Wednesday's List of 13:
Doing some thinking out loud......
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-- Nuggets 111, Nets 87-- Brooklyn demoted assistant coach Frank, then went out and got drilled again. Nets are a woeful 5-13.
-- Iowa 98, Notre Dame 93-- Shot clock was waste of electricity, with the Hawkeyes making 57% from the floor, 7-13 from arc.
-- Syracuse 69, Indiana 52-- Game was tied until a 25-4 Syracuse run in the second half broke it wide open.
-- Indianapolis Colts are 10-0-1 vs spread in game following their last 11 losses- they won last week, so have to keep this one in our pocket.
-- Duke 79, Michigan 69-- How did Vermont score 90 points at Duke?
-- 76ers 126, Magic 125, 2OT-- Oladipo/Carter-Williams both recorded their first career triple-double.
Quote of the Day
“Just remember, those who see the future
aren’t prone to make the same mistake.”
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton once coached which NBA team?
Arizona coach Bruce Arians was once an assistant coach at Alabama for the legendary Bear Bryant, in 1981-82.
Baltimore's Brandon Stokley is the oldest active wide receiver in the NFL, at age 37.
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Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Bronx Bombers give Jacoby Ellsbury seven years, $153M; over last four years, he's played an average of 96 games a year. Surprised that anyone got a 7-year contract, especially a guy with his history of being hurt.
12) In five wins, Jets turned ball over five times, were +1 in turnovers; in their seven losses, they’ve given ball away 21 times (-19 in turnovers).
11) UConn’s basketball team is already 4-0 vs top 100 teams, with those four wins by a total of five points, and three of those four opponents are in the top 50.
10) Tim Duncan had 23 points, 21 rebounds Monday, making him the oldest NBA player to record a 20-20 game.
9) Only six of 40 onside kicks in NFL this season have been successful.
8) Nike pays Urban Meyer $1.4M a year, just because his Ohio State Buckeyes wear Nikes. I mean, would it kill the guy to smile now and then? He lives on a golf course with a pool in his backyard, makes serious coin, wins almost every week. Cheer up fella!!!!
Meyer makes Nick Saban look like Carrot Top.
7) Orioles dumped closer Jim Johnson so they could use his $11M salary to go after other free agents, allowing the A’s to steal him for a 2B they had no use for, Jemile Weeks (Rickie’s brother). With Grant Balfour leaving for a big payday, Oakland needed to reinforce its bullpen and now they have.
6) AJ Pierzynski has a .322 career batting average at Fenway Park, which is a good thing since that’ll be where he plays his home games next year. Guy is 36 but is durable, still has decent production for a 30+ catcher.
5) In last five New England games, they’ve been outscored 78-37 in first half, but outscored opponents 133-56 after halftime. That’s 26.6 ppg in last five games, just in the second half of those games.
4) Tough weekend for hands in the NBA: Anthony Davis, Paul Pierce, JJ Redick all broke bones in their hand, will each be out a month or so.
3) Carolina Panthers converted their last eight 4th down plays, scored TDs on six of those eight drives.
2) Sorry to see Jim Grobe resign as football coach at Wake Forest; think he’s a good coach, but Wake is one of smallest schools in country playing bigtime football, and it’s a tough place to win. The guy they replace him with better be a damn good recruiter—Ed Orgeron’s name comes to mind, but they’re probably more likely to go after Clemson’s OC Chad Morris.
1) Sunday afternoon, guy posted a pic on Twitter of a betting slip he bought last January 30; $100 on Auburn to win the national championship in football this fall, at 500-1 odds. That’s a $50,000 ticket he is sitting on; all he needs is the Tigers to beat Missouri, and for either Ohio State or Florida State to lose this weekend, and Auburn will be in the title game. Wonder how many other teams he put $100 down on.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Steve Sarkisian inherited an 0-12 Washington program in 2009; Huskies went 34-29, 24-21 in Pac-12 play under the BYU grad/former USC assistant. Apparently that was enough to impress the Trojans, who hired Sarkisian as head coach Monday. Curious move.
