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Armadillo's Den:
Monday's List of 13:
Wrapping up a sports weekend
......
Knowledge on NBA, NHL every night all season
Baseball information (pitchers, umps) every day thru the World Series

Monday's six-pack
Westgate Sportsbook listed spreads for some late season NFL games:
-- Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (-7.5)-- Christmas night in Steel City.
-- Denver @ Kansas City (-3)-- Nightcap of Christmas twinbill,
-- Detroit @ Dallas (-6)-- Monday Night Football night after Christmas.
-- Green Bay (-3) @ Detroit-- Pack won here on a Hail Mary LY.
-- Bears @ Vikings (-5)-- Fans will be glad for the domed stadium here.
-- Raiders @ Broncos (-4)-- Mark Sanchez started 10 games (4-6) last 3 years.

Quote of the Day
“It's not something I'm OK with. I'd rather quit and leave all the money on the table than play at a poor level. I'm here to play and be part of setting a standard. It's something I've always taken pride in. I love to play at a really high level. So far this year, it's not been that. I will not be a very satisfied, happy person if I don't perform at the level that I expect.”
Joey Votto

Daily quiz
Raptors' star DeMar DeRozan played college ball at which school?

Sunday's quiz
Comedian Robert Wuhl played the pitching coach in Bull Durham.

Saturday's quiz
A's called Philadelphia, Kansas City home before moving to Oakland.

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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Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Why is someone who never played baseball an analyst on Sunday Night Baseball? It is a fair question, but in this politically correct era, no one has the onions to address it.

12) In ten quarters since Steph Curry hurt his knee, the Warriors are +72.

11) Dodgers 1, Padres 0-- Clayton Kershaw pitched a complete game, knocked in the only run; last pitcher to win a 1-0 complete game and knick in the only run was Mat Latos, six years ago.

10) Six sons of former NFL players were drafted by NFL teams this week.

9) Minor league baseball is a good investment; Saturday night, they drew 7,079 fans for a Hartford-Richmond Eastern League game in Virginia.

8) DeSean Murray, who led Big South in scoring this past year, bolted on his friends/teammates and will now play at Auburn. Poaching mid-major stars is how some high-major teams replenish their rosters now.

7) Graduate transfer John Gillon bolts from Colorado State to Syracuse; he will be only the third scholarship guard on Syracuse's roster heading into next season- not a deep team at all.

6) Northern Colorado named Boise assistant Jeff Linder as its new basketball coach, making Delaware the only team that hasn't got a coach-- Blue Hens aren't going to name a coach until they hire a new AD, and they haven't even done that yet. Good luck to the poor soul who gets that job; he's a year behind already and he hasn't got the job yet.

5) Greedy bastard update: Apparently the new rule is that gas prices go up 10 cents a gallon on the first of each month, second month in row it happened here. Gas is $2.49 a gallon at Fuller/Central in beautiful downtown Colonie.

4) Flipped on the NASCAR race Sunday and about 90 seconds later, the #20 car flips, goes on its head while going really fast. Scary stuff, but I'm told as long as the car is moving, the driver is fairly safe- it is when car comes to a quick, sudden stop that the driver could be in jeopardy.

3) Royals 4, Mariners 1-- World champs snap a 7-game road losing skid.

2) Why are the Toronto Raptors' uniforms so plain? They used to have great uniforms with the cartoon raptor on it. These uniforms are plain ugly.

1) Last year, Milwaukee Brewers hired a 30-year old to run their franchise; because he went to an Ivy League school and worked for an Astros team that had suddenly become a contender. Last winter, the new GM traded 28-year old Khris Davis, who hit 49 homers the last two years, for two minor leaguers, one of whom is Jacob Nottingham, a catching prospect who the new GM made sound like the next Johnny Bench.

Problem is, Nottingham is hitting .159 in the AA Southern League; Davis is hitting 5th for a 13-13 Oakland team that is better than expected. Second guy the Brewers got is still pitching in A ball. But hey, the GM went to Harvard; he must be smarter than the rest of us, right?

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports saturday......
13) Coaching is a tough profession. Anaheim Ducks fired Bruce Boudreau this weekend, despite his 208-104 record in five years with the Ducks. Lot of teams would sell their souls to win 2/3 of their games, but Anaheim wanted more.

Why did the Ducks pull the plug on Boudreau? Well, his playoff record is only 24-19 with Anaheim, 41-39 overall and it is winning the Stanley Cup that is expected when you have great success in the regular season.

12) One parallel from another sport that comes to mind is Chuck Knox in the NFL; he went 186-147-1 as an NFL head coach, but was only 7-11 in playoff games and does not get enough credit for how good a coach he was because of his playoff record.

11) This will sound hokey, but NFL teams value things like loyalty when it comes to drafting players. QB Vernon Adams bolted I-AA Eastern Washington before his senior year to play at Oregon, because he thought playing in the Pac-12 would help his draft status. Well the draft just happened and Adams wasn't drafted- he got hurt at Oregon, missed about half the season- not good.

Meanwhile, the second pick in the draft this weekend was Carson Wentz, who played at I-AA power North Dakota State- they won the national title. Had Adams stayed at Eastern Washington and played well, he might've been drafted this weekend.

10) Chiefs drafted Stanford QB Kevin Hogan; the last time KC won a game where their QB was a guy they drafted was 1987, when Todd Blackledge played QB.

9) Seattle Seahawks drafted three RBs; Marshawn Lynch will be tough to replace.

8) Chris Fallica points out on Twitter that Tennessee and North Carolina should be really good this fall; Vols won nine games LY, UNC won 11 games and neither team had a player drafted this weekend, so they've got lot of talent coming back.

7) Chicago White Sox are 17-8, 8-1 in games where winning run scores from the 7th inning on; Orioles are 14-9, 7-2 in games decided late.

6) Atlanta Braves moved both their prize shortstop prospects up a level this week, Ozzie Albies to AAA, Dansby Swanson to AA. With parent club floundering with a 5-18 record, promoting their prospects is only way to keep their fans' hopes up.

5) Yoenis Cespedes drove in six runs in third inning Friday night; last big leaguer to knock in 7+ runs in one inning is Alex rodriguez, who did that on October 4, 2009.

4) Milwaukee Brewers got a double leading off bottom of the first inning last night; the next hitter bunted the guy over to third. Why? Why in God's name would you make the first out of the game on purpose? You have your best hitters up, maybe the other pitcher is having an off night and you give him his first out? I disagree with that.

3) As for kids who leave college early and do not get invited to the NBA Combine, you damn well better go back to school and get better; lot of kids I've seen get invited to the Combine who have a minimal chance to make the league next year, so if you're not even invited to go there, thats all the info you need about your pro prospects.

2) Spurs 124, Thunder 92-- Am curious to see how the Thunder competes in Game 2, because they did not offer much resistence in this game.

1) Red Sox 8, Bronx 0-- How does Bronx GM Brian Cashman keep his job? Team he has put on the field this season is dreadful, an aging roster of overpaid players who are 8-14 right now and figure to get worse when the schedule gets heavier and their lack of starting pitching depth is further exposed.

Their Opening Day payroll? $225,997,792-- they're already on the hook for $103M in 2018, just for seven guys.

Phillies cut their payroll $58M from LY and are 14-10 with an $88M tab.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Four quarterbacks drafted in rounds 2-3 won Super Bowls with the team that drafted them: Stabler-Wilson-Hostetler-Montana.

12) 22 defensive players were taken in the second round last night, a record.

11) Bill O'Brien coached Penn State rookie QB Christian Hackenberg for a year before he bolted to coach in the NFL; if O'Brien's Texans didn't want him, why should any other NFL team draft him? Friend of mine who is an expert on the quarterback position doesn't like Hackenberg at all.

10) Michigan State QB Connor Cook went 34-5 as a starter for the Spartans, but he wasn't elected as a captain by his teammates senior year, which has become a thing, as far as Cook being drafted by the NFL.

He wasn't taken n the first three round of the draft, while NC State's Jacoby Brissett and USC's Cody Kessler were both drafted Friday night, and neither is considered as good a player as Cook. .

If you read between the lines during the draft broadcasts on TV, not being a captain is somehow an indictment of Cook, but no one will say exactly what it is/was that made teammates not vote for him as a captain.

9) One good thing about the three-day NFL Draft; lot more trades the second day, as teams reconsider their positions after the first round.

8) I saw Urban Meyer smile last night!!! He is a smart guy, a great coach, but when he was doing college games on ESPN I actually felt bad for him because he seemed so completely humorless. He was on the NFL Network last night during the draft and was good.

7) Scheduling oddity; Baltimore Ravens play the Giants in Swamp Stadium in Week 6, then return to Jersey the next week and play the Jets in Week 7.

6) Watching Braves-Cubs yesterday, Atlanta announcer Joe Simpson was just killing umpire CB Bucknor, who is widely regarded as the worst umpire in the major leagues. I've always read that Bucknor is (relatively) better behind the plate than on the bases, but Simpson was shredding his mechanics of setting ip to call a pitch. Bucknor's been around for a while; he's not going anywhere.

5) UNLV had a horrific basketball season this year; the players/coaches have scattered quickly in many different directions since.

-- Only four players from last year's team will be back next year.
-- Former head coach Dave Rice is now an assistant at Nevada.

--
Forner interim coach Todd Simon is now head coach at Southern Utah.
-- Former assistant coach Ryan Miller is now an assistant at TCU.
-- Forner assistant Max Good is now head coach at Pratt CC in Kansas.
-- Chris Beard was the head coach for 6-7 days this spring, but quickly bolted for Texas Tech after Tubby Smith went to Memphis.

4) Sam Bradford wants the Eagles to trade him, but not to the 49ers; sounds like he and Chip Kelly didn't get along so well.

3) Tampa Bay Buccaneera traded up to draft a kicker in the second round; Florida State's Roberto Aguayo (pick #50), the highest-drafted kicker since the Jets took Mike Nugent with the 47th pick in 2005.

2) You have to root for former Arkansas QB Brandon Allen; kid had his car egged by miserable Arkansas fans after a loss few years ago, then someone torched his truck the next year, and that was before the season started. Allen hasn't been drafted yet; we wish him well in the pros, where fans might not take things as seriously as fans in the SEC take their college ball.

1) Baltimore Ravens have five 4th-round draft picks today. Five.

Friday's List of 13: Quick thoughts after the draft's 1st round......
13) Very bad night to be Ole Miss T Laremy Tunsil; someone hacked his Twitter account, posted a picture of Tunsil smoking pot while wearing a gas mask. No bueno. It definitely was Tunsil in the picture and it is going to cost him millions of dollars. Apparently he ticked off the wrong person.

Tunsil wound up taken #13 by Miami; hope he learned his lesson. Dolphins may have gotten a great value if he has his life in order- before the Rams got the #1 pick in that big trade, Tunsil was rumored to be the Titans' #1 choice. .

12) Jared Goff's dad hit .215 in 250 PA as a backup catcher for three teams in the 90's. I have no idea how Jared will do, but I'll be rooting like hell for him and I know this-- Bill Parcells never wanted to draft a QB unless he played for three years in college, and Goff started three years at Cal. In the Pac-12.

11) This is a little bit random, but I'm wondering if quarterbacks with lot of siblings fare better leading a team than a guy who was an only child. When you grow up in a big family, you have to deal more with different types of personailities; with all the due diligence these professional teams do on prospects, I wonder if that plays into it at all.

10) This was the fifth year in a row Jacksonville drafted in the top 5; its not good for a coach's job security when that happens. Jalen Ramsey figures to help out a defense that was 29th against the pass LY.

9) Leonard Floyd (#9 to Chicago) was first SEC player taken; this was only third time in last 31 years no SEC player was taken in the first five picks of the draft. John Fox is going all-out to improve his defense this offseason.

8) This was the third time in last five years QBs went #1-2 in the draft; before that, it had been 13 years since the top two picks were quarterbacks.

7) Houston gave Washington a 6th round pick so they could move up one slot and draft Notre Dame WR Will Fuller, who is very fast but drops a lot of passes. A 6th-round pick doesn't sound like much, but 16 years ago, the Patriots used a 6th-round pick on someone you may have heard of-- Tom Brady.

6) Redskins then took TCU's WR Josh Doctson, who I think is great-- TCU's offense went in the ashcan LY as soon as Doctson got hurt.

5) Chiefs got extra 4th, 6th-round draft choices from the 49ers so SF could move up a few spots (eight?), and draft G Joshua Garnett of Stanford.

NFL Network guys were ready to bash the 49ers for trading up just to take a lineman, but David Shaw, Garnett's college coach, was sitting next to them on the dais so they backed off.

Shaw, by the way, is very good on TV and will have a spot waiting for him in a studio somewhere when he doesn't want to coach anymore.

4) In the 1981 baseball draft, two-sport star John Elway was taken six picks ahead of another two-sport star, Tony Gwynn. Whoops.

3) Eagles have $61M in guaranteed money tied up in their three QBs; Bradford, Wentz and Chase Daniel. Bradford wants a trade, but not to the 49ers; apparently he is no Chip Kelly fan. Could he wind up on the Jets?

2) I mean, it is April 29 and Ryan Fitzpatrick is making noises like he has no intention of ever playing for the Jets again, which means they don't have an NFL-caliber QB on their roster, unless Bryce Petty somehow had an epiphany during the offseason. Trading for Bradford could make sense.

1) NFL Network did a fine job with their coverage Thursday; I can't stand Chris Berman, so I won't watch ESPN if he is on, which he won't be tonight, so I can listen to my man Mel Kiper the next two nights. Stretching this out over three days is a debatable idea, but moving it around the country is a great idea. Philadelphia is said to be the favorite to host the draft next year.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) NFL Draft is tonight; since 1967, USC (68) has had the most first round draft picks, followed by Miami (58), Ohio State (56), Florida (46).

12) I enjoyed the mock draft on NFL Network this week, despite occasional screaming/yelling whenever Michael Irvin got involved. It was a little bit like a fantasy draft but without the laboring over picks, since mock drafts don't have any accountability, the way real teams or even fantasy teams have.

11) Giants' pitcher Jeff Samardzija was a pretty good WR in college; he scored 27 TDs and averaged 14.5 yards/catch.

10) RIP Ozzie Silna, former owner of the Spirits of St Louis of the old ABA, who reaped a bonanza from the NBA when he agreed to fold the Spirits before the NBA-ABA merger in 1976. One of the greatest business deals of all-time, Silna was paid millions and millions of dollars to do absolutely nothing.

9) Houston Astros are 7-15 and in trouble; its not just that they're losing lot of games, they're playing sloppily and their pitching has regressed.

8) Oakland and Detroit brought up their ace pitching prospects to make starts on Friday. A's will have Sean Manaea starting against Houston, Tigers gave Michael Fullmer the call to start against the Twins in Minnesota.

7) A's signed 36-year old lefty Rich Hill as a starter this year; Hill is 3-0, 1.42 in his first three road starts, but is 0-2, 9.00 in two starts at the normally pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum.

6) Detroit Tigers are paying Texas $6M a year for the next five years, part of the deal that sent Prince Fielder packing from the Motor City. As Billy Beane said to David Justice in Moneyball, "They're paying you to play against them."

5) San Diego Padres are 0-5 when James Shields starts on the mound; they've scored a total of six runs in his five starts. Padres are also the only team that hasn't scored a first inning run on the road this season (10 games).

4) Eric Byrnes is the only player (Oakland, 2003) who has hit for the cycle at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Pablo Sandoval is the last Giant to hit for the cycle-- would like to see a clip of the triple he hit.

3) Georgia Tech still owes former basketball coach Paul Hewitt $2.7M; he has not been the coach there since 2011. Quite a deal his agent made for him.

2) Columbia graduate transfer Grant Mullins chose Cal over Michigan; young Mullins is a 6-3 guard who shot 44.1% on the arc last year.

1) Cool thing about the NFL Draft is that no one knows what will happen when these college kids become pros this summer. Flash back to 1998, just as many people liked Ryan Leaf as Peyton Manning. How did that turn out?

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings.......
13) MSNBC's Hallie Jackson was in the gym where Hoosiers was filmed last night for a political rally, but admitted on air that she has never seen the iconic basketball movie. Ms Jackson will be 32 on Friday, two years before Hoosiers was made; she went to college at Johns Hopkins, an elite college, but so did Andy Enfield, the basketball coach at USC.

I've never seen Star Wars or The Godfather; I can't say anything.

12) Uh-oh. Prince didn't have a will or a trust, so his sister, six half-siblings are in line to divide his estate, estimated at $300M, which doesn't include the stash of hundreds of unpublished songs, which figure to be worth another small fortune. Hopefully they can divide everything up peacefully.

11) Over/under given by a doctor Tuesday on recovery time for Chris Paul's hand injury: four weeks. If Paul misses four weeks, his next game for the Clippers will be in October- they're not going far without him.

10) I like Steve Kerr, I'm a big fan of his, but how in God's name does a coach who missed 43 of 82 regular season games win Coach of the Year? No player who missed 43 games would ever win MVP-- it makes very little sense.

9) Dick Vermeil is only coach in NFL history who worked for three different teams, but was never fired by any of them.

8) Obscure trivia: Christian Yelich is an OF for the Miami Marlins; his great-grandfather is the guy who designed the LA Rams' football helmets back in the 40's, the first helmets with the team's logo on them.

7) Chicago White Sox are 6-0 in games where the winning run scored in the 7th inning or later; Toronto is 1-7 in such games.

6) Padres are only major league team that doesn't have a bobblehead giveaway night this year; they didn't have one LY, either.

5) Was surprised to hear that New Hampshire has produced 51 major league baseball players and four major league managers.

4) Kelly Ripa makes $26M a year? Seriously? And she blows off three days of work because no one told her a co-worker got another job? As a friend of mine likes to say and I'll clean it up here, "Grow the (bleep) up!!!"

3) What would happen if Bernie Sanders ran as a third party candidate in the Presidential election? Who would that help? Could he win?

2) These politicians must be tired; Bernie Sanders is 74, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both pushing 70, but they've all been bouncing around the country like rock stars. Has to be exhausting.

1) Tonight Nashville-Anaheim play a Game 7 in NHL playoffs. Nashville has never had a Game 7 in its franchise history; Ducks lost their last four Game 7's, are 2-5 in Game 7's in their franchise history.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
Pretty eventful day, for a Monday in April.........
13)
Tom Brady will be suspended for the first four games of the season, after a federal appeals court overturned a lower court's ruling. Patriots have already jumped from 6-1 to 8-1 to win Super Bowl-- the average point spread for New England's first four games moved 3.5 to 4 points with Brady out of the lineup.

Those first four games? @Arizona, then Miami-Houston-Buffalo, all at home.

12) Stephen Curry has a Grade 1 sprained MCL, the lowest sprain possible; they are saying they'll re-evaluate in two weeks. If Golden State doesn't win the title, media will turn on Steve Kerr for playing Curry too much trying to get to the 73-9 regular season record and wearing him out.

11) ESPN's Mike Tirico, who is really good at calling every sport, is leaving ESPN for NBC, where he will call Thursday Night Football and PGA Tour. There are also rumors of Brad Nessler jumping to CBS to replace Verne Lundquist on SEC football when that day comes, as well as calling college basketball.

Sean McDonough was mentioned as a possible replacement for Tirico on Monday Night Football.

10) Former UNLV basketball coach Dave Rice signed on as an assistant coach with Eric Musselman at rival Nevada-Reno. Musselman makes less than a half million, so if he were to lead the Wolf Pack to the NCAAs next year, after a big season this year, he figures to move on to a higher profile job, leaving Rice as the logical successor in Reno.

9) Speaking of the Mountain West, they have 11 teams right now, which is a bad number; they're supposedly looking for a 12th school-- UTEP is being mentioned.

8) The April open recruiting period for college basketball ended this weekend; noticed that some teams offered kids in Class of '19 scholarships-- those are 9th graders. I'm not sure why teams do this-- difficult to project three years down the road.

7) Couple of graduate transfers: Avery Woodson jumps from Memphis to Butler; Ronnie Johnson bolts from Houston to Auburn.

6) Sam Bradford has requested a trade from the Eagles; this is the guy with a career won-lost record of 25-37-1, with 33 games missed due to injury-- he's already banked roughly $87M in six years, despite playing in zero playoff games, but he requested a trade, because Philly is going to draft a QB Thursday. That takes onions.

5) Bill Polian/Herm Edwards are very good in ESPN's studio during the day; they tell you stuff you don't know.

4) John Daly turns 50 this week; the Senior Golf Tour is about to get a little more interesting.

3) There were no radar gun readings at Citi Field last night with Noah Syndergaard pitching; doubt it is a coincidence, since there so few coincidences in this world. Mark Mulder never liked radar gun readings on the scoreboard when he pitched for the A's, so maybe it was a request from the pitcher himself.

2) As if the Presidential race couldn't get stranger, Bob Knight is going to endorse Donald Trump in Indianapolis Wednesday. Should make for good TV.

1) If you know me, you know when I call someone "a weasel" that is the worst possible insult coming from me. Well, this Cruz/Kasich alliance has weasel written all over it. No wonder people despise politicians- they're total sellouts and people are so disgusted with politicians that an egotistical billionaire that very few people like could wind up being the President of the United States. Awesome.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Tremendous day of games today, lot of good stuff. Washington beat the Twins in 16 innings, in a game with 516 pitches thrown, 27 players used, 14 pitchers. Game took 5:56, with 27 hits and 32 strikeouts. Great fun.

12) Cubs are already 6-1 against Cincinnati this year; they've outscored the Reds 60-20 in those seven games. Reds are not a good baseball team.

11) Yesterday's quiz answer was Hideo Nomo as author of the only no-hitter at Coors Field; Nomo pitched in Denver 10 times. In his other nine starts, aside from the no-hitter, Nomo was 2-1, 9.67, allowing 11 HRs in 44.2 IP.

10) Pitcher Shelby Miller wound up playing left field for Arizona in the 13th inning yesterday, as SS Nick Ahmed got thrown out for arguing balls/strikes and the Snakes were out of position players. Pitchers Zack Greinke and Jon Niese both had pinch-hits in the game.

9) Braves' catcher AJ Pierzynski has 1,999 hits; he will become the 10th catcher ever to get 2,000 hits. Pretty impressive; was surprised when I heard it.

8) Mat Latos is early leader for Comeback Player of the Year; he is 4-0, 0.74 in four starts for the White Sox. In 2014-15, he was a combined 9-15, 4.16 in 37 starts for four different teams.

7) Saturday night in Las Vegas, four guys bet a cab driver $100 he wouldn't drive thru the In 'n Out Burger drive-thru lane in reverse; they lost.

6) Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale's widow, Anne Meyers, who was a great hoop player at UCLA, sold lot of her late husband's memorabilia; his 1963 and 1965 World Series rungs netted just under $200,000 combined.

5) Tanner Roark was awesome Saturday, whiffing 15 Twins in a 2-0 Washington win; he threw 121 pitches, most by any major leaguer this season.

There was a Twitter debate this weekend, where guys were talking about high school coaches having kids throw 160+ pitches in a game. No bueno.

4) Of the 183 NHL teams who trailed playoff series 3-0, only nine forced a Game 7; those nine teams went 4-5 in the Game 7.

3) Do big league teams shift too much? Some ex-players in TV booths this weekend were discussing this- their consensus seemed to be that a star pitcher like Kershaw should have veto rights over any shifts, but you have to earn the right to have veto rights over the manager. It is an interesting debate.

2) Los Angeles Clippers have never led a playoff series, 3-0. Ever.

1) Phil Simms came out and said Jared Goff is the 3rd-best QB in this week's draft; he may be right or may be wrong, but I don't give rat's ass what Simms says about QBs, despite his having been a very good player himself.

Long time ago, Simms shredded Ben Roethlisberger on Mike Francesa's Sunday radio show when Ben was a senior at Miami; he denies it now, but I remember listening to it and then laughing when Big Ben became such a good player.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) Hornets 96, Heat 80-- First playoff win for Charlotte in 14 years; they had lost their last 12 playoff games in a row.

12) Charlotte coach Steve Clifford makes around $4M a year now working for Michael Jordan's team, but in 1994-95, he was an assistant coach at Siena College here just outside of Albany, where he made far less than $4M a year.

11) Why did the Knicks let Jeremy Lin go? Never made sense to me; the team was winning when he ran the point, they were fun to watch-- everyone (except Carmelo Anthony) seemed happy. He would still be the best point guard on their roster.

10) Twins' rookie OF Max Kepler was born in Germany; both of his parents are professional dancers over there.

9) Atlanta Braves are 4-13, haven't homered in their last 12 games- could be a very long year on Peachtree Street, but they move into their new stadium next year and have lot of good young prospects down on the farm, not far from the big leagues.

8) There have been 15 pinch-hit homers in the major leagues this month; Cardinals have seven of them.

7) In Japan, the baseball season is 143 games long and Monday is a mandatory day off; during batting practice, they use two cages at once, placed next to each other.

6) I'd watch a Japanese League Game of the Week; could have American graphics and maybe a couple of guys on MLB Network studios analyzing the game wthout going all the way over there. Am curious to see waht their games are like.

5) When minor league teams play doubleheaders, both games are seven innings.

4) A 29-year old African man is facing deportation from Canada after he posed as a 16-year old basketball star and was attracting interest from American colleges.

3) New York Mets scored in top of first inning in six of the eight games on their current road trip- they have 38 games against Philly/Atlanta and 19 more with the dysfunctional Marlins- it must be nice.

2) Dodgers 4, Rockies 1-- Japanese import Kenta Maeda has allowed one run in 25.1 IP in his first four American starts.

1) Has to be hard for ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy to be calling the one-sided Detroit-Cleveland series, seeing as the losing coach is going to be his brother Stan. He does as well as he can hiding the fact that he is rooting for the Pistons.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) Cleveland Browns aren't favored in any of their first 15 games this year; they play at Pittsburgh in Week 17, so they won't be favored there, either, so new coach Hue Jackson has his work cut out for him.

12) Free agent CB Josh Norman got big money from the Redskins last night, which means he'll line up against Odell Beckham twice a year when Giants play the Redskins in divisional games. Little strange how Carolina suddenly did an about face and let Norman walk, rather than pay him.

11) Hartford Yard Dogs are the AA farm club of Colorado Rockies; they do not have a home game until May 31, since their new home park is still being worked on. They'll play their first 52 games on the road- they are 11-4 so far this season and in first place in their division.

10) Last year, Biloxi of the Southern League played their first 54 games on the road, while their new stadium was being finished; guy who managed that team is now the first base coach for the big league Milwaukee Brewers.

9) White Sox turned a 9-3-2-6-2-5 triple play last night that involved Prince Fielder being caught in a rundown; suffice to say it will not be included on Tom Emanski's next baserunning instructional video.

8) Why has the state of Virginia given 200,000 convicted felons the right to vote? Virginia is the 8th state to allow felons to vote, after they're released from supervision. To me, it doesn't make much sense.

7) Keelon Lawson is an assistant basketball coach at Memphis; the Tigers' top two returning scorers are his sons. He has a third son who is listed as a top 10 recruit in the Class of 2019, which is why Lawson is still employed by Memphis, even after head coach Josh Pastner was paid $1.25M to go away and take the Georgia Tech job earlier this month.

New coach Tubby Smith wasn't going to keep Lawson as an assistant coach, so one of the sons, Dedric Lawson applied for NBA Draft, an implied threat to keep the father as an assistant. This hasn't been resolved yet. Stay tuned.

6) Going thru some college basketball stuff, getting stuff ready for next year and saw this: over the last 11 years, DePaul is 39-155 in conference games. How in the name of Ray Meyer is this possible? DePaul is in Chicago, there are lot of good high school players in Chicago-- recruit some of them!!!!

5) Texas Rangers are 15-3 in their last 18 games vs AL West rival Houston.

4) Baseball season is in its third week and my fantasy team is already in deep trouble; Stanton/Abreu have been awful, two of my top three pitchers are hurt and I'm going to be 0-3 come Sunday night. No bueno; Carlos Gomez, Marcell Ozuna and Avasail Garcia have all proven to be stiffs in my outfield.

3) Yasiel Puig made an amazing throw from the rightfield fence last night to nail Trevor Story at third base, trying for a triple. Reminded me of Ellis Valentine throwing from RF for the old Montreal Expos at Olympic Stadium.

2) Coaching carousel: Northern Colorado fired BJ Hill, amidst allegations of NCAA issues. Detroit Titans named Michigan assistant Bacari Alexander their new hoop coach. UNLV approved Marvin Menzies' contract, but for whatever reason, he won't be paid as much as Chris Beard was going to be paid. Oy.

1) Matt Holliday may be 37, but over last three years, he is hitting .379 with RISP, best such mark in the major leagues.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Washington Wizards gave Scott Brooks $35M for five years to be their new coach; with Maryland native Kevin Durant a free agent this summer, I'm sure it is not a coincidence that the Wizards hired Durant's old coach.

12) Jake Arrieta no-hit the Reds 16-0 last night in Cincinnati, the most dramatic 16-0 game in MLB history. There were only nine starts between this game and Arrieta's other no-hitter last year.

11) If you care about such things, it was just the second no-hitter at Great American Ballpark; Homer Bailey had the first one.

10) If you care about such things, over is 14-5 in interleague games so far this season.

9) Oakland A's are much-improved so far over last year; A's are 7-2 if their starting pitcher finishes the 6th inning, 2-5 if he does not.

8) Tony Romo turned 36 years old Thursday; why haven't the Cowboys drafted a young QB they can groom to play after Romo finishes his career?

7) Rockets 97, Warriors 96-- I'm guessing Steph Curry's foot got a lot better once Houston won this game, making series 2-1 Golden State.

6) Chicago 4, St Louis 3 double OT-- Patrick Kane scored his 5th career OT playoff goal as Chicago stayed alive- they trail series 3-2. Only guys with more OT playoff goals than Kane are Joe Sakic (8), Rocket Richard (6)- Edmonton's Glenn Anderson also had five OT playoff goals.

Blackhawks are now 12-4 in elimination games under Joel Quenneville.

5) Tennessee-Martin head coach Heath Schroyer quit this week, to become an assistant coach at NC State, a kick in the teeth to the OVC school that gave Schroyer a chance to resurrect his career after he had been fired at Wyoming- he was later an assistant at UNLV. He'll make more money as an assistant at NC State than he was making at Tenn-Martin.

4) Adam Scott/Louis Oosthuizen already came out and said they'll skip the Olympics in South America this summer- they're both in top 15 in the world, so thats a blow to golf becoming a regular Olympic sport.

3) A 6-10 kid who plays hoop at Washington State but graduated from the school this spring wanted to transfer to San Diego State, where he could play one more season next year, for a much better team, but Wazzu coach Ernie Kent blocked the transfer, claiming the Aztecs tampered/poached the kid.

This happens more and more these days, bigtime schools filling holes in their roster by cherry-picking good players from lower-level schools. I applaud Kent for standing up to teams poaching his roster.

2) If you ever wondered how much a casino costs, Boyd Gaming bought Aliante Casino in North Las Vegas this week, for a reported $380M, a mere bag of shells. LOL That is one casino in Las Vegas I haven't been to yet.

1) I had no idea how wildly popular Prince was, until he passed away way too early Thursday at age 57. Apparently he had been ill for a while, but official word hasn't come out yet. I read yesterday that he was a prolific songwriter who has a ton of unreleased music that I'm sure we'll be hearing in the future.

