 yards.

1) Cardinals 19, 49ers 13-- Niners were 0-9 on third down, had 13 penalties for 81 yards were -2 in turnovers and still might've won had they not been screwed on a bad roughing/passer call late in game. The lineman came in, crushed Palmer for a sack but the ref called roughing the passer for hitting the QB too hard. Good grief and believe me, as a Rams fan, I have no love for the 49ers.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Ohio State 42, Michigan 13-- Buckeyes ran ball down Michigan's throats for 369 yards; no one complained about the play-calling.

Interesting that Ohio State put its co-offensive coordinators up in booth today, instead of one upstairs and one on the field-- maybe Ezekiel Elliott was right last week-- there were changes made and they had positive results.

12) Stanford 38, Notre Dame 36-- Cardinal lost 38-36 at home to Oregon two weeks ago, returns favor here vs Notre Dame, knocking them out of playoff talk. Looks like there might not be much drama next week-- Big 14 winner will be the fourth team, to go to playoff with Clemson-Alabama-Oklahoma.

Unless Alabama loses to Florida, then Ohio State could weasel its way back into the picture, which would cause chaos.

11) Alabama 29, Auburn 13-- I laugh when people talk some about some other series being the biggest rivalry in college sports. Someone poisoned a freakin' tree in Auburn because of this rivalry-- who poisons a tree because of football?!?!?!? I didn't even know it was possible to poison a tree-- you have to be a sick bastard to do that.

10) Southern Mississippi 58, Louisiana Tech 24-- Golden Eagles were 4-32 the last three years; now they're in the C-USA championship game- solid work done by coach Tood Monken. Hopefully he won't bolt for greener pa$ture$.

9) Oklahoma 58, Oklahoma State 23-- Big X games are like Arenaball, in that any defensive stop is like breaking serve in tennis-- doesn't happen much. This game was 44-20 at the half as OSU's season crumbles with two bad losses after a 10-0 start.

8) Indiana 54, Purdue 36-- Hoosiers are 6-6, going bowling for first time since 2007; they've lost games when scoring 52-41 points ths year and gave Michigan/Ohio State fits this year in tough losses. Their bowl game will be fun to watch.

7) Memphis 63, SMU 0-- Tiger QB Paxton Lynch had seven TD passes-- at the half. Memphis won a game today but lost its coach-- Justin Fuente is off to Virginia Tech to replace Frank Beamer. Its too bad a team like Memphis having a breakthrough 9-3 season can't totally enjoy it because the coach leaves, but it is a business.

6) Cincinnati 19, East Carolina 16-- Credit to Bearcats' players/coaches; they were down 51-3 at the half last week, in a game they were favored to win, but they sucked it up and came back this week and won a tough road game. Good for them.

5) Louisville 38, Kentucky 24-- Wildcats led this game 21-0, were up 24-7 at half; the good news for Kentucky fans-- basketball team hasn't lost yet.Football team lost six of last seven games after a 4-1 start for second year in row.

4) USC 40, UCLA 21-- Jim Mora is now 3-1 vs USC; weird thing is that in those four games, Trojans had a different head coach in all four. Freshman QB Rosen is very good for UCLA but he got rattled by blitzing today and starting throwing off his back foot,

3) Michigan State 55, Penn State 16-- Hopefully Texans coach Bill O'Brien will write a book when he retires and explain why he left Penn State, because the current coach James Franklin isn't as good a coach as he is-- O'Brien's departure hurt Penn State a lot. Michigan State-Iowa is your Big 14 championship game next week.

2) Florida State 27, Florida 2-- Florida State has to be a little relieved that LSU got wise and didn't fire Les Miles, because Jimbo Fisher was probably their first target, and LSU has more re$ource$ than Florida State. As for Florida, they can cause chaos next week if they beat Alabama in the SEC championship game, but they've won a lot of games this year for a team with a terrible offense.

1) LSU 19, Texas A&M 7-- Players carried Les Miles off the field after the game, fans chanted his name and the school apparently recanted on firing him and will keep him. Miles is 111-32, won a national title and you're firing him? Why? The next coach could easily fare a lot worse- someone saw the light and kept a successful coach.

Side note: Auburn fired Gene Chizik two years after he won a national title when he had Cam Newton at QB. Maybe boosters in the SEC are just insane rich people.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Rockets 116, 76ers 114-- Philly may never win a game, but they are getting close; problem is, they're trying to beat Houston when their two leading scorers are guys who used to play for the Rockets' D-League team- they need more good players.

12) The GM of the 76ers should be fired and banned from ever having that job again; he is a nitwit. Steph Curry was the 7th pick in the '09 draft, Manu Ginobili was picked at the end of the second round. Its not easy to build a winning team, but it sure as hell isn't this hard.

11) TCU 28, Baylor 21 OT-- Game started 45:00 late, was played in a quagmire; on offense, Baylor chose to play fast and not change balls after every play, making a soph 3rd-string QB starting for first time throw a wet ball whole game. Interesting choice.

10) Dick Vitale can only work one game a day since he had his vocal chords operated on a few years ago; he did the USC-Xavier game yesterday. He actually said on the air, he thought he would be working Notre Dame games this weekend, but the Irish lost in the first round so they got relegated to ESPN3. Vitale is a shill for Notre Dame since his daughters went there and married guys who went there.

9) Northeastern 78, Miami 77-- Hurricanes won Puerto Rico tourney, then lose as 17-point favorites in their first game back on the mainland.

8) Luke Murray is an assistant coach at Xavier, after working at Rhode Island the last two years. Who is Luke Murray? You've probably heard of his more-famous father, Bill Murray, who was at Disney Friday to watch the Musketeers rout USC.

7) Stanford 69, Arkansas 66-- Cardinal trailed 65-48 with 6:20 left, ended it on 21-1 run and watched Arkansas coach Mike Anderson get a technical with 0:02.5 left in one of the great collapses in recent memory. Losing games like that leaves a scar.

6) DeMarcus Cousins' brother Jaleel had 12 points for South Florida in their 84-63 loss to Kentucky yesterday. If the kid was a great player, he would've been playing for Kentucky, not against them. USF coach Orlando Anitgua recruited DeMarcus to Kentucky when he was a Wildcat assistant, which is how he became USF's coach.

5) Washington 45, Washington State 10-- Wazzu has two good QBs, but they're freshman/sophomore; which one is going to transfer?

4) Memphis 81, Ohio State 76 OT-- These teams expended great energy but what a sloppy game!!!! Buckeyes have very young guards and it shows- they're 2-3 as they try to get their players as much as experience before conference play starts. Memphis is going to bounce back and make the NCAAs this winter.

3) If you have a son, make sure he throws lefty; JA Happ signed with the Blue Jays this week, three years, $36M, thats million with an M. Happ is 62-61, 4.13 in his 171 major league starts and he gets $12M a year. What a country.

2) Syracuse 74, Texas A&M 67-- Orangemen played six guys (7th guy played 4:00) and upset the Aggies in finals of the Atlantis tourney. Syracuse made 11-25 from arc; am curious if these kids will shoot as well inside the cavernous Carrier Dome.

1) Gonzaga 73, UConn 70-- Zags made 10-24 from arc, Huskies 1-12 in a game they trailed by 21 in second half, but UConn rallied and either pushed/covered the spread, depending on what number you got. Very tough push for Gonzaga backers.

Friday's List of 13: Leftovers from Thanksgiving Day......
13) Lions 45, Eagles 14-- It'll be surprising to me if Chip Kelly is still coaching the Eagles next year. He's totally failed as a personnel guy and worst of all,, the players appear to have quit on him. He can still make a fortune going back to college......

12) Panthers 33, Cowboys 14-- Luckily there was several good college basketball games on during the day yesterday; the two NFL games were awful. Carolina is 11-0 and is an underrated team; no one talks about them unless they're complaining about Cam Newton's TD celebrations.

It bears repeating: Panthers have won 15 regular season games in a row.

In 11 games this year, on the opponents' first drive of the game, Carolina's defense outscored the other team's offense 7-3-- they're very well-prepared and they haven't lost yet. Mainstream media doesn't seem to be taking them seriously.

11) Bears 17, Packers 13-- Green Bay has lost four of its last five games, is behind Minnesota again in NFC North. NFL-wide, divisional home favorites are 13-23-2 vs spread this season. Chicago is 5-3 in its last eight games after an 0-3 start-- this was only the Bears' second win in last eight visits to Lambeau Field.

10) Saw a picture yesterday of a turkey that was cooked while totally wrapped in bacon; not sure how that would taste. I like turkey and I also like bacon, so I guess it would be pretty good. Not necessarily healthy, but good.

9) USC 72, Wichita State 69-- Shockers' best player didn't play, but Trojans are 5-0 for the first time in 15 years- they play Xavier tonight.

8) WCC is generally thought of as the second-best basketball league on the west coast, but so far this season, WCC teams are 1-10 against the spread when playing teams from the Big West Conference- Big West is usually #4 on that list .

7) Apparently this is American Idol's last year on FOX; I thought they should've done one season where all the competitors were 50+ years old, thought it would've been an interesting concept. This is why I don't work for a TV network.

6) Must be a cool feeling to be such a good shooter that when you get the ball outside the 3-point arc, your teammates signal for three points, even before you shoot.

5) I had no idea cranberries are the state fruit of Wisconsin.

4) They're having a pretty good basketball tournament in the Bahamas at Atlantis resort; half the games are on AXS TV, which I had never heard of before this week. It is channel 340 on DirecTV.

Thursday morning AXS had an interview show on where Dan Rather interviewed musician Gregg Allman-- guy has been married six freakin' times, including once to Cher. I read once that second marriages are a triumph of hope over experience.

3) South Florida 44, Central Florida 3-- UCF finishes their season 0-12; some poor soul actually went to this game with a sign that said "Beat Somebody". Oy.

2) Texas Tech 48, Texas 45-- Longhorns are 4-7; if Chip Kelly sent out a feeler for their coaching job tomorrow, when would the introductory press conference be?

1) RIP Coach Guy Lewis, who passed away this week at age 93. Coach Lewis took the Houston Cougars to five Final Fours and had some of the most entertaining teams of the pre-shot clock/3-point era. He coached Hayes-Drexler-Olajuwon, some of the best players ever. Houston hasn't won an NCAA game since he stopped coaching.

Thursday's List of 13: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.......
13) I watch the Miami Marlins play a lot; Giancarlo Stanton is on my fantasy team; was stunned when I read Tuesday that the Marlins fired Tommy Hutton as their TV analyst, after 19 years with the team. Why?

Hutton is smart, funny, fair, a friendly voice on a summer night, working for a team that is incredibly dysfunctional. Hope he finds another job on TV.

12) Al Avila is Executive VP/GM of the Detroit Tigers; his son is Alex Avila, who just signed a free agent deal with the White Sox, after seven years with Detroit. Says on Tigers' website that Al Avila is still married to Yamile Avila, who is Alex' mom.

I know lot of couples, where if the dad cut the son, he'd be spending Thanksgiving weekend sleeping on the couch. I'm just sayin'.....

11) Alaskan Shootout is great; a live college basketball doubleheader at 11:30/2am. Pete Gillen as the analyst is a bonus. Before ESPN made its own tournaments this was one of the best; Cincinnati beat Duke in the final one year, I want to say in 2003.

10) Odd fact of the day: Patriots are only NFL team that have no offensive players who were first round draft picks.

9) Since 1992, either Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers started every Packer-Bear game; during that time, Chicago started 15 different QBs. Green Bay is retiring Favre's #4 jersey tonight at Lambeau Field.

8) NCAA finally cleared Kansas freshman Check Diallo to start playing; he will make his Jayhawks' debut Tuesday against Loyola, Md. Kansas won the tourney out in Maui last night; Diallo will only make them better.

7) Bill Walton quoted Eleanor Roosevelt during the St John's-Chaminade game on Maui yesterday: "Do something every day that scares you." Walton is a gem, but having him work four games in two days is a lot. He is best in smaller doses.

6) Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham broke his ankle, is second Baylor QB to be out for the year; 3rd-stringer Johnson played well in relief at Oklahoma State Saturday, now plays against TCU Friday, making his first college start. I'm guessing the 4th-string QB is a walk-on, so Johnson better stay healthy.

5) NFL QB comings/goings: Ravens signed Jimmy Clausen, released by Chicago on Monday, Broncos signed Christian Ponder, whose wife is on ESPN. Meanwhile, the Texans gave Ryan Mallett $1.47M just to go away and no one has signed him. In this day and age, being an unemployed NFL QB is an incredible indictment.

4) There are five sets of brothers who are Division I basketball coaches:
-- Bobby and Danny Hurley (Arizona State/URI)
-- Bryce and Scott Drew (Valparaiso/Baylor)
-- James and Joe Jones (Yale/Boston U)
-- Sean and Archie Miller (Arizona/Dayton)
-- Ron and Don Verlin (Pacific/Idaho)

3) Fan Duel sponsored a college basketball tournament in Brooklyn this week that Marquette won; too bad New York State ruled earlier this month that Fan Duel can't do business in New York anymore. Guess they'll need a new sponsor next year.

2) At some point, the nitwits who run the Cleveland Browns will realize that Austin Davis is their best QB. Davis started eight games for the Rams LY, threw 12 TDs with nine INTs, went 3-5 as the starter. He would do well if they gave him a chance.

1) If you owned the Dodgers, and had a $300M payroll, would you hire a manager who has never managed before? Just strikes me as strange.

Wednesday's List of 13: Top 8, bottom 5 teams in NFL.......
32) Browns-- Johnny Manziel is either the dumbest person on this planet, or angling for a trade to the Cowboys. I'm thinking he'd like to go back to Texas.

31) 49ers-- Colin Kaepernick is 27-20 as an NFL starter; he led the Niners to a Super Bowl three years ago, but they're getting rid of him. Seems like once they got their new publicly funded stadium, management stopped caring.

30) Chargers-- In last eight games, San Diego started one drive in enemy territory; their opponents started 15. Hard to win that way. They have a QB heading nto his mid-30's and don't know where they'll be playing home games next year.

29) Saints-- Allowing 31.5 ppg; already fired their defensive coordinator. Struggling team with an aging star QB, lot like the Chargers.

28) Rams-- 25% of the NFL is 4-6; Rams probably aren't the worst of the eight, but their offense is so totally fouled up, despite having two legit weapons in Gurley and Austin. This isn't all Foles' fault; guy had 27 TDs, two INTs two years ago- if you protect him at all and give him a decent tight end, he will be a productive player.

As if this month couldn't get worse, WR Stedman Bailey was shot twice ithis week, in the head and hip; he is currently under a 4-game suspenion, so he was in Florida. Get well soon and stay the hell out of south Florida.

8) Seahawks-- Was tempted to put surging Chiefs into this slot, but have feeling that Seattle will play better with the finish line in sight.

7) Broncos-- I picked against Denver last week, but Osweiler did just enough to win in Chicago, in his first NFL start; he managed the game well and Chicago was awful in the red zone on offense. Broncos-Patriots this week; should be interesting.

6) Vikings-- Mike Zimmer didn't get an NFL head coaching job until he was 58; Bruce Arians didn't get one until he was 60. NFL teams aren't hiring the right people.

5) Packers-- Aaron Rodgers is really, really good; amazing that he didn't get a college scholarship out of high school. His coach at Cal, Jeff Tedford was a head coach in the CFL this year but wants to get back in the college game. Someone should hire him.

4) Bengals-- Curious to see the reaction Bengals get from the home crowd this week, in a should-win game against the Rams. They booed Andy Dalton at the All-Star Game this summer, at the celebrity softball game. It is a cynical fanbase.

3) Cardinals-- I enjoy coach Arians' aggressive approach; they throw the ball down the field and they blitz, even when they're ahead. They play to win the game.

2) Panthers-- In the 49 years of the Super Bowl era, 15 teams have been 10-0; nine of those teams made the Super Bowl- they went 6-3 in those games. Carolina does not have great receivers; Newton is making them look better than they are.

1) Patriots-- 15 of 32 NFL teams are 5-5 or 4-6; not sure if New England is that good or if the league just stinks. 86 days until pitchers and catchers report. 112 days until the NCAA tournament starts. Don't forget, 2016 is a leap year.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Let me get this straight; LSU is going to fire football coach Les Miles because the team has regressed some the last couple years. Miles is 110-32 at LSU, won 2007 national title, played for the title again in 2011. His biggest flaw is being at LSU while Nick Saban has been at Alabama. How do you fire a guy who is 110-32?

Meanwhile, the jackass GM for the 76ers still has a job; not only can't they win one game, the GM has assembled a god-awful team that is openly referred to an "a CBA team" by other talent evaluators. 110-32 gets fired, 0-15 stays. Go figure.

12) Jay Cutler has had five offensive coordinators in seven years with the Bears.

11) There have been fifteen 10-0 teams in the Super Bowl era; nine of them got to the Super Bowl, with six of the nine winning the Super Bowl.

10) No NFL head coach has ever won three replay challenges in a game; you get the third challenge if you win your first two.

9) Wake Forest 82, Indiana 78-- 12-point dog Deacons were down nine but rallied to win despite having couple of rotation guys suspended. Bad loss for Indiana. This was a great game to watch, fast-paced. Danny Manning has some good young players.

8) Bill Walton had the Wake-Indiana game on ESPN2; when he does a game, I learn stuff, but it seldom has anything to do with basketball. Today's tidbit: Hawai'i is one of four states that does not allow roadside billboards (Vermont-Maine-Alaska).

7) Six of the ten starters in the LSU-Marquette game are freshmen.

6) Why are stores open on Thanksgiving? Workers should have Thanksgiving Day off. Maybe they like it because they probably get paid more, but it seems to be a bit much. Open at 6am on Black Friday if you must, but close the place on holidays.

5) Clippers lost seven of their last nine games after a fast 4-0 start; Josh Smith got into a very loud argument with one of the coaches after a loss the other night. Coaching in the NBA can't be much fun, main benefit being the big money and no recruiting.

4) There is such a thing as the World Championship of Crossword Puzzles and it is held in Stamford, CT. The same guy won it the last five years; would think there was more parity in the world of puzzles, but apparently not.

3) The last time an SEC running back led the country in rushing? 1949.

2) Summit League includes teams like South Dakota State, Oral Roberts; this league gets little national publicity, but they're 18-6 against the spread this month.

1) I'm positive Chris Mullin will build a winning program at St John's, but he has what amounts to an expansion team this year- Red Storm got crushed out at Maui by Vanderbilt Monday-- it was 92-55, could've been way worse. St John's got a bad break when Indiana lost to Wake-- next the Johnnies face an angry Hoosier squad.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday......
13) Broncos 17, Bears 15-- Brock Osweiler is first QB in NFL history to get his first win on his birthday; he managed game well enough, and Denver defense stopped the game-tying 2-point play with 0:24 left. Why doesn't the media call Peyton Manning out for not being with his teammates? Andrew Luck was in Atlanta with the Colts.

12) Colts 24, Falcons 21-- George Allen always said "More games are lost than won." Falcons gave this game to Indy- they were up 21-14 with 10:20 to play, had ball deep in their own territory but Ryan just threw a horrible, terrible pick-6 that tied the game. Falcons are 1-4 since starting season 5-0 and they haven't played a division road game yet-- they play those three road games in consecutive weeks next month.

11) Panthers 44, Redskins 16-- Carolina scored five TDs in this game; three of them were on drives of 31-24-11 yards, as Washington turned ball over five times- they never got inside the Panthers' red zone. A key to winning is getting easier scores, just like in any other sport. Carolina is 10-0 but is an underrated team.

10) Lions 18, Raiders 13-- Detroit scored a safety with 7:31 left and never gave the ball back to Oakland, running 13 plays for 66 yards after the free kick and taking a knee inside Raiders' five-yard line as game ended. Lions are first team in NFL history to score exactly 18 points in consecutive games.

9) Cowboys 24, Dolphins 14-- Dallas held Fish to 210 yards, scored a defensive TD, ran ball for 166 yards, snapping 7-game skid in process as Romo returned. Dallas was 7-14 on 3rd down and won despite losing field position by 11 yards. Dolphins' next coach is going to have to decide whether to hitch his career on Tannehill's ability to be an NFL QB-- didn't work out too well for the last coach.

8) Ravens 16, Rams 13-- You know when you watch a great game, someone says "It is a shame either side had to lose"? This game was quite the opposite as in, "Too bad either team had to win", just an awful offensive game. Rams gagged this game away in epic fashion and Baltimore lost Flacco for year with a torn ACL. Rams must go back to Nick Foles at QB-- they also need to find an offensive line one of these decades.

7) College basketball doings for a Sunday:
Duke 86, Georgetown 84-- Duke is 19-3 in last 22 games in NYC.
Purdue 85, Florida 70-- Boilermakers have pair of solid Twin Towers.
Oregon 73, Valparaiso 67-- Crusaders are angling for at-large consideration.
Miami 85, Butler 75-- Finals of Puerto Rico tournament
East Tennessee State 69, Georgia Tech 68-- Biggest upset of the day.
St Mary's 78, Stanford 61-- First win in five tries for WCC against the Pac-12.

6) Texans 24, Jets 17-- Houston won four of last five games after a 1-4 start; they're tied for first place in AFC South despite starting three different QBs in ten games. As for the Jets, they're +12 in turnovers in their five wins, -10 in five losses. As for Ryan Fitzpatrick, he has now started 47 games the last four years, while playing for a new team every year-- what a unique career he has had.

5) Buccaneers 45, Eagles 17-- I have a buddy who has Eagles season tickets; he has to be wondering why Jeff Lurie gave Chip Kelly the keys to the franchise? At 4-6, the Eagles are 2-3 at home, lost three of last four games overall and gave up 521 yards to a Buccaneer offense that had scored two TDs on 20 drives in its previous two games. Sad thing is, Kelly could still get paid a ton to go back to college right now. Why?

4) Chiefs 33, Chargers 3-- KC has won four games in row, San Diego is in free fall; you lose 33-3 at home and you wind up unemployed. Funny how the three teams on the move (Raiders-Rams-Chargers) have now all lost at least three in row, as they're not being helped by not knowing where they'll be living at this time next year.

3) Seahawks 29, 49ers 13-- First time this year Seattle won when allowing other side to score TD on offense; they're 0-5 when allowing more than 13 points. Not sure how the 49ers justify running Colin Kaepernick out of town; guy won a lot for them.

2) Packers 30, Vikings 13-- NFC North race is tied with six weeks to go; going back to the Teddy Bridgewater thing from two weeks ago, he ran with the ball again in this game and a Green Bay player narrowly missed taking his head off with a dive, but no one said a word. You can't just slide and expect guys flying around at great speed to just stop themselves and not hit the guy. You don't want to get hit? Don't run.

1) Cardinals 34, Bengals 31-- Arizona led 28-14 with 12:00 left, but Bengals tied it with 1:03 left, before Redbirds kicked winning FG with 0:02 left. Cincinnati lost for second week in row after an 8-0 start. Think about it: Bruce Arians didn't get a head coaching job in the NFL until he was 60 and he is one of the league's best.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Michigan State 17, Ohio State 14-- When was last time Buckeyes had five first downs in an entire game? Spartans held Ohio State to 132 yards on 45 plays; they've beaten Michigan/Ohio State without leading at any time before the last play. After the game, rats started jumping off the Ohio State ship (see quote above).

12) Baylor 45, Oklahoma State 35-- Bears hadn't won in Stillwater since 1939, but they were the dominant team in this game; It is interesting how a guy like RGIII was such a great player at Baylor but when he goes to the pros, he is useless; is Art Briles that great a coach that he puts his players in a position to win better than the coaches in the NFL? When the #3 QB comes in and looks like Dan Fouts......

11) Ole Miss 38, LSU 17-- Wheels have fallen off for the Tigers, who lost last three games and looked totally disorganized at times in this game- they've got 40 guys in the NFL, most of any school-- as a result are very, very young in some spots, their main weakness is at QB. How that kid still plays is beyond me; he isn't good.

10) Oregon 48, USC 28-- Vernon Adams threw six TDs, had five incompletions; that is usually a good sign you're going to win- they averaged over 16 ypa, while Trojans had 12 penalties for 124 yards.

9) North Carolina 30, Virginia Tech 27 OT-- When Tar Heels lost their opener to South Carolina, who would've thought UNC wouldn't lose again while Spurrier would not finish season? This was an emotional day in Blacksburg, Frank Beamer's last game at Virginia Tech after 29 years.

8) Northern Iowa 71, North Carolina 67-- Tar Heels' basketball team has a tradition of playing a road game near home of their older players- this game was for Marcus Paige, but he is hurt and hasn't played yet, which cost them here. Good win for MVC and for anyone who beats Northern Iowa this season, as far as power ratings go.

7) Some other basketball doings Saturday:
Davidson 82, Charleston 81
-- Rick Barry's son Canyon had 31 for Charleston, is averaging 28 ppg.......Little Rock 49, San Diego State 43-- Ugly offense for Aztecs.

6) Northwestern 13, Wisconsin 7-- Not often a team is -5 in turnovers, goes 2-13 on third down and only loses 13-7. This game was so bad that Badger fans were throwing snowballs at the Wisconsin cheerleaders in the second half.

5) UConn 20, Houston 17-- Cougars raised their coach's salary 250% this week and then promptly lost for first time. Still amazes me that UConn and Houston are in the same league-- thats an NFL-length road trip for a game.

4) As for the SEC, why on God's green earth do they play I-AA teams? Alabama should be embarrassed to play a I-AA team, it is ripping off fans who pay to go to the games and it makes zero sense. Then South Carolina loses to The Citadel- no bueno.

Florida 20, Florida Atlantic 14 OT
Georgia 23, Georgia Southern 17 OT-- Whichever league is best is cyclical, lot of it depends on which teams don't lose guys early to the NFL, but I don't want to hear boo about how great the SEC is this year, because it isn't.

Their games are still lot of fun to watch on TV, but the quality of the QBs in the SEC stinks except for Prescott, Kelly and the kid at Arkansas. Going OT with teams from the Sun Belt and C-USA is embarrassing, though not nearly as bad as losing to I-AA Citadel, like South Carolina did.

3) Kansas State 38, Iowa State 35-- Cyclones had the ball and 35-28 lead with 1:31 left and K-State was down to one timeout. Any idiot knows you take a knee three times, punt the ball with less than 0:20 left and go home happy, but no, they run the ball and fumble. K-State ties the game, kicks off and Iowa State fumbles again. Oy.

I'm not a big "fire the coach" guy, but Paul Rhoads deserves to get the ziggy after this horrendous exhibition of coaching malpractice.

2) South Florida 65, Cincinnati 27-- Imagine betting on Cincinnati, laying 2.5 points and watching them trail 51-3 at the half? Tommy Tuberville expressed interest in the vacant Miami job; I'm guessing this will get his name scratched off that list.

1) Mississippi State 51, Arkansas 50-- Razorbacks scored 50+ points in three of last five games, didn't win any of them in regulation- they won twice in OT.

Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) If you enjoy pro football and want to learn more about it, read this piece about how Carson Palmer prepared for a game against the Browns last month.

Interesting stuff about how NFL teams prepare for a game.

12) If you didn't use the link or it didn't work, article tells how Carson Palmer had to learn 171 plays (plus formations/blocking schemes) in five days in preparation for the Cardinals' game in Cleveland. Interesting look behind the scenes.

11) Miami 90, Utah 66-- Miami-Butler is good title game in Puerto Rico Sunday.

10) Movie stuff: They're coming out with a new movie about Texas Longhorns called My All American- actor who plays coach Darrell Royal looked familiar to me, so I had to look him up. Guy's name is Aaron Eckhart-- turns out he played the assistant coach for the Sharks in Any Given Sunday, the movie where Al Pacino was coach, Cameron Diaz was the team's owner and Barry Switzer the TV announcer.

9) Hofstra 82, Florida State 77-- Hofstra dressed nine guys; three of them fouled out, a 4th guy had four fouls, but they made 10-22 from arc and held off Seminoles team that was 0-10 from arc in first half. Joe Mihalich is a very good coach.

8) Cavaliers' center Timofey Mozgov (deltoid injury) is out for next 10-14 days. he is a good player the Knicks stupidly traded in the Carmelo Anthony deal.

7) Knicks 93, Thunder 90-- That said, Phil Jackson has done good job re-building the Knicks. Not many people thought he would do it- still a ways to go, but they're fun to watch and should make the playoffs at least.

6) Tex-Arlington 73, Ohio State 68-- Thought this was a woman's score first time I saw it, but it was not; Buckeyes were 13-27 on foul line, got outrebounded by nine on a bad night for the Big 14 (Michigan lost to Xavier, Northwestern needed OT to beat Columbia of the Ivy League) and Duquesne beat Penn State by 26.

5) Cameron Maybin had a nice year for the Braves LY, his reward was getting dealt back to his original team the Tigers Friday, and Atlanta didn't get much for him. One of the fascinating things about baseball is how different people see the same things but draw different conclusions from them.

When Detroit got rid of Maybin ten years ago, he was part of the package that brought Miguel Cabrera to Motown, pretty good deal for the Tigers.

4) Rumors have Giants competing with the Dodgers for Zack Greinke's services in the free agent market; either that, or they're just trying to drive the price up, though the Dodgers seem to have an unlimited budget- they were paying $88M LY to guys who weren't even on their team.

3) A's signed 35-year old Rich Hill to a $6M contract for next year; Hill made zero big league starts from 2010-14, then started four games for Boston in September and went 2-1, 1.55, which paid off with a $6M deal from my favorite team. Oy.

2) Air Force 37, Boise State 30-- First time since 1993 Boise State lost home games on consecutive weekends.

1) Raptors beat Lakers last night, but Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas broke his hand and will miss some time......Golden State beat the Bulls; not sure if they're ever going to lose a game.

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) I'm looking for teams that score touchdowns.........

Baltimore-Denver game in Week 1 didn't have an offensive TD by either side. NFL teams are 2-15 this season when not scoring an offensive TD, so take away that game in Denver and teams are 1-14 this season when they don't score an offensive TD, with Denver in Week 5 (@ Oakland) only winner. Scoring touchdowns is important.

12) Packers-Vikings is for first place in the NFC North; Green Bay lost last three games after a 6-0 start. Minnesota covered its last eight games, is 7-2.

11) Here are the 11 D-I basketball coaches who used to be head coaches in NBA:

Mike Dunlap, LMU.....Leonard Hamilton, Florida State.......Lon Kruger, Oklahoma
John Calipari, Kentucky.....Rick Pitino, Louisville......Avery Johnson, Alabama
Reggie Theus, Cal-Northridge.....Eddie Jordan, Rutgers.....Larry Brown, SMU
Eric Musselman, Nevada........Larry Krystkowiak, Utah

10) Oklahoma State-Baylor could be ugly if freshman QB Stitham sits out with a bad back; I'm doubting Baylor has a quality third-string QB. Oklahoma State hasn't lost yet; they play Oklahoma next week.

9) Lot of subplots in Chicago, with former Broncos Fox/Cutler hosting Denver team giving 4th-year backup QB Osweiler his first careet start. Bears have been hot, could be headed toward contention in the Wild Card race.

8) Good college basketball tournament in Puerto Rico; finals Sunday will have the Butler-Temple winner against the Utah-Miami winner. Either way, good game.

7) Can't believe I'm typing this, but there are Interweb rumors that LSU might fire my man Les Miles. LSU is road dog at Ole Miss after losing to Alabama/Arkansas; would be a good game for the Mad Hatter to win.

6) Carson Palmer once forced a trade away from the Bengals, a divorce that helped both sides; now Palmer faces Cincinnati in what could be a Super Bowl preview.

5) North Carolina is visiting Northern Iowa Saturday, an odd bit of scheduling; UNC scored 87 ppg in winning its first three games, even without star G Paige.

4) Ohio State-Michigan State should be a good game; not sure why Buckeyes have to play Michigan State/Michigan back-back, not great scheduling.

3) Looks like Mark Sanchez gets the nod at QB for the Eagles, who at 4-5 are a big disappointment and have same record as the visiting Bucs, where people are happy with rookie QB Winston. Natives will be restless with Chip Kelly if he loses here.

2) USC-Oregon should be a fun game; road side won last three series games with an average total of 90.3. Ducks gained 730 yards in last meeting. Trojans won last four games overall. LY, Vernon Adams was QB for a I-AA team; this will be interesting.

1) If Atlanta and Jets win Sunday and they're both going up against backup QBs, the 4-6 Jacksonville Jaguars would be tied for first place in the AFC South. .

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) Mavericks 112, 76ers 85-- Philly is 0-12 after turning ball over 31 times; how does the NBA allow this mess to happen? How does the 76ers' owner not fire the GM who created this debacle? The league should buy out the owner and find someone who actually will try to win-- the current regime is not.

12) Providence 60, Illinois 59-- Thanks to the Big East/Big 14 for creating a terrific series of games to start the season. Illini had three shots in last 0:10 to win this, one of which was a putback dunk that somehow rattled out of the hoop. Tough loss for an Illinois squad that has also lost to North Florida already this year.

11) There are 11 Division I basketball coaches who have also been head coaches in the NBA; can you name them? (answer tomorrow)

10) Notre Dame-Boston College play football at Fenway Park Saturday night; the first sporting event Vin Scully ever broadcast was a Fordham-Boston U football game at Fenway many, many years ago. Always interesting to see how they lay out the football field in a place where football isn't usually played.

9) How is Gregg Popovich not in the Basketball Hall of Fame?

8) University of North Dakota teams used to be called the Fighting Sioux, until our ridiculously politically correct government made them lose the nickname. As a protest of sorts, the school went several years without a nickname, but finally settled on the Fighting Hawks as their new nickname this week.

7) Akron 88, Arkansas 80-- Razorbacks had an awful day, losing in-state recruit to Malik Monk to Kentucky, which could put coach Anderson on the hot seat. Losing at home to a MAC school won't help either.

6) One of the refs at Nebraska-Villanova hoop game Tuesday was Gene Steratore, who is better known as an NFL referee on Sundays. Steratore hasn't reffed a Super Bowl game yet; this would be a good year for that.

5) Underrated coaching hire of the college football season was North Carolina hiring former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik as their defensive coordinator. Chizik won the national title as Auburn's coach in 2010 (with Cam Newton) but was fired a couple years later by the overly impatient Auburn administration (boosters). Tar Heels are one of the most improved teams in America this season.

4) When the NFL put out these new "color rush" uniforms, they had no idea that people who are color blind would have trouble watching them on TV- they are having difficulty telling which player is on which team-- not good.

3) Houston Texans signed QB Brandon Weeden, who was cut by Dallas with Tony Romo coming back this week. Looks like Brian Hoyer won't be able to go for the Texans this week, so they needed a backup for TJ Yates, the third QB to start for the Texans this season. Been a rough couple of months for sports in Houston.

2) Houston Rockets played in Western Conference finals LY, losing 4-1 to Golden St., but after a 4-7 start this season, they fired coach Kevin McHale Wednesday, in an act of blatant panic. Someone tweeted yesterday not to feel bad for McHale, since the goofy Rockets owe McHale $12M, but why fire a guy this early in the season?

1) Tip of the cap to Phil Jackson for drafting Kristaps Porzingis, who is taking New York City by storm in his rookie season. Kid won't be 20 until August.

Wednesday's List of 13: Thoughts from the basketball marathon
13) If any of this doesn't make sense, its because I skipped sleep last night to watch a lot of college basketball. Think I slept for an hour of the Dayton game, which was a terrible game-- Alabama is awful. Here are some of my thoughts from the first five days of the college basketball season.

12) Kentucky 74, Duke 63-- Watching basketball without sound can be revealing; I watched about half of this game while having dinner at a bar. You see contact around the basket and you wait for the action to stop and it doesn't-- Duke was KILLING the Kentucky guys around the basket but very few fouls were called, then Coach K is bitching at a ref during a TV timeout. Duke took 23 FTs, Kentucky 18.

11) The new rules have been a huge success so far; they've promoted a much more free-wheeling style of play-- lot less flopping in the lane, which was needed. Tired of seeing inferior players flopping to draw fouls on guys they can't guard otherwise.

10) Maryland 75, Georgetown 71-- Hoyas led by 7 in second half but Terps came on down stretch, in renewal of local rivalry that hadn't been played in years. I give credit to JTIII for playing this game; his dad can't agree with it. When he coached the Hoyas, they almost never played a quality opponent in their pre-conference schedule.

9) Hawai'i 76, Nevada 75-- This was the best game I've seen this week; too bad it was a 4am tipoff here at Armadillo World HQ. Rainbows led by 12 at half, but Nevada PG Marqueze Coleman scored 32 points in the second half and teams traded hoops in last few minutes, the lead changing with every basket. Nevada is going to be a force in the Mountain West in years to come, with Eric Musselman on the bench.

8) ESPN under-utilizes analyst Adrian Branch, the former Maryland star who is easy to listen to and says some good stuff- he did the game in Hawai'i. He told a story about how his parents live near Washington DC-- they TIVO'd the game instead of staying up until 6am to hear their son broadcast it live. He was laughing about it.

7) Oklahoma 84, Memphis 78-- Sooners made 11-26 from arc; this is solid road win for them, against an athletic, improved Memphis team. Dedric Lawson had 22 points, 15 rebounds for Memphis-- his brother is also on the team and his dad is an assistant coach. As well as young Lawson played, they should give his mom a job, too.

6) Tulsa 77, Wichita State 67-- Good upset for everyone in the AAC. Frank Haith has been coach at Miami/Missouri; not sure why he went from Mizzou to Tulsa, but his teams usually do pretty well.

5) East Tennessee State 103, Green Bay 90-- Many years ago, before the basketball marathon started, we used to joke that teams would play at 3am if TV wanted them to, because teams love to be on TV. We thought this was very funny.

Fast forward to 2015 and this game was a 6am tipoff; Buccaneers had lot of energy, are lot more athletic than Green Bay and they seem to argue with each other a lot on the court, but I'll say this-- they had a 2-on-0 break one time and guy with the ball passed it to his teammate, so he could dunk it. Thats usually a sign of good team chemistry.

4) Michigan State 79, Kansas 73-- Tom Izzo did at least three interviews during this game, one at halftime, two while the clock was running. Think he'd do that during Big 14 league play? Its all about recruiting. This turned out to be a really good game, with two of the all-time great coaches. Seemed more like March than November.

Kansas has a kid named Check Diallo who is a very bright kid from another country but he hasn't been cleared by the NCAA yet-- it makes no sense. The kid is obviously bright; he knows several languages-- let him play already.

3) Long Beach State 66, BYU 65-- Announcers kept praising Long Beach for playing a hard non-league schedule; they do it because they get guarantee money to play (lose) games at Arizona-Duke-Oregon with lot of that money going to keep coach Monson from leaving Long Beach for greener pa$ture$.

If they let Monson walk and hired a younger coach who made maybe 1/3 as much $$$, they wouldn't have to schedule automatic losses and their players might have more confidence. I'm wondering how it would affect their recruiting-- its not like Monson is John Wooden or Dean Smith-- would they still recruit well with a lesser schedule in November and December?

If I'm paying Monson $600K to coach in the Big West, I'd expect more league titles than he has been producing, I guess thats my main point.

2) I'm 55 so I remember the way basketball used to be; its funny now that players have to call all live-ball timeouts, coaches have to get the players' attention for them to call timeouts. Kids are used to the coach bailing them out with timeouts; now they'll have to do it themselves.

1) If I learned one main thing this week, it is this: you damn well better have good guard(s) who can get to the basket with their dribble. Defenders aren't allowed to impede much anymore and that makes a good ballhandler worth his weight in gold.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but..........
13) Today's is ESPN's marathon of college basketball, a great day if you're like me and love basketball. Seeing the students at the morning games is especially fun. Being home all day and watching hoop and eating fast food ain't bad either.

12) Peyton Manning is out this week with plantar fasciatis, a painful foot injury. Broncos are going to Chicago to play John Fox's Bears this week, the same Fox that John Elway fired last winter, with Brock Osweiler making his first NFL start-- a rookie will be his backup, Tracy Siemian from Northwestern.

11) Saints fired DC Rob Ryan; as soon as they brought former Raider coach Dennis Allen in as an assistant, you knew Ryan was in trouble........Rams are switching QBs from Nick Foles to Case Keenum. Foles was 0-12 on throws longer than 10 yards downfield Sunday. Still think St Louis needs better tight ends/receivers, but thats me.

10) I mentioned Saturday night how New Mexico's football team won last two weeks, as underdogs of 20 and 30 points; someone posted on Twitter Sunday that since 1980, Lobos are only team to win consecutive games, when underdog by 17+ points in both of them, so thats quite an accomplishment.

9) Cowboys are 2-7 and Greg Hardy (rightfully or not) gets shredded in media every single day. Vikings are 7-2 and no one mentions Adrian Peterson's troubles anymore (rightfully or not). Funny how that works.

8) NFL does itself a disservice by not allowing each team to dress an emergency #3 QB for every game. Here is why:

Couple years ago, Houston's starting QB got hurt on the first series of the game, and was out- that meant for the rest of the game, they had one QB, with a WR or punter serving as the #3 QB, if it came to that, so they couldn't throw any long passes, since they couldn't subject the #2 QB to any hits, raising his risk of injury. The game sucked because the other defense put nine men in the box and wouldn't let them run the ball.

This is a business where each team is worth around $1B, thats billion, with a B. How much could it possibly cost to have one more guy on the roster every week, just to protect the quality of the league's product?

7) SEC Network has a new basketball analyst; young man named Chris Spatola; he played basketball at West Point, then spent five years in US Army, as all West Point grads do. He worked for CBS Sports Network and now he works for ESPN, but there is one thing here that bothers me just a little.

He is married to Mike Krzyzewski's daughter, so not only does ESPN have Jay Bilas and Jay Williams on their airwaves, they have Coach K's son-in-law. Terrific.

6) NFL double-digit underdogs are now 41-22 vs spread in primetime games since 2003, including 21-9 on Monday Night Football.

5) New Mexico State has 14 players on its hoop team; only five of them were born in this country. Four kids from Canada, the rest come from all over the globe. Wish they were in a better league- Aggies play Sun Belt football but are stuck in the WAC for hoop and thats a terrible league now.

4) Jim Nantz played college golf at Houston, so he is/was very good at golf; he said on TV Sunday he only golfs five times a year; how is this possible? I know the guy is busy, but he is also rich as hell and spends a decent amount of his year covering the freakin' PGA Tour-- how does he only golf five times a year?!?!?!?!?!

3) Before last week's NFL games, teams that were down 10+ points after three quarters were 12-347 in their last 359 games- not lot of late comeback wins.

2) Seattle Seahawks are 4-5 and didn't allow an offensive TD in any of the wins; that means they're 0-5 when their opponent scores an offensive TD, which is weird.

1) If you're a Bengals fan and you booed your 8-0 team at any point Monday night, then shame on you, thats all I can say about that.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday......
13) Chiefs 29, Broncos 13-- KC won its third straight game, picking off five passes; Andy Reid is now 15-2 in post-bye games. Peyton Manning was benched in second half for Brock Osweiler, as Denver lost its second straight game after a 7-0 start.

12) Lions 18, Packers 16-- Detroit won in Wisconsin for first time since 1991, when Mike Tomczak was the Packer QB, Wayne Fontes was the Lions' coach, Brett Favre was an Atlanta Falcon. Last few minutes of this game weren't pretty; Lions missed a PAT, stopped the tying 2-point play from Green Bay, but then the Packers fell on the onside kick, giving them yet another chance. Packers have now lost three in a row.

11) Buccaneers 10, Cowboys 6-- Jameis Winston fumbled as he was flipped while trying to hurdle into the end zone, but a holding penalty on Dallas gave Bucs another chance and Winston ran in for the winning score with 0:54 left, handing Dallas its 7th loss in a row. Curious to see if Tony Romo plays for Dallas next week.

10) Panthers 27, Titans 10-- Carolina is now 9-0; their next three opponents all have losing records. Titans have lost ten home games in a row. Cam Newton didn't make any friends with a long celebration after scoring TD with 2:42 left to make score 27-10. At some point, you need to act like a professional; celebrate on the sidelines.

9) Bears 37, Rams 13-- Rookie RB Lankford had 182 total yards, two TDs for Bears, who won impressively despite having a short week after playing Monday night in San Diego. St Louis is 1-5 outside its own division; their passing game is a mess and their defense appears a bit overrated.

8) Redskins 47, Saints 14-- Redskins gained 526 TY, Cousins threw for four TDs in his first game since his dad was diagnosed with cancer-- he gave his dad the game ball after this convincing win. Washington had ball ten times, scored four TDs, four FGs.

7) Valparaiso 83, Iona 58-- Iona is expected to win the MAAC; this score says an experienced Valpo team is really good. Not often Iona scores less than 60 points.

6) Dolphins 20, Eagles 19-- On their first two drives, Philly scored two TDs, gaining 122 yards on 14 plays; combined with a safety, they led 16-3 and were driving again but missed a 32-yard FG on their third drive, had a punt blocked on the next drive and went into the ashcan after that. With the offense Eagles run, don't they need a QB who is a running threat?

5) Steelers 30, Browns 9-- Roethlisberger threw for 286 yards in first half of a game he didn't start; Landry Jones got hurt, which was very bad news for Cleveland, which got decent stats from Manziel but only one TD. Browns only had 15 yards rushing, and Manziel had 17; maybe Kevin Costner can draft for them next spring.

4) Jaguars 22, Ravens 20-- This is how fine a line there is between winning/losing in the NFL; Ravens are 2-8, with both wins by a FG. All ten of their games were decided by 8 or less points-- all one-possession games.

Baltimore was going to win this game but a facemask penalty on the Ravens on the last play moved the ball 15 yards closer and allowed Jags to make a 53-yard walk-off FG.

3) Vikings 30, Raiders 14-- Minnesota ran for 263 yards in this game, as they take over first place in the NFC North. If the playoffs started Monday morning........

NFC: Giants-Vikings-Panthers-Cardinals Wild Card: Packers-Falcons
AFC: Patriots-Bengals-Colts-Broncos. Wild Card: Steelers-Bills

2) Patriots 27, Giants 26-- Giants' DB dropped a sure INT on first play of last drive, as New England drove 44 yards on 12 plays in 1:46. Giants were up 20-10 with 5:00 left in third quarter. Somehow, they're in first place, despite being 5-5- the #4-5 first round game in the NFC playoffs could find Packers visiting the NFC East champ.

1) Cardinals 39, Seahawks 32-- Seven NFL teams were -2 or worse in turnovers this week; Arizona is only one of the seven who won. Packers/Falcons are two Wild Card teams in NFC right now- they have two game lead on other NFC also rans. Seattle has led in fourth quarter in all five of its losses this year.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Washington State 31, UCLA 27-- Mike Leach won games in Lubbock and he is winning games in Pullman and neither place is an easy place to build a winner. Coogs scored a TD with 0:03 left to stun the Bruins and make Wazzu 7-3. This game ended at 2:33am here in the east, quite an exciting end to the day.

12) Houston 35, Memphis 34-- Tigers led 34-14 with 14:00 left and Houston's QB was hurt, but they rallied to win behind the backup QB and is now 10-0, 6-0 in the AAC. Coach Herman used to be an assistant at Ohio State; with so many openings around the country, will Houston be able to keep him for a second year?

11) Michigan 48, Indiana 41 OT-- Has Indiana ever run for 307 yards against the Wolverines before? Michigan tied this game on last play of regulation; Hoosiers are a 4-6 team that deserves much better- they lost to Ohio State 34-27.

10) Oregon 38, Stanford 36-- Cardinal scored with 0:10 left. but tying 2-point play failed and Ducks made sure no Pac-12 team has a shot at the national championship playoff this year. Oregon only threw 12 passes, but hit 10 of them for 204 yards.

9) Oklahoma State 35, Iowa State 31-- Cyclones led 24-7 with 3:00 left in first half, 31-21 after third quarter, but couldn't finish the job. Cowboys were 11-17 on third down and they're still unbeaten- their game with Oklahoma will be huge.

8) Radford 82, Georgetown 80 2OT-- Radford was 22-12 LY, but none of wins were over a team in the top 125. This is a rough start for the Hoyas, who are 46-26 in their conference games the last four years, but losing to a Big South team is no bueno.

North Florida 93, Illinois 81-- America Sun keeps producing Cinderella teams; in this game played Friday, the Ospreys made 17-33 3-pointers, turned ball over only six times and led by 13 at the half, so this was no fluke.

7) New Mexico 31, Boise State 24-- Remember Bob Davie, who used to be the coach at Notre Dame, then became a good TV announcer? This is his 4th year as the coach at New Mexico; his Lobos won as 20-point underdogs last week, won as 30-point dogs this week and that does not happen very much.

You might say a team is no good if they're underdog by that many points, which is a fair point, but it takes time to build a football program up-- lot of recruiting to get to the 85 kids you want. Sounds like Davie is doing things the right way.

6) Warriors 107, Nets 99-- 1-9 Brooklyn took the 11-0 Warriors to OT, but champs survived and stayed unbeaten. Maybe people can shut up for a while about Golden State winning 73 games this year- they damn near lost to a 1-8 team.

5) Rhode Island was expected to be an NCAA tourney team this year, but they lost their best player EC Matthews for the season this weekend with a knee injury- that is a huge blow for Dan Hurley's up-and-coming team.

4) Colorado State 84, Northern Iowa 78-- Solid win for Mountain West and Larry Eustachy, the kind of road win that is remembered on Selection Sunday.

3) Oklahoma 44, Baylor 34-- I'm mystified that Texas Tech never came up with a scholarship for QB Baker Mayfield, who transferred to Oklahoma because of it. Has to be an interesting backstory there.

2) Arkansas 31, LSU 14-- Second year in row LSU got squashed by the Hogs a week after losing to Alabama; how can a program with so many NFL players coming out of it constantly fail to produce a decent college quarterback? Their OC was a head coach in the NFL, but their QB play, except for Mettenberger, has generally been sub-par.

1) North Carolina 59, Miami 21-- Tar Heels haven't lost since Labor Day weekend.

Saturday's List of 13: Wrapping up a frentic Friday......
13) Red Sox traded four prospects to San Diego for closer Craig Kimbrel; last year, Padres traded Cameron Maybin/Matt Wisler and others for Kimbrel; not 100% sure they know what they're doing, having changed managers in October, but one of the prospects is a real good defensive SS and they definitely want one of those. .

12) Washington 77, Texas 71-- Bill Walton broadcasting from China had to have at least a few people at ESPN holding their breath about what politicial stands he would take during the game, but the game was fun-- play-by-play guy Roxy Bernstein kept Walton from getting himself or anyone else fired.

11) Pac-12 is going to play a basketball game in China every year; lot of money to be made in China and the Pac-12 is affiliated with Nike because of Phil Knight/Oregon connection. Next year, Stanford of the Pac-12 is playing Harvard in China.

10) I don't think NFL QBs should be protected by the rules once they cross the line of scrimmage; once you gain yardage, you're just another guy carrying the ball. If you don't want to get hit hard, don't run with the ball.

9) Premature judgements: St John's, Wisconsin will struggle.

8) USC 27, Colorado 24-- Buffs' QB got hurt, or this could've gone a different way; Colorado led 17-6 at one point. Trojans play better with interim head coaches.

7) When Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders passed away, Mark Cuban lent his private plane to a group of coaches who were in LA at the time and wanted to go to the funeral. Lending a private plane is a pretty big tab, even for a rich guy.

6) DeAndre Jordan has played eight years in the NBA; he's made more than 45.2% of his foul shots in one season. His career FG% is 66.5%, by the way. I just want him to try and shoot underhanded for one season, then I'll shut up about it.

5) "Never attempt the shot you just faked." Basketball advice from Bill Walton.

4) Former Arkansas coach John Pelphrey is a TV announcer now, left behind when Billy Donovan bolted Florida for Oklahoma City and the NBA- Pelphrey was one of his assistants in Gainesville the last few years. Have to listen to do a guy do more than one game before making judgements, but Pelphrey was pretty good last night.

3) There are murmurs in the media that Blue Jays prefer Zach Greinke over David Price, as far as free agent pitchers go. My question is this: why would Greinke leave the pitcher-friendly NL to pitch against DHs again?

2) Baylor 97, SF Austin 55-- This was supposed to be an interesting game; SFA was 61-8 the last couple years, one of the better mid-majors in the country. Excellent start to the season for the Big 12's Bears, who crushed the Lumberjacks here.

Montana also upset Boise State in Missoula, an interesting result out west.

1) Best wishes to Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel, who is retiring after this season. Back in the spring, he was diagnosed with lymphoma, but he says he is OK with that now and just wants to enjoy life. We'll probably never know how much the current scenario has to do with his decision, but we wish him well no matter what.

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend......
13) College basketball starts today: Gonzaga-Pitt play in Japan, Washington plays Texas in China, for some reason. Some surprisingly good games for season openers, so I'll be glued to those all day/night today.

12) Oklahoma-Baylor is a really good football game Saturday; Baylor freshman QB Stitham threw for 419 yards in his first college start, now the competition gets a lot better with the Sooners coming to Waco. Bears beat Oklahoma three of last four years, ending a very long series losing streak.

11) Patriots lost their last three games with the Giants; two of those were in Super Bowls. Interesting 4:25 game Sunday from Swamp Stadium.

10) Washington State is 4-0 as road underdog this year; they're 6-2 in last eight games since losing their opener to a I-AA team. Can Coogs beat UCLA in Pasadena?

9) 8-0 Carolina played in primetime last two weeks, now they visit a Tennessee squad they should beat-- trap game alert for the Panthers.

8) Duke-Pittsburgh played 51-48/58-55 games the last two years; both teams are on two-game skids after 6-1 starts-- which team ends their skid?

7) Underrated college hoop games on Friday: UAB-Auburn, Colorado-Iowa State, Pepperdine-Fresno State, Belmont-Marquette.

6) Vikings-Raiders matches up two teams on the rise; Oakland scored 34+ points in its last three games. Bridgewater is expected back at QB for Minnesota.

5) When LSU lost to Alabama last year, they laid an egg the next week too, getting shut out at Arkansas. Tigers host Arkansas this week; big game for their season.

4) Andy Reid is 14-2 in post-bye games; Chiefs won their last two pre-bye games. Denver scored two TDs in last 0:36 to win first matchup this season- they lost for first time last week. Rematch with Chiefs is Sunday in Denver.

3) When Alabama beat Mississippi State LY, Bulldogs were #1 in country, but still an 8-point underdog; Crimson Tide waxed LSU last week, but now has potential trap game with Dak Prescott and the surging Bulldogs in Starkville.

2) Cardinals have been better than Seattle so far this year, but until they take the NFC West title away from Seahawks, SEattle is the champ. This is Arizona's window to take over the NFC. We'll see if they can take a big step here.

1) My alma mater is on national TV tonight; Albany at Kentucky. When I was in college, many, many years ago, our arch-rival was Potsdam State, located 25 miles north of the middle of nowhere. ESPN was just being developed. Hopefully the Great Danes will be wearing purple uniforms, not the awful black ones they used to wear.

Anyway, college hoop is my favorite time of year; enjoy the games!!!!

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Today is November 12; from now until late February, I don't want to see any news about guys on the A's or on my fantasy league team-- at this time of year, news is 95% likely to be bad news. This time, it is Jose Reyes, SS on my fantasy team who was arrested for domestic violence in Hawai'i on Halloween.

Not only is he hideously overpaid and not enthusiastic about playing for the Rockies, now he is likely to be suspended, since this is the first DV case for the new commish, so he has to come down hard on Reyes, or the media will go nuts. Awesome.

12) Guy in Las Vegas bet $20K on a 4-team parlay last week, which is scary in itself; he hit the first three games, fourth was over on the Giants-Bucs game. Looked like he was going to lose until Tampa Bay botched the lateral play as time expired, and the Giants scored a TD to win 32-18, with the game miraculously going over, giving the bettor an $80K windfall for his 4-team parlay. Good day to be him.

Couple years ago, I'm watching NFL games in the theater at Westgate and I'm talking to a guy in a Cardinals' jersey; all of a sudden it dawns on me this guy is betting $6K a game-- I forget that Las Vegas is the big leagues and I'm a guppy in that pond.

11) Underrated story of last few weeks: how Landry Jones has been so much better than Michael Vick as Pittsburgh's backup QB, winning in relief in games against the Cardinals/Raiders. Vick is washed up; he admitted he didn't prepare enough for games LY when he was with the Jets. How is he still collecting a check?

10) 24-year guy from Pennsylvania won Main Event at the World Series of Poker and cashed in for $7.68M; seven of last eight Main Event winners were 24 years old or younger, the 8th guy was 27 when he won. Poker has become a young man's game.

9) Chargers really needed their bye week; in Week 8 at Baltimore, four different guys played left tackle- thats the position that protects Philip Rivers' blind side, so it is a really important position to be solid at. Hopefully they'll get healthier this week.

8) Saw one of my favorite movies the other night; Airplane 2, which I hadn't seen in long time, but damn its funny. Pat Sajak is in it as an anchorman from Buffalo- its been so long since I saw the movie, I didn't even know who he was the last time I saw it.

William Shatner-Lloyd Bridges-Chuck Connors-guy who played General Burkhalter on Hogan's Heroes-Peter Graves-Chad Everett. Lot of the humor is goofy, and 1982 is a long time ago, but I laughed thru just about the whole movie. Good stuff.

7) Minnesota Twins gave up on OF prospect Aaron Hicks, dealing him to Bronx for catcher John Paul Murphy; there are rumors that Brett Gardner is going to get flipped for a pitcher, maybe James Paxton from Seattle.

6) Sacramento Kings are in chaos, as usual; DeMarcus Cousins cursed out George Karl after a recent game (again); GM Vlade Divac didn't back Karl, so it looks like the Kings will be changing coaches once again. I swear to God, if they put me in charge of this damn franchise, I could do better than these nitwits and I'm not qualified to do it, but neither are the fools that own this team.