12) It is a tremendous kick in the teeth to leave a school for a conference rival; can only think of two times it has happened-- Tommy Tuberville, who bolted Ole Miss for Auburn, and Bruce Snyder, from Cal to Arizona State. It would be more understandable if Sarkisian was an alum, but he's not.
USC-Washington games will be very interesting the next couple of years.
11) Tweet of the Day, from Washington freshman QB Troy Williams: "Don't ever commit cus of a coach. Faker then a 3 dollar bill."
10) Related happening: USC offered Ed Orgeron a raise to stay with the Trojans as an assistant, but he wasn't happy and quit. He really did a fine job as interim coach; guess he isn't that impressed with Sarkisian.
9)) Florida State is #1 in the college football poll for the first time since 2000; they opened up as a 9.5-point favorite over Ohio State, if that matchup were to take place in the BCS title game.
8) Disappointed that there is only one Papa John’s pizza place in the Albany area south of Saratoga, and that one place doesn’t deliver to the area I live in. Dagnabbit; it’s the best pizza I’ve ever had and I can’t get any. Oy.
7) Sounds like Maryland basketball coach Mark Turgeon might not have left Texas A&M for Maryland if he knew the Terps were jumping to the Big Dozen. He’s making big money either way, but it’s a piece of information that might’ve changed his thought process.
6) I asked noted basketball expert Harry the Handicapper if a change from a 0:35 shot clock to a 0:30 clock would have that much of an effect on the college game, and he said it would/will not.
Sounds like its going to happen next year; they might also allow each player six fouls before fouling out, which would be a bigger change.
5) Rory McIlroy won the Australian Open, his first win of 2013, depriving Adam Scott of the Australian Triple Crown. Some of these international golfers never seem to take time off.
4) Of the thirty current head coaches in the NBA, eight of them played for the Knicks, at one time or another.
3) Browns’ WR Josh Gordon has 498 receiving yards in his last two games, with the forgettable Brandon Weeden throwing him passes; the leader for the Jets in receiving yards for the entire 12-game season is Jeremy Kerley, with 347. In 12 games.
Speaking of the Jets, they’re the first team since the 2008 Browns to score 0 or 3 points in consecutive games.
2) Its pretty cool that college football’s national Coach of the Year is going to be a guy who was a high school coach for 16 years. Gus Malzahn will find that he’s raised expectations at Auburn to ridiculous levels, but what a season his team has had. Curious to see how it translates in his recruiting this year.
1) I’m convinced Thanksgiving weekend is busiest sports weekend of the year; so much going on. Rivalry Saturday in college football, 16-game NFL slate, lot of college basketball tournaments, as well as NBA/NHL. Just lot of stuff going on, tremendous amount of action.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday........
13) Colts 22, Titans 14-- Indy finally led a game at halftime; they took ball away four times (+3) overcoming Titans' 83-yard advantage in total yards. It is not a good sign when you score one TD and kick five FGs, but Colts won and basically clinched their division, but its a weak division.
12) Broncos 35, Chiefs 28-- Andy Reid has gotten a lot out of these Chiefs, but they're not as good as Denver, who basically have 1.5-game lead in their division. Broncos averaged 11.5 yards per pass attempt, had 403 yards thru the air, converted 8-14 on third down.
11) Jaguars 32, Browns 28-- Jax won three of last four games after 0-8 start, so credit to Gus Bradley for keeping his team afloat. Weeden passed for 370 yards and three TDs, but Cleveland still hasn't won one of his starts.
10) Panthers 27, Buccaneers 6-- Carolina has won eight games in row (7-1 vs spread); they outgained Bucs 426-206- now they face the Saints in two of next three games, with NFC South at stake.
9) Vikings 23, Bears 20 OT-- There was a taunting penalty called on Bears that gave Minnesota a first down in red zone with about 5:00 left. This was as close to blatant cheating by an official as I've seen; players were yapping for three hours, and you call taunting in a 20-17 game with 5:00 left? Vikings threw an INT couple plays later, but still......
8) Eagles 24, Cardinals 21-- Arizona was -3 in turnovers, converted 4-12 on 3rd down, was -17 in field position, and lost by a FG. Eagles have won four games in a row; was impressed by both teams here.