Read yesterday where several professional musicians were reverent in their praise of Price's musical skills/dedication to his craft-- couple of them called him the greatest guitar player ever. RIP, sir.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Cleveland traded the #2 pick in the NFL Draft to the Eagles, for two #1's, a second, third and fourth round draft picks. Browns cit seven starters during this offseason, so they need to re-stock their team. It also means they're going with Robert Griffin at quarterback, which should be interesting.

12) Not sure what the Eagles' new regime is doing; they're obviously going to take whichever QB the Rams do not take, so they must like both players to be OK with trading so many choices, when they don't know which QB it will be. Wonder what Sam Bradford thinks about all of this?

11) Last time the top two choices in the same draft got traded was 1997-- the #3 pick that year got traded too.

10) Carolina Panthers took the franchise tag off CB Josh Norman, making him a free agent; 49ers are rumored to be the team that can afford him that wants him the most.

9) Alabama's spring football game got better TV ratings Saturday than the NHL playoff games played that day.

8) Steve Spurrier would make a terrrific college football analyst, right? I'm hoping one of the networks signs him up so we can learn from him this fall.

7) Random prediction: Jose Reyes winds up as the shortstop for the Bronx Bombers. Reyes' contract and Trevor Story make Reyes expendable in Denver.

6) RIP Dwayne (Pearl) Washington, one of the Big East's first great players, who passed away too early this week at age 52. Washington was a playground in Brooklyn who became a terrific college player.

5) DeAndre Jordan committed a foul on the opening tap last night, before any time came off the clock; don't think I've ever seen that before.

4) Minnesota Timberwolves signed Tom Thibodeau to run their franchose, a smart move; I'm still disappointed he never showed up on TV this season-- would've been fun listening to him talk hoops. I'm wondering if any college programs approached him about coaching their team-- he is a basketball genius.

3) Over/under total for all three NBA games combined last night was 613.5; total wound up being 598, an easy win for the under.

2) Quote of the Day, part II: "Last time I hit was eight years ago."

That was A's pitcher Kendall Graveman, after the Oakland A's lost their DH for the fourth time in 15 games this season, this time because 3B Danny Valencia got hurt and DH Jed Lowrie had to take his place in the field.

1) Rough day for Andrew Jackson, who got taken off the front of $20 bills by the US Treasury, replaced by Harriet Tubman. Jackson moves to the back of $20 bills. It is amazing to me that there are people collecting a paycheck for deciding stuff like this.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings.......
13) Chicago Cubs are off to an 11-3 start; their starting pitching lasted at least six innings n all 14 games, which is huge, takes the strain off the bullpen.

Cincinnati is 7-7, despite it starting pitcher lasting 6+ innings four times.

12) Since 2010, the low-budget Tampa Bay Rays are 60-53 against the Boston Red Sox, 59-52 against the Bronx Bombers, their big money rivals.

11) Jacob deGrom is having a good week; his newborn has come home from the hospital after a medical scare last week and then deGrom threw 71 pitches in a simulated game Monday, meaning he probably avoids a stint on the DL.

10) Oakland A's won their fifth one-run game of the season last night; last year, they won their fifth one-run game of the season on June 16.

9) Big 14 Conference hasn't had a QB taken in the first round of the NFL Draft since Kerry Collins in 1995.

8) Lookalikes: New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio and Bills' coach Rex Ryan.

7) Over last three years, Florida State has had 13 players taken in first two rounds of the NFL Draft; next highest is Alabama, with ten.

6) The original Rocky was on last night, a great movie; hard to believe it is 40 years old. Can still remember sitting in the theater watching it for the first time; The theater I watched it in is long gone, replaced by a car dealership.

5) NHL teams with a 3-0 lead in playoff series are 179-4 in those series, but two of the four losses have come since 2010.

4) '85-'86 Celtics are the only NBA team to win consecutive playoff games by 30+ points; Spurs came close last night, beating overmatched Memphis by 26 in Game 2.

3) Bernie Sanders went to the same high school in Brooklyn as Chris Rock and the great actor Martin Landau.

2) North Carolina had 99 basketball practices this season; they played 40 games and had 99 practices. Spurs have played 84 games (not counting preseason games) this season. Wonder how many practices (not counting game day walk-thru's) they've had?

1) Its about time Major League Baseball got off its butt and made a decision on the Jose Reyes situation; criminal charges in Hawai'i were dropped three weeks ago, the Rockies are already 8-6 and Reyes hasn't even had his spring training yet. Reyes is still being paid, so the Rockies can't be happy and Reyes isn't happy, since he can't play. Make a decision already!!!!

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Oklahoma City Thunder is now 3-13 in their last 16 games that were within five points with 5:00 to play.

NBA replay system came up big here, nullifying the Oklahoma City hoop that came just after the buzzer; Felton missed two FTs with 0:07 left, but Dallas survived and now the series heads to Texas tied 1-1.

12) #1 seeds are 45-1 in NBA playoff series if they lead the series, 2-0.

11) Jets are going into the NFL Draft without knowing who its QB will be in the fall, which is obviously a problem. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets haven't been able to get an agreement on a contract- do they really want Geno Smith to be their guy?

10) Kevin McHale is pretty good as a TV cmmentator; couple of people I know say he's a good guy and it came thru over the air Monday. The best analysts make you feel like you're listening to a conversation between him and the play-by-play guy.

9) Parts of Houston had over 10 inches of rain in the last few days; crazy weather.

8) Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen ran the Boston Marathon Monday; if I drive my car 26 miles, I'm looking for a drive-thru window or a convenience store to get some Cherry Coke. Running 26 miles seems craxy to me.

7) Cubs were -$310 against Colorado Saturday, the heaviest April favorite in over 10 years, when Bronx was -$354 in a game against the Royals.

6) Dwyane Wade hasn't made a 3-pointer since December; he is 7-44 outside the arc for the season, which explains why he doesn't try many anymore. In 2009, Wade was 88-278 (31.7%) behind the arc- his career mark is 28.4%.

5) Big East/Big East will play series of early season games in November to kick off the season: Villanova-Purdue, Wisconsin-Creighton, Seton Hall-Iowa are three of the better games that have been scheduled. St John's-Minnesota will also play.

4) Mike Trout was the 25th pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, one pick after Cardinals' OF Randal Grichuk. Scouting is an inexact scienece.

3) Angels didn't score a first inning run until their 11th game, despite Trout batting third in the batting order.

2) Dustin Pedroia has been on base 48 games in a row against AL East opponents. The all-time record for most consecutive games reaching base is held by Ted Williams, who reached base in an amazing 84 consecutive games.

1) John Madden's only three rules when he coached the Oakland Raiders:
-- Be on time. Pay attention. Play like hell.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.........
13) So which QB do the Rams take with the first pick in the draft? Spent an hour this morning watching Jon Gruden's TV shows with Goff/Wentz, trying to learn about both guys, while seeing if Gruden preferred either guy. Hard to tell.

One thing: Goff is a huge SF Giants baseball fan; you wonder if he's a 49er fan too; if he is, kind of awkward to make him the cornerstone of the Rams' franchise.

12) 18 years ago, Colts/Chargers had #1, #2 picks in the draft; there was a standoff in the media which QB rpsopect was the better one, no one seemed to know. Turns out that Peyton Manning was the right choice and Ryan Leaf wasn't. But make no mistake about it, at the time a lot of smart people thought Leaf was the better choice.

11) Apparently, Tennessee is using the extra picks it got from the Rams to try and get back in the top 10 of the first round.

10) Since 1999 in the NBA playoffs, #7 seeds are 1-33 in first round series against the #2 seeds. I've long believed that best-of-7 series are too long in these first round series. It just gets boring watching the #1, #2 seeds pummel inferior teams.

9) In 1981, Mike Schmidt was baseball's highest paid player; he made $2,130,000.

8) Disney has six Star Wars movies planned, all the way thru 2020; its like having this out-of-control printing press in your cellar that just constantly churns out money.

7) On July 2, 2013, the Orioles traded Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop and cash to the Cubs, for Scott Feldman, Steve Clevenger. Oy. Arrieta hasn't allowed a run at Wrigley Field since last July, thats six scoreless home starts in a row.

6) Couple years ago, Steve Kerr turned down the Knicks' coaching job and went to the Warriors; now his assistant Luke Walton is doing the same thing.

5) Brooklyn Nets hired Hawks' assistant Kenny Atkinson as their new coach; he is said to be a very strong player development coach.

4) On Opening Day, there were 82 Dominican-born major leaguers, an average of three per team. You wonder how the language barrier affects players who weren't born in this country. If I owned a big league team, all my coaches would have to know how to speak Spanish. Communication is very important.

3) Former Iona star AJ English was VP of the Portsmouth tournament this weekend; we'll see if that helps him get drafted in June.

2) Dodgers started Howie Kendrick at 3B this week, first time he's started there since 2006; they also started him in LF, first time he's started there since 2011.

1) Florida State has played in 34 consecutive bowls, the longest current streak in college football; Virginia Tech is next at 23, then Georgia at 19. Funny that all three schools have changed coaches in the last six years, Va Tech and Georgia this year.

Sunday's List of 13: More thoughts on the NFL schedule......
13) New England is currently (even) in its season opener at Arizona; Patriots have been favored in their last twelve season openers.

12) If you play fantasy football, Cleveland/Houston will be first teams since 2001 with Week 13 byes, which is often the last week of the fantasy leagues' regular season.

11) Oakland Raiders get their first Sunday night home game in 10 years when Denver comes calling in Week 9.

10) Miami Dolphins requested to be on the road in Weeks 1-2, because their stadium is being refurbished.

9) Five teams opened with consecutive road games LY; of those five, Seattle was only one to make the playoffs.

8) Washington (weeks 12-14), Green Bay (weeks 10-12), are only teams with three-game road trips this season. Teams playing their third week in row on road are generally very poor bets.

7) If you want to draft Aaron Rodgers in fantasy, keep in mind his three playoff games (weeks 14-16) will be two games at Lambeau, one in Chicago, not the best weather scenarios.

6) Tampa Bay's three away games in December: Dallas-New Orleans and San Diego- thats two domes and San Diego, so probably no weather issues.

5) USC requested the Rams not have any primetime home games, because they generally fall on school nights- Seriously, they did- Rams/USC will share the LA Coliseum for the next three years. They must roll up the sidewalks pretty early in Tinseltown, so the kids can do their homework. .

4) Texans/Jets will both play four games on short work weeks this season, most in NFL. Kansas City is the only NFL team with one game on short rest.

3) Oakland Raiders have five 1:00 ET games this year, most in NFL; LA Rams have four, plus a game in England that looks like it is going to start at 6:30am LA time. Terrific.

2) Carolina Panthers have already been bet down from +2.5 to +1 for their season opener in Denver. Line should move again when we finally figure out who the Broncos' QB is going to be.

1) Ridiculous amounts of NFL mock drafts have been done the last few months; when the Rams/Titans swung their big trade the other day, every single one of them went in the ashcan. .

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.........
13) Here is one example of how the coaching carousel works and how it can be very strange:
-- Georgia Tech fired Brian Gregory after the season.
-- Memphis was so disgusted by
Josh Pastner's 167-73 record that they helped him leave for Georgia Tech, even supplementing his salary at Tech for two years.
-- Memphis then hired Tubby Smith away from Texas Tech, paying Tech his buyout of $1M (that becomes important fairly soon).
-- UNLV fired Dave Rice January 10, but buitchered their coaching search so badly that they still don't have a coach- they had finally hired Chris Beard last week (in his one year at Little Rock, he won 30+ games and an NCAA tourney game), but Beard is now at Texas Tech, where he previously spent a lomg time as an assistant.

UNLV got $1M from Tech for Beard bolting, but Smith's buyout from Memphis provided 90% of that cash.
-- Rumors as I type this are that Marvin Menzies will be UNLV's next coach; he has a 198-111 record in nine years at New Mexico State in the WAC, a once-proud league that is now one of the worst leagues in America (#27 out of 31).

So UNLV might not be going thru any of this mess had Georgia Tech not fired its coach, thats how weird some of this stuff gets.

12) Two years ago, Chris Beard made $70,000 as the coach at Angelo State in Texas; he made $236K this year at Little Rock, was going to make $1.15M or so at UNLV this fall, now he'll make over $2M a year a Texas Tech, which ain't an easy job, seeing as most of other schools in Big X all have heavyweight, Hall-of-Fame type coaches.

Beard lasted less than a week at UNLV; he has been quite a vagabond in his coaching career, but Texas seems like home for him. Texas Tech is a harder job than UNLV is though, tougher league. At UNLV, they care a lot about basketball; at Texas Tech, it is something to do in between football season and spring football.

11) Barry Anderson lives in Chicago; he is quitting his job after 12 years-- who is this guy? For the last 12 years, Mr Anderson has worn the Benny the Bull costume at Chicago Bull games. Now a new Benny has to be trained; not as easy as it looks.

10) Brooklyn Nets fired their trainer, who had been with the club for 16 years and their VP of Communications, who had been there for 23 years. It can be a cruel world sometimes-- apparently the Nets want a fresh start from top to bottom.

9) East Tennessee State coach Steve Forbes called Penny Hardaway "the best high school player I've ever seen", high praise from a veteran coach. Hardaway is now a high school coach in the Memphis area, and tried for the Memphis State job.

8) NBA will put advertisements on its players' jerseys starting in 2017-18.

7) Stephen Curry scored 30.1 ppg in 34.2 minutes per game, the fewest minutes an NBA scoring champion has averaged in one season.

6) Kike Hernandez is now 10-16 with three homers off Madison Bumgarner.

5) Indianapolis Colts requested not to have a bye week after their Week 4 London trip- they don't want their bye so early in the season- their wish was granted. This is the first a team has played in London and won't have the next week off.

4) Mark Trumbo hit two homers in one inning (7th) last night, as Baltimore scofed nine times in 7th in an 11-5 win over the Rangers in Arlington.

3) Braves/Twins both came from behind to get their first wins of the season Friday.

2) Added an old movie scene to my list of all-time favorites last night.

In the 2002 movie The Rookie, based on a Texas high school teacher who reaches the major leagues as a relief pitcher, the scene where he is throwing in the bullpen and his wife and two kids yell down from the walkway to get his attwntion is just a great scene- imagine what a thrill it must have been for that guy. Just an excellent scene.

1) Movie trivia; First batter that Jim Morris faced in the majors was Texas SS Royce Clayton; nine years later, Clayton was an actor who played Miguel Tejada in the very fine baseball movie, Moneyball.

Friday's List of 13: Talkin' football in April......
13) There is a scene early in the movie Draft Day, where the Browns' owner (Frank Langella) tells the Browns' GM (Kevin Costner) to "make a splash" in the upcoming draft, in other words, telling him to draft a QB first.

Thats the first thing I thought of when I heard the Los Angeles Rams traded with Tennessee for the first pick in the April 28-30 NFL Draft. Rams need to sell tickets in their new (old) city, they need to upgrade at QB, whether they played home games in Los Angeles, St Louis, or Oshkosh.

12) As far as which QB the Rams are going to take, and they are going to take a QB (this ain't the movies), they're less likely to shy away from a I-AA QB (Carson Wentz) seeing as Jeff Fisher's son played at Montana, which is a rival of North Dakota State at the I-AA level.

I could write about this for a week, but I'll say this: Jeff Fisher presided over the Steve McNair era in Houston/Tennessee; McNair started six games (6) in his first two NFL seasons, playing behind Chris Chandler, so it isn't etched in stone that the rookie QB will start in Week 1 in San Francisco.

11) As for the Rams' schedule, LA and Dallas are only two teams who open with a pair of division opponents. Rams play their three division rivals in the first four weeks of the season, then again in the last three weeks.

Quick impressions of the 2016 schedule-- I'll have more on this tomorrow, but I just got off an airplane and my brain is a little scrambled......
10) Brock Osweiler returns to Denver in Week 7, when the Texans visit Denver on a Monday night. Browns go to Washington October 2-- RGIII against his old team.

9) Over 43,000 possible schedules are considered before the final product is given the seal of approval. TV ratings matter more than the fan who goes to games, seeing as four of the last five Monday night games are in cold weather cities.

8) Green Bay Packers open with two road games for first time since 1924, yes 1924; they christen the Vikings' new domed stadium in a Week 2 Sunday night tilt. After the first two road games, Green Bay then doesn't play another road game until Week 8- they've got four home games and a bye in between their second and third road games.

7) Week 16 is mostly played on Christmas Eve (a Saturday), with two Christmas games; Week 17 is 16 division games, all on New Year's Day, a Sunday. Steelers play on both Thanksgiving and Christmas Days.

6) 8:25 Christmas Eve game with Bengals-Texans should be renamed the Divorce Bowl, fior families who gather on Christmas Eve (its a joke people!!!). Back in the old days, when I was once married, an 8:25 Christmas Eve game would've been an issue. In no way am I complaining that there is a game on Christmas Eve this year. :-)

5) Super Bowl rematch in Week 1: Carolina-Denver on a Thursday.

4) Pete Carroll has a reunion tour this year: the former USC coach revisits the LA Coliseum in Week 2, for the Rams' first home game there in 37 years- Seattle also visits the Jets in Week 4, and Foxboro in Week 10, Carroll's two former teams. The Week 10 game is also the first Seahawk-Patriot meeting since Super Bowl 49.

3) Miami Dolphins have December road games in Baltimore, New Jersey, Buffalo; hope they've got good parkas.

2) One more draft note: Tennessee has six of the top 76 picks in the draft and they do not need a QB, so they could improve their team a lot in two weeks.

1) Thanks to the $8 I spent on WiFi on my flight home last night, the flight was a lot of fun and seemed fairly short. Got to read lot of NFL schedule stuff on Twitter and follow the Thursday baseball-- best $8 I've spent in a while.

I'll have more on the NFL schedule tomorrow-- I'm going to sleep right now.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Damn, the NFL schedule is coming out tonight, not next week; if I knew that, would've flown home a different day. I'll be on the plane when the 2016 NFL schedule comes out, but I'll get the WiFi on the plane and try to have some coherent thoughts about the schedule for this space tomorrow.

12) Quite a scene in Westgate Sportsbook last night, with Warriors winning their 73rd game and Kobe Bryant playing his last game. ESPN sent its #1 announce team to Oakland, but the sportsbook gave the Lakers a slight preference, as far as where the games were shown on TVs.

11) In my humble opinion, the NBA promotes its stars too much and its teams not enough, and thats why I like college ball better. The Lakers stink, but it seemed like a playoff game last night, just because Bryant was playing his last game.

10) Nobody in Oakland should hint that the Warriors are the best team ever unless they win the championship this season; thats a measure of greatmess, not your regular season record.

9) Minnesota/Sacramento fired their coach; Washington is also expected to fire those. 16 teams make the playoffs; the other 14 coaches are on the hot seat.

8) When the Bulls went 72-10 in 1995-96, Michael Jordan played in all 82 games. No resting or taking nights off for bogus reasons- he played in every game.

7) Rumors have Memphis State going after Tubby Smith, which would create an opening at Texas Tech. UNLV's newly-hired coach Chris Beard spent ten years as an assistant in Lubbock; would they be interested in hiring him?

6) Speaking of Beard, the coach has three daughters but unfortunately also has only three players who are on scholarship at UNLV right now-- everyone else jumped ship, which probably helps explain why they weren't any good the last two years.

5) Ole Miss lands transfer PG Cullen Neal, son of the New Mexico coach. Things got ugly in Albuquerque LY, so the son, a good player, transferred. Good get for Rebels' coach Andy Kennedy, who had been mentioned for the Memphis job.

4) USC is weird; they hired Lynn Swann as their new AD. Their last three ADs are all former football players; Mike Garrett, Pat Haden and now Swann. Guess they don't like outsiders too much; sounds more like Texas than California, but so be it.

3) Dee Gordon had an epic 16-pitch at-bat against the Mets Tuesday, the longest single at-bat in Marlins' history- he reached on a single. It was the longest AB in any big league game since a 16-pitch walk to Justin Turner two years ago.

2) Longest playoff drought of any baseball team? Mariners, last in playoffs in 2001.

1) Does the exhibition season matter? The results do not, but the Mets won once in their last 15 spring training games, and are struggling out of the gate in real games, so there could be something to it, at least as far as the quality of play goes.

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy Hump Day......
13) NBA betting prop: Golden State's over/under for playoff losses: 5.5

12) Golfer Jason Bohn is playing golf on Hilton Head this weekend, seven weeks after he ha a heart attack after a round on Tour.

11) Orioles 9, Red Sox 5-- Baltimore is 7-0, already 4.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays in AL East.

10) Only took Carl Crawford six days to land on the DL- guy makes $20M a year and hardly plays and isn't that good when he does play.

9) Whats up with Arizona's road uniforms? Dark gray with copper and turquiose trim; I'm guessing they look better in person than on TV.

8) Mets are 1-4 at home vs Philly/Miami; they're 3.5 games behind Wasington already. New York scored nine runs total in its five losses.

7) Tampa Bay is 0-7, when it comes to the 5-inning betting prop.

6) Braves/Twins are still winless; Jhoulys Chacin pitched really well for Atlanta last night, but you need to score runs to win.

5) Angels 5, A's 4-- Bitter loss for my A's- their bullpen imploded in 8th/9th innings. Have to win games like this if you ant to contend.

4) Pitchers with worst batting average on their pitches, only when they're put in play: Archer .478, JDe La Rosa .440, Cashner .429.

3) NCAA renewed their deal for the NCAA basketball tournament with CBS/Turner until 2032. Hope I'm around to see that one.

2) Florida Gulf Coast head coach Joe Dooley is bolting the Eagles to become an assistant coach at NC State, where he'll make more money. Dooley replaces Bobby Lutz, who is going to Georgia Tech to help out Josh Pastner.

1) When the Warriors beat San Antonio Sunday night, people in the Westgate sportsbook here gave Golden State a respectful round of applause for getting to 70 wins. People like the way the Warriors play.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) I met Pete Rose yesterday; got an autographed ball for a buddy of mine. Pete signs autographs at Mandalay Bay for a few hours most afternoons; $75 for a picture, $99 for a ball- they have a framed bat for a bargain, $1,500. You get your picture taken with him and he'll talk a little bit with you. Seems like a good guy.

12) I told him that if his Hall of Fame eligibility was put up for a public vote, that he would win handily. His reply: "They have their own set of rules", referring to MLB. He makes $1M+ a year signing his name, lives here in Vegas, he is doing pretty well.

11) Lot of music and movie memorabilia in that store where he signs autographs; you can get a Dave Matthews autographed guitar for $4,500 or an autographed Army helmet from Full Metal Jacket for $1,495. An interesting place.

10) Since 2013, St Louis is 40-18 against the Brewers, thw most lopsided series in major league baseball during that time.

9) Quote of the Day, part 2: "What the world needs are less mental hospitals and more minor league baseball." Bill Murray, 1982

Went to the Sacramento-Las Vegas minor league baseball game last night, AAA teams of the Giants-Mets, played before a sparse crowd on a pleasant night. Top prospect Brandon Nimmo plays CF for the Mets' AAA team- he showed great range in center..

8) Marlins 10, Mets 3-- New York lost three of four at home- it is way too early to go nuts about this, but their pitching has been spotty, deGrom is hurt, Granderson is one for 24, Miami treated Matz like a pinata in this game.

7) I watched afternoon baseball games at Mandalay Bay for a couple hours, but the gorgeous big screens at the Westgate have spoiled me. The pizza at Slice in the shopping area at Mandalay Bay was first class, however.

6) At one point in March, Baltimore was something like 0-10-2 in spring training games and their TV guys were trying hard not to sound concerned. Now the Orioles are 6-0 and we are reminded that Buck Showalter is a good as any manager without the last name of Bochy.

5) Minnesota is 0-7 and it was 42 degrees at their home opener, played outdoors because they weren't smart enough to put a retractable dome on their ballpark, the way the Brewers did in Milwaukee.

4) Atlanta is 0-6 but they've openly tanked this season as they acquire prospects who will make the majors when the Braves start playing in their new stadium in suburban Cobb County next season. 15 of their top 30 prospects have been acquired by trade, and they traded some talented older players to get those prospects.

3) Josh Jackson committed to Kansas Monday, jumping the Jayhawks from #41 in the 2016 recruiting rankings into the top 10. He is a 6-7 shooting guard.

2) Vanderbilt-Marquette and Ohio State-Navy will be a Veterans' Day twinbill in Annapolis next fall. That will be Bryce Drew's first game as Vandy's coach.

1) Kings 105, Suns 101-- Seth Curry had 20 points, 15 assists-- he has a players' option to stay in Sacramento next season, or he can become a free agent. I'm thinking someone will overpay for his services, just based on bloodlines.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend..........
13) A's 2, Mariners 1 (10)-- We've talked some baseball strategy this week; Seattle's rookie manager Scott Servais took Felix Hernandez out after seven innings, 99 pitches Sunday with a 1-0 lead. Hernandez is a valued commodity- they get a few thousand more fans when he pitches at home, so his health is paramount, but so is winning, and when Marcus Semien homered to tie the game 1-1, eyes had to roll in Seattle.

12) I'm not leaving this subject without saying how freakin' awesome it is that the A's swept their first road series, with two dramatic wins. Tremendous!!!!

11) Texas Rangers brought up their #1 prospect Nomar Mazara and he had three hits in his debut, including a home run-- kids come up thru the ranks faster now than they used to and that makes fantasy baseball keeper leagues more fun.

10) The MLB app for IPhone is excellent; for $20 for the whole year, you can listen to any radio broadcast of any game. Listened to the great Bob Uecker from Milwaukee some this weekend. Best $20 I've spent this year.

9) A's radio guy Ken Korach once gave up a home run to NCIS star Mark Harmon, when the two were Little League rivals in the Los Angeles area. Harmon played QB at UCLA later on, his dad won the Heisman Trophy.

8) Phillies have a choice after this season; pay Ryan Howard $27M to be a slug at 1B again next season, or pay him $10M to go away. When he gets his $10M, I hope he buys his agent a nice parting gift.

7) Memo to ESPN: How about scheduling Sunday night TV games in warm weather cities or in domes in April? MLB had a fun first week and with a chance to promote their product on national TV with little opposition Sunday night, their game in Detroit got rained out. No bueno.

6) Jason deGrom got scratched from his Wednesday start with a lat injury; he isn't on the DL yet, but until this issue is resolved, the Mets are nervous.

5) Iona's basketball team added transfers Sam Cassell Jr (UConn) and Jon Severe (Fordham) this weekend, as they restock for another run at the '17 MAAC ttile.

4) Kids who are talented basketball players make some goofy decisions: Duke needed another guard this past season, so Derryck Thornton Jr reclassified (moved up a year) and played for Duke, when he could've still been in high school.

Thornton didn't play that well, Duke recruited over him, so now the kid is transferring and will have to sit out this coming season at his new school, when he could've stayed in high school this past year and had a normal senior year. Who advises these kids?

3) 25 college football teams had their spring games this weekend; I'm guessing the Paul Finebaum show today will have a lot of college football discussion, even in April.

2) Cubs are 21-2 in Jake Arrieta's last 23 starts.

1) Cubs' home opener is a night game? Is that a first?

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) It rained here in Las Vegas last night, very hard at times; wound up stuck in a huge traffic jam because a tractor trailed jackknifed on I-15, or I-95, not sure which road it was. Turns out that people in the desert aren't real good at driving in rainstorms. Go figure.

12) Padres were outscored 25-0 by the Dodgers in three games during the week, then they go to Coors Field and score 29 runs in their first two games there. Dodgers scored 11 runs in their first three games in San Francisco.

11) San Diego loses ace Tyson Ross to DL with shoulder problems.

10) All five Houston games this week have gone over the total.

9) Minnesota Twins are 0-5 for first time ever; its not good if you're buried in the standings before your home opener.

8) If you look at the 5-inning records of teams, Cubs are 5-0 so far, Arizona is 0-6. You can bet on how games will wind up after the fifth inning, so this is a relevant stat. All the five-inning record are posted on our baseball page.

7) Broncos traded OT Ryan Clady to the Jets, where he will replace the retired D'Brickashaw Ferguson.

6) Was wondering today what golfers do the night before the last round of a major? Their tee time is late in the day, so no need to go to bed real early. Do they watch replays of the Saturday telecast, to try and pick up something about the course?

5) Donnie Tyndall got a 10-year show-cause order from NCAA, meaning he cannot coach for the next nine years. Apparently Tyndall had his assistant coaches do course work for his players. Everyone knows thats what student managers are for, except when I was a manager, since I was worse at schoolwork than most all of our players.

Seriously though, a 10-year show-cause is basically a lifetime ban. He'll have to coach at an NAIA school or in junior college or high school if he wants to keep coaching.

4) Former Cal assistant Yann Hufnagel, who quit the Golden Bears last month because of a sexual harassment charge, has surfaced as an assistant at Nevada. Hufnagel is a very good recruiter and recruiters are very important people.

3) Oakland's pint-sized point guard Kay Felder is off to the NBA; I say he makes someone's roster.

2) Iowa State caught a big break when PG Monte Morris passed on the NBA Draft; Cyclones will have a lot of new players next year, at least now they still have a floor leader. Big X is a very tough league, but Iowa State, Oklahoma have to rebuild.

1) Domantas Sabonis is apparently heading to the NBA; boy, if I had the top pick in the draft, I'd seriously have a hard time passing him up, giving how productive he has been at Gonzaga and also his bloodlines-- his dad was one of the greatest players ever before he tore an Achilles in Europe.

Top of the NBA Draft is going to be very interesting this year.

Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Kid named Stripling made his MLB debut for the Dodgers at AT&T Park in San Francisco last night; he had a no-hitter with one out in 8th inning, there was a guy on first, Dodgers led 2-0 and Stripling had thrown 100 pitches, two years after having Tommy John surgery. What does the manager do?

He took him out, the reliever gave up a tying homer, Giants hit a walk-off HR in the ninth and social media in SoCal damn near imploded.

12) Manager Dave Roberts had to take the kid out; with five outs to go, he would've been up around 125-130 pitches if they let him finish, which would be managing malpractice this early in the season, espeially with a kid who had an arm operation two years ago. So now the Dodgers are 0-2 on the road.

11) 29 of 61 major league games played so far this week have seen the winning run score in the 7th inning or later, thats how important bullpens are now.

29 of 61 is not a percentage that will sustain over the whole season, but looks like the contending teams will need stronger bullpens than usual.

10) Trevor Story is running amok; Colorado's rookie SS now has six homers in four games- he is the first player EVER whose first four big league hits were all home runs. And he's a good fielder, too.

9) Cubs lost C/OF Kyle Schwarber for the season with a blown-out knee after an outfield collision in Arizona Thursday night. Nasty looking injury.

8) Robinson Cano has four home runs in his first four games; LY, during an injury-plagued season, he hit his 4th home run in his 71st game.

7) Seattle manager Scott Servais is the Mariners' 10th manager in the last 15 years; hasn't been a lot of continuity since Lou Piniella left town.

6) A's-White Sox game Thursday was the first game this season that was 0-0 after the fifth inning- you'll be surprised how many of these there are, over the course of a season. Playoff teams win all kinds of games, high and low scoring ones.