5) Kevin Durant (hamstring) is out for the next 7-10 days. Last year, Thunder was 27-28 when Durant was out-- Scott Brooks did well to keep the squad together. Now Billy Donovan will find out the cruddy part of NBA coaching; winning without stars in the NBA is really tough.

4) Speaking of Brooks and Tom Thibodeau, how are these ex-coaches not on TV? It would be educational to hear what they think about NBA-related issues. NBA games on local TV are not exactly overloaded with analysts who teach you stuff.

3) Yoenis Cespedes likes cars. A lot. He just paid $367K for a Lamborghini.

2) Utah State lost one of its best players yesterday; soph forward David Collette quit the team and will transfer. Going to be interesting to see where he goes, because that team will be (rightfully) accused of poaching another school's player, which is now an unfortunate trend in college basketball.

1) St John's might have a really bad basketball season; freshman PG Marcus LoVett has been declared ineligible for this year-- he can practice but not play in games. Red Storm lost an exhibition game by 32 to a D-II team and now this; they lost all five starters from LY, are in a total rebuild-- losing your PG is damaging.

Wednesday's List of 13: How NFL teams do 1st drives of a half
I track how each team does on the first drive of each half, both offense/defense; here are some notes as the NFL season is roughly at the halfway mark..........

13) 8-0 Bengals have scored 34 points (most in NFL) on their first drive of each game, averaging 53 yards per drive.

12) Patriots have scored on their first drive of the second half in every game this year, five FGs, three TDs. In eight games, they've outscored opponents 67-38 on the first drive of each half, tied with Green Bay (59-30) for best mark in the league.

11) Arizona (45-19), Oakland (48-20) have also done well on first drives; on Cardinals' foes' first drive of the game, they've run 41 plays for only 150 yards. Surprising that the Raiders are doing so well; Jack Del Rio could easily be Coach of the Year.

In their last three games, Raiders scored a TD on their first drive in five of six halves.

10) 49ers' offense has been terrible early in games; its offense has been outscored 7-6 by the other team's defense on their first drive of a game.

9) Houston is so dysfunctional they cut a QB who started four games and no one has picked him up, even though quality passers are scarce. Texans have run 39 plays for 140 yards on their first drive of a game, scoirng zero points. No bueno.

8) Dick LeBeau works for the Titans now; they make good halftime adjustments. On opponents' first drive of the second half, Titan opponents have run 34 plays for 77 yards, scoring no points. Once the rookie QB gets some experience, this could be a team that makes a big jump next season.

7) Rams had to sign Wes Welker; their offense is so totally dependent on Gurley and Austin, they're 20-90 on third down the last seven games, have gained only 76 yards on 28 plays on their first drive of a game. Too much pressure on the defense; if they can move the chains more now, it helps their field position and makes the team more balanced. Playing on a shorter field makes the game a lot easier.

6) Buffalo has outscored opponents 23-3 on first drives of a game; their opponents gained only 92 yards on 34 plays on their first drives. Oddly, they've been bad on first drive of third quarter; their opponents gained 7.1 yards/play, scored four TDs and FG. Seems like they prepare for opponents better than they adjust at halftime.

5) Eagles scored a TD on their first drive of the second half in four of last five games, and n fifth drive, they gained 49 yards before losing a fumble. They wore down Dallas' defense Sunday night, gaining 287 yards on 35 plays over their last five drives.

4) Miami changed coaches after four games, because the defensive players weren't happy with their defensive scheme; in their first four games, Dolphins allowed three TDs and a FG (285 yards on 30 plays) on the first drive of a game.

Since the change, Miami allowed 158 yards on 27 plays, allowing one TD, one FG, so thats an improvement, maybe just because the players feel more invested now.

3) Denver has been surprisingly bad on the first drive of a game, kicking two FGs on eight drives, gaining 197 yards on 45 plays (4.4 ypp).

2) Teams are 6-0 the week after playing Carolina, both SU and against the spread; four of those six teams were favored.

1) Not sure why this is true but it is, but teams are 0-8 against the spread the week after playing the Cardinals, winning only two games SU.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Bears 22, Chargers 19-- San Diego is 2-7, with four losses by 5 or less points; TE Zach Miller made a great one-handed catch for winning TD, his first NFL TD in four years. Last five Chicago games were decided by three or less points.

12) There are two Division I college basketball teams here in Albany, UAlbany and Siena; both are on national TV Friday night, Albany on SEC Network against the Kentucky Wildcats, Siena on ESPNU at Duke. Neither local team is favored :-)

11) In case someone ever asks you, it costs $22 to go to the top of the Space Needle in Seattle. You never know, people like to know stuff like that.

10) I personally don't give a rat's ass about the Heisman Trophy; it bugs me when TV announcers babble about it constantly. I'm watching LSU-Alabama and the TV guys are talking about how the game affects the Heisman voting. Who cares?

9) NFL teams are 13-5 vs spread this season coming off a bye; over the previous five seasons, teams coming off a bye were 78-78-4 against the spread.

8) ESPN Stats reports that Detroit's Andre Drummond is first player with 135 points and 135 rebounds through seven games since Wilt Chamberlain in 1970-71. If you get mentioned in the same breath as Wilt Chamberlain, you're doing good work.

7) I'm thinking Tampa Bay/Tennessee are both pleased with their rookie QBs.

6) Las Vegas sportsbooks had to clean up on the Falcon-49er game Sunday; game opened at -3, but when Blaine Gabbert was announced as the 49er starting QB, game got bet all the way up to nine. Takes ton of cash to move a line six points.

5) I sound like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino "Get off my lawn!!!", but I'm not a fan of high school kids announcing their college choice and having it televised.

Full of self nonsense. I mean, a kid with a torn ACL did it last week; he won't play any basketball this season, but had his college choice on national TV and he's likely to only play one year in college, if his knee is healed by then. Whats the point?

4) Steelers' WR Antonio Brown caught 17 passes for 284 yards against the Raiders Sunday; reminded me of watching his dad play Arena Football here in Albany-- boy he was good. Eddie Brown once scored nine TDs in an AFL game-- he led the Firebirds to the 1999 Arena Bowl title. NINE TOUCHDOWNS!!!!! Guess it runs in the family.

3) Over the last seven games, the Rams are 18-90 on third down, which is terrible; Monday they signed Wes Welker to help solve that problem. Please Lord, don't let him be washed-up. If he can still play, Nick Foles will be a happy QB.

Bad Rams' news: WR Stedman Bailey got the gate for four games (substance issues); he isn't much of a WR, but is a really good gunner on the punt team, so that hurts.

2) So the Cowboys have a domed stadium but the roof was open Sunday night and once the game starts with the roof opened they're not allowed to close it, so when it started to rain, the field got wet, or the big scoreboard got wet. Just seems weird that if it starts to rain (there was no rain in the forecast) they can't close the roof.

1) After watching a lot of TV recently, I've decided that the reason I'm divorced is that I never bought the ex-wife a Mercedes-Benz for Christmas. People really do that?

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday......
13) Bengals 31, Browns 10-- CBS execs have to be very nervous at thought of Super Bowl 50 with Cincinnati-Carolina, which easily could happen. That would be a fun game for hardcore fans to see, but not the ratings bonanza that the networks crave.

12) Steelers 38, Raiders 35-- Pittsburgh gained 597 yards, forced four turnovers (+2) but lost Roethlisberger to another injury (foot) for at least a couple weeks, so Landry Jones is once again in the forefront. Oakland's two road losses are by 3-2 points.

11) Jets 28, Jaguars 23-- Gang Green was +4 in turnovers, had 14-yard edge in field position; only one of their four TD drives was longer than 51 yards. In their five wins, Jets are +12 in turnovers; in three losses, they're -5. Jax scored three points in two red zone drives; Jets scored 21 points on their three.

10) Vikings 21, Rams 18 OT-- Not only did Rams lose this game, I had to listen to Thom bleepin' Brennaman for 3.5 hours; what a pompous know-it-all, but he didn't know enough to tell us how big a factor the wind was in this game until the second quarter- he never mentioned that 33 of the 39 points in the game were scored by teams going left-to-right, or that Vikings' backup QB Shaun Hill was the Rams' starting QB for most of last season. But hey, his dad is famous so he has a good gig.

9) Bills 33, Dolphins 17-- Buffalo ran ball for 266 yards, averaged 10.3 ypa and they did that despite allowing three sacks on 15 dropbacks. Bills-Jets Thursday night, so we will get the whole Rex-Jets things harped on endlessly. Mute button time.

8) Titans 34, Saints 28 OT-- Tennessee had scored 36 points total in last four games, so of course Rob Ryan's defense gives up 34 to a team with a rookie QB that fired its head coach six days ago. Rex Ryan should be on TV being funny and Rob Ryan should be coaching high school ball somewhere in the Oklahoma panhandle.

7) Patriots 27, Redskins 10-- This has nothing to do with football, but NBA players are wearing lower-cut sneakers these days. Do basketball players still get their ankles taped before practices/games?

When I was a kid, anyone who didn't get their ankles wrapped with at least an ace bandage before any practice/game got in big trouble. When I was coaching HS ball 15-20 years ago, not so much. Are sneakers made better now?

6) Panthers 37, Packers 29-- Carolina has won 12 straight regular season games, with wins over Colts/Packers last two weeks, plus a win at Seattle, but much like with the Bengals, because Charlotte isn't a big market, the Panthers are undervalued. Newton is now 38-31 as an NFL starter-- did you know Atlanta had a DB named Cam Newton in 2005-06? You learn interesting little tidbits reading this space, don't you? :-)

5) 49ers 17, Falcons 16-- Picked against Atlanta last week; think they're a tired team that desperately needs the bye week they're starting now. 49ers are 3-2 at home while allowing 15.2 ppg-- they're 0-4 on the road, allowing 36.8 ppg. Falcons lost three of last four games after a 5-0 start- win was 10-7 over the Zach Mettenberg-led Titans.

4) Giants 32, Buccaneers 18-- Final score is misleading; NJ scored a TD on last play of game, as Bucs butchered the playground/lateral play. I've been touting Bucs' Mike Evans as one of the best WRs in league, but despite catching eight balls for 152 yards, he had several drops in key spots in this game that hurt the Tampa Bay cause.

3) Colts 27, Broncos 24-- This has been a season with way more than usual coaching screwups. Colts led 17-0 in last 0:20 of first half and they punt the ball down the field, instead of out of bounds, so of course Denver runs it back for a TD. Had Indy lost this game, and Denver did tie it up twice, I wouldn't have blamed Jim Irsay if he fired the whole coaching staff after the game- the offensive coordinator is already gone.

2) Eagles 33, Cowboys 27 OT-- Dallas banked tying FG off an upright with 0:02 left, but offense never got back on field. Happy birthday Sam Bradford; he threw walk-off TD to Jordan Matthews, as Dallas lost its sixth game in row. Wildly entertaining day with three overtime games; too bad the wrong team won in Minnesota.

1) Odd Fact of the Day: Jets' QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has now beaten the Jaguars with five different teams, the first NFL QB to beat a team for five dfferent franchises.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday.....
13) Alabama 30, LSU 16-- Crimson Tide outrushed LSU 250-54, just beat them up physically on both lines. LSU's QB isn't good enough to move the chains by throwing the ball. As many pros as LSU produces, almost none of them throw the ball.

12) Nebraska 39, Michigan State 38-- Cornhuskers have five losses by five or less points; they were due to win a weird game, which they did here. Spartans led by 12 points with 2:00 to go- the winning TD scored on a play where the WR went out of bounds but came back in- refs ruled he was forced out, a shaky decision.

11) Arkansas 53, Ole Miss 52 OT-- Hogs converted a 4th-and 25 in OT, thanks to a schoolyard-like lateral; find it on SportsCenter, it is too weird to desbribe here. Hogs' win puts Alabama in the drivers' seat to win the SEC West. This game had 1,195 TY, no turnovers, six accepted penalties. Entertaining.

10) Oklahoma State 49, TCU 29-- Wow was I wrong about TCU; they got squashed in this game, which was over long before WR Doctson, Frogs' best player, left with a wrist injury. Four of ten previously unbeaten teams lost on Saturday.

9) Florida 9, Vanderbilt 7-- Games like this are why Top 25 poll is non-sensical; the Gators should drop in polls for beating Vandy without scoring a TD, but they won't. Florida has one loss, have held four of last five opponents to 10 or less points.

8) Clemson 23, Florida State 13-- Seminoles will drop in polls because of this game, which is comical; they played the #1 team toe-to-to-toe for 50:00, but lost, because in every game, someone loses. But Florida State is better than Florida.

7) Navy 45, Memphis 20-- First loss for Tigers, who don't play good enough defense to stop the Middies' option attack- they ran ball for 374 yards. Navy is now 24-9 vs the spread in its last 33 games as a road underdog.

6) South Alabama 52, Idaho 45-- Vandals scored 93 points in their last two games but managed to lose both; their QB is the son of Cowboys' OC Scott Linehan.

5) Tennessee 27, South Carolina 24-- Vols blew 17-0 lead, were saved when TE for Gamecocks was stripped of ball around Tennessee 20 in last minute. after a terrific catch/run that had South Carolina set up to tie or win the game.

4) UConn 7, Tulane 3-- I've been doing this stuff for long time; have never (that I can remember at least) logged stats for a game where neither team had 10+ first downs. In this day and age, how do you lose a game when you give up seven points?

3) Iowa 35, Indiana 27-- Hawkeyes haven't lost yet; who they losing to in the Rose Bowl? USC? Utah? UCLA? Iowa lost its last three bowl games by average of 32-19.

2) USC 38, Arizona 30-- RichRod went for it on 4th-and-2 at midfield when he led 23-20 in the third quarter; game swung on that failed play. There are guys making big, big money to be head coaches who aren't well-versed in game management. This wasn't a horrible mistake, but it was an unnecessary risk for a struggling team on the road.

Memo to ESPN's Rod Gilmore, who is a lawyer in real life: Jeff Fisher makes $7M a year coaching the Rams and has never coached college football. He is in his late 50's and probably wants no part of recruiting 17-year olds. Mentioning his name as a possible new coach for USC, just because he went to school there, is irresponsible.

1) Trouble at Missouri-- This has nothing to do with sports, other than the black football players at Missouri have gone on strike, until the school president quits or is fired. There have been racially-fueled incidents on campus recently and there is a lot of unrest regarding how those incidents were handled.

Maybe someday coach Gary Pinkel will write a book; his starting QB is off the team, amidst rumors he is involved with drugs, now 75% of the team is on strike. Have fun recruiting this winter, even if this issue does get resolved fairly soon.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) BYU 17, San Jose State 16-- Spartans scored a TD with 0:45 left, went for two points and the win, but missed. If I'm coaching San Jose, I play for OT, just for the extra TV exposure- there is nothing else on TV at midnight on the west coast.

12) This is how tenuous winning in the NFL is:
Tom Brady's career won-loss record: 188-55.
Bill Belichick's head coaching record: 240-118.

Belichick's record without Brady: 52-63

The smartest coaches are the guys with the best players.

11) I'd love to know how much Billy Donovan, Fred Hoiberg and Brad Stevens like coaching in the NBA, as opposed to college ball. Doubt we'll ever find out.

10) Indiana Pacers wore Hickory High uniforms last night, straight from the movie Hoosiers. Paul George played the role of Jimmy Chitwood, scoring 36 points, but he wears number 13, which benchwarmer Ollie wore in the famous movie.

9) Augustana 76, Iowa 74-- Augustana is a D-II school, but a very good one; Iowa plays in the Big 14. Not a positive sign for the Hawkeyes.

8) Dodgers turned down Chase Utley's $11M option for next year; would be funny (to me, at least) if the Mets signed him up to fill their upcoming gap at 2B.

7) I can't stand the NBA rule where teams can use a timeout to advance the ball from the backcourt to the frontcourt-- it creates artificial excitement, but it also takes away chances for teams that are behind to trap in the backcourt after made baskets.

6) If you care about such things, Rice Owls have played 31 freshmen this season, more than anyone else in America.

5) Denver is a 5.5-point favorite at Indianapolis Sunday; if you bet this game back when schedule came out and early lines were posted, Colts were a 3-point favorite.

4) Giants have allowed 315.4 passing yards/game, most in the NFL so far.

3) So far this season, NBA teams are 21-11 vs spread if they played the night before; NHL teams are 32-36 if they played the night before.

2) Temple 60, SMU 40-- Really bad beat if you took SMU and the points; game was 45-40 with 2:00 left, the Owls scored on a 36-yard pass, went for two and got it, then scored on a pick-6 with 0:55 for the cover. Much closer game than final score shows.

1) I hope kids realize how much work Stephen Curry has put in to become as good a shooter as he is now. Thousands and thousands of jumpshots. Lot of time.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.....
13) Weirdness in Deroit, where the 1-7 Lions fired general manager Martin Mayhew and president Tom Lewand, who somehow lasted 20 years with the Lions even though the team never won a playoff game during that time. How can one organization be so completely inept? The next GM/coach will have a very easy act to follow.

12) Indianapolis Colts fired OC Pep Hamilton, which is odd because the Colts scored 24.7 ppg in their last three games, plus Hamilton came from Stanford, where QB Andrew Luck went to college. Going to be a lot of changes in Indy this winter.

Can't remember a football season with so many coaches/execs losing their jobs during the season; people who foot the bill have very little patience these days.

11) Harry Giles is widely thought of as the best high school basketball player in the country this year and he hasn't chosen a college yet. Now comes word he's torn the ACL in his right knee-- he previously tore multiple ligaments in his left knee.

Now comes the question everyone is thinking but no one will say out loud: Do we really want this kid, who will spend the next year re-habbing his knee, then if he does well, will almost surely bolt to the NBA? If his knee doesn't bounce back, you're stuck with a kid you may not really want. Dicey situation.

Oddly enough, the kid is announcing his college choice today at noon.

10) Another question that needs to be asked: how much basketball is too much? A young kid needs down time, he needs to get stronger, more mature-- playing all year is simply too much for some kids. Less games, more practice is a better idea.

9) Sometimes, following unintended consequences of an event can be fun; example #1, instant replay in baseball is going to cause a resurgence in sliding practice, because when a guy slides into a base, if he comes off the base for a split-second and a fielder keeps the glove on him, he will be out. Players have to slide better; no one thought that would become more important because of instant replay.

Example #2: Chattanooga loses its basketball coach because Texas fired theirs; it was said one of the few jobs Shaka Smart would leave VCU for was a big-money school like Texas, so when the Longhorns surprisingly fired Rick Barnes after 17 years, Smart took the job, leaving behind a solid program at VCU.

Enter Will Wade, the Chattanooga head coach who had been one of Smart's assistants at VCU; he had turned down other jobs, but people knew the one job he would never turn down would be VCU. So Smart left for Texas surprisingly, Wade left for VCU and the Moccasins were looking for a new coach, all because the Texas AD (who has since been fired himself) fired Barnes, who has been a very good coach.

8) SEC basketball scheduling has changed; teams will all play each other once, plus each team has three teams they will play twice each, every season. Kentucky's three teams are Vandy-Tennessee-Florida; lucky them- they get to lose an extra game every year, although playing Kentucky at home every year guarantees one extra sellout every other year. Well, at least until coach Calipari leaves Lexington.

7) NFL teams are 23-47 (47.3%) on 2-point plays this year; they were at 48.1% the last five years combined. Would like seeing one team go for two every time they scored a TD, just to see what happened, as long as it wasn't the Rams who did it.

6) ESPN ran a documentary on the Bill McCartney/Colorado football teams from the late 80's; they played in the Orange Bowl two years in a row. Weird to see those clips and think now, the Orange Bowl doesn't exist- thats where the Miami Marlins' new baseball stadium currently sits. Very good documentary, by the way.

5) NBA League Pass is fun to have, especially before college hoop gets into full swing; the team I want to watch as much as possible this year, just for entertaining value, is the Minnesota Timberwolves. Enjoy watching Ricky Rubio; they've gotten better.

4) Denver Broncos traded for TE Vernon Davis; not many NFL players get traded during the season. Curious to see how much of an impact he will make; he hadn't done much for the 49ers the last three years.

3) College basketball rule change: coaches cannot call live-ball timeouts anymore. If a player gets trapped and the coach is standing next to the ref, he can't bail his player out. Will help pressing teams- with the new 30-second clock, more teams might press.

2) People can be jerks: Bengals' QB Andy Dalton played in the celebrity softball game this summer in Cincinnati at the baseball All-Star Game-- he got booed when he came to bat, despite having a 40-27-1 career record with the Bengals, not exactly one of the NFL's more storied franchises.

Why did the hometown fans boo? Dalton is 0-4 in the playoffs, so the one thing I'm rooting for this winter is for the Bengals to win a playoff game, just so the jerks will go away and Dalton can be accepted for the good player that he is.

1) Baylor 31, Kansas State 24-- Game wasn't really that close; freshman QB Stitham threw for 419 yards in his first college start. Baylor doesn't have a QB problem, but they will next spring, when Seth Russell is healthy again.

Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) The glow of victory doesn't last too long in baseball: Alex Gordon turned down $13.75M for next year, is now a free agent, while Royals paid Alex Rios $1.5M to go away and paid Jeremy Guthrie $3.2M to disappear. Thanks for that title, though.

12) Pitching coach Mike Maddux leaves Texas to be Dusty Baker's pitching coach in Washington, which means I'm now spared from hearing the A's TV guys make fun of Maddux for always putting his hand on the pitcher's shoulder when he visits the mound. Much better to be a pitching coach in the league with no DH.

11) Underrated stat: Carolina Panthers won their last 11 regular season games.

10) Many years ago, maybe the mid- 90's, I rode up an elevator in Madison Square Garden with the refs who were working the Knicks' game that night. I am 6-3 and all three guys were bigger than me-- we forget how tall NBA officials are. I'm wondering if there are college refs who couldn't go to the NBA because they're not tall enough.

9) It is funny to me how close fans are to the action at NBA games; lot of those fans by the benches can actually talk to the coaches who walk in front of them during the action. It is probably surprising there has never been an incident between players/fans in that scenario. Don't think the big fight in Detroit way back when was by the bench.

8) Pistons rookie Spencer Dinwiddie was eating a candy bar on the bench Tuesday night. During the game. While in uniform. Someone needs to tell him these games are on TV and very little happens that the cameras don't capture. Oy.

7) North Carolina's star guard Marcus Paige broke a finger on his non-shooting (right) hand, will miss 3-4 weeks. College hoops starts a week from Friday.

6) There have been 30 missed PATs in NFL thru eight weeks; in the last four years combined, there were 26 PATs missed, so moving the kick back has worked.

5) Washington Huskies play Texas over in China next week; they play three games in the Bahamas later this month, but do not play a true road game until January 9, when they visit Pullman to play Washington State.

4) Edmonton Oilers lost star rookie Connor McDavid for a long time with a broken collarbone. Kid had 12 points in his first 13 NHL games.

3) Jared Cunningham plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers; he has a sneaker collection with 1,600+ pairs; where the bleep do you put 3,200+ sneakers?

2) Remember Michael Graham, the Georgetown Hoya who was the enforcer on the Patrick Ewing-era teams? Apparently he won $1M in the DC Lottery-- he is on a TV commercial for the lottery that plays during Wizards games.

1) St Thomas Aquinas 90, St John's 58-- This was one of those exhibition games, but Aquinas is a D-II school; St John's plays in the freakin' Big East. Could be a very long winter for rookie head coach Chris Mullin, who is building from scratch.

Wednesday's List of 13: In a perfect world........
13) There should be a 10-year moratorium on publicly-funded stadiums/arenas; these rich owners don't need to be extorting communities for new stadiums to suck all the money they can out of the places where they own teams. Just use what you have for a while and let communities use that money for more practical things.

12) Get rid of Thursday Night football (except for two Thanksgiving Day games) and have a Monday night doubleheader every week. Football wasn't meant to be played on three days' rest. Let the college kids play on Thursdays- they most always have a bye the Saturday before their Thursday games.

11) Football teams have all week to practice; game day should be the players' day. Get rid of the radios in the players' helmets. When the QBs call the plays, the game is more fun; coaches strangle the games with overly conservative tactics.

10) Reduce the number of bowl games; bowls should be a reward for a good season. With 128 I-A teams and 40+ bowls, cruddy teams are going to bowls. Why?

9) College football teams should have scrimmages with other teams in the spring that would be on TV and people would pay reduced amounts to watch-- would raise a lot of money for the athletic programs. Believe me, people would watch.

8) No Christmas shopping commercials on TV until Thanksgiving Day or Nov 25, whichever comes first. KMart has had a ton of them on already- enough.

7) Get rid of the electoral college for Presidential elections; good grief, just add up all the votes nation-wide, whoever gets the most wins. How difficult is that?

6) Lower the drinking age to 18; if a young person is old enough to go fight in a war, he is old enough to have a beer.

5) Let basketball players go directly from high school to the NBA; having kids play one year of college ball actually hurts the college game. Once a kid goes to college, he is there for two years, much like college baseball players are committed for three years.

4) NBA should sponsor a 1-on-1 tournament in the summer, for charity; 64 guys. Teams can't complain; there is so much international ball played in summer now, this would be better and it is for charity. The sneaker companies will be happy because it gives their guys more exposure The public would love it.

3) Baseball should get rid of the DH; give teams 27-man rosters instead. Players who cannot field shouldn't be making millions, the way some DHs do.

2) Instead of having the All-Star Game determine home field in the World Series, the league that wins interleague play should get home field for the Fall Classic. It is stupid to have an exhibition game actually mean something.

1) Then baseball could make the All-Star Game more competitive and have it US against the World; that would heat the game up quite a bit. Maybe too much.

Tuesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Why the Royals won the World Series: they scored 40 runs in the postseason from the 8th inning on-- no other team scored more than five.

12) Tough year for college football coaches: Frank Beamer retires at Virginia Tech-- he built the Hokies up from practically nothing...........Norm Chow was canned out at Hawai'i, where it is very hard to win. Lot of head coaching jobs (10?) are open; many of them are in places where it is difficult to win consistently.

11) FOX's Mike Pereira was saying Sunday that LY, 38.4% of replays overturned the calls on the field. This year, that number is 45%; obvious errors are only thing that should be overturned. Re-officiating the plays is not what replay is for.

10) In their last six games, Bears allowed three special teams TDs, two more on offense; their last four games were all decided by 3 or less points.

9) Woman dressed up as a cat rings my doorbell at 2:15 Saturday afternoon, when I answer, she says "Trick or Treat" then whips out an ID badge and tries to get me to change some setting on my utilities bill that would allow her employer to make more money. She got a Reese's peanut butter cup and a door closed in her face. Oy.

8) Knicks drafted Jimmer Fredette in the D-League draft; not sure why; he is 26, can really shoot the ball, is a terrific person, but couldn't guard a lamp post. Not sure what their motivation is: to build up the D-League team, or would they bring him up to the Knicks as a situational shooter?

7) Refs from Miami-Duke game Saturday got suspended; Miami had 23 penalties for 194 yards-- I actually triple-checked that number, since I had never seen penalty numbers that high before. Ironic thing is that Miami was totally undisciplined with so many penalties, but they won the game because the refs refused to call a 24th penalty for an obvious illegal block on the eight-lateral kick return that won the game.

6) Panthers 29, Colts 26 OT-- Colts rallied from down 23-6 to force OT on a rainy, dismal night in Charlotte, after Carolina missed PAT that would've made it 24-6.

Around 11:00, activists protesting Bank of America’s financing of a liquefied natural gas facility in Maryland suspended themselves from the upper deck of the stadium in Charlotte and were taken away by the authorities. Hope it was worth it. Stadium is sponsored by Bank of America, which is why the activists were so active.

5) Lebron James went over 25,000 career points last night in Philly; hard to believe this is his 13th year in the NBA. Lets give the guy credit; as famous as he is and you never hear a bad word about him off the floor. Good for him.

4) When was last time an NFL team's highest paid player was a center? They said on TV Sunday that the Oakland Raiders' highest paid guy is center Rodney Hudson. Someone should call Derek Carr's agent and clue him in on this, though he is probably still on his rookie contract. Raiders outscored last two opponents 51-12 in first half.

3) Hazards of college coaching: a football coach obviously entrusts his team to the QB, the most important player on the team. Kids transfer if they don't play, so not a lot of great backups out there.

Missouri is having a dismal season because QB Maty Mauk turned out to be a bad guy off the field-- I was told in Las Vegas that the rumor is the kid is involved with drugs, which is why Mizzou suspended him (twice).

2) I got a phone call Monday from Ben Carson's political campaign; he is running for 2016. A year from today. No more phone calls, please

1) That said, it is Election Day today; get out and vote!!!! But not for President, that is next year. Lot of local elections this year-- long time ago, politicians used to come around and campaign and give you stuff with candidate's name on them-- pens, pencils, combs, stuff like that. Why did this stop? Free stuff is very persuasive.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday.....
13) Saints 52, Giants 49 OT-- Drew Brees threw for seven TDs; he had 300 passing halftime, 511 for the game. Weird stat: Giants scored 42 points but were only 1 for 8 on third down- they scored 21 straight points in 4th quarter to take lead, but Saints scored 10 points in last 0:36. Game swung on facemask penalty on Giants punter Wing that set up game-winning FG.

12) Chiefs 45, Lions 10-- Why did I get up at 9:29am to watch a Jim Caldwell team get pummeled? Chiefs were 8-13 on third down, ran for 206 yards. Not sure why the Lions fired three coaches before the London trip, when they have a bye week now?

11) Vikings 23, Bears 20-- Minnesota had lost seven in a row in Chicago, but they scored 10 points in last 1:49 for win, with rookie WR Diggs catching 40-yard TD that tied game in dramatic fashion. Last four Chicago tilts were decided by 3 or less points.

10) Bucs 23, Falcons 20 OT-- FOX analyst Charles Davis defended Lovie Smith's choice to go for it on his own 39 on 4th-and-1 with 2:00 left and a 20-13 lead- when the Bucs failed, Falcons had short field and tied game. Whole thing became moot when Tampa won in OT, but Smith made a foolish decision and got away with it.

9) Rams 27, 49ers 6-- Rookie RB Gurley is the real deal; rest of the Rams' offense is a work in progress- their defense is stellar, which is why Rams are 4-3. St Louis offense had two TDs of 60+ yards in this game, first time they've done that since 1961. Refs in this game think people paid to watch them throw flags-- too many cheap penalties.

8) Cardinals 34, Browns 20-- Arizona scored last 27 points of this game; they head into their bye at 6-2; they were -3 in turnovers in both losses. Cleveland has now lost five of its last six games-- seven of their eight games have gone went over total. NFC teams are now 18-13 against the AFC so far this season.

7) Royals 7, Mets 2 (12)-- I have no problem with Mets leaving Harvey in for ninth inning; he was mowing the Royals down. You can make the right decision and have it turn out the wrong way. Thats what makes coaching/managing such a challenging and interesting profession. Everyone's a freakin' genius the next day.

6) Bengals 16, Steelers 10-- Big Ben had Steelers in red zone at end of game but 7-0 Bengals held on for the win, in game where teams were combined 7-26 on 3rd down- each team had ten penalties. Last six Pittsburgh games stayed under total. While I am here, the Steelers' throwback uniforms are simply awful, like old prison garb.

5) Ravens 29, Chargers 26-- San Diego's defense/special teams aren't doing much to help the offense; 53 of Chargers' last 66 drives started 80+ yards from goal line; in last six games, San Diego started one drive in opponent territory- the foes started 12 drives in Charger territory. Hard to win that way.

4) Texans 20, Titans 6-- Captain Obvious checked in to inform us that the NFL has a shortage of quality QBs; rookies are starting right out of college now, which makes it a sink or swim situation, rather than a developmental one. Titans have 36 points in four post-bye games, after losing 35-33 to Colts in their pre-bye game- they're 2-20 in last 22 games overall, since upsetting Chiefs on Opening Day, 2014. .

3) Raiders 34, Jets 20-- Fitzpatrick hurt his left thumb early in game; Deion Sanders had the onions to criticize him for coming out, since it wasn't his throwing hand. Guy has torn ligaments in the thumb-- Deion is stealing $$$ on TV. Jets are screwed now; Geno Smith also got banged up but he sucks anyway, so they need to find a QB out on the street who can help them, if Fitzpatrick needs surgery. Good luck there.

2) Seahawks 13, Cowboys 12-- Dallas is 0-5 without Romo but dammit, they're still on national TV each and every week. Both teams were futile in red zone; five FGs on five red zone drives. Observation: Russell Wilson got tossed out of bounds by #90 on Dallas, a clean hit but a hard one- no Seahawks ran over to help him. Hmmm.....

1) Broncos 29, Packers 10-- Green Bay was in wrong place at wrong time, on a night where Denver honored their beloved owner. Broncos are now 7-0 with Manning going back to Indianapolis next week. Packers are OK, as long as Matthews' injury isn't too bad- they go to Carolina next week. .

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) Miami 30, Duke 27-- Hurricanes scored on a bizarre, 8-lateral kick return for the win as time expired, after Duke scored to take the lead with 0:06 left. Miami had one runner who appeared to be down before he lateraled and at least one illegal block, but since this wasn't basketball, Duke didn't get bailed out by the refs.

Officiating guru Mike Pereira of FOX: "they used replay to decide to pick up the flag for the block at the 25. Replay is not allowed to reveiw a call for that." OK then.

This is third Saturday in a row that a nationally televised game ended on a bizarre play on special teams. College football is wildly entertaining.

12) Michigan 29, Minnesota 26-- Coaching malpractice by the Gophers' staff, plain and simple. Minnesota has ball on 1-yard line after a TD was overruled by replay with 0:19 left. Gophers had one timeout left.

Refs wound the clock after the ball was re-set; Minnesota took so much time to run its play (incomplete pass) there were only 0:02 after the play- then they got stuffed on a QB sneak as the game ended. No way they shouldn't have gotten at least three plays-- those Minnesota kids played their asses off, they needed better coaching at the end.

11) Notre Dame 24, Temple 20-- This was also a really good game; channel 205 on DirecTV has eight screens on it-- it had four college football games, plus the World Series and some other stuff too. This guy who coaches Temple is going to get offers to move up the coaching ladder pretty soon- the Owls are legitimately good.

10) Oklahoma State 70, Texas Tech 53-- Tech has home losses this year where they scored 52-53 points; here's some advice: RECRUIT DEFENSIVE PLAYERS!!!!

9) Virginia Tech 26, Boston College 10-- Maybe BC, Texas Tech could just trade some kids; BC has a putrid offense but a good defense. Recruit a bleepin' QB. Just go to Texas or Florida and sign a couple kids who can pass. Everyone else does.

8) Iowa State 24, Texas 0-- Longhorns have played three true road games, have been outscored 112-10 in those games. Why exactly did they fire Mack Brown?

7) Purdue 55, Nebraska 45-- Cornhuskers turned ball over five times, ran for only 77 yards, threw for 407 with a backup QB. Losing to Purdue in football isn't good for a coach's job security; luckily for coach Riley, its only his first year in Lincoln.

6) San Diego State 41, Colorado State 17-- Aztecs are sitting atop Mountain West, which seems to be down this year, but San Diego State ran for 276 yards here.

5) Golden State 134, New Orleans 120-- Steph Curry had 53 points, nine assists for the Warriors. Pelicans have severe injury issues, but 53-9 is a really big night, and has not happened a lot in NBA history.

4) USC 27, Cal 21-- Solid road win for Trojans and interim coach Helton, who is now 2-0 since taking over. Golden Bears lost their last three games.

3) Florida 27, Georgia 3-- If Miami wanted to hire alum Mark Richt as its new head coach, how many people in Georgia would object? This is another team without a QB; how does this happen at the SEC level?

2) Ole Miss 27, Auburn 19-- Will Muschamp makes $1.7M a year and he isn't head coach at Auburn; whoever foots that bill can't be real happy today. Rebels threw the ball for 402 yards against the $1.7M coordinator's defense. Auburn is 4-4.

1) Stanford 30, Washington State 28 -- Coogs missed 43-yard FG on last play, but it was their red zone failures in first half that cost them here. Kid was 5-5 on FGs for night before missing the last kick. Tough end to a rainy night in Pullman. Solid win for Cardinal, who haven't lost since the opener at Northwestern.

Saturday's Den: DDLohaus picks the Breeders' Cup......
Friday didn't start out very good; our selections in the first Breeders Cup race finished in the bottom three....but we bounced back with a nice exacta. Scratched out of our final bet.

Overall 1-2-1 for a small loss of $38.00 for the day. Pletcher had a big first day and he may be finally able to silent the critics about not being able to win at Breeders' Cup;

Today should be a lot of fun with some great racing. Going to enjoy watching these horses do what they were born to do.... let's get some cash. Have fun!

Juvenile Fillies

Rachel's Valentina: Looked real sharp in wins; classy gal keeps it going
Tap to It: Might move forward in this; dangerous
Songbird: fast, Beyer's say she the best; might be the best; low odds

The Bet:
$10WP Rachel's Valentina
$10W Tap to It

Turf Sprint

Jimmy Bouncer: Looks like peaking now; distance suits; great value.
Ready for Rye: getting good now; won at the Spa
Pure Sensation: unbeaten and may be this good.

The Bets:
$5WPS Jimmy Bouncer
$2Exacta Box Jimmy Bouncer/Ready for Rye/Pure Sensation

Filly & Mare Sprint

Stonetastic: fresh and like the trainer; big chance
Taris: Loves Keeneland but can she leave something in the tank for the stretch. Cavorting: Bad post but undefeated at the distance

The Bets:
$3ExactaBox Stonetastic/Taris/Cavorting

Filly & Mare Turf

Miss France: invader makes sense here; tough to bet against
Dacita: liked her at Saratoga; getting better?
Hard Not to Like: Wins at Saratoga; name says it all

The Bets:
$10WP Miss France


Run Happy: sharp, underrated jockey; needs good break; nice value
Masochistic: tough if back to previous form; a live one
Wild Dude: Needs fast pace and if he gets it look out!

The Bets
$10WP Run Happy
$2Exacta Box Run Happy/Masochistic/Wild Dude


Impassable: looks ready to add fourth in a row; the one to beat
Make Believe: sharp overseas; make sense
Tourist: crafty trainer; mike get there in time

The Bets:
$10WP Impassable


Conquest Big E: win over the track; live longshot
Ralis: throw out last and fits with these; a shot
Rated R Superstar: Versitile sort who may adapt and surprise

The Bets:
$5WPS Conquest Big E
$2Exacta Box Conquest Big E/Ralis/Rated R Superstar


Golden Horn: hard to go past this guy; will need things to fall apart to lose
The Pizza Man: Hard knocker with a great name; gotta take a shot
Big Blue Kitten: If the race sets up can beat the top choice

The Bets:
$5WPS The Pizza Man
$10Exacta Golden Horn/The Pizza Man, Big Blue Kitten

The Classic

American Pharoah: If gets an easy lead and stays clear, goes out on top; if tested early could be vulnerable
Keen Ice: If its fast enough up front can win again; if too slow is going to be really up against it
Gleneagles: relative unknown might be good enough if top two don't fire > >

The Bets:
$10Exacta Box American Pharoah/Keen Ice
$5WPS Gleneagles

Total Bets: $244.00
Good Luck and See You in May

Friday's Den: DDLohaus picks the Breeders' Cup........
Great weekend; World Series (Let's Go Mets!), Halloween, and most importantly the Breeders Cup. The end of a season of racing promises great excitement and a really great opportunity to hit some nice price horses.

Keeneland is a great place and all indications are that the weather should cooperate.> Day one has four (4) races and we consider this the appetizer before the main course on Saturday. Good Luck!

Juvenile Turf:

Sky Marshall: Tough trip in last affords some value; Woodbine quality continues to improve
Camelot Kitten: Should be coming late; hot trainer and a trip over the course; a lot to like
Azar: Improving colt and nice price on a formidable trainer/jockey combo; wouldn't surprise

The Bets:
$5WPS Sky Marshal
$2Exacta Box Sky Marshal/Camelot Kitten/Azar

Dirt Mile
Liam's Map: Just too good to go past; strictly one to beat
Lea: Hard Knocker and is loving Keeneland; Mott spots them well; upset chance
Mr. Z: Classic spot for a Lukas upset; may get brave on the front end.

The Bets:
$10 Exacta Liam's Map/Lea, Mr. Z
$5Exacta Lea, Mr. Z/Liam's Map

Juvenile Fillies Turf
Ruby Notion: This one may go to the front and not look back
Priced to Perfection: Comes right back; sharp in debut and C. Brown is the best; he must think this one is legit
Catch a Glimpse: Looked really good winning last; like Casse

The Bets:
$10WP Ruby Notion
$5WP Priced to Perfection
$2Exacta Box Ruby Notion/Priced to Perfection/Catch a Glimpse

Untapable: John V. opts for this one; veteran might handle these
Got Lucky: may be getting good right now; will be coming late.
Curalina: another Pletcher runner that is sharp; pretty gutsy performance in last; tough to pass.

The Bets:
$10WP Untapable
$2Exacta Box Untapable//Got Lucky/Curalina

Total Bets: $131.00

See You Tomorrow....

Friday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) NBA is trying to have teams play less back/back nights; LY, teams averaged 19.3 back/backs. This year, it is 17.8 and no team has more than 20.

12) I'd love to know what a President feels like the day after his term in office ends; imagine spending eight years in the most consuming job ever, where you can't drive a car and your assets are frozen and then one day it ends.. What do you do?

11) Central Michigan's basketball team is pretty good; how do I know? They had a hard time scheduling games-- when they called teams to fill out five slots in this year's schedule, BYU was the only team that would play the Chippewas, so they're going to play four non-D-I games, which huts their strength of schedule-- too bad.

10) ESPN's Magazine had a story on LSU's Leonard Fournette, how he gets a police escort back to his dorm after home games, from a state trooper who played for LSU 20+ years ago and whose day job is security for Governor Bobby Jindal. Without the police escort, the kid whould get beseiged by autograph seekers and it might take him hours to get away fron the stadium.

9) Dallas Mavericks lost to the Clippers last night and don't play again until Sunday night against the Lakers; they're staying in LA all weekend.

8) Baseball happenings: San Diego Padres named Arizona 3B coach Andy Green their new manager; Washington named former Padres' manager Bud Black their new skipper, Arizona named former Angel pitching coach Mike Butcher their new PC. .

7) San Diego State's basketball team has a new $15M practice facility, where kids can go 24/7 to work on their games. I was a basketball manager in college, but at a D-III school; can't imagine getting a call to go rebound for someone who wants to shoot at midnight, but it happens at the D-I level.

6) How is Tom Thibodeau not doing NBA games on TV? Guy is a basketball lifer, he was 417-283 coaching the Bulls-- we could learn a lot from him about basketball, plus I'm very curious if he has a TV personality. His in-game interviews were epic for being boring, but his taped tribute to the late Jerry Tarkanian this year was excellent.

5) Walgreen's drug stores bought out Rite-Aid this week for $9.4B; we have lot of drug stores around here. Must have lot of sick people.

4) Last March/April in college hoop, ACC teams were 19-7 in all postseason games, Pac-12 teams were 15-6, MVC teams 14-3. Loyola/Evansville both won a consolation tournament, pumping up the Valley's record.

3) Jets cut punter Steve Weatherford after one game; he nets $51K for punting four times and holding for five kicks. Good work if you can get it.

2) Analytics people in sports like to evaluate players using one number; I'm sure how they get to this number is well thought out but in my humble opinion, it is impossible to accurately evaluate a human being's performance with one number-- there are just so many intangibles that can't be measured accurately.

It is what makes sports so interesting; Raiders/Giants cut James Jones but with Green Bay (and Aaron Rodgers) he might make the Pro Bowl. Measure that.

1) Best wishes to Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill, who retired this week for health reasons (he has epilepsy). Coach Kill revived the Gophers' program, setting up his successor to be a contender in the Big 14.

Thursday's List of 13: NBA knowledge to start season with.......
While most of you were sleeping the other night, I was reading basketball previews; here is some of what I learned........
13) Steve Kerr did a great job, winning an NBA title in his first year as a head coach; will his success make it tougher for other first-year head coaches, like Billy Donovan in Oklahoma City? Team owners are rich people; rich people can be impatient.

12) Toronto Raptors paid DeMarre Carroll $60M for four years because they need to be better on defense and Carroll is an excellent defender.

11) Only four guys in NBA last year averaged 17+ ppg, 6.1+ assists/game and 5.2+ rebounds/game: Lebron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Eric Bledsoe.

10) Lance Stephenson was 18-105 behind the arc LY, thats 17.1%, the worst %age for any player ever who took 100+ 3's in a season. Clippers added him, Josh Smith, who Stan VanGundy paid $26M, just for him to leave Detroit. Interesting.

9) Portland only has six guys back from LY; they reduced payroll from $72.9M to $50.3M, reducing it by 31%. Damion Lillard scored 1,720 points LY; the other five returnees scored a combined 1,580. Could be a long winter in Oregon.

8) Orlando took 1,565 foul shots LY (19.1/game) LY, 4th-lowest by any team in NBA history, in the 82-game era. Hard to win that way.

7) Brad Stevens may have come to the NBA from college, but he is highly respected among his peers; there are NBA coaches who copy his after-timeout plays.There are so many timeouts in NBA games, those plays make a big difference in a close game.

6) Russell Westbrook scored 593 points in transition LY, 79 more than anyone else. Going to be interesting to see how the Thunder play under coach Donovan, especially Westbrook, who has tried to take games over by himself in the past.

5) Washington Wizards want to play faster this year; they were 18th in possessions LY; John Wall says they want to be in the top 5 this season.

4) Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes, Damian Lillard are only three players who led NBA in minutes played as a rookie; LY, Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins missed leading the league last 12 minutes.

3) In Jason Kidd's first year in Milwaukee, Bucks improved from 30th in defensive rating to 4th; Milwaukee has lot of good young players, is an interesting team.

2) Kemba Walker took 280 3-pointers LY, but made only 30.4%, which isn't good. he needs to either take less of them or make more of them. 30.4% ain't cutting it.

1) Denver rookie PG Emmanuel Mudiay skipped college and played pro ball in China LY, but he only played in 12 games there because of injuries. He is really good but he is also really inexperienced; his career is an interesting case study on kids who may not want to go to college before they hit the NBA.

Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Royals 5, Mets 4 (14)-- Tremendous start to World Series; team that won Game 1 in last 20 years won 17 of those 20 series. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Royals P Edinson Volquez, who lost his dad Tuesday afternoon.

12) People Can Be Scumbags Dept: A kid in Queens turns 12 November 3rd; for his 12th birthday, the little tyke wanted a bat signed by Daniel Murphy, which cost $175.

This was before Murphy turned into Ty Cobb against the Cubs in the NLCS, so when his parents got an e-mail from cancelling the sale, they went to the papers with their story and the NY Daily News ran with it.

Exposed for being scumbags, Topps and the MLB Alumni Association relented and sold the kid his bat for $175. Thats the power of the press!!!!

11) Idle thought: the kid lives in Queens. Wouldn't it have been easier to buy a bat, hang around Citi Field and get Murphy to sign the bat? Not like he is Lebron James, it can't be that hard to meet the guy and get an autograph.

10) Speaking of baseball memorabilia, Geddy Lee, the lead singer for Rush, has a big collection-- he has both baseballs from Johnny VanderMeer's back/back no-hitters.

9) Ravens, Cowboys both have zero takeaways in their last four games. It is very tough to win NFL games without creating takeaways.

8) Jets have 15 takeaways in six games; they had 14 all of last season.

7) In NFL history, there have been 14 plays of 99 yards; the two I remember most are a Jaworski-to-Mike Quick pass (against Atlanta, I think) and a Tony Dorsett run in Minnesota on Monday Night Football when the Metrodome first opened.

Record that probably never gets broken: in the late 60's, Jets had a punter named Steve O'Neal who had a 98-yard punt in Denver. Hard to break that record.

6) Speaking of the Jets, I hope Ryan Fitzpatrick writes a book someday; guy has been on six NFL teams, four in last four years and he is still starting!!! Not only that he has five kids and made the NFL after playing college ball at Harvard, so he didn't get a sports scholarship but is a starter in the NFL. His story needs to be told.

5) Baltimore actually gave the Rams a 7th-round draft pick for WR Chris Givens, who runs very fast but wasn't very productive in St Louis. Seriously, why would you trade for a WR the Rams didn't want-- they're desperate for productive WRs.

4) Mets TV announcer Ron Darling: "Today's guns are not right", speaking about the radar guns that supposedly show how fast pitchers throw. Darling is really smart, but his most interesting quotes come off-camera, which is too bad.

3) Two years ago, Temple was a 29.5-point underdog to Notre Dame in the season opener; Saturday, Owls are 7-0, College Game Day is coming to town and the game is on at ABC nationally at 8:00. Temple is a 10-point home dog in this game.

2) Basketball great John Stockton will be an assistant coach at Montana State, for the women's team this season. His daughter Lindsay is a senior on the team; one of the Bobcats' assistants quit recently, so Stockton took her place for this year.

1) Texans cut Ryan Mallett; apparently coach O'Brien and GM Smith both agreed to cut Mallett, but Smith wouldn't let it happen until after Sunday's game, since Texans still needed a backup QB in Miami. TJ Yates will be the new backup; very curious to see if anyone else gives Mallett a chance.

Tuesday's List of 13: Wrapping up Week 7 in NFL......
13) Jaguars 34, Bills 31-- Jax led 27-3 with 3:00 left in half, but blew lead, throwing awful pick-6 with 5:21 left to fall behind 31-27. Bortles then drove them 84 yards in 3:07 for the win, hitting Allen Hurns for the winning TD. Hurns now has a TD in his last five games-- Jacksonville is slowly getting better- they scored defensive TDs 0:07 apart in the second quarter. Buffalo screwed up trading Matt Cassel to Dallas.

12) Rams 24, Browns 6-- Cleveland had scored 26.2 ppg in its previous five games, but St Louis forced/recovered four fumbles and rode rookie RB Gurley to a win that evens their record at 3-3. Rams scored defensive TD on Browns' third play of game.

11) Chiefs 23, Steelers 13-- KC snapped five-game skid against QB making his first NFL start. Chiefs still had only two TDs on five red zone drives. Home favorites are 25-20-1 vs spread in non-divisional games this season.

10) Dolphins 44, Texans 26-- Houston backup QB Mallett "missed the plane" to game; this is same guy who didn't show up for practice the day after Hoyer was named starting QB. Tough spot; QBs are hard to come by; if they cut him, he'll get scooped up in five minutes, but he seems like a jerk who should be cut.

This game was 41-nil at half; in Week 4 at Atlanta, Texans trailed 28-0 at half. O'Brien almost has to get fired, just a matter of when. Would be second year in a row the coach on Hard Knocks gets the boot. Not good for HBO or NFL Films.

As if things couldn't get worse for Houston, Arian Foster has a torn achilles.

9) Patriots 30, Jets 23-- Nine rushes, 16 yards; that was it for the Patriots' run game; they trailed 20-16 with 12:50 left, but on their last two drives, Brady drove them on TD drives of 80-68 yards for the win. NE has now won eight of last nine series games; five of last seven were decided by 3 or less points; Jets lost last five visits here by 9-3-3-2-7 points. Jets are much-improved, but Brady is still Brady.

8) Vikings 28, Lions 19-- There were rumors all Saturday night that Adrian Peterson was sick and wouldn't play; he ran ball 19 times for 98 yards and caught three passes. If playoffs started today, Minnesota would be #6 seed in NFC. Detroit is 1-6 as they head to London for a game with Kansas City.

7) Falcons 10, Titans 7-- Tennessee lost its ninth home game in a row; three of their home losses this year are by 3 or less points. Atlanta is an unimpressive 6-1; they've trailed in 4th quarter in four of six wins and this game wasn't much better, but they are still 6-1, albeit still behind Carolina in NFC South.

6) Redskins 31, Buccaneers 30-- Greatest comeback in Washington history; trailing 24-0 in first half, Cousins led Redskins back- they scored winning TD with 0:24 left, driving 80 yards on 11 plays. Bucs' WR Evans caught eight balls for 164 yards. Skins are 3-4 and only a game out of first place in NFC East.

5) Saints 27, Colts 21-- Indy is 3-4 but still atop a horrible AFC South; their teams are 6-1 vs spread outside the division. Colt owner Irsay had harsh words with GM Grigson after this loss-- Saints led 20-nil at half. New Orleans won three of last ffour games, scoring 58 points in last two games.

4) Raiders 37, Chargers 29-- Oakland led 37-6 early in the third quarter in a stadium where it was hard to tell who the home team was. NFL needs to clear up this stadium thing; who is going to LA, who isn't. Raiders started six drives in Charger territory; all 12 San Diego drives started 80+ yards from goal line.

3) Giants 27, Cowboys 20-- Dallas was -4 in turnovers, gave up a kick return TD and still almost won; they ran ball for 233 yards, but lost to Giants for first time in last six meetings. Divisional home favorites are now 5-16-1 vs spread this season.

Not a lot of fun having only two 4:25 games; NFL is leaning on Cowboys to produce TV ratings, but they stink without Romo and he is still a month away from playing.

2) Panthers 27, Eagles 16-- Carolina is unbeaten, Eagles are 3-4 and Rams need Sam Bradford to start two more games so they can bank a 4th-round draft pick for dealing the oft-injured QB last spring. If Dick Butkus were playing today, he'd be Thomas Lewis of the Panthers; hard hitter, very, very good player.

1) Cardinals 26, Ravens 18-- If the 2016 NFL Draft were this morning, it would be weird, since it isn't 2016 yet, but Baltimore would have the first pick- all six of their losses are by 8 or less points. Carson Palmer is now 75-75 as an NFL starting QB. .

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday......
We're moving the weekly NFL wrap to Tuesday this week........

13) RIP Flip Saunders, who lost his battle with lymphoma at age 60. I used to go to Florida for my summer vacation to watch AAU basketball. One summer Saunders' son was playing for a team (Minnesota Magic??) and I was watching their game down in Orlando at Disney World. Saunders was there, but not coaching. There were six games going on at once in the building; the place was a beehive of activity.

At halftime, I drifted towards the concession stand (surprise!!!) and walked down the hall where the Minnesota team was resting. Flip Saunders had a grease board and was diagramming stuff for the kids, teaching them about the x's and o's of basketball. No yelling, just instruction and quiet encouragement.

What an education those kids must've gotten. RIP, sir.

12) Great stat on the Browns-Rams game on CBS yesterday: St Thomas Aquinas HS in Florida has 15 alumni playing in the NFL; next most are three schools with six. Michael Irvin, Chris Evert also went to St Thomas Aquinas.

11) Giants ran a kick and an INT back for TD in the same game Sunday for the first time since 1951 (in regular season); last time they did that the guy who ran the pick-6 back was Tom Landry, who went on to be a pretty good coach.

10) New Orleans Saints have 25 new players on their team this year, most in NFL.

9) Do NASCAR drivers have a concussion protocol? Do older drivers suffer from hearing loss? It has to be really, really loud in those cars.

8) NFL wants its officials to pick out someone to penalize whenever there is a brief scuffle, which is impossible to do (correctly). Why not just throw the flag, call fouls on both sides and move on? NFL is the most over-officiated sport ever.

7) Someone named Smylie Kaufman won the Las Vegas PGA stop this week; last week it was Emiliano Grillo; the two guys are a combined 46 years old. Lot of really good young golfers world-wide.

6) Miami fired Al Golden Sunday; now both sides can move on. Golden is a good coach who wasn't a great fit in Miami; the alumni blamed him for everything this side of global warming. Very curious to see who gets this job next; the alumni are mouthy and demanding, they don't have a great home field advantage and they're in a league. When they were a power, Miami was an independent and scheduled differently. .

5) Northeast of Miami, UCF coach George O'Leary "retired" during an 0-8 season; the kicker here is that OC Brent Kay was promised the job after O'Leary and because he is not getting it, the school has to pay Kay $700K to go away- must be nice.

4) Philip Rivers' wife is having the couple's 8th child any day now; I have a friend who has seven kids. How do you keep track of all of their names?

3) Odd news of the weekend: Ruben Amaro Jr was recently canned as Phillies' GM; he is now the first base coach for the Red Sox. Very unusual career move.

2) New England's first drive of the second half this year: Six drives, 59 plays, 444 yards, 7.53 yards/play. Three TDs, three field goals. Good adjustments.

1) What would the NFL be like if the players wore no equipment?

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Georgia Tech 22, Florida State 16-- Yellow Jackets had lost five games in a row, allowing 30+ points in all five, before this- they blocked a 56-yard FG on last play of regulation, ran it back for a walk-off TD, as big upset happened for second week in a row on a shocking special teams play.

12) USC 42, Utah 24-- Utes were #3 in country but Wilson threw four picks and the Trojans jogged. All week people were mentioning Whittingham as a possibility to be USC's new coach. thats going to be a very interesting job search.

11) Clemson 58, Miami 0-- Sometimes divorce is beneficial to both sides; Miami has to fire Al Golden today, so he can move on, their alumni can shut up and they can start to look for a new coach. Hurricanes have never played in the ACC title game- not sure who the perfect coach is here. Not even sure if Miami is that good a job anymore.

10) Pitt 23, Syracuse 20-- Panthers' last three visits to Carrier Dome were decided by a total of five points. Pitt is 6-1; their last four wins are all by 7 or less points.

9) Northwestern 30, Nebraska 28-- Cornhuskers failed on tying 2-point play with 4:24 left; their five losses are by all by five or less points. Wildcats had lost previous two games by combined 78-10-- this is a great win for them.

8) Baylor 45, Iowa State 27-- Baylor QB Russell broke a bone in his neck; this was first time this season they scored less than 56 points. Bears have next week off, but they still have games left with both Oklahoma schools and TCU.

7) Arkansas 54, Auburn 46 OT-- 167 plays in this game; one turnover, five penalties. Auburn is now 1-3 in SEC, with an OT win over a I-AA team. Anyone who laid seven points with Arkansas in this game had the good Lord shining down on them.