7) Sunday college basketball scores of note:
-- Wichita State 70, Saint Louis 65- Nice road win for Shockers.
-- Fairleigh Dickinson 58, Seton Hall 54-- FDU also beat Rutgers; does that make them state champs of New Jersey?
-- UAB 63, North Carolina 59-- Tar Heels were 1-12 from arc, 4-11 on line. UAB was 22-28 on the line.
-- San Diego State 67, Marquette 59-- Steve Fisher has been with Aztecs for 13 years; they were horrible before he got there. Top 25 program now.
-- Miami 60, Arizona State 57-- Scores like this matter on Selection Sunday.
-- LSU 70, Butler 68, OT-- Pair of 2-point losses in Orlando for Bulldogs.
-- Purdue 68, Siena 63-- Saints were up 13 at the half.
6) Dolphins 23, Jets 3-- Geno Smith is quickly becoming more suspect than prospect; total yardage was 453-177 and Jets had only 78 passing yards, as the immortal Matt Simms (non-starter in college) played the second half. You have to give Miami coaches credit; they're 6-6 amidst incredible chaos.
5) Falcons 34, Bills 31 OT-- Ronde Barber is brutal on TV; Falcons had 3rd-and goal in red zone at 2:00 warning, trailing 31-24; Barber's analysis was that if Atlanta didn't make it on 3rd down, they should go for it on 4th down. Ya think??? Sometimes its just better to say nothing.
4) 49ers 23, Rams 13-- You cannot beat a good team on road with Clemens at QB, simple as that. he's not good, and the Rams' WRs, except for Austin, are still basically useless. Last seven 49ers wins are all by 10+ points. Jeff Fisher had a lousy game from a management standpoint, passing up an easy FG in a 23-6 game and trying a hideous fake punt inside his own 20.
3) Patriots 34, Texans 31-- Houston led 17-7 at half, lost for 10th time in a row. Patriots had zero penalties, second time this year they've done that; all season long, Miami in Week 2, Green Bay in Week 9 are only other teams to not have a penalty called against them.
2) Bengals 17, Chargers 10-- San Diego scored 31 second half points last week at Arrowhead, then laid an egg here on a sunny day at home. Big win for the Bengals, who maintain a two-game lead in the AFC North,.
1) Giants 24, Redskins 17-- Washington led 14-0 early on, but lost fourth game in row; they're 2-4 at home, with wins 45-41/30-24 OT. Giants are 5-1 in last six games. Who's going to tell Daniel Snyder his lousy team doesn't have their first round draft pick (#2 right now) next spring?
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up Rivalry Weekend.......
13) Auburn 34, Alabama 28-- My question is this: What percentage of the time does the backup kicker make a 56-yard FG, when the starting kicker is so bad? Wouldn't they have been better off just going to OT?
Not a lot of athletes on the FG team, to cover the return of a short kick. Easy for me to second-guess, but this play will be shown on TV for the next 50 years, and it never should've happened.
12) Ohio State 42, Michigan 41-- Wolverines were outgained 407-158 last week at Iowa; they had 603 yards in this game, 451 thru the air. What if the Buckeyes draw Baylor or Texas A&M in a bowl game? Could be ugly.
Brady Hoke went for two points and the win because he was using a backup kicker and his defense couldn't stop Ohio State. It just didn't work.
11) Duke 27, North Carolina 25-- Duke is 10-2 and headed to play Florida State in the ACC title game next week. Should be noted that when Ole Miss hired Ed Orgeron as head coach in 2005, they fired David Cutcliffe, who is on top of the world eight years later. Life can be funny sometimes.
10) UCLA 35, USC 14-- Here you have a coach (Jim Mora) who won games in the NFL, against an interim coach (Orgeron); Bruins kicked USC's butt for second year in a row. Vandy coach James Franklin would be a good choice to be the next coach of the Trojans. .
9) Missouri 28, Texas A&M 21-- Auburn-Mizzou is not going to move the TV ratings meter much next Saturday, despite it being the SEC title game.