5) Josh Pastner goes from Memphis State to Georgia Tech to coach basketball; things had gotten ugly for him in Memphis, where the fanbase is ridiculously spoiled. He'll make $11M over six years at Tech, plus Mmphis will supplement that some over the next two years. Pastner is a good guy; we wish him well.

4) One of the fun things about college sports is that different schools are strong in different sports. Championship game at the Frozen Four tonight is Quinnipiac-North Dakota, not a matchup you'd expect to see, except in hockey.

3) Pistons 112, Wizards 99-- Stan Van Gundy has Detroit in the playoffs for the first time since 2009-- good for him.

2) Jets' OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson retired at age 32; in his whole time with the Jets, 10,708 offensive plays, Ferguson missed one play. One.

1) Justin Holiday plays for the Chicago Bulls; he played four years of college ball at Washington. In his junior year, he scored less than six points a game-- he scored 10.6 ppg as a senior, but he's worked his butt off and now he is in the NBA. Kids need to look at this-- leaving school before your skills are developed enough is career suicide. Way too many kids jump to the pros before they're ready- its a damn shame.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) If you see me in a sportsbook this week and you bet on an NHL game, do not sit next to me to watch it; twice in the last three nights, a guy sitting next to me lost his NHL bet when his team gave up the tying goal in the last 90 seconds, then lost in either OT or a shootout. No bueno.

12) Angels 4, Rangers 3-- This is why big league managers make big money and it is why they get fired. Game is tied 3-3, bottom 9th. Angels have men on 2nd and 3rd, two out and Trout is up, with Pujols up next. Do you pitch to Trout?

Texas walked Trout, Pujols crushed a ball off the wall in left-center and the Angels won. This is second time I can remember a team walking Trout to load the bases and faced Pujols with the game on the line. Both time Pujols delivered- pitch to Trout!!!

11) Giants 12, Dodgers 6-- LA led 4-0 in 5th inning, and it looked like they might go the whole season without giving up a run. Then the damn broke and Giants scored three in the 5th and four more in the 6th. Joe Panik, scored three, knocked in three.

10) Since 1985, the first round leader of The Masters has won the tournament only two times, in '08 and last year.

9) Ernie Els is one of the best golfers ever, but golf is hard. Els got a 9 on the first hole Thursday- he six-putted the hole. Not his finest moment. Els shot +8, an 81.

8) Wednesday at the Par-3 tournament, 80-year old Gary Player got a hole-in-one, fourth time he has done that at the Par-3 tournament.

7) Of the last ten NFL teams who traded the #1 pick in the draft, six had new GMs, who are more prone to want to stockpile picks to develop their team's depth.

6) North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz will be a first round pick; his QB coach with the Bison was Randy Hedberg, who played in the NFL with the '77 Buccaneers, who lost their first 12 games before finally winning the franchise's first-ever game against the Saints in the Superdome- they had been 0-26 up until then.

5) NFL schedule for 2016 gets released April 21 at 8:00, always an interesting thing to see, then analyze. As the old Vikings coach Bud Grant said, "It is not who you play, it is when you play them."

4) Orioles' Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson was in the TV booth for the NHL game in Washington last night, the Penguins-Nationals game. No idea why, just saw him up there on the big screen. I met Mr Robinson once a long time ago, just after he stopped playing, a very nice man, a real polite gentleman.

Bunch of us were watching an NFL game on TV and Brooks was there; I remember the Broncos were playing. Something weird happened in the game and he laughed, "I don't know how anyone can bet on those games." Amen.

3) Arizona Diamondbacks have worn four different jerseys in their first four games, the Padres three jerseys in their first three games; not sure what this accomplishes, but it doesn't help the team win. Arizona having eight sets of uniforms is just strange.

2) Suns 124, Rockets 115-- Gag job by Houston, losing at home to the putrid Suns. Rockets GM Daryl Morey is another one of these over-educated nitwits who doesn't think people matter, just numbers.

Accumulating talented players is not the same as building a cohesive team, it just isn't. Morey fired Kevin McHale after 11 games this year; he fired his D-League coach after the guy had two winning seasons in his only two years there. Karma is a bitch and losing to a horrendous team like Phoenix last night was payback for Morey.

1) Today would've been Catfish Hunter's 70th birthday; my favorite ballplayer as a kid, Hunter threw a perfect game in 1968, led the A's to three straight world titles from 1972-74, just a great clutch pitcher. He made my childhood a happier one.

Catfish knocked in three of the A's four runs in his perfect game against the Twins (Rich Reese struck out for the last out). He was also the losing pitcher in the 1967 All-Star Game, giving up a homer to Tony Perez in the 15th inning-- he was in his fifth inning on the mound. Today, his agent would've sued MLB for abusing his arm.

Catfish got revenge against Perez five years later, when Oakland beat the Reds in the 1972 World Series. Happy birthday, sir.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Dodgers 7, Padres 0-- San Diego is first team ever to get shut out in its first three games of a season- they've been outscored 25-0 and if I was a Padre fan, it would tough for me not to think the season was over already.

If ever a team needed a series at Coors Field, it is the Padres- they play the Rockies in Denver starting Friday.

12) Dodgers are first team since the 1963 Cardinals to open a season with three straight shutouts- the '43 Cardinals started season with 26 consecutive scoreless innings. Alex Wood gets the nod or LA against the Giants tonight.

11) Colorado's rookie SS Trevor Story has four HRs in his first three games; he is the first player EVER whose first four big league hits were all home runs and he hasn't played at Coors Field yet.

10) Victor Martinez didn't start either game in Miami because they don't the DH in NL parks, but he pinch-hit in both games and homered both times, once rghty and once lefty. Pretty impressive.

9) Since John Hart took over the Atlanta Braves after the 2014 season, they've made 28 trades involving 89 players.

8) I still don't understand why pitchers bat 8th; it is nonsensical, but if Reds are going to bat their pitchers 8th, then they have to bat Joey Votto leadoff, right? He needs to get as many at-bats as possible on a bad team.

7) Yesterday was first time since May 9, 2014 that Miami Marlins, had both Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton in the same lineup on the same day.

6) Back when the Milwaukee Brewers played at outdoor County Stadium, when the Brewers hit a homer, mascot Bernie Brewer slid down a slide into a huge fake beer mug- it was very cool. Since the Brewers moved into a domed stadium, Bernie slides down a slide onto a ramp-- no fake beer mug.

Why? The damn ballpark is named Miller Park, as in Miller beer!!!!!

5) Arizona Diamondbacks loaded the bases 13 times in three games against the Rockies this week, thats an ominous nimber for a team with very shaky pitching.

4) Aubrey Dawkins transfers from Central Florida to Michigan, where he will play for his dad, former Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins, who is now at UCF.

3) Trump Hotel in Las Vegas doesn't have a casino in it.

2) Former Florida QB Will Grier transfers from the Gators to West Virginia, where he will be eligible to play starting in 2017.

1) Philadelphia 76ers finally put GM Sam Hinkie out of his misery, firing him and letting him say he "resigned", which he did in a 13-page, 7,000 word document that hopefully will guarantee he never gets another job in pro basketball.

This overeducated nitwit screwed up the Sixers so badly- he spent a first round pick on Joel Embiid, who played 23.1 mpg in his entire 28-game college career, his only season ended early by a sore back. He has yet to play one minute in the NBA.

Why did this tick me off? Because I never played college basketball, so I root for guys who rose thru the ranks and got great jobs. Hinkie has set back the cause of people like this ten or twenty years.

Wednesday's List of 13: Hsppy Hump Day, everyone......
13) Minnesota 124, Golden State 117 OT-- At the start of the overtime, you could've gotten +$300 on the Timberwolves to win. Didn't see a big rush to the windows to bet them, but Wiggins was terrific and Minnesota is now 26-52. Steph Curry was 7-25 as Warriors lost second home game in last three tries.

12) Still confused why TV networks insist on interviewing the losing coach after a championship game. Do you enjoy watching people suffer? Thats really what it is, and unless there was controversy in the game, it isn't necessary.

11) White Sox 5, A's 4-- Season starts with my A's losing two one-run games, continuing last year's dismal trend, when Oakland was 19-35 in one-run games.

10) Staggering amount of betting options here at the Westgate for the golf this week at The Masters. You can lay 9-1 that Jordan Spieth won't miss the cut, you can take over/under 73.5 for Brandt Snedeker's first round score. Lot of options.

9) Dodgers 3, Padres 0-- San Diego still hasn't scored a run, third time in franchise history they were blanked in their first two games. Other two years, they went on to lose 96, 102 games. No bueno.

8) Phil Jackson is pushing for Kurt Rambis to be given a multi-year deal to coach the Knicks-- I'm confused by this, but I confuse easily. Why hasn't anyone hired Tom Thibobeau to coach their team and I'm including college teams in this?

7) Rookie SS Trevor Story hit his third homer in his second MLB game; he is the first player since 1889 to hit two homers in his first game, then homer again the next day. Just wait until he gets to Coors Field.

6) Tim Duncan won his 1,000th NBA game last night; he ranks behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,074) and Robert Parish (1,014) on the all-time list.

5) To put that into perspective, five NBA franchises haven't won 1,000 games yet.

4) If you're ever in the Westgate Casino, I highly recommend the cherry danish in the coffee area by the gift shop. Tremendous.

3) The new sliding rules around second base are going to be a problem early in the season; not everyone seems sure exactly what they are. They called Nick Markakis out on a slide Monday night and it looked perfectly legal. Go figure; they try to eliminate any injuries and they wind up screwing things up more than they were.

2) Do you think the Rays will move to Montreal? They put 106,000 fans into Olympic Stadium last weekend, for two exhibition games. Rays aren't supported well enough in the Bay Area.

1) I complained last year about the Westgate Sportsbook having cocktail waitresses old enough to be my mother and I am 56. I am here to report that this issue has been resolved and resolved in an emphatically positive way.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Villanova 77, North Carolina 74-- One of the great championship games ever played in NCAA tournament, an ending that will be remembered forever. A great advertisement for the sport.

12) The swing in emotions in a Las Vegas sportsbook during a game like that is fun to watch; was next to a sharp gambler who had Villanova and the under- the Marcus Paige 3-pointer cost him his under bet-- he took that loss like an adult and was rewarded by Villanova covering.

11) Mike Krzyzewski had knee replacement surgery on Sunday; who has surgery on a Sunday?

10) I had no idea Shaquille O'Neal wasn't in the Basketball Hall of Fame already; what took so long? He appeared in Wrestlemania before his election.

9) UAB hired from within, replacing Jerod Haase with assistant Rob Ehsan.

Vanderbilt hired Bryce Drew away from Valparaiso.

8) I'm driving down the Strip Sunday night, and a guy dressed in full Superman costume is walking alongside my car, carrying only a crowbar. Only in Las Vegas.

7) Random fact: Apparently Al Roker and Lenny Kravitz are cousins.

6) It snowed in the Northeast this week and baseball season started. A team in Texas that plays its home games in a dome got rained out in the Bronx yesterday. Why in the name of Willard Scott was this series not played in Houston?

There are seven dome teams in the majors; those seven, the five California teams, and the Rangers should open at home every damn year, just for weather's sake.

5) Rookie shortstop Trevor Story homered twice in his MLB debut as Colorado won in Arizona. Story looks like a terrific prospect, but sometime this year, they'll also get Jose Reyes back from whatever suspension he gets. Reyes makes $22M a year- they'll have to trade Reyes, right?

4) Mets-Royals series was put at the start of the season before the teams met in the World Series LY. Schedules for the next season come out in August.

3) Pirates gave Gregory Polanco a 5-year, $35M extension; glad to see them spend some money to keep their nucleus intact.

2) Ben Revere left the Nationals' opener yesterday, but Washington doesn't release injury information during a game- they said it was a ribcage injury after the game.

1) Sonny Gray got scratched from his start with food poisoning; Rich Hill was less than brilliant as a replacement. No word on when Gray will pitch next.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Notes for tonight's national title game:

Since '87, #1-seeds are 6-0 vs #2-seeds in national final (4-2 vs spread, covering last four).

Since '85, six teams won national semifinal games by 18+ points. Underdogs covered five of six national finals those years.

ACC, Big East teams split 12 games this season; favorites were 9-3 vs spread in those games.

12) Of the 20 kids who started in the Final Four Saturday, 10 were seniors, a much higher total than in recent seasons.

11) Bronx Bombers were last in a World Series in 2009; they spent $1,273,295,558 in payroll since then.

Angels haven't won playoff game since 2009; that's $852,409,866 in salary paid out since they last won a playoff game.

10) Jimmy Butler became third Chicago Bull to get a triple double, with 28+ points, 15+ rebounds and 10+ assists. The other two? Scottie Pippen, Reggie Theus.

9) Brett Favre spoke to LSU's football team last week; considering how lame the Tigers have been at developing QBs, he should've been doing some coaching, too.

8) Bob Feller is only major league pitcher ever to toss a no-hitter on Opening Day.

7) Funny how some baseball teams break camp with 13 pitchers, others with 12. Not lot of pinch-hitting moves to make if you only have four bench players, one of whom is your backup catcher, who you generally do not use.

This will make me sound old, but in the early 70's, when Dick Williams managed the A's, they usually went with nine pitchers early in the season-- his starters went deep into games, and relief pitchers pitched more than one inning at a time back then.

6) Dan Straily is a marginal big league starting pitcher; in the last 10 days, he was traded from Houston to San Diego, and then was picked up on waivers by the Reds. Straily makes the big league minimum; he might have a wife and kids- they don't know what direction to head in for Opening Day. Has to be a stressful time for him, but at least with the Reds, he knows they need him, so he'll be in the big leagues all season.

5) Former A's 3rd base coach Mike Gallego was fired last year, used as a scapegoat for Oakland's lousy season; he is now Director of Baseball Development for the rival Angels- he works extensively with the Halos' farm teams.

4) Los Angeles Kings sold out their last 200 home games; thats what happens when you win two championships- more people go to the games.

3) Texas Rangers have a pitcher named Matt Bush who was once the top pick in the big league draft, but later ran into legal problems and spent four years in jail. Imagine him and Ranger OF Josh Hamilton trading horror stories about their experiences?

2) Quite a week for Jim Nantz; does the national championship game tonight, then goes right to Augusta National for The Masters on Thursday.

1) New York Post had its seven baseball writers pick the World Series winner; they came up with seven different teams. Should be an interesting season. Enjoy.

Sunday's List of 13: Brief look at all the AL teams......
Orioles-- From 1998--2011, O's were under .500 every year. Under Showalter, they're 62 games over .500 since '12, thats what a great manager Showalter is. Adding Mark Trumbo should help, but their starting pitching is shaky.

Red Sox-- Shaw beat out Sandoval at 3B; Boston owes Sandoval $72.6M over next four years. Next year he'll be the DH with Ortiz retiring. They also owe Rusney Castillo $60M over next five years and he doesn't start. Adding Price/Kimbrel elevates the pitching.

White Sox-- Added Frazier/Lawrie to give Abreu protection in lineup; LaRoche retired after hitting .207. Sox are 62 games under .500 last three years-- manager Ventura somehow kept his job. 37-year old SS Rollins takes over from departed Ramirez; not sure that is an upgrade.

Indians-- One article this spring said Tribe has best rotation in big leagues. Kluber went from 18-9 in '14 to 9-16 LY; he gave up eight more HRs (22-14) LY. Francona has been over .500 all three years in Cleveland, but win totals also decreased last two years.

Tigers-- Over next four years, Detroit has $226M wrapped up in Verlander, Cabrera; when Mike Pelfrey is your #4 starter (they dealt Price LY), pitching is a concern. Justin Upton takes over in LF, Anthony Gose in CF- they've regressed a little.

Astros-- Over last four years, no Astro has played more than 105 games in any season at 1B; White beat out fellow prospect Reed at 1B this spring. Houston's 1-3 hitters are all 26 or younger, but three of five starting pitchers are 31+, with McCullers on DL.

Royals-- World Champs have new RF in rookie Fuentes, who was 5-33 in '13 cameo with San Diego. Four of five starting pitchers are 30+. LY, seven Royals were represented by Scott Boras, and their payroll went up $20M. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

Angels-- Big $$$ team made playoffs once in last six years, were swept that one year- they've paid $852,409,866 in salaries since its last playoff win. Improved left side of infield, adding pair of SSs in Escobar/Simmons, but who will play LF?

Twins--Went 83-79 LY, first winning season since 2010; they were in playoffs three times in last decade, but got swept 3-0 in all three series. Payroll jumped $23M LY- they signed Korean DH Park this winter. have several versatile players; who will play SS?

Bronx-- Made playoffs 18 of last 21 years, but won World Series once since 2000; Bronx fans have to be wondering why owners sit back and don't make many moves, while fans get charged big $$$ to watch a team that is only 26 games over .500 last three years. Payroll spent since last World Series title: $1,273,295,558.

A's-- Bottom fell out LY, going 68-94 after three straight playoff years. Need quality starting pitching, guys who can be depended upon to 6+ innings every game- takes strain off bullpen. Oakland should score more runs this year; they've fortified the bullpen, Doubront was supposed to be #5 starter, but hurt arm Saturday.

Mariners-- New GM, new manager after going 437-535 in previous six seasons; Cano played hurt LY, should rebound this year, but after Felix/Iwakuma, how good is their rotation? Felix Hernandez has pitched 200+ innings last eight years, 190+ two years before that, so he is as dependable a pitcher as there is in the majors.

Rays-- Always do more with less; LY was second time they ever had a payroll higher than $75M, but they've been under .500 last two years, after making playoffs four of last six years. Two games in Montreal this weekend drew 106,000; could Rays relocate?

Rangers-- Been 12+ games over .500 five of last six years, came so close to winning World Series when Washington was manager. Payroll was $141M+ LY; it was $92M+ in 2011, so new owners are stepping up with financial support. Six of nine projected starters are 30+ years old, so future is now in Arlington.

Blue Jays-- This is first time since 1970 no Canadian teams will be in Stanley Cup playoffs, so focus will be on Jays early on, and the expectations are very high north of border. Jays made playoffs LY for first time since 1993; how good is rotation with Price gone?

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Quote of the Day, part 2, from Rush Limbaugh, which pretty much sums up what a lot of people are thinking about politics these days:

"I don't know what to do here today ....... I mean, if you want a campaign slogan for 2016, it would be, 'Everybody sucks.'"

12) Bernie Sanders raised $108.8M in the first three months of 2016; this guy might still be campaigning after the election is over. A 74-year old Socialist raised $109M in three months-- what an indictment of every other person in this Presidential race.

11) Was talking to a friend of mine the other day who said, "It doesn't matter. They're all liars." Sad but true sentiment, thats how we view our nation's "leaders".

10) CNBC's Andrea Mitchell did some fact-checking: Hillary Clinton banked $300M in contributions from oil/gas companies, Bernie Sanders $53M.

On to stuff I like better and know more about.......
9) Memphis Grizzlies set an NBA record by using 28 players this year; funny thing is, they're probably going to make the playoffs anyway- you'd figure a team with that much turnover would be falling apart. Nice coaching job by Dave Joerger.

8) The average fan would be surprised by how little yelling/shouting goes on in locker rooms before basketball games and at halftime. Halftime is short; adjustments are made, guys get hydrated, there is only so much yelling a coach can do over the course of a long season before the players stop listening.

7) People bet on spring training games, but in some games, an AL team might use the DH, while the NL team in same game has its pitchers hit. Small advantage there. If a team doesn't care whether it wins/loses, I'd be hesitant to bet on that game.

6) Basketball coaching carousel: Jim Engles bolts from NJIT to Columbia. Detroit let Ray McCallum go; Titans hadn't been same since Ray McCallum Jr played there. Portland named former Pistons coach Terry Porter its new head coach.

5) Texas Longhorns turned down a chance for another trip to China next fall, in order to play in a tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn with Northwestern, Notre Dame and Colorado. Pretty good tournament.

4) If you bring your cellphone into The Masters at Augusta National, you're likely to get tossed and then banned for life from the golf course. Banned for life seems a bit harsh, but they're pretty serious about having no phones on the course.

3) Maryland's football team lost defensive coordinator Scott Shafer, who resigned for personal reasons before he ever coached a game for the Terps. Shafer was the head coach at Syracuse the last three seasons.

2) Nevada 85, Morehead State 82 OT-- wins CBI championship. Not too fond of the best-of-3 finals format, but these teams played really good games.

1) Knicks 105, Nets 91-- Nice of the NBA to have the Lopez brothers play each other on April 1, which happens to be the twins' birthday.

Friday's List of 13: Happy April Fools' Day........
13) On Selection Sunday, someone in NCAA headquarters confused Southern Cal with South Carolina (both USC) and texted South Carolina that they had made the NCAA tournament, when in fact they had not. No bueno. Wouldn't have wanted to be the person who had to explain that miscue to the Gamecocks.

12) Oklahoma plays Villanova Saturday, but on Tuesday, they'll be down a couple of assistant coaches. Steve Henson goes to Tex-San Antonio, Lew Hill to Rio Grande Valley in the Southland Conference. Thats the price of winning.

11) The Final Four is at NRG Stadium in Houston, a dome where the Texans play their NFL games. In the last 13 basketball games played there, favorites are 11-2 vs the spread, under is 8-4-1.

10) Over last 30 years, teams with an 8-seed or worse are 1-3-1 vs spread in national semifinal games, when not playing against each other.

9) Over last 30 years, when teams from same conference meet in national semifinals, the better team won/covered three of the four games.

8) George Washington 76, Valparaiso 60-- GW wins the NIT, but they shouldn't get too happy; the coach who won last year's NIT has already been fired. Stanford fired Johnny Dawkins, who has already resurfaced at Central Florida.

Switching over to baseball..........
7) Travis Shaw beats out Pablo Sandoval as 3B in Boston. Sandoval showed up to spring training more out of shape than usual, and now he will sit.

6) As far as I know, Mike Leake (#8), Marcus Stroman (#6) are only major league starting pitchers with a single digit uniform number. Reliever Adam Ottavino also wears 0 for the Rockies.

5) They put 11,025 fans in Cashman Field in Las Vegas last night for a Mets-Cubs game, listed as a sellout. They have another exhibition game there this afternoon.

4) Bronx TV analyst David Cone joined Royals analyst Rex Hudler in blaming Ruben Tejada for the broken leg Tejada incurred when Chase Utley slid hard into second base in LY's playoffs. Angels' analyst Mark Gubicza took the opposite viewpoint, so apparently the slide is kid of a gray area, even amongst ex-players.

3) Bronx reliever Andrew Miller suffered a chip fracture in his right (non-throwing) wrist when he got hit by a line drive Thursday. With Aroldis Chapman suspended for the first 30 games, Bronx doesn't need Miller on the DL in April.

2) Jockey Calvin Borel retired this week, with 5,136 wins, a great career.

1) I felt so old Thursday; I'm getting my hair buzzed, doesn't take too long, but while I'm there, an ad for comedian Steven Wright's appearance in Albany comes on the radio. Neither of the girls working in the hair salon know who he is. Wright is a brilliant comedian with a deadpan delivery- he also won an Oscar as a film producer; he is a brilliant guy, very funny, but at age 60, he's not well known by younger people. Oy. .

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) NBA coaches make a lot of money; but when you read about D'Angelo Russell secretly taping a conversation with a teammate, where the teammate admits cheating on his girlfriend, and then the tape goes public, you realize that some of these teams are traveling circuses where 19-year old millionaires can blow the whole team up.

12) Some football people tweeted Wednesday, ".....he (Russell) is lucky he isn't on a football team, or else........"; well if he played football, he'd still be in college, since football players can't bolt for the NFL until they have three years in college. Growing up emotionally is a big part of why staying in college is often a good idea.

11) If you're the Lakers, don't you have to trade Russell? He has a lot of talent, but it'll take a lot to rebuild trust between his teammates and himself. Dicey situation.

10) Apple and Major League Baseball signed a multi-year deal to equip teams with stats, matchups, video stuff in the dugout area. Baseball is a game of numbers, so much so that you can drown in them- different teams use them different ways.

9) Cubs averaged 15,000+ fans for their spring training home games this month.

8) Oakland Grizzlies started five lefties in a game this week; don't see that a lot.

7) Oakland sharpshooter Max Hooper (he hasn't taken a 2-point shot all year), lost his dad last month. Chip Hooper was once manager of the Dave Matthews Band- his loss has been felt both in the Oakland community and in the music world.

6) Billy Donovan's first head coaching job was at Marshall in 1994, but before he took the job, Mike Brey (then a Duke assistant) turned it down. Brey became coach at Delaware the next year. Both guys have obviously had great careers.

5) Coaching carousel: Travis Ford to Saint Louis, Kyle Smith from Columbia to San Francisco, Zach Spiker from Army to Drexel.

Random fact: Travis Ford appeared in the movie The Sixth Man, playing role of Danny O'Grady. Ford coached at UMass, Eastern Kentucky before Oklahoma State.

4) Nevada 77, Morehead State 68-- Wolf Pack outscored Morehead 27-13 on the foul line, reversing Game 1 results; Eagles were 1-18 on arc in a physical game that saw tempers flare couple times. Decisive Game 3 of series is Friday night in Reno.

3) Old Dominion 68, Oakland 67-- Monarchs had 16 offensive rebounds, were +16 on boards as they won first Vegas 16 tournament, an event with only eight teams in it. Oakland allowed the CBS TV crew incredible access; the sideline reporter sat next to coach Greg Kampe and talked to him for a couple possessions each game, while the game was being played.

2) Good news for Jose Reyes and much more importantly, my fantasy baseball team; domestic violence charges against Reyes will be dropped- his wife won't cooperate with authorities. Reyes makes $22M a year, so the couple stood to lose a fortune if the trial went on as scheduled (Monday), but he isn't totally off the hook yet.

Unfortunately, Reyes might still be suspended by MLB, which suspended Aroldis Chapman 30 games, but then declined to suspend Yasiel Puig for domestic violence incidents. In the meantime, the shortstop for the Armadillos will be Marcus Semien, who hopefully won't get arrested before the season starts.

1) NFL linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was moving last week; during the move, his fiancee found an uncashed game check from last year, worth $138,235. Must be nice that you don't cash all your paychecks and don't notice the difference.

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy Hump Day, everyone.......
Today, a quick comment/thought on every National League team, with baseball season starting up in a few days.......

Arizona-- Spent ton of $$$ in off-season, adding Zach Greinke, are winning awful lot of spring training games, which means bupkus. We'll see starting Monday. Jean Segura looked like Ty Cobb this spring, after hitting .257 in Milwaukee LY.

Atlanta-- Last year at Turner Field, open fancy new stadium in Cobb County in 2017, are building a team that will be strong when they get there. Of their 30 top prospects in minor leagues, they've traded for 15 of them, by far most in majors.

Cubs-- Made playoffs last year, now expectations are off the charts; having a mime lead stretching exercises and doing fun things to break up the monotony of a long year might get old if Cubs struggle early on. They're favored to win World Series.

Reds-- In serious rebuild mold; Reds' TV guys are complaining that Joey Votto might walk 200 times, with Todd Frazier gone. If so, why not just bat him leadoff? If your Opening Day starter is Raisel Iglesias, no disrespect, but.....that not good.

Rockies-- Last five years, are combined 120 games under .500. Traded Tulowitzki for a SS who makes as much money and is now suspended for domestic violence-- what sense did that make? Top pitching prospect Gray may start season on the DL.

Dodgers-- New manager in Dave Roberts; plenty of injuries on pitching staff. Still amuses me that LA has a huge payroll, but justin Turner bats third, a guy the Mets just didn't want. How good is Japanese pitching import Maeda?

Marlins-- Mattingly is new manager, Barry Bonds is hitting coach, but they won't be playing. Need to keep Stanton/Fernandez healthy. Moved some of fences in, lowered others, which was overdue. Have only made playoffs twice, but won WS both times.

Brewers-- New GM looks like he is 15; another rebuilding team, despite being over .500 three of last five years. Will they trade Lucroy/Braun to fortify their farm system as they rebuild for the future?

Mets-- Defending NL champs have new DP combo, same fine rotation. Curious to see if Washington can challenge them, since rest of division looks lame. David Wright got late start to spring; who plays 3B if his back flares up again?

Phillies-- Maikel Franco has eight homers this spring, most in majors. Still saddled with Ryan Howard's ludicrous contract- he hit .229 LY and he can't defend. Phillies' second run next week will be the 90,000th run in franchise history.

Pirates-- Clint Hurdle managed in playoffs in four of his last eight years as a manager, while with Rockies/Pirates- why did Colorado let him go? Can Pirates get another .370 OB% out of catcher Cervelli? Josh Harrison replaces traded Walker at 2B.

Cardinals-- Have been in playoffs last five years and 12 of last 16. When do they get Yadier Molina back to full strength? Is Ruben Tejada good enough to man SS until Peralta gets back after All-Star break? Mike Leake should help the rotation.

Padres-- Ross-Shields-Cashner is really strong top 3 of rotation. Will Alexei Ramirez be solid at SS? They've also moved some of fences in. Padres are hoping Myers can be solid at 1B and that Jon Jay can anchor the outfield in CF.

Giants-- Its an even-numbered year, so.....Bumgarner is only starting pitcher who is under 30- they added Cueto/Samardzija, but Samardzija was awful LY with White Sox. Hopefully people realize what a great manager Bruce Bochy is.

Nationals-- Dusty Baker is the new skipper, after team went 83-79 and missed the playoffs for second time in last four years. It is a contract year for Strasburg, so if he has a big year, scumweasel agent Scott Boras will ask for the moon next winter.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Some concern for the Mets; Matt Harvey was scratched from today's start with some sort of non-baseball medical situation. This was supposed to be the tuneup for his Opening Night start in Kansas City. Hopefully it is not serious.

12) Mets and Cubs are headed to Las Vegas for exhibition games Thursday/Friday at Cashman Field in downtown Vegas. Always enjoy going to minor league games there while I'm in Las Vegas- the Mets' AAA team plays there.

11) Old friend Nick Swisher got released by Atlanta Monday; when a bad team cuts you, it could be the end of the line. Always liked Swisher when he played for the A's and even after; seems like a good-natured guy.

10) Was watching Rangers-Dodgers last night; in my opinion, Orel Hershiser is the best TV analyst in baseball. Very smart, you learn stuff from him but he still keeps his sense of humor. Ron Darling is also very good and there are others: Mark Gubicza, Tom Grieve, Bob Brenly that to me stand out above the rest.

9) Oklahoma basketball coach Lon Kruger was a really good baseball player; he was drafted by the Astros in 1970, the Cardinals in 1974 and played one year of minor league ball in the St Louis system, before he found his calling as a coach.

8) My opinion on retired baseball players complaining about the current players showing off: Please be quiet. Just stop. Shut up. No one wants to hear guys from the past sound like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino-- "Get off my lawn!!!!"

7) Georgia Tech is targeting Duke assistant Jeff Capel for its head coaching job, but if you're Capel's friend, don't you tell him to pass on this job? Being at Duke, he will get plenty more head coaching offers (he has been a head coach, at VCU, Oklahoma). Georgia Tech seems like a hard place to win, the way the ACC is set up now.

6) Santa Ckara was brilliant in hiring Herb Sendek as its coach; they'll be happy.

UNLV fired alum Dave Rice on January 10, then stumbled thru 11 weeks of looking like incompetent administrators, before finally hiring Little Rock's Chris Beard. Fans will like Beard's fiery demeanor; looks like he can coach, but its going to take time to rebuild a roster that has been ravaged by attrition the last few months.