6) Duke 45, Virginia Tech 43 OT-- Blue Devils are 6-1 and bowl eligible; Hokies are 3-5 and a sinking ship. Always wondered how much the shootings in Blacksburg a few years ago hindered Tech's recruiting- they're 25-24 in their last 49 games.

5) Alabama 19, Tennessee 14-- Whoever the poor bastard is who winds up replacing Nick Saban at Alabama is going to get in the head with an anvil like Wily E Coyote in the cartoons- he won't know what hit him. Vols are going to wind up playing in some obscure bowl like Shreveport or Nashville; their four losses are by total of 17 points.

4) Louisville 17, Boston College 14-- Eagles are worst offensive team I've seen in long time; they had four first downs, gaining 79 yards on 52 plays. Only reason they covered this game was blocked punt for a TD.

3) Penn State 31, Maryland 30-- Terps outgained Penn State 470-363; Bill O'Brien bolted Happy Valley for the NFL. You wonder how happy the natives are with James Franklin. You wonder how happy the Texans are with O'Brien. Sometimes divorce is a bad thing for both sides.

2) Washington State 45, Arizona 42-- Mike Leach is 13-5 as a road underdog, 4-0 this year; Falk had 335 passing yards in this game-- at halftime. Coogs won five of last six games, since losing their opener to a I-AA team.

1) Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people in Stillwater, OK after the fatal car accident Saturday morning; that community has had more than its share of tragedy. You go out on a Saturday morning to watch a parade and wind up dead; life is short, we need to have fun while we can.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Royals 4, Blue Jays 3-- Will be an interesting World Series, starting Tuesday.

12) When Alex Rios stole second in 5th inning, it was first stolen base David Price allowed all season; he hits free agency with an 0-7 record as a playoff starter.

11) Memphis 66, Tulsa 42-- Tigers have an offensive juggernaut; this was six days after they beat Ole Miss- impressive.

10) Only two NFL games at 4:25 Sunday; there are three 1:00 games in domes. Why didn't the league put one of those games at 4:25? NFL loves to put Dallas on national TV as much as possible, but they stink without Romo.

9) Speaking of which, there is a 50% chance of rain in New Jersey for late Sunday; the Cowboys have been practicing with a wet footballl to get ready.

8) 1970 Bengals are only 1-5 team to make the NFL playoffs.

7) Disturbing trend in college basketball is bigtime teams poaching really good players from mid-majors, especially kids who graduated in four years but still have a year of eligibility left. Cleveland State has lost three of these kids the last two years, with kids going to Louisville, Michigan State and Wichita State.

As a result, Cleveland State coach Gary Waters won't be giving players money to attend summer school anymore; all that did was cripple his program, since kids would graduate on time, then bolt to greener pastures for their last season.

6) Couple years ago, I was at the NBA summer league in Las Vegas; kid comes in the game and tosses up two airballs in a row. I comment to the guy next to me that the player had been a really good shooter in college, but looked awful in this game.

1,500 people in the gym and I say that to the kid's brother. Seriously. Funny thing, h wound up having a great week and making an NBA roster, but I see this week he is once again struggling to make a roster.

5) Kentucky got its best recruit eligible Friday; Shal Labissiere, which is a hard name to type, is now eligible, which makes Kentucky a very formidable team.

4) Former NBA stars Chris Mullin/Mark Price are both in their first year as a D-I head coach, Mullin at St John's, Price in Charlotte. Both teams are rebuilding and neither coach has much experience- they'll be interesting to follow.

3) FOX puts ALCS on FS1; do they even care about baseball? Hotel rooms don't get that channel, you have to go out of your way to find it. Hard to promote a sport when you're putting the main events on secondary channels.

2) Seattle Mariners named former big league catcher Scott Servais as their new manager; so many managers are former catchers. Servais has no experience and minorities were howling Friday afternoon, because they didn't get interviews. Too bad; the new GM knew who he wanted and he signed him up.

1) Columbus Blue Jackets are 0-8, the worst start by an NHL team in 72 years.

Friday's List of 13: For amusement only........
13) July 23, 2015-- the Mets rolled out a lineup with John Mayberry Jr batting 4th and Eric Campbell 5th. Not good. Mets were 52-50 on July 30, after blowing a 7-1 lead in a rainy home loss to San Diego. Things have gotten better since.

12) October 22, 1972-- Oakland A's won their first of three straight World Series, nipping the Reds 3-2. Pete Rose flied out to left to end the series, where six of seven games were decided by one run.

Same day, the Rams beat Cincinnati 15-14-- David Ray, who wasn't that great a kicker, won it with a 54-yard FG. Back then, straight-on kickers weren't that good- a 54-yard FG was a big deal, especially to win the game. Pretty good day for a 12-year old me.

By the way, Game 7 of the World Series back then was a 1:00 start. Not anymore.

11) Temple and Memphis are having magical football seasons, both unbeaten, but the sad reality of modern coaching is that there is a pretty good chance neither team will have its coach by the time their bowl games roll around, since the big $$$ teams generally like their new coaches in place as early as possible, to fight the upcoming recruiting battles. Signing Day for reruits is in very early February.

Hard to imagine coaches Fuente, Ruhle not moving up the coaching ladder.

10) Yoenis Cespedes plays golf almost every day? Wow. Long time ago, playing golf was taboo for baseball players. Even now, playing during the playoffs is a little odd.

9) Was thinking about it today; wouldn't basketball be a better game without any kind of timeouts, except TV timeouts? Let the players play. TV timeouts have to be, to pay for everything, but other ones could be done away with.

8) Dodgers finally put Don Mattingly and his 8-11 playoff record out of their misery Thursday, firing the skipper, who is rumored headed to Miami, where nitwit owner Jeffrey Loria can drive him nuts. You can't win with a $300M payroll, why would he be able to win managing one of baseball's most dysfunctional franchises?

7) Three basketball teams from the CAA have lost their leading returning scorer to higher-level Division I programs, as poaching continues to be a problem for mid-major basketball teams. Lousville poached Drexel's leading scorer; its a free country, but that just doesn't seem fair.

6) If I'm Johnny Cueto, a decent-but not-great free agent pitcher, I'm running back to the NL, where they don't have a DH and to a bigger ballpark than Cincinnati.

5) NFL teams who get the highest %age of their first downs on third down:
Browns 36.8%......Bears/Redskins, both 32.2%........Saints 32.1%

Teams that get the lowest %age of first downs on third down:
Cowboys 16.4%........Chiefs 16.9%........Cardinals 17.6%.

4) Florida Gators have a kicking problem; their starter has a hamstring pull, their backup is out for the year, so they held an open tryout Wednesday, for any student enrolled with 12+ credit hours this semester. Two women were among 216 students who were interested and signed up.

3) Cal Ripken is interested in the Nationals' managing opening, but apparently the team isn't interested in him, after just having had Matt Williams as manager, a former player with no managing experience. Curious to see who they hire.

2) Clippers 115, Portland 109-- NBA exhibition games don't mean much, but LA was down 35 points in this game before rallying to win. That doesn't happen a lot.

1) Doubtful that I'm getting my lazy butt out of bed at 9:30 Sunday morning to watch the Bills-Jaguars game from London on my laptop. Game is streaming on Yahoo!; I'm paying DirecTV to be able to see every game, but guess this one doesn't count.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) Watching some NBA exhibition games this week; very strange to see Billy Donovan wearing a suit jacket coaching the Thunder; he never wore a jacket during games at Florida, but in the NBA, he has to- they have a dress code thanks to Larry Brown, who once wore overalls while coaching an ABA game in Denver.

12) Been doing lot of college basketball prep since coming back from Vegas; little tired of reading how much of an upgrade Shaka Smart is over Rick Barnes at Texas. In four years since his one run to the Final Four, Smart is 2-4 in NCAA tourney games, with a loss to Stephen F Austin in there.

Smart did very well in A-14 tourney (11-2 last four years) but the Big X is lot better league than the A-14. Barnes was underappreciated, in my opinion.

11) Big 14 hasn't won a national title in basketball since Michigan State in '00; over last 11 years, the conference is 0-5 in national title games.

10) Some things are just plain meaningless: last time I looked. Charlotte was unbeaten, Cleveland has yet to win an NBA exhibition game. It does not matter.

One thing that does matter: Cavaliers signed Tristan Thompson for five years, $82M

9) Read an article last week how the 76ers are having a tough time getting oft-injured Joel Embiid to eat properly or rehab his many injuries. He just won't do what they tell/suggest to him. Pretty sad that a kid has already banked a ton of money, but he's never really done anything, not even in college.

Moral of story: Draft players who have been productive. Plain and simple.

8) Switching to football, the ACC has two divisions; NC State/Wake Forest are in one division, Duke/North Carolina in the other, all this despite the four schools all being in basically the same area. Glad basketball doesn't have the divisional setup. With Notre Dame a basketball-only member, thats probably why they don't.

7) Underdogs were 6-0 vs spread in Mountain West games last week, with four of the six underdogs playing at home. League has slipped a lot this season; they should be better in basketball this winter, with six transfers expected to make an impact.

6) Baltimore Ravens are losing close games; none of their losses are by more than six points. Ravens haven't forced a turnover in their last three games.

5) Auburn beat Kentucky 30-27 LW; they punted on 4th-and-1 with 2:19 left, but as they punted, Kentucky was so confused they only had eight guys on the field when the ball was snapped. Fair to say that coach Stoops was not a happy man.

4) Unbeaten Memphis visits Tulsa in a trap game Friday; Tigers had one of their program's biggest wins ever last week vs Ole Miss, but their defense is still shaky so they better not look past any game, especially a conference road game.

3) Veteran coach John Tortorella is back in NHL with Columbus, which changed coaches after an 0-7 start- few years ago, Tortorella was miked by HBO leading up to a Rangers outdoor game on New Years Day. Lets just say.....he doesn't hold back with his opinions. Made me laugh a few times.

2) When Cliff Pennington pitched for Toronto Tuesday night, it was the first time ever a position player pitched in a playoff game.

1) Joe Buck just sounds happier when he calls a baseball game, as opposed to the NFL. He's pretty good on football, but he sounds like he is working, On baseball, he sounds like he is having fun.

Wednesday's List of 13: Bottom 5, top 8 in the NFL........
32) Jaguars-- Outscored 93-47 in second half this season.

31) Titans-- Have one first half TD in their last four games.

30) Buccaneers-- Teams struggle when they play a rookie QB.

29) Chiefs-- Lost last five games, Charles is out for year; just 20-72 on 3rd down.

28) Ravens-- No takeaways in last three games, all five losses by 6 or less points.

8) Jets-- Ran ball for 207-221 yards last two games; play for first place Sunday. .

7) Falcons-- 5-1, but trailed in 4th quarter in five of the six games.

6) Cardinals-- Palmer can be rattled by pash rush; they were -3 in turnovers on both losses this season.

5) Broncos-- Offense has nine TDs, defense three; one win by more than 7 points.

4) Panthers-- Scored 10+ points in nine of ten halves this season.

3) Packers-- First two games after bye are at unbeatens; Denver/Carolina.

2) Bengals-- 27 for last 56 on 3rd down; scored 24+ points in every game.

1) Patriots-- Scored 21 TDs on 53 drives; a juggernaut to this point.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) In the movie Draft Day, the QB everyone expects to be drafted first becomes a suspect because none of his teammates went to his 21st birthday party. During the Michigan State game Saturday, ABC's Chris Spielman suggested QB Connor Cook will have to explain to NFL teams why he wasn't voted a team captain by teammates.

It is unusual for a senior QB not to be a team captain.

12) Temple Owls are in the college football top 25 for first time since 1979.

11) Stanford's punter is an intern for Condoleeza Rice, who is a faculty member in Palo Alto. Ms Rice is also on the college football selection committee.

10) Sam Rosen called the Panther-Seahawk game on FOX Sunday in Seattle, then was back at his normal job Monday night, calling a Rangers game in Manhattan. Rosen is a pro's pro as an announcer, but hockey is his best sport.

9) Marcus Mariota sprained his MCL Sunday, Michael Vick has a slight tear in his hamstring. Vick's injury probably doesn't matter much, since Landry Jones is better than he is anyway, but if Vick can't play and Big Ben isn't ready, Steelers will have to sign another backup QB for Sunday in Kansas City.

8) 24-hour breakfast at McDonald's; tremendous!!!!

7) Idaho and Troy State are both in the Sun Belt Conference for football; what part of the sun belt is Idaho in? According to Mapquest, Moscow, ID is 2,541 miles away from Troy, AL. what nitwit put these schools in the same league?

6) Guy in Florida was arrested for impersonating a police officer; the genius was snagged after he pulled over a real police officer. Chaos ensued.

5) This is what the Colts' fake punt was supposed to look like; University of Maine pulled off this play to beat James Madison, 25-24.

It is a testament to how well-coached pro football is that when a team screws up as royally as the Colts did with the fake punt, that it becomes a national story.

4) Remember Louisville's basketball star Pervis Ellison? His son is a freshman at St John's and will play for new coach Chris Mullin this winter.

3) 76ers coach Brett Brown actually played college basketball for Rick Pitino at Boston U in the early 80's- that was Pitino's first head coaching job.

2) Blue Jays 11, Royals 8-- Cueto faced 17 batters; eight of them scored. Home side is now 5-0 in this round of the playoffs.

1) Eagles 27, Giants 7-- Giants went 80 yards on eight plays to open game, but for rest of the night, they gained 167 yards on 56 plays. Ugly game with seven turnovers. Primetime underdogs are now 12-6-1 vs spread this year.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday.......
13) Broncos 26, Browns 23 OT-- Denver is 6-0; their defense scored another TD, the offense also scored one TD, is now just 12-52 on 3rd down last four games. Browns played third game in row decided on last play- they lost two of them.

12) Bengals 34, Bills 21-- Cincy had huge 26-yard advantage in field position; every Buffalo drive started 80+ yards from goal line. Unbeaten Bengals have a bye week coming up, before they go to Pittsburgh in Week 8.

11) Vikings 16, Chiefs 10-- Minnesota is 3-0 at home, 0-2 on road; Chiefs lost last five games. KC had only three points on two red zone drives- they had only 51 yards in first half. Rookie WR Diggs caught seven balls for 129 yards for Minnesota.

10) Texans 31, Jaguars 20-- Houston was +3 in turnovers; they had two takeaways in first five games combined. Divisional home favorites are now 3-14 vs spread this season. Jaguars head to London next week to play the Bills.

9) Lions 37, Bears 34 OT-- Detroit gets first win in weird game where Chicago had a 15-yard edge in field position but was -2 in turnovers. Bears' last two TD drives were both less than 25 yards. Detroit kicked a FG at 2:46 mark to cut Chicago lead to 31-27, a poor decision, but both teams scored after that, to send game to OT.

8) Jets 34, Redskins 20-- Washington is very banged up, missing two starters on OL, the guy who broke Geno Smith's jaw should get a bonus from Jets, as Fitzpatrick has been very solid in this 4-1 start by Gang Green. Jets averaged 9.7 ypa here; only TDs by Washington came on a 37-yard drive and a blocked punt.

7) Mets 4, Cubs 1-- Chicago is in deep trouble after ace Arrieta lost; series moves to Wrigley Field Tuesday night. Murphy homered again for the Mets.

6) Steelers 25, Cardinals 13-- 3rd-string QB Jones came off bench to spark Steelers; he is better than Vick, who pulled hamstring. Arizona has two losses; in both games, they were -3 in turnovers. Redbirds had 469-310 edge in TY, but their 111 penalty yards all seemed to come at key times.

5) Dolphins 38, Titans 10-- Miami's defense was supposedly unhappy with old DC who got fired; they had six sacks, four takeaways vs rookie QB Mariota, as Tennessee finishes three-game homestand 0-3. AFC South teams are 4-9 vs spread in non-division games this season.

4) Panthers 27, Seahawks 23-- Carolina had two TDs in last 3:55, scoring winning TD with 0;32 left; Seahawks have now had a 4th quarter lead in their last five losses. Unbeaten Panthers are now 13-5 vs spread in last 18 games as a road underdog.

3) Packers 27, Chargers 20-- Rivers threw for 503 yards but San Diego is now 0-3 on road, though they're 14-7-1 vs spread in last 22 games as road dog. Green Bay is now 6-0 heading into its bye week; this was first game they didn't cover this year.

2) 49ers 25, Ravens 20-- Niners are giving up 13.3 ppg at home, 40 ppg on road; they averaged 10.9 ypa vs Baltimore defense that has seen better days. Ravens are 1-5 and in a freefall; they were -2 in turnovers, had only 13 points in three red zone drives.

1) Patriots 34, Colts 27-- Game swung on ill-conceived fake punt by Indy in third quarter; two of their three wins this year cae with 40-year old backup QB Hasselbeck playing. Unsure why they let coach Pagano coach this season as a lame duck; if they don't want him, should've fired him last winter and moved on.

Sunday's list of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday
13) Michigan State 27, Michigan 23-- Worst loss in a college football game since the Stanford band play 33 years ago. Wolvernes' special teams dominated the game until the punter dropped a snap with 0:10 left then coughed the ball up when hit and State ran the ball in as the gun sounded for the incredible, Pisarcik-like outcome.

Jalen Watts-Jackson scored the winning TD; sadly, his teammates piled on him in the end zone and he suffered a dislocated hip in the celebration. We wish him well.

By the way, this was an excellent, intense game; Sean McDonough's call of the bizarre final play was really good- he is an underrated play-by-play guy.

12) Memphis 37, Ole Miss 24-- Good news and bad news for the 6-0 Tigers; they beat a regional rival from the SEC, which should really help their recruiting, they're 6-0 and headed to a great bowl, but there is no way on God's green earth that coach Fuente will be in Memphis next year. The big money schools are watching and they're going to throw a lot of cash at him in December.

11) If you wagered on games Saturday just by reading the week's headlines, here is now you did:
-- South Carolina (-1)-- Their coach quit Monday; they still beat Vandy 19-10.
-- USC (+4.5)-- Fired its coach Sunday; they lost 41-31; AD Pat Haden collapsed before the game, but flew back to LA. He's about as good an AD as he was an NFL quarterback, as in, not very good.
-- Florida (+6.5)-- QB was suspended for a year; they lost 35-28 at LSU.

10) Clemson 34, Boston College 17-- BC scored total of 41 points in its last five games; when I watch the Recruiting Day stuff in February, BC better have signed at least two QBs and 15 offensive players in all; their offense is pathetic.

9) Utah 34, Arizona State 18-- Are Utes the best team in the Pac-12? Yes.

8) North Carolina 50, Wake Forest 14-- Apparently a Wake assistant mocked UNC on social media in the offseason for its academic scandal; the Tar Heels remembered yesterday as they hammered the Demon Deacons.

7) LSU 35, Florida 28-- Les Miles is one of our favorites; his kicker scored winning TD on a fake FG with 10:40 left. Who else does stuff like that? LSU is 6-0 and seems to be getting better; this was the Gators' first loss.

6) Royals 6, Blue Jays 3-- Toronto is down 2-0 in another series; David Price had retired 18 hitters in a row, but imploded in the 7th and became first pitcher ever to lose his first seven postseason starts.

5) Georgia 9, Missouri 6-- Dawgs snap two-game skid; loss here would've made the natives VERY restless. Tigers' season has been uudone by its QB getting suspended for off-field activities. Not often a team gives up nine points and still losses.

4) Mets 4, Cubs 2-- Chicago had won nine games in row against the Mets, but that doesn't matter. Daniel Murphy is making hmself very rich this month.

3) Rutgers 55, Indiana 52-- Hoosiers led 52-27 in third quarter; losses like this can implode programs and get coaches fired. This was 5th Rutgers game in last 2.5 years where the losing team scored 38+ points.

2) Baylor 62, West Virginia 38-- If you took West Virginia +21, and watched them score 38 points but not cover the spread, well why are you betting against Baylor?

1) Florida Sate 41, Louisville 21-- Jimbo Fisher is hell of a coach; he lost a QB who went 27-1 as a starter as well as four starters on OL and he still has the Seminoles unbeaten. Golson passed for 372 yards and three TDs; FSU trailed 7-6 at the half. .

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.....
13) Fact of the matter is this: many athletes struggle with their life after they stop playing ball for a living, it can often lead to depression. During their playing days, athletes are often coddled, catered to and idolized. Once they retire, a lot of that stops and especially if the athlete didn't put a lot of money away, it can be depressing, and that is too bad, but it happens.

12) Someone who probably won't run out of money is Zack Greinke, who is opting out of the last three years ($71M) of his contract to test free agency, where he will undoubtedly make even more money. It is good to be his agent.

11) BYU's "true freshman" QB is actually 22 years old, not really a true freshman.

10) It is a pleasure to listen to Mike Breen call an NBA game, even an exhibition game; he is smart, upbeat and can be very funny. Good to hear his voice again.

9) Don Mattingly has a 446-363 regular season record as manager of the Dodgers, but he is only 8-11 in playoffs, not exactly what you expect from a team with a $300M payroll. His contract runs thru 2016, but will the Dodgers keep him?

8) Jacob deGrom threw 105 pitches against Mattingly's Dodgers Thursday night; 57 of them came with a runner in scoring position, as he scuffled thru his six innings but did his job, as the Mets advance to the NLCS, which starts tonight.

7) Graduates from West Point next spring will have metal in their class rings that came from the World Trade Center, as a reminder of what their education is about.

6) Last 2+ weeks, NFL road teams are 21-9-1 against the spread.

5) Underrated injury; Patriots lost LT Nate Solder for the season; the left tackle protects the QB's blind side (if he throws righty) so that is a big deal.

4) If you care about such things, over last four weeks, Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles is #5 amongst NFL QBs in fantasy points. Wouldn't have guessed that.

3) Odd fact of the day: Johnny Cueto has started 231 games in his fine career, but Game 5 against Houston was the first time he started with veteran ump Gerry Davis behind the plate, whch you wouldn't think would be possible, but it is true.

2) Sasha Vujacic is back in NBA with the Knicks; wonder if there is any significance to his wearing number 18, which Phil Jackson wore with the Knicks?

1) Why is the NBA package on DirecTV $60 more expensive than the NHL's?

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) Royals-Blue Jays, Cubs-Mets are baseball's Final Four. Makes me really happy that all four teams have a guy who played for the A's in the last 13 months.

12) Iowa is unbeaten this year, has covered its last seven tries as a road favorite, but Northwestern will be a tough out in Evanston. Interesting noon game on ESPN2.

11) Unbeaten Broncos and their dominant defense visit Lake Erie and the red-hot QB Josh McCown. Who would've thought McCown is playing better than Manning?

10) Nebraska is having gut-wrenching season, losing four games, all five or less points, in last minute. Cornhuskers play Minnesota Saturday; they lost to Gophers as double digit favorites last two years; they're 4-1-1 in last six games as road underdog.

9) I'm optimistic about the 3-2 Bills, then I read the mindless, selfish quotes by WR Sammy Watkins about not getting thrown to enough and I want to puke. Does anyone care about winning? Buffalo is improved, a contender; why would anyone complain?

8) Bill Snyder is 11-4 in last 15 games as home underdog; K-State has QB who did not start a HS game- they've scored 79 points in first two league games, losing 36-34, 52-45 to unbeaten teams. Bob Stoops played for Snyder in college at Iowa, and he has lost to K-State two of last three years. Snyder is a coaching genius.

7) If the Texans lose at Jacksonville, they should show Bill O'Brien the freakin' door; he butchered the whole QB situation, with two former Patriot backups battling to be the starter for a contending team, when neither is good enough. If Cleveland didn't want Brian Hoyer, why did the Texans want him?

6) Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines haven't allowed a point since Sept 19 vs UNLV; this guy has exceeded all expectations and is a TD favorite over Michigan State, which has beaten Michigan six of last seven times they met. This will be very interesting.

5) Bruce Arians got canned by the Steelers four years ago; now he returns to Steel City as one of the best coaches in the NFL with a really good team. Lot of subplots here, the main one being that Big Ben wanted Arians to stay as OC with Steelers.

4) Notre Dame catches a huge break this week, playing USC six days after Trojans fired their coach. USC seems to have a different coach every year; will be curious to see how their kids play after their coach got fired for being a drunk- thats insensitive but it is true. I'm guessing it has happened before, but the reason was hidden.

3) Unbeaten Carolina is a TD underdog at 2-3 Seattle; these teams have played lot of tight, low-scoring games, most always in Charlotte. I'm expecting Seattle to go on a run now- maybe they can let Jimmy Graham go out for a pass now and then.

2) Ole Miss and Memphis is actually a regional rivalry of sorts and Memphis is 5-0, despite having a sub-par defense. Rebels got spanked by Florida, resume SEC play next week; this is Memphis' Super Bowl. I'm looking forward to this game.

1) Giants-Eagles Monday night in Philly; important game, interesting game. Romo's injury has made these teams the two best in the NFC East.

Thursday's List of 13: Some college basketball knowledge.....
Before we start, this kind of sums up my feelings on the incredibly sad Lamar Odom situation that is unfolding in Las Vegas this week........

Came home from vacation today; always love being in Las Vegas, but it is good to be home, too. Problem is I have trouble sleeping on planes now, so I make lists or read a lot. Here is some college basketball iknowledge I came up with today.......

13) Kentucky lost seven players from LY's team to the NBA; not a lot of college teams who have two subs drafted, but they reloaded with more talented freshmen and will be very good again, though probably not 38-1 good.

12) Maryand went 14-4 in its first year in Big 14, after being 30-38 in ACC play its last four years there. Terps have more expectations this year; will they handle them?

11) North Carolina returns nine of its top 10 scorers, which is good on one hand, but also means they didn't have many NBA-ready players- they'll have a big edge as far as experience goes this winter. They still need to shoot the ball better.

10) Kansas has won Big X regular season 11 years in a row, but they're only 8-8 on road in confernece play the last two years. Jayhawks return their top three scorers this year for the first time in six years.

9) Arizona has 67 wins the last two years, but they haven't been in the Final Four since 2001; the natives are getting restless. Wildcats lost five kids to the NBA the last two years; they're rebuilding a little bit this season.

8) Iowa State has four senior starters, six of its top eight scorers back but they also have a new coach, which usually means a period of adjustment. High expectations for ISU, but coach Prohm had high expectations at Murray State too and he won a lot of games there, enough to get this job.

7) Villanova won 62 games the last two years, but hasn't been to Sweet 16 since '09; they're 32-4 in the new (weaker) Big East, but how can they play better in March?

6) Gonzaga/Texas will both be at a tournament in the Bahamas Nov 25-27, about a week after they play separate games in Asia. Texas is playing Washington in China on Nov 13; Gonzaga is playing Pitt in Japan. Not lot of time for classwork there.

5) Wichita State has 30-35-30 wins the last three years; they've been helped by Big East scooping up Creighton, the Shockers' main MVC rival. Wichita has four senior starters, so they'll be awful good again this year. Coach Gregg Marshall makes $3M a year (top 10 in country); they take basketball seriously in Wichita.

4) Cal Golden Bears had such a good recruiting year, it is thought that they have the best starting five in the Pac-12. Cal took a trip to Australia this summer; those trips (allowed once every four years) are great for bonding and team chemistry.

3) Tom Izzo has taken Michigan Sate to seven Final Fours in 20 years.

2) How the real world works sometimes: a kid named Tyler Dorsey committed to go to Arizona couple years ago, but was cut from a USA Basketball U18 team that Arizona coach Sean Miller was an assistant coach for. Young Dorsey re-opened his recruitment and now plays for Oregon, in the same league as Arizona.

1) Oregon was 26-10 LY, 13-5 in Pac-12 but home attendance averaged only 6,209 a game, their lowest figure in 23 years, despite a brand-new arena and a good team. The Ducks have had off-court issues that hurt their public perception; they've cut ticket prices 34% this year in hope of luring some of those fans back.

Wednesday's List of 13: Top 8 and bottom 5 in the NFL.....
32) Lions-- They were 11-5 LY, are 0-5 now; the last-second loss in Seattle was the straw that broke these Lions' backs. They've won one playoff game since 1957; they need to go out and hire a proven winner as coach (Gruden? Payton? Pagano?)

31) Saints-- Drew Brees is nearing the end of a great career; good time to re-boot the franchise and let team, coach go in different directions. Miami is said to be interested if Sean Payton becomes a free agent; every team with an opening should be.

30) Dolphins-- Now that the players don't have Joe Philbin to blame for everything, lets see how they do. Still think they should change QBs; interim coach Campbell talked a lot after his hiring, we'll see how he does.

29) Texans-- Mallett seems like the more talented player, Hoyer the better leader; neither seems like a QB you can build a winning team around, but hey, they know the offense and they used to play for the Patriots so whatever.....

28) Chiefs-- Now that Jamaal Charles is out for the year, Alex Smith's inability to stretch the field will become a more glaring weakness.

8) Jets-- Solid defense, Ivory is running ball well, Fitzpatrick isn't screwing anything up; intereting game this weekend with the Redskins.

7) Broncos-- Excellent defense, but if the QB's name wasn't Manning, he'd be called a declining game manager- they've already won twice without scoring a TD on offense.

6) Panthers-- Red flag is their +8 turnover ratio; if the takeways dry up, will they be able to score? Trip to Seattle this weekend should be enlightening.

5) Falcons-- Trailed four of five games in 4th quarter, so could just as easily be 1-4 as 5-0. Its a big reason why the NFL is so popular; small margin for error.

4) Cardinals-- Bruce Arians got fired as OC of the Steelers before he went to Indy; he wouldn't be human if this week's game at Heinz Field didn't mean just a little bit more to him than the average game does.

3) Packers-- Was no fun rooting against Aaron Rodgers last week; he is so good; he is making a WR like James Jones a star. Jones got cut by the Raiders/Giants before the season started- they couldn't use him? Well, they don't have Rodgers.

2) Bengals-- Underrated because national media is slow to recognize how potent an offense they have; coming back from 17 down to beat Seattle was impressive.

1) Patriots-- Had a cab driver in Las Vegas Thursday who was an obnoxious jerk and a Patriot fan to boot; rattled on for the whole ride about he doesn't care if the Patriots cheat, as long as they win. Then he laughed a loud, hideous laugh; I didn't tell him who I rooted for and even gave him a (small) tip. More than the jerk deserved.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
If you're a USC football fan, Monday was a bad day, on both coasts........

13) Steve Spurrier is one of the best college football coaches ever; he coached in the pros with the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL and the Redskins in the NFL, he won a national title at Florida and he won at South Carolina more than anyone else has, but Father Time never loses- the Gamecocks are 2-4, they have struggled to develop a QB and because Spurrier is 70, recruiting has suffered. Its no fun getting old.

12) We hope Steve Sarkisian gets the help he needs and gets his life in order; thats a lot more important than his career right now. USC fired Sarkisian Monday; they go to Notre Dame Saturday-- interim coach Clay Helton will be the 4th different USC head coach to oppose the Irish in their last four meetings.

11) Royals 9, Astros 6-- KC scored six runs in top of 8th inning to force Game 5 and send Astro fans home unhappy. Houston's bullpen is the team's weak link.

10) Blue Jays 8, Rangers 4-- Toronto has been favored in all four games of series, but Texas won last 11 Cole Hamels starts and he is starting Game 5 Wednesday.

9) Cubs 8, Cardinals 6-- Last time Jake Arrieta lost was to the Phillies in July, when Hamels threw his no-hitter, obviously before he got traded. Four of the eight starting position players for the Cubs are rookies.

8) Mets 13, Dodgers 7-- For a team with a $300M payroll, the Dodgers have awful pitching depth. Kershaw goes on three days' rest in Game 4 tonight.

7) Steelers 24, Chargers 20-- Michael Vick did what he had to do in 4th quarter, after doing very little in first three quarters. Steelers' first TD was scored by defense. Bad loss for San Diego, which goes to Lambeau Field Sunday.

6) I'm not a fan of dugout interviews during playoff games; whats the point? No one ever says anything interesting, anyway.

5) Only 22 states give state employees off for Columbus Day.

4) ESPNU televised a Kentucky basketball practice over weekend, which means they'll probably be showing a Duke practice soon, too.

3) Fox Sports1 is so desperate for ratings, they did a feature Sunday night on fantasy football Sunday featuring porn star Lisa Ann; I have no idea how much she does or does not know (her brother is apparently heavily involved in fantasy sports) but if she wasn't a porn star, I doubt they'd be doing a feature about her on national television.

2) Brandon Weeden has now lost his last 11 NFL starts; time for Dallas to give Matt Cassel a chance. Also time for the Cowboys to be flexed off of national TV until Tony Romo is back playing.

1) Baltimore Ravens' third down defense in their only win: 2 for 13
Baltimore Ravens' third down defense in their four losses: 37 of 67.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday......
13) Colts 27, Texans 20-- Lot of people bet Houston because Hasselbeck was sick much of week before game, but he played and did enough to get Indy to 3-2. Colts had an 11-yard edge in field position.

12) Buccaneers 38, Jaguars 31-- Field position wins; not only did Tampa have a TD on defense, they scored on TD drives of 17-41-40 yards. Jags had TD drives of 78-78-61-86 yards. Teams that lose field position by 14+ yards seldom win the game.

11) Bills 14, Titans 13-- Buffalo did almost nothing on offense in first half (51 yards) but had two 80-yard TD drives and pulled this game out. Bills are 3-2, with losses to Brady/Manning. Total yardage in this defensive struggle was 276-209, Titans.

10) Browns 33, Ravens 30 OT-- Baltimore's defense is terrible; on Browns' last six drives, they ran 44 plays for 334 yards (7.6/play). Ravens led 21-9 but lost; they are 1-4 and in last place. They might've won but on his long run that got ball to Browns' 10-yard line in last 2:00, Forsett sprained an ankle and never returned to the game- he had been gaining all of Baltimore's tough yards.

9) Falcons 25, Redskins 19 OT-- I'm wondering if a 5-0 team has ever trailed four of the five wins in the 4th quarter; Atlanta went ahead with 0:24 left, Redskins tied the game with a 52-yard FG at the gun, but Falcons scored a defensive TD for the win.

8) Bears 18, Chiefs 17-- Horrific home loss for Chiefs, who led 17-3 at half; on their last five drives, KC ran 17 plays for 53 yards. Chicago scored two TDs in last 3:05 for the unlikely win. Chiefs are 1-4 with two last-minute home losses.

7) Eagles 39, Saints 17-- Why is Rob Ryan still a defensive coordinator in the NFL? When do his teams ever win? This game was 10-7 at half; Philly ran 37 plays for 269 yards, with three TDs, three FGs on six second half series.

6) Packers 24, Rams 10-- St Louis defended Aaron Rodgers OK, but in second half alone, St Louis missed three (long) FGs and threw two red zone picks- you have to play really well to beat the Packers, not turn ball over four times. Gurley is giving the Rams a running threat; the O-line has to pass block better.

5) Bengals 27, Seahawks 24 OT-- Guys behind me in sportsbook were Bengal fans; they spent most of game bashing Andy Dalton, but they changed their tune at the end, as Cincy won again and is now 5-0. You know things are going well when the GW field goal banks in off the left upright. For losing teams, it clanks out.

4) Cardinals 42, Lions 17-- Complete tank job by Detroit; I fully expect Fred Willard to show up in the Lions'' coaches' meeting Monday with a cake like he does on that DirecTV commercial: "Its going to be fun firing all of you." Stafford got benched in second half; he's going to be a Lion a lot longer than coach Caldwell.

3) Patriots 30, Cowboys 6-- CBS does the Nantz/Simms broadcast team a disservice, having them do two games every week. Simms is a sub-par analyst anyway; working two games every week makes him worse. He said ".....if the Patriots can hold on here" when they led 27-6 with 7:00 left. This was a bad game, by the way.

2) Broncos 16, Raiders 10-- Second time in first five weeks Denver won while scoring one TD, with defense scoring that TD. Trent Dilfer gets mocked for being worst QB to win a Super Bowl; the 2015 Peyton Manning ain't any better-- Broncos converted 8 of 34 third down plays in last three games.

1) Giants 30, 49ers 27-- Manning passed for 441 yards, Giants scored seven of nine times they had ball (four TDs, three FGs) but they needed last-minute TD to escape a very bad home loss. Beckham may or may not have pulled his hammy during his me-first TD dance. God forbid an NFL WR act like a normal human after he scores.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) Dodgers 5, Mets 2-- I defer to former big leaguers on the Utley slide; they seem to have a mixed opinion. It was late and it was hard, but it was technically legal. Game 3 in Queens is going to be........very interesting.

12) Texas 24, Oklahoma 17-- Players' elation after winning this game shows how it will be difficult to bounce Charlie Strong anytime soon. Former Texas coach Mack Brown summed up the fans' reaction this way: "They'll be thrilled, until Tuesday."

11) Wisconsin 23, Nebraska 21-- Poor Mike Riley, who has four bitter defeats in his first six games as Nebraska's coach; he lost this one with :04 left.

10) Tennessee 38, Georgia 31-- Second year in row Dawgs lose their star RB to a knee injury; Nick Chubb got hurt in first quarter, didn't return and Georgia blew a 24-3 lead on road to a QB who can't pass.

9) Wake Forest 3, Boston College 0-- BC has already lost games 3-0/14-0/9-7 this year; they had ball on 1-yard line with 0:11 left and ran the ball instead of passing two times. No bueno. Imagine if these teams played in the Big X?

8) TCU 52, Kansas State 45-- K-State is playing a QB who didn't start a game in high school, yet they led 35-17 at half. Bill Snyder is a coaching genius, but he just does not have enough team speed to be in top half of this league.

7) Florida State 29, Miami 24-- Hurricane boosters despise Al Golden, who won at Temple so he must be a pretty good coach. Name being tossed around is Greg Schiano, a former Miami assistant who never really shone as a head coach with Rutgers/Bucs.

6) Michigan 38, Northwestern 0-- Jim Harbaugh is a really good coach; Wolverines shut out last three opponents; two of the three will play in bowls. Michigan State is up next, one of next week's best games.

5) Michigan State 31, Rutgers 24--Spartans struggled with Purdue/Rutgers last two weeks, but they still have not lost and they play Michigan next week.

4) Alabama 27, Arkansas 14-- If you bet on Bret Bielema against Nick Saban, what the bleep were you thinking? Razorbacks tried a fake punt in their own territory down 10-7, with predictable horrendous results.

3) Washington State 45, Oregon 38 OT-- Mike Leach is betting gold on the road. In this game, his soph QB threw 74 passes (50-74/505). Oregon is sliding quickly.

2) Cubs 6, Cardinals 3-- Joe Maddon batted the pitcher 8th and he won; I swear he does stuff sometimes just to be different, but he has an excellent track record.

1) At 12:30am local time, I was sitting in the Westgate sportsbook with about ten other humans, two of whom have gorgeous girlfriends-- I was watching the end of the San Diego State-Hawai'i game, they had bet the over in the Hornets-Clippers game from China. What a day, lot of fun. This may be the best place on earth.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) A great things about sportsbooks is you can sit down next to a stranger, start up a conversation about one of the games and because sports fans have a common frame of reference, you can wind up making a new friend. Its part of the fun of coming here.

12) Rangers 6, Blue Jays 4 (14)-- Hanser Alberto got the game-winning hit; the only reason he was playing is because Adrian Beltre has a bad back. Go figure.

11) Royals 5, Astros 4-- Guy I met in the sportsbook tonight tried to bet over 9.5 in this game using in-game wagering, but the teller was slow-- by the time the guy got to the front of the line, an inning had passed and total was down to 8.5. He bet over 8.5, the game ended 5-4 and he won his bet because the teller was slow.

10) Cardinals 4, Cubs 0-- Umpires are calling more strikes this week than they did during the regular season. Under is 5-2-1 in first eight games this week.

9) Mets 3, Dodgers 1-- My dad's favorite player in recent Mets history was Daniel Murphy; he would've been very proud of him last night. Was weird watching the Mets play in a room filled with people rooting for the other team. If I owned the Dodgers and had a freakin' $300M payroll, I'd have a better manager than Don Mattingly.

8) Can't wait to see which umpires get assigned to first Pirate-Cubs series next year, because there will be fireworks when those teams meet again.

7) Early returns on the NHL's new 3-on-3 OT format are hugely positive. Overtime in the Philly-Tampa game Thursday made you breathless just watching.

6) You know you're in a great place when this announcement comes over the PA as you sink your teeth into an excellent, large hamburger:

"Halftime wagering on the Saskatchewan-Hamilton game is now open"

I mean, where else would you rather be?

5) Maryland is looking for the most graceful (and cheapest) way to get rid of football coach Randy Edsall, whose program got undermined by the move to the Big 14. It is awkward to get of a college coach mid-season, but it might help this winter's recruiting to have Edsall out of the way as soon as possible.

4) Was comforting to hear LA Clipper TV announcers admit on-air that the team's trip to China will set it back behind other teams in their preseason preparation.

3) Miami Dolphins' kicker is Andrew Franks, who played D-III football at RPI in Troy, NY, which is just over the river from Armadillo World HQ. Franks must be a smart human; RPI is an engineering school-- you have to be really smart to go there (unless you play hockey)-- they won the 1985 national hockey title.

2) The average NFL team is worth $1.97B; their average profit LY was $74M.

1) Terry Collins managed 1,688 major league games before his first playoff game, which was last night. The man paid his dues.

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) NLDS series start today; road teams are 4-0 so far in playoffs, under is 3-0-1. Shadows shouldn't be a problem in LA; at 5:10 Thursday, shadows were already in the outfield, so the hitters should be able to see just fine.

12) There are only three 4:00 games Sunday; NFL was banking on NE-Dallas game to entertain America for three hours, but with Romo out, can Cowboys compete?

11) Georgia got squashed at home last week by Alabama; Tennessee lost last two games, both at home. Loser of this game is going to take some serious heat.

10) Seattle hasn't allowed a TD since Kam Chancellor came back; Cincinnati's offense is underrated because national media doesn't care about the Bengals. Interesting matchup; this would've been a good 4:25 Sunday game

9) Northwestern has been tormented by Michigan in last three meetings; a 10-9 loss and two OT losses. Wildcats are 5-0; can they score on Michigan's stout defense?

8) Buffalo is 2-2, but losses were to Brady/Eli Manning, both multiple Super Bowl winners; this is a game Bills have to have if they are payoff contenders.

7) Clemson had an emotional win last week; now skidding Georgia Tech comes to town and this is a dangerous game for the Tigers.

6) If Texas loses to Oklahoma Saturday and the Eagles get upset by New Orleans Sunday, the Chip Kelly-to-Texas rumors are going to gain momentum. Philly is at its best when Bradford throws long; maybe they should do it more often.

5) Rams seem to play with more spunk against divisional rivals; Todd Gurley gave the offense a huge boost last week in Arizona; can he do it again this week at Lambeau Field, where Aaron Rodgers is usually close to being perfect?

4) Navy is 10-1 vs spread in its last 11 visits to Notre Dame; Irish are licking their wounds after the Clemson loss. Navy is 24-9 as an underdog since 2005.

3) 4-0 Falcons are turning into a juggernaut; OC Kyle Shanahan once got fired by the Redskins, along with his dad. Think this game is personal to him?

2) Who thought Cal-Utah would be a huge Pac-12 game? Well, it is.

1) Why is Tampa Bay favored over anyone? Only reason I'm not taking Jaguars this week is that it is their third week in row on road, usually a very bad spot for visiting NFL teams.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Cubs 4, Pirates 0-- Jake Arrieta is on a Hershiser-like roll; Orioles look like fools for trading him two years ago. Road teams are now 6-2 in Wild Card games.

12) We talked several times this summer about the weirdness of teams batting their pitcher 8th; there is no apparent reason for doing it, but it seemed like some teams did it just because other teams were doing it, so it must be a good thing.

Actions speak louder than words; when the Cubs got into the playoffs, Joe Maddon has his pitcher bat.........9th. Arrieta hit 9th for only the fourth time all year; that says the whole batting 8th thing is a gimmick that got into everyone else's head.

11) Wichita State alum/Knicks' sub Cleanthony Early played in an exhibition game last night even though he got his wisdom teeth taken out earlier in the day. When I was 20, I got my wisdom teeth out and they made me stay in the hospital overnight. Good to see a young guy trying hard to make the team.

10) Baylor Bears are a 44-point road favorite in a conference game this week. Kansas has lot of work to do just to become mediocre in league play. Oy.

9) Since 2009, Patriots have faced 14 quarterbacks starting because of injury to the starter; they're 11-3 in those games. Brandon Weeden is the Cowboys' backup QB.

8) Falcons' WR Roddy White has been on field for 235 snaps this year, most of any Atlanta WR, but caught only six passes (13 targets). He is not happy, despite the Falcons' 4-0 start. This is called selfishness.

7) Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer is 27; he has a long career ahead of him, but he was very, very good on TV Tuesday and would appear to have a bright future in TV when he gets done pitching. He also didn't want to get off the air, talking his way into another half-inning on the air when the inning he was on went by quickly.

6) LSU-South Carolina game this weekend was moved to Baton Rouge because of the flooding in the Palmetto State. We hope everyone in South Carolina is alright.

5) Ryan Tannehill got into a war of words with members of Miami's scout team, not what you want out of your starting QB, who is supposed to be a team leader, someone other players will follow. Most things that make a great QB cannot be seen by the average fan; it is not just physical skill. You have to be a really good teammate.

4) Matt Hasselbeck has been sick this week, so the Colts hustled former 3rd-stringer Josh Johnson back to Indy after they had cut him earlier in the week. Looks as if Andrew Luck will start tonight in Houston; unsure who the backup will be.

3) Vancouver-Calgary got into a fight 0:02 into their game last night; I mean, the four gloves almost hit the ice before the puck did to start the game. Some people in the NHL think the league needs fighting to remain popular; I'm thinking the two guys need to be thrown out of the game. Kings-Sharks had a fight less than 2:00 into their game too. It makes zero sense; hockey is a great game-- let the skilled players play.

2) Have you seen the GEICO commercial with the sea monster on the golf course? In the original version of that commercial, the scoreboard was the same shape as the scoreboard at Augusta National, where The Masters is played.

Apparently someone complained, because the newer version of the commercial has a rectangular scoreboard. People at Augusta National can be a little touchy.

1) If I own the New York Giants, I bring Odell Beckham Jr in and tell him we do not want him punching opposing players, because you can break your hand punching a football helmet. The last thing the Giants need is Beckham with a broken hand.

Wednesday's List of 13: Hump Day Happenings........
13) Lets start with some good news; Saturday, after Bowling Green won at Buffalo, Falcons football coach Dino Babers and an assistant trainer helped save a 25-year-old woman from a burning car after an accident on I-90 in Ohio. Good for them!!!!

12) Astros 3, Bronx 0-- It is inexcusable for a home crowd to boo its own team during a playoff game, but thats what the smug, entitled Bronx fans did Tuesday night when they got beat by a better team. Joe Girardi played Gardner in CF ahead of Ellsbury and it did not turn out well. Houston moves on to play the Royals.

11) I'm a big fan of the one-game Wild Card round; it rewards division winners. If you don't want a one-game Wild Card playoff, then get rid of divisions and have two 15-team leagues, with top six in each league making playoffs.

10) Odd Stat of the Day: Evan Gattis is first big leaguer in 60 years to hit 11 triples without stealing a base that season.

9) As for ESPN having Jessica Mendoza work the Wild Card game, I'll say this: her presence in the booth has made John Kruk clean up his act, which had gotten very sloppy. To me, Ms Mendoza is neither good nor bad; she is average, but these days, anyone who is different is celebrated like they cured cancer or something.

Kruk's performance has improved greatly since Curt Schilling's mouth got him tossed off the air for half a season (at least), and Ms Mendoza replaced him. Kruk can be funny and is smart about baseball, but had gotten very lazy working with Schilling and it became annoying, another ex-ballplayer stealing money on TV. Not anymore.

8) Quote of the Day, part 2: "You don't sound like a New Yorker, or act like one." Waiter in a restaurant here to me today. I took it as a compliment.

7) Cincinnati Bengals, in four games, averaged 7.9/8.2/10.9./13.4 yards per pass attempt. Lofty numbers. Seattle Seahawks visit Sunday; they haven't allowed an offensive TD in two games since Kam Chancellor ended his holdout. Interesting.

6) Dodgers had a difficult decision either way, but chose Kershaw over Grienke to start Game 1 against the Mets Thursday night.

5) Matt Harvey is a publicity lightning rod; he missed a workout this week, because "I got stuck in traffic", which easily can happen in New York City, but the other 24 guys all made it. Not sure what to make of it, but it sure doesn't help.

4) 25 years ago the OJ Simpson verdict came down and I lost $3 to my dad, who was 100% positive OJ was getting off, as was my lawyer friend Joe. We put the $6 on the living room floor and he happily scooped it up when the verdict was announced.

Los Angeles ADA Marsha Clark was the losing prosecutor; her hairdresser was a woman named Kris Kardashian, who is a little more famous now than she used to be, to the detriment of American society.

3) Colorado Rockies are keeping manager Walt Weiss around next year; until the Rockies find someone who can develop pitchers that thrive in high altitude, they could have the greatest coaching staff ever assembled- it just won't matter. Pitching wins.

2) Former Lions' coach Jim Schwartz turned down Dolphins' defensive coordinator job, so it looks like current DC Kevin Coyle will be out of a job soon, as soon as they find someone who would actually like to have an NFL coaching job.

1) NHL regular season starts tonight; we'll have writeups on every game every day starting October 15, after the teams get a few games under their belt, and trends start to develop. We'll also have stuff on every NBA game, starting October 27.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Greetings from America's favorite city; flight to Las Vegas took a little longer Monday. We were on the plane for 90 minutes before the flight took off- repairs had to be made, and the rain was pouring down when we landed, but now I'm here, things are going well. They are making lot of improvements to Westgate Hotel; good place to stay if you're coming here. Sportsbook is being remodeled now.

12) Seahawks 13, Lions 10-- Kam Chancellor single-handedly saved day by stripping Calvin Johnson of the ball just before he scored the winning TD for Detroit. If I own the Seahawks, Chancellor gets his $1M in fines back after that play-- saved the game and prevented Seattle from falling to 1-3.

Matthew Stafford lost his last 18 road games against teams who finished that season over .500- Lions are already 0-3 on road this season.

11) NFL home favorites of 6+ points are 6-9-1 vs spread this season.

10) Dolphins fired coach Joe Philbin and hired TE coach Dan Campbell as interim coach-- he played for Bill Parcells and Sean Payton and talked big in his introductory press conference. Coach Philbin is a quiet man who worked hard-- he tried to let his coaching do his talking for him, but he didn't win enough games to stick around.

9) 12 of 32 NFL kickers are in their first year with their current team.

8) Get well soon, CC Sabathia; he checked into a rehab facility this week, as he begins to battle alcoholism. We forget that athletes are people too, with everyday problems of their own. Granted most of their problems are better than our problems, but they're also out in the public eye, which ain't always easy......

7) In Max Scherzer's no-hitter Saturday, there were no walks and 35 strikeouts in the game; I'm pretty sure I've never seen that in a major league boxscore before. Sure it was a meaningless game and the nightcap of a doubleheader, but wow....

6) Washington booted Matt Williams and his coaches; they should've done it after they got swept in that series in Citi Field in early August, maybe the team could've righted itself. Former Padre manager Bud Black is mentioned as a replacement.

Cincinnati is bringing Bryan (Bleepin') Price back as manager next year; no idea why.

5) San Diego won't retain Black's replacement, interim skipper Pat Murphy, as its new fulltime manager; Padres' GM AJ Preller may have gone to an Ivy League school, but he's been a nitwit in his first year as GM in San Diego.

4) Ichiro Suzuki pitched an inning for the Marlins Sunday; there had always been rumors that he wanted to pitch an inning before he retired. Ichiro is popular with his teammates and they enjoyed seeing him toe the slab- he was the 27th position player to pitch in the major leagues this season.

3) Funny how Dan Haren threatened to retire in spring training, because he wanted to pitch for a west coast team, but the Dodgers had traded him to Miami. $10M speaks very loudly; Haren pitched, he got traded to the Cubs and now he is in the playoffs, in what he says is his last big league season.

Like I said, being displaced for six months for $10M was a problem for Haren, but a problem 99% of us would love to have.

2) I'm not trying to be mean; this is a serious question-- if you owned an NFL team worth almost a billion dollars, would you hire Jim Caldwell to be the coach?

1) Albany-area college hoop teams have interesting season openers; Siena starts with couple of probable losses, at Duke, at Wisconsin. UAlbany opens at Kentucky; key to those three games is making sure the checks they get clear at the bank, because those games are scheduled to balance the budget, not the win-loss column.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday......
13) Jets 27, Dolphins 14-- Miami needs a QB change; they were 0-12 on third down, thats simply not good enough. Backup Matt Moore is 11-12 as an NFL starter but his last start was in 2011- it is time to find out if he can do better than Tannehill.

12) Colts 16, Jaguars 13 OT-- Jags kicker Myers missed three GW field goals and Jax lost a game they outgained Indy by 105 yards- not often they'll get to play Colts with Andrew Luck on sidelines. Jacksonville is improved; they should've won this game.

11) Falcons 48, Texans 21-- Worst game of the week; total domination by Atlanta, which is now 4-0. Total mismanageent of QB situation by Bill O'Brien, who yanked Mallett, three weeks after he yanked Brian Hoyer. Colts-Texans this Thursday could be extremely ugly, if Luck doesn't play.

10) Panthers 37, Buccaneers 23-- Jameis Winston is a disaster; he threw four more INTs, one run back for TD. Carolina had two defensive TDs, and its offensive TDs came on drives of 45-33 yards. They think the only way he'll get better is to let him play, so this ain't going away anytime soon.

9) Giants 24, Bills 10-- Modern football is like this: training camp is a waste of time for starters, since they're not allowed to do anything, because teams are terrified that they'll get hurt. So September becomes a de facto training camp; thought the quality of play this week was much better than previous weeks. Guys are in game shape.

8) Bears 22, Raiders 20-- Don't want to hear any Bears fan criticize Jay Cutler for a long time; he came back (early) from his injury and rallied Chicago to win here over an improved Raiders team. Anyone who criticoez Cutler will get a reminder than Jimmy Clausen is the alternative- that should quiet things down.

7) Redskins 23, Eagles 20-- I'm guessing Chip Kelly's agent got a phone call or a text from Austin TX today, asking if the coach would like to go back to college. Bradford threw ball well in second half, but defense couldn't hold its lead at the end. As for the Redskins, they have to be thrilled with Kirk Cousins' progress.

6) Bengals 36, Chiefs 21-- Kansas City scored seven times on nine drives, Bengals scored six times; but Chiefs kicked seven FGs, no TDs, while Cincy had five TDs and one FG. so Kansas City is 1-3, three games behind Denver in AFC West.

5) Chargers 30, Browns 27-- San Diego missed GW field goal at gun, but Cleveland was offsides and Bolts nailed second chance to send everyone home happy. There is such a fine line between winning and losing; giving away a game like that is painful.

4) Packers 17, 49ers 3-- Green Bay was flat, flying to west coast after Monday night game, but they did what they had to do. As for the 49ers, I can hear Roger Goodell now: "With the first pick in the 2016 NFL Dradt, the 49ers select......."

3) Broncos 23, Vikings 20-- Denver was only 2-9 on third down; they're unbeaten, but Peyton Manning is a game manager now, rather than a bus driver. As for all his TV commercials, I will tell you that Papa John's pizza is the best pizza I've ever had.

2) Rams 24, Cardinals 22-- Tony Dungy said what I was thinking yesterday; Rams play better against division rivals. Problem is, those are only six of their 16 games each year. Rookie RB Gurley looked like a stud in his breakout game here- that will open up the passing game some. It would be better if their tight ends could catch the ball.

1) Saints 26, Cowboys 20 OT-- Drew Brees put on an exhibition of QB excellence in 2:00 drill, and then in OT, as Saints won first game of year, despite kicker bricking a 30-yard FG at the gun. This was the shortest OT in regular season history, missing the all-time record by two seconds. Weeden lost his 10th start in row, but he led a tying TD drive and looked good doing it, but they play New England next.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday....
13) Clemson 24, Notre Dame 22-- Almost an epic gag by the Tigers, who stopped the tying 2-point play in last ten seconds to hold in the rain, after they led 21-3. Kid who plays QB for Notre Dame is better than the guy he was backing up.

12) TCU 50, Texas 7-- Someone remind me why the Longhorns fired Mack Brown; this game was 37-mil at the half. Next time the Eagles lose, ol' Chip Kelly might be getting a phone call from down in Austin. Maybe before then.

11) Iowa 10, Wisconsin 6-- Badgers outgained Iowa by 99 yards but turned ball over four times and got lousy QB play, fumbling on 2-yard line.

10) Ohio State 34, Indiana 27-- Hoosiers played their hearts out and damn near got this game into overtime. Elliott averaged over ten yards per carry, gained 512 yards and survived three turnovers (-3).

9) Illinois 14, Nebraska 13-- Cornhuskers lost three games: on a Hail Mary on last play, in OT at Miami and this game, giving up winning TD with 0:10 left. Oy.

8) Vanderbilt 17, Middle Tennessee 13-- Blue Raiders lost to Illinois/Vandy last two weeks by total of six points; they'll make some noise in C-USA.

7) Arkansas 24, Tennessee 22-- In fairmess, have to report here that Bret Bielema snapped his 13-game losing streak in games decided by 7 or less points. Butch Jones is having a rough season so far and his team plays Georgia next.

6) Alabama 38, Georgia 10-- Speaking of which, going to be rough week for Mark Richt, who takes a lot of grief for a guy with a record of 136-49.

5) Oklahoma State 36, Kansas State 34-- Cowboys kicked 37-yard FG with 0:32 left to pull out game they trailed 28-13 in second quarter.