8) Penn State 31, Wisconsin 24-- Lions were 24-point underdogs in game where both teams had 339 passing yards, but Badgers threw 25 more times than Penn State, which was 0-3 on the road coming into this game.
7) Southern Miss 62, UAB 27-- Golden Eagles had been 0-23 the last two years before outscoring Blazers 49-6 in second half to get off the schneid.
Southern Miss' coach LY was Ellis Johnson, who was fired after one dismal season; he is now the defensive coordinator at Auburn. Life can be funny.
6) Villanova 88, Iowa 83 OT-- Wildcats blew 13-point lead in second half of the Battle 4 Atlantis final, then won game in OT. Villanova was 14-38 on arc, 13-35 inside arc and turned ball over 20 times, but they still won.
5) Georgia 41, Georgia Tech 34 OT-- Dawgs trailed 20-0 with 2:00 left in first half with QB playing his first meaningful minutes; Hutson Mason went 22-36/299 passing and led the comeback win. Has to be a bitter loss for the Yellow Jackets, who almost never win this game.
4) Iowa State 52, West Virginia 44 OT-- Cyclones trailed 31-7 midway in second quarter, rallied to hand West Virginia a discouraging loss. Should be mentioned that WVU's athletic director is Oliver Luck, Andrew's dad-- their move to the Big 12 hasn't been good for either their football or basketball. At 4-8 in football, safe to say the natives are restless.
3) Oregon 36, Oregon State 35-- Ducks won this game with 0:29 left, but what is up with the Beavers? They lost their last five games to finish at 6-6, trailing 62-6 at Washington last week, then they almost beat the Ducks.
2) Harvard 71, TCU 50-- Crimson pounded TCU in Alaskan Shootout final; if Horned Frogs get pummeled like this by an Ivy League team, what are they going to do against the good teams in the Big X? Not only that, Amric Fields broke his wrist-- he is their best player.
1) Kansas 67, UTEP 63-- Andrew Wiggins had only six points; this wasn't a great weekend for Jayhawks, losing to Villanova then sleepwalking thru this game, against a UTEP team that lost by 36 to Iowa on Friday.
Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud....
13) As far as the Jameis Winston situation goes, here’s how I feel: If he is guilty, prosecute him. If he’s not, drop the case and lets move on.
Dragging this thing out for weeks and weeks serves no purpose, other than to infer guilt, but if it turns out he isn’t guilty, where does he go to get his good name back?
12) NFL announced Cowboys-Jags will be played in London next year, a swift kick in the teeth to fans in Jacksonville who buy season tickets. Dallas is a high profile game that would likely sell out in the Gator Bowl; it shows the league cares a lot more about London than it does northern Florida.
11) NFL is running contests where winner goes to the Super Bowl; normally, those would be great to win, but who the hell wants to win a contest where the winner get a few days in New Jersey in February? You might catch pneumonia or get a concussion after you fall on some ice? Um, no thanks.
10) Seems like a long time ago, but from 2002-07, Auburn beat Alabama six years in a row. Now Nick Saban’s wife is making statements about how Bama’s fanbase is spoiled. Uh-oh.
9) There are 35 bowl games; Mississippi State became the 70th bowl eligible team Thursday night. Next year there are 37 bowl games; pity the bowl that has to promote a game with a 5-7 team in it. Its going to happen.
8) Texas Longhorns are 8-3, eight teams they’ve beaten have a combined record of 36-53. They play Baylor next week. Baylor is really good.
7) How bad is Purdue’s football team? To be a 20-point underdog to defenseless Indiana, you have to be putrid.
Its hard to believe one person would walk up to a betting window and put money down on the Boilermakers. Why would you do that?
6) Sad that Michigan’s AD is answering questions about Brady Hoke’s job security, because he’s a good coach. but if I was Hoke’s boss, I’d make him put a coat on when the temperature got under 40 degrees. He’s setting a bad example for kids all over the Midwest. You need to dress warmly in cold weather; its not manly to catch pneumonia.
5) Detroit Lions Thursday were first NFL team since 2001 to win a game by 30+ points while turning the ball over 4+ times. Star QBs in the NFL (in this case, Aaron Rodgers) are the last remaining underpaid athletes. Packers are 0-4-1 since Rodgers got hurt.