5) Former UConn coach Jim Calhoun picked Oklahoma to win the national title while appearing on ESPNU Monday.

4) NIT semifinals tonight: BYU-Valparaiso, George Washington-San Diego State.

3) Next few weeks we'll hear a lot about kids transferring, coaches getting new jobs. Some of next winter's games will be won or lost this spring; teams have so little on their benches, if they lose a couple kids unexpectedly, and don't replace them with good players, they will wind up like Duke was this seasonl with only six players you trust. Teams like that don't last long in March.

2) Green Bay Packers rarely sign veteran free agents away from other teams, but they signed TE Jared Cook Monday. I'll try to be nice here, but Cook got a lot of money in free agency from the Rams a few years back and did little to justify the expense. Now he has Aaron Rodgers throwing to him, which has to help a great deal, but iif he doesn't get open more than he did in St Louis, even that won't matter.

1) Syracuse lost to St John's this season.........
St John's lost to College of the Incarnate Word.....
College of the Incarnate Word lost to Our Lady of the Lake.....
Our Lady of the Lake lost to Oklahoma Arts & Sciences......

What would the spread be if Syracuse played Oklahoma Arts & Sciences?

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) Syracuse 68, Virginia 62-- Over last 30 years, when teams from same conference meet in a regional final, the lower seed is 8-4 SU, 10-2 vs spread. Virginia led this game 54-39 with 9:32 left, before their epic collapse began. Syracuse is the first double-digit seed to make the Final Four since VCU five years ago.

12) North Carolina 88, Notre Dame 74-- Carolina shot 61.5% inside arc- they made 15-33 on arc this weekend. Tar Heels beat Syracuse by 5-11 points in two meetings this season, UNC was 8-40 on arc against the Orangemen this season. Next week is a dome setting, better suited for a zone defense.

11) Early Final Four line: North Carolina -9.5 over Syracuse

Over last 31 years, when teams from same conference meet in Final Four, higher seed is 3-3. St John's/Georgetown were both #1 seeds when they met in '85.

10) Pitt hired Kevin Stallings away from Vandy, hire that got mixed reviews- some suggest that Vanderbilt was about to can Stallings anyway, after their lackluster loss in the play-in game. He's been at Vandy 17 years; is 35-37 in SEC play last four years.

Considering how Vanderbilt gets treated like a pinata in football, you'd think they'd throw Stallings a parade, but apparently not, and that is why he left for Pitt.

9) Weird sidebar to Vandy-Pitt story: Sheldon Jeter is a 6-8 junior for Pitt; he started his college career at Vanderbilt-- when he wanted to transfer back home to Pitt, it was blocked by Stallings. Now the kid is playing for him again, unless he wants to transfer. I'm guessing the NCAA would give him a waiver if he wants to transfer again, without him having to sit out a year.

8) Good to see Lon Kruger, Jay Wright make Final Four; I'm told they're good guys that everyone likes. Kruger made the Final Four with Florida way back in 1994, has coached the Atlanta Hawks- he might be the most underrated coach in the game.

7) Looks like hitters will try to bunt more to beat the shift; Jay Bruce did it against the Dodgers yesterday. How many times will have a hitter have to take a free basehit by bunting, before teams don't shift against him anymore?

6) Diamondbacks have won 20+ spring training games; but it means zero, bupkus. Could it sell some extra season tickets? Maybe, but otherwise it means nothing. You can tell their TV guys want to talk about it, but sometimes it raises expectations to a stupid high level. Arizona spent a lot of $$$ last winter; we'll see if it helped.

5) Colorado Rockies look like they've got a keeper in rookie SS Trevor Story, which makes the Jose Reyes debacle an intriguing one. Reyes goes on trial over his domestic abuse charges next week in Hawai'i- considering he makes $22M this year and next, they'd probably be just as happy if he got suspended for the year- he's not tradeable, not at age 33, with a history of hamstring problems.

4) Cardinals' coach Jose Oquendo is taking medical leave after knee surgery; he's both the third base coach and infield instructor- he will be missed.

3) Actress Condola Rashad, whose character Kate works in the prosecutor's office in Showtime's Billions, is the daughter of Ahmad and Felicia Rashad.

2) Columbia beat NJIT 80-65, Cal-Irvine whacked Coastal Carolina 66-47 in CIT.

1) One week until Opening Day; make sure you log on every day for information on each and every baseball game, thru the World Series. Pitchers/umpires/team trends, it will be all be there.

Sunday's List of 13: Happy Easter to those you believe.......
13) Oklahoma 80, Oregon 68-- Sooners made 12-24 on arc, jumped out quickly and made quick work of the Ducks. Buddy Hield scored 37, made 8-13 on arc and was too much for Oregon, which got only seven points from Dillon Brooks.

12) Villanova 64, Kansas 59-- Strange stat: since 2003, #2-seeds are now 13-5 against #1-seeds SU in regional finals.

Teams combined to go 10-40 on arc in this brickfest. Jayhawks got zero bench points in this game. Bupkus. Bill Self is 2-4 in regional finals; he was favored in all six games.

11) Was reminded yesterday of Jeff Van Gundy's wish that any 3-point shot that is banked in only count as two points. I wouldn't be against that.

10) Greedy bastard update: Gas is back up to $2.29 in beautiful downtown Colonie, after it had gotten down to $2.03 last month. I'm told gas was in $1.60's in Ohio this winter. Price here went up a dime in one day here-- greedy bastards.

9) Home plate ump in Toronto-Philly game Friday looks like he is 15 years old; guy got drilled by a foul ball, he takes his mask off and I'm like, "Why is a kid umping the plate in a big league game?" They said his name; he is already in the majors, too.

8) I'm not a big fan of Reds' TV guy Thom Brennaman; he is brutally honest, but for a spring training game, thats good, because you learn stuff about the Reds' roster you might need for fantasy baseball. Cincinnati is in a major rebuild mode.

He and Chris Walsh were whining about the Reds playing three night games in Wrigley field on their first road trip-- guess they don't like cold weather.

7) Atlanta-Colorado-Milwaukee-Cincinnati-- lot of NL teams are rebuilding.

6) Brennaman was killing the Reds' lineup, saying because no one good hits behind Joey Votto, he is likely to draw 200+ walks this season. Votto won't expand his zone to avoid walks, he just lets pitchers walk him. Maybe he should bat leadoff.

5) Fact of Life: baseball players get hurt a lot, thats hard part of fantasy baseball, it is so aggravating. Brewers lost reliever Will Smith this weekend: he tore the LCL in his knee, when he was putting his shoe on. Seriously.

Imagine if you owned the Brewers and were paying Will Smith $1.475M this year and he blows his knee out putting his shoes on? He is a professional athlete!!!! Oy.

4) Singer Huey Lewis was in uniform and in the Giants' dugout Saturday; no word on whether he got hurt putting his shoes on, and Lewis is 65.

3) Rumors have Pitt Panthers going after Vandy coach Kevin Stallings, who has done well with the Commodores, going 332-220 there, 138-142 in SEC play. Vandy loses so much in football that 138-142 sounds like a great record-- Stallings has been there for 17 years. I'm not even sure Pitt is a better hoop job than Vanderbilt, money aside. Pretty sure he would get a substantial raise in Pittsburgh.

2) Early spread for next weekend: Villanova -1.5 over Oklahoma.

1) CIT tournament has a great mascot matchup today: Cal-Irvine is down south to play Coastal Carolina, the Anteaters against the Chanticleers. Top that.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) Notre Dame 61, Wisconsin 56-- Irish outscored last two opponents 14-3 in last minute of the game, sneaking by SF Austin/Wisconsin. Now Notre Dame plays UNC, which beat them by 31 three weeks ago in Washington, at ACC tournament. Irish did beat Tar Heels in South Bend 80-76 during the regular season.

12) Syracuse 63, Gonzaga 60-- Last week was best first weekend tournament has had; Sweet 16 wasn't as good, except for this game and ND-Wisconsin. Syracuse lost at Virginia 73-65 back in January, despite Orange going 13-30 on arc; teams play again Sunday at 6:00, with a trip to the Final Four in Houston up for grabs.

11) Virginia 84, Iowa State 71-- Cyclone squad that was #4 in country in experience got run off floor here, now has major rebuilding job, playing in a brutal league. Virginia shot 61% inside arc; Iowa State had no depth, hard to press that way and get back in the game. Last time all four #1 seeds made it to Elite 8: 2009.

10) North Carolina 101, Indiana 86-- In regional finals since 2005, teams seeded #6 or lower are 11-2 vs spread-- both non-covers were favored- that trend would favor the Fighting Irish Sunday. Last team to score 100 points in Sweet 16 game was Kentucky in 2012, also against Indiana. Hoosiers had an outstanding season, though.

9) Regional final spreads: Virginia -8.5 vs Syracuse.
Kansas -2.5 vs Villanova.....Oregon -1 vs Oklahoma........UNC -9.5 vs Notre Dame

8) Coaching carousel: Jerod Haase jumps from UAB to Stanford.

Tulane hired 62-year old Mike Dunleavy Sr, who has never coached college ball, but has coached three NBA teams.

7) Flip side: Georgia Tech canned Brian Gregory after five years, one night after Gregory was guest analyst on CBS College Sports.

Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin told UNLV to take a hike, using them as leverage to try and get better facilities built for his Bearcats. Leading candidate for the UNLV coaching job appears to be New Mexico State's Marvin Menzies.

6) Speaking of CBS College Sports, Danny Granger has a future on TV; he's done a good job on their studio show this month.

5) Wisconsin's Ethan Happ is the cousin of major league pitcher JA Happ.

4) Major league position players must be going nuts as Opening Day nears; spring training is so damn long because pitchers need to get their arms ready. Hitters do not need 30+ games to ready for the season- then once the season starts, lot of the games will be in much colder weather. which takes a big adjustment.

3) Mets are using Wilmer Flores some at 1B; you wonder if he'll become a utility guy once Asdrubel Cabrera gets healthy and becomes the Mets' SS.

2) Regional final pointspread trends by region:
-- East final: favorites covered four of last five.
-- South final: favorites covered six of last nine.
-- Midwest final: underdogs are 8-5 vs spread in last 13
-- West final: underdogs are 15-3 vs spread in last 18.

1) Guatemala has fewer people than Los Angeles; who knew?

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Oregon 82, Duke 68-- ACC is 12-3 in NCAA's; 12-1 vs seeds 7 or lower, 0-2 vs #6 or better seeds. Duke was 7-22 on arc; last three teams to beat Oregon combined to shoot over 60% from downtown. Duke has never made a Final Four out of the West.

12) Kansas 79, Maryland 63-- Diamond Stone played only 21:00 and took four shots for the Terps, who were outrebounded 43-28. Terps wound up going 5-6 in their last 11 games; disappointing end for a team that figures to lose several guys to the pros.

11) Oklahoma 77, Texas A&M 63-- Aggies' comeback was hurt by their 13-24 night on foul line; they were down 19 at the half. Sooners made 11-25 on arc, made 52.7% of its 2-point shots. A&M was lucky to beat Northern Iowa last weekend; reality set in here against a veteran Oklahoma squad with one of the best coaches in the country.

10) Villanova 92, Miami 69-- Was probably a rough night for TV ratings, four cruddy games; Wildcats pulled away from 43-37 halftime lead and jogged here. Villanova has scored 88.3 ppg in winning first three tournament games.

9) Stat of the Day: Since 2003, #2-seeds are 11-5 SU vs #1-seeds in regional finals. Underdogs are 9-7 vs spread in those games.

8) All the #1-seeds are favored in this round; last time a #1-seed was an underdog in a r egional semifinal was 2005, when Washington (+1.5) lost 93-79 to Louisville.

7) There is a new 8-team tournament at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas starting Monday; games are being shown all day on CBS Sports Network. These teams haven't played in at least two weeks, in some cases three- tough games to handicap.

Oakland is playing Towson, Louisiana Tech vs East Tennessee State, Old Dominion vs Tennessee Tech and UCSB-Northern Illinois- those are first round games.

6) Robert Griffin III signed with Cleveland; Browns have a game in Washington this fall, so that might be a Monday night game now. Curious to see if Griffin can stay healthy for a whole season; the Vegas over/under on his starts this year: 9.5.

5) When RGIII starts for the Browns next fall, he'll be Cleveland's 25th starting QB since 1999; Dallas has had 19 since then, second-highest total in NFL.

4) Over/unders on Brock Osweiler: 3,750 passing yards, 25.5 TD passes.

3) Red Sox are playing Toronto two games in Montreal next weekend; they've already sold 106,000 tickets for the two games, as Montreal clamors for baseball to return to Quebec. Wonder how many of the 106,000 are Red Sox fans from south of border.

2) Colorado Rockies' AA farm team in the Eastern League is in Hartford; they're the Yard Goats. Curious to see what the hats look like. Hartford Yard Goats.

1) Quote of the Day, part II from newly-minted comedian Mitt Romney:

“Donald Trump has had several foreign wives. It turns out that there really are jobs Americans won’t do.”

If Mr Romney tried this hard when he actually ran for President himself, maybe he would've won. I've always heard Mormons are nice people; now? Not so much.

I'll say one last thing; if there is a guy out there who wouldn't be happier than hell to have Melania Trump hanging on his arm, I'd be surprised. If you don't like Donald Trump, that makes sense, but his wife seems like a nice lady-- she babysat for Ted Cruz' kids during one of the Republican debates. Go figure.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) People in Idaho were waiting on line for three hours to vote in the primary there on Tuesday night; I wouldn't wait on line for three hours to vote for myself.

12) HBO announced its team for Hard Knocks this summer: the Los Angeles Rams, so I'll get an inside look at my favorite team. Hopefully they'll focus a little more on how the team moved and settled in to LA, giving it a little variety from most years.

11) Alexei Ramirez has been in major leagues eight years, is 34 years old, but still speaks no English; has to be difficult to live in a country where you don't speak the language, but then again, if he hasn't learned English, he must be able to get by. He has earned roughly $40M in his career, so his translator is probably very well-paid.

10) Former Louisville Cardinal Russ Smith scored 65 points in a D-League game last night; just a reminder of how hard it is to make an NBA roster. All these kids who bolt college early to go pro; many of them are in for a rude awakening.

9) Los Angeles Clipper players have 38 technical fouls this year, most in NBA.

8) Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos went 7-20 with three homers since he had Lasix surgery last week; it helps to be able to see the ball.

7) Minnesota Twins played RF Miguel Sano the whole game Wednesday, which is unsuual; they were hoping someone would hit a ball to rightfield so his defense could be tested, but it never happened. In reality, I could've stood out there and done same thing Sano did- nothing. Twins obviously think highly of him, though.

6) Iona and Dayton gave their basketball coaches contract extensions, just because other teams have job openings. Archie Miller has apparently turned down Pitt, his hometown team; so did his brother Sean, who played for Pitt.

5) Final 4 of the NIT: Valparaiso-BYU, George Washington-San Diego State. Semis and finals are next week at Madison Square Garden.

4) I had no idea MMA wasn't legal in New York State; it is just becoming legal now. New York was the last state to OK MMA. Go figure.

3) Arizona Diamondbacks' last seven spring training home games have sold out; the Padres' game the other day- they said it cost $7 to sit on a hill behind the outfield fence. Have to check spring training out one of these years- I've never been.

2) Sean Payton gets a 5-year $45M extension from the Saints, to usher his team into the post-Drew Brees era. Brees still has a year or two to play, but New Orleans has to start developing a QB to play after Brees retires.

1) RIP to Joe Garagiola 90, and Ken Howard 71, who passed away Wednesday.

Garagiola parlayed an average playing career into a great broadcasting gig that grew past baseball- he did sports on The Today Show and became a gameshow host. He was still appearing on Diamondbacks TV games once a week last year. He did a ton of good work for baseball alumni groups and seemed like a great guy.

Howard played Coach Ken Reeves in The White Shadow, one my favorite TV shows of all-time; it ran on CBS for three years (1978-81). My dad and I would watch it just before Monday Night Football came on- very realistic program that focused on a high school basketball team in inner-city Los Angeles.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings........
13) I see where coaches Mike Montgomery, Hugh Durham were elected to College Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City; congrats to them, but why isn't UNLV's Jerry Tarkanian in that Hall of Fame? He is in Springfield's Basketball Hall of Fame (the real HOF), but for some reason, a Hall of Fame with Gene Keady, Norm Stewart, Lefty Driesell and Lou Carnesecca doesn't have room for Tark the Shark. No bueno.

12) Denzel Washington went to college at Fordham; he played freshman basketball, where his coach was PJ Carlesimo; both went on to bigger and better things.

11) Coaching carousel: Central Florida hires Johnny Dawkins, recently fired by the Stanford Cardinal. Southern Utah hired Todd Simon, former interim coach at UNLV.

10) Cat Barber bolts NC State for the NBA; this is why some teams cannot gain any traction in their leagues. Players skip out early and try to cash in, which obviously is their right, but teams that develop a nucleus of good players who don't have their eyes on NBA are ones that win more consistently-- say a team like Wisconsin or maybe Virginia. Kentucky/Duke are scooping up most of the big-time recruits.

9) Los Angeles Angels were supposed to play an exhibition game in Salt Lake City against their farm team Tuesday, but the game got snowed out. Snow. Yuk.

8) Remember Rik Smits, the Pacers' center? His son is red-shirting at Valparaiso this year and yes he is also 7-1. If he is as good as his dad, Bryce Drew is a lucky guy.

7) When the Chicago Cubs stretched yesterday, they were led by....a mime. I am not kidding, a freakin' mime was on the field, leading their stretching. Joe Maddon is big on breaking up the monotony of a long season. Mimes will do that sort of thing.

6) Spring training statistics are largely useless; Bob Welch won 27 games for the '90 A's, he won the Cy Young. His ERA in spring training that year was over 17.00.

5) Duke-Oregon game will be just third time in last 20 years that Duke is the lower-seeded team in an NCAA tourney game- they lost the other two, to Louisville in a regional final, to Kansas in a regional semi. Over last 30 years, Duke is 7-3 vs spread when getting points in the NCAAs- they're an underdog against Oregon.

4) Bandwagon fever: Royals drew 11,781 fans for an exhibition game last night, during which Royals' TV guy Rex Hudler was defending Chase Utley's slide from playoffs LY, when he broke Ruben Tejada's leg.

They showed Hal McRae breaking up a DP in the 1972 World Series, when he threw a cross-body block on Oakland's Dick Green. Hudler sounded like my dad, when he used to go into his "back in the good ol' days" routine. Classic stuff.

3) Why don't both leagues have the DH, or neither league? How is this possible, that one league does and one does not? And in Japan, it is the same damn thing-- one league has the DH, the other league doesn't. Makes no sense.

2) Roy Williams banks an extra $200K if North Carolina beats Indiana Friday; think he'll spring for extra toppings on players' pizzas if the Tar Heels win? He gets $200K more if the Tar Heels win on Sunday and $250K more if they win national title.

1) Today is an underrated TV day, with 32 first round matches in World Golf Match Play tournament. Plus some exhibition baseball. Better-than-usual daytime TV, which isn't sayng much. The quality of daytime TV most days is putrid.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.....
13) Chicago White Sox had one of their players quit because the team won't let his 14-year old son come to the ballpark with his dad every day, like he did last year. The guy (Adam LaRoche) walked away from a $12M a year job because of this- it is a complex issue. I'm not sure who is right; I am sure it is a big problem for the team.

-- LaRoche apparently had permission to do this last year, before he signed; the young kid went on road trips, came to the park every day, was practically a part of the team.
-- The young kid is a good kid, no one disputes this. He knows his place. Apparently he is being home-schooled.
-- Some players/staff privately complained to management.
-- Chris Sale, the team's biggest star, ripped the team's GM, called him a liar, after the GM asked LaRoche not to bring the kid in every day.
-- What does Mrs LaRoche saying about losing $12M over this?

I mean, the kid had his own locker/uniform; he did drills on the field and he is 14, so that is a little weird, but anytime the team's star is ripping the GM in mid-March, it is a very big problem. no matter who is right/wrong. Curious to see how it plays out.

12) Florida State lost at Valparaiso in the NIT; this is why Power 5 teams do not go on the road to play mid-majors- they could lose. In these tournaments, they have to go on the road if told. March exposes teams that are leery of playing on the road.

11) Xavier assistant coach Luke Murray is Bill Murray's son, but he claims never to have seen Caddyshack, an unthinkable thing, consdiering his boss Chris Mack does a decent imitation of greenskeeper Carl Spackler from that classic movie.

10) USC lost to Providence Thursday because they couldn't guard an out-of-bounds under play with 0:02.3 left in game. Not sure why teams insist on playing man-to-man defense on OB under plays. Back a long time ago, when I was a young person, all the teams played 2-3 zones on OB unders and rarely gave up easy hoops.

9) Coaching carousel: March is the time when basketball coaches change jobs.
-- Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt retired; no replacement has been named.
-- Oklahoma State hired Brad Underwood away from Stephen F Austin.
-- TCU hired alum Jamie Dixon away from the Pitt Panthers.

8) While I wasn't paying attention last week, Hulk Hogan won $140M in a lawsuit against a company that published a tape of Hogan having sex in a friend's house.

What would you do if you add $140M to spend?

7) San Diego State 93, Washington 78-- Aztecs sold out an NIT game on a Monday night. Thats how strong a program Steve Fisher has built. 12,000+ people-- wow.

6) Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell played college ball at Notre Dame; his manager there was Pat Murphy, who is now the Brewers' bench coach.

5) Iowa lost 87-68 to Villanova Sunday is 2-7 second round game.
Last year, Iowa lost 87-68 to Gonzaga in a 2-7 second round game.

Have to admire their consistency.

4) Former big league pitcher Josh Beckett was caddying on the Web.com Tour last weekend, for Brett Wetterich.

3) Florida is playing road games in NIT because its gym is being re-furbished.

2) So I'm watching an exhibition baseball game Monday afternoon, and the batter starts crabbing at the ump, which is unusual in the spring, then all of a sudden I realize why-- its my first CB Bucknor sighting this spring!!!!!

Universally recognized as the worst umpire in the major leagues, Bucknor is back for another year earning six figures even though everyone knows he isn't good at his job.

1) If they use a Wilson basketball during the NCAA tournament, why wouldn't you use one during the season? Teams use the basketball of whatever sneaker company pays them-- Nike, adidas or Under Armour. How different is each ball?

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Texas A&M 92, Northern Iowa 88 2OT-- Major gakk job by the Panthers, who led by 12 points in the last minute. Kid who inbounded the ball against pressure hurt his knee and sat out during A&M's comeback, which killed UNI. Then the kid plays in the overtimes- all he needed to do was limp around and throw inbound passes and the Panthers would've won this game. Easy for me to say.

12) Notre Dame 76, SF Austin 75-- I'm not exaggerating when I say that the SFA coaches and players will regret their last three possessions in this game for the rest of their lives- they had the game won. Fact that the refs hosed the Lumberjacks with two lousy calls late didn't help, but they should've won this one on their own.

11) Wisconsin 66, Xavier 63-- Musketeers led by 9 with 6:19 left, but couldn't finish as Badgers have now won two tournament games by total of five points. Want to see a replay of this game, so I can focus on it, but the Badgers are mentally tough and Notre Dame is very lucky-- West Virginia and Xavier were beaten before they faced them.

10) Oklahoma 85, VCU 81-- Sooners were up 44-31 at half, but VCU stormed back and led with 8:11 to go. Buddy Hield scored 36 points; other Sooners were 2-12 on the arc. When you have four kids who've started 100+ games together, that is a powerful thing, kids will fight for each other. Oklahoma-Texas A&M next, interesting game.

9) Villanova 87, Iowa 68-- Wildcats looked like Golden State Warriors in first half of this game, running out to a 54-29 lead at the break. Iowa starts four seniors; and went out very meekly, losing seven of their last ten games. Time to rebuild now.

8) Syracuse 75, Middle Tennessee 50-- ACC has six of the Sweet 16, first time that has ever happened, so I'll have to go back to my notes on the ACC tournament. As for Middle Tennessee, they led this game early in second half- they had a great year, with an Alaskan Shootout title and a 15-2 seed upset over Michigan State.

7) Maryland 73, Hawai'i 60-- Terps survived 1-18 shooting on the arc to advance against a Hawai'i club that had beaten an injury-ravaged Cal team in first round. As of now, Hawai'i is on probation for next year; will their best returnees transfer?

6) Oregon 69, St Joe's 64-- Had a bad feeling for St Joe's after the Cincinnati game, which was very draining and Hawks' star Bembry played all 40:00, but St Joe's led by 7, 58-51, looked golden at that point. Oregon showed lot of guts to rally for the win. Ducks in Anaheim? I've heard that somewhere before........

5) Wright State fired coach Billy Donlon, who was 22-13 this year, has won 21+ games three of last four years and is 36-30 in Horizon during that time. His Raiders lost in finals of the Horizon tourney three of last four years, is that a fireable offense?

Milwaukee also fired Rob Jeter after a 21-win season. The world is going crazy.

4) WCC has ten basketball teams, a Big 3-- Gonzaga, St Mary's and BYU, and Little 7, four of whom will have new coaches next year. Seems like the powers-that-be at these have-nots are tired of losing. Damon Stoudamire is the new coach at Pacific, only one of the four schools that has hired a replacement.

3) Remember Billy Gillispie, who was such a rising star in coaching that he was the Kentucky coach for two years? He is now the coach at Ranger JC in Texas, where he once went to college. Life has a lot of ups and downs.

2) Weird stat: in their loss to Kansas, UConn made 10-22 on the arc, pretty darned good, but only 11-40 inside the arc, unspeakably bad. No wonder they lost.

1) Donald Trump Jr called his father "a blue-collar billionaire" on TV last night. Yeah, and I'm a Brad Pitt-lookalike. Seriously, the world is going crazy.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) Actually left the house today, went out for lunch and watched the Wichita State game. Checking out of the human race for a few days to watch basketball is something I highly recommend. Starting Monday, time to get ready for baseball, and Sweet 16 games next weekend. And maybe pack for a vacation...... :-)

12) Miami 65, Wichita State 57-- Hurricanes were up 27-6 very quickly, then blew the lead-- Shockers went up 43-42, but Miami pulled back ahead and advances to the Sweet 16. Van Vleet/Baker gave Wichita fans tons of thrills, what great careers they've had, but now they move on to pro ball and Wichita State has to rebuild.

11) Duke 71, Yale 64-- Duke led 46-19 at one point, were up 23 at half, then all of a sudden, Yale started playing well, then really well- they got the lead all the way down to three before time ran out on them. Historic season for the Bulldogs, who made it to the NCAAs for first time since 1962. Hope they enjoyed it.

10) Indiana 73, Kentucky 67-- Wildcats had at least made the Sweet 16 the last five they were in the tournament, but Indiana shot 61% inside arc, Kentucky shot 4-16 on the arc and now we wait to see which Wildcats bolt for the NBA Draft. Up next for the Hoosiers is North Carolina, another good game for TV ratings.

9) Virginia 77, Butler 69-- Cavaliers are 15-3 in last 18 games, move on to play Iowa State in a great game of contrasting styles. I think I overrated Butler; kept waiting for them to play better and they really never did. Wonder if the people at Wisconsin were going to go after Tony Bennett, had the Badgers not gotten hot in February?

8) Kansas 73, UConn 61-- Jayhawks led 42-19 at one point; Huskies got it down to single digits, but Kansas was just too good. Maryland-Hawai'i winner awaits in the next round; Terps are 4-6 in last ten games and were shaky at end of their win Friday against South Dakota State. Will Kevin Ollie jump to an NBA coaching job?

7) Iowa State 78, Ark-Little Rock 61-- Big underdogs who pull shocking first round upsets tend to do poorly in their next game, just the way it has usually been. After a couple of games vs free-wheeling teams this week, Iowa State plays Virginia next, and the Cavaliers are quite the opposite. That will be an interesting game.

6) Gonzaga 82, Utah 59-- Tank job by Utes, who lost to Oregon by 31 last week in Pac-12 tournament- those are their only two losses in their last ten games, but that is how this Utah team will be remembered. As for Gonzaga, three weeks ago, they lost at home to St Mary's on Senior Night and looked like they would miss the NCAAs for first time since 1998- now they're in Sweet 16 and playing their best basketball.

5) North Carolina 85, Providence 66-- .Game was 41-41, but Friars just didn't have enough players; you'd think they'd go to a zone once Dunn/Bentil got into foul trouble, since those two were the backbone of the team. Carolina is 11-1 in its last dozen Sweet 16 games, losing to Wisconsin LY. Tar Heels play Indiana next.

4) Favorites went 5-2 Saturday; I had Gonzaga-Utah as pick 'em. I'm thinking it is hard to play these noon games on Saturday/Sunday- pregame meals at 8am?

3) Rutgers hired Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell as its new coach, $1.6M a year; he is also a former UConn player/coach. Danny Hurley/Mike Lonergan were Rutgers' first two choices. I might have looked at Manhattan coach Steve Masiello, but seems like these college administrators are so gutless- they just pick guys who had big years this season, rather than a lot of good years previously.

2) Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis got a $31,250 bonus for winning a game in the NCAA tournament; wonder how they came up with that amount?

1) 11-seed in South Region has now beaten the 6-seed in first round seven years in row, so go find a blank bracket, put "2017" on top and circle the 11-seed in the South. then put it where you can find it next March and you'll already have one winner.

Saturday's Den: Wrapping up a full day of basketball.......
Middle Tennessee State 90, Michigan State 81-- This was 3rd-biggest upset (MT was +18) in tournament history, but hardly a fluke; Blue Raiders outhustled Michigan State, hit 11-19 3-pointers, beat Spartans to most every loose ball- they jumped out to a 15-2 lead and became more confident as the game went on. Great win for them.

Oregon 91, Holy Cross 52-- If you care about such things, Norfolk State (+21.5) in '12, Santa Clara (+20) in '93, Middle Tennessee (+18) today are three biggest spread upsets in NCAA tournament history. As for Oregon, they'll have their hands full on Sunday, with St Joe's. More on the Hawks later.

Northern Iowa 75, Texas 72-- Kid on UNI made sure he will be on highlight shows in March until the day he dies, banking in a halfcourt shot at buzzer, giving Shaka Smart his third consecutive first round loss. Northern Iowa alum/booster Kurt Warner was in the crowd, and this game proved that indeed, all things are possible.

St Joe's 78, Cincinnati 76-- Rough week for Bearcats, who lost in AAC tourney in four OT's last week, after kid on UConn drained a 60-footer in third OT, then lost at buzzer here, when game-tying dunk was after light came on backboard. I had no idea how good DeAndre' Bembry is; he played all 40:00, its all the little things he does. he must have gobbled up five or six loose balls I thought he had no shot at. Great player.

Stephen F Austin 70, West Virginia 56-- Lumberjacks haven't lost since December; they play great defense and handled West Virginia's press very well. Mountaineers turned ball over 22 times, forced only seven- that doesn't happen much and they play in the best league in country. Brad Underwood will get a higher-level job soon.

Syracuse 70, Dayton 51-- Both teams limped into tournament; Flyers finished year going 4-5 in last nine games, after a 21-3 start. Hard to figure what happens to make a team regress like that- maybe someone was playing hurt. It is part of what makes the art of handicapping a very difficult one.