4) Penn State 20, Army 14-- Cadets averaged 32 yards per pass attempt; they tried one pass and gained 32 yards. For the whole game. Cadets outgained Penn State for the game, 293-264. Not the best day for James Franklin.

3) Kentucky 34, Eastern Kentucky 27 OT-- Wildcats paid EKU $450K to come to Lexington and lose, only they almost won. Kentucky had only 55 yards rushing.

1) Arizona State 38, UCLA 23-- So you want to handicap, bet on college football? If you saw ASU play last week, you wouldn't have bet on them against a team from the Lingerie Football League. Yesterday they went to Pasadena and spanked UCLA; they ran for 192 yards, converted 10-23 third down plays. They looked like different kids wearing the same uniforms.

Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) I'm not smart enough to know what the solutions are, but I know damn well that something needs to be done about guns in this country.

I had never heard of Umpqua Community College; now it is yet just another example of some sorry bastard who lost his mind and tragically ended multiple lives with an act of criminal stupidity. If there were less guns around, maybe this doesn't happen.

They showed a map on CNN of where the shootings have happened in this country; they are all over: Chicago-Baltimore-Blacksburg-Oregon-St Louis-Charleston. This is not a regional problem it is a national problem and it needs to be fixed.

12) Angels 2, Rangers 1-- Halos kept pace with Houston, prevented Rangers from clinching the division title. Strong effort by Jared Weaver.

11) Nice article about how Redskins' RB Alfred Morris spends 10-15 minutes before every home game talking with group of ushers/stadium workers, just talking like friends do- they even communicate in the offseason. Good to read stuff like that.

10) Most minutes played in the NBA, last five years (counts playoffs)
Lebron James-- 18,135
Kevin Durant-- 15,595
James Harden-- 15,187
Blake Griffin-- 14,907
Monta Ellis-- 14,743

9) Toronto Blue Jays were 50-51 on July 29; Texas Rangers were 8-16 in early May; both are in the playoffs. Baseball teams seem to be streakier now; the season is now in two pieces, though- Opening Day til July 31, then when teams supplement rosters and others sell off players, the haves/have-nots go their separate ways. Quickly.

8) This is very, very unusual in major college basketball; every St Joe's practice is open to the public. That doesn't happen in most high school programs.

7) July 2, 2013, Jake Arrieta was traded from the Orioles to the Cubs with Pedro Strop and money for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman. Arrieta is 11-0, 0.41 since August 1 and may have just had the best second half by any pitcher, ever. Nice trade.

6) Jordan Spieth's caddy made $1,120,000 this season, which would've put him at #91 this year on the players' money earned list.

5) I don't like NFL games on Thursday; don't think football was meant to be played on three days' rest, but the one good thing the NFL does is that the Thursday games are most always divisional games, easier for coaches to prepare for on a short week.

4) Miami Hurricanes have been in ACC since 2004, but have never played in ACC football championship game. Alumni are less than thrilled with the program.

3) John Elway might be the best QB I've ever seem but he never played in a college bowl game; he was going to his senior year, but the infamous Stanford Band play on the last play of the 1982 season cost Stanford a bowl bid that year, and that was the last college game Elway played in.

2) Pirates 6, Reds 4 (12)-- Cubs at Pirates in Wild Card game; Pittsburgh hosts a Wild Card game for the third year in a row.

1) Every baseball game Sunday starts at 3pm ET, in an attempt to maximize drama, if there is any. Looks like Angels/Astros could still have work to do then.

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) Astros lead Angels/Twins by game each for the last playoff spot; Houston is in Arizona this weekend, Angels are in Texas, Twins are hosting Kansas City.

12) Jets-Dolphins play at 9:30am ET Sunday; I figure Fresno St-San Diego St game will end around 2am Saturday night; when is a guy supposed to sleep?

11) Cruddy weather is expected up and down the Atlantic seaboard this weekend; not sure if Alabama-Georgia and Notre Dame-Clemson will be affected. Crimson Tide is an underdog for the first time since 2009, 73 games ago.

10) Raiders snapped an 11-game road losing streak last week; now they're going for two in row on road against Chicago and Jimmy Clausen (1-11 as an NFL starter).

9) Total in Baylor-Texas Tech game is 90.5, highest total ever; average total in last five series games is 95.8. Don't these teams recruit defensive players?

8) Rams KO'd the Arizona starting QB in both meetings this year; I'm expecting lot of chippiness Sunday. St Louis needs a win, but Arizona is a well-balanced team, and a 1-4 start is a real possibility for the Rams, with the Packers on deck next week.

7) Oregon has treated Colorado like a pinata since Buffaloes joined the Pac-12, but the Ducks got pounded at home by Utah last week and have a QB controversy. This is not going to be an easy game in Boulder-- the Buffs are improvng.

6) Andrew Luck has a bum shoulder and may not play Sunday; Tim Hasselbeck is his backup-- he is 80-72 as an NFL starter, but his last start was in 2012.

5) Ole Miss visits Florida, a week after the Gators stole a game from Tennessee; Jim Kelly's nephew is the Rebels' QB- they'll be aggressive on offense. Florida gets their backup QB back from suspension; curious to see if they play him at all.

4) Giants are getting a TD in Buffalo, as they actually play a game in New York State for first time since 2007. Giants led by double digits in fourth quarter in both losses; tis could be a really good game.

3) Arkansas-Tennessee is battle of embattled coaches; Bielema has lost 13 games in row that were decided by seven or less points. Butch Jones' game maagement has been likened to Charlie Brown's ability to kick a football when Lucy is holding for him.

2) West Virginia's improved defense gets a stern test at Oklahoma, which has beaten Mountaineers three years in row. Sooners play rival Texas next week; they better not be looking past this opponent, because West Virginia is better than they have been.

1) Tampa Bay has lost ten home games in a row; trap game for 3-0 Carolina, which won six of its last eight games against the Bucs.

Thursday's List of 16: Looking at each NFC team......
Cardinals-- Rams knocked out Arizona's starting QB in both meetings LY; Arizona is off to great start, scoring three defensive TDs in last two games, while also returning a kick for TD. Redbirds have 14 TDs on 29 drives, eight of which were 75+ yards long.

Falcons-- Off to 3-0 start despite giving up 20+ points in all three games; they trailed all three games in 4th quarter, were down by double digits twice. Julio Jones caught 34 passes already, the most of any player ever after three games- Ryan targeted him 20 times last week (20!!!!) and he caught 12 of them.

Panthers-- Another 3-0 team; they've outrushed opponents by 56.3 ypg; Newton is solid QB- they've turned ball over only twice (+4), converted 17-44 on 3rd down and they really don't have great WR (Ginn has 10 catches for 188 yards, but 22 targets).

Bears- NFL teams don't often sell off players during season, but Chicago has already dealt two defensive guys and Cutler is hurt, leaving Clausen (1-11 as NFL starter) as the #1 QB for time being. Not often a team punts every time they have ball, like Bears did last week in Seattle.

Cowboys-- Weeden is now 5-17 as NFL starter; Dallas gained 295 yards in first half last week, only 52 in second half- they converted only 5-18 on third down last couple games. Falcons ran ball for 158 yards LW; Dallas allowed only 56 rushing yards total in first two games.

Lions-- Detroit won NFL titles in 1952-53-57; they've won one playoff game in 57 years since then, and that was in 1991. For some reason they hired Jim Caldwell as coach and now they're 0-3, scoring total of 28 points in last two games. Not good.

Packers-- I laugh that Aaron Rodgers was 24th player taken in 2005 draft; Redskins took Jason Campbell with next pick, said they would've taken him even if Rodgers was available, which explains why some teams never win. Rodgers sat and watched Favre for few years; there is something to be said for that way of developing a QB.

Vikings-- Ran ball for 362 yards in last two games, good sign; they won field position by 25-16 yards last two games, rare to see that two games in row, but they were lousy in only road game, so curious to see how they play in Denver this week. Vikings have been outscored 34-0 in last 2:00 of each half.

Giants-- Won field position by 11-9-20 yards in first three games, but blew big leads and lost first two; they're 14-10 as road underdogs since 2011, getting TD+ this week in Buffalo, which seems too high for me, but they've allowed 24 ppg despite having superior field position in all three games.

Saints-- Ownership of team is in flux because Mr Benson is in late 80s and his estate is being contested; not sure how that impacts Payton's job status if this season keeps unraveling. Brees could be back for Sunday night game with Dallas; they need a win.

Eagles-- Ran ball for 70 yards in first two games, 123 in win last week, but they didn't score in second half either, and threw for only 108 yards. Eagles are 12-5 under Kelly in games with spread of 3 or less; they're 7-12 as road favorites since 2010. Average total in last five Eagle-Redskin games is 53.8.

Rams-- Good defense, good special teams, horrendous offense because they seem to be unable to develop a possession receiver who can move chains. Converted 4 of 22 third downs in last two games; they've been in red zone once. They seem to want to use their tight ends, but they don't catch the ball very well.

49ers-- Outscored 90-25 in last two games, now Aaron Rodgers comes back to Bay Area this week, while Jim Harbaugh has Michigan in top 25. Kaepernick has a 26-16 record as NFL QB, but now that team has regressed, can he pass well enough to win?

Seahawks-- Chancellor came back and Seattle shut Bears out but that might be more because Clausen played QB for Chicago. Seahawks are 22-9 as home favorites since 2009, since '07, they're 18-6 vs spread in home division games, 24-15 outside divison. Graham caught TD pass LW, maybe thats a good sign their offense is evolving.

Buccaneers-- Not easy breaking in rookie QB with two rookies on OL; they're 9-40 on third down, have only three TDs on eight red zone drives. Since '08, Buccaneers are 14-32-2 vs spread at home. Under is 21-14 in their last 35 games, 14-10-1 in last 25 home games.

Redskins-- Ran ball for 343 yards in first two games, only 88 in loss to Giants; they are just 6-12 vs spread in last 18 home games, 5-10 in last 15 games where spread was 3 or less points. They averaged over 8 ypa in both games vs Eagles LY, interested to see if they throw it well against them Sunday.

Wednesday's List of 16: Looking at each AFC team......
Each NFL team has played three games; the byes start this week, so it is a good time to take a quick look at each team and see where they stand. Tomorrow, the NFC....

Ravens-- They're 0-3 for first time since moving to Baltimore 19 years ago; all five of their TD drives are 79+ yards. Defense gave up an 80-yard TD pass on first play after their go-ahead TD with 6:49 left Sunday. They miss injured pass rusher Suggs.

Bills-- Hired a defensive coach, named a starting QB who has been in NFL for four years without ever starting a game, so of course they've scored 100 points in first three games. Tyrod Taylor might make teams re-think how they develop quarterbacks.

Bengals-- Not only does Marvin Lewis win, he lost both his coordinators in last two years; he is this generation's Chuck Knox, who did very well with the 70's Rams, but never had much playoff success. Chiefs' visit this week is an interesting game.

Browns-- Had to can their OL coach after his off-field issues, they've were outscored by 100+ yards in both home games, they've got a QB dilemma, but their games have been fun to watch-- all three went over the total.

Broncos-- They have 10 takeaways (+6) in three games, only five plays of 20+ yards. Broncos are 17-7 in last 24 games as a home favorite; eventually, they'll have to run the ball for more than the 57 ypg they've averaging right now.

Texans-- Have yet to average more than 5.7 ypa in game this year; after watching all the Hard Knocks episodes, I'm still stunned they switched QBs after one game. Texans scored two TDs in all three games; they miss departed WR Andre Johnson.

Colts-- For franchise that transitioned from Manning-to-Luck at QB seamlessly, they are screwing up this coaching situation. Mariota's 345 passing yards last week is a red flag- they play other two division rivals next, before the Patriots come to town.

Jaguars-- Three TDs, four FGs on eight red zone drives; seemed like they were doing better until the Patriots scored on every drive last week. Jags have been outscored by 48-17 margin in second half this season. Opponents are 24-46 on third down.

Chiefs-- Hard to win going 5 for 30 on third down, which Chiefs have in first three games, especially with two of three games vs Hall of Fame QBs. Smith doesn't turn ball over much, so Chiefs will win more than they lose, but they won't win enough to get home field in playoffs.

Dolphins-- Have feeling next Miami coach will be a big name; owner has spent a fortune re-doing the stadium, he is going to want a coach who makes a splash, a fancy way of saying "sells tickets". Last 8+ years, Miami is 22-39-1 vs spread at home.

Patriots-- Scored 14 TDs on 30 drives to start season, with only two turnovers, with 13 TDs on 18 drives into red zone. Were up 11+ points at half of all three games, but it isn't always good to have your bye when you're rolling-- ask last year's Bengals.

Jets-- Turnover ratio dictated all three games; +8 in two wins, -3 in the loss. Guy who punched Geno Smith did team a favor; Fitzpatrick is way better- they've had 18+ first downs in all three games. Interesting game in London this week, vs struggling Miami.

Raiders-- Scored 64 points in last two games, averaging 7.5/9.8 ypa; no QB can thrive without good WRs and in Crabtree/Cooper, Oakland has upgraded its WRs, and Carr has looked like a real NFL QB because of it. Are they a playoff contender?

Steelers-- Their season will ride on how many wins they can squeeze out of Michael Vick, who appeared washed up with Jets LY. Roethlisberger is out for at least month; their bye isn't until Thanksgiving. Le'Veon Bell is going to get a lot of carries.

Chargers-- Lot of injuries on OL right now; they were down 21-3 in their one win, vs Detroit. All 11 of their drives in Minnesota last week started 80+ yards from end zone; they need defense/special teams to create short field for the struggling offense.

Titans-- They have to be thrilled with Mariota's production so far, but frustrated they couldn't put Colts away in home opener. Gave up defensive score last week, PR for score week before-- they have 11 offensive TDs in three games, a huge improvement.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Packers 38, Chiefs 28-- When the schedule comes out in May, you do not want to be playing the Packers in Green Bay- Aaron Rodgers just plays better there.

12) When Chiefs-Packers met in Super Bowl I, 17 future Hall of Famers played in that game. It wasn't even called the Super Bowl at the time.

11) Orioles snapped their scoreless streak at 29; longest scoring drought this year was a 35-inning skid by the Dodgers. All-time major league record is 48, set by the Cubs around a hundred years ago.

10) Despite that, scoring in baseball has gone way up the last couple months; 2009 was last time teams scored as much as they have the last two months.

9) NFL penalties are way up this year; reduction in offseason practice time is part of the problem. Teams are sloppier now because they practice less.

8) Red Sox posted a video tribute to departing TV play-by-play guy Don Orsillo on the scoreboard at Fenway Sunday, but the weasels at NESN wouldn't show it on TV. A sign of how stupid a firing this is: Padres have already hooked Orsillo up as its new TV voice, good move by them.

7) MAC football teams are 18-9 vs spread out of conference this year, 10-2 when playing against a Big 14 team, their regional big brothers.

6) How did Bruce Arians almost not get an NFL head coaching gig? Guy is one of the best coaches in the league, but he was 60 before he got the Cardinals' job. The Steelers fired him as offensive coordinator in 2011- why?

5) Steelers are 10-8 in last 18 games Ben Roethlisberger missed; 8-1 in non-division games, 2-7 against divisional rivals.

4) Surprised to hear the Tigers are bringing manager Brad Ausmus back next year; they've had a dismal season, have a new GM, although he was promoted from within the organization. Tigers' veteran players must've spoken up for Ausmus.

3) Serious question: Do baseball umpires have homes? They're on the road at least seven months every year, eight if they work the playoffs.

2) Underrated pickup of trading deadline was Texas getting Cole Hamels from the Phillies; they've won his last eight starts. Rangers weren't that strong a contender when they made the trade, but they've got a two-game lead with six days left.

1) Cardinals won 3-0 in Pittsburgh, despite walking ten batters. Pirates are the first team to get shut out while walking 10+ times since the Royals on April 26, 2007

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday......
14) Bengals 28, Ravens 24-- Ravens are 0-3 for first time since franchise moved to Baltimore in 1996. Cincy led 14-0 at half, then lead changed hands four times in last 6:49, with Bengals scoring winning TD with 2:10 to play.

13) Steelers 12, Rams 6-- Roethlisberger hurt his knee, they don't know how bad it is yet, but looks like at least a month; Vick will step in against Baltimore Thursday nite. Rams' offense is putrid; not Foles' fault, QB has to have somebody who can actually catch his passes. St Louis has been in the red zone once in its last two games.

12) Vikings 31, Chargers 14-- Peterson had 126 rushing yards, Minnesota scored a defensive TD, also had 16-yard advantage in field position- they're 2-0 at home now. Home favorites in non-divisional games are 12-6-1 vs spread so far this season.

11) Texans 19, Buccaneers 9-- Tampa was just 1-12 on third down; their only TD drive was 26 yards. Bucs missed a PAT and three FGs; the one FG they did make was 58 yards long. It is way, way too early, but early returns show Tampa Bay made a mistake taking Winston over Mariota with the first pick in last spring's draft.

10) Eagles 24, Jets 17-- New York forced 10 turnovers in its first two games, had +8 ratio; they forced only one in this game, had -3 ratio, so they lost. Eagles ran a punt back for TD but still passed for only 108 yards, were 4-15 on third down. Jets threw ball 58 times, ran it 16, usually a formula for losing.

9) Panthers 27, Saints 22-- Carolina is 3-0, tied atop NFC with Atlanta, as Saints' season is rapidly slipping away. McCown was 31-38/310 in relief of Brees; Saints led 10-0, then went ahead 16-10 on punt return for TD, but couldn't hold it. Divisional home favorites are 3-8 vs spread so far this season. This spread jumped 6-7 points when Brees was declared out

8) Patriots 51, Jaguars 17-- New England covered for just second time in last ten tries as double digit favorite. Very rare an NFL team scores every time they have the ball, but it happened here-- Patriots scored six TDs, three FGs on nine drives that didn't end a half. They also had a 12-yard edge in field position, always a good thing.

7) Raiders 27, Browns 20-- Oakland snaps an 11-game road losing skid, a 16-game skid in eastern time zone. Latavius Murray ran for 139 yards and will be a popular pickup on fantasy league waiver wires. Cleveland is now 0-2 with McCown as the starter; he and his brother started on same day for first time since 2007.

6) Colts 35, Titans 33-- Indy won despite allowing 27 straight points after grabbing early 14-0 lead with defensive TD. Mariota was 27-44/367 passing and led drive for score with 0:47 left, but tying 2-point play failed and Colts held on for first win, as they travelled on short week but survived.

5) Falcons 39, Cowboys 28-- Dallas led 28-14 with 0:40 left in half, but Atlanta was dominant from that point on, scoring last 25 points of game, with Freeman running for 141 yards and three TDs and Atlanta is surprising 3-0-- they trailed all three games in fourth quarter. Julio Jones was targeted 20 times, caught 12 of them for 164 yards.

4) Cardinals 47, 49ers 7-- Arizona scored twice on defense in first 5:57, coasted from that point on; at one point Kaepernick had five completions, four INTs. Arizona is an underrated team; I would rate them and Patriots as two best teams so far. 49ers were just outscored 90-25 in first two road games; they have serious issues.

3) Seahawks 26, Bears 0-- Jimmy Clausen is now 1-10 as an NFL starter, with lone win in December 2010 against Arizona and the immortal John Skelton. Seattle needed KR return TD and trick play on punt return to set up two of first three scores. This waa 6-0 at half, before Lockett's kick return to open second half. Wonder how many times a team has been shut out without turning ball over once?

2) Bills 41, Dolphins 14-- Joe Philbin trusted his career as an NFL head coach to a QB who wasn't a QB until he was a junior in college. If you remember HBO's Hard Knocks two years ago, Ryan Tannehill didn't even know who the other teams in the AFC East were- he was a WR his first two years at Texas A&M. How do you entrust a $1B franchise to someone who doesn't like pro football?

1) Broncos 24, Lions 12-- Every key play, it seemed a Denver WR won a one-on-one battle and made a big catch. Denver hit a 45-yard TD pass with 0:05 left in half, just terrible defense by the Lions. Manning threw for 324 yards and Denver is now 3-0.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Florida 28, Tennessee 27-- Butch Jones makes $3M a year to be the coach at Tennessee; he should be an expert on the sport, but he has no clue about game management. None. Zero. Bupkus.

Up 20-14 in 4th quarter, when his team scores a touchdown, HE HAS TO GO FOR 2 POINTS, because the 27-14 lead is no better than a 26-14 lead, but it is a lot worse than a 28-14 lead. This is not difficult stuff.

Then with his team on the move for a winning FG, no one bothered to notice the clock was still running, which made the Vols try (and miss) a 55-yard FG for the win, instead of having a couple more plays to get closer. But boy, he's a good recruiter.

Check out the Twitter timeline of this Tennessee fan. Scroll down a little.

12) Texas A&M 28, Arkansas 21 OT-- Bret Bielema has now lost his last 13 games that were decided by 7 or less points and that goes back to his Wisconsin days. But hey, he hung 81 points on Indiana a few years ago. Very overrated coach.

11) Utah 62, Oregon 20-- Vernon Adams left I-AA Eastern Washington after three years to try and bolster his NFL chances by playing in Pac-12. So far, thats not going real well; he got hurt in one game, benched in this one. Apparently no one told Vernon that NFL teams scout all over the country, even in I-AA.

10) TCU 55, Texas Tech 52-- TU's Josh Doctson caught 18 passes for 267 yards in this game, as Horned Frogs won on lucky tipped ball in back of end zone on fourth down in Lubbock. By way of contrast to Mr Doctson, in their last two games, Georgia Tech has completed 14 passes in 46 attempts. In two games.

9) Oklahoma State 30, Texas 27-- Longhorns lost because their punter dropped a snap in a tie game, then punted the ball minus-6 yards to set up OSU's winning FG.

8) Astros 9, Rangers 7-- Jose Altuve homered twice as Houston stayed a half-game ahead of the Angels for the last Wild Card slot. Angels closer Street hurt his leg and was helped off field last night; would guess he is done for regular season.

7) Illinois 27, Middle Tennessee State 25-- Illini made a 51-yard FG with 2:09 left to avoid losing to a C-USA directional school- they blew a 24-12 4th quarter lead.

6) UCLA 56, Arizona 30-- Next February, I'll watch the college football Signing Day specials on TV and I better hear that Arizona signed defensive players. A lot of them.

5) USC 42, Arizona State 14-- Trojans scored three TDs in last 3:37 of first half, as Sun Devils imploded in front of their home fans on a 95-degree night in Tempe. Home teams in the Pac-12 went 0-5 this week; only Washington came close to winning.

4) LSU 34, Syracuse 24-- Leonard Fournette ran 26 times for 244 yards and had an 87-yard TD called back by a shady illegal formation call. Penalty yardage in this game was LSU 120, Syracuse 34. Refs did their best to keep the home team in it. Walk-on QB for Syracuse played better as the game went on, not bad for a 5th-stringer.

3) Mississippi State 17, Auburn 9-- I've said this before; Gene Chizik got fired by Auburn two years after he won a national title. I'm just sayin'.....while I'm here, why don't SEC programs recruit better quarterbacks?

2) Duke 34, Georgia Tech 20-- How can a Division I-A football team complete 14 of 46 passes over a two-game stretch? Teams in the Lingerie Football League are better than that. Seriously, thats terrible.

1) Mets 10, Reds 2-- Mets clinch NL East title; somewhere up in heaven, my dad is smiling today.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Rangers 6, Astros 2-- Texas has beaten the Astros eight games in a row and looks like they will be AL West champs. Houston is trying to hold off the Angels/Twins for the last Wild Card spot, but they go on the road next week and the road hasn't been kind to them. It is difficult to make the baseball playoffs. Long season.

12) As far as the Wild Card games go, the home team is 2-4 in the single slimination games. Looks like Pittsburgh will host one of them for third year in a row.

11) did a thing on catchers framing pitches to get called strikes on pitches out of the strike zone-- their study had Francisco Cervelli and Tyler Flowers as only catchers this season who get strikes called on over 10% of pitches that were actually out of the strike zone.

10) They were saying on the Cub game yesterday how over the last 4-5 years, the strike zone has actually increased 9-10%. Umps call more strikes nowadays.

9) Golden State Warriors hired Steve Nash as a part-time player development coach, or consultant, more accurately. Apparently the Warriors decided to overhaul how they do things before they won the title last spring- they dumped most of their training staff too, an unusual move.

8) Batters are hitting .149 against Zach Greinke this year, with runners in scoring position. He is going to be really, really rich before next season starts.

7) Saw a coaching catch phrase the other day that was pretty good; the five P's:

Proper preparation prevents poor performance.

6) Memphis 53, Cincinnati 46-- Hard to get excited about a 4-0 Memphis team that allowed 1,331 yards in its last two games. They're fun to watch, but they stink on defense. Backup QB for Cincinnati went 31-53 for 557 yards in this game and he didn't play in most of the first quarter.

5) Boise State 56, Virginia 14-- Cavaliers will be looking for a new coach soon; you can't get beat 56-14 on national TV at home and expect to last. Mike London is 24-41 as Virginia coach and I have no idea how he's lasted this long in Charlottesville.

To make matters worse, Cavaliers were down 17-0 last night, they score a TD on a long pass and the WR gets a taunting penalty. It just looks bad when that happens.

4) Joey Votto has reached base in 41 straight games, which is really good but is less than halfway to one of baseball's most underrated records that Ted Williams holds, reaching base safely in 84 straight games. To me this is better than the hitting streak record because a team could choose to end a hit streak by walking the guy.

3) As I learn more about EBay and buying bobbleheads, it is funny that some are showing up on EBay before the seller actually has them. Cubs are giving away a Kris Bryant bobblehead soon; I've already seen three for sale online. Seeing the variance in pricing for some of these items has been interesting.

2) June 8, 1999. I remember going out to the Lexington Grill, a bar on Wolf Road, to find the A's game on a satellite dish, since you couldn't watch all the games at home yet. Young pitcher named Tim Hudson was making his A's debut and he was going to help bring Oakland out of a 6-year losing skid.

1) And thats exactly what he did, going 92-39 in six years for Oakland, before going elsewhere, as all successful A's eventually do. Lexington Grill is a jewelry store now, and Hudson is pitching in Oakland today for the last time, against Barry Zito, who was also once a terrific pitcher for the A's. Enjoy your retirement, fellas. .

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) 2-0 Jets are already +8 in turnovers, which obviously isn't sustainable; they've outgained opponents by only 13 yards so far. What happens when they aren't forcing turnovers? 0-2 Eagles are in desperate straits here; as a Ram fan, it is my duty to tell you that Sam Bradford's NFL W-L record is 18-32-1.

12) Florida won its last ten games with Tennessee, but they've suspended a QB for flunking a drug test, never a good sign. Not their starting QB, but the kid who was the starter in the season opener.

11) Brandon Weeden is only 5-16 as an NFL starter, but the former minor leaguer is older than Aaron Rodgers. Dallas brought in another bonafide backup in Matt Cassel, so they're not 100% sold on Weeden. Falcons are 2-0, but trailed both games late.

10) Pirates-Cubs open a big series in Wrigley today; home field in Wild Card game the likely objective. Doubt either side will catch St Louis for NL Central crown.

9) Baltimore is 0-2, Cincinnati 2-0, so huge game for Ravens in their home opener to get back in AFC North race. Bengals have 303 rushing yards in two games.

8) USC lost its last two visits to Arizona State 62-41/43-22. Trojans lost at home to Stanford last week; a loss here and the natives will get restless.

7) Buffalo-Miami finds bully Richie Incognito coming back to south Florida after Dolphins dumped him two years ago. Interesting game, with AFC East looking like an improved division. Will the division runner-up make the playoffs?

6) Auburn is switching QBs after getting waxed at LSU last week, which followed an OT win over a I-AA team. College football people are fickle as hell; Auburn fired Gene Chizik couple years after he won a national title- a loss to Miss State wouldn't help Gus Malzahn's standing on the Plains.

5) Hopefully the Steelers won't have more fans than the Rams for a St Louis home game in the Jones Dome. I'm thinking Todd Gurley makes his Rams' debut this week; he could be the playmaker their offense is sorely lacking.

4) Astros close out their home season with series against Texas. Minnesota visits the Tigers, as the AL West/Wild Card races come down the home stretch.

3) Colts travel to Tennessee on a short week after a dismal performance Monday nite; home debut for Titans' rookie QB Marcus Mariota. Indy has injury issues at cornerback; can Mariota and the Tennessee offense take advantage of it?

2) TCU eviscerated Texas Tech 82-27 last year; now Horned Frogs visit Lubbock to face a Tech squad that upset Arkansas last week. Dicey spot for TCU.

1) Pretty good Monday night game, Chiefs at Green Bay. At one time, Andy Reid was an assistant for the Packers. Chiefs had an extra three days to prep for this.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Seattle safety Kam Chancellor ended his holdout and reported to the Seahawks; not only did he miss two game checks, he has been fined roughly $1.1M, since he is under contract. It is unclear if the Seahawks will enforce those fines.

12) Seahawks allowed 11 pass plays of 20+ yards in its first two games, 2nd-most in NFL, so Chancellor caved in even though he had some leverage in negotiations.

11) Angels 6, Astros 5-- Mike Scioscia walked Altuve intentionally to pitch to George Springer, who tripled down RF line to give Houston a 4-3 lead in 7th inning, but Halos rallied to win and are now only 1.5 games behind Houston in Wild Card race.

10) Josh McCown will start at QB for Cleveland this week after missing last week's game with a concussion. Tough decision after Johnny Manziel led Browns to a win in the home opener against Tennessee.

9) UCLA loses LB Myles Jack (knee) for season, as their defense loses another key player. Jack had also played some running back for the Bruins.

8) Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden gets his second start for Dallas this week, but he has worked with the first team a decent amount in practice, since Tony Romo hadn't been practicing on Wednesdays.

7) Carlos Gomez has missed Houston's last 11 games with a rib cage strain; the person in the Mets' front office who quashed the Gomez-to-Mets trade deserves a raise, since Cespedes is a much better player who sparked the Mets' playoff run.

6) It is funny watching TV reruns from 80's shows and seeing phone booths, which have pretty much disappeared from the public landscape. Kids now probably don't even know what they are, but before cellphones, phone booths were a big deal.

5) Orioles 4, Nationals 3-- Manny Machado glares at the pitcher every time he gets hit by a pitch; he is a really good player but he needs to grow up. There was tension last night when Papelbon drilled Machado in the at-bat after he had homered.

4) Next fall, the last Presidential debate will be in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas; I'm guessing the security there will be a little tighter than when I go to the NBA Summer League there in July. Interesting choice of venue though.

3) Congrats to the Pittsburgh Pirates on making the playoffs for the third year in a row; it isn't easy to make the playoffs. Clint Hurdle has once again proven to be an excellent manager-- he got the Rockies to the World Series, too.

2) Florida suspended two players for the Tennessee game this week, one of whom is their backup QB who started their season opener. Gstors haven't lost to Tennessee since 2004, but the line on this week's game is pretty much even right now.

1) One thing that evens the playing field in baseball is how difficult it seems to be to put together a solid bullpen which bridges the innings between your starting pitcher and the closer. Teams with mediocre starting pitchers, who only get 15 or so outs, then need nine outs to get to the closer with a lead and those are hard outs to get.

Middle relievers seem to have sporadic success; they're not the players you can buy and be guaranteed to have an advantage over your opponents. Its an interesting study to see how teams go about doing this-- it sure ain't easy.

Wednesday's List of 13: Hump Day Happenings........
13) Dallas traded for Buffalo backup QB Matt Cassel, who has a 34-38 record as an NFL QB, despite never starting a game in college, at USC, where he backed up both Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. He lost his only playoff start, for the '10 Chiefs.

12) Since 2006, seven Dallas QBs other than Tony Romo have started 21 Cowboy games and went 9-12 in those games.

11) Green Bay Packers sold out their last 310 home games; thats roughly 37 years.

10) Alabama ran 101 plays in its loss to Ole Miss Saturday; thats a lot. By way of comparison, Seattle-Green Bay game Sunday night had a total of 121 plays, Atlanta-Giant game had 115 plays, Saints-Buccaneers 128. More action in college football.

9) UNLV cashed a $1M check for going to Michigan and playing the Wolverines last week; Mountain West teams have now lost 21 non-league games in a row to I-A teams but they do make a lot of money playing big-name schools on the road.

8) Saints lost their last six home games, which is a disaster; very hard to make any hay in the NFL just by winning road games.

7) Random story: I saw teachers in Seattle were on strike last week, which reminded me of when I was a junior in high school 40 years ago. Teachers at three high schools in our area went on strike at the same time, one of which was mine, so we had a different substitute teacher in class every day for 2-3 weeks.

Some kids who didn't like school bolted classes and held "protest marches" to the district offices to support the teachers. It was a couple miles from our high school to the district offices; if anyone thought I was walking four miles to support anyone they had another thing coming. All we had to do was go to class, do nothing, since we had all different teachers every day and we couldn't get in trouble. Not a tough decision.

Funny thing was that a lot of the teachers on strike were just going to one of the other districts and subbing, so they could earn money. The strike ended after a couple weeks with no one winning-- we were behind on our classes and that was the year I had the toughest classes. Hopefully the same thing won't happen in Seattle.

6) On July 2, 2013, the Orioles traded Jake Arrieta/Pedro Strop to the Cubs and got Steve Clevenger/Scott Feldman in return. Whoops.

Arrieta was 20-25 in his 63 starts over 3.5 years with Baltimore; he is 34-13 in his 2+ years with the Cubs. Brutal move by the Orioles.

5) Jets had 13 takeaways all of last year; they have ten in their first two games this year, the first team since the '92 Steelers (Bill Cowher's first year) to do that.

4) I'm not a fan of college football's targeting rule; too harsh. If you're calling plays, it would be smart to throw long passes on the first series- you get a targeting call on an opposing DB, he is eliminated from the game, which could be a big deal.

3) Mike Trout hit his 40th homer last night, joining Troy Glaus as the only Angels to hit 40+ homers in a season.

2) Week 2 was the first time ever that the Raiders, Jaguars, Browns, Buccaneers and Redskins all won on the same day; that covers 17+ years of games, since Jacksonville came into the league in 1995, but the Browns were out of it from 1996-98.

1) September baseball is great fun if your favorite team is contending; if not, then this is just glorified spring training, with the next "real games" 7-8 months away. .

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Jets 20, Colts 7-- Jets are 2-0, Indy 0-2, scoring only 21 points in its first two games, eight less than anyone else in the NFL.

12) Only three of 49 Super Bowl champs started that season 0-2.

11) NFL football is hideously over-officiated; 13 of 32 teams this week had 10+ accepted penalties. Too many rules, too many flags, too many stoppages in games.

By way of contrast, the Auburn-LSU game had a combined total of nine penalties, Clemson-Louisville had eight, Stanford-USC 13. College games have a better flow.

10) Ryan Fitzpatrick is the first NFL QB ever to play against the same team (Colts) four years in a row, while playing for four different teams. Mike Martz was the first NFL coach to give Fitzpatrick a chance and that was in 2005. Not many QBs in the NFL go to college without a football scholarship; Fitzpatrick went to Harvard.

9) Speaking of Harvard, the Milwaukee Brewers hired another 30-year old genius to be their GM. I don't remember ever seeing Harvard in the College World Series, but they must have an awesome baseball program, since major league teams are so eager to hire their alums to run their operations.

No way 30-year olds are experienced enough for this big job, but hey, they have those complicated formulas that explain everything; just ask San Diego Padre fans.

8) Watched a movie called Game Change Monday afternoon, because people with no job watch a lot of movies. This was the movie about Sarah Palin running for VP with John McCain in 2012-- it is alternating hilarious and frightening.

How could someone as oblivious as Palin come so close to being Vice-President?

7) Chase Utley played in his 1,575th big league game last night, starting at third base for the first time ever. For a playoff team, the Dodgers have a lot of questions they'll need to answer before their first postseason game.

6) NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin won the race in Chicago this week, which wouldn't be such a big deal, except he is driving with a torn right ACL. I cannot even imagine tearing my ACL, then getting in my car and driving 500 miles, much less at the high stress level at which those guys compete.

5) Run differential is a stupid stat that gets overused; Texas has a -7 differential, the A's are -11, virtually the same. But the Rangers are 16.5 games ahead of Oakland, due to their 43-32 record in games decided by 1-2 runs. A's are 27-49 in those games.

4) ESPN's Lee Corso turned 80 last month; he is still a pleasure to listen to on TV.

3) Astros 6, Angels 3-- Huge win for Houston, which now has a 3-game lead for the second Wild Card spot.

2) Thru two weeks, NFL home underdogs are 7-5 vs spread
-- NFL home favorites of 6+ points are 2-5-1 vs spread.
-- NFL home favorites of less than 6 points are 14-9 vs spread.

1) Further proof the world is going crazy: a guy named Joe Juranitch has dressed up as the Viking at Minnesota home games for the last 21 years; he led the team out on the field while driving a motorcycle, wearing a horned helmet and fur clothes.

Mr Juranitch is no longer employed by the Vikings, because he wanted the team to give him a 10-year contract paying him $20,000 a game. To be a bleeping mascot.

This guy was making $1,500 a game (10 home games a year) but wasn't happy. Oy.

Monday's List of 14: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday......
14) Cowboys 20, Eagles 10-- Dallas wins but loses QB Romo for couple months with broken collarbone. As for the Eagles, Demarco Murray has carried the ball 21 times in his first two games with Eagles and gained a total of 11 yards.

13) Panthers 24, Texans 17-- I'm thinking coaches hate having their team on HBO's Hard Knocks in the summer; Falcons were on last year and Mike Smith got fired. Now Houston is 0-2 and Bill O'Brien looks like a nitwit for the way he's handled his QBs.

12) Buccaneers 26, Saints 19-- New Orleans has now lost its last six home games and Drew Brees says he has a sore shoulder. Uh-oh. Jameis Winston ges his first NFL win and no one talks about him. Lot of people talked about him last week.

11) Steelers 43, 49ers 18-- Roethlisberger averaged 13.7 ypa as Pitt romped in its home opener. Tough scheduling spot for 49ers, with eastern trip after a late Monday night game last week. Steelers scored six TDs on their nine drives in this game.

10) Vikings 26, Lions 16-- Detroit is now 0-2; they scored 13 of their 16 points in last 2:00 of each half. Lions were one of only three teams this week to be -2 or worse in turnovers; all three lost. Peterson had 192 total yards for Minnesota.

9) Patriots 40, Bills 32-- Good thing Buffalo hired a defensive coach last winter; no telling how many yards Brady would've thrown for otherwise. Officials in this game probably soaked their elbows afterwards; 25 accepted penalties for 259 yards. I will say this once again: no one pays to watch officials do their job.

8) Cardinals 48, Bears 23-- Arizona ran opening kick back for TD and things got worse from there for Chicago, which lost Cutler to a hamstring injury, then realized his backup is Jimmy Clausen. Cardinals also scored a defensive TD and had two TD drives of less than 50 yards, whiich is the recipe for winning in the NFL.

7) Browns 28, Titans 14-- Manziel wins his first NFL game, Mariota loses his first and we can put his bust in Canton on hold for a while. Manziel hit Benjamin for TDs of 50 and 60 yards, but they did get outgained by 109 yards (+3 in turnovers).

6) Bengals 24, Chargers 19-- Two of three Cincy TDs were on drives of less than 40 yards. League-wide, favorites are 6-8 vs spread so far this week, over is 7-8. Teams that scored a TD on defense/special teams are 4-1, with Chiefs only loser and they gave one up, too. Creating easy points is a huge key in the NFL.

5) Redskins 24, Rams 10-- Washington was the better-prepared team for this game and was dominant for the whole game, except for a little bit of the third quarter, when the Rans put on a brief rally. St Louis badly needs a playmaker on offense.

Pet Peeve of the Day: Rams score a TD to cut lead to 17-9, they have all momentum on their side, but WR Britt, who caught a whopping two passes all day, got flagged for taunting after the TD, costing Rams 15 yards of field position. Shut the bleep up!!!

4) Falcons 24, Giants 20-- Giants had ball in red zone up 20-10, Manning fumbled when hit, then Atlanta had TD drives of 91-70 yards to pull this game out and move to 2-0. Early prediction: Nick Saban to the Colts, Chuck Pagano to the Giants in 2016.

3) Raiders 37, Ravens 33-- Derek Carr is pretty good, now that he has quality WRs in Crabtree/Cooper. Total yardage in this fun game was 493-448; Ravens miss injured defensive star Suggs. All seven TDs in this game came on drives of 80+ yards. Raiders had 16 accepted penalties for 106 yards and still scored 37 points.

2) Jaguars 23, Dolphins 20-- Miami ran ball only 16 times for 42 yards, in what was only game this week with no turnovers by either side. Bortles has turned out to be a pretty good young QB, but they had only one TD in three red zone drives.

!) Packers 27, Seahawks 17-- Its still funny to me that Aaron Rodgers didn't get a scholarship to play football out of high school. Two NFL games this week were tied at half; of the other 13, only the Giants lost after leading at halftime. Last week, teams that led at the half were 11-4.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday.......
13) Ole Miss 43, Alabama 37--- Hard to believe this is first time Ole Miss has ever beaten Alabama twice in a row, but it is, all of which makes Chuck Pagano's job in Indianapolis harder, since Nick Saban is rumored to be going there next season, unless the Colts win the Super Bowl.

12) LSU 45, Auburn 21-- Last time Alabama/Auburn/USC all lost on same day was November 1, 1997. LSU ran ball for 411 yards in this game (267 in first half) and even though it was 92 degrees at kickoff, Les Miles was wearing a jacket.

I have no idea why, though John Madden had a superstition about wearing the same outfit to every game, so that may be it. I think Rex Ryan does that too.

11) Stanford 41, USC 31-- Underdog is now 10-3 vs spread in this series.

10) California 45, Texas 44-- Golden Bears led 45-24 in 4th quarter, but Texas got TD with 1:11 left but missed tying PAT. QB Heard threw for 364 yards, ran for 163 more, so at least the Longhorns have a QB, even if they still need an AD.

9) Miami 36, Nebraska 33 OT-- Hurricanes led 33-10 with 10:00 left, then watched it all almost slip away. Spoiled fanbase is Miami is already calling for Al Golden's head; if they ever lost this game, that would've been the end of it.

8) South Alabama 34, San Diego State 27-- Mountain West is a dumpster fire; they have now lost 21 straight non-league games vs I-A opponents. South Alabama has been I-A for about ten minutes; you can't be losing to them.

7) Angels swept a doubleheader in Minnesota; they're 1.5 games behind Houston for last Wild Card spot with 13 games left. Houston has been terrible on road; they've got six road games left.

6) Wake Forest 17, Army 14-- Deacons nailed 47-yard FG at gun for the win, after a great job by the holder, who dropped the snap originally but got the ball down in place for the kicker to do his job. Any win for the young Deacons is a good one.

5) By my count, there were 52 lined college games this weekend; in those 52 games, a team scored 30+ points but lost 13 times, exactly 25%. Do coaches still recruit kids who play defense?

4) Iowa 27, Pitt 24-- Marshall Koehn drilled a 57-yarder at the gun, after Pitt coach tried to ice him with a timeout before his first attempt, which missed but didn't count. Memo to coaches: you don't have to ice kids before kicks with no pressure. All that happened was the kid got a free practice swing that helped him with the second kick.

3) Kansas State 39, Louisiana Tech 33 OT-- Tech outgained K-State by 96 yards, but lost in OT. Terry Bradshaw played ball at La Tech; the starting QB before him in Ruston was Phil Robertson, the father on Duck Dynasty.

2) Furman 16, Central Florida 15-- Don't play I-AA teams. Ever.

1) Memphis 44, Bowling Green 41-- There is a chance Memphis-Ole Miss could meet next month, with both teams unbeaten,. which would make the game the toughest ticket in the history of the Liberty Bowl, since the teams are regional rivals, moreso in basketball maybe than football.

Bowling Green has scored 119 points in three games and is 1-2.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) Broncos 31, Chiefs 24-- One of three worst regular season losses I can remember, just a complete debacle by the Chiefs, who turned ball over five times, giving Denver a TD in last 2:00 of each half. Its a 16-game season; hard to just give one away.

By the way, Giants-Eagles in '78 and 49ers-Bengals in '87 were other two losses that stood out to me as complete disasters. All three teams that lost were at home.

12) Florida State 14,, Boston College 0-- Good lord, recruit a QB who can throw the ball. BC was 5-15 passing for 56 yards and backup QB Flutie (Doug's nephew) did some of that. You ain't beating Florida State just by running the ball.

11) I'm still not sold on batting the pitcher 8th; don't think it helps much, if at all. I'll be very, very curious if anyone does it in a playoff game; Tony Larussa never did.

10) With over 1,700 entrants in the Westgate Football Handicapping Contest in Las Vegas, first place will be $906,625. They pick five games a week against the spread.

9) Yoenis Cespedes is having a glorious end to his 4-year, $36M contract; word is he wants his next contract to be six years. Very curious to see where he lands, because that six-year deal is likely to be worth more than $120M. Thats million with an M. .

8) Hanley Ramirez is getting paid $122,222 a day by the Red Sox; all he does now is take BP and practice playing first base, which is apparently where he will play next year. Putting Ramirez in the outfield was the kind of move that gets people fired.

7) One of my new hobbies is going thru EBay and pricing bobbleheads; if I played in the NBA for 10+ years and my bobblehead was only worth $5.95 or so, that would make me sad. A few guys are in that boat, some were good players.

Not sure why, but nascot bobbleheads seem to be worth more than lot of players'.

6) Johnny Cueto allowed two runs in seven IP last night in Detroit; Royals have to be encouraged by that performance, his best in almost a month.

5) If you're watching an NFL game and ref is Walt Anderson, know that his crew is the most experienced in the NFL, with a combined 102 years of NFL experience.

4) I wonder how many times an NFL team has won back-to-back games when they allowed a defensive TD in both games. Denver's win at Arrowhead was first time since 2010 that Peyton Manning threw a pick-6 in consecutive games.

3) Milwaukee Brewers drew 37,158 fans to Miller Park on a rainy Friday last night, because their stadium is domed. Minnesota's game got rained out, because for some freakin' reason, the Twins built a new stadium without a retractable dome on it.

Minnesota is a contending team that isn't helped by having to play a twinbill today; Games 6-7 of the World Series this year, in the AL park, will be November 3-4. I'm wondering what the temps will be in Minneapolis those two nights.

2) If you like good writing, go to He is a writer from Kansas City who mostly writes about sports, but occasionally does some other stuff-- he had a good article last week about having a 14-year old daughter. When I read his stuff, I wish I had studied more (or at in school. He really is an excellent writer.

1) Atlanta Brave TV announcers were talking about baseball getting realigned in the near future, the way we suggested a few years ago. They implied that one of the biggest roadblocks to this would be adoption of the DH thru the whole major leagues, which is not a popular idea with the National League teams.

Geographic realignment would reduce travel costs greatly; no way the players' union would ever agree to the elimination of the DH, since DH's are generally lot higher paid than the average player.

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) Miami Dolphins are trying to start season with back-back wins as road favorites; over last decade, NFL teams in this position are 30-26 vs spread.

12) Not a great college football card this week; Ole Miss-Alabama is probably the best game. Rebels beat Bama last year, first time in last 11 meetings.

11) Giants desperately need a win to take the stink away from last week's game in Dallas. Falcons come to the Swamp on a short week after hanging on vs Philly.

10) Astros' dream season is turning into a nightmare, but now they're home where they play much better. Houston hopes Angels-Twins knock each other off this week, so they can pull ahead in Wild Card race.

9) Rex Ryan has spent his entire head coaching career in AFC East, where Brady's Patriots have been his nemesis; he gets another shot at them Sunday, in what should be a very raucous Rich Stadium.

8) Can Notre Dame defend Georgia Tech's option offense? Hard to prepare for the option in one week. Plus the Irish have a freshman QB making his first start.

7) Huge test for an improved Rams squad that hasn't been 2-0 since 2001. They're the better team here, but they beat the Seahawks last week and this is a trap game against a Washington team that only allowed one offensive TD to Miami last week.

6) Best under-the-radar college game: Memphis at Bowling Green. Lot of offense.

5) Who starts at QB for Cleveland? Marcus Mariota had a great debut on the road, now he is on road again. Browns' 3rd-string QB Austin Davis is better than Manziel.

4) Cal Golden Bears are road favorites for first time since 2012: athletic department at Texas is a mess- they fired the AD this week, changed football play callers the week before. Some of the big money boosters must be wondering whats up.

3) Seattle's pass defense fell apart in last minute at St Louis last week, now they're visiting Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau after beating Green Bay twice LY, including a bitter OT playoff loss. If Packers win, Kam Chancellor's agent is a happy man.

2) Underdogs covered nine of last 12 Stanford-USC games. Cardinal has struggled on road recently; this is a pivotal early season Pac-12 game.

1) Cowboys-Eagles. Demarco Murray against his old team. Road teams have owned this series in recent years. Philly is on short week after a loss; this game means more to them at this point, but Dallas has the better quarterback.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) Rutgers suspended football coach Kyle Flood for three games, fined him $50K for e-mailing a professor over a player's grade-- academic support members are people who are supposed to do stuff like that. Have fun recruiting after this mess.

12) I like ground-level NFL highlights, because it shows you how fast and violent a game it really is. You lose that with the normal TV view from above the field.

11) Rangers 14, Astros 3-- Texas routed Houston ace Dallas Keuchel in first inning and increased its AL West lead to 1.5 games. Astros caught a break when Minnesota lost in extra innings to Detroit- they still hold the second Wild Card spot.

10) Not sure if I mentioned this before, but Milwaukee Brewers brought up a career minor leaguer named Nevin Ashley this month, after he spent ten years in the minor leagues. Ashley turned 31 last month; he's played in 870 minor league games, hitting .263 in 2,905 minor league ABs. Two cool things about Mr Ashley:

a) He doubled in his first major league at-bat, after all those years of waiting.
b) His wife's name is Ashley.......which makes her Ashley Ashley.

9) Houston Texans switched QBs already, whcih makes their organization look just plain stupid. No way do you dump the starting QB after one lousy game.

8) Demarco Murray got $9M more in guaranteed money from the Eagles than what Dallas was offering him. At end of the day, money talks louder than any person can.

Side note on Cowboys: they spent $52M on their offense LY, $32M on defense.

7) Padres pitcher Josh Johnson is going to have his third Tommy John operation; I'm thinking no one has ever come back from three arm operations. Johnson is 31, we wish him well- he musn't mind the grueling rehab process he'll have to undergo. Again.

6) Patriots at Buffalo Sunday, in an interesting early season game. Big day in western New York; Syracuse grad Vanessa Williams will sing the national anthem, as Rex Ryan tries to beat his nemesis, Bill Belichick. Ryan has spent his entire head coaching career trying to find a way to stop Tom Brady. He's still trying.

5) Downtown Los Angeles got 2.39 inches of rain Tuesday, the most they've gotten in one day since March 20, 2011. Dodgers got their game in, too.

4) Read an interesting article today about how San Diego Padres made 30 personnel moves in 24 hours last December 18-19, increasing their payroll by $38M. As I type this, the Padres are 69-78; thats $38M down the freakin' drain. But hey, the guy who made the moves went to an Ivy League school, so he doesn't get fired. Oy.

3) Former Colts/Bills GM, Hall of Famer Bill Polian says a developmental, six-team spring football league would work, but only if the NFL paid for it and benefitted from it. All six teams in his league would be located in the southeast. Polian worked in the USFL 30 years ago, which failed because they tried to move to the fall.

A couple of notes on the Republican debate last night........
2) Very tough to be the moderator; you've got 11 people with very big egos up on the stage fighting for their political life- they all need as much airtime as they can get. Someone actually tracked how much each candidate spoke last night- Donald Trump spoke 27 times, the most. Carly Fiorina interrupted the most, six times.

1) My opinion is that debates are not the best way to choose who is going to lead our country. Being glib and/or telegenic shouldn't be requirements for the job. Of the 17 males running for President, all middle-aged men, none are bald. How? Why?

If you take any cross-section of 17 middle-aged men, the odds of coming up with zero bald guys are astronomic. Could be just me, but I sense a conspiracy here. :-)

Wednesday's List of 13: Hump Day Happenings.......
13) James Harden signed a 13-year, $200M deal with adidas to wear their sneakers, but adidas was not happy when TMZ showed Harden out in public recently wearing a pair of Air Jordans. Apparently that is not allowed in his contract.

12) By the way, if another Watergate-type political scandal ever erupts, likely it won't be a newspaper that breaks it the way the Washington Post broke Watergate, it'll be freakin' TMZ, unless they're too busy stalking the Kardashians.

Don't laugh: James Harden is dating gold-digging Khloe Kardashian, who used to be married to Lamar Odom. Thats how the Harden/Air Jordan thing was uncovered.

11) Rangers 6, Astros 5-- Texas is now in first place; they're 10-4 against Houston so far this season, but 17-30 against the rest of the AL West.

10) If I owned the Dodgers, I call manager Don Mattingly or the GM and tell them to get of reliever Jim Johnson, who was good 3-4 years ago but is awful now. Over last two years, in over 110 innings, Johnson has a 5.22 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP, numbers that should get him sent to AAA.

9) Texas Longhorns fired AD Steve Patterson, who no one seems to like, but the guy gets $1.4M (a year's salary) as a parting gift. I've said this before, but damn, I wish someone disliked me enough to give me $1.4M, just to go away.

8) Umpire Ted Barrett was an amateur boxer before he turned to umpiring.

7) Pro wrestler John Cena does more for charity than any athlete; he has answered over 500 Make-a-Wish requests, is a great ambassador for his profession. Here is another one of the great things he has done, this past Monday night.

6) Are the rats jumping off the ship in Seattle? Now Marshawn Lynch's mom wants offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell fired. Gotta love social media.

5) Dee Gordon had four hits last night for the Marlins, the 22nd time this season he has had 3+ hits in a game. He's become one of baseball's best leadoff hitters.

4) Security at Charlotte Arena wouldn't let Jeremy Lin into the arena last week; guess they're not big NBA fans and didn't recognize Lin as one of the newest Hornets.

3) Rockies 6, Dodgers 5 (16)-- Colorado used 13 pitchers on mound, a 14th in right field after Carlos Gonzalez got hurt fouling ball off his leg. Rockies used 30 players at all in this game, which ended around 3:30am in the east.

2) Cubs-Pirates split a doubleheader Tuesday, looks like they'll be playing in the NL Wild Card game October 6. Jon Lester pitched a complete game in the nightrcap so the Cubs could salvage the split. Pirates have 4-game lead for home field edge.

1) NFL running back Jeremy Hill starts Matt Ryan over Andy Dalton on his fantasy football team, which is fine, except for one minor detail.

Jeremy Hill plays for the Bengals. Whoops.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Falcons 26, Eagles 24-- Atlanta led 20-3 at half, then Philly's offense got hot, scoring three consecutive TDs, on drives totaling 183 yards on 21 plays. Bradford is going to be a good fit with Chip Kelly if he stays healthy; the first-place Cowboys visit the City of Brotherly Love Sunday. That could be fun.

12) 49ers 20, Vikings 3-- Not many NFL teams run ball for 230 yards in a game, but the 49ers pushed Minnesota all over Levi's Stadium. Green Bay is already in first place all by itself in the NFC North. Seattle is in last place by itself in NFC West.

11) Here is a comparison of two current NFL QBs; I'll identify them below. See if you can guess which quarterback is which........

-- Quarterback A: 40-23-1 regular season W-L record; 0-4 playoff record
-- Quarterback B: 75-48 regular season W-L reord; 2-4 playoff record

I'll identify these two down below.........

10) NFL officials definitely let DBs play more aggressively this week; last year they were throwing flags if a DB sneezed. I like letting the guys play a lot more.

9) Iowa QB CJ Beathard is grandson of former Redskins' GM Bobby Beathard.

8) It is amazing to me that the NFL Network has pregame shows on starting at 7am Sunday mornings. Who the hell watches TV at 7am on Sundays (in the east)?

7) There is actually a TV show on the Travel Channel called Booze Traveler, about a guy who goes all over the world drinking unique kinds of alcoholic drinks.

6) Jon Gruden during the Philly-Atlanta game Monday night:

"Pay no attention to preseason games; they mean nothing." He sounded like the guy in the Wizard of Oz: "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!!!"

5) ESPN's pylon camera is tremendous; it provides an interesting shot of the action coming towards the end zone, near the ground level.

4) Eli Manning signed an $84M contract extension last week; I'm thinking he should be an expert on NFL rules, so he can, you his team win games. What he did or didn't do Sunday night was the equivalent of football malpractice.

Imagine if Johnny Manziel or Robert Griffin III ever screwed up like that?

3) Interesting that Dallas kicker Bailey sets up on the right hashmark when he tries the now-longer 33-yard PAT. Just about all kickers line up in middle of the field.

2) This is how the world works sometimes.........
-- Nebraska fired football coach Bo Pelini last fall.
-- Oregon State coach Mike Riley surprisingly left Corvallis for Nebraska.
-- Wisconsin coach Gary Anderson surprisingly left Madison for Oregon State.
-- Anderson needed a QB to run the offense he was switching to at OSU, so he took a kid from the San Diego area who had previously committed to San Jose State.
-- San Jose lost what would have been a great recruit for them because Nebraska fired Bo Pelini last fall, and then the dominos that followed. Life sucks sometimes.

1) Jason Garrett was out of replay challenges with 10:50 left in first half Sunday, but his second challenge was the equivalent of a turnover, so it was worth doing. It is an interesting study how coaches use their challenges.

-- Quarterback A is Cincinnati's Andy Dalton; Quarterback B is Tony Romo.

Monday's list of 13: Wrapping up NFL Opening Day.........
We overreact to Week 1 results; the offseason is so long, we look forward to the Week 1 games from the time the schedule comes out in the spring, but once we see the final scores today, then either panic or euphoria sets in and neither is warranted.