4) End of the Steeler-Raven game showed football at its violent best/worst. What a collision on the goal line!!!
Ironic that a league that rants about player safety nullifies a TD because the defense knocked the RB’s helmet off, just before he fell into the end zone. I thought blows to the head were taboo now, but not only was this one deemed legal, it almost cost Pittsburgh an important touchdown.
3) You mean David Garrard is still on the Jets? Wouldn’t Geno Smith benefit by sitting on the bench and watching a veteran play a game or three?
I figured they had cut Garrard, seeing as Matt Simms replaced Smith in Baltimore. If Garrard can’t play then cut him but if he can play, he might be able to teach Smith by example and help the young QB out. Smith appears to be in a little over his head, like a lot of rookies are.
2) Every time I watch UTEP play basketball, I can’t help but wonder why they hired Dennis Quaid as their coach, that’s how much he looks like Tim Floyd.
1) I watch A LOT of college basketball, and I was thinking the other night, ESPN made a big mistake letting analyst Doug Gottlieb walk to CBS. He is smart, opinionated but fair, a way better listen than condescending Jay Bilas, He could’ve been their next big star behind the mike, a polarizing figure who encouraged intelligent debate.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here....
13) Before I hear one more word about who does or does not get in baseball’s Hall of Fame, I’ve got one thing to say: Wake me up when they induct Pete Rose. Period. Guy belongs in the Hall of Fame.
12) After Rose gets in, I’ll ask you why Mike Piazza isn’t in? I’m no Dodger/Met fan, but wow what a hitter he was, right in Johnny Bench’s class offensively. He deserves to be inducted, am unsure why he missed out last year.
11) There was almost a fracas at a pre-tournament dinner at the Battle for Atlantis tournament in the Virgin Islands, with USC/UTEP coaches having words and having to be separated. It involves recruiting and UTEP losing a key recruit, but since Tim Floyd used to coach at USC, there are lot of more personal things involved too.
There's a chance the two teams could meet in the tournament, which would be good theater. The recruit who left UTEP wound up at UCLA, so both of these programs would be upset about that, Bruins being USC's rival
10) According to ESPN.com, in October Nevada casinos made the following amounts of money on these activities: Penny slots $221M, Blackjack $85M, Craps $33M, Sports $30.3M. That’s $221M in 31 days, $7M every day, just on penny slots!!!!
Moral of story: Don't play penny slots.
9) Duke football is 3-0 this month; they lost 30 of previous 31 November games before this season.
8) This bears repeating; Vermont’s basketball team is 1-5, lost to Bryant by 23. Catamounts made 31-41 (76%) inside the arc in their 91-90 loss at Duke last weekend. Duke is a soft team; very talented on perimeter, but young and soft. Duke-Arizona at 6pm tonight will be fun.
7) Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch is averaging 146 rushing yards per game, the highest average ever for a college QB.
6) Alaskan Shootout used to be a staple of Thanksgiving weekend, but ESPN has damaged it by having their own tournaments at more accessible, warmer sites (Disney World/Disneyland). Harvard/Denver/Indiana State make this a pretty good event this year.
Just have no desire to ever go to Alaska, ever. Too damn cold. If I want to see a freakin' moose, I'll find Bullwinkle on the Cartoon Network.
5) This is the first time ever a South Carolina-Clemson football game finds both teams in the top 10. Gamecocks’ success under Steve Spurrier is basically the best run of football success they’ve had in a very long time.
4) If you have a child, please have him throw lefthanded; Manny Parra signed a two-year, $5.5M deal with the Reds. He is awful, but he is lefty, so he is rich.
3) If you’re talking about the Knicks and you’re talking about the need for better ball movement, you’re talking about #7; who the hell else on that team holds the ball? Prigioni? JR Smith? He rarely holds it, he just jacks it.
You want to be a “superstar” and your team is 3-10, you’re gonna get grief; that’s just the way it is.
2) Oregon signed hoop coach Dana Altman to an extension thru 2020; that sounds like a long, long time from now—kids he’ll be recruiting then are in 5th and 6th grade now.