Villanova 86, NC-Asheville 56-- Villanova plays Iowa next; Wildcats haven't been to Sweet 16 since 2009. Going to be a very long summer if Villanova doesn't get there this year. This is random: Pitt's band stayed after their game to also be the Weber State band- they all got t-shirts and $15 apiece to play the Weber State fight song.

VCU 75, Oregon State 67-- It is ironical that VCU has gone farther in NCAAs this year than its former coach Shaka Smart. Rams shot 64% inside arc- they were down a hoop with 9:05 left, but scored 26 points from there on in. Oregon State had a great year, have a talented, young nucleus, but must replace Gary Payton II.

Iowa 72, Temple 70-- Hawkeyes won at buzzer, on a putback after an airball, when the refs ignored a push-off that would've given the Owls foul shots for the win. Fran McCaffery is from Philly, making his game with Villanova Sunday a little more spicy, In 2008, Villanova beat McCaffery's Siena team in a 2nd round 12-13-seed game.

Hawai'i 77, California 66-- Golden Bears lost PG Wallace on Wednesday in practice, then Jabari Bird had back spasms Friday morning and sat game out. This was the first non-play-in win for the Big West since Pacific in 2005 they aren't even in the league anymore, they're in the WCC now. Big day for Hawai'i- they play Maryland next.

Oklahoma 82, Cal-Bakersfield 68-- Roadrunners were spunky here, running out to an 8-0 lead, but reality set in against veteran Sooner squad that has four kids who have played 100+ games together in Norman. Bakersfield needs to move up to the Big West with the other mid-major state schools in California.

Maryland 79, South Dakota State 74-- Gritty Jackrabbits had ball with chance to tie in last 0:10, but turned it over and fell short of their first tournament win. Terps have to be concerned that they had to sweat out a game they led by 12 at half. Hawai'i is lot more athletic than South Dakota State- Maryland could have its hands full Sunday.

Wisconsin 47, Pitt 43-- Dreadful game, with 54 freakin' possessions. UNLV wants to hire Jamie Dixon; how about hiring a coach who will play a more entertaining style of play? Jesus, Northern Iowa led Texas 44-36 at the half and they both have tempos in the 300's. A 47-43 final? Badgers play Xavier Sunday; they'll have to play faster.

Texas A&M 92, Green Bay 65-- Milwaukee fired coach Rob Jeter this week; his dad played for the Lombardi Packers in the late 60's. Panthers were 20-13 this year, were in NCAAs two years ago-- there is a story out there that the female AD had it out for Jeter and undermined the program so she could fire him. Politics suck.

Xavier 71, Weber State 53-- I go to AAU games in Las Vegas in July; last summer, Xavier coach Chris Mack was there recruiting......with his 9-year old daughter. Mack also coaches his daughter's grade school team, he seems like a good guy. As for the Big Sky, they should have a Monday night midnight game on ESPN-- why not?

Notre Dame 70, Michigan 63-- Pac-12 lost five games as higher seeds the last two days, first team any conference has failed that much. Notre Dame is playing its next game against Stephen F Austin, a bunch of Lumberjacks taking Brooklyn by storm. There is a famous book called A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- could Stephen F Austin be the team that chops that tree down and moves on to the Sweet 16?

Friday's Den: Wrapping up a full day of basketball.......
Wichita State 65, Arizona 55-- Shocking no-show by Arizona, which trailed 31-19 at half. Is Sean Miller OK? He has lost 40 pounds, he sweated thru his shirt well before halftime, he just doesn't look right. Not just talking about today, either. Wichita paid Gregg Marshall $3M a year to turn down Alabama; today was why.

Providence 70, USC 69-- Friars scored on an out-of-bounds-under play with less than 0:03 left, after Trojans missed two front ends of 1-and-1's in last 0:30. Bentil/Dunn hit a combined 13-34 shots, Providence still won. Wow. Last minute of this game made James Naismith turn over in his grave, but the Friars advance to play North Carolina.

Yale 79, Baylor 75-- Georgia State last year, Yale this year; Baylor goes down again as a first round favorite. Scott Drew is this generation's version of Eddie Fogler, who lost as a 2-seed and 3-seed while at South Carolina. No bueno. Very good day for Yale coach James Jones-- last time Yale played in an NCAA game was 1962, when they played Wake Forest- one of the Deacons' guards that day was Billy Packer.

Ark-Little Rock 85, Purdue 83 2OT-- Epic gag job by Boilers, who led by 13 with 3:33 left. Second year in row a Sun Belt team pulls a big upset in first round. Maybe if ESPN showed some of their games, they wouldn't be underrated in March. Back when ESPN first started up, the Sun Belt was first league to have ESPN show its games.

Duke 93, NC-Wilmington 85-- Seahawks were 14-19 on foul line, Grayson Allen was 15-17 by himself. Chris Webber is good on TV; he speaks his mind and doesn't hold back. "They should call them at both ends." after the play-by-play guy described how refs were calling touch fouls on UNCW. Duke plays Yale on Saturday.

Butler 71, Texas Tech 61-- Big East has teams in Indiana, Nebraska, Wisconsin, as geography students grow dumber by the second. Want to make America great again? Make Big East only have teams in the east. Tubby Smith has now taken five schools to NCAAs- if you can win in Lubbock in Big X, you're a damn good coach.

Iowa State 84, Iona 71-- MAAC is now 0-8 in first round (0-8 vs spread) since Siena beat Ohio State in an 8-9 game in '09; Iona lost by 25-16-13 points its last three times in this round. Total was in doubt until AJ English got a technical for cursing at Iowa State's coach during a timeout- they were only down 7 when that happened.

UConn 74, Colorado 67-- Buffaloes were up nine at halftime, but got squashed in the second half. Rough day for Conference of Champions, with Utah only one of four Pac-12 teams to win. Kevin Ollie is now 7-0 in NCAA tournament as head coach- Huskies play Kansas Saturday- UConn wins that game, he might go straight to Springfield.

Utah 80, Fresno State 69-- Fresno went ahead 48-47, then Utah hit another gear and put the Bulldogs away, ending a bad year for the Mountain West. Utes face Gonzaga Saturday; battle inside between Poeltl-Sabonis will be spotlighted. Fresno had a great year with veteran guards, now they have to rebuild.

Virginia 81, Hampton 45-- I've got nothing on this mismatch; really enjoyed having three games on channel 702 on DirecTV, a mix channel, with the game on CBS' local station on my laptop, so I could see all four games at once, in the comfort of my own home. Good deal. I did see Hampton in Las Vegas in December; they lost to an 11-23 team, so their coach did a solid job having them win their league to get this far.

Kansas 105, Austin Peay 79-- It wouldn't have mattered much, but Austin Peay is a way worse team that Florida Gulf Coast and should've been in the play-in game. You watch FGCU compete against North Carolina- it was 41-40 at the half. Kansas game was over as soon as they sang the National Anthem. Say a prayer for coach Loos' little granddaughter, who is battling cancer; she is six years old.

Miami 79, Buffalo 72-- Game was in Providence, where coach Larranaga played 40 or so years ago. Miami starts two juniors, three seniors-- you need seniors who played in the program for 3-4 years, it means more to those kids. Lot of the bigger-name teams have transient players who have one eye on the NBA- they don't do as well.

Indiana 99, Chattanooga 74-- Remember when you were a kid and if game wasn't a real competitive one, you played "free outs"? Moccasins played free outs here for 40 full minutes- they looked like the Raptors the night Kobe Bryant scored 81 on them. Not lot of resistance- they shot 59.5% inside the arc and still lost by 25.

Kentucky 85, Stony Brook 57-- Not sure who is happier with the Indiana-Kentucky matchup Saturday, CBS or the scalpers? I was in the gym the night Stony Brook had its 18-game winning streak snapped by Albany. then I watched them today and it is like, how did this team ever win 18 games in a row?

Gonzaga 68, Seton Hall 52-- Pirates start five sophomores, young team- they made a great run to win Big East tournament Saturday night, but had very little here, against a Gonzaga squad that is hitting its stride at the right time. If Sabonis came out for the NBA Draft, I'd take him over Ben Simmons or the Ingram kid on Duke.

North Carolina 83, Florida Gulf Coast 67-- Game was 41-40 at the half, so credit to the Eagles for competing- they're just not good enough, obviously. Tar Heels will get a much better test on Saturday, when they play Providence. Tar Heels are much deeper than Providence, but if they have to hit outside shots to win, can they do it? .

Thursday's List of 13: Welcome to best four days of year.....
These are my favorite four days of the year; wall-to-wall basketball; I've been retired for over a year now, but the last time I worked this week was in 1986. Ha!!!! Here are some tidbits you might find interesting while you watch today's games.

13) I'll start by amusing you with my Final Four pick:
West Virginia-Kansas-St Joseph's-Michigan State

12) Teams that won Big East tournament are 6-2-1 vs spread in their first NCAA tournament game; thats Seton Hall this year- they play a Gonzaga squad thats won its last seven first round games.

11) Over last decade, teams that lost those Big East tournament finals are 6-4 vs spread in their first tournament game- that would be Villanova this year.

10) Arizona is 10-3 in its last 13 first round games; its losses came when they were seeded 8-8-10th- they're a 6 this year. Last time Arizona lost in first round as higher than an 8-seed was 1999, when they lost to West Virginia as a 4-seed.

9) Utah-Fresno State pits the Pac-12 against Mountain West. So far this season, teams from Pac-12 are 14-1 against Mountain West teams, 10-5 against the spread.

8) Since 2003, Ivy League champ is 1-3 vs spread in NCAAs if they're an underdog of less than 10 points; they're 5-4 if getting 10+ points (they're always underdogs). Yale is getting 5.5 points from Baylor- we're rooting for our old friend James Jones.

7) When Holy Cross plays Oregon Friday, and the TV guys start talking about Bob Cousy and Tom Heinsohn back in the 50's, one of your kids might ask you who Bob Cousy is. Show them this clip, from the movie Blue Chips-- I'm guessing your kids have heard of Shaquille O'Neal- he was in this movie, too.

6) There are two first-round matchups where both teams rank in bottom 50 in the country, in terms of tempo. Northern Iowa-Texas, Pitt-Wisconsin. Slow-paced games.

5) Iona-Iowa State is only first round game where both teams are in top 100 as far as tempo goes. Neither team is deep, game is in high altitude of Denver.

4) Stony Brook-Kentucky is only first round game where both teams won regular season in their league and then also won the conference tournament.

3) Since 2003, underdogs are 31-21 vs spread in games with 8-9 seeds playing.

2) Big Sky teams are 0-9 in NCAAs since Montana beat Nevada in a 2006 first round game. Wolf Pack beat Montana 79-75 last night, in a CBI game.

1) Last 22 years, the #12 seed in the midwest is 17-5 vs spread in its first round game. That #12 seed this year is Ark-Little Rock, getting nine points from Purdue.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings......
13) Wichita State 70, Vanderbilt 50-- Shockers are mentally tough; an experienced team that will be a handful for Arizona on Thursday. Two huge runs propelled the Shockers in this game- they were down 30-25 before the first one, then closed things out on a 20-2 run, during which Vanderbilt basically just gave up.

12) Florida Gulf Coast 96, FDU 65-- One of worst games I saw all year; FGCU is not a 16-seed- they could beat a 2 or a 3-seed. They're definitely better than Austin Peay or Hampton, but nobody asked me. Eagles play North Carolina Thusday. .

11) No team that lost its first conference tournament game has won the national title; that would eliminate Indiana, Iowa this year.

10) Politics are a reality of life; money talks. No team from a Power-5 conference with an RPI of 54 or better missed the NCAA tournament. Eight teams with a 54 RPI or better from non-Power 5 conferences missed the tounrmanent. Money talks.

Eight teams from non-Power 5 conferences with an RPI of 54 or better got left out of the tournament. Syracuse got in with an RPI of 71.

9) Low major teams who play in these play-in games are happy; it is two hours on a nationally televised stage, when nothing else is going on. Its a damn infomercial for your program and if you win, you still have a shot at a big upset.

The at-large teams who play in Dayton are usually on TV a lot already, so they'd just as soon skip the play-in games and play in the first round.

8) The Experts show on ESPNU that previews NCAA tournament is a good source of information; former Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio is very good on TV-- you learn stuff you wouldn't ordinarily find out. Plus the show isn't wooden-- there is laughter and you get the feeling you're just listening to friends talking about basketball.

7) Vanderbilt's Frank Cornet grew seven inches in his senior year of high school, then another two inches after he got to Vanderbilt. Thats a lot of growing.

6) Dan Majerle played 14 years in the NBA; he is now the coach at Grand Canyon University in Arizona, which sounds like the school Gabe Kaplan coached in the great basketball movie, Fast Break.

Anyway, Grand Canyon is on TV Monday and in his pre-game speech, he mentions how their game is the only one on TV that night, that is actually the heart of his pre-game talk. The Antelopes draw over 5,5000 fans a game in what looks like a fairly new arena- Grand Canyon is a program on the rise.

5) Heineken is sold in 192 countries. Just thought you'd like to know. There is no way I can name 192 countries.

4) Tyson Ross will start on Opening Day for the Padres, the 7th different pitcher to start on Opening Day for San Diego in the last eight years.

3) Mark McGwire is bench coach for the Padres; no one has been let off the hook more by national media than McGwire, after the whole steroids debacle. What really helped him was Tony Larussa bringing him back in as a coach. Now Barry Bonds is a coach too, so hopefully people will just ignore him too and let him coach.

2) Miami Dolphins signed backup QB Matt Moore to a 2-year, $3.5M deal; Moore is better than several starting QBs in the NFL. He's got a good deal, stands out there on the sidelines on Sunday, gets paid millions, never gets hit. Everyone loves him.

1) Oakland A's are typical, I assume; they play 32 exhibition games this month, lot of meaningless games used mainly to get pitchers in shape, but I do enjoy watching them and hearing the crack of the bat. MLB Network is tremendous in March; couple of games live every day, others replayed at all hours of night. Excellent.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Winning is fun and losing sucks, but some fans at New Mexico crossed the line, sending death threats to Lobos' PG Cullen Neal, who is also the coach's son- things are apparently so bad the young man will transfer to another school to finish his playing career and he's a good player. Doesn't help his dad's chances of keeping his job.

12) Duke has made 16 Final Fours but has never made a Final Four out of the West Region; in last 30 years, they've been in West Region four other times.....
-- 2003: 3-seed. Lost to Kansas in regional semi.
-- 2007: 6-seed: Lost to VCU in first round.
-- 2008: 2-seed: Lost to West Virginia in second round.
-- 2011: 1-seed: Lost to Arizona in regional semi.
-- 2015: 4-seed: ?????

11) Coaching carousel: Cornell-Tulane-TCU-James Madison-Stanford fired their coaches in last couple of days. Lets look at all five situations:
-- Cornell: Bill Courtney went 27-57 in Ivy League games, after inhertiing a program that went 38-4 the three years before he got there. .
-- James Madison: Dukes were 23-13 in CAA last two years, but made NCAAs only once in Matt Brady's eight years. Not many guys get fired after a 21-11 season.
-- Stanford: Johnny Dawkins also made one NCAA in eight years, won NIT LY, was 46-44 in Pac-12 last five years. Guess the NIT means absolutely nothing.
-- TCU-- Horned Frogs got a new arena built, but went 8-64 in the Big X under Trent Johnson. Boosters are rich people who expect results; 8-64 gets you fired, even if the Horned Frogs are in the very best league in the country.
-- Tulane: Ed Conroy got hosed when Green Wave failed to get in the Big East, it set his program back- they had good players coming in who then went elsewhere. Tulane was 9-27 in their first two years in the AAC. .

10) Pitt coach Jamie Dixon is a TCU alum; back in 2012, lot of people wanted the Frogs to hire him. Now, TCU may have to fight off UNLV to hire Dixon, who is in the NCAAs with Pittsburgh, but rumored to be way on his way out of there. .

9) Big X is a terrific league, but no Big X team has made a regional final since Kansas, Baylor in 2012. Since then, Big X teams are 0-5 in regional semifinal round.

8) Four AAC teams made the NCAAs, but none is higher than a 9-seed; SMU would've been a 4 or a 5-seed, so their absence hurts the league.

7) Last two years; double digit favorites in first round: 9-16 against spread.

6) You know how on NASCAR telecasts the drivers are miked? Why do they bleep out the drivers cursing? Thats the best part!!!! They're driving in close quarters at 150 mph-- I know people who curse driving in traffic at 40 mph- lets hear it!!!!

5) One thing I noticed about Selection Sunday; lot of these college teams have really nice mini-theaters for their players to watch film in. Comfortable chairs, lot of leg room, probably outlets to plug video games into, also.

4) Since 2003, underdogs are 31-21 vs spread in 8-9 first round games.

3) Charlotte Hornets gave away Jeremy Lin bobbleheads to first 7,500 fans Saturday night; there are already several of them on EBay, for anywhere from $32-$60. Michael Jordan's team is doing well at 37-29- they're looking at a 4 or 5 seed in playoffs.

2) This is third year in row Virginia/Michigan State are in same region; Spartans beat UVa the last two years, despite being the lower seed both years.

1) U of Denver hired alum Rodney Billups as its new coach; he is an assistant at Colorado right now and the brother of former NBA star Chauncey Billups.

Monday's List of 13: Initital thoughts on the field of 68......
13) So Tulsa was the last team in, and whoever between Vandy-Wichita State wears the dark jersey was the second-to-last team in, which means that if SMU/Louisville weren't in trouble with the NCAA, those two teams would both be in the NIT.

12) No 16-seed has ever beaten a 1-seed and it ain't happening this year. Hampton is a 24-point underdog to Virginia; I saw the Pirates play in Las Vegas Dec 22, where they lost to a bad Nicholls State team, 84-81 (Nicholls was 11-23 this year). All the upsets in conference tournaments weakened the bottom of the bracket.

11) West Virginia vs Stephen F Austin-- Lumberjacks are only team in America that forces a higher %age of turnovers than West Virginia, but they do it more in half-court defense, not full-court. SFA is a veteran team, but Mountaineers will make them go a lot faster than they're used to going. West Virginia plays at an intensity level with lot of good players that you're not going to find in the Southland Conference.

10) College hoop has a long season; way back in November, Syracuse beat UConn, Texas A&M in the Bahamas- those two wins got them in thie NCAAs. Orange lost five of their last six games, they went 4-5 while their coach was suspended, but they are in and are facing a Dayton team that struggled the last few weeks.

9) Gonzaga-Seton Hall is a fascinating first round game; Zags only got in because they won the WCC tournament, while Seton Hall buzzed thru the Big East tourney-- this game is in Denver though, more Zags' territory than a Big East team.

8) Vanderbilt-Wichita State is a great play-in game; some of the people on TV came out and said the winner of that game would beat Arizona in the first round.

7) Pointspread that turned my head: Baylor -5.5 over Yale. Ivy League teams are 5-1 vs spread in the first round the last six years. Last time an Ivy team lost by more than nine points in first round of NCAAs was back in 2009.

6) Stony Brook is +13.5 vs Kentucky; since Vermont upset Syracuse in '05, America East teams are 0-10 in non-play-in games, 5-5 vs spread, covering last three years, but only one of those 10 losses was by less than 12 points. Oddly, Kentucky started this season against another America East team, the Albany Great Danes (78-65).

5) Not sure how Oregon State got a 7-seed; Tres Tinkle is hurt, they're +3.5 against VCU the 10-seed. The last six years, #7 seeds who are underdogs in first round are 3-0 against spread, with two SU upsets.

Go back to 1987, and 7-seed underdogs are 16-10-2 vs spread in the first round.

4) When Paul Hewitt coached at Siena, the Saints ran/pressed a lot; they made the NCAAs one year and drew Arkansas in the first round.

In Denver. High altitude, fast-paced teams, the game went over easily.

Now Iona of the MAAC is also heading to Denver, to play a veteran Iowa State team that isn't deep but is very good. Doug Gottlieb was babbling about the total going over about 20 seconds after he saw the brackets. No bueno.

3) USC lost seven of its last ten games, Providence won four of its last five games; how important is momentum heading into the tournament? Friars have two really good players who are surrounded by very young players. Can Andy Enfield recapture his magic with Florida Gulf Coast in 2013, when he beat the Big East's Georgetown?

2) UConn got a bad draw, time-wise; they're playing a Thursday afternoon game in Iowa vs Colorado, after they won the AAC tournament Sunday. Quick turnaround.

1) NC-Wilmington presses, they go up and down, they can get Duke in foul trouble and expose their lack of depth, but the Seahawks also played the #275 pre-conference schedule and lost to Georgetown by 5, their only top 100 non-conference game. Guys on TV totally overlooked this game, analyzed Duke-Baylor in second round instead.

Not so fast, my friend.

Sunday's List of 13: Thoughts on Selection Sunday.......
Did you turn you clock ahead an hour?

13) Bubble teams all over America will be rooting for UConn against Memphis in the AAC title game today. UConn is in the field of 68, Memphis is not, so the Tigers steal a bid they win. I'm rooting for Memphis; I've met Josh Pastner a couple times and he is a terrific guy. If you had a son, you'd want him to grow up to be like Josh.

12) Big West has nine teams in it, eight of whom are California state schools- why not add Bakersfield and make it a ten-team league?

11) I know TV pays for lot of this so they dictate game times, but day games after night games in these conference tournaments is a bad idea- kids need recovery time if you want the product to be good quality. Even 20-year olds get tired.

10) Dummy of the Day-- NFL Draft is in six weeks or so; lot of teams really need a QB and QBs make a lot of money, so if you're a QB that wants to be drafted, getting a DUI six weeks before the draft is just dumb. (Dak Prescott of Mississippi State).

9) Cal-Bakersfield 57, New Mexico State 54-- Dedrick Basile swished a 3-ponter at the buzzer to give Cal-Bakersfield its first-ever spot in March Madness. Bakersfield has won three national titles in D-II, if I remember right- this is a bigger deal. Why do I say that? The mayor of Bakersfield was on the team's bench right after the game.

8) Stony Brook 80, Vermont 74-- Seawolves get to March Madness for first time; three Vermont players fouled out- they led by 15 with 15:17 left.

7) Of 14 teams in Atlantic 14, only three of them (St Joe's, George Washington and Duquesne) were members of the league when it began 40 years ago, as Eastern 8.

6) Middle Tennessee 55, Old Dominion 53-- Enjoy watching coaches after they make the NCAA tournament for the first time. MTSU coach Kermit Davis wore a baseball cap with his gray suit after his Blue Raiders won the C-USA tournament. He was positively glowing. Coaching can be stressful; good to see them have fun.

5) Fresno State 68, San Diego State 63-- Mountain West was terrible this year; it is going to be a very long Sunday for members of the Aztec program, as they wait and see if they get an at-large bid. Fresno has veteran guards; last time they were in the NCAA tournament was in 2001, when Jerry Tarkanian was coaching his alma mater.

4) When UNLV won in triple OT in the Mountain West tournament earlier this week, the correct play was to go against them next day; sure enough, they lost to Fresno State by 11 the next day. So when UConn beat Cincinnati in 4 OTs Friday, popular wisdom said to go against the Huskies in their game with Temple yesterday.

But UConn seems to thrive on adversity; they won easily Saturday, thwarting lot of handicappers who tried to capitalize on their situation. I didn't have Temple or Fresno but I couldn't fault anyone who did. Capitalizing on that is solid handicapping.

3) Was great to hear Don Orsillo working a Padre spring training game Saturday; he got hosed last summer when the Red Sox fired him, but San Diego quickly scooped him up and he will replace Dick Enberg as the Padres' main TV guy in 2017.

2) Hawai'i 64, Long Beach State 60-- Weird situation; Hawai'i is going on probation after this season, but they can go to the tournament this year- they're not going to be an easy out. Hawai'i beat Northern Iowa by 16, lost to Oklahoma by 3. .

Big West title game ended three great days of basketball; tremendous fun. NCAAs are going to have a tough act to follow.

1) This is why there might be 20-25 teams who can win a national title this season; when UConn won in 2014, they won their first round game in OT-- they were down 3 in last minute of regulation. Huskies were then an underdog in four of their next five games and pick 'em in the other one- they just as easily could've lost that first game.

This year is just like that; survive and advance will be the key words. .

Saturday's List of 13: Wrapping up a full Friday......
13) UConn 104, Cincinnati 97 4OT-- This game tops the 6OT game in the Big East a few years ago, since UConn drained a 60-footer at the buzzer of the third OT to send the game to another five minutes. Not sure how the Huskies will react today against a Temple team they've already lost to twice, but this game was special.

12) West Virginia 69, Oklahoma 67-- Buddy Hield drained a shot from just inside half-court at the buzzer, but it was ruled to be a split-second too late and Bob Huggins makes his first conference tourney final since the 2010 Big East tournament.

11) Oregon 95, Arizona 89 OT-- Wildcats scored four points in last 0:00.6 of game to send it to OT, but Ducks prevailed in OT, sweeping season series with Arizona. Oregon was 10-19 on arc. Arizona has still only won this tournament once since '03.

10) Michigan 72, Indiana 69-- One of Michigan's scrubs hit a 3 from the deep corner at the buzzer and was immediately engulfed by jubilant teammates-- this was so early in the day I almost forgot about it. Michigan could be off the bubble now.

9) Word leaked out that Tulane will fire basketball coach Ed Conroy as soon as their season is over, but there is one small problem:

News spreads quickly these days; people were telling Conroy during the game yesterday that he was being fired. Then his 13-point underdog Green Wave shocked Houston 72-69 and made the AAC semifinals- they play 6-seed Memphis today.

So what if Tulane wins the next two days and makes the NCAAs? Then what?

8) Conroy's uncle was the great writer Pat Conroy who passed away last week- he wrote Conrack, The Great Santini and Prince of Tides.

7) Denver fired hoop coach Joe Scott; this will be a tougher rebuild job than normal, since Scott ran the Princeton offense, so you'll need to recruit players who are suited to a more traditional style of play. Summit League is an underrated conference.

6) Baltimore Orioles are 0-10 this spring, with two ties. I went out of my way the other day to say that this doesn't mean much, but at some point, it has to be at least a little troubling, doesn't it?

Sidebar: I am constantly amazed that people bet on exhibition baseball. Why?

5) Prince Fielder was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, which had gotten so bad his doctors were alarmed by it. We all need our proper rest, especially athletes.

4) Beach volleyball is a college sport? Since when? If you're a high school kid out there and are trying to choose a college, pick one that has a beach volleyball team. I'm guessing those schools are more fun than most schools.

3) Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl 34 days ago; Friday they traded for Mark Sanchez, putting the celebrations to a complete halt immediately. Quarterback is an important position, or so I'm told. Trading for Sanchez is an emphatic red flag.

2) San Antonio Spurs are 14-0 this season on back end of a back/back, only team not to lose one of them- they're 9-5 vs spread in those games. .

1) Since 2012, only one NFL team has used two #1 picks on a QB, and Cleveland cut both of those picks after only two seasons-- Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel. .

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) What a day, always one of the best of the year. College basketball conference tournaments, just under 14 hours of them, from Brooklyn to Birmingham, Orlando to Las Vegas- there are three tournaments in Vegas, within three miles of each other. I'm tired and need some sleep, so on with today's list.........

12) Thirteen conference tournaments are over; Chattanooga is still the only #1-seed to win. It makes the NIT a strong tournament (I'm not sure how many people care about that) but it will also weaken the NCAA tournament field. Top seeds who lose in their conference tournament get an automatic invite from the NIT.

11) Western Kentucky 88, UAB 77-- Another #1 seed goes down

10) Coaching carousel started spinning faster; four coaches got the boot Thursday, as Rutgers, Central Florida, Tex-San Antonio and Saint Louis fired their coaches. It is looking like Rutgers will target Danny Hurley to replace Eddie Jordan at Rutgers.

9) Bill Murray was at Madison Square Garden last night, rooting on the Xavier Musketeers-- his son Luke is an assistant coach for Chris Mack's team.

8) Ivy League finally caved in, will have a four-team conference tournament starting next year, a Saturday/Sunday deal. Welcome to the 21st century.

7) Holy Cross was 0-9 in Patriot League road games; then conference tournament started and the Crusaders won four games, all on the road. Next stop for them will be Dayton for the play-in games next week.

6) Illinois 68, Iowa 66-- Hawkeyes are falling apart in March for second time in three years; they're officially a suspect for next week's NCAA tournament.

5) Notre Dame 84, Duke 79 OT-- Irish were down 16 in second half, rallied to beat a tired, thin Duke team that can't defend anymore. Notre Dame is 5-1 against Duke since the teams become conference rivals.

4) Providence 74, Butler 60-- Friars went 3-0 against Butler this season, surprising for teams with basically similar talent levels.

3) Tennessee 67, Vanderbilt 65-- Brutal loss for the Commodores, who are now probably on the outside looking in. You lose your first conference tournament game to a bad team playing without its leading scorer, there are no excuses.

2) Rumors have Colin Kaepernick getting traded to Denver for a 3rd-round draft pick. If the Broncos had to play a game today, their QB would be Trevor Siemian, who wouldn't even be a good QB in the Arena League. John Elway has some work to do.

1) Not as much hoop action during the day today, but what a card of games tonight, lot of semi-final games, high-level competition. Good time to order more pizza.

Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Pittsburgh 72, Syracuse 71-- Orangemen went 0-3 vs Pitt this year, are off the bubble; expect to hear lot of ESPN people push for them this weekend; over half the ESPN play-by-play guys went to college at Syracuse, but they lost five of their last six games. See ya.

12) Duke 92, NC State 89-- Grayson Allen got a flagrant foul for grabbing a player by the shirt from behind; at what point does Coach K sit this brat down? Duke gave up 1.30 ppp in this game and won; that almost never happens. Curious to see what hjappens today when they play a rested Notre Dame team thats beaten them four of their last five meetings.

11) Pac-12 tournament isn't on in my house, because the nitwits at the Pac-12 don't have a deal with DirecTV. In fact, while SEC Network and Big 14 Network are on in roughly 70 million homes each, the Pac-12 Network is on in 12 million. No bueno.

10) USC 95, UCLA 71-- Bruins finish a hideous 15-17, losing last five games and 10 of last 13, but since Steve Alford's buyout is $10.4M, he'll be back in Westwood next year. Two years from now, the buyout will be half that, but Alford's best player will be gone by then and he doesn't have any more sons to play for him.

9) Handicapping is difficult; the dilemma in these conference tournaments is this: which teams are just going to mail it in and not compete, like Stanford/Minnesota did Wednesday? You see Oklahoma State, FIU, Georgia Tech fight back from behind, but these other teams just showed up, but didn't bother to compete. Thats the goal, to try and figure out which teams have had enough and want the season to be over?

8) People were skeptical when Buzz Williams bolted from Marquette (a basketball school) to Virginia Tech (a football school) but Williams has Tech on the upswing and they hung 96 points on Florida State last night in an impressive win.

7) San Francisco canned coach Rex Walters after he went 127-127 in eight years, with zero NCAA tournaments; Dons were 63-65 in WCC play under Walters.

6) Southern Illinois had its best season in years, going 22-10, but they're turning down postseason tournaments-- apparently some of their better players are banged up and their students are on break, so it makes no sense, basketball-wise or financially, to coach Barry Hinson or the school's AD, to go on this season. Too bad.

5) NHL has struck gold with these outdoor games; next year, Pittsburgh, St Louis, Toronto and Winnipeg will all host outdoor games.