13) Titans 42, Buccaneers 14-- By time Jameis Winston got his first completion, his Bucs were down 21-nil; Winston's first NFL pass was a pick-6. Last NFL QB whose first pass was a pick-6? Brett Favre, while playing for the Atlanta Falcons. Mariota had a glorious debut for the Titans; maybe his coaches are just better, setting him up to succeed. Bucs have two rookies on offensive line, too. Tough to win that way.

12) Broncos 19, Ravens 13-- Each team's defense scored a TD, neither offense did, as Peyton Manning looked 39 years old, averaging 3.4 ypa. Total yardage in this game was 219-173. For the whole game. Denver has short week, long road trip this week, with a Thursday game at Arrowhead against the Chiefs.

11) Rams 34 Seahawks 31 OT-- .Each team ran a punt back for a TD; Seattle had a defensive TD and scored 18 straight points in 4th quarter., but Foles led tying drive in last 2:00, then Seahawks started OT with a flubbed pooch kick that looked like a bad onside kick and Rams got ball near midfield, kicked a FG.

Game ended when Lynch was stuffed on 4th-and-1 in Ram terrritory. Of seven teams Sunday who were -2 or worse in turnovers, only Rams/Cowboys won.

10) Packers 31, Bears 23-- Green Bay won 10 of last 11 series games, winning last six in row, five by 7+ points. Rodgers averaged 8.2 ypa without Nelson, as James Jones stepped in after being re-signed and caught two TDs. Chicago converted 11 of 17 on 3rd down, which is really good, but scored only 10 points on three red zone drives.

9) Chiefs 27, Texans 20-- In Hard Knocks, Houston chose Brian Hoyer as QB over Ryan Mallett, in a not-too-decisive way, then Mallett "overslept" practice the next day, so now Bill O'Brien has a full-fledged QB controversy after Mallett came off the bench to direct a couple of garbage time scoring drives. This game was 27-9 at half; Travis Kelce looked like Kellen Winslow Sr in the first quarter, catching two TDs.

8) Jets 31, Browns 10-- Cleveland is now 1-16 in season openers, as QB McCown was knocked goofy and fumbled while trying to score a TD. Manziel came on in relief, but he hadn't practiced much lately and it showed-- he was 13-24/182 with an INT and a TD pass. Excellent start to the Todd Bowles era in the Swamp.

7) Bills 27, Colts 14-- I'm going to beat this to death a little, because it is important, I think. Tyrod Taylor was an average (at best) college QB, but he sat on an NFL bench for four years, learned his profession, got better at it and now that he finally got his chance to start a game, he excelled, averaging 10.3 ypa and running for 41 yards. It is becoming evident (see Winston, Jameis) that the best way to develop a QB is to let him sit and learn but no one has any patience anymore. Too bad.

As for Marcus Mariota's debut, which was stellar, we shall see. Still think they would be better off playing Mettenberger this year and letting Mariota observe for a while, but that sounds stupid now after the way Mariota played in Tampa today.

6) Dolphins 17, Redskins 10-- Miami shut Washington out in second half, scored winning TD on a punt return in 4th quarter. NFL-wide, defense/special teams scored nine TDs this week (so far); teams with non-offensive TDs are 5-4, but two of the losers (Seattle/Baltimore) also gave up a non-offensive TD, so it is really 3-2.

5) Panthers 20, Jaguars 9--Heading into the Monday night games, favorites are 8-5-1 this week; over is 9-5. In this game, teams were in red zone a combined six times, with two TDs, two FGs and two empty trips.

4) Cardinals 31, Saints 19-- Arizona is 14-3 at home under Bruce Arians, who didn't become an NFL head coach until he was 60, which means he came very close to never becoming one. Yardage in this game was 427-408, but Saints were lame in red zone, as they seemed to miss departed TE Jimmy Graham.

3) Chargers 33, Lions 28-- Around 5:00 Sunday, I sent this text to a buddy: "Lions are killing San Diego"; from that point on, Chargers scored 30 consecutive points and hung on after an onside kick in last minute for the win. Rivers was 35-42/388 passing as Bolts racked up 28 first downs, converting 6-11 on third down. Detroit is now 4-10 as road dogs since 2012, 5-11 in last 16 non-divisional road games. No bueno.

2) Bengals 33, Raiders 13-- Cincinnati is only team in NFL history to make playoffs four years in a row but not win any playoff games in those four years. That said, they ended an 0-10 drought in O.Co Coliseum here with emphasis, KO'ing Derek Carr with a hand injury. Good start for Marvin Lewis' team.

1) Cowboys 27, Giants 26-- Romo led last-minute comeback fueled by awful clock management by Giants and their $84M quarterback. Dallas is now 8-25 vs spread as home favorites since '10, 3-10 in divisional games; they covered once in last seven tries as a favorite in home opener- they lose Dez Bryant (foot) for 4-6 weeks as they head into Pihilly this week, but this was a big win for Dallas.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Oklahoma 31, Tennessee 24 OT-- Sooners' offense did bupkus in first 45:00, but this game had a great finish, with spunky QB Mayfield leading a great comeback and then putting his team over the top in overtime. We need more games like this in September, excellent non-conference matchups. This game was fun.

12) Auburn 27, Jacksonville State 20 OT-- 30 years ago, the Rams won the NFC West with most famous alum of Jacksonville State's football program (Dieter Brock) as its QB-- he had thrown for 34,830 yards in the CFL before that.

The Gamecocks were winning yesterday in the last minute, but let it slip away, much to the relief of every other team in the SEC. Loss here would've been tough to explain away when the playoffs roll around and conferences start comparing themselves.

11) Toledo 16, Arkansas 12-- Not a great day for the SEC, as Bret Bielema has now lost his last 12 games that were decided by 7 or less points, dating back to his days at Wisconsin. Bielema's last eight wins are all by 17+ points.

10) Notre Dame 34, Virginia 27-- Irish lost QB Zaire for the year, but his backup saved the day in this game, throwing a GW 39-yard TD pass with 0:12 left against a Virginia club that UCLA outgained 503-336 in a 34-16 win last week. Not often a team scores 34 points while going 0-10 on 3rd down, but ND did in this game.

9) Bowling Green 48, Maryland 27-- MAC's Falcons ran 105 plays for 692 yards and scored 42 points in the second half, so before Big 14 people start pointing fingers, they might want to check out that boxscore. Or this one.........

8) Washington State 37, Rutgers 34-- Scarlet Knights ran a kick and a punt back for a TD but still lost, as Wazzu's soph QB Falk threw for 478 yards, including a GW TD with 0:12 left. WR Marks caught 14 balls for 146 yards and took some severe hits, but kept catching the ball-- he'll be a pro.

7) David Ortiz hit HRs #499 and 500 last night in St Pete; he and Albert Pujols are only two players to hit 499/500 in same game.

6) Troy Tulowitzki has a broken bone in his shoulder, is out indefinitely.

5) Kentucky 26, South Carolina 22-- Gamecocks scored with 8:09 left to pull within 24-22, went for two points to tie game, but Kentucky scored two on defense instead and game swung on that play. Carolina QB Mitch hurt his shoulder-- lot of QB injuries in the first two weeks of the season.

4) Michigan State 31, Oregon 28-- I'm not a big fan of a kid playing for a team for three years, then jumping ship to play for a better team as a senior, just because he can. Vernon Adams played for I-AA Eastern Washington, they won lot of games, but then he bolted to Oregon because they needed a QB this year. This happens more in hoops than football, but it leaves a sour taste.

Maybe Adams is a great kid, I don't know, maybe he'll be a great NFL QB, but I think he missed out on an experience of finishng what he started at EWU, and who is to say that his staying there would've hindered his chances of playing in the NFL?

3) Both punters in the Oregon State-Michigan game are from Australia.

2) Minnesota 23, Colorado State 20 OT-- State fumbled on first play of OT after tying game on last play of regulation. Good win for the improving Gophers.

1) Temple 34, Cincinnati 26-- Owls open season with wins at Penn State/Cincinnati, with both wins by more than a TD. Think they'll get any top 25 votes? They should.

Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) I see Antonio Brown play so well for the Steelers and I have fond memories of watching his dad play for the Albany Firebirds in the Arena League 15-18 years ago.

Touchdown Eddie Brown once scored nine TDs in an AFL game; he was the offensive specialist for the Firebirds, who won the 1999 Arena Bowl, but left Albany when the league abandoned smaller markets for NFL markets, in an ill-advised attempt to become a farm league for the NFL (Iowa Barnstormers moved to Long Island, too).

12) The genius who ran the Arena League then is somehow now Executive Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame-- David Baker, his son played tackle at USC, was on the Falcons until this past offseason. Iowa and Albany supported their AFL teams, but it wasn't enough. Too bad.

11) Dodgers are so solid with Kershaw/Greinke at front of their pitching rotation, but they have used 14 other pitchers in slots 3-5, as they desperately try to fill those two slots with the playoffs approaching. No other team has used more starting pitchers this season.

10) Atlanta's Shelby Miller is an above average big league pitcher; he is also winless in his last 21 starts-- he has been the unluckiest pitcher we've seen in many years.

9) New England Patriots haven't allowed a 4th quarter TD in their last nine games.

8) Eli Manning signs a 4-year, $84M contract extension; too bad he doesn't play on defense. Manning's durability makes him so valuable, but their OL better improve this season or Eli will be falling on his wallet a lot again this fall.

7) Odd stat: Nelson Cruz is only the second player since 1954 (Adam Dunn is the other) with 40+ homers in a season, with no sacrifice flies.

6) Phillies finally fired GM Ruben Amaro Jr, who ran the franchise into the ground by sticking with the aging core of the '08 championship team way too long.

5) Jonas Gray, an obscure running back who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated after his first game last fall, then overslept a practice and got buried by the Patriots, is now a Miami Dolphin. Hopefully the young man will have a good career.

4) If you bet on Serena Williams Friday, you had to risk $3,000 to win $100; in horse racing, people who make bets like that are called "bridge jumpers", for obvious reasons. There is no such thing as a sure thing, thats why they call it gambling.

3) One of the last lines in HBO's Hard Knocks this summer was Bill O'Brien telling his players that the NFL "is the most competitive business in the world."

There is such a fine line between winning and losing in the NFL, teams that can gain any type of advantage are going to win a lot more than they lose.

Bill O'Brien was the Patriots QB coach before he was the coach at Penn State; his Texans are playing New England in Week 14; I'd love to know if they'll change their security for signalling in plays or for their walk-thru practice. I'm just sayin'......

2) Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal went off on Donald Trump Thursday, making fun of his hair and calling him a narcissist more than once. Only way some of these guys in the Presidential race can get attention is to go after Trump but Jindal was very funny. It'll be interesting to see how long Trump stays the Republican frontrunner.

1) Lets face it, this country is so disgusted with politics that a really rich guy who hosts a reality TV show might become President. He is rude, offensive, polarizing, but he is rich and famous and in this country, that is revered by a lot of people. Trump is not a bad guy, but he is mostly all about Trump and a lot of women despise him.

Our country needs someone as President that we respect, even if we don't always agree with that person. We do not need another polarizing figure. What the presidential race needs to weed out a lot of these charlatans is one guy to step forward and join the race.

Joe Biden. We'll see if it happens.

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.....
13) Everyone on TV is picking the Colts to win the AFC but they're only -3 in their opener at Buffalo. Why so low? Buffalo hasn't made the playoffs since 1999; their QB has never started an NFL game. I'm so confused......

12) Oregon is an underdog for the first time in their last 46 games; they whacked Michigan State 46-27 LY in Eugene. Can they win in East Lansing with a QB who played the last three years at the I-AA level?

11) How will the two rookie QBs do in the Florida heat late Sunday afternoon down in Tampa? Defensive coordinators will challenge them with a variety of blitzes.

10) Blue Jays-Bronx got rained out last night; they'll play a twinbill Saturday, as part of a 4-game series that will go long way towards determining the AL East winner.

9) Will Sam Bradford stay in one piece? He's missed 31 games out of 80 in his first five NFL seasons. If Bradford gets hurt, the Eagles QB is Mark Sanchez.

8) Did LSU getting rained out last week hurt their prep for Mississippi State this week? Their offense/defense played one series each last week against McNeese State, while MSU played a fairly tough game at Southern Miss.

7) How much will Jordy Nelson's injury hurt the Packers? Green Bay has treated the Bears like a pinata recently; will it continue Sunday in Chicago?

6) Iowa-Iowa State is an underrated rivalry; last four series games were all decided by six or less points. Hawkeyes are 3-5 in last five visits to Ames.

5) Cleveland Browns are 1-15 in season openers; they visit a Jets squad with new QB, new coach and a less-than-stellar record at home.

4) Rutgers won 41-38 at Washington State LY; Wazzu lost at home to a I-AA team last week, really needs a win here, before heading into a tough Pac-12.

3) Who will fill Demarco Murray's shoes in Dallas? Cowboys averaged 5.9 yards per carry when they ran ball on first down LY. He will be missed.

2) Memphis is a two-TD favorite at Kansas; this is sixth time Tigers have been a road favorite since 2013. From 2006-12, they were never once favored on the road. Coach Justin Fuente has done a terrific job, could be moving up the coaching ladder soon.

1) Can Denver's rebuilt OL protect immobile, 39-year old Peyton Manning?

Enjoy the first full football weekend of the year; it should be fun.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) In Monday's Dodger-Angel game, 14 relief pitchers combined to get 23 outs, as a sleep-inducing parade of relief pitchers came in from each bullpen. Hopefully next year, they will put an end to September roster expansion-- it is not good.

This game took 3:52 to play and the pace of play was fine, when they weren't changing pitchers. Each pitching change during an inning adds maybe 4-5 minutes?

12) Dodgers have used four different leadoff hitters the last four games; the last two led off the game with home runs, Justin Ruggiano and Scott Schebler, not exactly the kind of names you'd expect to be leading off for a team with a $300M payroll.

11) Texas Longhorns lost 38-3 at Notre Dame and have already changed play callers, not that they're panicking or anything. The new playcaller last chose plays for UCLA way back in 2007. Why exactly did they fire Mack Brown?

10) Cole Hamels is the first pitcher to be traded by a team during the same season in which he threw a no-hitter for that team.

9) Our daily note on Mets' OF Michael Conforto: his mom won two gold medals in the Olympics in synchronized swimming. His dad played football at Penn State.

8) Miami's J.T. Realmuto is first catcher with an inside-the-park HR and a regular HR in same game since Gary Carter in 1980

7) Not only has Atlanta used 36 pitchers this season, 18 of 36 weren't in big league spring training with the Braves.

6) Oakland gave manager Bob Melvin a well-deserved contract extension thru 2018, as this nightmare of a season winds down. A's made the playoffs the last three years, but the front office dismantled the lineup last year and this season has mostly been a dumpster fire combining horrible fielding with cruddy relief pitching.

5) Beverly Hills HS has a gym with a pool underneath the basketball floor; this is simply tremendous!!!! Wonder if it makes the gym more humid.

4) Don't tell me baseball isn't a mental game; Red Sox are 14-7 since they announced Dave Dombrowski s the team's new head honcho.

3) Race car driver Denny Hamlin tore his ACL playing basketball, but won't miss any races, because if you drive a race car for a living, you're tough.

I mean seriously, if you screwed up your knee, it would be agony just to sit in a car for 500 miles without getting out now and then to stretch out and he can't take pain killers, because he's driving a damn car 180 miles an hour. Good grief.

2) Sam Bradford will wait until after the season to negotiate a new contract, which is an interesting strategy for a guy who missed 31 of 80 games in his NFL career, with an 18-30-1 record in the 49 games he did play.

Of course, when you've already banked $65M in the first five years of your career, it is easier to take that gamble. If he stays healthy, he's a good player. Big if.

1) Joey Votto bugged out in the 8th inning last night, getting ejected after a marginal pitch was called a strike. Odd thing is, he didn't strike out on the pitch; it merely made the count 1-2, but it sent Votto over the edge and he got tossed. Votto is famous for having a good eye at the plate; he draws a lot of walks.

Wednesday's List of 13: Hump Day Happenings.........
13) Mets 8, Nationals 7-- Washington led 7-1, with man on first and two out in top of 7th; then their bullpen imploded and their season ended, for all intents/purposes. In one of the worst losses I've ever seen a team stumble thru, here is how the rest of the top of the 7th inning went for the Mets:

walk-single-walk-walk-double-walk-walk-walk-line out to right. 6 runs, 3 hits.

Wonder who Washington will hire as manager after they fire Matt Williams?

12) Mets are off the hook (for now) on the Matt Harvey/innings fiasco, since they've basically clinched the division, so they can get by without Harvey for a while.

11) Tennessee got hammered 34-10 at Oklahoma LY, but that was before Joshua Dobbs became the Vols' QB-- they were so much better after he took over under center. Looking forward to watching the rematch Saturday from Knoxville.

10) In Ohio State's next nine games, they will be favored by 21+ points in all nine; their next three games are Hawai'i-Northern Illinois-Western Michigan. Biggest enemy Urban Meyer might have until Halloween is boredom.

9) Interesting that ESPN openly talks about pointspreads/gambling now. When TV ratings go in the dumper, rules go out the window. Some college administrators aren't happy about this, but the college bean counters can't be too upset.

8) Looks like Kam Chancellor is out for this week; Seattle's defense will be without one of its leaders. Maybe wishful thinking on my part because they're playing the Rams, but leaders win road games for teams. We'll see what happens Sunday.

7) Last episode of HBO's Hard Knocks is always a very good one, with last cuts an emotional time for all involved; interesting that the last three players cut by Houston all signed with other teams, so either the Texans have a very deep roster or they cut the wrong guys. Coach Bill O'Brien was by far the star of this summer's shows.

6) Did you see the two high school football players take a cheap shot at the official last week in Texas? Do these kids realize football games are taped? No idea what the official said to the kids, but they'll be lucky to get out without criminal charges.

5) ACC's payoff for letting Notre Dame play basketball in their league (and getting a piece of the ACC $$$ bonanza from the NCAAs/TV) is that the Irish have to play six football games a year against ACC teams. They're at Virginia this week, go to Clemson later on. Showtime has a Hard Knocks-type program on Notre Dame football this fall, but doubt you'll see many controversial things there.

4) Want to win a bar bet? Rookie outfielder Michael Conforto was 1,000th player in Mets history. Oregon State rookie looks like a keeper, too.

3) Pay the man already!!!! Yoenis Cespedes has 34 RBI in 35 games with the Mets.

2) NBA changed its playoff format; division winners are no longer guaranteed a top four seed, which is a good thing.

1) RIP Joaquin Andujar, who passed away this week at age 62 from side effects of diabetes. Andujar was 127-118 in his 13-year career, winning 41 games for St Louis is the 1984-85 seasons. He made four All-Star teams in 13 years.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Pirates played on ESPN Sunday night in St Louis, then had a 1:00 game Monday in Cincinnati; what genius thought this was a good idea? Pittsburgh lost seven of its last eight games; still looks like they'll play the Cubs in the Wild Card game.

12) Ohio State 42, Virginia Tech 24-- Buckeyes are loaded, with two backup QBs who would start at most colleges. If Cardale Jones had entered NFL Draft last April, he might be starting this Sunday in a pro game, instead of for the Buckeyes, and he has only started four college games, none in Columbus.

11) If I owned a major league baseball team, all of my coaches would be bilingual; communication is too important to have players who can't communicate with coaches.

10) SEC championship football game will stay in Atlanta thru 2027; Falcons open a new stadium in 2018- the game will move there when that replaces the Georgia Dome.

9) 15 of the Astros' last 24 games are on the road. Should be an interesting last four weeks for a team that doesn't play well away from home.

8) Baseball record that I've never heard of before yesterday: Earl Webb once hit 67 doubles in 1931 and no one has ever hit more. Closest anyone has come recently was when Todd Helton hit 59 doubles for the Rockies.

7) Minor league baseball is profitable: Quad City River Bandits, a Class A farm club of the Astros, averaged 3,907 fans per game this year. Minor league teams are profit makers because they don't pay player salaries.

When you get 3,907 people a game in Davenport, Iowa and have an outfield fence covered with advertising signs, you make a decent buck.

6) Cleveland Browns suspended their offensive line coach after he got suspended for a DUI (not his first). Browns are 1-15 in season openers, visit the Jets Sunday.

5) Reggie Wayne only lasted 12 days with the Patriots, but don't feel bad for him; he banked $450K for those 12 miserable days in New England.

4) ESPN the Magazine interviewed 98 college football players; 58% of them think the college football playoff should be eight teams, not four.

3) Three of the eleven guys on Virginia Tech's kick coverage team are brothers.

2) Was watching the underrated movie Leap of Faith (Steve Martin, Debra Winger) and saw that the price of gas back then (movie was made in 1992) was $1.24 a gallon. If you stumble across this movie on cable, it is worth a watch; Liam Neeson before he hit it big, Meat Loaf as a musician. This was one of Steve Martin's best roles.

1) Today is the day the Kam Chancellor/Seahawks stalemate takes a turn; either one side caves in, or one of Seattle's team leaders is out for Sunday's game with NFC West rival St Louis. Nate Burleson was saying on TV yesterday how Chancellor's impact on the Seahawks cannot be understated, so his absence would be a problem.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Enough already with Draft Kings and Fan Duel commercials; doesn't anyone in this country drink anymore? What happened to beer commercials?

Seriously, I'm getting bludgeoned with fantasy football commercials- they're advertising more than the fast food places. As I'm typing this, another one just came on TV.

12) Eagles signed former Miami QB Stephen Morris, who Jacksonville let go; they cut Tim Tebow and needed an emergency QB.

11) McNeese State's game at LSU got cancelled after only 5:00 because of lightning; the Cowboys cleaned up-- they still got the $500K check and they didn't get a loss on their record. LSU could've used a dress rehearsal since they're going to Starkville this week to play SEC rival Mississippi State. .

10) There are 13 NFL teams with no fullbacks on their roster.

9) Interesting story on about the Ravens; Marc Trestman is their fourth OC the last four years, but instead of making the whole offense learn another new system, Trestman kept Gary Kubiak's system from last year and learned that one himself, figuring it would be easier for one person to learn a new system than 25 or 30.

8) I'm surprised there was only one college football game Sunday; guess they were deferring to NASCAR and baseball last night. If you had Purdue +7, two pick-6's by Marshall handed you a very bad early season beat.

7) Former Notre Dame QB Everett Golson was 19-25 for 302 yards, four TDs in his first game for Florida State Saturday.

6) Texas Tech 59, Sam Houston 45-- When a I-AA team runs for 351 yards and the majority of your schedule is Big X teams, Tech's defense could be in for a long year.

5) ESPN's guys at the Alabama game Saturday said the Crimson Tide defense was on the field for 170 more plays last year than in 2013 and it caused them to wear down late last season. Might be interesting to track this season.

4) Speaking of Alabama, rumors of Nick Saban going to the Colts next year won't go away, which could be why Chuck Pagano is being left to twist in the wind. But what happens if Indy wins the Super Bowl?

3) Ole Miss 76, UT-Martin 3-- Hope the parties in The Grove were good, because the game 38,677 fans paid to see was horrendous. ESPNU actually replayed this debacle Sunday morning. Why? Who would want to watch it again?

2) Atlanta Braves' 12-game losing streak is their worst since 1977; when owner Ted Turned stepped in and managed the team for a game, before the commissioner put a stop to that, since Turner didn't know much about baseball. Five years later Atlanta was in the playoffs, with Joe Torre as their manager.

1) Sign of the times: Alabama's kicker is from Poland, Wisconsin's from Brazil.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) BYU 33, Nebraska 28-- Horrific loss for the Cornhuskers, who gave up a TD on a last-second Hail Mary by BYU's back-up QB. Nebraska had the ball on BYU 21 with 1:30 left, leading 28-27 and BYU was out of timeouts-- they still lost. Rough start to the Mike Riley era in Lincoln.

12) Costly wins for BYU and Syracuse, who both lost their starting QB for the year with leg injuries. BYU's freshman backup QB was on a Mormon mission in Chile the last two years, so he is a year or two older than the typical freshman.

11) Temple 27, Penn State 10-- Owls ended a 31-game losing streak to Penn State by beating Nittany Lions for first time since 1941. Temple had ten sacks in the game, as questions swirl about James Franklin's ability to run an offense (as opposed to former coach Bill O'Brien, who now coaches the Houston Texans).

10) Tennessee 59, Bowling Green 30-- Falcons went for it on 4th and 3 on their own 18 in the 2nd quarter, when they were down 21-10. They made it, but that said a lot about how they view their defense, which got shredded for 399 rushing yards.

9) Texas A&M 38, Arizona State 17-- I am told this is the only regular season game between the SEC and Pac-12 this season, which is too bad.

8) Olivia Harlan is a very pretty young lady who is a sideline reporter on the SEC Network; she is the daughter of TNT announcer Kevin Harlan, granddaughter of Bob Harlan, former CEO of Green Bay Packers. She appears to be very good at her job and hopefully she will be more understated than her father is on NBA games.

7) Former Florida QB Jeff Driskell went 12-15 for 274 yards and four TDs in his debut for Louiaiana Tech last night. Young man had a hard time at Florida, good to see him have success with the pass-happy Bulldogs.

6) Rough start for Pac-12: Colorado lost at Hawai'i, Washington State lost to a I-AA team, Stanford lost at Northwestern, Arizona State got smoked by A&M, Washington lost at Boise State. It is only one week but not the best start.

5) Terrible helmets: Virginia and Arizona State, just awful. Northern Illinois had bad ones too, but those were 1965 throwback uniforms. You had to strain to see the logo on the side of the Virginia helmets. No idea what ASU is trying to do with a number on one side of the helmet and their new pitchfork logo on the other.

4) Eagles cut Tim Tebow, meaning they only have two QBs on their depth chart right now; when one of the two is oft-injured Sam Bradford, they might want to add a QB (Philip Sims?) to their practice squad.

3) Florida Gators have only six seniors on scholarship on their football team, which is really, really unusual.

2) Atlanta Braves TV guys were really praising Martin Prado this past week, which is a little unusual for an opposing player- they said his clubhouse presence is missed in Atlanta, where the wheels have totally fallen off the last few weeks.

1) Then there is Boston, where the Red Sox are taking grief for firing popular TV play-by-play guy Don Orsillo (for no apparent reason). It got so bad the people who did it actually asked Orsillo to say the parting was a mutual decision (which is very obviously is not). Orsillo declined; good for him.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) Matt Harvey has thrown 166.1 innings this year; his agent Scott Boras came out and said he should be shut down at 180 innings, per doctor's recommendations, but it looks like the Mets will ignore Boras and pitch Harvey thru the playoffs, sparing Met fans from breaking the Interweb with hysterical tweets/e-mails.

Harvey didn't pitch last year after arm surgery and there is a general school of thought that the pitcher's innings should be restricted in the first year after an operation.

12) While we're on this subject, why not just name Boras commissioner, so he can run the whole sport the way he seems to want to? Because he would have to take the biggest pay cut in the history of man if he ever became commissioner.

11) For the sake of argument, lets say that Harvey makes three more starts in regular season, then four more in playoffs and goes six innings in every start- that would put him at 208.1 innings, which is an awful lot for a guy coming off of surgery.

Two more quick points:
a) Harvey will be a free agent after the 2018 season; if he is still doing well and is healthy then, he figures to break the bank and Boras is in line for 3% of that windfall.

b) If the Mets ever shut Harvey down this season, there would be a revolt at the $1B, publicly funded CitiField, where the Mets have sucked for the past several years. They're finally good, they need to try and win the World Series this year.

10) The 1928 Boston Braves once played nine consecutive doubleheaders; they were 4-14 in those eighteeen games. Now thats an overtaxed pitching staff.

9) Donald Trump keeps referring to Jeb Bush as "low energy....." A counselor named Susan Scott explains the difference between high and low energy people:

"High-energy people are fast talkers, fast thinkers, fast decision-makers, fast movers. These are the folks who don’t sit still for long, are always making new plans and coming up with new ideas."

By contrast, those in the low-energy camp are "more deliberate in their planning, slower to make decisions, thoughtful and pensive, more relaxed, less prone to quick flashes of temper."

So being low energy isn't a bad thing, but the label apparently annoys Bush. Quotes up above are courtesy of, by the way.

8) Milwaukee Brewers had Fan Appreciation weekend scheduled for the last weekend of the season, against the Cubs. Teams suck up to the fans then, trying to get them to buy tickets for next year, usually by giving away cheap souvenirs.

Problem is, so many Cub fans are making the 90-mile drive to Milwaukee for that weekend that the Brewers moved Fan Appreciation Weekend, so that Cub fans don't reap the benefits of being appreciated by the Brewers.

7) Dustin Johnson drove a par-4, 289 hole. With a 2-iron. Here is proof.

6) 56 rookies combined to hit 155 home runs in August, a big league record.

5) SMU needs to recruit good defensive players; major college teams can have 85 scholarship kids, that is 17 a year, since most players redshirt, but unless you recruit kids who play defense, your team will lose a lot of 49-34 games. The new coach at SMU is an offensive guru, so that will be his priority, but still.......

4) I think we underestimate how difficult it is for guys from other countries to come here and blend in on teams when they're so far from home, whether they be from Asia or Central America or wherever. Can't imagine working with someone who doesn't know the language here, has to be terribly difficult for them.

3) My A's have had a terrible season, but when they traded Ben Zobrist to Kansas City, they got a pitcher named Sean Manaea who is 6-0, 1.90 in his last seven starts in the hitter-happy Texas League (AA), so maybe in a year or two, he'll be up in the big leagues and helping and something positive will have come from this debacle.

2) Eagles traded QB Matt Barkley to Arizona, so looks like Tim Tebow made the squad as a 3rd-string QB. My friend Scott who is a QB expert and Cardinal fan loves Barkley, so the Redbirds may have their QB of the future. I kind of liked Philip Sims, who Arizona will probably now cut; he reminds me a little of Cam Newton.

1) Ed McMahon was an American icon, becoming famous as the sidekick on the Tonight Show for many years; he also did a lot of commercials and hosted a talent show on TV-- he was very, very recognizable, very popular, but in his later years, he was really sick, couldn't work and wound up not being able to make payments on his mansion in Beverly Hills, which wound up in foreclosure. A sad situation.

A rich guy from the east read about his plight, bought the mansion and leased it back to McMahon at an affordable rate until he passed away, a classy act of charity that didn't have to happen, since the two men didn't even know each other.

Who was this rich guy fron the east? You may have heard of him.......

Donald Trump.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with long weekend here......
13) Bryce Harper's line tonight: 0-4-0-1....that is four at-bats, four walks, one with the bases loaded. He saw 20 pitches and swung at none of them, second-most of any batter in the last decade. Impressive patience. Terrible pitching.

12) Clayton Kershaw induced 35 misses on 75 San Francisco swings Wednesday night, five more misses than any other pitcher has induced in the last decade.

11) ESPN suspended Curt Schilling for the rest of the season, because he doesn't have the common sense to put a lid on his political views when his bosses tell him to. He's lost most of his money investing in a video game venture that failed; you'd think he'd figure out he needs a good job-- sometime you have to bite your damn tongue, or not hit the send button anytime you feel like it.

10) That said, how is Schilling suspended but Cris Carter is still on the air? He told NFL rookies to pay off friends to take the fall if a crime was committed and he still has a job? Seems like a double standard may be at work here.

9) Utah 24, Michigan 17-- Wolverines threw three INTs, one returned for a TD, as Jim Harbaugh lost his Michigan debut. Total yardage was 355-337, Michigan. You get the idea a 43 pass/29 rush ratio isn't what Harbaugh had in mind.

8) South Carolina 17, North Carolina 13-- Gamecocks faked a punt in first 6:00 of game. Both teams ran for 200+ yards; Gamecocks have a QB problem-- four different guys played QB, two from the Wildcat formation. Tar Heels threw two INTs in red zone- they had a 440-394 edge in yardage. Both defenses have improved.

7) In the biggest mall here in Albany, the Apple Store a smaller space and that was surprising. Their old location was always crowded; think the mall charges an outrageous rent, which might be why they downsized some.

6) FIU 15, Central Florida 14-- Bad loss for UCF, which beat the Panthers 38-0 last time these two teams met. FIU is coached by former Illinois coach Ron Turner, who is Norv Turner's brother. UCF led 14-3 at the half, then never scored again.

5) TCU 23, Minnesota 17-- Good road win for Horned Frogs, who didn't look like the #2 team in the country but they won, despite missing two of its better defensive guys. TCU needs Minnesota to play well in Big 14 to make this win look better.

4) Western Kentucky 14, Vanderbilt 12-- Good luck in the SEC if you can't beat the Hilltoppers at home. Vandy was -3 in turnovers, which is how you lose even when you outgain the other side 385-246. First win for a C-USA team over an SEC team since the 2010 Liberty Bowl, when UCF upset Georgia.

3) Arizona 42, UTSA 32-- Wildcats scored two defensive TDs but lost its star LB to a knee injury and then gave up 525 yards to the Roadrunners, who ran 95 plays.

2) Harvard's basketball team lost its best player for the year with a knee injury; Ivy League teams cannot redshirt players, so the kid withdrew from school and will be back in 2016-17, so it is redshirting without officially calling it that. Losing your senior PG in September is never, ever a good thing.

1) Very, very late score update: Out in Hawai'i, in a game that ended at 4:58am, the officials bungle setting the ball properly, Colorado doesn't get a play from the 6-yard line in the last five seconds and Hawai'i beats the Buffaloes 28-20. Not sure who is grading those officials, but they should get an F for that last sequence.

Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) College football starts tonight; check out our college football page for info on every game. Some trends and other knowledge and selectons, though we don't have any picks for tonight's games. NFL teams play exhibition games, college teams don't, so hard to know what to expect tongiht. It'll be fun to find out, though.

12) Thank God I don't root for the Redskins; what a mess their offseason has been. How they are not on Hard Knocks is beyond me- it would be high comedy. Now the GM's wife accused a female reporter of trading sex for inside info and there are lot of people on social media who don't think she is making it up. Oy.

11) In his first at-bat in his last eight games, Andrew McCutchen is 6-6 with two walks, not a bad way to start each game.

10) San Diego Padres fired manager Bud Black with a 32-33 record; they are 32-35 with the new manager, Pat Murphy. Same players, basically same results.

9) Miguel Sano is fueling Minnesota's playoff drive; he has 15 HRs in 179 ABs, has a .405 OB%, a .296 batting average. Very good young hitter.

8) It is funny to me that a lot of major league pitchers do not like people to throw the ceremonial first pitch from the dirt part of the mound. Ron Darling has talked about this on Mets broadcasts; he feels the mound "is my office" he doesn't want amateurs throwing on it. I've heard other ex-big leaguers say the same thing.

St John's basketball coach Chris Mullin threw the first pitch last night and he threw a pretty good pitch. From the rubber.

7) School has started in the Albany area, first time that I remember school starting before Labor Day, though I'm not 100% sure on that. Have fun in school, kids!!!!

6) Colorado Rockies had their southern California scout on TV last night; he guessed that he puts 30-35,000 miles on his car every year, just driving to amateur baseball games and games in SoCal are closer together than in many places. Scouting is a hard job, an unglamorous job, but it is the lifeline of the sport.

5) Milwaukee Brewers rookie Zach Davies made his MLB debut last night; he is 6-0, 155 pounds and looks like a 12-year old on the field. Davies was a 26th-round draft pick, not high at all, but he turned down a scholarship to Arizona State to play pro ball and last night it paid off. Most kids in his spot take the scholarship.

4) This is September baseball: with major league call-ups, Angels' AAA team started an infield Tuesday where three of the four players were playing that position for the first time as a pro. Don't see that very much.

3) Steelers play New England a week from tonight in a game that counts, but neither side knows which QB will play for the Patriots. Has to be as unsettling for Pittsburgh as for the hosts-- well maybe not, but this will be very odd if Garoppolo starts.

2) I don't want you betting on NFL exhibition games, but if you must, here is some knowledge that might help some. This week's games are useless, they're cash grabs for the owners, ripping the fans off. Results mean nothing.

1) Lets say the Colts go 12-4 this year but lose their first playoff game; coach Chuck Pagano is a free agent and has a terrific record. If the Colts don't hurry to re-sign him, he would be out of work for less than an hour. To me, Indianapolis is taking an unnecessary risk in letting Pagano coach as a lame duck.

Wednesday's List of 13: Hump Day happenings..........
13) Over his last 19 starts, Atlanta's Shelby Miller is 0-11 with an ERA of 3.13; if the guy didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all. There have been six no-hitters thrown in the major leagues since his last win.

12) Good news: McDonald's will (finally) start offering breakfast 24 hours a day, starting October 6. Jack-in-the-Box has been doing that out west for years. Sausage biscuits 24 hours a day-- this is tremendous!!!!

11) September 1st and I already bought my first college basketball magazine for this winter. Lot of research work coming in the weeks ahead.

10) CBS parted ways with golf analyst David Feherty, whose appeal never made sense to me. I never found him funny, but he is expected to land at NBC, seeing as he already has a talk show on Golf Channel, which is owned by NBC.

9) Joey Votto's on-base %age since the All-Star break: .581. Wow.

8) Five of Pitt Panthers' six incoming basketball players are transfer students; there is talk the fanbase in Pittsburgh is getting restless with coach Jamie Dixon.

Side notes; When I was at AAU games in Las Vegas in July, Dixon's dad was there with him, watching recruits. Pretty cool. Jamie Dixon was actually a child actor.

7) Paul Goldschmidt lined into a triple play Tuesday, the first time an Arizona player has ever done that. Diamondbacks still swept a twinbill in Denver.

6) Orioles are in freefall, losing 12 of last 13 games. You look at their roster and wonder how the hell they stayed in contention as long as they did.

5) Woman named Jessica Pegula won her first round match at US Open Monday; her parents own the Sabres/Bills in Buffalo- they can afford a good tennis coach.

4) 49ers are missing 11 of their 22 starters from last season. And their coach.

3) Halloween is still 60 days away, but there has been a store open near my house for a week or so that is selling nothing but Halloween costumes/stuff.

2) Oakland A's have already used 27 pitchers this year, their most since 1955, their first year in Kansas City. All five pitchers who worked for Oakland last night weren't in the major leagues the day before. It has been a long season.

1) Cardinals 8, Nationals 5-- Washington is a dead team walking; they blew a 5-3 lead in 8th inning. Manager Matt Williams took a severe beating on social media for how he handled his bullpen in this game.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Definition of a bad day: Someone on Twitter was saying that a buddy of his was going to win the semi-final game in his fantasy baseball league last week-- the only way he could lose was if Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter Sunday night. Oy.

12) Buffalo Bills named Tyrod Taylor their starting QB; in his four years as Ravens' (mainly) #3 QB, Taylor never started a game, completing 19-35 passes for 199 yards in 14 games. He can run, gaining 136 yards on 27 carries. We shall see; he has been around the NFL for 4+ years now; that has to help some.

11) Then there is Tampa Bay thrusting Jameis Winston into the starting spot right off the bat; last year, Winston threw 18 INTs-- Florida State turned the ball over more than every team in America, except New Mexico State. Think about that; Florida State has more talent than almost every team they play, yet they were -6 in turnovers, and now Winston is playing in the NFL behind an OL starting two rookies.

I hope they're patient with Mr Winston; its going to take some time.

9) In his first ten games with the Giants, Marlon Byrd has 17 RBI.

8) Outfielders acquired at the deadline last night-- in order to be eligible for the playoffs, guys had to be with a team before September 1:
-- Braves traded Jonny Gomes to the Royals.
-- Boston traded Alejandro de Aza to the Giants.
-- Mariners traded Justin Ruggiano to the Dodgers
-- Mariners also traded Austin Jackson, but to the Cubs.

7) Before the sixth inning last night, Dodgers had gone 47 innings without a HR.

6) It is funny to me that catchers aren't supposed to bitch at umps while they're at bat, since they want those same pitches called strikes when they're behind the plate. Am guessing some interesting discussions happen when the catchers get back behind the plate after being called out on strikes.

5) As I type this I'm flipping between the A's game and an episode of Law and Order; the judge in this episode is Billie Jean King, the tennis star, whose half-brother was a guy named Randy Moffitt, a pretty good relief pitcher in the 70's (96 saves), mostly for the Giants.

4) Mike Trout is a big fan of meteorology; there are rumors he may do some work for the Weather Channel at some point.

3) Dennis Eckersley came right out and said it before the Red Sox game last night: he doesn't think Hanley Ramirez can become a first baseman. We'll see.

2) Lakers signed a 32-year old Brazilian point guard named Marcelinho Huertas, who is regarded as one of Euroleague's best playmakers.

1) Since 1999, Washington Redskins have had eight coaches, 16 starting QBs.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) NFL teams can have 90 players in training camp, thats 2,880 players; they have to be down to 75 players tomorrow, then to 53 (plus 10 more on practice squad) by the weekend. So 2,016 players will have jobs when the season starts and 864 guys who are in camp now will be looking for work. Tough time for marginal players.

12) Cubs 2, Dodgers 0-- Jake Arrieta tossed the 6th no-hitter this season in a game that was a 5:05 local time first pitch in LA, so shadows were a factor. Dodgers are 5-4 with Chase Utley in the lineup; they got no-hit in two of the four losses.

11) Odd fact:'s Mike Petriello points out the 1917 Chicago White Sox won the World Series, but were no-hit twice that year, on consecutive days (May 5-6). The Dodgers just got no-hit twice in nine days.

10) Rosters expand to 40 players tomorrow; lot of people are pushing for a change to this- they want teams to be able to name only 25 players active for each game once the rosters expand. September baseball as it stands now is a lot different than baseballl the first five months of the season.

9) Dodgers are paying $87.5M to guys who aren't on the Dodgers anymore.

8) Cleveland Indians president Mark Shapiro is apparently leaving the Tribe to become the new president of the Toronto Blue Jays, whose current president is retiring after the season. He won't have to make many changes, not the way the Jays have been crushing the ball and winning games.

7) Case in point: Not only does Edwin Encarnacion have four homers in his last two games, he is riding a 25-game hitting streak. No easy outs in that lineup.

6) There is a petition going around for the Red Sox to re-consider and not fire their TV announcer Don Orsillo, who is very popular after 15 years with the Sox. Last time I checked, over 48,000 people had signed the petition and that was couple days ago.

5) Six of the Oakland Raiders' eight road games this season are 1pm ET starts, so lot of trips east; over the last three seasons, Oakland is 1-14 in 1PM ET games.

4) Staying in Oakland for one more unpleasant stat: since the A's traded Cespedes to Boston last July 31, they are 79-108; they were 66-41 last year when this monumental blunder happened. But hey, Billy Beane's assistants went to Ivy League schools and had an algorithm that said Jonny Gomes and Sam Fuld could replace Cespedes in the aggregate. My ass they could, even a junior college dropout could tell you that.

3) I live a mile from a road with strip of restaurants; think there are over 30 of them in a 1.5-mile stretch, so there is a lot of competition for business. Stopped into a Hooters for chicken wings around 6:00 Sunday, hoping to watch baseballl and the Texans-Saints game. But no live games on, nada, even though there was an NFL fantasy draft going on in one corner of the restaurant.

How do you own a sports bar and not have the baseball package, or at least have one employee who knows when there is an NFL game on TV? I had to ask the bartender to put it on (which she quickly did); I mean, she says she knows nothing about the NFL, but she did say she makes a lot more money during football season.

2) If the baseball playoffs started today.......
NL-- Mets-Cardinals-Dodgers. Wild Card: Cubs @ Pirates
AL-- Blue Jays-Royals-Astros. Wild Card: Rangers @ Bronx

1) Fantasy football tip: Cardinals have a TE named Ifeanyi Momah (#80); he looked like Kellen Winslow Sr in last night's game in Oakland. Just an exhibition game, but he looked at home catching the ball and running people over, even if most of the people he ran over will be bartenders or UPS guys two weeks from now.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) How deep is LSU's football team? I'm watching the Ravens game and they have a defensive lineman who might make the team in a surprise-- the guy started one game in his whole career at LSU, yet he is going to make an NFL roster, if not Baltimore, then he will be make another team. Lot of depth on those SEC rosters.

12) Montana 38, North Dakota State 35-- Tremendous game; State coaches screwed up clock management when they had the ball up 35-31 with around 2:00 left but still this was fun to watch and high quality of football. North Dakota State won the I-AA national title the last four years- they're not used to losing.

11) Montana native Brent Musburger did play-by-play; when I am 76 I hope the hell I have his enthusiasm; Jesse Palmer is really good as an analyst, so game had a bigtime feel to it. A sellout crowd of 26,000+ in Missoula was mostly dressed in maroon.

10) 33-yard extra points are getting the thumbs-up on NFL broadcasts; some of them have been missed, which will result in more teams going for two points. It just is not automatic anymore, so some strategy may come into play with it now.

9) NFL should do instant replay like everyone else; have a control center where replay decisions are made. Would make replay decisions faster and probably better.

8) Buffalo Bills sent four captains out for the coin toss Saturday; all four QBs, and then they all played well in a 43-19 rout of the Steelers. EJ Manuel, Tyrod Taylor, Matt Cassel are all battling for the starting job-- if they don't keep all three, they might get a draft pick for the odd man out.

7) If Tyrod Taylor becomes a good NFL QB, it might spark a debate over whether QBs are better off sitting and watching for 2-3 years before becoming starting players. At no point during his career at Virginia Tech was Taylor considered a prospect, but he is doing well for Buffalo and might become the starter.

Throwing rookie QBs right into the fray sees like a dumb way to do business, but the money they get paid has turned impatient front offices in that direction. Maybe you need to develop the person who is playing the most important position on the field.

6) There is a John Wilkes Booth bobblehead on EBay; seriously, the guy who killed Abraham Lincoln has his own bobblehead. Why?

5) Juan Encarnacion hit three homers for the Blue Jays, so Toronto being a hockey city, fans threw hats on the field to commemorate his "hat trick". He drove in nine runs for Toronto, which leads the AL East by 1.5 games.

Toronto's lineup is so loaded that they have received only seven intentional walks the entire season. Paul Goldschmidt has been walked intentionally 24 times this year.

4) Red Sox interim managet Torey Lovullo must have had an interesting childhood; his dad was a producer on the old country music/humor show Hee Haw.

3) Tennis great John McEnroe threw out the first ball before the Mets game; tennis US Open starts Monday. Luckily McEnroe's pitch was pretty good, or else lot of New Yorkers would've yelled "You cannot be serious!!!" at him, like he used to yell at all the linesmen who made calls against him in his playing days

2) Michael Vick's first play for the Steelers was a 62-yard completion. Interesting.

1) This was our last quiet Saturday until April; college football starts Thursday and that'll be great fun. Make sure you log in here for analysis of college/pro football every week and then the NHL when that starts in early October, as well as all the baseball every day from now until the end of the World Series.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) Red Sox 6, Mets 4 (10)-- Weird game; catcher Blake Swihart hit an inside-park HR in 10th inning for go-ahead run, but ball appeared to hit over the CF fence and probably would've been called a homer had Swihart been thrown out at the plate. Boston pitchers walked 12 guys but still won; that doesn't happen much.

12) Swihart is 28th catcher to hit an inside-the-park homer (only Dan Wilson and Gary Carter have hit two) and Swihart is the only catcher to hit one in extra innings. 

There have been 16 other extra-innings inside-the-park homers since 1973 with Angel Pagan's walk-off against the Rockies being the most recent in 2013.

11) Big week for the Ross family in Washington this week; Tyson Ross won for the Padres Wednesday, then younger brother Joe won for the Nationals the next night.

10) Seattle Mariners fired GM Jack Zduriencik this week; manager Lloyd McClendon won't be too far behind him. Mariners' payroll this year is $123,225,843- this team should not be under .500.

9) Pirates won Francisco Liriano's last 11 starts; he also had a start in there that was rained out in the second inning. Blue Jays won RA Dickey's last seven starts.

8) Looks like Jeremy Maclin is going to help solve the Chiefs' WR issues; no WR caught a TD pass for the Chiefs LY, which is hard to believe but is true.

7) Speaking of the Chiefs, their OC Doug Pederson is the answer to a trivia question. He was the winning QB in the game when Don Shula became the NFL's all-time winningest coach, relieving Scott Mitchell in a 1993 game Miami won 19-14.

6) Watched an interesting special about former Batman star Adam West getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this week; Batman was a big TV hit from 1966-69 that has been made into several movies in recent years. West's career slumped after that but thanks to doing voiceovers on animated shows, he made a big comeback and it was good to see him get honored like that. When I was a kid, I loved watching Batman

5) Big day in Saratoga today; American Pharoah is running in the Travers; going to be a huge crowd and a lot of fun. Was at a birthday party at Saratoga National golf course last night (what a great place!!!); this is Saratoga's best weekend of the summer.

4) NFL coaches go for it on 4th down a lot in preseason because it creates situations you can't re-create in practice; once the regular games start, 95% of coaches will go back into their conservative shells and kick the ball all the time.

Teams don't hit much in practice anymore, so short yardage situations are important for coaches in the exhibition games.

3) If any NFL preseason games are worth watching, it is this week's games; starters get more time than in any other preseason week. Next week's games will be awful, as teams focus on finalizing their roster and preparing for their Week 1 openers, all of which will be analyzed on the NFL page of this very excellent website soon.

2) Jon Lester's last six starts were all at Wrigley Field; tonight at Dodger Stadium he makes his first road start since July 18.

1) Interesting college football game on ESPN at 3:30 today; North Dakota State at Montana, I think Brent Musburger (a Montana native) is on the call. State has an NFL prospect at QB, Montana has a coach who has pioneered a lot of the spread offense we see in bigtime college ball today. This game is well worth watching.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Texas Rangers' TV analyst (former GM) Tom Grieve was pleading with fans not to reach for broken bats that fly into the stands, since they could get hurt. Grieve will be happy to learn the Phillies will be the first team to extend netting behind home plate to beyond the dugouts down each line. Someone was going to get hurt badly otherwise.

12) Grieve was saying that it was foolish to reach for a broken bat "since it is worthless and can hurt you". Well, those broken bats that don't fly into the stands find their way into the team's gift shop, where they get sold for at least $100 each. Not worthless.

11) Also in Philadelphia, a young boy had a double hand transplant; was cool seeing his face as he used his new hands (with casts on) for the first time. Imagine being the surgeon who gives a little kid the use of hands? Must be an excellent feeling.

10) Curt Schilling has apparently been suspended by ESPN for a controversial tweet earlier this week. So much for freedom of speech, it doesn't exist too much anymore. Who gives a rat's ass what Schilling says about anything? He has the right to express any beliefs he has, even if they're offensive. Thats what America is all about, at least that is what it is supposed to be about..

9) White Sox are 60-66, a disappointing team, but they're 26-15 in games where the winning run scores from the 7th inning on. Not sure if that pins the blame on starting pitchers, or on the starting lineup not hitting well early in games. It kind of gets manager Robin Ventura off the hook a little bit, since he fares well in close games.

8) White Sox wore 1976 throwback uniforms last night, the white jerseys with dark blue lettering and collars. Yes, collars. I actually thought they were kind of sharp.

7) Lot of rumors that Cavaliers may hold Kyrie Irving (broken kneecap) out until after Christmas; he hurt his knee in the first game of the NBA Finals. Would be a big loss for Cleveland. Irving seems to get hurt a lot.

6) HBO's Hard Knocks should be very interesting next week; three days after Brian Hoyer was named Houston's starting QB, backup Ryan Mallett missed practice, and the team said "he overselpt", to which I call BS. NFL quarterbacks do not oversleep, because teams have employees who would wake them up. He is mad because he isn't the starter and now the team has a problem on its hands.

5) Not sure why I thought of this today but I did; in 1987, I went to a Cardinal-Met doubleheader at Shea Stadium; our seats were good, second level just to first base side of home plate.

Early in the first game, Mets SS Kevin Elster hits a foul ball and the guy three seats to my left catches the ball. No big deal, but next time Elster comes up, same pitcher on mound, Elster hits another foul ball, right to the same guy sitting three seats to my left.. What are the odds of that?

4) Reliever Steve Cishek pitched in 32 games for Miami this year, putting 51 men on base in 32 IP, 19 of whom scored, so the Marlins traded him to first-place St Louis, where he has pitched in 13 games, putting 13 men on base in 11.1 IP, only one of whom scored. Why do guys play better for one team than another? Is it explainable?

3) Long time ago, there used to be a gameshow called Password, where one partner would give word clues to his partner, trying to get him/her to say the "password". When I heard about the Derrick Rose he says/she says rape debacle yesterday, the first thing that came into my head was something like this........

"Allen, players, you at home....the password is........'extortion'"

2) In order for players to be playoff eligible, they have to be on their team's 40-man roster before the calendar turns to September, so we figure to see some deals made between now and Monday night. Fernando Rodney was dealt to the Cubs last night, in one of the first trades like that-- there figure to be more.

1) Now there are rumors that the Redskins' offensive line doesn't like Robert Griffin III and that he didn't have a concussion two weeks ago, they were just using it as an excuse so he didn't have to talk to the press. How can they ever play him now? This is a complete disaster; what other team would be stupid enough to trade for him?

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Tremendous tragedy in Virginia yesterday, where two news reporters were shot to death on live TV by a disgruntled former employee. Our thoughts and prayers go out to he families of the victims. You just never know in this world.

12) For some reason, the New York Daily News put out a front page cover of the shooter murdering one of his victims with the headline "EXECUTED ON LIVE TV". There was outrage on social media about the callousness of the headline/picture; not sure if it was pulled for the later editions or not.

11) Related but unimportant note: USA Network has a program called Mr Robot, which has a somewhat bizarre story line, part of which included a shooting incident much like the one in Virginia yesterday. As a result, the network didn't air that episode last night and will air it next Wednesday instead.

10) Nationals' OF Reed Johnson was on an injury rehab assignment, until he pulled an oblique muscle while sneezing last night and no, I'm not making that up.

9) Yoenis Cespedes for the Mets: .311 with 21 RBI in 23 games. Next question will be: Who will give him a longterm contract this winter? He's been on four teams in the last 13 months. No one seems too anxious to sign him long-term.

8) Texas walked Jose Bautista the first four times he was up last night; he scored twice and Toronto won easily 12-4. Blue Jays look like a slow pitch softball team on their good days and they've had a few of those in the last week.

7) Then there are my A's, having a dismal season; I looked it up and they have Billy Butler signed for two more years at $11.67M per year. I seriously want to puke. He is a fat guy with no power who can't run and doesn't play in the field. Awesome.

6) Speaking of puking, HBO's Hard Knocks showed Houston LB Brian Cushing barfing four times in about 45 seconds during a practice last week. One of the ballboys came over, sprayed some water on it and things went on as normal.

5) Colorado's DJ LaMahieu became the first Rockie ever to bat in all nine spots in the batting order in one season last night. He is hitting .311 with a .369 OB% and is an underrated player, even though he plays half his games in hitter-happy Denver.

4) If you play fantasy football, keep in mind the San Diego Chargers dropped back to pass on 68% of plays inside their opponents' 10-yard line LY, most in the NFL.

3) Justin Verlander came within three outs of his 3rd career no-hitter; only five pitchers have thrown more than two no-hitters. Chris Iannetta hit a double in the 9th inning, but Verlander still blanked the Angels 5-0.

2) Lebron James sold his house in Miami recently for $13.4M, so he has some extra change to throw around this week. What could be in a house to make it worth $13.4M?

1) Bobby Hurley got out of Buffalo just in time; school tossed the Bulls' best player (Justin Moss) after this second brush with a robbery charge. Kid was MAC Player of the Year last year; doubtful an NBA team would sign him right away, not even sure if he is eligible to sign with an NBA team. Incredibly dumb career move.

Wednesday's List of 13: Hump Day Happenings.........
13) My high school Chemistry teacher used to use a word: "nonsensical". He used it when he was annoyed or amazed by the stupidity of people, usually one of us back then. These days, he probably uses the word a lot.

Boston Red Sox fired their TV play-by-play guy this week. Don Orsillo has been the TV voice of the Red Sox for 15 years (his first game was Hideo Nomo's no-hitter). He is smart, funny and once had to endure 26 different partners in one season when his usual partner had some personal problems. He works playoff games for TBS, that is how good an announcer he is. Firing him is 100% nonsensical.

12) Red Sox TV ratings are down because the team on the field sucks and people are mainly frontrunners. Orsillo will land on his feet because he is very good at what he does, but office politics are hideous and this is a prime example of that.

11) Jeb Bush's wife is Mexican-American; Mr Bush can speak Spanish, which he did at an event near the Texas/Mexico border earlier this week. Of course, Donald Trump is making fun of him for it. If somehow Trump becomes President, the main question will be whether we get in a war with another country before a Civil War starts here.

10) Sign of the times: apparently Jeb Bush lost 40 pounds recently, in an attempt to look more telegenic for the campaign. It is sad that something like that matters.

9) Pro wrestler Jon Cena is first athlete to grant 500 requests for the Make-a-Wish program; he played football at Springfield College and is very, very generous with his time for charity. Not sure why Jon Stewart hit him with a chair last week, but Cena got his revenge at Summer Slam, so its all good. :-)

8) Mets #1-7 hitters all hit home runs Monday night, the first time that has ever been done in a major league game- they're 5.5 games up on Washington in NL East.

7) Basketball guru Howard Garkinkel has a coaching clinic here in the Albany area on September 19 at Shenendehowa HS. Sean Miller, Jay Wright, Tom Thibodeau, Jim Calhoun are among the speakers. Lot of knowledge in that group.

6) Doing college football prep this month, I laughed looking at a Washington State-Cal boxscore from LY. Cal won 60-59, but Wazzu passed for 734 yards and ran for 78 more, and they still lost!!!! Yikes. Teams meet again in Berkeley October 3.