1) Texas Tech has a 5-8 PG named Luke Adams who was born deaf; next time I want to complain about some small detail (it won’t be too long) I’ll think of Luke and I’ll shut up.
Thursday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13........
32) Texans—Haven’t won since Week 2, couldn’t score TD at home against Jaguars last week.
31) Redskins—At this point, not much doubt they’d be better if Cousins played QB, but that opens up a caseful of worm cans.
30) Falcons—Haven’t won or covered any of their five road games.
29) Browns—1-16 against Big Ben. Still don’t have a franchise QB. Like many teams, lot of big decisions for them this winter.
28) Jaguars—Much to their credit are still plugging away, still trying hard and are getting better, but 2-9 is still 2-9.
8) Chiefs—Defensive injuries they had last week are going to be glaring against Broncos Sunday. Chargers scored 31 points in second half last week.
7) Cardinals—You look at the Raiders still trying to find a QB; they had Carson Palmer and let him walk. Now he might be headed for an unlikely trip to the playoffs.
6) 49ers—Yards per pass attempt seems to be indicator of their success; when they’re held under 6.0, they lose. If they gain 6+ yards per attempt, they’ve won. Simple as that.
5) Patriots—Some poor bastard like Marty Mornhinweg (when he was in Detroit) kicks off to start OT, he loses and gets fired 10 minutes later; Belichick kicks off to Peyton Manning in OT to get the wind, of course it works out for him and he’s brilliant. Go figure.
4) Seahawks—Bad week to lose a couple corners, with Drew Brees coming to town. That said, Saints haven’t been as good on the road this year. By a wide margin.
3) Saints—Like I said, in the Dome, Saints are #1 on this list; on the road, down around 7 or 8. Huge game for postseason positioning Monday night; win here, and Saints might not have to come back in January.
2) Broncos—Thought they missed presence of John Fox during second half collapse Sunday in Foxboro; that’s where one calming sentence from your leader can make a difference, but Denver cracked in a stressful situation.
1) Panthers—You put the Panthers’ resume in Dallas Cowboys’ colors and they would’ve been on cover of SI two or three times already this year. Must tip cap to Mike Shula as OC too; ripped his hiring early in season, but Cam Newton is playing great ball under his tutelage.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) Rogers Communications in Canada made a 12-year, $5.2B deal with the NHL to broadcast hockey throughout Canada; this includes all platforms, languages, so that’s a lot of cash being injected into the NHL’s economy. Still hard to believe the league has teams in Phoenix/Raleigh/ Nashville but not in Hamilton/Quebec City/Saskatoon or even a second team in Toronto.
12) Do you think Mark Sanchez watches Jets games and laughs up his sleeve, as in, “Bet you wished I was playing now, suckers…..”? I’m telling you, up until Flacco/Ryan in 2008, rookie QBs just didn’t play this early in their careers and in this case, I’m thinking its not a positive change.
11) Going into Tuesday’s NBA games, there were 17 teams over .500; 13 of the 17 are in the West. So if the playoffs started today, four sub-.500 teams would make the playoffs, five teams over .500 would miss out. This will correct itself for the most part, between now and April, but wow, the east has been terrible so far.
10) Green Bay Packers' guard Josh Sitton had this to say about this week's opponents, the Detroit Lions:
“They go after quarterbacks, their entire defense takes cheap shots all the time. That’s what they do, that’s who they are. They’re a bunch of dirtbags or scumbags. I mean, that’s just how they play.”
Sitton is number 71 for the Packers; they play the early game Thursday.
9) If I had to do over again, I would go to college at Pepperdine or LMU or Cal-Santa Barbara, somewhere near the beach, where the only scraping of ice was done during Happy Hour. So why in the name of Admiral Byrd are the Pepperdine Waves spending this week at the Great Alaskan Shootout? Bet those kids will appreciate their campus a whole lot more after watching moose cavort in the slushy streets of Anchorage.
8) Speaking of which, if a TV network owns the rights to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and airs it before Thanksgiving, they should be forced by federal law to let another network televise this classic program in December where it belongs.