4) Illinois sold 2,000 football season tickets in first 48 hours after they hired former Bears coach Lovie Smith as their new football coach.

3) Arizona Diamondbacks will wear eight different uniforms this season. Eight.

2) Brad Boxberger saved 45 games for Tampa Bay LY; he made the All-Star team, yet the Rays cut his salary $2,200 this year. Seriously? They don't have $2,200 to kick in so they don't totally insult one of their players? If they don't have that kind of money, they should sell the team to someone who does.

1) If you like college basketball, today and tomorrow are two of the best days of the year; ton of games, all important ones. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings........
13) Gonzaga 85, St Mary's 75-- HBO will be happy; their 5-part reality series on the Zags will have a happy ending next week. Looks like St Mary's is going to NIT despite its 27-5 record; their strength of schedule is #200 (out of conference, #318). They won two of three against Gonzaga, but this was the one that counted for everything.

12) Last four at-large teams go to Dayton next week for play-in games; according to Joe Lunardi, who is always at least very close, Syracuse-Monmouth would be one game in Dayton, UConn-St Bonaventure the other.

11) During the Florida State-Boston College game in ACC tournament, Doris Burke and Sean McDonough took turns bashing BC's administration for not committing enough money to fund a competitive team in the ACC. Apparently the thing now is to have a basketball-only facility that players can access 24/7 if they want to work on their games. Facilities like that cost a decent amount of money.

Seeing as Boston College went a combined 0-27 in football/basketball in the ACC this year, school honchos might want to reach into their deep pockets, spend some $$$.

10) ESPN's Seth Greenberg went to college at FDU in New Jersey; the 18-14 Knights upset Wagner to win the NEC title last night, Greenberg was calling FDU "Harvard in Hackensack" which apparently it very much is not.

Greenberg is very good on TV though, way better than he was as a coach.

9) Green Bay 78, Wright St 69-- Green Bay coach Linc Darner won the DII national title LY at Florida Southern; he has now won 13 consecutive games in March, the best month to have a winning streak.

During Green Bay's semi-final upset of Valparaiso Monday, one of the refs tossed the Green Bay radio guy from the gym, for objecting to some calls from his broadcast spot near the scorer's table. Conference officials intervened at the next TV timeout and let the guy back in.

8) Valpo and Oakland both got the double bye into the semifinals for being #1, #2 during the regular season, then they both lost their first tournament game, rendering the double bye useless. Tournaments played on neutral court hurt the top seeds, or more accurately, do not help them as much as playing them at home, obviously.

7) ESPN is using a new gadget at the ACC tourney, where the 3-point arc turns red on TV after a kid releases a 3-point shot. Not sure it was needed, but it is cool.

6) Sounds like the Pitt-Syracuse game today is an elimination game to stay on the NCAA bubble. Much like St Mary's-Gonzaga Tuesday, one team (Pitt) swept the season series, but now has to beat the Ornage a third time to stay in the hunt.

5) Marlins-Braves are playing a real game at Fort Bragg, NC July 3 will be shown on Sunday Night Baseball. The game will be played in a 12,500-seat stadium built by MLB and the MLBPA. Teams play Thurs-Sat that week in Atlanta, with a 4:10 game on Saturday, then play at 5:05 Sunday on the military base.

4) Detroit Tigers took the extra base on hits to the outfield only 34% of time LY, worst in the AL- they're looking to improve on that this year.

3) When I watch pitchers on my fantasy team pitch in spring training, I try not to be concerned as long as they appear healthy; When Bob Welch won the Cy Young for the A's in 1990, his ERA in spring training that year was over 17.00. Sometimes they just work on one pitch or don't use their best stuff. It just does not matter.

2) Baltimore Orioles are 0-8 in spring training; does it matter at all? And if yes, how much? If Buck Showalter wasn't their manager, I'd be more concerned for them.

1) Great scene in the movie Friday Night Lights, where Billy Bob Thornton's team gets beat unexpectedly- his character drives up to his house after the game, to find his wife sitting on the stoop with five "FOR SALE" signs stuck in the front lawn.

We live in a fickle society, people are generally frontrunners. You think anyone would give a rat's ass what Donald Trump thought if he wasn't a billionaire? But he might become President, because rich and famous is very important in our society.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Champ Week is tremendous; these low major and mid-major tournaments are great theater-- so much pressure on the high seeds, who don't go to the NCAAs unless they win this tournament. Of the first seven tournaments that have finished, the #1 seed has won only one of them, that being Chattanooga in the Southern Conference.

12) Drexel fired Bruiser Flint, Santa Clara canned Kerry Keating, as coaching carusel begins to spin. Flint gets fired mainly because his best player Damion Lee bolted for Louisville, where he wound up not even playing in the ACC tournament.

Lot of people feeling bad for Louisville's two senior transfers when school wouldn't let the team play in the postseason, but now coach Flint is unemployed because the kid bolted his teammates/coaches for greener pastures.

11) Good coaching news: Wisconsin gives the fulltime head coaching job to interim coach Greg Gard, who led the team this year after Bo Ryan retired.

10) Illinois gives Lovie Smith six years, $21M to be its football coach; Smith was a pretty good NFL head coach (89-87) but hasn't been involved in college ball since he was DB coach at Ohio State in 1995. Who he puts on his staff will be interesting.

9) Gonzaga 88, BYU 84-- Zags beat BYU twice in nine days, are in WCC finals with St Mary's tonight. Gonzaga hasn't missed NCAAs since late 90's; I'm thinking the win last night puts them in, but one never knows about these things. Zags played two subs last night for total of 19:00; fatigue could be an issue tonight.

8) NC-Wilmington 80, Hofstra 73 OT-- CAA consistently has a fun tournament; teams are so evenly matched. If I was a bigshot at UNLV, I'd damn sure give UNCW coach Kevin Keatts an interview for the Rebels' open coaching position.

7) Chattanooga 73, East Tennessee State 67-- Mocs were up 4 late in game; kid on ETSU got smacked while shooting a 3, but no foul was called, the shooter snapped, got a T, the coach snapped, got a T and school was out. These two teams were athletic as hell, but shot selection and poise weren't at optimum levels.

6) Iona 79, Monmouth 76-- Technicals in the SoCon game were justified; this game swung on a horrendous taunting technical called with 4:05 left in a tie game. There was no visible show of anything-- swallow your damn whistle, no one paid to watch you ref, and let the kids decide the game. I didn't care who won this game, was watching it because it as a fun game and the damn ref calls a taunting technical with 4:05 left. Oy.

5) Philadelphis Eagles traded three players away for assorted draft picks, as they identify which players Chip Kelly acquired and systemically get rid of them.

4) Watched the Milwaukee-San Diego spring training game yesterday; Brewers have a new GM who looks like he is 14 years old, one of these Ivy League geniuses and he is totally rebuilding the ballclub- they could be very, very bad this season, with an eye on developing young talent, the way the Astros did the last few years.

3) Redskins released Robert Griffin III; will be very, very interesting to see where he winds up. Can he stay healthy? Will his teammates follow his lead? I'm pretty sure he has the physical tools to succeed. Can't wait to see where he lands.

2) Baltimore Orioles signed 1B Pedro Alvarez to a 1-year, $5.75M contract which has a lot of incentives in it- he should enjoy Camden Yards.

1) When Maria Sharapova's people announced a 3pm press conference the same day as Peyton Manning's farewell, should've figured it was bad news, a classic news dump. She failed a drug test in January and is facing a lengthy suspension. With all the stuff she does with commercials, this could be a very, very expensive deal-- Nike already is suspending their deal with her. I wasn't aware she is highest paid woman in sports.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) Oddest fact about Peyton Manning's great career-- he played in four Super Bowls, for four different head coaches. Even more unusual than Joe Gibbs winning his three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks.

12) Northern Iowa 56, Evansville 54-- Panthers led by 14 at the half, blew the lead, but they advance to NCAAs thanks to a fortunate bounce on a last-second shot.

11) North Dakota State 60, IUPUI 45-- Bison advance because partly because IUPUI suspended its best player for undisclosed reasons. Sometimes you need to get lucky.

10) Hofstra 70, Wm & Mary 67-- Last year, Hofstra lost three times to Tribe, with a double OT loss in this round. This year, Hofstra beat W&M three times- their seniors Green/Tanksley combined for 37 points here. Hofstra now plays NC-Wilmington in CAA finals. Teams split their games this year-- both teams that lost blew double digit leads, so tonight's final should be interesting.

9) Iona 81, Siena 70-- Gaels win on Siena's home court- road team won all three series games this year- to reach finals against Monmouth, which got leading rebounder Jones back yesterday-- he missed the Hawks' loss to Iona last month. .

8) Southern Conference-- Chattanooga-East Tennessee State is final tonight; ETSU got swept by the Mocs this year, losing by 10-8 points. Buccaneers won 10 of their last 11 games, with only loss in the rematch with Chattanooga.

7) One of the referees at the Southern Conference tournament is Bruce Benedict, who played 12 years in the major leagues with the Atlanta Braves, where he hit .240 as a catcher. I spent most of his career rooting against him. Why?

My favorite ballplayer while Benedict was playing was Biff Pocoroba; if you know me, you know why. Pocoroba was also a catcher on the Braves and he competed with Benedict for playing time, so I spent several years hoping Benedict failed badly. I'm an idiot, I know- they were both very average, but together a decent platoon unit.

6) Kid named Wendall Williams from College of Cumberlands (I've never heard of it) ran a 4.19 40-yard dash at a tryout in Minnesota. Kid is a track star, hasn't played a lot of football-- he caught 15 passes for 457 yards (with 8 TDs) at an NAIA school. If Al Davis were still alive, Mr Williams would damn sure be a Raider next year.

5) Cincinnati 61, SMU 54-- Mustangs' season is over; both them and Louisville went out meekly this weekend, proving how mental the game can be- they become ineligible for the postseason, and things go south fairly quickly. Human nature.

4) Fresno State is 22-9, 13-5 in conference-- they've had a great year, are #2 seed in Mountain West, but if UNLV beats Air Force in a preliminary game, Fresno will have to play the Rebels in their first tournament game, in the Thomas & Mack Center. Not the best situation, but playing the conference tournament in Las Vegas is the only way the league would make any money. I've heard that somewhere before........

3) Golfer Steven Bowditch is struggling badly with his game, but he was still qualified for the World Golf tournament and he played all 72 holes (there is no cut in tourneys with small fields like this)........in +37. Thats 81-80-80-84 but he banked $48,000.

2) City of San Jose is owed $6.8M in unpaid library fines; so if you live in San Jose and you have an overdue book, pay your damn fine already.

1) Gonzaga-BYU figures to be very good tonight, from Las Vegas, semifinals of the WCC from Orleans Arena. Dick Vitale is going to do the WCC tourney the next two nights which should be very interesting. Mr Vitale isn't ESPN's #1 guy anymore and he can only do one game per night because he had throat surgery couple years ago, but this should be fun, for both him and the viewers.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) It is now Champ Week, not Championship Week; wonder what genius got paid to come up with that one? In any event, it is one of the best weeks all year and it is off to a tremendous start. In lot of ways, this week is better than the NCAAs, since for lot of these schools, just getting in the tournament is the biggest deal of all.

12) Yale 71, Columbia 55-- Yale is in NCAAs for first time since 1962; congrats to the Bulldogs and coach James Jones, a fellow Albany alum and a good guy. He's done a consistently solid job at Yale and now the national media will get to know him.

11) Austin Peay 83, UT-Martin 73 OT-- 69-year old Dave Loos is Austin Peay's coach; he is 491-443 in 30 years as a head coach, 26 of which have been at Peay. Last four years, they're 20-44 in OVC games, but over last four days, they put together a run for the ages, posting four straight upsets to win the OVC tournament.

Coach Loos has ten grandchildren, one of whom is a 5-year old girl who is fighting cancer; hopefully this tournament run gave the family some joy at a sad time.

10) In case you wonder about such things, the three states with the highest rate of sleep deprivation are: Kentucky-Hawai'i-Maryland.

9) The last first-team basketball All-American whose team didn't make the NCAA tournament was Mychal Thompson (Klay's father) at Minnesota in 1978. Its going to happen this year with Ben Simmons and LSU.

8) Saturday was Josh Whitman's first day as the new AD at Illinois; all he did was fire the football coach, who had just signed a 2-year contract in November, so the school has to eat $985,000, and four new assistant coaches who just moved to Champaign have to go and find new jobs. This was totally unexpected.

Lot of speculation on social media had Illinois going after Lovie Smith to be coach.

7) Illinois is 13-17 in basketball this year, 5-12 in conference; in John Groce's four years with the Illini, he is 75-59, 29-42 in Big 14. If I were him, I'd be nervous.

6) Boston College finishes 0-18 in basketball, meaning they go 0-26 in this school year in football/basketball, a level of consistent ineptitude that will go down in history as basically unbeatable. How does the athletic director not get fired there?

5) North Carolina 76, Duke 72-- Duke was 13-34 on arc, 12-33 inside arc; they let Carolina's big men catch the ball 12-15 feet from basket, and defied them to score and it almost worked but it didn't-- Carolina is top seed in ACC tournament, Duke tied for 5th with Notre Dame. They're likely to be lower than a 2-seed for only 4th time in their last 20 NCAA tournaments and are vulnerable to an early upset.

4) Northern Iowa 57, Wichita State 52 OT-- Joe Lunardi was fairly adamant last night that the Shockers are in the tournament, so I'll defer to him on that, but they will have a very, long, nervous week until they see their name in the brackets. Wichita is not that strong on offense-- MVC is only the #12 conference this season.

3) Siena plays Iona tonight in Albany, the #2 seed playing the #3 seed on #3 seed's home court. MAAC teams have bitched about this for years, but Albany is the only place they can hold the tournament and make a lot of money. At the end of the day, no one likes to lose money.

2) IP-Fort Worth has a kid named Max Landis who routinely jacks 28-footers; he is shooting 45.5% behind the arc this year for the 24-8 Mastodons, who play in the semis of the Summit League Monday night- they're a fun team to watch.

1) As a DirecTV subscriber, this was the first year that ESPN3.com was available to me on my laptop-- have enjoyed it a lot. Saw a ton more games, from the Southern Conference to Summit the Big West to the MAC. Some of these leagues are better than you think- if the top seeds can survive their conference tournaments, they could spring some surprises in the NCAA tournament in a couple of weeks.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) Florida Gulf Coast 89, North Florida 56-- Weirdness in Atlantic Sun; Stetson is the #7 seed- they're in the final against FGCU Sunday, but Stetson is ineligible for the NCAA tournament, so in an odd twist, if the Hatters upset Florida Gulf Coast, North Florida goes to the NCAA tournament, even though they lost by 33 in the semis.

12) Yale 88, Cornell 64-- Princeton lost at Harvard last night, so if Yale wins tonight at Columbia, they win the Ivy League and make the NCAAs for first time since 1962.

11) Houston is 22-8 under Kelvin Sampson this season, a great rebuilding job by an excellent coach who did great work at Oklahoma.

10) Political trivia: The Kansas presidential primary is this weekend, but Wichita State has so many fans in St Louis for Arch Madness, the Republicans put a polling station in St Louis this weekend, in a different state!!!

9) Several leagues divided their quarterfinal card into doubleheaders on separate days, giving the top two seeds the first day, then a day off in between the quarters and semifinals, while the #3 and #4 seeds would have to play on consecutive days.

8) In the Big South Conference, top seed High Point has to play this weekend without its best player, John Brown. High Point is coached by North Carolina alum Scott Cherry who is from Saratoga, NY, half-hour north of where I live.

7) Tuition at USC will be over $50,000 next year, for the first time.

6) Angels-Cubs exhibtion game drew 15,446 fans in Arizona Friday. They're going to make a fortune on spring training- Cubs are a hot ticket these days.

5) Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon is now the last active major leaguer who played for the Montreal Expos.

4) Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz throws lefty, but he has made a hole-in-the-one on the golf course, both righty and lefty. How many people have done that?

3) Speaking of golf, Thursday night, Donald Trump claims he hits a golf ball 285 yards- he is 69 years old. I'm not doubting him, just saying good for him if it is true.

2) Steve Spurrier Jr now works at Oklahoma, where he is the Recruiting Director as well as working with the offense. Assistant football coaches can be nomadic as hell.

1) Mets are low-balling pitching star Jacob deGrom, offering him $607,500 for this year, when the major league minimum is just over $500,000. deGrom is a big reason why the Mets won the National League LY; at least pay the guy a million bucks. He did not sign the contract, by the way. To be continued.....

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Warriors 121, Thunder 106-- Oklahoma City has 10 losses when they led in 4th quarter, tied with 76ers for most in NBA this season.

Golden State has 31 games this year with 30+ assists; Thunder has four.

12) Sacramento 104, Dallas 101-- Kings ended an 0-22 skid in Dallas.

11) Longtime Clippers' TV announcer Ralph Lawler got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday; he's worked for Braves/Clippers since 1978, and is probably the best local TV play-by-play guy in the NBA, other than maybe Mike Breen.

10) Golf coach at Arizona State is Tim Mickelson; yes, Lefty's brother. Recruiting probably isn't a real big problem.

9) Arizona 64, California 61-- Wildcats scored last 11 points of game; had the idea after this was over that the better team lost.

8) Manhattan basketball coach Steve Masiello signed a contract extension, which is not going to be worth the paper it is printed on if a big money school comes calling. Chances are when the UNLV job is filled, it is going to create a domino effect with lot of coaching changes all over the country.

7) Louisiana Tech 97, Marshall 94-- This was one of the most fun games I watched all season; two coaches who just let the players have at it. Kid on Tech drained one at the buzzer from halfcourt to win it. Hopefully these teams will meet up again at the Conference USA tournament next week.

6) Georgia 74, South Carolina 72-- Emotional Senior Night may have drained South Carolina some here; Gamecocks' three seniors are all from other countries, and it was a very emotional pre-game ceremony. Frank Martin has built a winning program where there hasn't been one in quite a while- their last NCAA appearance was in 2004.

5) Canisius 102, Niagara 97 3OT-- Rivals played a triple OT thriller in beautiful downtown Albany; I saw Canisius win a 3OT game against UL-Monroe in Las Vegas in December. Griffins have to play Iona tonight; Gaels beat them by 18-8 this year.

4) Oregon State freshman Tres Tinkle got hurt in a walkthrough Wednesdsy; his status for the UCLA game and the Pac-12 tournament is still unknown. he is a skilled scorer and is also the coach's son

3) Pittsburgh Pirates will wear old-fashioned, pillbox hats at Sunday home games this season; lot of teams wore those hats in 1976, for the nation's bicentennial- they were actually called bicentennial caps back then. Pirates were the only team, I think, that wore them after 1976.

2) Marco Rubio had the onions to say on TV last night that people move to Florida, not because of the better weather, but because government in Florida is run better than in the north. Alrighty then. Does this nitwit even listen to himself? Aren't there people who tell him not to say stupid things?

1) Texas Longhorns have an artificial turf baseball field, which is odd, because it doesn't rain that much in Texas, and only two big league teams (Tampa Bay/Toronto) have artificial turf fields and they both play in domed stadiums.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) RIP Mr Ray Stack-- A teacher, coach, friend, Ray passed away this week after a lengthy illness. Blessed with a booming voice and a tremendous laugh, Ray was always fun to be around-- you couldn't help but feel smarter after spending time with him.

He made an outsider feel welcome when he didn't have to; the four years Ray and I coached basketball together was one of the best experiences of my life.

RIP, Ray. It was an honor to know you.

12) Denver Broncos didn't franchise QB Brock Osweiler, meaning he becomes a free agent Wednesday; could it be that Peyton Manning might return to Denver?

11) VCU 70, Davidson 60-- Davidson coach Bob McKillop became Wildcats' coach in 1989, when VCU coach Will Wade.......was seven years old.

10) UNLV freshman Derrick Jones Jr has a 3.25 GPA, is a solid citizen, but he was declared ineligible this week because the ACT, out of nowhere, declared his test score ineligible.....on March 2. Not the NCAA, the actual ACT. Something isn't right-- why wasn't this discovered earlier? Now the kid will go pro when he isn't ready, when if it was discovered in the fall, he could've sat this year out, played next year, and his career wouldn't be screwed up. This doesn't sound like the right way to do business.

9) We talked yesterday about credits for the movie Leap of Faith, where a guy named Ricky Jay was mentioned-- turns out he is a magician that was influential in Steve Martin's career. Early on, Martin used to include magic in his comedy act, so it was a joke that Ricky Jay was listed in the credits as "Cons and Frauds Consultant".

8) Greedy bastard update-- We haven't done this for a while; I am told the price of gas in Ohio is in the $1.60's, which is great for them, but at the Mobil station closest to my house, it is still $2.13. Now there is another Mobil station about a mile from there- their price is $1.99, which makes no sense. Across the street from the place where gas is $2.13, they're selling it for $1.97, but the place has crummy parking and is harder to get in and out of, so not as many people get gas there. Go figure.

7) 36-year old Baron Davis played for the Knicks in 2012, the last time he was in the NBA; he has signed with the 76ers' D-League team, as he launches a comeback. This is going to be interesting, I guess, but do the 76ers really want him? If he can still play, what contender would take a chance on him? Four years is a long time.

6) Speaking of the D-League, the Knicks didn't offer Jimmer Fredette a second 10-day contract, which is a little unusual. I've always said he has two years on the Jazz bench coming to him, because his status as a BYU legend will allow him to end his playing career gracefully- that day may be coming sooner than he had hoped.

5) I'm enjoying spring training games during the day this week, but March is the one time of year I do not want to hear the name of players on my fantasy team on TV- it is seldom good news. Already have two pitchers hurt and a shortstop about to get the book thrown at him for a domestic violence thing. Oy.

4) Interesting contrast on ESPN-- they employ Joe Lunardi to re-configure the Field of 68 during every TV timeout, seemingly-- he works hard, his work is interesting, albeit irrelevant, but it is something to talk about. When it comes to the at-large bids, Lunardi favors taking strong mid-majors who slipped up in conference tournaments over teams from big conferences who had under-.500 records in conference.

Then there is Jay Bilas, an elitist who thinks the NCAAs should be the 68 best teams, no matter what. No automatic bids for smaller leagues-- those are the teams who make the tournament the fascinating event it is. He'd rather see the 10th-place team in the Pac-12 get in over the champ of the Southland Conference or the MAAC.

Differing opinions make for an interesting debate, but the charm of the NCAAs, and the big money it draws from CBS, is because it is truly a national tournament-- where else could Montana State play St John's, or UCLA play Stephen F Austin?

3) Heard a guy on TV say over weekend that he thought a #1 seed would get beat in first round of NCAA tournament this year- that has never happened. His partner was not agreeing with him, saying the 16-seeds have gotten worse over the years, plus two of the four 16-seeds have to win a play-in game first. Makes it harder.

2) In case you care about such things, going back to 1987, smallest pointspread in a 1-16 first round game was in 1990, when Michigan State was 15-point favorite over Murray State-- the Spartans won in overtime, as close to losing as a 1-seed has come.

1) I do think this year will be like 1988, when 6-seed Kansas won the national title, running a huge wave of luck to get advantageous matchups. Let me show you.....

1st round-- 6-seed Kansas (even) beat 11-seed Xavier 85-72
2nd round-- Kansas (-7.5) 61, beat 14-seed Murray State 61-58. Murray had upset the #3-seed NC State in its first round game.
3rd round-- Kansas (-1) beat Vanderbilt 77-64. Vandy upset #2-seed Pitt in a second round game.
Regional final-- Kansas (+2) beat Kansas State 77-58. K-State had upset the top seed Purdue in the regional semi-final.

So Kansas made the Final Four without playing the 1,2 or 3 seed in that region- that is how underdogs get to the Final Four. It could happen again..

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy birthday to Dr Seuss......
Today would've been Dr Seuss' 112th birthday; with that in mind, I'm adding one of his quotes at end of each note today.

13) Clippers' owner Steve Ballmer is a 59-year old, overweight bald man. Druing a timeout Monday night, Mr Ballmer dunked, using a trampoline. Thanks to him, I will never wonder what it would look like if I dunked using a trampoline, seeing as I am a 56-year old, overweight bald man. If you're wondering, it wasn't pretty.

Dr Seuss: "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you."

12) Golden State Warriors have now had 159 consecutive home sellouts.

Dr Seuss: "A person's a person, no matter how small."

11) Bernie Sanders raised $6M on Monday alone; he raised over $42M in month of February. He is very good at raising money.

Dr Seuss: "Oh the things you can find, if you don't stand behind."

10) Aroldis Chapman got suspended 30 games for violating the domestic violence policy; based on his $11,325,000 salary, looks like he is being docked a total of just about $2,097,222.22.

Dr Seuss: "Today I shall behave, as if today is the day I will be remembered."

9) Sam Bradford gets $36M for two years from the Eagles; good luck there. He has a 25-37-1 career W-L record, with zero playoff appearances in six years.

Dr Seuss: "From there to here and here to there, funny things are everywhere."

8) Tampa Bay Rays are playing the Cuban National team in Havana March 22, which is really a breakthrough in international relations.

Dr Seuss: "You'll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut."

7) City of San Francisco raised the smoking age to 21 this week. I personally think smoking should be illegal, since it helps to kill people, but nobody asked me.

Dr Seuss: "Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."

6) Spring training logistics must be interesting; so many players have to be given a chance to show themselves; its not like the egular season, when the best guys play the most. Cleveland has 22 pitchers in its big league camp; coaches ahve to script who gets how many innings and when. Takes a lot of planning.

Dr Seuss: "Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one."

5) Michigan loses its star player Caris LeVert for the season; he had only played one game since New Year's, but now it is offical that his college career is over.

Dr Seuss: "Don't cry because its over. Smile because it happened."

4) Dillon Avare is a walk-on basketball player at Louisville who will graduate from Louisville in three years, then transfer and play at Eastern Kentucky on scholarship. Why is he at Louisville? His dad is Rick Pitino's business manager. Why is he going to EKU? EKU's coach Dan McHale used to be a manager for Rick Pitino at Kentucky.

Dr Seuss: "You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose."

3) Colorado Rockies are raising fences in right-center field 8 feet and down the left field line 5 feet. They might raise all the fences for the 2017 season.

Dr Seuss: "From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere."

2) Kansas City Royals rewarded catcher Salvador Perez for his leadership and great play with a 5-year, $52.5M contract extension. Much deserved.

Dr Seuss: "Unlike someone like you cares a whole awful lot. Nothing is going to get better. Its not."

1) I like to watch the credits at the end of movies; not sure why. Was watching one of my favorite movies Leap of Faith the other night and noticed this in the credits:

Cons and Frauds Consultant-- Ricky Jay

Leap of Faith is about a travelling preacher who scams people into giving him money by making them think he can heal their illnesses, or fix their problems. Not sure if the credit is a joke or if they really did have a fraud consultant, but it made me laugh.

Dr Seuss: "Step with care and great tact. And remember that life is a great balancing act."

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Boston Red Sox had a payroll LY of $185,568,958, 3rd-highest in baseball; they added David Price LY, so I'm assuming their payroll will be at least that high again this season, but their 3B will be Pablo Sandoval, their 1B Hanley Ramirez. Not exactly Brooks Robinson and JT Snow. Could be lot of bunts against the Sox this season.

12) Was fun watching the Red Sox play two college teams Monday; not the same as a real big league game (those start today), but good nonetheless. Spring training park the Red Sox call home is a facsimile of Fenway Park, kind of cool.

11) Red Sox' new 1B coach is Ruben Amaro, Jr, who for last seven years was the GM of the Phillies. Odd situation; no one can ever remember this happening before, but apparently Amaro wants to be a field manager and this is how he is learning the ropes. Plus, he needed a job after the Phillies fired him.

10) Win a bar bet: only Hall of Famer to get his 3,000th hit against another Hall of Famer was Dave Winfield (for the Twins) against Dennis Eckersley (for the A's) way back in 1993, in the Metrodome.

Winfield played baseball/basketball at U of Minnesota, where his hoop coach was Bill Musselman, whose son Eric now coaches at Nevada-Reno.

9) Speaking of which, our Bad Beat of Week: Nevada 87, Colorado State (+3.5) 80

If you had Colorado State +3.5 Sunday, you weren't happy. Rams were down two as one of their guards raced downcourt for the last shot with 0:04 left. It looked good for the cover-- he was either going to shoot or run out of time, but a Nevada player didn't know the score- he thought they were up 3-- and he fouls the guy intentionally.

Colorado State guy makes both foul shots, game goes OT and Nevada covers. Oy.

8) Michigan Wolverines are having spring football practice in Florida; a damn good idea, very creative, but what is the price tab? Has to be steep.

7) Just watched a movie while I was writing this-- The Judge, with Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr-- a really, really good movie. Great cast- Billy Bob Thornton was a lawyer, one of the judges was Ken Howard, the coach from The White Shadow, one of my all-time favorite TV shows. Movie is on Cinemax this month.

6) Los Angeles Kings acquired Kris Versteeg this week; poor guy has been traded seven times in his career, going from Boston to Chicago to Toronto to Philly to Florida to Chicago to Carolina and now, to Los Angeles. These guys have families and their kids have to change schools and sure, they make a lot of money, but you get traded seven times by the time you're 29- it has to mess with your mind some.

5) St Mary's plays in WCC tourney starting Saturday in Las Vegas, but they don't like a week between games, I guess, so the Gaels are playing Grand Canyon tonight as a prep. Dan Majerle's Antelopes are 24-5, tied for second in the WAC- they've beaten San Diego State this season, so it should be a good prep for St Mary's.

4) Tennessee State forced 23 turnovers in beating Belmont Sunday; teams are likely to play in OVC semi-finals and Belmont will be favored again- they're younger and less athletic. OVC has four pretty good teams; any of them could win the tourney.

3) Has been fun watching Oregon State play this year; Gary Payton watching his son's senior year in college, at same school he starred for. Beavers' best two players for next year are the coaches' sons, so they ain't leaving early- Oregon State will be a force in the Pac-12 the next few years.

2) College basketball starts around Veterans' Day, second week in November, but it is a long season; think back to the Maui Classic-- Indiana lost to Wake Forest, UNLV- they couldn't guard a freakin' chair. Looked like Tom Crean was going to get fired.

But fast-forward three months; Indiana is 23-6, a top 20 team. UNLV, Wake Forest are a combined 10-24 in conference play- Rebels fired their coach. Teams improve or they regress, they seldom stay the same. It is part of why handicapping is difficult.

1) I've tried to be more interested in politics this year, partly because its the only decent daytime TV (thank God exhibition baseball starts today), but this election has become a sad indictment of our system, lot of jackasses acting like 10-year olds.

Our society is so disgusted with politicians that a rich, egotistical bully might become President-- if this guy wasn't a billionaire no one would give him the time of day, he'd just be the kind of guy you try to avoid. But he is rich, so he's a hero to some. .

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
13) Boston College's athletic program may make money, but on the field, its move to the ACC has been a complete debacle. Eagles are 0-16 in ACC basketball games- in football, the Eagles were 0-8 in ACC play. This is not good. Hasn't happened in one of the major conferences since World War II.

12) Up until this season, Dwight Howard had earned $144,726,223 in salary as an NBA player; assuming he makes roughly the same $21M he made last year, that puts him around $166M for his NBA career, just in salary. Not bad, so it was surprising when Howard showed his gratitude this week......by firing his agent. No bueno.