5) OL Evan Mathis turned down $5.5M from the Eagles and instead signs with Denver for $2.5M (plus another possible $1.5M in incentives). Peyton Manning is an immobile QB who needs a solid OL; he took a $4M pay cut after last season and that money is what Mathis is getting paid with.

4) Steelers signed Michael Vick as their backup QB; not sure what to say about this, other than Big Ben better not get hurt. Vick was stealing money with the Jets the last couple of years, even admitting his prep work wasn't what it should be. Oy.

3) One more Red Sox note: Apparently Hanley Ramirez will be a 1B next season, which shouldn't be too difficult for a former SS, but you watch him play and he just doesn't look like a guy who cares much about defense. He is on the books thru 2018 to the tune of $22.75M a year; they better find somewhere to hide him in the field.

2) Richard Pitino signs a contract extension at Minnesota thru the 2021 season; I'm wondering what the odds are that Pitino will still be there six years from now? If he wins at Minnesota, will he jump for greener (warmer) pastures and if he loses, well all the coaches who lose get fired. It is part of the job.

1) Watching HBO's Hard Knocks (a very well done show), I'm curious why coach Bill O'Brien left Penn State for the insecurity of the NFL. Bigtime college programs are pretty secure jobs, especially at Penn State, where they're rebuilding from the scandal that ended Joe Paterno's career. O'Brien seems like a good guy; was just wondering.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) I swear, Draft Kings might be advertising more on TV this month than the beer companies. Imagine if gambling on sports becomes legal; advertisers will run amuck.

12) Stock market lost 588 points Monday; they were down 1,069 at one point, but rallied before slipping again in the afternoon. Wild day for the money people.

11) Cubs and White Sox both played at home Monday; wonder how many people went to both games? Would be a fun thing to know.

10) Cubs now have 12 walkoff wins; White Sox-Pirates-Angels have 9, Cardinals 8.

9) Justin Bour of the Marlins was on TV Monday wearing a t-shirt that said "I want abs, but I want a doughnut more." My kind of guy.

8) Last three years in the NFL, a team that had been 2-14 the year before wound up with a winning season: Texans LY, Chiefs in '13, Colts in '12. Titans/Bucs both went thru last year 2-14-- can you envision either having a winning season this year?

7) Bucs 25, Bengals 11-- Jameis Winston looked alright, but he is not a mobile QB and he sprained his ankle when hit early in second quarter Monday. He jogged off the field at the end of the game. His first eight passes went to eight different receivers, which is a good thing, but Tampa Bay is also starting two rookies on the offensive line.

6) Odd fact: Last time an Alabama QB won an NFL game that counted was 1988.

5) A's 11, Mariners 5-- Solid comeback by the A's, who trailed 5-0, but disappointing day to be an A's fan-- they fired third base coach Mike Gallego, who had been part of the team for almost 20 years, as a player and coach. You do not fire family during the season, it is bad form. Gallego deserves much, much better than this.

4) Mentioned this in passing couple days ago but it bears repeating: when Milwaukee traded Carlos Gomez to Astros, he was leading major leagues, knocking in 21.3% of runners who were on base when he was at bat. With Houston, he's knocked in 3 of 44 runners; he came up with first/second and no outs last night, and they had him bunt.

You trade for a guy, bat him 4th or 5th, then three weeks later you have him bunting guys over with the game on the line. That not good.

3) Weird baseball night last night: Detroit led 5-0, Phillies led 7-2, Seattle led 5-0 but all three lost and none of the games were close at the end. Lot of bad relief pitching.

2) Phillies put veteran OF Jeff Francoeur on waivers, someone claimed him, then the Phillies pulled him back, meaning he won't be traded before the end of the season. Not sure why they wouldn't dump him for a prospect, but thats their business.

1) I finished reading the book about last year's Washington Nationals; learned a lot, but thought he book was too short, which I guess is a compliment of sorts. Apparently it started out as a 6-part magazine article, but grew into a book. Name of the book is "The Grind" if you like baseball, you'll find it interesting.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Guy named Daniel Rodriguez is returning punts for the Rams this summer; he won't make the team, but he has already earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star in the war in the Middle East and has written a book called Rise, about his experiences. When you have been in a war, returning punts probably isn't that big of a deal.

12) Davis Love III won the Greater Greensboro Open in 1992, then again in 2006; this weekend, at age 51, he won it again, the third-oldest guy to win a PGA event. Love is a North Carolina alum; he introduced Michael Jordan to golf way back when.

11) NHL didn't punt nets up between the rink and the stands until someone got hit by a puck and died; hopefully baseball will wise up and put nets up at least as far as the dugouts go. Balls, broken bats fly i the stands; someone is going to get killed.

10) Unintended consequence of instant replay in baseball; sliding has become much more important than it used to be. Used to be if the runner beat the ball, he was safe, simple as that; now if he comes off the base for a split-second, he will be called out, if the fielder keeps the glove on him throughout the slide.

9) Braves TV announcers were talking all weekend about how the Cubs tailored the dirt in front of home plate to suit that day's pitcher. Jason Hammel is pitching? Dirt is going to be soft, so ground balls stay in the infield. Dan Haren is pitching? Dirt will be hard; he gets mostly fly ball outs. It is called home field advantage.

8) As I type this, over 11,500 firefighters are fighting 15 wildfires all over the state of California. Firemen are tough guys; they do dangerous, unglamorous work.

7) Golfer Jason Gore's season was going to be over, but his 2nd place finish jumped him from 166th to 98th in the FedEx Cup standings, so he makes the playoffs.

6) Angels got pummeled by Toronto all weekend; you know a game is lost when the home announcers are talking about how they shot spitballs in grade school, when the game is still in only the fifth inning. Victor Rojas used the tubing of a Bic pen, rather than a straw. More durable, I guess.

5) Ohio State is the first-ever unanimous #1 team in the AP preseason football poll, and they have been doing this since 1950. Lot of pressure on the Buckeyes this season.

4) Florida State is going to be down this year in football; they almost have to be; they lost their QB, four of five starters on OL, had six other guys drafted by the NFL.

3) Chris Mullin is working hard on his recruiting; St John's landed 6-8 Kassoum Yakme who is considered an excellent defender. They're not sure if he'll be eligible this coming season or next year, but they are convinced he will help, once he is eligible.

2) Damaging weekend for the Orioles, losing four in a row at home to the Twins, who are now 7-0 against Baltimore this season. Orioles are only two games behind Texas in the Wild Card standings; those seven losses to the Twins really hurt.

1) If the baseball playoffs started Monday morning, teams would be:
NL-- Mets-Cardinals-Dodgers. Wild Card: Cubs @ Pirates
AL-- Blue Jays-Royals-Astros. Wild Card: Rangers @ Bronx.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) My #1 pet peeve with the NFL; teams don't have to suit up three QBs, so if they suit up two and one gets hurt early in a game, that ruins the quality of the game, since they cannot risk the #2 QB getting hurt. Happened tot he Texans couple of years ago and all they did the rest of the game was run the ball.

NFL teams are worth around $1B each; how about springing for a #3 QB?

12) This is going to happen in an NFL game this season, and I hope to God I'm in a casino when it does; Team A (-2.5) is down four points with 0:10 left- they score a TD with 0:03 left, go up two points, but instead of kicking the easy PAT to cover, they'll take a knee to guard against the PAT being blocked and run back for two points and a tie game. Hasn't happened in college ball, that I know of, but it will in the NFL.

11) Patriots 26, Saints 24-- New Orleans was up 21-0 in first half; they went for two three times, as both coaches managed the game like drunken sailors but since it was an exhibition game, no one cares. Just another reason not to bet exhibition games.

10) Pittsburgh Pirates are 52-19 in non-divisional games; if they keep up this pace, it would be the best winning %age in non-divisional games since 1969.

9) At the start of this season, ten of 30 MLB GMs either went to MIT, Amherst or an Ivy League school. Dave Dombrowski is really highly regarded-- he went to college at Western Michigan, a freakin' state school. How does he do his job every day?????

8) One aspect of new PAT rule; if there is a holding penalty on a PAT, it becomes a 43-yard attempt, which is anything but a gimme.

7) Johnny Cueto gave up seven runs in Fenway Park Friday night; you could almost see him mentally checking Boston off his list of potential free agent destinations.

6) White Sox 6, Mariners 3 (10)-- Seattle is unbelievably bad, considering its payroll this year is $123,225,843. Hawk Harrelson was thrashing their bullpen last night; the way he was talking, that came from the Mariners' TV/radio announcers.

5) In the 80's, Cubs had a backup catcher named Steve Swisher who hit nine homers at Wrigley Field; his son Nick has been a good major leaguer for over a decade-- he homered from both sides of the plate in the same game yesterday in Wrigley, but his Braves lost 9-7 to the Cubs, Atlanta's 21st loss in their last 23 road games.

4) Major leaguers who have come to the plate this season with the most runners on:
1) Carlos Santana, Clev-- 358
2) Todd Frazier, Cin-- 355
T3) Kendrys Morales, KC-- 346
T3) Eric Hosmer, KC-- 346

3) Major leaguers with 200+ PA who have driven in the highest %age of baserunners so far this season:
T1) Carlos Gomez (with Milwaukee), 21.3%
Gomez has knocked in 3 of 39 runners (7.7%) with the Astros.
T1) Chris Colabello, Tor, 21.3%
3) David Peralta, Ariz, 21.0%
4) Andrew McCutchen, Pitt, 20.7%
5) Caleb Joseph, Balt, 20.4%

2) How happy is CBS that Eldrick Woods is in contention in Greensboro today?

1) Wrigley Field is considered a national historical landmark; as a result, they're very limited to changes they can make to the structure itself. Ownership is doing its best to modernize Wrigley for players and fans alike, but it has been a slow process- they want to move the bullpens under the outfield bleachers and off the field, but they are being held up by the "historical landmark" stuff.

1a) Minnesota Vikings' play-by-play guy was brutal on kicker Blair Walsh last night; Walsh just signed a new contract and a bad night last night- the TV guy kept talking about it like his son wanted a tryout to take the guy's place. A little odd.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) Las Vegas sportsbooks took $1.8B in action on college/pro football LY, with a profit of roughly $114M, thats million, with an M. You've got to believe politicians see those numbers and will find a way to make sports gambling legal soon.

12) Cubs play lot of home games at night now, but they're still not allowed to play Friday night home games, unless they're in the postseason.

11) Braves are now 2-20 in their last 22 road games- if they knew how dismal the Nationals would be this year, think they still would've traded Craig Kimbrel?

10) Major league ballplayers make $95 a day in meal money when they're on road.

9) Madison Bumgarner hit his 5th homer last night; if he played for the A's, he might DH when he doesn't pitch. Oakland DH Billy Butler has nine HRs in 410 ABs. Bumgarner has five HRs in 59 ABs. Oy.

8) Bumgarner is first MLB pitcher with 5+ homers in a season since 2006, when Carlos Zambrano hit six for the Cubs.

7) Trouble for the Seattle Mariners; not only are they 56-66, Felix Hernandez has now given up 50 hits in his last 28.2 IP. Rumors are flying that he is hurt.

6) Astros 3, Dodgers 0-- Mike Fiers threw a 134-pitch no-hitter, fifth this year in the majors; he threw 60 pitches in the first three innings. Dodgers have now lost nine of their last eleven road games. 134 pitches is most thrown by any pitcher in a game this season-- Cole Hamels threw 129 in his no-hitter July 25.

5) Speaking of no-hitters, Chris Heston threw one for the Giants in June-- he got sent down to AAA yesterday. Fame can be fleeting.

4) I'm reading a book right now about Washington Nationals and all different aspects of their team-- lot of interesting stuff, ranging from the equipment guys to scouts, to players' wives and of course the players. I'm about halfway done with it, will report back when I finish it-- not used to reading books with no pictures.

3) Washington Huskies' basketball team signed a top 25 recruit from the Class of 2016, beating Arizona/Louisville in the process. Markelle Fultz played JV ball in 10th grade, but LY was Player of the Year in the Washington DC area, so thats a big coup for the Huskies and coach Lorenzo Romar, who has had a couple down years in a row.

2) Freshman QB Ricky Town originally committed to Alabama, then switched to USC, left high school a semester early to enroll at USC, but then transferred out last month and is now headed to Arkansas-- hopefully he'll stay there for a while and have fun.

About ten years a go a QB named Mitch Mustain played one year at Arkansas, then transferred to USC, so now the Razorbacks poach a QB from the Trojans.

1) Mets are skipping Matt Harvey's start in Denver Sunday; coming off of surgery, he needs to have his innings limited, especially since it looks like the Mets are headed to the postseason, where he could make 4-5 more starts, but it also looks like the pitcher is being coddled by being allowed to skip a start n Denver, the best hitters' park in the majors (Friday's game was 14-9).

Why not skip him against the Red Sox, an AL team, in his next start?

Friday's List of 13: Some knowledge with weekend here.....
13) If the Denver Broncos started their season today, three (LT-LG-C) of their five starting offensive linemen would be playing in their first NFL game. That not good, especially with an immobile quarterback.

12) ESPN had cameras in the pylons on the goal line for last night's NFL game; gives you some unusual looks at the game. Wonder how much it'll effect replay decisions?

11) Cross Kelvin Benjamin off your fantasy football lists; he tore his ACL, is out for the year. Will the Panthers sign Reggie Wayne to replace him? They say no, but Carolina has a lot of $$$$ invested in Cam Newton-- he needs some help.

10) Why are the Colts letting Chuck Pagano coach this season as a lame duck? It really makes very little sense; if they like him, sign him long term. If they don't like him, they should've fired him last winter and moved on.

9) Morning Joe is a mostly political show at 6am on MSNBC; they opened their show one day this week with clips from several football movies:

Friday Night Lights, The Program, Rudy, Varsity Blues, Any Given Sunday, etc.....I had no idea what they were doing, until they then showed Presidential candidate Marco Rubio playing catch on the campaign trail and drilling some little kid in the face with a pass. Quality stuff. Rubio seems like a good guy; not sure he has a chance.

8) If the border with Mexico is such a problem, how come no one talks about the border with Canada? Wouldn't the same problems exist there?

7) Greedy bastard update: Went to Saratoga racetrack Thursday to visit with some friends; they charge $5 for a 20-ounce Coke, $5.25 for a mediocre Sabrett hot dog. Now you can also rent a chair for only $5, if you can't get a picnic table- thats a good price. If you go to the track, its a fun day, just bring your own food or eat before you go.

6) Texas Rangers' manager Jeff Banister had bone cancer in his ankle when he was in high school and almost had his leg amputated. He needed seven operations on his left leg and ankle as a teenager, then broke three vertebrae in his neck in junior college and was paralyzed for ten days. Obviously, Banister is a tough human.

Despite that, he made the major leagues and singled in his only MLB at-bat, against a pretty good pitcher (Dan Petry) on July 23, 1991. His manager in AAA that year was current Mets' manager Terry Collins.

5) Phillies saved $2M by unloading Chase Utley on Dodgers; when we talk about baseball, $2M doesn't sound like much money, but you have to sell a lot of souvenirs and hot dogs to make $2M. It is about time the Phillies cleaned house, anyway.

4) Utley's acquisition puts the Dodger payroll right around $307M, over $80M of which is dead money (guys no longer with the Dodgers). LA DFA'd Alberto Callaspo to make room for Utley on the 40-man roster- they have ten days to trade him or he can become a free agent or go play for their AAA team.

3) Speaking of the Dodgers, they hardly ever shift when Clayton Kershaw pitches; some pitchers get really ticked off with defensive shifts, and apparently the Dodgers defer to Kershaw's wishes and play pretty much straight up. When a guy gets paid around $1M per start, you have to let him dictate his environment.

2) I enjoy listening to Marlins' broadcasts, but their orgranization is dysfunctional so now the announcers often wind up talking about nonsense a lot of the time, just to be entertaining-- it is too depressing to talk about their team. My new favorite guys to listen to are the Angels' announcers, Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza-- they're both good natured, they talk about the game while also having a good time.

1) Diamondback fans get free tacos when Arizona scores 5+ runs at home; the cost of baseball inflation in high altitude-- Colorado fans don't get free tacos unless Rockies score 7+ runs. Apparently high altitude is worth 40% in the taco world.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) Baseball is fascinating because at the end of close games, key decisions can be the difference between winning and losing. Astros TV announcers were shocked when the Rays pitched to Carlos Correa with first base open and two out last night, with winning run on second base-- Jed Lowrie was up next.

Correa won the game with a single to right, the Rays slipped another game behind in the Wild Card race and Tampa Bay manager Cash probably didn't sleep much last night.

12) Despite a 59-61 record, Rays are still only four games behind the Angels in the (sluggish) race for the second Wild Card spot. Lot of mediocrity in the AL.

11) Detroit pitcher Daniel Norris homered in his first MLB at-bat (off Jon Lester, no less) after he smashed a video board during batting practice. Detroit celebrated Miguel Cabrera's return to the lineup by scoring 25 runs in two wins at Wrigley Field.

10) Pedro Florimon got the game-winning triple for the Pirates in the 15th inning late Tuesday night; his reward? He got sent down to AAA Wednesday morning. Now this was probably a decision that had been made before Florimon's heroics, but still it seems terribly unfair. He figures to be back with the club when the rosters expand.

9) Ben Zobrist hit .266 in 67 games for the A's; he missed a bundle of games with a knee injury-- the guy is 34 and played on artificial turf in Tampa Bay for nine years, so a bad knee is not a huge surprise.

Since his trade to the Royals, Zorist is hitting .344 with 12 RBI, 11 runs scored in 17 games, which underlines a problem I have with the Moneyball Ivy League geniuses.

8) Zobrist is 34; has a wife and two kids. He is a free agent after this season, so not only did he know he will be living somewhere new next season he also knew that unless the A's contended this year, he was getting traded this July. Unsettling for a family man, so no way were the A's going to get maximum production from him.

Baseball players aren't robots or Strat-o-Matic cards; they're people with problems just like us, only their problems are mostly better problems, like which city will they have to live in when they make $5.7M a year (Zobrist's salary).

7) Same thing happened with Matt Holliday in '09; he hit .286 in 93 games for the A's, then when he was inevitably traded to St Louis, he hit .353 the rest of the year for the Cardinals. Ballplayers are people too; someone let the numbers guys know!!!!.

6) Mets are 1-8 in Noah Syndergaard's road starts; they scored four or less runs in all nine of those games.

5) Terrible baserunning in Cincinnati last night; Reds are down 3-2 in 5th innng, they have bases loaded and one out. Batter hits a pop-up between the mound and first base line, the infield fly is invoked, so the batter is out no matter what, as long as the ball is fair, which it was. When the Royals didn't catch the ball, chaos ensued.

Jason Bourgeois has been in the big leagues for parts of seven years, for a total of 276 games; he was the runner on third base. When the ball wasn't caught, he takes off for home plate, oblivious to the whole infield fly thing. He got tagged out easily.

Cincinnati TV announcers will criticize the home team when warranted, but this was such an awful mistake, they didn't know where to start, other than to say they had never seen that happen before. Baseball IQ is way down across the major leagues.

4) Once the Raiders have a home exhibition game, the outfield in the O.Co Coliseum gets extremely fast, almost like the old artificial turf. Anything in the gaps gets to the fence, from now until the end of the season. Cost the Dodgers a run yesterday.

3) Carlos Beltran has been in the big leagues since 1998; his first RBI came in a game against Cleveland, on a night when Dwight Gooden started for the Indians.

2) The greedy weasels at Steiner Sports collectibles are selling pictures of Wilmer Flores crying for $70 and up; is there no end to people's greed? Who would buy the picture of a guy crying, after he thought he was traded (he wasn't)?

1) Which reminds me of a story. Giants used to have training camp in Albany; friend of mine's son takes his stripper friend to practice, so players will come over to the fence and he can get some autographs. He wanted Eli Manning's autograph on a mini-helmet he had.

Eli comes to the fence and takes a black Sharpie out to sign the mini-helmet; the kid tries to hand him a silver Sharpie, so the signature shows up better on the Navy blue Giants' helmet, but Eli refuses to sign with the silver Sharpie. Apparently that is how he knows the difference between helmets he signs for free and ones he got paid to sign, by the pen that is used. You'd think he has better things to worry about.

Wednesday's List of 13: A heaping helping on Hump Day....
13) Red Sox fired GM Ben Cherington (no one quits these jobs) and hired former Tiger team president Dave Dombrowski to run baseball operations. Big change; just two years ago, Boston won the World Series. Now the GM is out and the manager is batting lymphoma. New GMs usually like to hire their own manager.

12) Odd fact: Cherington is married to ESPN's Wendi Nix, while Dombrowski is married to former ESPN anchor Karie Ross, undoubtedly the most attractive woman anchor ever employed by ESPN-- she came to ESPN right from being a cheerleader during the Barry Switzer era at Oklahoma.

11) Adderall is a drug that will get you suspended by baseball, but 100+ players have what is called a "therapeutic use exception" which I guess is like a prescription. Last night, Mets' analyst Keith Hernandez, who knows his way around drugs, called the exception "doctor shopping", referring to Chris Davis of the Orioles getting a doctor to sign off on his use after he was suspended for using Adderall last season.

10) Pirates 9, Arizona 8 (15)-- Francisco Cervelli not only caught all 15 innings in last night's game, he scored from first with winning run on Pedro Florimon's game-winning triple as the Pirates won another close game-- Pittsburgh relief pitchers have now won their last 17 decisions, a remarkable stretch of success.

9) Donald Trump on jury duty? Where is Court TV when we need it?

8) I'm a little late with this, but I finally saw the interesting special on Showtime about knuckleball pitchers, focusing mainly on RA Dickey and Tim Wakefield. Old-time knuckleball pitchers Phil Niekro, Charlie Hough are also in the film a little. If you like baseball, it is worth seeing.

7) Orel Hershiser was once the Rangers' pitching coach; it was he who suggested that RA Dickey become a full-time knuckleballer. Good move.

6) Tigers 10, Cubs 8-- First loss in 13 games for Chicago with Chris Coghlan batting third in the order.

5) Jordan Spieth threw out the first ball in Arlington last night; he is lefty and he appeared to be wearing cleats when he threw a strike from the mound. It was a big night for first pitches Tuesday; Zach Johnson threw a strike at Wrigley, but when the game was delayed by rain, he didn't stick around to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame (after midnight). He must've had an early tee time today.

Out in Anaheim Deandre Jordan of the Clippers threw a strike on his first pitch; imagine seeing a guy as big as Jordan staring at you from 60 feet away?

4) I like to go to Denny's for breakfast late at night, after I've updated this fine piece of Interweb real estate; anyway, I'm in there late Monday night and four young people come in and sit in the next booth. One guy has two plastic bags that look like they're filled with saline solution, like you'd find in a hospital.

But it isn't saline solution, it is water and there are little fish in each bag; not exactly sure where these geniuses got the fish, but instead of stopping at a store and buying a little container for the fish, they're carrying them around with them, displaying them on the table next to their food. Given that they were not exactly sober (the people, not the fish), I'm concerned the fish may not have survived the evening.

3) The beauty of baseball is that it is a daily grind, 162 games played over 182 days-- you have to be good most every day, not just one day a week. Weaknesses are fairly obvious when you have to play every day; it is why after six months, you have the best teams playing in the playoffs. You get there, you have earned it.

2) So Jared from Subway is pleading guilty to child porn charges; where exactly does this guy go for another job? I have a feeling he'll be making the rounds of hideous reality TV shows over the next few years.

1) Baseball movie trivia: Royce Clayton played 2,108 big league games in his 17-year career; he is also a part of baseball movie trivia.

Clayton was the actor who played Miguel Tejada in Moneyball, and was also the first batter former schoolteacher Jim Morris faced when he made the Devil Rays in 1999 as a rookie in his 30's. Morris' story was made into a rmovie called The Rookie, with Dennis Quaid playing Morris.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) The Indians are in Boston this week and Terry Francona manages the Indians; he was manager of the Red Sox when they won two World Series and John Farrell was his pitching coach- they are very good friends.

Farrell manages the Red Sox now, except he has lymphoma and has taken a leave from the club. His first chemo treatment is today; Francona is going with him.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of a great friend.

12) Did you ever hear of a law called escheatment?

I have a small savings account that I ignored for the last three years, just let the money sit there. Got a registered letter Monday; if I don't send a signed note back to the bank in 30 days, they're going to seize the money and give it to the state. Say what?

There is a law that if an account lays dormant for 3+ years, state can take the money. This also goes for people who die without having a will. Who made this law?

11) Don't give away your childhood: Kid named Ricky Town was a bigtime QB recruit; committed to Alabama first, then enrolled at USC a semester early, but now he has left USC and will go somewhere else, since he has seen the handwriting on the wall that the Trojans have better guys than him. It is a cruel world out there.

These top 25 schools stockpile talent; there is no waiver wire in college football. Back in 1980, Herschel Walker started the season as Georgia's #5 tailback- that didn't last long, but kids getting disgruntled and transferring is an unfortunate annual tradition.

Meanwhile, young Mr Town didn't have a senior year in high school to enjoy and that is a little sad. We all become adults fast enough; kids should enjoy being a kid. Rumors have Town headed to Florida, but he doesn't seem like a person you can depend on, and you really, really need to have a dependable quarterback..

10) Rhode Island/Cincinnati have both offered scholarships to a point guard who starts 10th grade this month. Recruiting is a fascinating, bizarre business.

9) Oakland Raiders have an assistant strength coach named Darryl Eto, who spent the last five years working for the NBA's Houston Rockets. Interesting career move.

8) Atlanta Falcons did zero live tackling before their first exhibition game against the Titans last week. None. As time goes on, teams hit less and less in practice-- paranoia about guys getting hurt is the reason why. Just can't afford injuries.

7) Danny White, Warren Moon and Mark Brunell were all very good NFL QB's; hell, Moon is in the Hall of Fame and helped Edmonton win six CFL titles before he came to the NFL, but these three QBs hold the record with ten playoff starts each, without any of them ever starting in a Super Bowl.

6) Atlanta Braves are 1-10 in Shelby Miller's last 11 starts, scoring a total of 15 runs in the 11 games. Miller couldn't even get a win Sunday when he had a no-hitter in the 8th inning. Atlanta did win that game in extra innings, though.

5) Greg Oden is still only 27 years old; he played half a year at Ohio State, jumped to the NBA, but has played in only 105 NBA games, 82 for Portland ('08-'10), then 23 more for Miami two years ago. Now he has signed to play for a pro team in China; will be very interesting to see how he does if he ever plays a full season.

4) Royals are running away with AL West and A's look stupid for having versatile Ben Zobrist for only a half-year before dealing him, but one of the guys they got from the Royals is pitcher Sean Manaea, who is 3-1, 2.84 in six starts in the AA Texas League, a hitter-happy league. Manaea has 38 strikeouts in 31 IP-- promising.

3) One thing that must be upgraded next year is Oakland's defense; one of the basic tenets of baseball is "strong defense up the middle". This hasn't changed,, no matter what the Ivy League geniuses tell you their algorithms say.

Marcus Semien has 31 errors this season; he is a horrible defensive shortstop and that is despite gradual improvement during the season. You cannot have a remedial program for players at the major league level- this has been a disaster.

2) Cardinals 2, Giants 1-- Game took 2:48 with veteran ump Bob Davidson behind the plate; it figured to be a fast game, since Davidson's last two games behind the dish lasted 14 and 16 innings. Davidson isn't a young man; that had to be tiring. Wish he had worked a game when we knew he was going to be behind the plate beforehand.

1) Jaguars-Bills are playing in London this year; one of sidebars of that game will be that one of the Jaguar assistant coaches is Doug Marrone, who spent the last two years as the Buffalo head coach, going 15-17. Think that game means extra to him?

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Stat of the Day: Mets finish the season 0-13 against the Cubs/Pirates. It looks like the Mets will win the NL East, while Cubs/Pirates will have to play a play-in game in October just to get into the regular playoffs.

12) Pittsburgh relief pitchers have now won 16 straight decisions; they're 17-4 in last 21 games where winning run scored after the sixth inning, after being 3-12 in first 15 such games this season.

11) Saturday night in Denver, Justin Upton got mad and threw his helmet in the San Diego dugout; he missed what he was aiming at and the helmet hit Yonder Alonso in the head, knocking him out of the game. Alonso didn't play Sunday, but a lefty was on hill for Colorado, so he might not have played anyway. Upton played Sunday.

10) "If you're not first, you're last." Wen a pro golfer says that, you know he's really rich already. Jordan Spieth said that earlier this week; well, he made $1.1M when he finished second last night. Last place was $17,300. Uh huh.

9) Rams are staying in California for the early part of this week, practicing against the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard- they lost in Oakland Friday, play Jeff Fisher's old team the Titans on national TV Sunday night.

8) Do people really wake up at 9am on Sunday mornings to watch NFL pregame shows? Really? Can't remember the last time I saw 9am on a Sunday.

7) Sharpest woman in sports TV is Jody Jackson, who works in Phoenix, doing Diamondback pre/post-game shows. She knows her stuff, seems like a nice person who is respected by coaches-- she asks good questions.

6) If Ollie shot free throws underhanded in Hoosiers, why can't Dwight Howard?

5) Chargers signed Philip Rivers to a 4-year extension worth $65M or so, with little more than half of it guaranteed; that solves one of two big questions for San Diego, the other being where will they call home after this season? .

4) They showed Back to the Future after the Dodger game Saturday night in Chavez Ravine; Lea Thompson threw out the first ball before the game.

3) If Cardinal coach Bruce Arians can turn Logan Thomas into an NFL QB, they should send him over to the Middle East next to fix that mess. Thomas looks like he should be a bigtime QB, but he has never played like one, not even in college.

2) Jimmy Garoppolo threw 30 passes for New England Thursday night; wonder what the record is for most passes thrown by a QB in an exhibition game?

1) How committed are the Nationals to Matt Williams as manager? They look like a dead team, a team that sags as soon as something bad happens. They're not out of the NL East race yet, but they've lost six in a row and need a bolt of energy. Fast.

Sunday's List of 13: Things I think, things I don't think......
13) I don't think Eldrick Woods enjoys playing competitive golf anymore.

12) I think the NFL season should be: two preseason games, 18 in regular season, with the Super Bowl Sunday night of Presidents Day weekend. Then the Daytona 500 could be Saturday night and it is the best sports weekend of the year.

11) I think 95% of sports bars don't have a clue; place near my house Saturday afternoon had no golf, no NFL Network on. they have boxing, Little League and a freakin' talk show on. Stupid. Graney's on New Scotland Ave is still the best sports bar in this area and thats not counting the very attractive bartenders they have.

10) I don't think Little League games should be on national TV. Ever.

9) I think at some point, John Elway is going to realize that John Fox is a better coach than Gary Kubiak. Fox got to a Super Bowl with Jake freakin' Delhomme at QB. Now I know Elway and Kubiak are buddies from their playing days, but still......

8) I don't think anyone named Clinton or Bush should run for President next year. It is clear people are dissatisfied with our government; thats how a crackpot like Donald Trump leads a lot of polls. Anyone different is better than the status quo.

7) I think the designated hitter has its place: spring training and All-Star Games.

6) I still can't believe Kansas hired Charlie Weis as its football coach and is still paying him; not only that, Notre Dame is also still paying this fraud of a coach.

5) I think HBO's Hard Knocks would be the best show on TV if it carried thru an entire regular season; the stuff we don't see when the emotions run highest, during the regular season. Coaches' meetings might be the best part of it all.

4) I don't think Seattle's Lloyd McClendon should be a major league manager.

3) Now that I'm retired, I am amazed how terrible weekday daytime television is; awful talk shows, idiots getting paid huge money to provoke controversy. If not for all the CSI/NCIS/Law and Order reruns, it would be even worse. Game shows need to make a comeback-- daytime TV was better when I was a kid. Game shows are fun.

Side note: as I am typing this, White Sox are losing to the Cubs again: they just gave away a run on a throwing error. Hawk Harrelson's analysis: "You've got to be bleepin' me". Good stuff. He actually said "bleepin'"

2) I don't think we're as creative a culture as we used to be; reality TV is 95% crap, and that might be a low figure. The most entertaining stuff on TV is CNN and the real life shenanigans that happen in Washington DC. Now THAT is quality reality TV.

1) I think of the 32 current NFL head coaches, only ones who are getting in the Hall of Fame are Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) Get well soon, John Farrell. Manager of the Red Sox has Stage One lymphoma, will be away from the team for the rest of the season. Our prayers are with you.

12) 7,444 games, thats how many games the San Diego Padres played before one of their players hit for the cycle. Matt Kemp did it Friday night in Denver, leaving Miami as the only major league team that has never had a player hit for the cycle.

11) Green Bay Packers have only three players who played for another NFL team; every other NFL team has at least 16 of those guys.

10) Was looking forward to watching a replay of the Rams-Raiders game last night, but then I get the Raiders announcers, one of whom is Matt Millen, who is my least favorite football announcer. Wound up muting it and just watching.

9) Blue Jays have sold roughly 500,000 tickets since acquiring Troy Tulowitzki.

8) Golf is hard: Adam Scott got an 8 on a par-3 Friday.

7) White Sox aren't very good this year (54-59) but they're 10-3 in extra innings.

6) Carlos Gomez has been bad since joining the Astros, hasn't hit a lick; he strikes out last night and tries to snap the bat over his leg, finally doing it on his third try.

Astros' play-by-play guy asks the analyst if he ever tried to snap a bat over his leg and got this reply: "Once, when I was seven." Guess they don't like Gomez too much.

5) Eldrick Woods is playing the Greater Greensboro Open next week; he has never played in this event before. He even played in the BC Open once, before he was a big shot. When things start going downhill, it is very tough to turn things around.

4) Cincinnati Reds' last 17 games were all started by rookie pitchers; they've had 62 games started by rookie pitchers this year. Apparently, they're rebuilding.

3) Last night's starter was John Lamb, whose grandfather was the PA announcer at Dodger Stadium from 1962-82. He was also PA announcer at the LA Coliseum.

2) In Michael Jordan's first three months as a Nike employee in the early 80's, Nike sold $70M worth of Air Jordan I sneakers. $70M worth of sneakers!!!!

1) Chase Utley was 4-5 last night, is now 11 for his last 22; Phillies have to trade him- they could get a decent prospect back for him.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Washington Nationals are 55-53 and fading fast, 4.5 games behind the Mets and hopelessly out of the Wild Card race. They have three more games with the Giants this weekend; in the immortal words of Micheal Ray Richardson: "The ship be sinkin'".

12) Mets were three games out of first place two weeks ago, when they made the Cespedes trade- they've made up 7.5 games in fourteen days.

11) I was reading Thursday where Elvis Presley was fond of peanut butter and banana sandwiches; I'm trying to envision what they taste like. I like bananas and I love peanut butter but the thought of the two of them together is not making me hungry.

10) Former big league pitcher Tony Cloninger turned 75 this week; he set a record that may never be broken, a pitcher hitting two grand slams in the same game, back in 1966. Hard enough for a regular player to do it; it has only been done 13 times, last time by Josh Willingham in 2009.

9) My A's have a had a cruddy season and it got worse Thursday; Sonny Gray got scratched from his start, then the A's lost a double via a replay review on a play that never should've been reviewed. Thats the way it is for losing teams; they get hosed. This replay review was on the second pitch of the game, bad way to start the day.

8) Twins announcers swear that the ball is carrying better this season at Target Field; Don Mattingly was saying how the ball is carrying better in his home park this year. Maybe the baseballs are just juiced this year; anyone think of that?

7) Blue Jays are first team since the '77 Royals to have two winning streaks of 11+ games in the same season. When you have a great lineup, the pitchers do better, since they know they don't have to be perfect to win.

6) QB Vernon Adams is finally eligible to play football at Oregon; he passed his last Math test Thursday, after he transferred from I-AA Eastern Washington. Funny thing is, Oregon's first game is against EWU and the Eagles were not going to welcome Adams back to their team had he failed that Math class this week.

Eastern Washington lost 59-52 at Washington LY; Adams passed for 475 yards. They lost their I-AA playoff game 59-46. He is seen as a pro prospect.

5) Labor Day is late this year, so the NFL regular season ends on January 3rd; with Christmas on a Friday and Week 16 on the 27th, there will be six bowl games on that Saturday, the 26th. Not a lot of time for anyone to return their Christmas gifts.

4) Golfer Sang-Moon Bae has to leave the golf tour this fall to serve in the Korean military for two years.

3) I saw Jason Dufner on TV yesterday, only I had no idea it was him; he has lost a lot of weight and he cut his hair short. Didn't recognize him at all.

2) Jets went down meekly, 23-3 in Detroit last night; they're stuck right now with rookie Bryce Petty having to play a lot- they can't risk losing Ryan Fitzpatrick to an injury and they don't have a #3 QB who is ready to play right now. Supposedly they are going to sign Tyler Thigpen soon; he already knows the offense.

Personnel advice: the Browns #4 QB is Thad Lewis, who once played for the Rams. Jets should trade for him as soon as humanly poissible; he isn't bad.

1) I don't care one way or the other about the Redskins, but if I was a Redskins fan, I'd sure as hell prefer Kirk Cousins over RGIII at QB. He moves the team better.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Major leagues went to 30 teams in 1998; since then, Tuesday was first night ever with a 15-game schedule where the home team won all fifteen games.

12) Can't be fun pitching for the Red Sox; fat guy playing third, and when they play in NL parks, another fat guy playing first. Marlins scored ten runs in sixth inning with a mind-numbing succession of ground balls that went thru the Boston infield like fans go thru a turnstile on their way into an arena.

Don't change pitchers, put better athletes in the field!!!!

This is why I don't think DHs should get in the Hall of Fame; they're incapable of playing the field. Have the feeling David Ortiz will get in someday, though.

11) Marlins/Padres are only big league teams who have never had a player hit for the cycle. Padres have been around 1969 and had Dave Winfield/Tony Gwynn; you would think at some point, one of those guys would've gotten a cycle.

10) Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan is hedging on his retirement after this coming season; either he really doesn't want to retire, or he knows the guy he wants to replace him isn't going to get the job, so he'll retire at a time where they almost have to give the guy the job, like right before the season.

9) Hisashi Iwakuma pitched fourth no-hitter this season, blanking Baltimore 3-0; it was the first AL no-hitter since Felix Hernandez' perfect game in 2012.

8) Diamondbacks haven't been over .500 since they were 8-7 back in April; they lost to the Phillies Wednesday in their latest attempt to get over .500. Arizona is an improved team, but they're chasing the Dodgers/Giants and getting over .500 has been an issue for them.

7) NBA schedule came out yesterday; mercifully, Knciks aren't playing on Christmas Day this year. Five games spread out all day; Cavs-Warriors might be best game.

6) No team has more than 20 sets of back/back games: Pistons-Warriors-Rockets and the Clippers all have 20. They reduced the back/backs, like Commissioner Silver said they would do.

5) I don't think Little League games should be on national TV. Kids are too young; some little tyke makes an error to cost his town a national title and he has to live there for at least the next 6-7 years; he might wind up like Dennis Hopper in Hoosiers, in a strait jacket in a psych ward listening to his son's hoop games on the radio.

4) Bobby Hurley got out of Buffalo just in time; Justin Moss, Bulls' best returning player, is in trouble with the school (not the law) with regards to a burglary and might not play this season. Without Moss, the Bulls are screwed- he is very good..

3) 2016 is a leap year, which means February will have 29 days, not 28. Was looking up which famous people were born February 29-- Anthony Robbins was the most famous person I could find-- he is 55, but has had only 14 actual birthdays.

2) Big 14 football teams have been underdogs in 43 of their last 50 bowl games; they are 3-3-1 vs spread in the seven games they were favored to win. In both '12 and '14, all Big 14 teams were underdogs in their bowl games. An overrated league.

1) I do not advise wagering on NFL exhibition games; coaches really don't care who wins, they're more interested in looking at certain players in game situations.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random stuff on Hump Day.......
13) Get well soon to Flip Saunders of the Timberwolves, who is undergoing chemo for non-Hodgkins' Lymphoma, which he says is very treatable. We hope so.

I remember seeing his son play in an AAU tournament in Florida a few years ago; Saunders wasn't coaching, but at halftime, with the kids resting in a hallway away from the court, he was diagramming plays on a board for the kids and teaching them.

12) Rough year for John Farrell; not only do the Red Sox suck, on his off day in south Florida this week, he had hernia surgery. Ouch. Apparently he was at the game last night, as Boston's bullpen melted down again. Just a bad year. Get well soon.

11) Then there are the Jets; QB Geno Smith is out 6-10 weeks after a teammate, now an ex-teammate (they cut the guy) punched him because Smith wouldn't pay back a $600 debt. Things escalated, words became punches and now Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Jets' starting QB, which is an upgrade, in my opinion.

Two things crossed my mind after hearing this........
-- How long before the Patriots pick up the guy who punched Smith?
-- Baylor rookie Bryce Petty is not ready to play in the NFL, which is why it looks like Tyler Thigpen will be brought in to back up Fitzpatrick.

10) Washington Nationals are 35-24 when Denard Span bats leadoff this year, 23-30 when he does not and it doesn't look like he'll be back this season. Reading between the lines during a Washington TV broadcast, they're a sinking ship-- Bryce Harper is sitting out games with a sore knee in August? A definite red flag. .

9) Golf is an Olympic sport next August and it is screwing with the PGA Tour's schedule for 2016. British Open and PGA will sandwich the Canadian Open next July, and the tournament in Akron that is being played this week will be the same week as the French Open next year, meaning none of the European players will be there.

8) BYU is an independent in football, for some goofy reason; their schedule opens with these four games:

at Nebraska, Boise State at home, at UCLA, at Michigan. Yikes. They probably do not lose a game after those four, but still, thats a rough September.

7) This is state of Purdue's football team: They're a 7-point underdog at Marshall in their season opener. Big 14 teams shouldn't be a TD underdog to the Thundering Herd.

6) Weird college football game Labor Day weekend: New Hampshire goes to San Jose to lose (and collect a check) from San Jose State, hardly a national power. It can not be easy to get to San Jose from the Granite State, which reminds me, why the hell did Chip Kelly stay at New Hampshire as an assistant coach for fifteen years????

5) Mets are now 45-7 when thy score 4+ runs, 16-45 when they do not.

4) Weird moment on Diamondback TV Monday, during a bad game Arizona was winning by a lot; the play-by-play guy wishes former D'back manager Al Pedrique a happy 55th birthday- Pedrique was the interim manager in 2004, after Arizona had fired Bob Brenly, who is now the analyst on Arizona TV broadcasts.

Brenly seemed genuinely surprised Pedrique was mentioned, then seemed annoyed by it all, telling a couple stories about that season, but because he is a good-natured guy, he wound up laughing it off, saying he got paid to stay home and barbecue for half of that season. Still, it was at least a little awkward in that booth for a few minutes.

3) Milwaukee shoved GM Doug Melvin out the door Tuesday, which is what will happen when your team is awful and everyone else gets fired-- you're next.

2) One last note about Geno Smith: he is on a 4-year contract that pays $5,019,063; he is supposedly the leader of the team. Stiffing a teammate out of $600 stinks. If I was the owner of the Jets, I'd cut both guys-- who wants a QB who aggravates a teammate so much he slugs him? Quarterbacks are supposed to be leaders, not instigators.

1) Why didn't I think of this? Philly Eagles fans are asking the Pope to bless Sam Bradford's knees before the NFL season starts. Good luck with that one.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) OK, I get it; Josh Donaldson might be AL MVP this season, after he was dealt from the A's to Toronto last winter. But I'm tired of hearing people ranting on and on about how stupid the A's were for trading him- its not true.

Oakland has financial restrictions because their cheap owner (5th-wealthiest owner in MLB) says they do, so while Donaldson is a bargain at $4.3M this year, he begins to break the bank next year, when his three arbitration years start. He'll be making a salary in 8-figure range beginning next year, unless his agent is a moron (doubt it).

To get any significant return on a trade, you have to trade the guy before he becomes a financial burden, so the A's dealt him last winter-- in return, they got:
-- Brett Lawrie 2B/3B-- He is no Donaldson but a decent everday big leaguer.
-- Kendall Graveman P-- Is 6-7, 3.90 in 18 MLB starts this year, isn't bad.
-- Sean Nolin, P-- Lefty starter who is currently hurt in AAA.
-- Franklin Barreto, SS-- Shortstop prospect who replaces Addison Russell in A's infield of future. He is doing pretty well in A ball but is currently hurt.

Did they break even on the trade? Probably not, but a team like the A's has to have solid starting pitching or they have zero chance and they got two starters in this deal, so while Donaldson is a big star, the reality is, the A's could no longer afford him.

12) We mentioned a place called the NoMad Hotel in NYC last week; place has a bar with a 2-story library and a restaurant-- turns out it is a little expensive, as in $385 if you stayed there last night, a Monday night. For one night. Yikes.

11) If you watch old episodes of CSI, you can see signs on the Las Vegas Strip of places that no longer exist, like the old Sahara hotel/casino, which is now SLS, where I stayed on my vacation last month. There is a Neon Graveyard in downtown Vegas, where they keep the old huge neon signs that light the strip. Its a cool place.

10) No one pays to see umpires do their job. No one. Going into Sunday's start against the Mets, Tampa's Chris Archer had walked nine batters in his previous seven starts, but he walked four Mets in the 2nd inning Sunday, because Woodring had a strike zone the size of a small napkin. Again, no one pays to watch the umpire work.

9) Surprising stat: Last year was first time in five years New England ranked higher than 25th in NFL in yards allowed. Less surprising stat: since 2007, Patriots are 14-5-1 vs spread when they're getting points.

8) There is a movie called Man from UNCLE coming out soon, the remake of an old TV show that ran from 1964-68, I think on NBC. Would've been nice if they found a spot for Robert Vaughn/David McCallum in the movie, the stars of the old TV show.

McCallum is still on TV; he is Dr Mallard on NCIS. Vaughn has been on Law and Order now and then the last few years.

7) Louisville plays Auburn in the Georgia Dome September 5; curious to see the reception Louisville coach Bobby Petrino gets, since he quit as coach of the Falcons before his first year ('07) was over-- he had a 3-10 record. Could be an icy reception.

6) Only 18 of 32 NFL head coaches played Division I-A college football.

5) Red Sox' Opening Day payroll this year was $184,345,996, third-highest in the major leagues. Captain Obvious called in: they're not getting their money's worth.

4) LSU sold out its football season tickets for 12th year in a row; if you're scoring at home, that is 74,350 season tickets a year for a dozen years.

3) As good a pitcher as Noah Syndergaard is, Mets are 1-7 in his road starts.

2) Modern baseball; When a ballplayer breaks a bat, it goes into the dugout where an authenticator puts a sticker on the bat, then it goes to the team store and is sold to a dumb person who buys broken bats. Seriously; whatever happened to giving broken bats to little kids?

Guy on SNY just said the bat Jose Reyes broke in the first inning Monday would sell for $500-600 in that team store. What jackass would pay $500 for a broken bat?

1) I read today that the Westgate SuperBook expects Ohio State to be a double digit favorite in every regular season game they play this season. Thats an indictment of the slowish Big 14 and of the Buckeyes' non-league schedule (Virginia Tech, Hawai'i and two MAC schools).

Monday's List of 13: NFL knowledge to start the week with.....
13) Since 2002, 65 teams have finished the season with a +10 or better turnover ratio; of those 65 teams, only six had a better record the next season than they did the year they had the good turnover ratio.

12) On average, teams win 2.55 games a year less the year after having such a good turnover ratio.

11) Only two teams since '02 have had a turnover ratio of 10+ or better and still had a losing season; the '03 49ers (+12) and '13 Buccaneers (+10)-- both teams finished 2-14 the following season. You have to be terrible to be +10 in turnovers and under .500.

10) 45 of the 65 teams had a turnover ratio that was 10+ turnovers worse the next season; you can make a case hat a great tunover ratio could make a team look a lot better than it actually was.

9) Denver Broncos have only two home games before November 1 this season.

8) There were 73 defensive TDs in the NFL LY, 19 kick/punt return TDs.

7) Arizona/Washington both got 44 first downs via penalty LY, most in NFL; Raiders got 19, Rams 20, least in the league.

Patriots allowed 45 first downs via penalty, most in NFL; Dolphins allowed 16, least in the league.

6) Last Buffalo Bills head coach to leave town with a winning record? Wade Phillips, who went 29-21 from 1998-2000.

5) Cincinnati Bengals went 116-192 from 1984-2002; since Marvin Lewis has been the Bengals' coach, they're 100-96-2, but fans are restless because Cincy hasn't won any playoff games the last few years. Be careful what you wish for.......if Lewis were to leave, things could easily get much worse.

4) Buffalo hosts the Bengals October 18 and the Texans December 6; in between, they have only one home game, plus two primetime road games and a London trip. NFL showing lot of faith in Rex Ryan, giving them two primetime games in November.

3) Last Detroit Lions' head coach (not an interim coach) who had a winning record? Joe Schmidt, way back in 1967-72-- he went 43-35-7-- lot of ties back then.

2) Houston Texans' assistant coach Pat O'Hara was a backup QB in college at USC, then spent the next 20 years in the Arena League, as both a player and a coach. This will be his first year in the NFL; would be an interesting feature by NFL Films to get his impressions during the season, as to how similar/different the experience is.

1) Chargers-Raiders at 5:30 on Christmas Eve; good thing I'm already divorced; games scheduled like that helped facilitate the process.

Sunday's List of 13: Random stuff on a summer day........
13) Why teams lose: top of 5th, White Sox trail 3-2 in Kansas City; Jose Abreu is up with men on first/second two out- the slow-running catcher is on second. They pick him off second, WITH JOSE ABREU UP!!! Awful, terrible baserunning.

Royals score four in bottom of 5th, then Abreu leads off the sixth inning with a solo home run, because that happens to losing teams after a runner gets picked off.

12) Very bad news for the Marlins: Jose Fernandez is back in Miami getting his shoulder checked. More bad news: Marcell Ozuna got pulled from his AAA game last night in New Orleans; impatient people like me thought he was getting called back to Miami, but turns out he was taken out because he sprained his wrist. Oy.

11) When the 49ers released troubled Aldon Smith, at least they saved $2.9M in cap room, small consolation. They've had a terrible offseason, for sure.

10) Since July 1, they've had over 32 inches of rain in Tampa Bay area, 8+ inches just in August- they don't have proper drainage to handle all that water. Not good.

9) Phillies have a catcher named Cameron Rupp; wonder if he is a college hoop fan, seeing as Duke plays home games in Cameron Indoor Stadium and Kentucky plays its home games in Rupp Arena. I'm just askin'....

8) Rams signed Nick Foles to a 2-year contract extension, so while I have no idea where the Rams will call home next year, I know who their QB will be and that is lot more important to me.

7) Want to win a bar bet? A guy named Tom Van Arsdale, who played in 929 NBA games over 12 seasons, scoring 14,232 points (15.3 ppg) has played in most NBA games without ever playing in a playoff game. His brother Dick also played in the NBA-- the twins were selected on consecutive picks in the 1965 Draft.

6) Pirates are 14-3 in last 17 home games; their bullpen got nine of those 14 wins.

5) Astros lost 13 of their last 15 road games; since acquiring Carlos Gomez, he is 9 for 35 and Jose Altuve is 9-37- they need to be better than that. Altuve has played in 17 games since his last walk and he is about four feet tall (5-5 or so really).

4) Rashad Muhammad, a Las Vegas kid whose brother played for UCLA and is now in the NBA, has transferred from San Jose State to Miami. Funny, I saw San Jose play a few times LY-- had no idea they had a player good enough to play in the ACC.

3) St Louis Cardinals look like a good bet to win the NL Central; that leaves six teams fighting for the four remaining playoff spots. Mets/Nationals and Dodgers/Giants are batting for division titles; the two losers will battle Pirates/Cubs for the two Wild Card slots-- two good teams are staying home in October.

2) Very nice ceremony in Arizona last night; they retired Randy Johnson's #51 and gave him a drum set just like the one the band Rush uses. Johnson spoke nicely, as he mentioned by name trainers, equipment guys and lot of teammates. Good to see.

1) Happy 80th birthday Lee Corso, one of the great characters in sports TV. I hope I am as sharp as he is when I turn 80; hell, I wish I was that sharp now.

Saturday's List of 13: Some Week 1 NFL knowledge.....
13) Cincinnati Bengals are favored at Oakland in Week 1, but they're 0-10 at the O.Co Coliseum and have covered once in their last six tries as a road favorite. They did win once in four tries against the Raiders when the Silver and Black played in LA.

12) Denver is 23-3 SU in its last 26 home openers, 10-4-1 vs spread in last 15.

11) Arizona Cardinals won eight of their last nine home openers.

10) Underdogs are 17-7 vs spread in Carolina road games the last three years.

10a) Dick Enberg just made an amazing Roller Derby reference in the 8th inning of the Phils-Padres game, mentioning that if a jammer put his/her hands on his/her hips, it automatically stopped the action. Who remembers that? Enberg is a gem!!!!

9) Home team won last seven Miami-Washington games.

8) Green Bay is 13-7 vs spread in last 20 tries as a divisional road favorite.

7) Seattle lost its first road game of the season in seven of last eight years.

6) Over last five regular seasons, over is 28-12 in New England home games.

5) Buffalo Bills covered ten of last 13 tries as a home underdog.

4) Since 2007, Jets are 18-27 vs spread as home favorites. Cleveland has been 1-0 once in the last sixteen years. Once.

3) Since 2012, Detroit Lions are 4-9 vs spread as a road underdog; they're 5-10 in last fifteen non-divisional road games.

2) Since 2011, Tampa Bay is 6-12 vs spread when favored; they're 5-11-2 in last 18 games when the spread was 3 or less points.

1) Since 2010, Dallas is 8-24 vs spread as a home favorite; they averaged 10.7 and 9.5 yards per pass attempt in their two games against the Giants last season.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Roughly 20 people running for President, but no bald men? How is that possible? There is a conspiracy in this country against baldness and it stinks. Hillary Cinton is running around with the Kardashians but will probably be the Democratic nomineee, yet a bald man can't even make it into a debate? Sad day to be an American.

12) No matter what you think of Donald Trump, I agree with him 1,000% on one thing; this country has become too damn politically correct. God forbid someone be offended by something, everyone has to walk on eggshells. We all have the freedom of speech, it is invaluable and the second we lose that, it'll be a very bad day.

Enough about politics, lets move on to the important stuff.........
11) DeSean Jackson screwed up his shoulder hitting a blocking sled; he'll be out for most of the preseason-- not good for the Redskins.

10) Dallas plays at Washington in a Monday night game December 7; if you're a Dallas coach, when you go to production meetings with the ESPN guys, how you can even talk to Jon Gruden? His brother coaches the Redskins!!!

9) Some very good matchups at Battle of Atlantis basketball tournament in November; Washington-Gonzaga and Texas A&M-Texas are couple of local rivalries that will get renewed a long way from home. UConn-Syracuse is a possible second day game.

8) Houston Astros are 13 games ahead of Oakland in the AL West, but if you look at the teams' records, you see that if every game ended after the 5th inning, Houston has a 46-44-20 record, Oakland 49-46-15.

That means the Astros gained 13.5 games on the A's in innings 6-9 and in extra innings, which underlines how brutal Oakland is in clutch situations, and how good Houston has been. Bullpen quality is a tenuous thing, but now the Astros have added Gomez and Correa and are the most talented they've been since the Bagwell/Biggio era.

7) St Louis Cardinals drafted pitcher Michael Wacha with the compensation pick they got for Albert Pujols signing with the Angels.

6) Cubs have a big decision coming up; where do they put Kyle Schwarber in the field? He probably hits too well to be a full-time catcher; those guys take a physical beating , which would diminish his offense. Left field looks like a good landing spot.

5) Brutal week for the Twins, who have lost five games in a row by a combined score of 30-13. they started the week holding one of the Wild Card spots, but didn't look at all playoff-worthy in their four-game beatdown in Toronto.

4) It is odd seeing the Tigers as non-contenders; they sold off guys at the deadline, they canned the GM, their owner is 85-- you wonder what is down the road for them.

3) Golfers get paid big bucks to switch equipment, but Keegan Bradley went back to his old driver Thursday and shot a 69, hitting 11 of 14 fairways. He hadn't used the old driver in more than two years.

2) Patriot fans have to stop whining about Roger Goodell; face it guys, they've been cheating for years and the league finally had enough. Be quiet, move on and hope the backup QB is good enough to go 2-2 or 3-1 in the first four games.

1) Thank you Jon Stewart, for helping show that people can laugh and think at the same time; his 16-year run on Comedy Central came to an end last night. Check out this clip with Stephen Colbert. Good stuff.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Beating a dead horse about instant replay: You look at the replay; is the call an obvious mistake? If yes, change the call. If not, the call stands. Its very simple.

12) I think about NFL pregame shows that I almost never watch and especially the one on ESPN-- former Cowboys exec Gil Brandt is still out there, very active. Wouldn't he be better TV guy than Keyshawn Johnson, who rarely says anything worthwhile?

Coaches/executives are usually better than ex-players; TV networks mostly ignore this.

11) NFL Network is very good during the day, showing camp from different teams every day. You at least get a feel for whats going on; not sure you get a lot of useful info for handicapping or fantasy, but it gets your mind working at least.

10) Indianapolis Colts have Frank Gore/Andre Johnson now; they're going to have one hell of an offense if those guys stay healthy. They were good last year.

9) Someone on TV was touting Sam Bradford as a "potentially great QB". I've rooted for Sam the last five years, during which time he went 18-30-1 as a starter and missed 31 of the 80 games he was supposed to play. His WRs in Philly aren't better than the ones he had in St Louis, though his tight ends are better now.

Bradford tried hard and seems like a good guy but if he turns into a great player after stealing $65M from the Rams the last five years, I'm going to projectile vomit.

8) Bills-Patriots on Monday Night Football in Week 11; someone in the NFL office has a lot of faith in Rex Ryan to keep Buffalo relevant until then.