7) Cleveland Browns signed QB Alex Tanney, who threw 157 TD passes at D-III Monmouth; you know the QB pool is getting thin when kids who didn't get a college scholarship are getting put on rosters.
6) Tweet of the Day from Colts' owner Jim Irsay:
"Must find a way 2 win Division,no excuses,no explanations..hide weaknesses,accent strengthens/We gotta get our heads out of r butts-WAKE UP!"
Twitter hasn't done much to help spelling in this country.
5) Northern Illinois football team wore uniforms Tuesday with "The Hard Way" on the back, where the names usually are. Not sure who thought this was a good idea, but I would disagree with them.
4) I’m already tired of some college hoop analysts whining about the length of games; if you don’t like it, quit and go get a real job. Players, coaches will adjust, there will be less fouling and a better game will result. You get the feeling some coaches are using analysts as mouthpieces to get their opinions heard.
3) Redskins’ biggest question heading into the offseason: Can regain Robert Griffin III his speed and become a dual threat QB again? He can’t even scramble out of bounds right now; its not pretty to watch. If he can’t run, he’s really not an NFL-caliber QB, certainly not a starter.
2) Last year at this time, critics were sniping at the Rams for not drafting RGIII and instead grabbing four draft picks for his slot in the draft, the last of which is Washington 1st round pick next April. Haven’t heard anything from those critics in a while.
That’s the thing about critics; its easy to hide in the bushes when you’re wrong. Lot harder to be in the spotlight, making difficult decisions. In this case, with Redskins 3-8, looks like the Rams made a great decision.
1) Please be careful travelling today; lot of bad weather around the country. Want everyone to have a healthy and happy holiday, so be careful.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.....
13) The cool thing about building a winning football team is that most of the things that make a good franchise QB are things the general public cannot see. Does the QB study enough? Is he a great teammate? Do his teammates believe in him and will they follow him? When a team gets the ball down 3 with 2:00 to go on their own 30, do the other 46 players think the QB will lead them down the field?
I watch every game on TV, but have no idea about the intangibles and that’s what makes it interesting.
12) You want to be a gambler? Eight of the Dolphins’ 11 games this year have been decided by 4 or less points. Seems like every game they play comes down to a red zone drive in the last minute. Very tough team to handicap, especially with all the off-field chaos mixed in.
11) Jets are 0-2 since OC Marty Mornhinweg’s son became starting QB at Florida; not saying he is distracted, but its been a bad month for both the Jets and Gators. Florida's #3 WR used to be a fullback; they're a bit depleted.
10) This bears repeating: Georgia Southern beat Florida 26-20 Saturday without completing one pass. Zero. 0 for 3. None. Eagles are a I-AA team. Gators are a complete mess.
9) Sad thing about Georgia QB Aaron Murray tearing his ACL and having his college career end two games early, after 52 career starts; it’ll cost him a lot of money in the spring when the draft rolls around, but he’ll wind up playing in the NFL, but maybe not next year.
8) Tip of the cap to NY State’s DMV, whose online registration system turns out to be excellent. Did the whole online registration thing, was done in five minutes, had my sticker six days later. Efficient system by a department that takes its share of grief.
7) I’m not a big believer in ERA as a pitching stat; think the pitcher should be held responsible for all the runs he gives up, even if a fielder screws up. We don’t discredit the pitcher if a fielder makes a great play and saves several runs. It all should even out eventually, which is why we use RA on this website, not ERA.
6) Dodgers signed Dan Haren for one year, $10M, good value for a veteran pitcher. Makes me nervous because it means Ricky Nolasco walks, and I have him on my fantasy team; don’t want him in Colorado or the AL. Sounds like a good deal for the Dodgers, though.
5) Over the last three seasons, Derrick Rose has played 50 games for the Bulls, and banked $41,028,896. Oy.
4) If you care about such things, since it is Maui Classic week, here is next year’s field: Arizona-BYU-K State-Missouri-Pitt-Purdue-San Diego State, along with host Chaminade. Strong field, as usual.
3) Has an NFL head coach ever won Coach of the Year in consecutive years, for two different teams? Bruce Arians might do that, although Andy Reid figures to win COY unless the Chiefs collapse.