John Wall and DeAndre Jordan have also fired the same agent within last six months, claiming he doesn't do enough for them, off the court. Being an agent must be fun.

11) Burger King sells hot dogs now? Why? The two Burger Kings closest to my house both went out of business- its been a while since I've been to one. I don't have best diet in America, but if I ever go to Burger King to buy a weiner, God help me.

10) So Duke's Grayson Allen gets away with tripping two opponents on purpose and also getting a technical foul AFTER he fouled out at Louisville- Where is Coach K the educator? Shouldn't the school sit Allen down for being a total jerk? What if one of Kentucky's players did that? Media would want the book thrown at him.

I don't think the ACC should've suspended the kid, but Coach K should've stepped up and sat the kid for a game, for his own sake. But because Duke has zero despth, if they sit Allen, they're basically forfeiting that game, so you know that won't happen.

9) I'll give Duke credit for this; in their last 19 NCAA tournaments, they've been a #1 or a #2 seed 16 times- thats quite an accomplishment, to be that good for that long.

8) Dave Dombrowski replaced Ben Cherington as Red Sox GM; both are married to past or present ESPN anchors- Dombrowski to Karie Ross, Cherington to Wendi Nix. Cherington went to Amherst, a fancy school, relied heavily on analytics and new school thinking. Dombrowski went to Western Michigan, a good ol' state school!!!! Red Sox wised up and will use a more traditional approach under Dombrowski.

People who go to fancy schools should do more important stuff than running ballclubs.

7) There is such a thing as the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament- this year was the 38th one. 567 people entered and competed. Thought you'd like to know.

6) Iowa Hawkeyes lost at Ohio State Sunday, their 4th loss in five games; since it won the Big 14 tournament in 2006, Iowa is 2-9 in conference tournament games, 1-2 in NCAA tourney games. Iowa has four seniors in its nucleus- if they flop again this March, it could be a while before they're back in the NCAA tournament.

5) Wide receivers averaged 4.56 in their 40-yard dashes this week at the Combine, slowest average time in many years; not by much, but slowest nonetheless.

4) Of the top 10 college basketball teams last week, eight of them lost this week.

3) Per capita, Utah has the most plastic surgeons of any state in the country.

2) Ian Desmond gets $8M to play for the Rangers this year; they're rumored to be using him in LF. Desmond may be firing his agent soon, too.

1) Lebron James didn't play at Washington Sunday; I'd hate to be a guy who brought his kid(s) to the game (it ain't cheap) and then Lebron doesn't play because he is "resting". If he is hurt, say so. People would understand. But lot of teams utilize this tiered pricing, where it costs more to see the better teams play, and guys rest?

Without Lebron, the Cavaliers are nothing special (3-12 the last two years).

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) Warriors 121, Thunder 118 OT-- Steph Currty nailed a 38-footer with 0:00.6 left in OT for the win. NBA has to be thrilled with Curry as its poster boy- kids are finding out that with hard work, you can become a great, great player at 6-3.

12) Surprising fact: Duke hasn't won the ACC regular season title by itself since 2006; they shared the 2010 title with Maryland-- the last time they were lower than a 3-seed in the NCAA tournament was in '07- they lost to VCU in the first round.

11) Texas 76, Oklahoma 63-- Sooners led 58-51, then Texas went on a 22-0 run, as Oklahoma lost for fourth time in last seven games.

10) Florida State 77, Notre Dame 56-- Irish PG Demetrius Jackson played 34:00, first time in six games he logged less than a full 40:00.

9) James Madison 71, Wm & Mary 65-- Dukes' win sets up a first-round game in the CAA tournament next Saturday against.....Wm & Mary.

8) Gonzaga 71, BYU 68-- HBO people have some happy film to edit as they put together their reality show on Gonzaga's team this week. Now it is on to the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas-- Zags may need to win the WCC tourney to make the NCAAs.

7) San Diego 85, Portland 76-- Toreros play home games in Jenny Craig Pavilion, named after the weight loss guru-- kids call it the Slim Gym.

6) Boise State 66, San Diego State 63-- Aztecs might be in same boat as Gonzaga, having to win their conference tournament in Las Vegas to make the NCAAs.

By the way, in the next two weeks, if you like college basketball, Las Vegas is the place to be; WCC, WAC, Pac-12, Mountain West all have tournaments there.

5) Vanderbilt 74, Kentucky 62-- Wildcats are 3-5 in SEC road games.

4) Bad Beat of the Day: Ohio U 103, Buffalo (+3.5) 96, OT-- Buffalo didn't score for last 2:49 of regulation- they led 85-80 at that point, then got blown away in OT. Weird thing is that Antonio Campbell scored only six points, and Ohio still won.

3) Utah 70, Arizona 64-- Utes are getting hot at the right time. Should be pointed out that during this game, Bill Walton talked about John Steinbeck, iguanas, Comanche Indians, and 90-year old Utah alum Arne Ferrin, whom he met this week. I'll have to admit that he sounded a little hoarse-- day games are unusual for him.

2) LSU 96, Florida 91-- Gators scored 62 points in second half, and still lost. ESPN had annoying know-it-all Dan Dakich on this game; LSU coaches won't be happy with his blunt critique of the Tigers'play in the second half-- he sounded bored that they sent him outside of the Big 14 this week.

1) Yale 76, Dartmouth 71 OT-- Yale/Princeton are tied for Ivy lead with one week left; actually Princeton has an extra game left against Penn, but they ain't losing to the Quakers. Ivy League doesn't have a tournament, so if Yale-Princeton tie for first, they will have a playoff game, probably at the Palestra.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.........
13) Watching the Gonzaga reality show on HBO earlier this 0week, you realize how much the success of a basketball team can help the entire profile of a school, increasing applications to a college- normal students see the great atmosphere at the games, and they want to be a part of it. People are generally frontrunners.

12) As I type this, I'm sitting here watching HBO's special on UNLV basketball, one of my favorite hours of television ever. Lot of great memories, but the success of those teams has also made it so much harder for the current Rebels. It can be hard to compete against ghosts, to live up to unrealistic expectations.

11) Three college basketball teams who make the most 3-point baskets per game:
North Florida 12.5, Akron 11.5, The Citadel 11.4.

10) Most fun college team to watch this season: the Oakland Grizzlies, who run like hell, have a great point guard and a kid named Max Hooper who has taken 229 shots this season, all 3-pointers. Hooper's dad has cancer; he came to his son's Senior Night Friday night in his hospital bed- a touching moment when his son ran up the stairs to hug his dad after the game.

9) Monmouth signed hoop coach King Rice to a 5-year college extension, which is high comedy, since there is no way Rice will still be at Monmouth five years from now-- some big money school will come and scoop him up. Monmouth was 48-105 in five years before Rice got there- now they're 42-21 the last two years.

8) I watch the NFL Combine and these workouts are great and I'm sure the teams find them very useful, but at the end of the day, I only want to know one thing about each player that tries out-- CAN HE PLAY??????

Lifting weights is impressive, running fast is good, but Tom Brady ran like me at his Combine workout and he's turned out OK. Brady can lead a team, and there is nothing that measures that in February workouts-- it only gets measured in actual games.

7) Memphis QB Paxton Lynch is working with the former CFL head coach Charlie Taaffe as he tries to get up to speed with NFL terminology. Taaffe was at UCF when Blake Bortles played there; he is very good at developing QBs, so that has to be a big help for a young man like Lynch, who hopes to be drafted in the first round.

Sidebar; Charlie Taaffe is from Albany; I've met his brother Bob a few times. Charlie was head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a couple years; he knows his stuff.

6) Kyle Lowry had 43 points, nine assists as Toronto beat the Cavaliers at buzzer in a fun game to watch. Raptors are 39-18, currently the #2 team in the East.

5) Get well soon, golfer Jason Bohn, the 71st-ranked golfer in the world, who suffered a mild heart attack after his round on Friday. Bohn is 42 years old.

4) San Jose Sharks lost 3-1 to Buffalo last night, the first game in Sharks' history with no penalties for either side.

3) I thought the Astros were getting rid of that hill they had in centerfield at Minute Maid Park, but I heard yesterday they're keeping it for one more year. Originally, it was put there because there used to be a hill like that at old Crosley Field in Cincinnati, but it was a bad idea then and it still is.

2) College baseball saw home runs go up about 30% last year after they switched to baseball with lower seams. College baseball teams bunt too much, by the way. Kid on Texas Tech last night hit a homer, then squared to bunt on first pitch of his next AB.

1) Tuesday at 1:00 on MLB Network: Blue Jays-Phillies. Then at 4:00 from out in Arizona, Indians-Reds. Real live major league baseball. Can't wait.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Saw something I never saw before last night; kid was taking a foul shot, the ball rattles in and out and wedged between the rim and the backboard. The ref looked at it for a second, like he had no idea what to do. Never saw that happen before, not even on a playground. They went to the possession arrow, by the way.

12) One of the things they do at the NFL Combine is give players physicals- the QBs get their hands measured-- big hands are an advantage, especially for teams that might play lot of games in bad weather. Jared Goff measured in with a 9-inch hand; a little less than optimal, but big enough so it won't hurt his standing in the draft.

One of the reasons Johnny Manziel appealed to Cleveland was that he has big hands, and should be OK playing in cold weather. Scouting is an inexact scienece; Manziel's issues obviously have very little to do with his play on the field.

11) NFL has tremendous skill at always staying in the news; the Combine this week is just a series of workouts/job interviews-- would be great TV if they aired the teams' interview part, which they obviously cannot.

Super Bowl was 19 days ago; you'd think this was a dead time of year, but they have this and then free agency starts March 9 and then they'll have the schedule unveling and the draft in April and that is why the NFL has a daily show os ESPN, year-round.

10) Colin Kaepernick is slated to make $11.9M next year, the 49ers say they he will be on the roster April 1, but apparently Kaepernick has sought permission to seek out a trade. How much can you get for a guy you benched for Blaiine Gabbert?

9) Pac-12 needs to do something about court storming before someone gets hurt; every time Arizona loses a road game, opponents' fans rush the floor after the game- it looks dangerous and it can be. Sean Miller spoke out about it Wednesday night- you'd hope the schools will get together and get security in place to prevent it.

8) Not only did Steph Curry have 51 points last night, he had eight assists, seven rebounds. The best player in the NBA is only 6-foot-3- he's made a 3-pointer in 128 straight games, a new NBA record. .

7) Baseball is putting up a 0:30 clock for coaches/managers' visits to the mound this year, as they try to speed up the game. I'll do them one better; why not just ban the visits to the mound altogether- what would that hurt? If you change pitchers, just sub them in/out like players do in basketball. if they're serious about shortening games, lot of ways to do it pretty easily, without screwing around with the actual game.

Random opinion: I love watching baseball, I don't think games are too long and I can amuse myself during stoppages in play, so I'm not a stickler that games need to be a lot shorter, but if you're trying to shorten them, this is an easy way to do it.

6) Put it this way: I'm fairly excited that exhibition games start Tuesday.

5) There was a report on the Interweb yesterday that Yoenis Cespedes was wearing his hat backwards during batting practice, a la Ken Griffey Jr and that Terry Collins wasn't that happy about it and was going to say something to him about it. Oy.

I'd be more concerned about those fancy cars Cespedes drives to the ballpark every day; they don't look like they were designed to stay under the speed limit. But if they do get sick of Cespedes and his backwards hat, feel free to send him back to Oakland.

4) Ever see those Dos Equus beer commercials, the ones with The Most Interesting Man in the World? I was informed yesterday that Mr Interesting lives about 100 miles south of here, in same town as one of my friends and he is in his late 70's now, being a 1956 high school graduate. He was at Saratoga racetrack couple of summers ago and drew quite a crowd- the power of television.

3) Interweb was reporting Wednesday night that Dexter Fowler signed with Baltimore for three years, $35M, after he turned down a 1-year, $15.8 deal from the Cubs early in this offseason. Turns out the Interweb was wrong; Fowler signed with the Cubs yesterday, for one year, $9M. Then his agent went public, bashing the Orioles for leaking info on the negotiations- I'm guessing the agent got an earful from Fowler and is now trying to avoid being fired by his client.

2) A's traded a struggling pitcher (Aaron Brooks) for a journeyman utility man (Chris Coghlan) yesterday, who became expendable once the Cubs re-signed Fowler. Brooks had a 6.71 ERA in nine starts LY. Coghlan was Rookie of the Year in 2009 and hit 16 HRs LY; his .340 career on-base %age ain't bad- to get him for basically nothing is a solid move by Oakland.

1) I'm amazed that each college basketball conference doesn't have an official basketball to be used during all conference games; each school can use whatever ball it sees fit. Apparently there is a big difference between Nike, adidas, Under Armour basketballs; some of the Wisconsin players were complaining about it last month.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Oregon State 82, Washington 81-- One of the best endings all season; Stephen Thompson Jr knocked down a 3 at the buzzer as pandemonium erupted in Corvallis. This was a fun game to watch, except for when thunderstorms (??) in beautiful upstate New York knocked DirecTV off the air for a while in the first half.

Seriously, whats the deal with thunderstorms in February?

12) HBO is doing a 5-part reality show on Gonzaga's basketball team; they picked the wrong year, since the Zags might miss the tournament for the first time in 19 years but the end of this week's episode was very good TV.

Gonzaga loses its home finale to rival St Mary's, meaning the Gaels won the regular season title and put Gonzaga in jeopardy of missing the NCAAs. Not good; after the game in the locker room, the players are informed they have to go back on the court to greet the students, apparently a traditional event. They're not that happy about it.

When they get back up to the court, there are a couple thousand students still there, cheering for their fellow students- they start chanting "Its not over!!! Its not over!!!" as in, the WCC tournament can still get them into the NCAAs. I may not be doing it justice here, but it was a fairly touching moment. Something we would never have seen if not for the reality show-- its worth your time, if you like college hoop.

11) Villanova lost last night, meaning that Michigan State maintains the longest time this year at #1 (23 days) before they lost a game. Villanova had gotten up to 16.

10) Top 5 teams in the AP poll are 22-24 on the road this year; this would be the first time ever top 5 teams finished under .500 in true road games.

9) East Tennessee State is 8-1 in Southern Conference games this season that were decided by 6 or less points or in overtime. Thats good coaching, veteran guards.

8) A 33-year old guy in England named Sam Smith got drunk with friends and legally changed his name to Bacon Double Cheeseburger. I'm guessing he isn't married

7) Championship Week starts next week, one of the best times of the year; when the OVC title game comes on, remember that the last four OVC title games were decided by a total of 11 points. Evenly matched teams in that league

6) Nike founder Phil Knight donated $400M to Stanford for a scholarship program; who the hell has $400M to just give away?

5) If I ever coach basketball again, I'll be a stickler for my team passing the ball inside the arc at least once a possession, or at least reversing the ball so it gets to both sides of the floor. I see college teams dribble down, make one pass and jack a 3 and it makes me sick. Good offenses make the team's defense work on every possession.

Guaranteed if you charted points per possession, teams that shoot those quick 3's don't do as well. I'm not talking about shots taken in transition when you have a 2-on-1 or 3-on-2, I'm talking half-court sets. Not too many Steph Currys in this world.

4) Good H&R Block commercial with Pelicans' star Anthony Davis walking down the street with his H&R Block accountant to do his taxes. Encouraging to see a guy who plays for a smaller market team getting a commercial or two.

3) Ohio State lost its best player, Jae'Sean Tate (shoulder) for the season.

2) Houston Astros are expected to have an Opening Day paytoll of $96.7M this year, after making the playoffs LY. Three years ago, Houston's payroll was $18.8M. Wait until Altuve and Correa are there a few more years; Astros will really have to pay the piper then. Houston is America's 4th-biggest city- they'll be able to afford it.

1) Miami Marlins have banned facial hair this season, as if they have nothing else to worry about. What is the point of this? How does this help the players play better or the coaches coach better? Some things I just do not understand.

Wednesday's List of 13: Looking ahead to conference tourneys
Championship Week starts next week; here is a look at the history of some of these post-season events......
13) ACC-- #1 or #2 seed won this event eight of last ten years; #3 won the other two. Maryland (7-9) in 2004 was last real underdog to win this event.

12) Atlantic 14-- First place team in regular season has won this event only twice in last twelve years. In 2006, Xavier (8-8) pulled a big upset.

11) Big 14-- First place team won this tourney six of last eight years. Over last 12 years, no one who finished lower than 2nd place won this tournament.

10) Big X-- Kansas is probably going to win regular season for 12th year in a row; they've only won postseason tourney once in last four years. Iowa State won it the last two years. Worst teams to win this in last 12 years? Oklahoma State (11-5, '05), Iowa State (11-7, two years ago).

9) Big East-- 10 of last 13 conference tourney winners are no longer in this league. Three of last five years, a team that went 9-9 or 10-8 during the regular season won the conference tourney. #1 seed won only four of last 12 Big East tourneys. In the last ten years, Louisville won this tourney three times; seven other teams won it once.

8) Big Sky-- They wised up this year and moved tourney to Reno, a neutral site that is a good tourist destination. #1 seed had won it the last five years, but #1 seed also hosted the tournament, so they had that advantage. Sacramento State almost won the regular season LY and their gym is too small to host the conference tourney, so maybe that spurred them to move things to Reno.

7) Big West-- #1 seed won only once in last five years. 6-10 Cal Poly pulled an upset in 2014, 8-8 UCSB won it the next year. Northridge is ineligible this year, so it'll be a striaght 8-team tournament, with Hawai'i, Irvine, Long Beach the favorites.

6) CAA-- #1 or #2 seed won this tourney 11 of last 12 years; #3 seed won it the other year. tourney is in Baltimore this year, moves to Charleston next year. League is very balanced; the last five years, the #1 seed in conference had at least three losses during regular season.

5) Conference USA-- From 2006-09, Memphis was an amazing 73-1 in this league; no wonder their fanbase is so spoiled. In three of last six years since, #3 seed or lower won conference tourney. This league sold out for football and is now #21 basketball league, when as recently as five years ago, it was ranked #8.

4) Horizon-- Much like the Big Sky, this league moved its tournament to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit and away from campus sites. #1 seed won this event four of last six years. Anything other than Valparaiso winning this year would be a big upset.

3) MAAC-- From 2008-10, Siena went 55-8 in MAAC games, which is why Iowa hired Fran McCaffery. No #1 seed has won MAAC tourney since then, with last five winners being seeds 2-2-3-4-4. The tournament is in beautiful downtown Albany, not exactly Las Vegas but it is a nice arena.

2) Mountain West-- UNLV won this tourney in 2008; they're 7-7 since and this is played on their home court. San Diego State lost in finals last two years; they better not lose this year, because this is likely a one-bid league for the first time. #1 seed has won this tournament five of last 13 years.

1) Pac-12-- Last year was first time in seven years the #1 seed won, with Arizona winning in its fifth try as the #1 seed. Moving this to MGM Grand was a great idea; having it at Staples Center didn't provide the same atmosphere. Plus, listening to Bill Walton rave about Las Vegas for three days is never a bad thing.

Tuesday's List of 13: Handicapping the UNLV job, plus more....
Here are my top seven candidates for the UNLV basketball coaching job.........
1) Tom Thibodeau-- Went 278-167 as coach of the Bulls; was an NBA assistant for 20 years before that. Players whined that he worked them too hard-- he is a great coach, but his last college coaching job was as an assistant at Harvard in 1989. From a purely X's and O's standpoint, he would be the #1 choice.

Sidebar: Thibodeau's first NBA coaching job was in Minnesota for Bill Musselman, whose son Eric is now the coach at Nevada. Eric Musselman's college roommate at San Diego was George Tarkanian. Later on, Thibodeau was an assistant for the Spurs when Jerry Tarkanian was coach there. It is a small world sometimes.

2) Kevin Keatts-- Former Pitino assistant is 39-20 in two years at NC-Wilmington; his Seahawks press, play unselfishly and use lot of guys. They have to at least give Keatts an interview-- plus, if they hire him, the Stacey Augmon/race card claim goes out the window. If I am AD at UNLV, I have to strongly consider a minority coach, but quality is the most important factor and Keatts is obviously a quality coach.

Sidebar: UNLV'a last two coaches were Lon Kruger and Dave Rice, two terrific guys but they're both as bland as Jeb Bush. It is Las Vegas-- hire someone who plays a style that has some style!!!

3) Reggie Theus-- One of UNLV's greatest players; has been college coach at both New Mexico State, Cal-Northridge-- he is struggling at Northridge, but had Aggies in NCAAs in his second year there. He also was coach of the Sacramento Kings, and in his playing career, scored over 19,000 points in the NBA. If Tark was alive, I'm pretty sure he'd choose Theus to be the next coach-- Tark said he would've hired him the last time UNLV hired a head coach.

Sidebar: Again, unfortunately race could become an issue here. Hiring Theus defuses a lot of concerns, plus he is an alumnus who has coaching experience. He is much better qualified for this job than Stacey Augmon, who apparently isn't very personable with the press or the boosters. Theus would be my choice for this job.

4) Todd Simon-- 35-year old interim coach who is working like hell to keep the team afloat despite a crippling string of injuries. Was head coach at Findlay Prep for one year, was an assistant there for six years before that. His resume just isn't as good as other candidates.

Side bar: Firing college coaches during the season is a bad idea, unless the guy you want to hire permanently is available immediately.

5) Rick Pitino-- This would be the stuff of movies; Pitino is one of the greatest hoop coaches of all-time, on the surface an absolute coup of epic proportions, but if you get him, it means you're probably also getting his son Richard as coach-in-waiting.

Rick Pitino is 64 years old; if you got him for eight years, he is very intriguing, but I would need a commitment of at least 5-6 years before I considered hiring him.

Sidebar: Richard Pitino is 68-61 in his fourth year as a college coach-- he is 15-35 in league games at Minnesota. 15-35 ain't good- he was 18-14 in one year at FIU, which was a big improvement over his predecessor, Isiah Thomas.

6) Archie Miller-- Is 111-52 at Dayton, been in NCAAs last two years, is 50-30 in conference games. Is a quality coach, would be a good hire for sure, but why would he leave Dayton for UNLV? If he turned down Florida last spring, why would he leave Dayton now? Shaka Smart didn't leave VCU until the big $$$ (Texas) came calling and Brad Stevens didn't leave Butler until the Celtics wanted to hire him.

Sidebar: Archie is Sean Miller's brother; does he want to recruit against his brother? I'm thinking Archie's next move will be to a Power 5 conference or Big East/AAC, maybe at Rutgers, Illinois or Memphis. Maybe he's just content at Dayton.

7) Russell Turner-- In his sixth year as coach at Cal-Irvine, where he is 44-18 in Big West games the last four years- the Anteaters had very little basketball tradition, so Turner has built a league power out of virtually nothing. Turner spent six years as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors- if UNLV hires him, lot of people wouldn't be that familiar with him, but Turner would put a quality team on the floor.

Sidebar: In 1999-2000, Turner was an assistant womens' coach at San Francisco, before he hooked up with Mike Montgomery at Stanford.

Elsewhere in the world............
8) Mountain West looks like a one-bid league this year; San Diego State (#60) is only team in KenPom's top 100. From 2005-09, Mountain West got only two teams a year and also in 2014- they've had 3+ teams every other year since 2003.

9) Minnesota is 1-13 in the Big 14, yet they're a 12.5-point favorite tonight against Rutgers, which is 0-14. Rutgers is the state university of New Jersey- there are a lot of good high school players in New Jersey-- how are they this bad?

10) The US Congress has a 10% approval rating; who exactly is this 10% that thinks they're doing a good job?

11) White Sox signed 37-year old Jimmy Rollins to a contract; how is he an upgrade over Alexei Ramirez, their last shortstop? Rollins hit .224 last year.

12) My non-sports hero is probably the great comedian/actor Steve Martin; just got a copy of his 2007 memoir in the mail today, so I'm enjoying reading that. Unsure how I didn't know about the book sooner than this.

13) The actor who played the offensive coordinator in the football movie Any Given Sunday is now playing the President of the US in a new movie called London Is Falling. Apparently his career is on an upswing. .

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) Seton Hall 62, St John's 61-- There was almost a fracas in the handshake line after this game, which was an awful game that Seton Hall survived because St John's committed two non-shooting fouls in last 0:40, both while they were tied/ahead.

Are handshake lines still a good idea, or do they invite trouble? Fair question-- there was also a problem after the first Iona-Monmouth game last month.

12) Pelicans 111, Pistons 106-- Anthony Davis had 59 points, 20 rebounds and four assists, quite a night- thats a good week for a lot of guys.

11) Wake Forest 74, Boston College 48-- Deacons suspended their best player for two games, then pounded BC here, running out to a 37-4 lead.

10) Virginia Tech is 7-0 vs spread at home in ACC games; Harvard is 0-10 against the spread in Ivy League games, and they won the league the last four years.

9) There are 11 Division I head coaches who are former Rick Pitino assistants.

8) Oklahoma has a nucleus of Hield-Cousins-Spangler-Woodard- those four kids have started Oklahoma's last 94 games together.

7) West Virginia is averaging 52.4 deflections in their wins, 34.5 in losses, so when you watch them play, if they're disrupting other team's offense with deflected passes, it greatly improves their chances of winning. Once they get out of the Big X and move on to the NCAAs, they'll face teams that aren't used to facing that kind of pressure.

6) Yovani Gallardo gets $35M for three years from the Orioles, just before the start of spring training. Baltimore has spent a lot of money this winter.

5) Watching people at games now, fewer people applaud now because they always have a phone in their hand and you can't applaud with one hand-- you need an app for applause-- just push the button on the phone-- it cheers wildly so you don't have to.

4) Brett Favre does this commercial thats on TV all the time late at night for some company that sells razor blades-- bet they were thrilled when Favre showed up at the Super Bowl with a full beard- actions speak louder than words.

3) A study concluded last week that if one of your neighbors hits the lottery, you're more likely to go broke, since you're going to spend more to try and keep up with him or her. What the study doesn't realize that if one of my neighbors hits the lottery, they're going to buy a place in a way nicer neighborhood and I'll never see them again.

2) I'm actually glad Jeb Bush dropped out of the Presidential race- was beginning to feel bad for the guy. Rumors have him and his people spending around $150M to get him elected to an office very few other people wanted him to have.

1) Today would've been my dad's 90th birthday; I wish he was still here, so we could watch the Knicks tonight. How he loved watching the Knicks, Mets and Giants.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Texas A&M 79, Kentucky 77, OT-- End of this game was truly bizarre; when a kid on Kentucky grabbed a rebound and got fouled-- in jubilation he threw the ball away after the whistle and the refs gave him a technical, which was also his fifth foul, which meant he couldn't take foul shots from being fouled with Wildcats up one. His replacement split a pair after A&M made both technical foul shots.

Best part of this was that ESPN's Jay Bilas, who constantly bashes the refs, had no clue what the rule was on who chose the foul shooter because the kid had fouled out-- I have never seen that happen before, either. Big win for the Aggies, no matter what.

12) Louisville 71, Duke 64-- There is nothing quite as much fun as watching Dukies whine like 6-year olds when they don't get every call. Coach K got a technical late in game and Grayson Allen got one after he fouled out with 3:55 left. For Louisville, this game was like the Super Bowl, since they're banned from postseason.

11) Funniest thing that'll happen all weekend: Ben Simmons didn't start for LSU at Tennessee "....for academic reasons." Really?

In late June, Simmons will be the first player taken in the NBA Draft, which means that by Labor Day, he is going to be a multi-millionaire, even if he has no freakin' idea where the school library is (for historical reference, see Anthony, Carmelo). Simmons has less chance of being in college next fall than I do-- I graduated (somehow) in 1982.

10) South Carolina 73, Florida 69 OT-- It has to be fairly scary to have to interview Gamecocks coach Frank Martin when his team just gave up a 20-0 run to end the half, which is what happened here. Martin has an intimidating scowl and huge shoulders-- he looks like he could be a pro wrestler, had he so chosen-- he has done a very good job at South Carolina this season. The interview was calm and uneventful.

9) BYU 91, San Diego 33-- Teams played Thursday and BYU barely won 69-67; it is typical of this season, the wild variance in how teams play from day-to-day..

8) Hassan Whiteside had 29 points, 23 rebounds off the bench for Miami last night, the first NBA sub to produce numbers like that since Detlef Schrempf in 1992.

7) They put over 30,000 people in Coors Field Saturday for a hockey game between Colorado College and Denver- these outdoor hockey games have become cash cows.

6) Doug Gottlieb reported that a lot of coaches think Roy Williams will retire after this season and Williams wasn't very happy with that CBS report. Now it is unclear just where Gottlieb's report came from- time will tell who is right, but if Williams ain't retiring, it is BS to say he is, because that could screw up his recruiting.

5) Hawai'i 75, Cal-Irvine 71-- Rainbows are eligible for postseason this year, then go on probation next year- they trailed almost whole way in this game, then pulled it out at the end and opened up aa 2-game lead in the Big West.

They were talking last night that Hawai'i will wind up with lot of Australians on their team, since its new coach was one of the guys responsible for recruiting at St Mary's, which has a great pipeline to basketball players down under.

4) Yale 79, Penn 58-- Yale is tied with Princeton for Ivy lead with two weekends left- they both have to play Columbia, which is a game behind. No conference tourney in the Ivy League, so they'll have a playoff game if it ends in a tie.

3) Air Force 76, New Mexico 72-- Flyboys have now won four home games in a row; Mountain West is as bad as it has ever been this year- they're likely to get only one team in NCAAs. San Diego State is their only chance at an at-large bid.

2) UNLV 102, Nevada 91 OT-- Weird game with a very dramatic end to regulation, when both teams hit a 3-pointer in last 0:03 to send game to OT. Rebels had only six scholarship kids for this game- one kid quit, one kid got tossed, they have a transfer sitting out and four kids hurt-- that adds up to their 13 scholarships.

1) Texas Tech 71, Oklahoma State 61-- Tubby Smith has Texas Tech at 17-9 and on bubble; they've won five of last six games. About ten years ago, Smith was polite enough to let me interview him for this space at an AAU tournament in Florida. He's an excellent coach and a better person. Texas Tech is lucky to have him.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) RIP Tony Phillps-- He played 18 years in major leagues, nine with the A's-- he was a big reason they won the '89 World Series. Today he would've made a lot more money-- his level of versatility wasn't valued as much then as it is now. Had a career OB% of .374, which is pretty damn good. RIP, sir.

12) Was watching Charlotte-Marshall game Thursday night; Mike D'Antoni's brother coaches Marshall, and they're pretty good. So they interview this senior citizen in the stands-- it is Mike/Dan D'Antoni's father- the guy is 102 years old!!!!. Still sharp too-- apparently he was a really good coach back in the day. Good stuff.

11) I've talked a little bit here about the soon-to be-vacant UNLV basketball job; has no one brought up Tom Thibodeau's name for this job? Thibodeau is a hoop genius; he would be a great college coach-- he was one of Jerry Tarkanian's assistants during Tark's brief foray into NBA coaching (with the Spurs). He'd be a good hire there.

10) Ole Miss drew 10,129 fans for its baseball season opener. Wow.

9) Top 5 college college basketball teams have already lost 33 games this season; 20 of those 33 losses were to teams not in the top 25 at the time of their upset win.