7) Couple of New York Mets have good bloodlines; Michael Conforto's dad played linebacker at Penn State; Matt Harvey's dad played baseball/football at UConn. John Mayberry's dad was a big leaguer.

6) Kris Bryant damn near got a concussion sliding headfirst into second base the other night, so he is going to give up sliding headfirst. Instant replay has unintentionally put a new premium on correct sliding techniques- it needs to be practiced more.

5) Chris Kamka of Comcast/Chicago had a great nugget yesterday; Avasail Garcia of the White Sox is the first big leaguer since 1979 (Rodney Scott) to have both a walk-off walk and a walk-off hit by pitch in the same season.

4) Seattle's Nelson Cruz is hotter than hell; he is on a 15-game hitting streak and he hit a home run in ten of those fifteen games. Lot of teams missed the boat on him.

3) Indians utility guy Mike Aviles would be a semi-valuable trade chip because he can play all over, but his 4-year old daughter is very ill, so Cleveland promised not to trade him during the season, so the family wouldn't be further inconvenienced. That is a very classy move by the Indians. Some things are more important than winning.

2) College football starts four weeks from tonight; summer goes by too fast.

1) If you drew up an all-time Lakers' starting five and you don't have Jerry West on it, then you need to do it over until you get it right. You can put Earvin Johnson at any position but center, so put Kobe/West in backcourt, Magic at the 3, Wilt and Kareem up front, with Elgin Baylor and Shaq coming off the bench. There, that is settled.

Wednesday's List of 13: Pet peeves and other stuff........
13) Pet Peeve #1: I have Marcell Ozuna on my fantasy team and I'm hurting for good outfielders, since I also have Giancarlo Stnaton, who is hurt. Marlins sent Ozuna down to the minors July 5 and he is hitting .325 or so in AAA. Time to bring him back.

But no; Ozuna's agent is Scott Boras, who claims Miami is waiting until August 8 to bring him back, which will cost him a year on his arbitration clock, or something like that. As usual, the Marlins could care less about winning. They have that nice new stadium but they get their butts kicked year after year, so no one goes anyway.

12) Honesty in broadcasting: You don't get this much on local TV; when the Mets pulled ahead in the 8th inning last night, Marlins TV analyst Tommy Hutton blurted out "75% of the fans here are rooting for the Mets!!!" He didn't sound happy.

11) Pet Peeve #2: Utah Jazz got better last year, going 38-44, winning 13 more games than the year before, but yesterday, word came out that Dante Exum, who started half the Jazz' games LY and played 22 minutes a game, tore his ACL while playing in an international tournament for Australia. Awesome.

NBA teams pay their players millions of dollars, but are held hostage by these stupid summer tournamets-- the Pacers lost Paul George LY after he got hurt in a similar game at UNLV, which crippled Indiana's season. Do Utah fans get a rebate now? Exum isn't the player George was, but it hurts and now the Jazz will suffer for it.

10) If James Harden signs that $200M, 13-year deal with adidas, who would he be more loyal to, adidas or the Rockets? Houston paid him $14,728,844 LY; adidas will be playing him $15,384,615 a year. Playing in the summer gives the sneaker company lot more exposure and thats what they're looking for.

9) Pet Peeve #3-- This one made me smile, because it helped the A's. Smart people doing stupid things. A's led Baltimore 2-0, bottom of 6th, they've got a guy on 2nd and Eric Sogard is up, with Marcus Semien on deck. Buck Showalter is one of the best managers in baseball, the Orioles are so lucky to have im, but he walks Sogard to pitch to Semien. Let me repeat that-- he walked Eric Sogard on purpose. Thanks!!!!

Now Semien is no ARod, but he is a much better hitter than Sogard and he drilled a three-run homer that basically ended last night's Oakland win. Numbers are nice, but common sense is nicer. You never walk Eric Sogard on purpose, unless a pitcher is the next hitter. This was the case of a smart person making a dumb move.

Elsewhere in the world yesterday.........
8) Dave Dombrowski is out as GM of the Tigers, despite Detroit winning its division the last four years. His phone probably blew up about five minutes after word got out-- he will not be out of work very long, unless he wants to be.

This is very bad news for manager Brad Ausmus; GM's usually like to bring their own guys in to manage, especially when the uincumbent has been struggling.

7) Dan Haren is making $10M this year; he tried to dissuade a trade to Miami last winter because he wanted to stay on the west coast, but now he is on the Cubs and in a pennant race. He makes his first Cub start against the Prates tonight.

6) "He looks like a lamp post with ears." Arizona Cardinal analyst Ron Wolfley describing a rookie on the Cardinals, who apparently is very thin.

5) If you care about such things, a guy on NFL Network yesterday was touting Detroit RB Ameer Abdullah as a fantasy sleeper.

4) RB Arien Foster hurt his leg, is out indefinitely, tough blow for Houston.

3) Padres-Brewers played in Milwaukee this week; Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell played for Padres manager Pat Murphy in college at Notre Dame.

2) Check out this video of Northwestern State basketball player Jalan West playing HORSE with the school president, in the president's driveway.

1) Has to be a long summer for announcers of bad teams; they can't rip the home team, even if they deserve it and they have to come up with positive stuff to keep the viewers tuned in. Its not always easy.

Oakland broadcasts this month have featured a guy who catches foul balls in stands behind home plate, then gives them to little kids sitting near him, as well as a muskrat who was watching the game while sitting atop the rightfield fence. Seriously.

Miami announcers read texts/e-mails almost the whole game on Tuesdays; until they get Ozuna and Stanton back, it might be more entertaining than the actual games.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) I'm wondering how much Mercedes-Benz pays the Dodgers to have its logo above the big message board in right field at Dodger Stadium?

12) Matt Kenseth won the NASCAR race at Pocono last weekend because two other guys ran out of gas on the last few laps. All the money and technology that goes into racing at that level and two guys run out of gas- it doesn't seem possible.

11) James Harden was offered a 13-year, $200M contract to switch from Nike to adidas sneakers, which seems more absurd than the running out of gas story. Now you know why some guys don't listen to their coaches; they get paid more by the sneaker companies than by the team they play for.

10) From September 17-22, 1957, Ted Williams reached base 17 straight times: he hit four HRs during that stretch. Williams also holds the record by reaching base safely in 84 straight games. Both records are more impressive than the hitting streak record.

9) After 14 years as CEO in Boston, Larry Lucchino has "resigned" from his post with the Red Sox. Red Sox won three World Series during his tenure, but three of their last four years have been terrible so changes are in order. Its how the world works now.

8) Golfer Troy Merritt won his first PGA Tour event this weekend; he was also an all-state basketball in Iowa when he was in high school.

7) I mentioned last week about the hotel in New York City with a library/bar in it; turns out the NoMad Hotel is a little expensive; a room this coming Monday night is a mere $385. $385 for a Monday night. Oy.

6) A's are terrible this year but not when Sonny Gray pitches; they've won his last seven starts on the road, which is very impressive for a bad team.

5) White Sox called OF Trayce Thompson up this week, normally not a big deal but the young man is the brother of Golden State basketball star Klay Thompson; his dad is Mychal Thompson, who played for the Lakers.

4) Baltimore Rvaens are 8-2 in their last ten games with Jacksonville, but only after they lost their first eight games with the Jags. Tom Coughlin had it going with e Jacksonville in the late 90's- he is definitely a Hall of Fame coach.

3) First college football games this year are September 3; Labor Day is very late this year, so none of the games fall in Augusut, liek they usually do.

2) Hard-to-believe baseball stat: this entire baseball season, over 100 games, Toronto Blue Jays have received only four intentional walks. No easy outs in the lineup.

1) Baseball season has evolved into two seasons, really; the race to July 31-- are you relevant or not? Then the buying/selling happens and the sellers start thinking about next season, the buyers try like hell to make the playoffs.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.....
13) Yoenis Cespedes was The Man in Oakland for 2.5 years, but since he has been traded three times in 369 days, he is living in a foreign country, making a fortune, but it has to be at least a little unsettling, right? He'll likely change teams again this winter when he becomes a free agent- he'd be a good fit with the Marlins.

12) Stuff I learn watching the Marlins on TV; relief pitcher Mark Rzepczynski's last name would be worth 40 points on a Scrabble board.

11) Justin Upton struck out four times on 12 pitches Sunday, joining Brett Lawrie of the A's as the only major leaguers to do that this season; before this year, the last time a player struck out four times on 12 pitches was Mike Pagliarulo in 1988.

10) White Sox have an odd rotation; Jeff Samardzija and four lefties. I'm wondering if it helps him or hurts him? Lefty platoon hitters must come to the ballpark raring to go when they haven't played the couple of days before facing Samardzija.

9) Benches cleared in both Toronto/Cincinnati yesterday; Pirates-Reds are longtime divisional rivals- that seemed to be a little more contentious than the jabbering that went on in Toronto, where the Royals/Jays shouted and pointed fingers a lot.

If the Kansas City pitchers had to bat, they might not be so brave drilling guys then mouthing off when the hitters complain.

8) Cubs have four guys with 10+ stolen bases, first time they've had that since 1997.

7) If Vice President Biden runs for President, who does President Obama support, him or Hillary Clinton?

6) Sunday's Bad Beat of the Day: under 6.5 in Miami. Marlins led 2-0 in ninth. so of course Amarista ties the game with a 2-run homer. Amarista has 18 career HRs in 1,442 career plate appearances. Then Hechavarria hits a 3-run walk-off HR to win the game 5-2 and put the game over the total-- he has. 11 career homers in 1,658 PAs.

5) Arizona Diamondbacks were only club not to make a trade deadline deal.

4) This has not been my favorite baseball season, since the A's are having a dreadful year; it got a little worse Sunday when I read that A's owner Lew Wolff is the 5th-wealthiest owner in MLB. The way they run the team, you'd think Wolff lived in a cardboard box under the freeway, but no, he is really, really rich. Awesome.

3) Someone kidnapped the honchos at ESPN; Pirates are on ESPN four times this week, including next Sunday night against the Dodgers. Four times!!!!

2) Cincinnati Reds started a rookie pitcher the last five games, the first time that has happened in at least 57 years, when they started tracking this stuff.

1) Mets 5, Nationals 2-- Washington got swept in Flushing, is now tied for first with Mets in NL East. Up in heaven somewhere, my dad is happily shaking his fist.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Red Sox 7, Rays 5-- Travis Shaw hit his first two big league homers, scored five runs and made himself the early favorite to be the #1 pick in our fantasy league next March. Rosters in our league froze for the season Friday.

12) Guy in RF bleachers who came up with Shaw's first HR actually gave it up with no guarantee of getting anything for it-- he is either really rich, really nice or just plain stupid. You can hold a guy up in that case; he has to have his first HR ball.

11) If that was me, think I would come up with a payment plan for Mr Shaw; I'd give it up relatively cheap off the top, but then I would get incentives along the way the rest of his career, $xxx every time he made an All-Star team, $xxx every time he was on a World Series champ, $15K or so if he made the Hall of Fame, I'd in effect become a financial partner in his career.

If he hit those milestones, Shaw would be really, really rich anyway. If he doesn't have a very good career, then I don't get very much for the ball, but he still has it.

10) Last time a Red Sox player scored five runs in a game was Dustin Pedroia way back on August 12, 2008.

9) Odd record with an asterisk: record for most consecutive strikeouts by a position player is Rick Ankiel, who K'd ten times in a row, but the asterisk is that Ankiel was a converted pitcher. Washington's Michael Taylor struck out seven times in a row this week, before finally making contact last night.

8) Sounds like the Angels aren't having much fun this year; team cut ties with Josh Hamilton after his drug relapse, with CJ Wilson offering the only public support, now there are rumors that teammates are unhappy with Wilson's not trying to pitch thru elbow pain, even though he said he has been doing that the last couple of months.

Halos lost eight of last nine games after a 17-3 run. Stay tuned.

7) Ten different guys have started in leftfield for the Angels this season.

6) I told someone back in May that Ben Zobrist "will hit .350 or .400 when he leaves the A's". He hit two homers for the Royals yesterday- he had six HRs in 268 PAs for Oakland this season, missing 35 or 40 games with a bad knee.

5) Why would any A's fan buy jerseys/replica t-shirts with players' names on the back? Guys who are good rarely stay too long.

Last year I was walking on the Strip in Las Vegas and a young guy had a Matt Holliday A's t-shirt on; Holliday played 93 games for the A's in '09 before they moved him to St Louis for three stiffs- the players they gave up for him (Carlos Gonzalez and Huston Street) were way better. Somehow that got left out of Moneyball, the movie.

4) There is a place called the NoMad Hotel in NYC that has a two-story library that has a bar in it and a restaurant with very fancy food. Looks very expensive

3) Texas Rangers sold 8,500 extra tickets once they announced that Cole Hamels was making his Rangers' debut Saturday night. Good walk-up crowd but then the Texas bullpen blew the game late 9-7 to the Giants. Hamels left with a 7-5 lead.

2) Illinois lost starting point guard Tracy Abrams for the year already; he blew his knee out for the second time. Have to feel bad for the kid.

1) 37 years ago last night Pete Rose's 44-game hit streak was ended by the Braves; I remember that night because I was in NYC, went to the comedy club Catch a Rising Star with my cousin. Richard Belzer was the emcee, the guy on Homicide. Pat Benatar sang that night too. Pretty cool night.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Pirates 5, Reds 4-- Starling Marte had the best defensive 9th inning I've ever seen an outfielder have. He threw out the tying run at the plate after a single to left, then ended the game with a tremendous diving catch as the Pirates won again. High drama!!!

12) Mets 2, Nationals 1 (12)-- Two nights ago, Wilmer Flores was crying at his SS position, thinking he had been traded to Milwaukee, but that trade never happened and 48 hours later, Flores was BMOC, hittg a walk-off homer in the 12th inning as the Mets beat the first-place Natonals. Had to be happy for the guy.

11) Mets added Yoenis Cespedes for the last two months of the season; he solidifies LF for them and will add a potent bat to a important lineup.

10) Cespedes is now on his fourth team in 367 days, in part because no one seems to want to sign him long-term and they don't get a draft pick if he stays and then leaves as a free agent. If no one wants him, please, please send him back to Oakland.

9) Friday was a "blue moon", that unusual occasion when we have two full moons in the same month. Happens every 30 months or so; next one is in 2018.

8) Russell Wilson signs with the Seahawks for four years, $87.6M, roughly $60M of it guaranteed. Good job by the Seahawks getting that distraction out of the way.

7) Padres' pitcher Ian Kennedy was scratchd from his start Friday night so he could go home for the birth of his fourth child, but weather in Miami was stormy, so the flight was cancelled and Kennedy made his scheduled start after all.

6) How is Harold Reynolds on TV? He seems likeable enough, but he says some stuff that makes you scratch your head.

3:15 Friday, San Diego pitchers are playing frisbee in the outfield in Miami, four hours before gametime. Reynolds comments, "Why is it so dark there?" Um, maybe because the roof of the stadium is closed?!?!?!? He talks before he thinks way too much.

5) Five teams who were under .500 on July 30 have made the playoffs, last one being the '06 Dodgers. AL Wild Card is soft right now; it could happen this year.

4) Toronto went all-in to win the division in part because 13 of their last 56 games are against the first place Bronx Bombers.

3) Golden State Warriors saved $8M by trading Gerald Wallace to Philly for Rider alum Jason Thompson.

2) As odd as Harold Reynolds often appears to be on TV, former Colorado GM Dan O'Dowd is very good, letting us know how GMs think and how things often shake out as far as trades go. MLB Network was way ahead of ESPN as far as trade deadline coverage, not even close.

1) There have been more 90-degree days in Seattle this year than in Chicago.

Go figure.

Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) Giants traded for Mike Leake late Thursday night, as contenders begin to jockey for position in the pennant race. Trade deadline is 4pm today; could be quiet, could be a flurry of activity. Non-contenders are trying hard to dump salary.

12) Toronto traded for David Price; he will be a free agent this winter and isn't likely to re-sign with Toronto, so Dodgers will be in play for him this winter.

11) Milwaukee was intent on trading Carlos Gomez; he is now an Astro, after the Mets chickened out of a deal Wednesday night. Watching Brewers a lot on TV because Gomez is on my fantasy team, could tell Milwaukee wanted to find a way to keep Gerardo Parra and this trade allows that to happen.

10) Astros 3, Angels 0-- Catcher Jason Castro was 6-54 with men in scoring position this year, until his walk-off HR gave Houston a series sweep and the lead in AL West. Scott Kazmir hasn't allowed a run in his first two Houston starts.

9) Houston is 36-17 at home, 9-3 oerall since All-Star break. Now their roster is way better than it was in first half of the season.

8) Angels got the draft pick they used on Mike Trout when Mark Teixeira bolted the Halos in free agency. Sometimes it is good when players leave your team.

7) White Sox are playing better because they're hitting better early in games; they have scored 18 first-inning runs in their last six games.

6) Dodgers ate $43M in salaries in that 13-player trade, to acquire Wood/Latos to fortify their starting rotation. Dodgers have a lot of money to spend.

5) Weird stat: Ichiro Suzuki has come to plate 251 times this season but has only one double. One. He has three triples and a homer, but only one double????

4) Pro golfer Dottie Pepper posted a Sports Illustrated cover from 1968 on Twitter Thursday, with five prospects from 1968, Johnny Bench being the famous guy in the picture, but a prospect from Detroit in the picture is close to Pepper's heart-- her father Don, who was 0-3 at the plate in four games with the Tigers in 1966.

3) 13 of 14 SEC teams got at least one vote in the first USA Today top 25 football vote, Vanderbilt being the one team that did not.

2) Texas 7, Bronx 6-- Someday they're going to make a movie on Josh Hamilton's life and it is going to be a hell of a movie, both on field and off field. He won this game in ninth inning with a single and also hit a 3-run homer earlier in the game.

1) Royals are 15-3 this season in games that were tied after the 5th inning; Rangers are 8-2, and the Twins are 3-12. That says more about bullpens than anything else.

1a) I joked earlier this week about Ben Carson running for President-- I had no idea who the guy is, so I looked him up. Mr Carson is a 63-year old retired neurosurgeon who is the first surgeon to separate twins who were conjoined at the head. Smart guy.

He has written six books; they made a TV movie about him in 2009, with Cuba Gooding Jr playing Mr Carson. Very interesting guy and now I know who he is.

Thursday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a stormy day......
13) Social media reared its ugly head Wednesday night, as Mets-Brewers negotiated a trade and word leaked out that Carlos Gomez had been traded for Wilmer Flores and injured pitcher Zach Wheeler. One problem; it never happened, with the Mets shying away because of concerns with Gomez' balky hip.

12) So the Mets ere losing at home to San Diego while Twitter was going nuts about this; TV announcers were ripping the Mets for leaving Flores in the game. Players who are traded are routinely removed from the game after the trade has been finished. Cameras caught what appeared to be tears in Flores' eyes as he stood at shortstop after getting an ovation from Mets' fans in his last at-bat.

But he never got traded and apparently will not be traded. An odd situation.

11) There is such an obsession with getting stories first that getting them right often takes a back seat and that is what happened here.

10) Dodgers 10, A's 7-- Another pathetic exhibition by Oakland's bullpen- they faced 17 batters, with nine reaching base

9) LA traded for starting pitchers Mat Latos and Alex Wood, as a multi-team trade took place between Miami-Atlanta-LA. Marlins as usual, dumped around $18M in salary while adding three mid-level prospects.

8) Cole Hamels is a Texas Ranger; Phillies got six players for two as Texas stocks up its rotation for the next couple of years.

7) Tigers are shopping David Price/Yoenis Cespedes as they've apparently realized they're terrible this year. Pitching is always easier to move than OFs.

6) Major league teams need starting pitchers who consistently finish the 6th inning, which takes the strain off its bullpen. No bullpen will thrive if it has to consistently get more than nine outs to close out a win.

5) Jon Lester had three sacrifice bunts Wednesday, joining Gio Gonzalez as the only players to do that in one game in the major leagues this season.

4) Why would someone pay $50,000 to go to Africa to kill animals?

3) It is so hot this week; hard to imagine how miserable it must be to put football pads on and practice. Then you realize when the season ends, it will be so cold in much of the country, it is the exact opposite. Hot weather is better than cold weather.

2) Finally saw the movie Glory Road, about Texas Western's basketball team in 1966; coolest part was early in the movie, when Don Haskins' character is making a call at a pay phone and the gas station attendant asks him a question-- it was the real Don Haskins making a cameo appearance in the movie. Excellent twist there.

1) There is nothing wrong with midweek day baseball in the summer. Nothing.

Wednesday's List of 13: Looking back of my Las Vegas trip
13) Las Vegas is an assembly line of fun; it never stops; it just pauses for a while and different people get on and off. My trip this time was among the best I've had, for a variety of reasons. There is an awful lot to do there, for sure-- you need more than 24 hours a day there, or at least a vacation after the vacation to catch up on sleep. .

12) Best sportsbook in Las Vegas is at the Westgate Hotel on Paradise; good chairs, most every game on TV (Dodgers are blacked out in Las Vegas, for whatever reason), tons of wagering options and a very good deli in the back. They're re-doing it now and will supposedly have skyboxes when work is finished (in time for footballl season?)

11) Don't be this guy: There was a guy there who must've bet a ton of games; every time a baserunner on one of his teams was going to have a close play on the bases, he yelled and I mean yelled, "HIT THE DIRT!!!!" It was funny for about five minutes.

10) In 'n Out remains America's finest fast food; what a gold mine those places are. Best milkshake I've ever had.

9) For first time I can remember, gas is 18-20 cents a gallon more expensive in Las Vegas than here in beautiful downtown Colonie. $3.20 or so a gallon there.

8) Adidas put on a great AAU tournament downtown at the spacious Cashman Center, where seven games were played at a time under one roof. Great fun; got to see kids from west of Mississippi play each other- there were a few teams from the east, but not a lot. Saw a team from Mississippi play a team from Oakland-- good stuff.

7) Met some college coaches, all of whom were polite/cordial, even though some of them were probably wondering who the hell I was. Bobby Hurley is a good guy, but he looks weird in Arizona State colors. Same for Ben Howland and Mississippi State.

6) I've told this story here before but it bears repeating: last summer, I'm watchng a game at Bishop Gorman HS, two very good teams playing. One coach takes his cell phone out of his pocket during the game, looks at it, then turns to the two people sitting right in front of me and says.........

"If you text me one more time, I'll never put him in!!!"

Welcome to modern coaching; it can be an insane world out there.

5) Listened to Jim Boeheim and St Joe's coach Phil Martelli discuss Boeheim's son and daughter playing AAU ball- they're teenagers from what I can tell. Their conversation drifted into 100% basketball X's and O's, as well as recruiting stuff, ehich was oddly reassuring. Two veteran coaches talking about what they love-- basketball.

4) Stayed at the SLS hotel (the old Sahara) this time; it has been redone and is kind of fancy, but I'm not a fancy guy. I wear sneakers and golf shirts, but SLS does have a 24-hour coffee shop, a 24-hour gift shop and a good sports bar by the sportsbook, though not really enough room to sit and watch the ballgames.

More of a young crowd, so the place is lively; they have concerts by their pool on the weekends which are very popular. I'd recommend SLS to younger visitors.

3) My room was amazingly small, but well organized; great walk-in shower, way big enough, but very little closet/drawer space. All in all, I liked the room and I spend a lot of time in the room, since I'm write this fine article there every night.

2) Had to ban myself from video poker; machines at SLS aren't nearly as loose as at South Point or even Planet Hollywood. Off-strip places are better to gamble at.

1) Talked for two hours to a 90-year old former bookie/radio talk show host named Danny who had a ton of interesting stories and he hit a 3-team parlay while we were sitting there. He told me he booked games in LA for 20 years, he was married to a former centerfold for ten years ("Boy, could she spend money!!!") and was also a pilot in the service back in the day.

Now this is Vegas, so I have no idea if any of it was true, but it was fun to listen to.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Was going to sum up my Las Vegas vacation today, but Colorado traded its SS Troy Tulowitzki late last night, so we'll write about Vegas tomorrow. Rockies sent Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins to Toronto for Jose Reyes and three prospects.

12) First question: Will both shortstops stay put? Rockies have a SS in AAA named Story who is a big prospect, so hard to believe a non-contender would pay Reyes big money ($20M+ a year)-- he could be moving again soon.

11) Toronto is currently 50-50, seven games out of first place in AL East, three games out of the second Wild Card in a mediocre AL. Is Tulowtzki an upgrade over Reyes? Even if he is, it ain't by much and asking an injury-prone guy to play half his games on art9ificial turf is dicey at best. Toronto still needs to add pitching.

10) Toronto is LaTroy Hawkins' 11th major league team, putting him two games behind record-holder Octavio Dotel, who pitched for 13 teams.

9) Blue Jays haven't been in the playoffs since '93; they're all in for this year.

8) Cubs 9, Rockies 8-- Carlos Gonzalez homered in top of 9th to give Colorado an 8-7 lead, but Kris Bryant sent everyone home happy with a walk-off tater in bottom of the ninth. Soon after, Colorado traded its best/most popular player. Rough night.

7) Alex Rodriguez homered on his 40th birthday, mkaing him the 4th player ever to homer as a teenager and then again when he was 40+ years old-- other three are Rusty Staub, Gary Sheffield and Ty Cobb.

6) White Sox 10, Red Sox 8-- Chicago hit back/back triples to start the game, first team since the 2011 Tigers to do that.

5) Randy Johnson gave up one home run to a pitcher in his career; when he was on the Giants, Yovani Gallardo hit one off him while pitching for the Brewers.

4) You don't think Clint Hurdle earns his salary? Pirates have had 15 sellouts already this season. Hurdle has done a fantastic job in the Steel City.

3) Someone named Ben Carson is running for President; I've vote for Ben Stiller, Ben Roethlisberger or Carson Palmer before this guy-- I have zero idea who he is.

2) Indians are 19-31 at home; 4-15 vs lefty starters, 15-16 vs righty starters. Indians are 9-8 on road vs lefties 17-15 vs righties. Go figure.

1) Weird week with trades starting to happen every few hours- this is also the week rosters in our keeper fantasy league freeze for the season, so lot of stuff to keep up with. Always wondered how late these GMs of big league teams call each other?

The Colorado-Toronto trade was announced late; did it set off a flurry of latenight phone calls with GMs all over baseball? What if a GM went to bed early and woke up to find the landscape had changed drastically? Lot of money at stake in the big leagues.

Monday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Johnny Cueto to the Royals for three lefty pitchers; then the Reds go out and give up 17 runs to the Rockies. When the front office runs a white flag up the flagpole, players follow suit. A's got swept in San Francisco after trading Scott Kazmir.

12) Thats not to say that over the long haul, these are bad moves, just that 2015 is over for selling teams and players/coaches are showing up just because they have to.

11) It is always very cool to see Hall of Famers introduced before the ceremonies in Cooperstown. Hank Aaron remains the most underrated player ever.

10) Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher threw out the first pitch at the Rays' game in St Pete Sunday; Bucs' QB/FSU alum Jameis Winston caught the pitch.

9) We criticize the NFL for anti-celebration rules, then you see Arena League players mimicking WWE celebrations after TDs and you realize why the NFL rules exist.

8) Really, really like the Pirates' throwback uniforms, which they wear at home every Sunday- they're the uniforms from the 1971 World Series champs.

7) Pirates' RF Gregory Polanco made a great throw to nail Bryce Harper out at 2B on a ball he hit off the RF wall yesterday. Great play fielding the carom, then a better throw nailing Harper at second base.

6) I trust Hillary Clinton about as far as I can throw my car. (not far)

5) Why would major league teams bother to send scouts to see Cole Hamels pitch? What don't they already know about the guy? Just watch the games on satellite.

4) Training camp starts this week; how is it possible that Tom Brady's status has not been clarified? Don't the Patriots have to know how to prepare?

3) Tim Tebow has been working with former big league pitcher Tom House on his throwing nechanics; House was a reliever for the Braves who caught Hank Aaron's 715th home run in the Atlanta bullpen. He used to be the Rangers' pitching coach.

2) Why did the Royals trade for Johnny Cueto? KC starting pitchers have tossed the fewest innings of any team in baseball this season- they need an ace to take some of the stress off their excellent bullpen.

1) My daytime movie watching ends August 12, when NFL Network start re-running all the NFL preseason games- they'll have all 65 games over four weeks.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) In his last two starts before Saturday, Cole Hamels allowed 20 hits, 14 runs in 6.1 IP; he threw a no-hitter at Wrigley Field Saturday, the first time the Cubs have been no-hit in 7,920 games dating back to 1965, when Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game against Chicago.

12) Cincinnati now has longest streak since they were last shut out, 7,026 games, which goes back to 1971.

11) Hamels threw 129 pitches, induced 27 misses on 59 swings-- ya think the teams trying to trade for Hamels are nervous about him throwing 129 pitches?

10) Milwaukee's leadoff hitter got on base leading off the game last night, then was thrown out stealing second- that makes me nuts, giving the pitcher an out before he actually gets a hitter out. The #2-3-4 hitters were coming up; make the pitcher work.

9) 49 years ago this week, July 25, 1956, Roberto Clemente hit a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam that gave the Pirates a 9-8 win at Forbes Field. Imagine that!!! In his great career, Clemnete hit ten inside-the-park homers.

8) Alex Rodriguez hit three homers Saturday (THREE HOMERS!!!) as Bronx rallied to win 8-5 in Minnesota; A-Rod is hitting .277 with 23 HRs, 58 RBI and a .375 OB% as his team is in first place in the AL East. A-Rod will be 40 this coming week.

7) For whatever reason, the media refuses to give A-Rod his due; if this had been Derek Jeter instead of A-Rod, the following things might well have already happened:
-- Immediate induction in Cooperstown, waiving the 5-year post-retirement wait
-- He would've gotten a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
-- He would've been named to the All-Star team (imagine no A-Rod this year?)
-- He would've been nominated for sainthood by the Vatican.

6) Mets' pitcher Matt Harvey has 2+ RBI in his last three starts, the first MLB pitcher to do that since Andy Messersmith in 1976.

5) Russell Wilson turned down $21M a year from the Seahawks? This is a guy who left NC State before his senior year, after starting for three years-- he is stubborn and it will not surprise me if he winds up leaving Seattle.

4) Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt is very good at working the count; he has had 32 PAs where he was down 0-2 in the count and the count wound up 3-2. He has had 13 walks where the count on him was 0-2 or 1-2. He makes the pitcher work.

3) Phillies are now 13-37 on the road, but if you look at their record in road games in just the first five innings, it is even worse-- Hamels' no-hitter was just sixth time in 50 road games they led after five innings. They've been tied 14 times (6-30-14).

2) Latrell Sprewell once turned down a 3-year, $27M contract from Minnesota at the end of his career in 2005- now he is broke. Who does something like that? There was a story this week about Antoine Walker making $108M in his playing career but being broke two years after he retired.

Athletes/musicians should take money management classes in college; actually, we all should, but those guys have a lot more money to deal with than I ever did.

1) Big day in Cooperstown today: Craig Biggio, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson and Dick Enberg are getting inducted. I've been to Cooperstown a lot, living 80 miles away-- it is a small town, hard to get to, very historic. I think if I came across the country to see it, I'd be a little disappointed, but the museum itself is very cool.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.....
13) Immediate dividends department: Scott Kazmir blanked the Royals for seven innings last night, Astros won 4-0. If he is healthy, he's a big help.

12) If I lived in Las Vegas, I'd watch baseball at the Westgate sportsbook most every night, but I wouldn't buy bottles of soda there. A 20-ounce Pepsi? $3.78--- makes the greedy bastards at the oil companies look downright generous.

11) July 31 is too early for the baseball trading deadline, because the second Wild Card keeps everyone but the worst teams in contention thru most of August. Hard to sell off players if you have a shot at the playoffs. End of Auguust would be better or even Labor Day at midnight.

10) Coming into Friday's games, Dodger leadoff hitters had a .212 on-base %age, worst of any team's leadoff hitters in baseball.

9) When a guy like Kazmir gets traded, what happens to his stuff? He went right from Oakland to Kansas City to join the Astros, so he had no time to move anything. Do teams take care of this for the players? Where does he live when he gets to Houston, though Kazmir is from Houston, but what if he wasn't?

8) Miami Marlins have had eight managers the last six seasons; San Diego has had three since 1995 and they're not even good that often.

7) Mets front office finally did something, getting Juan Uribe/Kelly Johnson from the Braves, which means that David Wright is probably done for the season.

This is a team that batted Wilmer Flores 3rd on Thursday, 4th on Friday.

6) Geniuses that run the Mets have catcher Travis D'Arnaud doing rehab work in Class A ball in Florida, where it has been raining recently so D'Arnaud is having trouble getting his work in. Too bad the Mets don't have a farm club in the desert, where it rarely rains-- oh wait, their AAA team is in Las Vegas. Nitwits.....

5) December 4, 2007-- Marlins traded Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit for: Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin, Brook Badenhop, Mike Rabelo, Frankie de la Cruz and Dallas Trahern. Not the Marlins' finest moment.

4) Fact of matter is Ray Rice is no longer a good enough running back to justify the public relations kerfuffle that would result if an NFL team signs him after he was caught on video slugging his then-fiance in a casino. The couple is now married.

3) Why does Pat Boone do a TV commercial for bank safety? When I think of banks, Pat Boone is not a name that quickly comes to mind.

2) They had 34,783 fans at Opening Day at the horse races in Saratoga Friday.

1) Happy birthday to former Braves' catcher Biff Pocoroba, a 1978 All-Star and one of my boyhodd heroes.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here..........
13) I invented a new basketball statistic yesterday, while watching a one-sided game at Bishop Gorman HS. NegAssists, the amount of points scored off liveball turnovers, as opposed to deadball ones. Let me explain.......

12) A deadball turnover is a ball thrown out of bounds or anything where the clock is stopped and the ball has to be inbounded. A live ball tuenover often results in a fast break opportunity for the opposition and tends to be much more damaging- these are the results we want to track with NegAssists.

11) You can call it NegAssists when tracking how often your own players' mistakes result in opponents' points, but we need a word for points our team scores off liveball turnovers. It is late here, let me think-- until we come up with something better, we'll call them FastForce points-- FF points.

10) Anyway, they ran out of roster books for the media by the time I got to Bishop Gorman yesterday (how the hell is anyone awake in Las Vegas at 8am???) so I cannot write about individual players, since I don't know who they are. I'll be back downtown at Cashman Center today at the adidas event, where I have a book with players' names.

9) I'm not inferring anything here, but a team sponsored by Allen Iverson with nice purple uniforms warmed up for its game with each player throwing lob passes to himself off the floor and then trying to dunk. This with 20 or 30 college coaches sitting there watching their every move, out of sheer boredom. No bueno.

You'd think the geniuses who coach this team would resort to layup lines or a drill to showcase their players' immense athletic skill. Phil Martelli was sitting next to me and he is recruiting the big man off that team-- strong kid.

8) I see Tom Izzo, Steve Alford and Roy Williams watching a game, thats pretty much a game I'm interested in watching-- has to be one or two high level kids there.

7) Any big kid at this level of basketball should be expert at finishing around the basket with both hands; it is inexcusable not to be, since you can practice that by yourself, for hours on end if need be. Yet you watch these games and see a lot of missed layups by big kids.

6) Hint to prospects: dribbling behind your back in traffic is a bad idea, behind-the-back passes in transition do not impress too many coaches. Simple, effective plays that result in points scored impress coaches and result in scholarships offered.

5) When a coach yells out "swing the ball!!!" he wants the ball passed around the perimeter to the other side of the court. When a kid hears this command but jacks a 3-pointer instead, college coaches notice and wonder if that kid is coachable.

4) A's traded Scott Kazmir to Houston; not unexpected, since he will be a free agent in the fall. Kazmir is hurt but fighting thru it because of the free agency-- A's had to make sure they got something for him. It'll hurt more when they trade Ben Zobrist.

3) Zach Greinke's wife is having the couple's first child, so Greinke will probably miss tonight's game against the weak-hitting Mets, but he could be back later this weekend. Kershaw had a perfect game thru six against the Mets last night.

2) Ohio State's Braxton Miller will switch from QB to WR this fall, easing the crush of talent the Buckeyes had at QB. Kid could've transferred and played QB at ton of other schools, but they must've convinced him he can play WR in the NFL.

1) It is funny to see a prominent coach sit near a court to watch a game and casually look around to see who else s there, to see who his competition for players is.

Thursday's List of 13: Notes from the Adidas Uprising tournament
13) A tip of the hat to the people who organize the Adidas Uprising tournament at the Cashman Center in downtown Las Vegas, a building next to the ballpark where the Mets' AAA team plays. This tournament is really well organized, well-run-- I had a great time watching games there Wednesday. Good hot dogs too.

If you're in Las Vegas and you like college basketball, Cashman Center is good place to see lot of good games/players all under one roof.

12) Seven games under one roof, so which game do I watch? You see Roy Williams and Lon Kruger watching the same game, well there's a good place to start. Just about all the bigtime coaches are here this week; its the last week of summer recruiting.

11) Obviously, there is tremendous competition for players; the team with the better players wins most of the time- tactics only take you so far. So coaches wear the polo shirt from their school, sit on the baseline and watch these games-- there are nine games on each court every day.

Coaches don't watch every game; they watch the kids they're interested in and fill in with other games in between, trying to find their next star. It is an inexact science.

10) Some coaches are wearing different polo shirts this summer; Bobby Hurley wears an Arizona State shirt, Ben Howland/Mississippi State, Rick Barnes/Tennessee, Shaka Smart/Texas, Eric Musselman/Nevada. New faces in new places next winter.

9) Most frustrating thing about watching this stuff: Kids do not understand, for the most part, what impresses a coach. Making shots is great, but are they good shots? Is a point guard making his teammates better? Is a big guy contesting shots and finishing close to the basket?

There was a 6-11 kid today who was jacking 3-pointers; he is one of the few unsigned Class of 2015 kids left, but no one wants him because he has low basketball IQ. Now he will get something eventually because he is 6-11, but he isn't as good as he should be and he won't play for as good a program as he should.

8) A coach I was talking to today suggested college games would be faster if they did not let teams bring chairs onto the floor during time-outs. NBA teams don't do it.

7) In 'n Out Burger is America's finest fast food. We need these in New York. I'm not kidding, best milkshake I've ever had. Someone make this happen, please?!?!

6) One of best things about these tournaments is seeing high school kids from different corners of the country facing each other. Watched a good game tonight with a team from Mississippi playing a team from Oakland. High level of play, coaches from Iowa State, Miss State, Texas A&M watching. Bigtime players.

5) Kid named Jereny Sheppard had a really good game tonight; showed great range on his shot-- sometimes a kid has a great game and it isn't indicative of his true game, but he looked like a keeper for sure, He plays for Team Loaded in Virginia and played in a game where a lot of high-level coaches were watching attentively.

4) A teammate of his, Isaiah Todd was listed as a 14-year old 8th grader in the book; coaches I asked all seemed to think it was a mistake in the book. You almost never see a kid that yioung competing at this level. Pretty good player too.

3) Rick Pitino is coaching the Puerto Rican team in the Pan Am games; veteran coach Ralph Willard is here with the Louisville assistants, keeping track of prospects.

2) This whole enterprise is an enormous moneymaker; costs around $650 a team to play in this event and there are tons of teams in several age groups. On top of that, it costs $375 for a college program to get the information packet, plus $75 each for each additional assistant coach-- and they have to play that at each tournament they go to- there are three in town this week.

One mid-major head coach I was talking to Wednesday said he shelled out $1,000, just for admission/information packets for his staff. Do the math there-- there are 351 D-I basketball programs- they all need to recruit at events like this.

1) Thursday's plan is to head to Bishop Gorman to the Fab 48 tournament and see those teams play-- there were lot of good teams there last year, with teams from as far away as Germany and the Canary Islands. Basketball is truly a global game now.

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy Hump Day from the desert....
13) My suggestion to improve Las Vegas: Apparently cocktail waitresses never retire; there are a couple at the Westgate Sportsbook who appear to be 60-65 years old. At the risk of sounding rude, 65-year old cocktail waitresses need to wear costumes that, um.......are a little more modest than the normal cocktail waitress' uniform.

12) Pitcher Nathan Karns hit a homer in Tampa Bay's 1-0 win in Philly; he is the first MLB pitcher to homer in a 1-0 game since Milt Pappas in 1962.

11) Karns is also first AL pitcher to homer since Zach Britton on July 3, 2011.

10) Detroit is in trouble; Marc Krauss batted fifth last night-- he came into the game batting a paltry .132. He batted right behind Victor Martinez- oy.

9) Yordano Ventura was the Royals' Opening Day starter, but he is 4-7, 5.19 and has been shipped to AAA.

8) Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher answered a lot of non-football questions during ACC Media Day-- he'll be relieved when practices start.

7) Mets are 35-5 when they score 4+ runs, 14-40 when they do not; problem is, they scored less than four runs in 54 of 94 games.

6) Indiana Pacers will wear Hickory High uniforms at times next season to honor the 30th anniversary of the movie Hoosiers.

5) Bryce Harper's on-base percentage this season is .463-- damn, but he is only 7-31 against the Mets this season.

4) Shaquille O'Neal named an all-time Laker team and left Jerry West off? Ugh.

3) Houston Astros scored two runs on a stolen base last night; throw to second hit a sliding Jake Marisnick on the left arm, rolled into left field as he and the runner on 3rd both sprinted home. Red Sox are falling apart dangerously fast.

2) Pirates were down 3-0 in ninth inning last night; they had a runner thrown out at the plate with no one out-- had he stayed at third, tying run would've been at the plate with no one out. As it was, tying run never came to the plate.

1) Rookie catcher Kyle Schwarber was The Man in Cincinnati Tuesday night; he tied the game with a 9th inning homer, then won it with another homer in the 13th inning

Tuesday's list of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) If he doesn't have one, Donald Trump needs to hire an advisor whom he respects who will tell him to shut up and stop putting his foot in his mouth. Last thing he should want is to turn a Presidential election into a year-long WWE interview, with a circus overshadowing the important issues facing our country.

12) Supposedly Trump wanted to buy the New England Patriots in 1988, but he didn't think the other NFL owners would vote him in as an owner and the $104M the team owed at that time didn't set well with Trump's financial guys.

11) There were rumors on Interweb Monday that Yoenis Cespedes could get traded at the trade deadline for the second year in a row; he is a free agent after this season.

10) ESPN guys Monday night were talking about how umpires calling more and more low pitches strikes has had a lot to do with decreased scoring in baseball.

9) LSU's athetic department gave $10M+ to the school's general fund this month- they usually give $7.2M but had a little more to give this year.

8) Amateur golfer Paul Dunne, who plays for UAB right now, is expected to turn pro later this year, after being tied for the lead at the British Open after three rounds, before he blew up a little in Monday's final round.

7) I like the idea of a 4-hole playoff they have at the British Open; that way, one poor shot is less likely to beat you than in sudden death.

6) Oft-injured hooper Joel Embiid apparently broke a bone again in his injured foot; it seems like the guy is never going to get healthy enough to be an NBA contributor.

5) Red Sox' first four games after All-Star break: L0-1, L0-3, L1-11, L3-7

4) Houston Rockets traded a first round pick, three stiffs and young prospect Nick Johnson to the Denver Nuggets for PG Ty Lawson, who needs himself a chauffeur as much as he needs a lawyer. Rockets are a "Moneyball" team, so they care less about off-court issues than most teams do.

3) Green Bay Packers made $226M just in revenue sharing during the NFL this season. $226M buys a lot of cheese.

2) Former Florida State QB DeAndre Johnson is trying to get into NE Oklahoma State College after he was tossed from Florida State for whacking his girlfriend under a security camera-- subs don't get away with breaking the law too much.

1) I'll be attending AAU basketball games later this week; some teams are being sponsored by present/past NBA stars like Earl Watson, TJ Ford, Rashard Lewis, Mo Williams, Deron Williams and Allen Iverson. Good for them.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday.....
13) With the baseball trading deadline 11 days away, it is interesting to note that on July 31, 2010, Cleveland traded Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals and got Corey Kluber from San Diego as part of a 3-team trade. Trade was a big win for the Indians.

12) Austin Dillon finished 8th in the NASCAR race in New Hampshire this week, the same guy whose car flipped and smashed into the safety net at Daytona two weeks ago. Still amazed Dillon walked away from that crash.

11) When it rains in Phoenix during a Diamondbacks' game, the roof leaks right over the pitchers' mound-- it was annoying the pitchers during the extra innings in Friday night's game. Groundskeepers had to come out in between innings and fix the mound.

10) Padres got rained out in San Diego Sunday for first time since 2006; they played into the 5th inning, but they were slow getting tarp on the field and it was unplayable after the rains stopped.

9) San Diego is now trying Will Middlebrooks at 3B, because he doesn't hit well enough to stay at 3B; he made two errors that got washed out Sunday, which always seems to happen when Andrew Cashner is pitching.

8) Mets 3, Cardinals 1, 18 innings-- Why do the front office guys with the Mets make so much money? What do they do? They sure don't make trades. This is a pitching staff that should be in the playoffs, but their position players are so lame it is not going to happen unless the roster is fortified.

7) If someone says " be honest with you" to me, I always wonder when it was when they weren't honest with me.

6) Detroit is 0-6 in Justin Verlander's starts; he is 0-3, 6.62- the Tigers are 45-46 and with Miguel Cabrera out for another 3+ weeks, doesn't look good for Detroit.

5) Westgate sportsbook is my favorite sportsbook in Las Vegas; good deli in the back, all the games on, lot of wagering options, lot of gamblers to talk with. Good place.

4) Zach Greinke hasn't allowed a run in his last 43.2 IP; quite a run he is on.

3) Three golfers are tied for first place at the British Open after the third round- one of the guys is an amateur. Unusual Monday finish for a major today.

2) A's battered former teammate Tommy Milone Sunday, though most of the damage was done by guys who weren't on the A's when was Milone was the last few years. Newly acquired Jake Smolinski hit two homers Sunday; he'll help vs lefties.

1) Miami Marlins got swept in Philly, which isn't good; Jeff Francoeur hit a walk-off HR Sunday, after he hit a pinch-hit 3-run HR in Friday's game. Could Francoeur net a prospect back for the Phillies in a trade deadline deal?

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Greetings from Las Vegas, where I am on vacation; some of these articles may be posted at odd times as opposed to the way things are normally done. It is fun here.

12) 67,000 people paid $4 apiece to crowd into Lambeau Field to honor Brett Favre as he was inducted into the Packers' Hall of Fame. Looked like a cool event.

11) Favre won 186 regular season games; Peyton Manning has 179 wins, so he'll probably pass Favre into the #1 spot on the list this season.

10) Sign of the times; George Mason's basketball gym will now be called EagleBank Arena; they're getting $6.6M for ten years for naming rights.

9) Where does this money go? Well, new basketball coach Dave Paulsen is making $700K a year for the next five years- the AD at Mason makes $300K. Paulsen was a D-III coach less than ten years ago-- timing is everything in life.

8) Why is golf going to be an Olympic sport? I don't want to hear the word "amateur" at all during the Olympics, if Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are playing.

7) 22% of the Indians runs this year reached base via a walk. Thats a lot.

6) Rick Porcello is 5-10 with a 5.79 ERA; he is getting paid $20M+ a year. Which of the Ivy League geniuses in Boston is taking credit for this debacle?

5) I never knew it was legal to kick the ball over the net in volleyball.

4) Clayton Kershaw induced 30 misses on 61 Washington swings; he made National hitters look like Little Leaguers. He almost didn't make the All-Star team. Oy.

3) Phillies' pitchers are walking 4.1 batters per game, only major league team over four walks a game.

2) Seth Curry is scoring 25 ppg in the NBA Summer League for the Pelicans.

1) One of the highlights of any Saturday night here in Las Vegas is watching all the young people stagger back thru the lobby after a night of partying; the young girls who aren't used to dressng up a lot are all limping in their high heels, like their achilles tendons are about to rip. How do women walk in heels that high?

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff on a summer Saturday.....
13) Golf started in Scotland Saturday morning before Friday night's baseball was over in this country, with the game in Arizona going extra innings. Golf didn't last long though, since the wind was blowing balls off the green before they could be marked by players. Looks like the third round will be played Sunday, the final round on Monday.

In other words, Saturday will be a bad day to be a travel agent, as plans change.

12) Matt Duffy batted third for the Giants last night and is hitting .297; in his three years at Long Beach State, using an aluminum bat, Duffy never hit higher than .266.

11) Phillies are 30-62; their payroll is 9th-highest in the major leagues.

10) SEC football writers picked Auburn to win the SEC playoff game, but Alabama to win the SEC West, in which case Auburn wouldn't even be in the title game.

9) USC in 2004 was last time the AP preseason #1 team won the national title that year. BYU in 1984 is last time unranked team won the national title.

8) Over last 19 tournaments that Jordan Spieth/Eldrick Woods were both in, Spieth had an advantage by a total of 110 strokes, an average of 5.8 strokes per tournament.

7) Michigan Wolverines have a new apparel deal with Nike: $169M for 15 years. No pressure to win or anything for Jim Harbaugh.

6) Los Angeles Kings will travel 43,750 miles this coming hockey season and that is before the playoffs start.

5) Why would anyone live in Scotland? The weather sucks in July, for Pete's sake.

4) Knicks gave Derrick Williams $10M for two years, an expensive speculation that he regain his college form. Apparently George Karl liked Williams int he 30 games he coached him late last season, but apparently Karl also berated Williams LY after he had zero rebounds while playing 20 minutes in a game. Williams is 6-8; he has to rebound.

3) Tennessee QB Joshua Dobbs is an Aerospace Engineering major. Yikes.

2) They were saying on SEC Network Thursday that the two easiest positions for a college freshman to come in and play right away were RB and defensive line. Lot less schemework in this positions, just do what you have to do without thinking much.

1) Former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford is off to a 2-1 start as coach of the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League.

Friday's List of 13: 13 of my favorite sports movies.........
-- Any Given Sunday-- Al Pacino's "Game of Inches" speech is tremendous; who knew Lawrence Taylor could act? Johnny Unitas as an opposing coach: good touch.

-- Major League-- Bob Uecker was awesome as the Indians' radio announcer, as Tribe made an unlikely run to the playoffs, with Charlie Sheen as one of their pitchers.

-- Let It Ride-- Richard Dreyfuss is a degenerate gambler having a very good day at the racetrack. If only KL Wheat or DD Lohaus could have a day like that at Saratoga this year!!!!

-- Fast Break-- Gabe Kaplan is a NYC deli manager who quits his job to become a college basketball coach in the West. Bernard King is one of his players.

-- Youngblood-- Hockey movie with Rob Lowe, but character actor Ed Lauter steals the movie as the team's coach with quotes like: "....I didn't come halfway to the bleeping Arctic Circle to lose to these goons!!!" Patrick Swayze has supporting role, before he became a big star.

-- Bad News Bears (original)-- Walter Matthau is classic as a Little League coach with a drinking problem and Tatum O'Neal as his star pitcher. Best quote: "You didn't come into this world to sit on the bench. Now get your ass out there and play."

-- Brian's Song (original)-- True story of friendship that developed between couple of Bears' running backs in the late 60's. Gale Sayers was the star player, Brian Piccolo his wise cracking backup who eventually dies of cancer. I haven't seen the remake yet.

-- Hoop Dreams-- Documentary about couple of Chicago-area high school basketball players. Real life is more harsh than fiction; neither kid became a star in college.

-- Invinceable-- True story of 30-year old bartender Vince Papale, who was a special teams ace for three years in the late 70's for Dick Vermeil's Eagle teams. Soundtrack for this movie is excellent, lot of good music from that era.

-- For the Love of the Game-- Kevin Costner is a Tigers' pitcher who pitches a no-hitter in the last game of his career. JK Simmons, who won an Oscar this year as a maniacal music teacher in Whiplash, is more restrained here as the Detroit manager.

-- Caddyshack-- Madcap golf comedy of early 80's: Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Ted Knight and Bill Murray. Some of my friends in college knew the movie word-for-word and played drinking games when re-runs aired.

-- Blue Chips-- Nick Nolte is a college basketball coach; Shaquille O'Neal is one of his prize recruits as Nolte hedges on whether or not to break NCAA rules. Bob Cousy is the athletic director who steals the show in this scene.

That scene was done in one take; Cousy was a great basketball player, isn't an actor.

-- Moneyball-- Adaptation of Michael Lewis' book about Billy Beane and the A's, who won 20 games in a row despite a small payroll, setting an AL record, but losing in the playoffs. As an A's fan, wish they would've given Art Howe, Miguel Tejada more credit for that great run, as well as the starting pitcher trifecta of Hudson-Mulder-Zito.

Thursday's List of 13: Random stuff on a summer day........
13) I never watch the ESPYs, seriously. waste of time. Much rather watch the NBA Summer League or the AAA All-Star Game. But I will say this about Bruce Jenner

This is a free country, that is very important to remember. If a person wants to have a sex-change operation, knock yourself out, you're free to do that.

What baffles me is why anyone would give this person an award. If you're that starved for ratings that you exploit stuff like this for attention, well thats just sad.

12) MLB has onions banning Pete Rose when they're in bed with Draft Kings, a fantasy sports company. Watch the Draft Kings commercials with the guy in the Tom Brady jersey; thats the face of any gambler whose wager lies in the balance at the end.

Nothing wrong with it, but fantasy sports is a form of gambling, simple as that.

11) As for Rose, he is not getting in the Hall of Fame, not in his lifetime. I'd vote for him getting in, but too many prominent baseball people want him kept out.

10) Coastal Carolina's basketball team is making a historic trip to Cuba to play some exhibition games. Pretty sure it is the first visit this century by an American team.

9) White Sox skipper Robin Ventura went public with his wish that ace Chris Sale not pitch in All-Star Game and Ned Yost granted his wish, which hurts Yost's team, since now Sale will pitch against the Royals Sunday, when he wouldn't have otherwise.

8) Cubs scored 12 runs in Jon Lester's last nine starts. No bueno.

7) Andy Dalton got booed at the celebrity softball game in Cincinnati this week; I know he has an 0-4 record in playoff games, but his regular season record is 40-23-1 and that is not boo-able. People are jerks sometimes.

6) You could actually wager on whether the first pitch of the All-Star Game would be a ball or a strike. Seriously, you could.

5) I'm wondering if Buster Posey catching guys in All-Star Game helps him at all next time he faces those pitchers in a real game?

4) FAO Schwarz toy store in Manhattan closed this week, a NYC institution that was owned by Toys 'r Us. I was in there once; it was a bigtime tourist attraction, but it became too expensive to rent the space and so it is gone now.

3) Why hasn't Marcus Mariota signed with the Titans yet? What is he thinking?

2) How many major league pitchers do you think were the center of their high school football team? Clayton Kershaw was; the QB was Lions' QB Matthew Stafford.

1) My five all-time favorite basketball players to watch; not necessarily the best guys, just the most fun for me to watch:

Vlade Divac-George Gervin-Pete Maravich-Steve Nash-David Thompson.

Wednesday's List of 13: Some of my favorite non-sports movies.....
These are thirteen of my favorite non-sports movies. I'm not going to number the list, because this isn't a ranking, just some movies I really enjoyed.........

-- A Few Good Men-- Courtroom scene with Colonel Jessup on witness stand is classic. Kevin Pollak/Kevin Bacon strong supporting cast. Not sure why they tried so hard to make Demi Moore look unattractive, but it didn't work.

-- Random Hearts-- If Harrison Ford announced he was running for President this week, and his health/taxes turned out OK, who is voting against him? In this movie he plays a cop whose wife dies in a plane crash, only to find out the wife was having an affair with a congresswoman's husband. Romance ensues.

-- Good Will Hunting-- My favorite Robin Williams movie; it makes me sad to think how much joy he gave people, but wasn't happy himself. I still think of his last words to Matt Damon in this movie: "Do whats in your heart, son. You'll be fine."

-- Runaway Jury-- My favorite of the John Grisham book/movies. Gene Hackman is the bad guy in this movie; the guy who played the sheriff in My Cousin Vinny (Bruce McGill) is the judge. John Cusack is the star; Dustin Hoffman is also very good.

-- Heat-- Al Pacino and Robert Deniro together; tremendous!!! The scene where they meet in the diner is a film classic.

-- My Cousin Vinny-- Joe Pesci is tremendous, the guy who played Herman Munster on TV (Fred Gwynne) is the judge and Marisa Tomei is Pesci's girlfriend who winds up breaking the case for her boyfriend.

-- Roxanne-- Steve Martin's finest work; coming from me, thats a huge compliment, since he is my favorite comedian/movie star. This scene is all him; check it out.

-- Meatballs-- Bill Murray as a camp counselor who befriends a lonely camper; lot of good lines in this movie. Morty the head of the camp wound up on Cagney and Lacey as their boss and later as a judge on Law and Order.

-- Last Vegas-- Michael Douglas is getting married for first time at age 69; he goes to Vegas for his bachelor party with three friends (Morgan Freeman, Deniro and Kevin Kline), but it is Mary Steenburgen who steals the movie.

-- Searching for Bobby Fischer-- Joe Mantegna is a sportswriter whose son turns out to be a chess prodigy; underrated movie about parents who push their kids too hard.

-- The Bodyguard-- Kevin Costner is Whitney Houston's bodyguard as she heads to the Oscars. Ralph Waite (father on the Waltons and NCIS) is Costner's father in this movie, as he tries to protect his famous client.

-- The Verdict-- Paul Newman is a struggling lawyer who struggles to win a case while a woman planted by the opposition tries to distract him. Jack Warden is Newman's pal in this movie, one of the greatest supporting actors of all-time.

-- Dave-- Kevin Kline owns a temp agency but he looks like the President, who has a stroke while having an affair with his mistress, so he is hired to stand in for the Prez, while his underlings run the country. First Lady Sigourney Weaver figures it all out.