8) When North Carolina lost to Duke Wednesday, Brice Johnson didn't take a shot in the last 4:44 of the game- his last hoop put UNC up by 4. You'd think you'd want your best player taking shots down the stretch, but that did not happen.

7) Clippers are 17-13 this season when Blake Griffin plays, 19-5 when he doesn't. This is a case where a statistic taken out of context becomes misleading; obviously the Clippers are better when they have Griffin. Clippers host Golden State tonight, night after the Warriors got crushed by 31 in Portland.

6) Los Angeles Rams cleared $24M of cap room by releasing three veteran players, including MLB James Lauranitis, which surprised me. When you haven't had a year above .500 since 2003, everyone is expendable, especially the older players.

5) Underrated basketball analyst-- Jon Crispin on Big Ten Network-- he is smart, he talks about the game and he can be funny. Better than 90% of ESPN's analysts.

4) Cleveland Indians signed Juan Uribe to a contract to play 3B this year; Uribe will be 37 next month- he has played for six teams- he played for three just last year.

3) Wake Forest suspended its best player for two games, tossed another kid off the team for breaking team rules, Cornelius Hudson is the kid who got tossed; he is the younger brother of NFL wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who played at Texas Tech, so you wonder if he'll wind up at Ark-Little Rock, since UALR coach Chris Beard was a Tech assistant when Crabtree went there.

2) Knicks signed Jimmer Fredette to a 10-day contract. He can't make things worse.

1) March is going to be a great month; Championship Week is going to have more meaning than it has in any year since the NCAAs went to 64 teams. There are zero great teams, but a ton of really good ones who can get lucky and win it all.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Of the 24 NBA players traded this week, jeff Green and Markieff Morris are only two playing 20+ minutes a game. An uneventiful trading deadline.

12) Read an article this week that ranked MLB managers; it had Joe Maddon first, which is just stupid. Maddon is a fine manager, but not only has Bruce Bochy won three World Series with the Giants, he also led the Padres to a World Series. Bochy is a dead solid lock to be in the Hall of Fame as a manager.

11) North Carolina lost to Duke Wednesday; Roy Williams didn't call timeout on the last possession- when that happens, it means Williams has faith in his veteran players to run the offense and get a good look at the basket. Having lost this game, it probably also means that the next time they're in that situation, they'll call a TO.

10) LSU named former Auburn QB/WR coach Dameyune Craig as its new WR coach; Craig is a dynamic recruiter and in SEC football, recruiting is a 24/7/365 job. When you lure an Auburn alum away from the Auburn coaching staff, it is going to be hard for Auburn to beat LSU out for any recruits in the near future

9) Yesterday was February 18, birthday of John Travolta, Dr Dre and Yoko Ono, in case you care about stuff like that

8) Purdue/Indiana play each other once this season, which makes no sense; these are arch-rivals-- shouldn't the teams play a non-conference game in December when they only play once in league play? I'm guessing that every time they play is a guaranteed sellout, so they're losing money when they only play once a year.

7) Minnesota 68, Maryland 63-- Gophers get their first league win on a night when Maryland's Stone was suspended. Was surprised by the size, enthusiasm of a crowd that came to see an 0-13 home team play.

In conference play this season, Gophers are 7-1 as an underdog of 10+ points, 0-6 as a single dgiit underdog.

6) Northeastern 95, James Madison 94, 3OT-- Huskies outscored JMU 35-14 on the foul line in JMU's gym- a kid on Northeastern played 44:00 and he didn't start.

5) Utah 75, UCLA 73-- Think UCLA boosters are happy the Bruins are 14-12, 5-8 in conference play? Yeah, me either.

4) California 78, Washington 75-- First Pac-12 road win in six tries for Cal.

3) IPFW 91, South Dakota State 79-- Mastodons are in first place by themselves in the Summit League, which doesn't matter as much as in other leagues- Summit tourney is in same place no matter who finishes first. In some leagues, top seeds are hosts for the conference tournament. Summit tournament still figures to be interesting.

2) Tenn-Martin 87, Eastern Illinois 84 OT-- EIU made 15-29 on arc but still lost, which is really a red flag- you only shoot like that a couple nights each year, you just HAVE to win when you do. Skyhawks have now won six games in a row.

1) Teams in the top five of the AP basketball poll have already lost 33 games this year; they lost 21 all of last season.

Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Albany 82, Stony Brook 70-- Had a fun time watching my alma mater end Stony Brook's 18-game winning streak; highlight of night was when a kid dressed as a banana came out of the stands during a timeout and made a layup, foul shot and 3-pointer in 0:30 to win a prize, I'm not sure what, but he banked in his 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the prize. First conference losss for Stony Brook in front of a large, loud crowd-- rare night out for me during hoop season and a fun one.

12) Duke 74, North Carolina 73-- Got home in time to see most of this; Duke lost Matt Jones early, played only two subs anyway-- how does Duke only have seven players they trust? Now two of those seven are hurt, so freshman Chase Jeter will have to play some. Carolina was 1-13 behind the arc-- there is no great team right now, they all have major flaws, which will make March a fascinating month.

11) Alabama 76, LSU 69-- You could make a case for Avery Johnson as national coach of the year; right now they're an NCAA tourney team and no one, I mean no one had them as that back in the fall. No one. Tough loss for LSU and CBS, which has to want Ben Simmons in the NCAAs pretty badly, but their resume is borderline at best.

10) Texas Tech 65, Oklahoma 63-- Sooners lost three of last four games after a 19-2 start; they were 6-23 on arc, are 22-79 on arc in last three losses. Tubby Smith has his Red Raiders headed towards the NCAA bubble.

9) St John's 80, DePaul 65-- First Big East win for coach Chris Mullin.

8) St Peter's 70, Manhattan 69-- This was a makeup game; Peacocks play another game tonight, at Quinnipiac, very unuusal for a college team.

7) Get well soon Chris Bosh, who has trouble with blood clots-- he does an ad on TV with Arnold Palmer and Kevin Nealon for Xarelto, a blood thinner. We hope he is feeling well enough to play again soon.

6) State Senate in Tennessee passed a bill making it OK for people to have a skunk as a pet-- the Tennessee house hasn't voted on the bill yet. I think the whole thing stinks, and no, I am not making any of that up.

5) University of Cincinnati is campaigning to join the Big X; if they do, another team has to go to too, to give the Big X an even number of teams. Memphis?

4) Carolina Panthers signed JJ Jansen to a 5-year, $5.5M contract; who is he, you ask? JJ Jansen is the Carolina long snapper, a critical yet obscure position. There are guys we've rarely heard of who play a long time in the NFL as long snappers.

3) Daytime TV is awful, just putrid. ESPN should be ashamed of themselves for the garbage they put on the air. I'm listening to more music now during the day, but when preseason baseball starts in 13 days, that will make afternoons a lot more fun.

2) NFL Combine is next week; not sure if that is interesting TV or not, but it is very important for NFL teams to learn about players they may or may not draft. Stuff like Geno Smith playing with his cellphone during team interviews- thats a red flag that the guy isn't the person you want playing the most important position on the field.

1) Jim Brown/Michael Jordan share a birthday- February 17. Very strong pairing of sports birthdays right there. I know a couple guys who would try to have sex with their wife on May 17 to heighten their chance of their kid sharing a birthday with those two legends. Seriously, they would. I feel bad for their wives.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings.........
13) There was thing on TV in Raleigh, NC this week, that an NC State student who finished last in his fantasy football league had to spend 30 consecutive hours in a Waffle House as punishment for his dismal season. His friends came by to visit, he had some school books to study (architecture) but he was there for 30 freakin' hours.

Waffle Houses are smaller, cheesier versions of Denny's; in other words, they're great.

12) HBO started a 5-part reality show this week on Gonzaga's basketball team; lot of practice stuff, road trips, stuff like that. First episiode was pretty good, but coach Mark Few is a calm guy, so the entertainment factor won't be as high as if you had a wacko in charge of the program, where outbursts would make for good TV.

11) Speaking of Gonzaga, since 1999 they are 14-3 in first round of NCAAs, 5-9 in second round, 1-4 in regional semis, 0-1 in regional finals.

10) Over the last 10 years, Florida Gators were 25-5 in NCAA tournament under coach Billy Donovan, who is now in the NBA. Weirdly, they missed the tourney in three seasons, but made the Elite 8 in six of the other seven.

9) UConn is another team with an odd resume; in their last five NCAA tourneys, they lost in first round twice, made Final Four other three times, winning two titles, in 2011 and 2014, under two different coaches.

8) Roger Goodell made $34M in 2014; its good to be the commish of America's most popular sport. Trivia you may already know: when Robert Kennedy was assassinated in June of 1968, Goodell's father took RFK's Senate seat. He didn't make $34M.

7) Since 1998, Duke is 15-3 in first round of NCAA tournament, 14-1 in the second round, only 7-7 in regional semis, 5-2 in regional finals, 4-1 in nationl semis, 3-1 in title tilts. So you want to play Duke in the first game of the second weekend.

6) Speaking of Duke, when they beat Virginia 63-62 the other day, lot of people were complaining because Grayson Allen walked on his last shot, but he also was fouled and I am no Duke fan. If the whistle was going to be blown on that play, they were going to call the foul before they called a walk. Especially in Durham.

5) If you're planning your summer already: Packers-Colts is first NFL exhibition game, August 7 in Canton, Ohio. SEC already released its schedule for football media days-- July 14 is our guy Les Miles' turn at the podium.

4) LSU's basketball team scored 81.8 ppg in four games since a 77-75 home loss to Oklahoma, when Ben Simmons took criticism for not demanding the ball late in that close game. Kid is a freshman in college, he isn't a jerk and he takes heat for not being selfish; thats the America we live in now.

Simmons was 6-7 from the floor vs Oklahoma; in four games since, he is 28-49, an average of 12.3 shots per game, so the coach is making sure he gets more shots.

3) Kentucky is 22-4 in its last 26 NCAA tourney games; they made the Final Four the last four times they were in the tournament- they missed in 2013. .

2) Good news for BYU's football team: QB Taysom Hill will be back for his last season in the fall. he hurt his foot in the first game LY and missed rest of the season.

1) Kansas was pick 'em when they lost to Wichita State in second round of NCAAs last March; they were the first #2 seed since 1992 that wasn't favored in its second round game-- USC was a 1-point dog to Georgia Tech back in '92. . Kansas is just 4-3 in its last three NCAA tournaments.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Apparently quality of high school basketball in New York City has declined; I'm watching the LIU-St Francis game Monday afternoon-- both schools are located in Brooklyn and both teams have a kid from Iceland-- freakin' Iceland!!!! Normally you would use subway tokens to recruit for those teams, but not anymore.

12) Oakland Grizzlies have a player named Max Hooper; young man is 98-214 on the arc this season, 0-0 inside the arc-- he hasn't taken a single shot inside the arc all year long. NOT ONE!!!! He is 18-19 on the foul line- he stands on the arc, waits for his point guard to penetrate and dish, then fires away.

11) If you win a Grammy, you have to sign a waiver saying you won't sell it, so you will never find one in a Las Vegas pawnshop. Thought you'd like to know.......

10) TV ratings for the NBA All-Star Game were up 6% from last year; can't say I added to that-- any game where there are 369 points scored, with only seven foul shots taken in the whole game-- thats not a competitive situation. Not fun to watch.

9) UConn won national titles in 2011, 2014; they were underdogs in seven of those 12 games, including their last five games in 2014.

8) UConn's 2014 team are only national champions in last 28 years who were an underdog in their second round game. In 1988, Kansas was pick 'em in its first round game, against Xavier, on their way to an unlikely national title as a 6-seed.

7) This will be sixth year of the field of 68, with four play-in games in Dayton on Tuesday/Wednesday before the main fun starts-- over the first five years, underdogs are 12-7-1 vs spread in those play-in games in Dayton-- 7-3 with the better teams in the play-in games, the 12-seed types, 5-4-1 in the 16-seed type teams. .

6) Over last three seasons, in first round of NCAA tournament, favorites of less than 5 points were 13-21 against the spread.

5) Over last four years, second round favorites of more than 5 points are 17-11-1.

4) We talked about Sean Miller yesterday; he is 11-4 in NCAA games at Arizona; he is 8-0 on the first weekend, only 3-4 on the second weekend. You get paid millions to win games on that second weekend, to get to the Final Four.

3) Not only has Kansas won the last 11 regular season titles in the Big X, they're 22-4 in the last ten Big X tournaments. In the four years they didn't win the title, they got KO'd in second round of NCAAs twice, in third round once and lost the national title in the fourth season. Bill Self takes the conference tourney seriously.

2) Bobby Hurley is finding out that Arizona State is a tough job-- he is 14-12, 4-9 in the Pac-12. Herb Sendek was his predecessor in Tempe- he is a damn good coach. Not a lot of great high school players in Arizona; so you have to be a recruiting dynamo to bring enough good players to the desert to win in the Pac-12.

1) Hard to believe that St John's has been in the NCAAs only twice in the last 14 years. Chris Mullin has a huge rebuilding job on his hands, but he should be able to bring players into NYC's highest profile program. You would think, at least.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Nine years ago, Georgetown made the Final Four-- long time ago. Since then, the Hoyas are 3-7 in NCAAs, with four first-round losses, no Sweet 16's. At 14-12 this season, they're likely to miss the tourney for the second time in three years. You wonder if JohnThompson III's job is shaky-- probably not, but you never know.

12) UNLV would like to hire Dayton's Archie Miller as its next basketball coach, but is UNLV a better job than Dayton? Lot of unrealistic expectations in Vegas- they always recruit well, but so many of their players leave too early for the NBA. If I'm Miller's friend advising him, I'd advise him to wait for something bigger.

11) Miller's brother Sean is 184-57 at Arizona, 88-33 in Pac-12 play, but he hasn't been to a Final Four-- he is 11-4 in NCAA games at Arizona, but 0-3 in regional finals. At most places they would throw him a parade, but they have high expectations in the desert and this year's Wildcat team isn't as good as previous teams.

10) There are rumors that Rick Pitino could be headed to Las Vegas; bringing his son with him as an assistant coach/heir apparent. Richard Pitino's Minnesota team is 0-13 in the Big 14-- their only win since Dec 1 was over #345 Chicago State. Pitino would have to be the greatest salesman ever to sell his son as his heir apparent in Vegas

9) Albany coach Will Brown is Mr March; his Great Danes have won the America East tournament five times in the last decade- during that time, his record in regular season conference games is 105-68, pretty good but not dominant. Albany was the #1 seed in only two of those five tournament wins- they also won as a #2, 4 and a 5.

For the record, Albany is 1-5 in the NCAAs (win was in a play-in game), but 5-1 vs the spread and yes, I went to college there. Despite that, they have a good academic reputation.

8) Wisconsin's interim coach Greg Gard has proven he can coach at the Big 14 level, leading his Badgers to seven straight wins, including wins over Michigan State, Indiana and Maryland, but if I'm the Wisconsin athletic director, I have one question left, and it can't be answered before they have to decide on Gard's job status-- can he recruit at the Big 14 level, the way Bo Ryan did? It always takes good players to win games.

7) Golfer Vaughn Taylor won at Pebble Beach Sunday, his first PGA win since '05; Taylor had 14 top 10's in 85 events from 2004-06, winning twice- he was on Ryder Cup team in 2006, but from 2011-15, he had three top 10's in 84 events, as his game went south. Past successes do not guarantee future success.

Golf is tough-- ton of competition-- if you lose your confidence, can be difficult to get your game back. Was fun to see how happy he was when he won yesterday. Now he is back on Tour for the next three years, when he had no place to play before this.

6) Gonzaga hasn't missed the NCAAs since 1998; since 2002, Bulldogs are 199-23 in conference play- they're 24-4 in last 13 WCC tourneys, but in NCAA games, they are 12-12, with only two Sweet 16's, and no Elite 8's.

Next year the Zags add Washington transfer Nigel Williams-Goss, and Gonzaga will become more dominant in the league, with a great PG. They could be a Final Four team in the next couple years; anything they do this year would be a little supririsng.

5) Harvard won the Ivy League the last four years, but this year, they're 2-6 and haven't covered a conference game yet. Their PG got hurt and isn't playing this year. In the Ivy League, there are no redshirts, so the kid had to leave school for the year.

Ivy League has some weird rules, but there are murmurs that a conference tournament is on the horizon, which would help bring them closer to the 21st century.

4) Georgia State won the Sun Belt LY, with Ron Hunter coaching his son, but Ron Jr is in the NBA and the Panthers are struggling, losing seven of their last nine games, losing last two games by one point each. Sun Belt tournament is going to be fun, with both Louisiana schools, Little Rock and Tex-Arlington the favorites.

3) I have no idea if Boston College's move to the ACC has been profitable, but on the field of play, its been a disaster. This is the 11th year for BC in ACC- they have a conference record of 68-110, and haven't made the NCAAs since 2009. In their last four years in the Big East, Boston College was 41-23 in conference games.

2) St Mary's has five freshmen, three sophs and no seniors on its team; they're #335 in the country (out of 351) in experience, but they're 20-4, 11-3 in the WCC, so they're having an excellent season, but are the new kids tiring? Gaels split their last four games, are 1-8 vs spread in their last nine-- curious to see how they finish up.

1) Avery Johnson is going to be a force in the SEC; his Alabama team is 15-9, 6-6 in the SEC, a surprisingly good season. Crimson Tide beat Wichita State, Notre Dame, Clemson by a total of six points in pre-conference play-- now they've won their last four SEC games. and if they finish strong, could find themselves on the bubble at this time next month, a totally unexpected result.

Johnson played, coached in the NBA; Alabama made a great hire with him.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.........
13) Back in the early days of ESPN, when they had most of the NCAA tourney, they would run replays of every game back all night long, until next day's games started. This was tremendous; now there is station on DirecTV, ROOT TV (channel 687) that basically does the same thing every Saturday night, running games back all night. As I type this, I'm on my 18th straight hour of watching college hoop- tremendous!!!

12) Kentucky 89, South Carolina 62-- Calipari got tossed 2:26 into this game, then his players then played their best game of the season. Funny how that works.

11) ESPN treats Joe Lunardi's NCAA tournament projections like they are a fact: "Gonzaga dropped out of the field by losing at SMU". Stop already. Lunardi does an excellent job projecting the field, but he isn't always right and it becomes annoying as they talk about this stuff when the brackets are still four weeks away.

10) Providence (-4) 75, Georgetown 72-- Gambling is hard; Friars were up 26 in this game, led by 20 at the half, but didn't cover the spread.

9) Morehead State 78, Belmont 77-- Contrasting styles, a growing rivalry. Belmont was up 14 at the half in this game. This was a tough game to officiate

8) Stacey Augmon spoke out about the vacant UNLV head coaching job; he is an assistant at his alma mater now and he spoke to the Las Vegas newspaper Saturday, saying he wanted the job. If they don't hire him or Reggie Theus, another alum, then they better hire Rick Pitino or they're going to look bad.

7) Fort Wayne 88, Denver 84-- Pioneers of Summit League lost this game, but made 20-32 on the arc, wthout taking a single foul shot the whole game. Very rarely see a team go a whole game without any FTs- scoring 84 points makes it more rare.

6) Atlantic 14 needs better TV exposure- when you're on the east coast and your first game on a Saturday doesn't start until 4:00, you're missing out on four hours of potential TV exposure. Some good teams in this league; they need to be seen more.

5) Wright State 61, Valparaiso 59........Texas Tech 84, Baylor 66-- Rough day for the Drew brothers, who were favored by 14, 9 points in these games.

4) Albert Einstein has been dead since 1955- his estate made $11M last year.

3) Kansas 76, Oklahoma 72-- Not often Sooners go 10-32 on the arc- they shot 33% from floor in this game. .

2) I've said this before: ESPN fouled up letting basketball anaylst Doug Gottlieb get away-- he is smart, opinionated and teaches you stuff. He is so much better at his job than Jay Bilas is, but ESPN has anointed Bilas as its #1 analyst. Bad move.

1) Stanford 76, Oregon 72-- Rough weekend for Ducks in Bay Area; getting swept by Cal and Stanford. Oregon-Arizona-USC are all tied for first in loss column- Arizona and USC play today. Six teams are within 1.5 games of first place in Pac-12.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.........
13) I'd like to see a HORSE competition for NBA All-Star weekend, in addition to a 3-point contest. I'd rather watch that than a dunking contest-- skill-based competition is more fun to watch. I'm probably in the minority on that one.

12) Was reminded last night that Jeff Van Gundy has suggested that any 3-point shot that gets banked in should only count for two points, since no one tries to bank a 3-pointer. He was probably kidding, but it would be interesting if that was a rule.

11) Rhode Island PG Jarvis Garrett broke a bone in his jaw, but has to come back to play with a facemask that looks like it might be hard to breathe thru. He played 36:00 in a tough 68-66 loss to Dayton last night, scoring 11 points with four assists.

10) University of Buffalo suspended its best player- they got waxed at home last nite by Ohio U. The logo at mid-court on Buffalo's court is a map of New York, which isn't unusual, but the huge "New York" written over it looks stupid. I'm pretty sure most everyone knows where Buffalo is.

9) I watched East Carolina's last two home games on TV; haven't seen a lot of ECU basketball over the years, but now that they're in the AAC, they got on TV now and then. They lost the two games, in double OT and triple OT. Tough week.

8) There was a Twitter controversy Friday about how the NCAA is going to judge Syracuse's season, since they went 4-5 while coach Boeheim was suspended. It isn't like a player was injured- the coach was suspended because they broke the rules, they should not get any kind of break from the committee because of that.

7) Presidential candidate Ted Cruz portrays himself as Mr Religion, which is fine, except he ran a TV commercial this week ripping one of his Republican rivals and one of the actresses in the commercial turns out to be a porn actress. Whoops.

6) Five assistant football coaches for the Texas Longhorns have bolted Austin since the season ended; what makes that unusual is that they did so well recruiting. Four of the five coaches were on the offensive side of the ball.

5) 96 underclassmen declared for the NFL Draft; 14 of those 96 kids weren't even invited to the NFL Combine, which means they made bad decisions to leave school.

4) Hadn't really thought about this, but in college basketball, each team can use the basketball of its choice for home games and the kids are starting to complain about it, since there apparently big differences in the balls used.

Hard to believe leagues like the ACC or Big 14 don't have a contract for a uniform ball to be used in its conference games, but Nike/adidas/Under Armour are providing new basketballs. That is something that should change for the quality of the game.

3) President of the Bank of America made $15M last year; he got a $3M raise, so we can safely assume he had a good banking year.

2) Oakland A's got OF Khris Davis from Milwaukee; he hit 27 HRs LY and all they gave up were two minor leaguers who haven't played above A ball. Good deal on the surface, but you have to wait to see how those kids pan out before we completely judge the deal. A's needed a right-handed power bat, though.

1) Bill Walton was talking about crocodiles and Egyptians Thursday; here is some more information that was sent to me about this:

The Nile crocodile was the biggest and most feared predator in ancient Egypt. People feared and revered them, those who successfully fought them were greatly admired. Crocodiles also inhabited the after-life, a big thing for Egyptians.

So now you know more than you ever wanted to on that subject. You're welcome.

Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) This season, Jimmy Butler, James Harden are only two NBA players who are playing 37+ minutes per game; as recently as ten years ago, there were 33 players averaging 37+ minutes a game. Have NBA players gotten softer?

12) People are writing articles now about how grueling the NBA travel schedule is- this'll make me sound old, but 20-30 years ago, teams didn't have their own airplanes-- travel was a hell of a lot less conventient than it is now Players are softer now; the money is so big, it has taken some of the toughness out of players.

Example: Karl Malone played 80+ games in 17 of his 18 season where there were 82 games. Derrick Rose has played in 385 of a possible 626 games in his career. This was started by Gregg Popovich, players routinely taking second nights of back/backs off. It cheats the fans-- kids in AAU play three games a day, but kids are hungry.

11) There was a scuffle on the Phoenix Suns' bench Wednesday; only surprising thing there is that it doesn't happen more often. Emotions run high and when a team's season goes down the drain, its not a lot of fun. Suns will be very glad for the All-Star break, just to get away from each other for a few days.

10) Underrated thing about these Presidential debates: the candidates stand up the whole time. Bernie Sanders is 74 years old-- I am 56, and if someone asked me to stand up for two hours straight, after I stopped laughing, I'd ask them for a 6-pack of Cherry Coke to keep me upright the whole time. I would want to debate sitting down.

9) California 83, Oregon 63-- This was an awful game, except that Bill Walton was the analyst and he was fired up-- he played a glockenspeil for part of the second half, while the game was going on, delighting the Cal band member he got on national TV.

8) Walton also educated us that crocodiles are revered in the Egypitan culture. Did not catch why crocodiles are revered by Egyptians, but apparently they are.

7) I was talking to a guy yesterday- he told me if you go to spring training in Florida, best camp to go to is the Phillies' camp in Clearwater-- very informal setting, can talk to lot of people. He talked to Charlie Manuel for a while there last year. My plan is to hit Arizona next March for my first-ever visit to A's spring training.

6) Tampa Bay Rays changed their hitting philosophy last year; they jumped frm 27th in swing % to 6th, a huge jump in one season. They acquired Corey Dickerson from the Rockies because they like his aggressive style at the plate.

5) Royals signed 3B Mike Moustakas for two years, $14.3M.

4) My man Les Miles signed 19 of ESPN's top 300 football recruits this winter, the #1 recruiting class in America; not sure if any of them are QBs and LSU needs a QB, but Les can recruit, which is why they always win a lot of games and why LSU has a ton of alumni playing in the NFL.

3) I did not know this because I never watched the TV show Entourage, but Jerry Jones once played himself on that show-- he was involved with bringing an NFL team back to Los Angeles, kind of what played out for real last month.

2) The average fan at the Super Bowl spent $87.57 on food/drink; I know stuff is real expensive, but $87.57 in 3-4 hours? Thats a lot of hot dogs. Apparently they sold over 8,000 glasses of wine, a sure sign we're getting soft-- who the hell drinks wine at a football game?

1) Rece Davis worked the Iowa-Indiana game with Dick Vitale last night; other than Mike Tirico, who is great at every sport he works, Davis is ESPN's best guy- no ego, just solid work at everything he does. Very easy to listen to.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) According to the LA Times, a young girl scout set up shop selling cookies next door to a marijuana depository-- she sold 117 boxes in two hours. Smart girl; hope she had a bodyguard

12) Kentucky has three alumni in the NBA All-Star Game Sunday, the most of any college.

11) Wofford hammered VMI 92-60 earlier this week; Terriers made 17-21 behind the arc, I've never seen a team shoot that high a percentage on 3-pointers.

10) There were 27 NBA scouts repesenting 15 teams at the Providence-Marquette game last night, mainly to see Dunn, Bentil and young Ellerson- they wound up seeing a double OT game, with Marquette winning- pretty fun ame.

9) Bernie Sanders' campaign raised $5.2M in the first 18 hours after he won the New Hampshire primary; these politicians sure raise a lot of cash. People in our society are frontrunners; you win a primary, you get $$-- you lose, you run out of money.

8) South Carolina is having a great basketball season- they do not have much hoop tradition- their last win in the NCAA tournament was in 1973

7) Gambling is difficult: Delaware is 0-12 in the CAA, but they're 2.5-point favorite over 1-11 Drexel tonight. Good luck handicapping that game.

6) I have the NBA package, so this doesn't bother me as much as it would otherwise, but why are the Lakers on national TV so much? I know this is Kobe Bryant's last year, but he is washed up and the Lakers stink. Enough already

5) West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins gets a $25K bonus every time his team beats Kansas, which they did last month. Hope he at least buys his players extra pizza or sweatsuits or something.

4) Wisconsin has now won its last six games; would the Badgers keep interim coach Greg Gard, who took over from Bo Ryan? He is proving he can coach.

3) San Diego Padres' scouting department will be busy this spring; they have six of the top 85 picks in the June draft, giving them an excellent chance of replenishing their farm system, if they strike it rich with those six picks.

2) Congrats to my cousin Kevin, the new track coach at CW Post on Long Island. He is an excellent coach- this will be an interesting challenge for him. If you know any kids in high school who can run fast, CW Post is a good school.

1) Our thoughts/prayers go out to Monty Williams, assistant coach for the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder; his wife was struck and killed by a car yesterday- they've got five kids, just a very, very sad situation.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings..........
13) New Orleans Saints have $22M of dead money on their payroll for next year; Atlanta has $15M of dead money, no one else has more than $6M of dead money.

12) Why the A's traded Josh Donaldson last year; this week he signed a two-year, $29M deal with Toronto, which the A's were never going to pay. To get anything decent in return, you have to trade a guy a year early, just the way it is. Good for him.

11) Michigan Wolverines are having spring football practice in Florida, which may be something that gets outlawed by this time next year. SEC teams are not happy.

10) Read something today that Sacramento Kings now won't fire George Karl, since the minority owners objecting to tossing away more money.

9) Do the Denver Nuggets regret firing Karl? They were 423-257 in regular season under Karl, but only 21-38 in playoff games- they got impatient and canned him. Well, since Denver fired Karl, they're 87-133- all change is not positive.

8) Likewise, Tom Thibodeau went 255-139 with Chicago, but 23-28 in playoff games; the players whined that Thibodeau worked them too hard, so they fired him, but now they're 27-24 and players are falling left and right. Jimmy Butler is out 3-4 weeks with a bad knee and no one can blame Thibodeau.

7) Clippers docked Blake Griffin five game checks for hitting a team employee- he broke his hand and is on the injured list. LY, Griffin made $215,544.09 per game; that makes a 5-game suspension worth $1,077,720.29. Griffin hasn't played since Dec 25.

6) Two Cuban baseball players, who are brothers, defected at the Caribbean World Series last week; the one guy is a really good 3B. The drama here is that the father of these kids is apparently a bigshot in the Cuban military. Whoops.

5) Seven different college basketball teams got a first-place vote in the top 25 poll this week; thats how crazy this season has been. There is no great, dominant team.

4) Former used car salesman/baseball commish Alan R Selig will now be teaching a class at the Arizona State Sports Law/Business School. If I had to do it all over again, I'd go to college at ASU or Santa Barbara or San Diego State. Its good to be warm.

3) Duke's starting quarterback tore his achilles Tuesday, which means he probably won't be playing this fall. He had previously torn the other achilles. Bad break.

2) Add another current D-I coach who appeared as a player in Blue Chips; lefty Rex Walters, who was a damn good player and is now coach at San Francisco. He plays for Rick Pitino's team in the opening basketball scenes of that fine movie.

1) Purdue 82, Michigan State 81 OT-- Excellent game between two of the better teams in the country. Boilers led by 18 in first half, 16 at the half- they outscored the Spartans 22-12 on the foul line. .

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked 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 in act of shooting. 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, kenpom.com 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 Bovada.lv 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 injure.an 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 stories........lol

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) ESPN3.com 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 ffib13@gmail.com 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. Kenpom.com 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.........
13)
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 East......at 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 President.....in 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 yards......at 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
Selections:

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
Selections:

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
Selections:

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
Selections:

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

Sprint
Selections:

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

Mile
Selections:

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

Juvenile
Selections:

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

Turf
Selections:

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
Selections:

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:
Selections:

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
Selections:
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
Selections:
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

Distaff
Selections:
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 year........by 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 Topps.com 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) Yahoo.com 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 o