Tuesday's List of 13: College football knowledge to ponder......
13) From 2009-12, Alabama was 49-5, with a +53 turnover ratio; last two years, they were 23-4, with a turnover ratio of 0.

12) Since 2008, Michigan State is 16-3-1 vs spread as a road favorite.

11) Arizona State is 16-9 as a favorite under Todd Graham; their turnover ratio the last two years is +29. Sun Devils are 20-7 SU during that time.

10) Penn State played 76 underclassmen LY, second most in country.

9) TCU's only loss last year was 61-58 to Baylor; Horned Frogs have ten starters back on offense- they're 3-8 vs spread in last 11 games as road favorite.

8) Florida State loses a QB who was 27-1 as a starter, and offensive linemen who started a total of 174 games, a huge loss-- their only senior starter on offense would be if Notre Dame transfer Golson becomes the starter at QB.

7) Speaking of the Seminoles, when Chief Osceola comes out on the field before home games, he is riding an Appaloosa horse named Renegade.

6) Oregon uses Donald Duck as its school mascot; they have a handshake agreement with the late Walt Disney himself that allows it.

5) Over last three season, Army Cadets are 0-9 vs spread as road underdogs.

4) Temple Owls have 19 starters back this season; since 2007, they're 30-19 vs spread when they're getting points.

3) Over last nine years, Boise State is 104-15 SU; over last three years, they're 7-1 vs spread in game followng a loss.

2) Northern Illinois covered 12 of last 15 games as a road favorite, but they've lost last three bowl games, allowing 34.7 ppg.

1) This will be first time since 2010 that Arkansas State had same head coach two years in a row; coaches at Ole Miss-Auburn-Boise State all came from Jonesboro.

Monday's List of 13: Random stuff at All-Star break......
13) Pirates head into All-Star break 35-13 in their last 48 games, winning in walk-offs the last two nights against St Louis. Why did Colorado fire Clint Hurdle?

12) Cardinals haven't scored a first inning run in their last 23 road games.

11) Mets 5, Arizona 3-- New York is 34-5 when they score 4+ runs. Nieuwenhuis hit three homers Sunday; he came into the game with 13 HRs in 613 career PAs.

10) Dodgers have used 11 different starting pitchers this year; considering they have Kershaw/Greinke, that is nine guys for the other three slots.

9) Amir Garrett is a Cincinnati farmhand who was in the Futures Game yesterday; he used to be a bigtime basketball recruit at St John's, who later transferred to Cal-Northridge to play for Reggie Theus, but he never played for the Matadors.

8) Marlins' TV showed an interesting side-by-side yesterday of Johnny Cueto's windup and how similar it is to Luis Tiant, who was an excellent pitcher in the 70's for the Red Sox. Good piece of hustle that shows why Marlins' TV games are more fun to watch than most teams.

7) Kansas City Royals announcers are becoming ridiculous homers; they talked about the KC fans voting for all the Royals in the All-Star balloting and one of them actually said, "Well, thats too bad", basically thumbing his nose at the process.

They'd be the first people to gripe if the fans lose the right to vote for All-Stars.

6) Tough loss for the Braves; closer Jason Grilli tore his achilles tendon covering first base in Saturday night's loss in Colorado. Grilli is 38, his career could be over.

5) Tremendous finish to a semi-final game of the AAU Peach Jam Classic on ESPNU Sunday; kid from St Louis knocked down a contested, leaning 3-pointer at buzzer to give his team the win. If it was an NCAA tournament game, that shot would be on TV for the next thirty years. St Louis team lost in the finals, though.

4) St Louis beat a team Chris Paul sponsors with that 3-pointer; Paul was actually there, sitting right behind his team's bench, talking to the coach during breaks.

3) Tired of hearing high school players being referred to by their numerical ranking by so-called experts. It is an exercise in futility to rank every HS senior in America.

Case in point: In 2001 I as an assistant coach for a team that won the NY State public high school state championship, a pretty big deal. We had many good players, but our best guy was Jason McKreith, who went on to play for Rice-- he was really, really good, but none of these so-called experts had Jason ranked in the top 300 nationally, which was malpractice. Jason was a top 100 player.

These geniuses do their ranking by which colleges are recruiting the kids. #65 on one list was a 7-footer from a team in our area. He was being recruited by Syracuse, so they put him high on the list, an act of incompetence. Rankings sound good, but in reality how do you differentiate between #75 and #76? Or #65 and #365? It is guesswork.

2) Golfer Tom Gillis turns 47 on Thursday; in 171 previous PGA events, he had nine top 10's, but no wins. After years of struggle, he won $3M+ from 2010-12, but then had a bum shoulder and missed last year.

In his career, he won a Nike Tour event in 2009 and an international tourney in Jamaica in 1994-- he's played pro golf in 27 different countries, but Sunday, he was the leader in the clubhouse at the Quad Cities Open. What must he have been thinking?

This was it, the career/life-changing moment he had worked for since the early 90's, but instead he lost a playoff to Jordan Spieth, who was born in 1993, Gillis' first year as a golf pro. Gillis hit his second shot on the second playoff hole into the water; what must he have been thinking walking up that fairway? I can't even imagine.

1) If baseball playoffs started today.......
NL-- Washington-St Louis-Los Angeles. Wild Card: Cubs @ Pirates
AL-- Bronx-Kansas City-LA Angels. Wild Card: Astros @ Twins

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......

13) Pirates 6, Cardinals 5 (14)-- Epic regular season game; Mark Reynolds hit two HRs, narrowly missed a third in extra innings. McCutchen hit a walk-off two-run shot when Bucs trailed in 14th, after Hurdle/Cervelli were tossed in second inning.

12) AJ Burnett homered in this game for the first time in ten years; next week, he is going to the All-Star Game for the first time. Good month for him.

11) Friday at Wrigley, Carlos Rodon walked six batters in six IP but didn't allow a run. How many times does a pitcher walk six guys in six IP and not allow a run?

10) Mets 4, Arizona 2-- Matt Harvey got 31 called strikes from pitcher-friendly ump John Hirschbeck; D'backs swung at 40 pitches, got only five hits.

9) Casey McGehee is the 8th Miami Marlin to play third base this season. Miami lost 2B Gordon to a dislocated thumb yesterday.

8) With Gordon hurt, DJ LeMahieu gets the start at 2B for the NL Tuesday night.

7) Angels lost in Seattle, keeping Houston atop AL West for 84th consecutive day. Astros are 9-22 in last 31 road games and sliding quickly.

6) Cubs' P Kyle Hendricks' last three starts: 1-0, 2-0, 0-1. Not much support there.

5) White Sox have been outscored 65-27 in first inning this season, but they're playing better right now, winning nine of last eleven games.

4) 94-year old William Wachter is the oldest person ever to cash at the World Series of Poker Main Event. Good for him just for sitting there that long.

3) Sacramento Kings' coach George Karl still has a Subaru commercial running on Denver TV stations, during Rockies games.

2) NBC is broadcasting the last round of the Scottish Open today; it is a precursor to the British Open next week and a bigger event than the Quad Cities tournament in this country, but with Spieth/Zach Johnson playing, Quad Cities is still a good event.

1) Looks like 76ers totally whiffed on last year's first round pick; Joel Embiid needs another foot operation and will miss next season. Kid seems like the next version of Greg Oden, someone who hardly played in college and never playing in NBA. Too bad.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) 12,422 basketball fans paid $28 each to get into UNLV's two basketball arenas Friday to watch summer league games; thats a testament to the NBA's popularity.

12) NBA TV will have summer league games on for next nine days, usually starting at 4pm eastern time. Highly competitive games, some guys playing for their careers.

11) Deron Williams/Nets parted ways, then Williams signed with Dallas, which needed a starting point guard. Mavs traded for Zaza Pachulia, to play where DeAndre Jordan would've played had he signed with Dallas.

10) San Antonio Spurs signed a 7-4 center from Serbia, who is 26, went undrafted back in 2010. From what I read, he has developed nicely and will be a typical Spur.

9) NFL shortened Greg Hardy's suspension from ten games to four, meaning his first game will be against New England in Week 5.

8) Saskatchewan Roughriders lost 35-32 in OT last night; they've scored 72 points in last two games but lost both in OT. Riders are 0-3 despite having led all three of their games in the fourth quarter.

Damn, its July 11 and its Week 3 in the CFL already?

7) As far as Jason Pierre-Paul goes, apparently it is his broken thumb that is more of a problem than his amputated index finger. He has to be healthy when he signs his tender or else the Giants can put him on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list and then they would control when they start paying him.

Sounds like a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo but as always, it is about the money.

6) HR Derby will be timed this year, meaning there is more pressure on pitchers, so amateur pitchers like dads (Robinson Cano/Bryce Harper) or 71-year old Connie Mack coaches (Josh Hamilton) might not be used as often as in the past, which is too bad.

5) Catcher Derek Norris led off the last four games for San Diego, the first time a catcher has ever led off for the Padres.

While I'm on the Padres, they are now 39-49, 7-16 since firing their manager. Maybe Cornell alum/GM AJ Preller should get a lefty for his bullpen; I'm told it helps.

4) Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup three times in last six years, so they have salary cap problems; they traded Patrick Sharp to Dallas this week, which has to be a sad day for all Blackhawk fans.

3) Twins 8, Tigers 6-- Detroit led 6-0 in 8th inning, 6-1 in ninth; this was a horrible loss for a team struggling to stay in playoff contention.

Minnesota TV announcer Dick Bremer, who is excellent, called this game ".......the most improbable comeback I've seen IN YEARS!!!!"

While I'm here, Brian Dozier is an All-Star, whether he goes to Cincinnati or not.

2) Pete Rose is obviously controversial; he once injured Ray Fosse when he barreled into the catcher while scoring the winning run in the 1970 All-Star Game. The guy who hit the ball that scored Rose was Jim Hickman, who was on the Cubs then but also is the first-ever Met to homer three times in one game and also the first Met to hit for the cycle. Just thought you'd like to know.

1) Irony Department: Rose wound up serving 152 days in prison for tax issues in 1990-91; he did his time in a prison in Marion, IL-- Ray Fosse's hometown.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) RIP Kenny Stabler, the great Oakland QB who died this week at age 69.

Stabler came into the NFL when QB's sat and learned before they started; he became the Oakland starter in 1973, his 4th NFL season, but once he started, all he did was win-- he was 69-26-1 with the Raiders, winning Super Bowl XXI. He also played for the Saints/Oilers, but will be forever remembered as John Madden's quarterback.

12) Baxter Holmes of wrote an article about why NBA players get hurt so much; it is interesting reading. Four reasons why basketball players get hurt a lot:

-- Worse sleeping habits-- According to a sleep expert, the "blue light" that is emitted from televisions, computer screens, tablets and smartphones suppresses the body's attempt to produce melatonin, a hormone that helps induce sleep.

-- Weaker bones-- Washington Post reports that Americans on average drank 37 percent less milk in 2014 than in 1970. Milk helps stengthen bones. Instead of milk, people are drinking more sugary drinks and that ain't good for your bones.

-- More wear and tear at a young age-- This one is simple; really good players now play too many games. AAU, summer league then the regular season. In AAU, a team might play three games in one day and it takes its toll over time.

-- Weaker muscles-- Less traditional weight training now and more "functional training" which focuses on the body's core and flexibility. Less weight training equals weaker muscles, which can cause more injuries.

11) Utah Jazz hosted a 3-night summer league this week that averaged over 10,000 fans a night for a doubleheader of games. Thats a lot of people for summer league.

10) Luke Ridnour got traded four times in a week, then Toronto released him Thursday; it is enough to make a guy change careers.

9) Jeremy Lin signs with Charlotte for two years, $4M; Hornets will be his fifth NBA team in his six years in the league.

8) My final take on the DeAndre Jordan fiasco: He is entitled to play anywhere he wants to, but he should've called Mark Cuban and explained things- it is how adults do business and the NBA is big business.

As for Dallas, they're probably better off without him.

7) How are Johnny Cueto/Clayton Kershaw not All-Stars? Anyone? Game is in Cincinnati; Cueto should be on the NL team.

6) As for the Home Run Derby, it is stupid that Yoenis Cespedes isn't there to defend the title he won the last two years. HR Derby shouldn't just be guys who make the All-Star team, they should be for the best home run hitters.

5) Huston Street hurt his leg, which cripples the Angels' bullpen, so the All-Star break may be coming just in time for Mike Scioscia.

4) If you wagered on the Atlanta-Colorado game last night, you should've checked the weather first. Colorado starter Kendrick threw a scoreless first inning with eight pitches thrown, then the rains came after Alex Wood threw two pitches in the bottom of the first, resulting in a two-hour rain delay.

Neither pitcher continued after the delay but since both pitchers threw a pitch, you were stuck with your bet, a game struggling Colorado won 5-3.

3) I got some e-mails yesterday telling me that David Ortiz playing 1B for Boston was more about Mike Napoli's struggles than Hanley Ramirez' defense. Brock Holt is a supersub, but can only sub at one position a day and 2B Pedroia is hurt.

2) Royals lose Alex Gordon for eight weeks with a muscle tear; Mets lose young pitcher Stephen Matz with a lat problem- thats at least a three-week deal.

1) I'm looking forward to seeing AAU basketball later this month in Las Vegas; the Fab 48 tournament and an adidas tournament. We'll have writeups on the games and kids we see as basketball recruiting season hits its summer peak.

Thursday's List of 13: Wrapping up a wild, weird Wednesday......
13) Lesson of the Day: Don't screw around with fireworks; you can get hurt!!!!

Two NFL players lost a total of three fingers this week because of accidents while playing with fireworks, which are dangerous if you're not an expert. Jason Pierre-Paul may have blown a $60M contract by losing his index finger in an accident. Oy.

12) Then there is DeAndre Jordan, who used the NBA's weird rules to renege on the Dallas Mavericks to stay with the Clippers. For some reason, he signed a four-year contract instead of the maximum five with LA, but nothing about this story is normal.

11) I'm a little confused by all this, but the bottom line appears to be: Mavericks are not happy, Jordan/Clippers both look bad, the NBA looks foolish and I had no idea Chandler Parsons of the Mavericks has a supermodel girlfriend. Good for him.

It is doubtful Dallas would've let Tyson Chandler walk if they hadn't signed Jordan. They're in a difficult place now; good big guys are hard to find.

10) Jordan appears to be an attention addict, much like an insecure teenager who needs to be told how much he is needed. Maybe he'll practice his foul shots now.

9) Mavericks-Clippers has to be an Opening Night game, right? Christmas?

8) Mets went 414 plate appearances without a home run until Eric Campbell hit one in top of the 9th Wednesday. Continues to be amazing that a team with so much good pitching hasn't traded for any kind of a hitter.

Saw a 7-5 force play at third base in this game; have never seen one before. Hitter on Giants hit a dunker to LF but runner on second got confused and went back to the base. When the ball fell in, LF Campbell threw him out at third, costing the batter a hit.

7) Mets' TV announcer Ron Darling told a story on air yesterday about when he was a high school player who pitched in tournaments during the summer.

One day a scout came up to Darling and asked him if he was going to go to college. He said that he was and scout replied "Good, because you'll never pitch in pro baseball."

Darling still sounded annoyed yesterday, saying he used that quote as motivation every day from then until the end of his very good major league career.

6) Total of ten runs were scored in three Met-Giant games this week.

5) Pitcher Tommy Milone had another strong outing for the Twins; he is a good but not a great pitcher, but you can win with him. His career record is 36-24.

One of the worst part of the whole "Moneyball" approach is that it diminishes the person and whatever intangibles are involved. Milone was 6-3, 3.55 in 16 starts for Oakland LY, but they basically discarded him when they traded for Jason Hammel on July 4th. they sent Milone to AAA instead of keeping him in the bullpen-- it was wasting a useful player so they could keep the awful Jim Johnson in the bullpen. He was traded to Minnesota at the trading deadline. Ugh.

Anyway, good for Milone; he is back in the majors and doing well.

4) Cole Hamels has a no-trade list with 20 teams on it; makes it tough to trade him.

3) How bad is Hanley Ramirez in outfield? Ramirez has DH'd twice this week, with David Ortiz playing first base. Ortiz hadn't played 1B in an AL game since 2006.

2) Former NBA coach Mike D'Antoni sold his house in Manhattan Beach for $9.5M this month. Looks like a real nice house. For $9.5M, it better be.

1) What must the New Jersey Giants think when they send their trainer to Miami to see Jason Pierre-Paul and he won't see the trainer? Someone leaked his medical info to ESPN, which opens up a whole different can of worms, but the young man lost his index finger, which is a lot worse than when Ronnie Lott lost his pinky during his Hall of Fame playing career.

Sports are big business; can he still be a useful player without an index finger? .

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy Hump Day!!!!......
13) Pittsburgh Pirates have turned it around, are 49-34, second best record in major leagues, but they're in same division with St Louis, which has the best record. Right now, NL Central would get three teams in the playoffs (Cubs).

Pirates started the season by going 3-12 in their first 15 games when winning scored from 7th inning on. They're now 8-1 in last nine such games.

12) There was a rain delay at PNC Park last night, with the tarp damn near getting blown into the Allegheny River by strong winds. Some of the Pirates came out of the dugout and helped the ground crew secure the tarp.

11) Padres are in Steel City this week; San Diego's new manager is Pat Murphy, whose daughter is married to Pittsburgh 1B Pedro Alvarez, who had a walk-off single in the Monday night Pirate win. Padres were 32-33 when they fired Bub Black; they are 39-46 now. Changing managers during the season is seldom a good move.

10) 11 guys on the Atlanta Braves made their MLB debut this year, yet the team stays in contention in a weak NL East. Good job by skipper Fredi Gonazalez.

9) They were talking about doubleheaders on the Cub game Tuesday; in his career, which lasted 19 years, Ernie Banks played in over 300 doubleheaders, which are rare in today's money-grabbing, double admission culture.

8) On DirecTV's baseball package, for some reason the games from Chicago don't go to commecial in between innings, so you get to hear the ballpark music and see whats going on, its a little like actually being at the ballpark. Pretty cool.

7) Miguel Montero caught Jon Lester Monday night because David Ross, who is Lester's personal catcher, is on the 7-day DL with a concussion.

6) The catch/throw Hunter Pence made last night is Exhibit A why the new statistic WAR isn't what analytics people think it is, an easy way to sum up a player's value with one single number. You can't and never will be able to quantify "heart".

This was Pence's first game off the DL; he makes a spectacular catch, bounces up and throws a fairly fast runner out at the plate. Go ahead, give me a number for the lift that gave a team that had been on a 7-game losing streak-- you can't!!!!

5) San Antonio Spurs basically cut Cory Joseph after signing LaMarcus Aldridge, but Toronto was quick to give Joseph $30M for four years.

4) According to the Interweb, David West has earned $87,668,418 in his career as an NBA player; he must've saved most of it, since he signed with the Spurs this week for the veteran minimum of $1.4M, turning down $12.2M from the Indiana Pacers. West has a wife named Lesley; would've enjoyed hearing him explain THAT to her.

3) The late Manute Bol has a 15-year old son who is 6-foot-10 and making rounds of summer camps out west. Young man's name is Bol Bol and he looks a lot like his dad did way back when. If I see him play in Las Vegas later this month, I'll let you know.

2) Milwaukee Bucks are making noise about moving to Las Vegas; I've been told by more than one person in Vegas that the civic leaders want nothing to do with the NBA after the chaos and general lawlessness that took place when Las Vegas hosted the NBA All-Star Game back in 2007. Las Vegas wants an NHL team, and they want UNLV to get back to the NCAA tournament. Thats it.

1) Florida State had a backup QB who hit his girlfriend and it was captured on camera; Seminoles have already dumped the kid, who will wind up playing at a JC somewhere and then re-surfacing at West Texas State, Delaware or some other obscure outpost, unless he wins a national title in JC, then he'll be at Auburn or another SEC school.

This kid learned nothing from the Jameis Winston era in Tallahassee:
-- You can't get in trouble until you've won at least one league title. This kid hadn't even been named the starter yet-- no one is going out on a limb to defend him. Ever.

Tuesday's List of 13: Random thoughts on 7th day of 7th month....
13) I posted yesterday's article in this space with ten laps to go in the NASCAR race late Sunday night, around 2:30am, then turned my laptop off and watched the end of the race, which ended in a horrific accident, the scariest thing I've ever seen.

It is totally amazing no one died in that accident; those cars are built really well. If I had a kid and he wanted to race cars, though, think I'd have to discourage him.

12) Rory McIlroy tore ligaments in his ankle playing soccer over the weekend; that is an expensive injury, with British Open and PGA still ahead on the schedule. Maybe Nike can do a string of commercials dealing with his rehab- his ankle was in a walking boot-- doubt he makes it back before the PGA.

11) People in Montreal are excited over rumors the Red Sox will play two exhibition games there before next season- they're guaranteeing two sellouts if that happens, with all the BoSox fans in northern New England, which borders Quebec.

10) Michigan switched from adidas to Nike, third major football program (Notre Dame, Tennessee) to do that in last year or so. Expensive losses for adidas.

9) Darren O'Day is an All-Star but ARod isn't. Bleeping joke. ARod isn't one of last five guys because he would win the vote- they don't want him.

As for O'Day, he has started zero games and has two saves. Guys who aren't closers and aren't starters aren't one of the best six pitchers on their own team-- how can they be All-Stars? Joe Torre started this with Mike Stanton a few years ago; its yet another reason the All-Star Game has gotten ridiculous. Set-up guys shouldn't be All-Stars.

8) Braves' GM John Hart is doing a fine job in Atlanta; Braves are 41-42 when they weren't supposed to be very good, plus he dumped the hideous contract BJ Upton got on the Padres. But how can this be? Hart will be 67 years old in two weeks; he went to Seminole JC and Central Florida (a state university!!!)- how can he be fielding a team that overachieves if he isn't an Ivy League wunderkind? Interesting......

7) Meanwhile, the Cornell alum/genius who runs the Padres (and traded for BJ Upton, ha!!!) has his team at 39-46- they were 32-33 before he fired Bud Black, so that move has worked real well. But he went to Cornell so he must be smarter than most.

6) Popcorn remains an underrated snack. Very good.

5) JD Martinez has 11 homers in his last 13 games-- damn. Detroit's last sixteen games have gone over the total, partially because their pitching isn't as good as usual.

4) Poor Vin Scully; guy is 87 years old, works Dodger games by himself and had to sit thru a 4:13 mess last night in LA, when Dodgers beat a horrible Philly team 10-7. Phils' bullpen is so awful they left journeyman starter Sean O'Sullivan in for 124 pitches, and he never finished the sixth inning.

3) Long baseball games aren't necessarily a new trend; the longest 9-inning game in LA Dodger history was the one-game Giant-Dodger playoff game after the '62 season, which took 4:18 to play.

By contrast, the Buehrle-Sale matchup in Chicago last night was over in 1:54.

2) RIP Burt from Burt's Bees, (Burt Shavitz) who passed away this week at age 80. He started Burt's Bees at a roadside stand a long time ago and wound up selling it a few years ago for $900M.

1) Danny Lee won the Greenbrier golf tourney last weekend; one of his partners in the pro-am was Virginia Tech basketball coach Buzz Williams. Last year, Williams, who is a bad golfer (or so he says) was partners with Cameron Tringale, who finished 4th in the real tournament. Next year, have to find out who ol' Buzz is partners with.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Thanks to NASCAR for starting their Daytona race after 11:30 pm so I had live entertainment while typing this. I know nothing about cars but for some reason, I like watching/listening to the races. Am guessing it would be too loud in person.

12) David Ortiz played first base Sunday, the first time he played the field in an AL game since 2006 at Tampa Bay. Mike Napoli has been really struggling.

11) 24-year old Danny Lee won his first PGA tournament Sunday, winning a 4-man playoff at Greenbrier. He was so happy in the interview after, kind of cool to see. He has played 27 tournaments this year, most of anyone.

10) Robert Streb lost in the playoff; not even sure how he got in, after playing the last nine holes with no putter- he broke his on the ninth green and used a pitching wedge to putt on the last nine holes, somehow still making five birdies.

9) Which is the worst birthday: December 26, January 2 or July 5?

8) I'm not sure who added all this up, but the guy who won the hot dog contest on Saturday consumed this much in ten minutes during his win:

-- 17,360 calories, 1,116 grams of fat and 48,360 kilograms of sodium. Oy.

7) Unintended consequence: the Home Run Derby is better theater than the All-Star Game itself, especially in years like this one, in a small ballpark.

6) I remember watching the 2013 Home Run Derby in Las Vegas in the sportsbook at Planet Hollywood; I'm sitting at the bar playing video poker (bad idea, the machines just outside the coffee shop are lot more generous) and I just remember how annoying Chris Berman was.

"Back, back, back....." 50 or 60 times gets old.....Cespedes was in the running so I kept watching, but asked the bartender if they could mute the TVs and put music on, thats how annoying Berman gets with his self-promoting act.

5) Golfer Jason Bohn played his college golf at Alabama, until he won $1M making a hole-in-one at a charity event in 1992- then he became a pro. He also once shot a 58 on the Canadian Tour and has won two PGA Tour events, the BC Open in 2005 and the New Orleans tournament in 2010.

4) Hitters don't get out of the way of inside pitches anymore; they react as if it is illegal to throw the ball inside. Watch some film from the 60's/70's; batters would turn their bodies away from inside pitches, to avoid getting hit. Now guys expose their hands to being hit (and bones broken) by 95 mph fastballs. Not good.

George Springer broke a bone in his hand this weekend; Carlos Gomez got hit on the wrist yesterday and left the game. Players have to protect their hands.

3) Stupid baseball scheduling: Giants played in Washington this weekend, and play at home against the Mets tonight, which is fine, but they can't be the Sunday night game if they have a game 3,000 miles away the next night. It is terrible scheduling.

Giants are actually flying home Monday morning and playing same night, which almost never happens in pro sports. ESPN should've picked another game.

2) If baseball playoffs started today, they would look like this:
AL: Houston-Kansas City-Bronx. Wild cards: Balt or Minn @ Angels
NL: Washington-St Louis-Dodgers. Wild cards: Cubs @ Pirates

1) Every kid who wants to be a high school, college or pro basketball player should be watching these NBA Summer League games on NBA TV. It is so difficult to make it to the NBA or even the Division I college ranks; you have to practice and refine your skills to maximize your game. Shooting, passing, lower-body strength; that is how you become a better player, one that coaches will sign up to help them win games.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) LaMarcus Aldridge gets $80M for four years from the Spurs; he goes home to Texas and does Golden State a favor, making them an underdog as defending champ.

12) Why does ESPN televise a hot dog eating contest? It is gross to watch, people scarfing down 60 hot dogs in 10 minutes (thats one hot dog and roll every ten seconds for ten minutes). Oy. I love hot dogs, but I couldn't take 60 buns out of their plastic bag in ten minutes, much less stuff them down my throat. Weird stuff to watch.

11) Miguel Cabrera (calf) is out for six weeks, first time in his 13-year career he is on the DL. Damaging blow for Detroit, which has little organizational depth at 1B.

10) Stephen Strasburg (oblique) left yesterday's start in 4th inning. He can't seem to stay healthy; Nationals are going to need him in the second half of this season.

9) White Sox 3, Orioles 2-- Avasail Garcia saved the game, robbing Orioles of a tying home run for the last out of the game. Really a tremendous catch to end the game.

8) Interesting situation in Arizona, where Diamondbacks will carry Rule 5 catcher Oscar Hernandez for the rest of the season, but he'll play very little- they have to give him back if they send him to the minors. Young catchers are hard to find, but now they have to keep three catchers on the roster while they're on the fringe of contention.

7) Miami Marlins announcers were raving about the renovations at Wrigley Field on Friday's telecast; they love the two new electronic scoreboards in the outfield.

6) My view on NBA free agency is this: if you're not an All-Star, then you should play on a one-year contract every year. Hungry players are better players.

Sacramento gave Kosta Koufos $33M for four years. In seven NBA seasons, he has started 139 games and averaged 5.4 ppg-- he started three games LY and will be getting $8M + a season. What a bleepin' country.

5) Lakers, who have done nothing so far in free agency, are rumored to be getting Roy Hibbert from Indiana. Since owner Jerry Buss passed away, Lakers haven't been the model franchise they were when he owned the team.

4) On June 27, Portland assistant coach Kim Hughes, for some bizarre reason, said this to an Indiana TV station:

"People don't realize we just went young. We didn't publicize it, but we lost LaMarcus Aldridge. It hasn't been declared yet, but I'm sure he won't come back. We will go young and we depend on Meyers [Leonard] to play a lot of minutes."

Kim Hughes is now a former assistant coach; Portland fired him for saying that.

3) Frank Kaminsky had 19 points, 12 rebounds in his first summer league game; he will be an interesting study this season. 7-footers who can shoot have great value.

2) Cincinnati pitcher Josh Smith hit four batters last night, knocking Carlos Gomez out of the game; last time a Cincinnati pitcher hit four guys? 1907.

1) Between now and the non-waiver trading deadline on July 31, baseball front offices will send their players/coaches one of three messages........

-- We're making trades, adding players. We've got your back.
-- We're trading players, dumping salary. This season is over.
-- We're incompetent bastards and are doing nothing. You're on your own.

Saturday's List of 13: Happy 239th birthday, America.........
13) DeAndre Jordan signs with Dallas for four years, $80M, plus whatever a decent shooting coach gets paid. Get ready for a winter filled with Mark Cuban complaining about the intentional foul rules.

12) Definition of Irony: Donald Trump has a line of fancy clothes some stores sell. The suitcoats have a label inside them that says "Made in Mexico"

11) I learned a new phrase this week: "throwing shade".

According to my friends at the urban dictionary, "throwing shade" means: " talk trash about a friend or aquaintance, to publicly denounce or disrespect."

See all the neat stuff you learn coming here every day?

10) Random college football fact: Missouri is 26-9 vs spread in its last 35 road games; since 2007, they're 13-3 as road favorites.

9) Is Josh Reddick trying to get traded? He went on record Thursday in a radio interview ripping the A's front office for sitting him against lefty pitchers. Thats what happened with Josh Donaldson, before he got traded last winter, though he criticized the front office for other stuff. Problem is, Reddick is 11-69 (.159) against lefties- he ain't as good as Donaldson.

8) Over/under in Met-Dodger game Friday night was 5.5; thats an NHL over/under, unusually low for a baseball total. Of course, the game ended 2-1.

7) Great note from Christopher Kamka, a Comcast guy from Chicago:

Journeyman pitcher Clayton Richard starts for the Cubs today, his first start in two years, but he has made 129 career big league starts, going 46-47.

Anyway in 2002, Richard was Mr High School Football in Indiana, and was backup QB to Chad Henne at Michigan for a year, before quitting to concentrate on baseball.

Runner-up for Mr HS Football in Indiana in 2002? White Sox P Jeff Samardzija, who also pitches today and wound up being a really good WR at Notre Dame.

6) Howie Kendrick stole second for the Dodgers in the sixth inning last night, ending a 23+-game streak without a stolen base, LA's longest drought of the modern era.

5) PT Barnum would be so proud; there is a Fantasy Football Combine at the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas July 17-19. Only costs $995 a person. Oy.

(PT Barnum was credited with a famous saying: "There is a sucker born every minute", though many historians dispute that he actually said it. You get the point.)

4) There is no state income tax in Texas; there is a 13.3% state income tax in California, which becomes something of a factor in these free agent negotiations.

3) Last 14 Detroit Tiger games went over the total, but Miguel Cabrera strained a calf muscle last night and is probably headed to the DL. Wager accordingly.

2) NBA Summer League from Orlando tips off at 9am on NBA TV. We're almost to the point where there is good stuff on TV 24 hours a day. Need time to sleep.

1) Happy Birthday America; we're very lucky to live here. We're fortunate to have freedoms a lot of other places do not have. Thanks to those people who protect our freedoms. Enjoy your 4th of July!!!!

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) There is a 7-footer in Greece named Georgis Papagiannis who might play college basketball in this country; if he does, his four college choices are St John's, Kentucky, NC State and out west, the Oregon Ducks.

Turns out that Nike outfits the Greek National team which helps the Ducks, seeing as outgoing Nike honcho Phil Knight is a huge supporter of Oregon.

12) Tennessee switched from adidas to Nike this year; in the first day the new Nike Vols gear was up on their website, they sold $150K worth, all of it orange. Oy.

11) Oakland A's are 6-20 in 1-run games, a .231 winning %age; that is the 2nd-worst winning %age is one-run games of all time. 1935 Boston Braves were 7-31 in one-run games, but they finished 38-115 that season. Oakland is currently 37-45.

10) I'm not a picky eater, but IHOP is advertising banana pudding on its television commercials; I'd be wary of any type of pudding at IHOP.

9) Speaking of food, saw a couple notes on Twitter today that says Marco's Pizza (located in 35 states) is the best pizza people have had. I've never heard of it; anyone have any experience with Marco's? This is worth investigating.

8) Hazards of fantasy baseball: I'm in a 16-team keeper league, so I'm watching the Braves' new pitcher, Manny Banuelos. He strikes out Bryce Harper the first two times up so I go in and pick him up off the scrap heap- thats enough evidence for me.

35 minutes later, the trainer, manager and pitching coach are on the mound looking at my newest player. No bueno. Luckily for me, it was cramps/dehydration and not an arm injury. Still, the Atlanta announcers pointed out it wasn't that hot last night, so the heat/humidity could be an ongoing problem, if Banuelos has conditioning issues.

7) Jerry DiPoto resigned as Angels' GM this week, loser of a power struggle with manager Mike Scioscia. More and more, we're hearing of these internal conflicts within front offices. Lot of politics; everyone wants credit when a team wins and fingers get pointed when teams do not meet expectations.

6) Was fun finding Hamilton-Winnipeg CFL game on ESPN2 last night; after only five games this season, three CFL teams have already lost their starting QB to injury.

5) Chargers' TE Antonio Gates gets four games for PED use. Any news at this time of year for NFL teams is generally bad news.

4) Former UConn Husky hooper/NBA player Scott Burrell is new hoop coach at D-II Southern Connecticut; when I was in college, we used to play the Owls every year-- they weren't very good. If I remember right, gymnastics was the big sport there, but former Giant OC Kevin Gilbride used to be the football coach there

3) It would be un-American to outlaw defensive shifts in baseball. Seriously. Why take some of the intelligence out of the game? Hitters need to adjust.

2) Random college football note: Since 2010, Georgia Bulldogs are 0-6-1 against the spread as an underdog.

1) July 2, 1963-- Giants 1, Braves 0 in 16 innings. Warren Spahn/Juan Marichal both went whole way. Really, they did.

Spahn faced 56 batters, Marichal 59. Willie Mays won it with a homer in the 16th. Spahn was 41 years old at the time, an amazing performance.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) Rough week for the Tampa Bay Rays; three games in a row (and 4th time in last seven games), they haven't had a batter reach base safely in the first five innings.

12) No NL West team had a winning record in June; Dodgers were 15-15.

11) Mark Buehrle is 207-156 in a fabulous 16-year career; he started 28 games when he was a rookie and has started 30+ every year since. Durable, reliable, pretty soon he is going to be a borderline Hall of Famer. In that entire 15.5 years, he has had only three starts (out of 476) when he struck out 10+ batters. Teams should take notice.

10) Adrian Gonzalez has played 156+ games the last nine years; he plays in the NL, which doesn't have the DH (he played most of one season in Boston, was DH twice). Much like Buehrle, he is reliable and dependable, a great player.

9) Nick Saban is 183-59-1 as a college coach, but only 8-8 in bowls, losing last two- I'm saying the Crimson Tide will win their bowl game this year. Early prediction.

8) Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham is 84-43 in ten years, 7-1 in bowl games, he is very successful, but the Utes will have their 8th different offensive coordinator in 11 years this season. That just seems weird, especially for a good team.

7) Floyd Mayweather had a better month of May then we did; he made $220M.

6) Bengals' WR Mohamed Sanu recently made a 60-yard FG during a workout at his alma mater, Rutgers. Some teams don't have kickers who can make a 40-yarder.

5) They were talking on the Padres' game about what a great hitter Edgar Martinez was; he used to take batting practice with a weighted donut on his bat.

4) San Diego wore its brown caps and throwback unis from the 80's yesterday; to me, their best uniforms were the ones Dave Winfield wore in the 70's, but as long as their color scheme went back to brown/gold, that would be a vast improvement.

3) Hope umpire Tom Hallion is feeling better; he took a direct hit to the mask on a foul tip and had to leave the Colorado-Oakland game after two batters Wednesday.

2) I don't care what anyone says; it is stupid to bat Jon Lester 8th. Lester has never gotten a hit, is arguably the worst hitter in MLB history. Lester has drawn one walk in his entire career-- against Guillermo Mota. He should always bat ninth.

1) Major League Baseball wants more scoring, faster games; hard to have both.

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy Canada Day, everyone.......
13) Russell Wilson led the Seahawks to the last two Super Bowls, winning one; yet eight backup QBs have a bigger base salary than Wilson does this season.

Or in other words, Charlie Whitehurst makes more $$$ than Wilson. Oy.

12) So does Bobby Bonilla......still. Every July 1, the Mets send Bonilla a deferred compensation check for $1,193,248.20, and will every year thru 2035. Bonilla last played a major league game in 2001.

11) According to, the Mets could've paid Bonilla $5.9M in 2000 and been done with him. But no; they decided paying him $1,193,248.20 a year for 25 years was a better deal than paying him $5.9M once.

The owner of the Mets is now the head of MLB's finance committee. Yikes.

10) 17 of Joc Pederson's 20 home runs this year came with the bases empty.

9) Texas Rangers sent Joey Gallo to AAA this week, the day after he had three RBI , four strikeouts and a triple in the same game. He is only the second player EVER to do that in the same game; the first was in 1939 and it was an obscure pitcher.

8) Anthony Davis got $145M for five years from the Pelicans; Kawhi Leonard got $90M for five years from the Spurs as NBA free agency started. Al-Farouq Aminu got $30M from Portland for four years.

7) Was annoyed when I read a report than DeAndre Jordan doesn't want to be the #3 option on a team anymore, so he might leave the Clippers. If you want people to run plays for you, thats fine, but how about making half your bleeping foul shots????

Jordan made 39.7% of his foul shots this year-- 39.7%

6) Jordan made $11,440,124 this past season but he worked so little on his shooting that he made 39.7% of his foul shots, and he wants to be the focal point of an offense. That takes some serious balls.

Put it this way: I am 55 years old and as I type this at 4:06am on July 1, I could drive to a playground right now, takes a couple warmups and make half my foul shots, even if it was in the damn dark. How about working on your game?!?!?!?

5) Chris Webber told a great story on TV during a game this past winter.

In his first six years in the NBA, Webber made 54.1% of his foul shots, that is 799 out of 1,477. Not good. He told a story of hiring a shooting coach after his sixth year, his first with Sacramento, and the shooting coach went everywhere Webber went that summer. Everywhere.

The gym, the weight room, parties, clubs, vacations. Webber practiced shooting all that summer and fall-- the next year, he was 311-414 from the line, 75.1%.

4) Shooting is the one aspect of basketball you can improve with hard work, practice and concentration. Doc Rivers says he will enlist actor Jamie Foxx when he tries to recruit Jordan to stay with the Clippers. Maybe he should bring Webber's shooting coach along with him, too.

3) 76-year old Phil Knight is stepping down as head of Nike; tough act to follow. He is one of the greatest American success stories. Nike made $3.2B last year.

2) Random football stat: Ohio State won 10 of its last 11 games with Michigan.

1) Two of the last three Super Bowls were won by QBs (Flacco/Wilson) who were transfers during their college careers. Troy Aikman was a transfer, so was Vince Ferragamo. Aaron Rodgers had to play JC ball because no one offered hm a scholarship out of high school.

Phil Simms went to Morehead State, Tony Romo Eastern Illinois, Terry Bradshaw Louisiana Tech, Kurt Warner Northern Iowa, Doug Williams Grambling.

One of the cool things about sports is that great players come from all over

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Bo Ryan is stepping down as basketball coach at Wisconsin after this coming season, a move obviously timed to improve the odds of his long-time assistant Greg Gard inheriting the job. The 67-year old Ryan says his retirement isn't health-related.

12) All of which leaves Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez (a football guy) with a very hard job; replace a guy who was Wisconsin basketball for the last 14 years. Ryan won four Big Ten (or Big 12 or Big 14) titles at Wisconsin, which had not won any in the 55 years before Ryan got to Madison. He will be almost impossible to replace.

11) Here is a list of six guys drew up who are possible replacements for Ryan; well, their list is five and Greg Gard is #6, because Ryan wants him to get the job. I do not think he has a chance in hell of landing it. Big 14 basketball is not an entry level head coaching position, it just isn't.

-- Tony Bennett, Virginia-- His dad was Wisconsin's coach before Ryan. He is 60-11 at Virginia the last two years.
-- Shaka Smart, Texas-- Was born in Madison, but this ain't happening.
-- Saul Phillips, Ohio U-- Followed Tim Miles at North Dakota State and won big there, but would be a hard sell after going 10-20 in his first year at Ohio.
-- Linc Darner, Wisc-Green Bay-- Just got hired at Green Bay; he went 90-12 in his last three years at D-II Florida Southern.
-- Pat Miller, Wisc-Whitewater-- Is 315-87 at the lower levels of college hoop, where Ryan won four national titles himself.
-- Greg Gard, Wisconsin assistant coach.

Two greedy bastard updates for today.........
10) Out in Oakland, they're selling a commemorative basketball celebrating Golden State's NBA championship; they're only charging $89.95 for it. Oy.

9) At the Mobil station closest to my house, gas went up from $2.89 a gallon to $3.09 in one day couple of weeks ago, then Saturday, it suddenly went back down to $2.91 a gallon, for two glorious days. Monday? With 4th of July weekend coming up, gas went back up to $3.09 a gallon. How do they get away with this?

8) Back in Oakland for a minute, they announced a crowd of 12,125 for the Rockies' game with A's last night-- no way were there 10,000 people there. Not close. Too bad, Kendall Graveman pitched really well and the A's won 7-1.

7) Nice moment before the game; Julianna Zobrist sang the national anthem; she is Ben Zobrist's wife, and a professional singer. I think her knees are healthy too, which is more than her husband can say. He is playing hurt this season.

6) Phillies finally did something, hiring Andy MacPhail to take over from 77-year old Pat Gillick as team president, but not until after this season. MacPhail is going to observe the rest of the season, then hopefully hire a very large moving van to get rid of all the washed up/substandard players the Phillies have. They should've cleaned house 3-4 years ago, but never did; now it'll be an immense rebuilding project.

5) Something is wrong with the Dodgers; they lost in Arizona last night, blowing a 4-0 lead- they've scored a total of 11 runs in Zach Greinke's last eight starts that were not in Denver. LA is 43-35, a half-game ahead of the Giants in the NL West. For a club with the biggest payroll ever, you expected a little more.

4) St Louis is 13-3 in its last sixteen games, they're very good, very solid, but it is just weird that they haven't scored a first inning run in their last 22 games.

3) San Francisco Giants are 8-4 in first game of a road series, but only 5-8 in first game of a home series- they lost their last five home series openers.

2) Random college football stat: USC is 4-13 against spread in its last 17 road games.

1) Lebron James is probably going to re-sign with Cleveland, but could you imagine if he ever signed with the Knicks; the entire Interweb would implode. Twitter would definitely crash for a while, SportsCenter would do six-hour specials on it, Spike Lee would do a movie before training camp started- thank the Lord it ain't gonna happen.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.....
13) Let the circus begin: Lebron James opted out of his contract and will become a free agent, with the expectation that he will re-sign with Cleveland. The Interweb will break, for sure, if James changes teams this summer.

12) NBA teams begin negotiations with free agents Wednesday; signings become official starting on July 9. Summer league is also in July, in Orlando, Las Vegas. If I am GM or coach of the Cavaliers, the next ten days will be very nervous, for sure.

11) Jets' owner Woody Johnson is really, really rich; he was picked by Jeb Bush to serve as the national finance chairman for Bush's campaign for President. Maybe Bush could return the favor and tell the Jets who to play at QB.

10) Angels 3, Mariners 2 (10)-- Angels had bases loaded, no one out and Pujols up, but they get Pujols to ground into a double play. On 1-2 pitch to next batter, one pitch away from escaping an impossible jam, Wilhelmson throws a walk-off wild pitch, as Seattle's season from hell continues. Lousy way to lose a game.

9) Dummy of the Week: Kingsport TN rookie ball manager Luis Rivera forgot to list his relief pitchers on the lineup card Friday, so he had to use position players in relief when he changed pitchers and in rookie ball, lot of guys are on pitch counts. Kingsport is a Mets' farm club- they lost 15-9-- where did they find this guy?

Just so you know, players not listed on the lineup card cannot play in the game. It is not difficult to fill a lineup card out- what else does he have to do?

8) Detroit catcher James McCann has three career home runs; two walk-offs and an inside-the-park home run. Don't see that too much.

7) Random fact: In 2007 NBA Draft, Joel Anthony went undrafted but since then he has earned $19,511,738 in the NBA with two NBA championship rings.

Ben Wallace, Bruce Bowen and Udonis Haslem went undrafted, too.

6) Hanley Ramirez was sent back to Boston for an MRI on his wrist, bad news for a Boston team that is 34-43 and seven games out......of 4th place in AL East.

5) First four teams in AL East are all separated by one game. The next month is going to be fascinating, to see what teams add what players to improve their roster.

4) 76ers had to give the New Orleans Pelicans $3M because they didn't tell them that Jrue Holiday had a leg injury before they made a trade in July, 2013.

3) Mets have an excess of starting pitchers and a shortage of good position players; rumor this week was Jon Neise getting dealt to the Cubs.

New York's newest rookie pitcher, Steven Matz had quite a debut Sunday, beating the Reds and going 3-3 at the plate with four RBI. He is first pitcher in baseball history with four RBI in his major league debut.

2) University of Buffalo has a new football coach, guy named Lance Leipold, who has a career record of 109-6-- yes, 109 and freakin' six. He won six national titles in Division III at Wisconsin-Whitewater but is now making the big jump to D-I football.

1) Umpire Larry Vanover worked the plate in Baltimore Sunday, but had the second game of the doubleheader off- thats how the rules work. But what does an umpire like Vanover do during the second game? Press box? Stands? Hotel?

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a summer Saturday.....
13) Rangers 4, Blue Jays 0-- Yovani Gallardo blanked the Jays for 8.1 innings in the Rogers Centre, which is super impressive this season-- Toronto only got five men on base against him and they score a lot of runs at home.

12) People are very nice in Toronto; rookie Matt Boyd left his first major league start down 4-0 in the 7th inning, but got a nice ovation from the home crowd. Think he gets a nice ovation in NYC if he leaves with the home side down 4-nil? Me either.

11) Angels 4, Mariners 2-- Robinson Cano was sitting in dugout in between innings when an errant warmup throw drilled him in the forehead and forced him out of this game. Freak accident but another lousy night in a dismal Seattle season.

10) Kenny Albert came up with a great stat on FOX Saturday; the last 11 no-hitters were all thrown by National League pitchers. Last AL pitcher to toss a no-hitter was Felix Hernandez in 2012.

9) Speaking of no-hitters, a lefty named Ken Holtzman threw two of them for the Cubs, one in '69, one in '71. The first one, August 19, 1969 came against an Atlanta team that had Hank Aaron-Rico Carty-Orlando Cepeda batting 3-4-5. Damn- you toss a no-hitter against those three guys, thats a full day's work.

But the oddity of that no-hitter is this; Holtzman didn't strike anyone out, not even the opposing pitcher (Phil Niekro).

8) Holtzman has a special place in my heart because the Cubs traded him to Oakland after the '71 season (for Rick Monday) and he helped the A's win three World Series in a row, in 72-73-74. He was a very underrated big-game pitcher.

7) Staying in Oakland for a minute, you can buy a ticket package of all 13 A's home games in July, for..........take a guess. How much you think 13 games would go for? I'll post the answer a little further down the line in today's article.

6) Andrew Cashner has given up 19 unearned runs this season, partially because he isn't pitching as well, partially because the Padres are terrible on defense. Jon Niese has allowed the second-most unearned runs this season, with 11.

5) Jose Altuve is trailing in the All-Star voting, which is fine with me; he is on my fantasy team and I'd just as soon he had the four days off to rest his legs.

4) Not sure why, but Jeff Samardzija has allowed a run or more in first inning in nine of his last eleven starts, which is really bad. A's got Marcus Semien and Josh Phegley for Samardzija and right now, they might have gotten the better end of the deal.

You can buy a ticket package to all 13 Oakland home games in July for $89; that is less than $7 a game. Lot of places, one beer costs $7, or more.

3) Karl-Anthony Towns went #1 in the NBA Draft; six guys on Kentucky played more minutes than he did last winter. Has that ever happened before?

2) Oakland Raiders lost the Super Bowl after the 2002 season, but they got there; since that day, the Raiders are 56-136, which is hard to believe.

1) NBA free agency starts Wednesday; NBA is one league where the off-season is often more interesting than the actual season.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.....
13) Max Scherzer won again, 5-2 over Philly; runs he allowed ended an amazing streak where Washington starters didn't allow a run for 47 innings.

12) Cleveland is now 3-13 in Kluber starts; he won the Cy Young last year. Been a tough year for the Indians, but this is very surprising.

11) Horrendous news for the Miami Marlins and my fantasy baseball team: last night in Miami, Giancarlo Stanton hurt his left hand swinging a bat and will have an MRI this morning. No bueno.

10) Kid named Matt Boyd makes his MLB debut for Toronto this afternoon; 24-year old from Oregon State is a distant relative of the great pitcher Bob Feller.

9) Graphic contrast between NBA and NHL drafts; at NHL draft, the whole front office of a team comes on stage to make first round selections. All you see at the NBA Draft are the kids selected and their families. Team executives aren't there.

NHL moves its draft all over the league; NBA stays in NYC. Advantage, NHL.

8) Eight of the top 13 picks in the NBA Draft played one year of college, which is a rule that needs to change. It makes college a joke; you know kids aren't going to class second semester, since they know they're gone anyway.

Kids should be able to go straight from high school to the pros, like in baseball.

7) David West is expected to sign with the Knicks as a free agent; good luck there.

6) Analysis of Kelly Oubre on NBA TV Wednesday night: "The only way he gets drafted this high is if someone is afraid they'll look foolish if he becomes great." Now there is a ringing endorsement for a player. Just pick players who play well in games, not ones who excel in workouts or have great potential. It is a simple thing.

5) If my $1M+ a year job running a basketball team depended on the team I assembled winning games, I would never, ever, ever select a player whose effort was an issue. Ever. Effort has to be a non-negotiable thing; great players bring great effort every day

4) It drives me nuts when I hear an analyst say "that kid's a winner" as if it is pre-ordained that he will always win. For every winner there has to be a loser but I refuse to believe there are people in this world who are pre-ordained losers.

3) One quick NFL note: Patriots beat Jets twice last year, 27-25/17-16; in the two games, they were outgained by 80 and 76 yards. Go figure.

2) had Christian Wood listed as the #26 pick in the draft; there are 30 teams, two rounds- thats obviously 60 picks, yet Wood wasn't selected. What geniuses are giving this kid such bad information? Wood could've gone back to UNLV, become a better player, gotten stronger, now he is off to the obscurity of the D-League, where he may or may not ever get a shot at the NBA.

1) The picture of Wood in the Las Vegas paper, slumped in a chair, head in hands, is both sad and aggravating. The kid heard what he wanted to hear, but he got bad advice, life-altering bad advice. He had a reputation for not working hard enough and his thin frame betrayed a lack of effort in the weight room. He better start working harder now, or else his great opportunity is going to go to waste. .

Friday's List of 13: Thoughts after watching the NBA Draft....
13) Generally enjoy Jalen Rose's work on the NBA Draft; he came up with a strong number last night: only 3,988 players have ever played in an NBA game. You have to be a great basketball player just to make it to the league.

12) A Kentucky alum was taken first in three of the last six NBA Drafts. .

11) Fran Fraschilla called Orlando draft pick Mario Hezenja "...the best pure shooter in the draft." Shooters are always marketable.

10) There have been 19 international lottery picks since Yao Ming was taken in 2002; none of those 19 players made an All-Star team.

9) Poor Luke Ridnour; veteran guard was on four different teams in a 24-hour span earlier this week, getting traded from Charlotte-Memphis-Oklahoma City-Orlando.

8) Phoenix Suns went 39-43 LY, missed playoffs by six games; they lost 18 games by 5 or fewer points. Suns currently have five Kentucky alums on their roster.

7) Apparently, some agents asked the 76ers not to draft their clients, since they're afraid the Sixers are so screwed up they'll never win.

6) Boston Celtics have six first round draft picks in the next three drafts.

5) Notre Dame's Pat Connaughton, who has potential as a pitcher (Orioles own his rights in baseball) was drafted by the Nets but traded to Portland. He wants to play in the NBA but it is always nice to have options

4) Why some teams never, ever win: Minnesota drafted Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio before the Warriors drafted Stephen Curry. Oy.

3) San Antonio drafted a Serbian 7-footer named Nikola Milutinov, who used to be a swimmer. Spurs made out OK with Tim Duncan, a 7-footer who also used to swim. Milutinov is expected to stay in Europe for two years, then go to San Antonio.

2) Best part of Jay Williams being on ESPN last night was when he started talking, that gave me time to check the baseball scores on the other channel. Williams continues to be terrible on TV but continues to get more prominent gigs.

1) 18 months ago, my buddy Mike and I sat in Bishop Gorman's gym in Las Vegas and watched Stanley Johnson play for Mater Dei HS. Near the end of the game, I looked at Mike and said "....Stanley Johnson is a high school kid now. 18 months from now, he is going to be really, really rich."

Stanley got picked by Detroit last night with the 8th pick. He is now really, really rich.

Thursday's List of 13: Only six months left until Christmas......
13) First of all, with great sadness I report the passing of Mr Harvey Pollack at age 93. He was the godfather of basketball statistics, a guy who is responsible for the start of the analystics movement, way before anyone ever heard of the word analytics.

He was the first person to use plus/minus as a basketball stat; he worked for the 76ers for decades and was an original employee of the NBA. I put myself thru college as a student manager of the basketball team and a stat guy-- Harvey Pollack was my hero.

12) I'm watching NBA TV's Mock Draft the night before the real draft and chances are it'll be better than ESPN's coverage of the draft tonight. Just can't take Jay Bilas-- ESPN screwed up badly letting him become their voice of college basketball.

11) Stu Jackson just called Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell the most creative passer we've seen since Jason Kidd, which is quite a compliment.

10) Kevin Love, Monta Ellis, Aaron Afflalo all opted out of their cntracts and will become free agents.

9) If you're a college basketball player who won't make an NBA team, do you play overseas or go to the D-League? You'll make more money overseas, but you're more accessible to the NBA for 10-day contracts in the D-League. Interesting decision a lot of kids have to make. Getting your foot in the NBA door is a big deal.

8) First day of the NBA Summer League next month at UNLV: Minnesota-Lakers are playing the first day, with top two picks in tonight's draft facing each other.

7) Astros lost in 13 innings in Anaheim yesterday; they used George Springer as a pinch-runner in a 1-1 game in ninth inning- he got picked off before a pitch was thrown to the next hitter. Nothing like being ready to play.

6) Baseball teams have these complex algorithms that predict success/failure; hard for me to criticize it, since they're way over my head academically, but the Red Sox gave Rick Porcello a $100M contract, even though he gave up 622 hits in in 558 IP over the last three years. Porcello is 4-8, 5.61 in 14 starts this year.

In other words, whatever algorithm Boston used to pay Porcello, they should put it up on their computer screen, then hit the delete key. Use some common sense!!!

5) Marco Estrada had a no-hitter in 8th inning for second start in a row yesterday; he threw 129 pitches before being taken out, most any big league pitcher has thrown so far this season. Blue Jays won the game 1-0 in 12 innings.

4) You watch Starlin Castro play for the Cubs and you wonder what his future is; he has ability but he doesn't run balls out, his mind wanders in the field, he's not what you want in a middle infielder, where defense is so important. If Cubs try to trade him with Addison Russell also a shortstop, you wonder who will take Castro?

3) American League has an 85-68 lead over the National League in interleague play, which should be the measure used to determine home field for the World Series.

2) Mets are falling apart; they're under .500 now, they've lost seven games in a row, all while Justin Turner is hitting .323 and batting third for the Dodgers, a team with the biggest payroll in baseball history. The Mets let Turner walk as a free agent after the 2013 season-- think they could use him now?

Show me a statistic that measures heart, that measures how a guy adds to a team with his positive attitude and hustle; you can't; the eye-test is still essential!!!!

1) UCLA's football coaches don't want charges pressed against Sean Combs, because they want the whole strength coach scuffle/debacle to go away, since they think it'll hurt them in recruiting, but the coaches do think the elder Combs is a jerk.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random mid-week thoughts.......
13) Mikael Franco turned into Ty Cobb this week, going 6-8 with five runs scored and ten RBI in two games in the Bronx. Franco is hitting .319 and is one of the few bright spots in a dismal Philly season.

12) NHL overtimes will be 3-on-3 instead of 4-on-4 next season, as the league tries to reduce the number of games decided in a shootout- there were 170 of them last year.

My hockey friends out there-- let me know what you think of this!!!

11) NHL salary cap will be $71.4M next year; it was $69M this year.

10) Former NBA player Shareef Adbur-Rahim, who now works on CBS Sports Network, said he would take Jahlil Okafor over D'Angelo Russell in the NBA Draft, because Okafor is the more unique talent- he says teams are more likely to find a guy like Russell in future drafts than a bigger player like Okafor. .

9) Minor league baseball is big business; they had 5,858 fans in Peoria last night, for a Midwest League game. School is out; minor leagues are cheap entertainment. In a lot of small towns, minor league baseball is very profitable.