2) Former Cleveland Browns' GM Phil Savage pointed out on Twitter that when Robert Griffin gets tackled, none of his teammates help him up; he thinks that is telling. Seeing as he is a former NFL GM, I believe him.
1) Off top of my head, I'm thinking this is the busiest week of the sports year, in terms of sheer volume; Rivalry Saturday in college football, ton of good college basketball, the first 16-game NFL card in a while, plus NBA and NHL games. Good week to log onto this website every day.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday.......
13) Ravens 19, Jets 3-- Geno Smith was 9-22 passing, converted once on 12 third down plays; is Josh Cribbs the Jets' best QB?
12) Buccaneers 24, Lions 21-- Whomever makes decisions in Tampa has an interesting one regarding the head coach; Bucs are playing better, but didn't start until season was lost. Lions were -5 in turnovers, had a punt blocked.
11) Jaguars 13, Texans 6-- Houston is awful; they haven't won a game since Week 2. Andre Johnson only caught two passes. These teams play in couple weeks on Thursday night football. Oy.
10) Vikings 26, Packers 26-- Minnesota led 23-7 in 4th quarter, but Matt Flynn (cut by three teams in last year) rallied Pack to an important tie. Look at the NFC North standings, this tie helped the Packers- if they beat Detroit Thursday and the Bears lose next week, Green Bay is back in first place.
9) Chargers 41, Chiefs 38-- KC's defensive line took some injury hits in this game; San Diego scored 31 points in second half, averaged a huge 9.9 yards per pass attempt. Broncos come to Arrowhead next week.
8) Panthers 20, Dolphins 16-- Carolina plays the Saints in Weeks 14-16; should be good theater. Panthers have won seven games in row, last two on last-minute TD drives.
While I'm here, a tangent; any violent hit gets penalized now, to the point where it is almost counter productive to rush the passer. Too many flags; it is a viiolent game, thats why it is popular. Don't ruin it, Roger.
7) Interesting college basketball scores from Sunday:
-- North Carolina 93, Louisville 84-- UNC took 38 FTs, six 3's.
-- Duke 91, Vermont 90-- Vermont shot 65% wth only six turnovers.
-- Georgetown 84, VCU 80-- Disappointing 1-2 trip for the Rams.
-- Stony Brook 104, Detroit 102, 3 OT-- Jameel Warney: 32 pts/21 reb.
-- Charlotte 63, Michigan 61-- Pretty big upset in Puerto Rico.
-- UMass 62, Clemson 56-- Huge month for the Minutemen.
6) Steelers 27, Browns 11-- Pittsburgh is 5-2 since an 0-4 start; Big Ben is now 16-1 against the Browns, who lost QB Campbell to injury and seem to be doomed to another lost season. This was the first road win in eight AFC North games this season.
5) Rams 42, Bears 21-- St Louis ran ball for 258 yards; Jeff Fisher's staff has done a tremendous job of making the Rams a decent running team since the injury to Sam Bradford. Too bad they're in the NFL's toughest division.
4) Cowboys 24, Giants 21-- Both teams had 11 accepted penalties; Giants were 3-12 on third down, scored one TD, two FGs in red zone- they ran ball for 202 yards, but averaged only 4.8 yards/ pass attempt. Teams that scored a defensive TD today were 5-1 SU/ATS.
3) Titans 23, Raiders 19-- Ryan Fitzpatrick drove Titans to winning TD in last minute; they converted 10-18 on 3rd down. Oakland tried six FGs on 11 drives but missed two of them, and that hurt. Raiders are now 0-4 this season in game following a win.
2) Cardinals 40, Colts 11-- Bruce Arians coached Indy for most of last year, so he had to have some kind of advantage here. In their last four games, Colts have been outscored 93-12 in first half, which coincides with Reggie Wayne getting hurt. Not much urgency in that bad a division, though.
1) Patriots 34, Broncos 31 OT-- I went out to get snacks before the Sunday nite game and it was damn cold out; why does the NFL schedule night games in frigd weather? Do they care about the ticket buying public, player safety, for that matter? Or the quality of the product? Cold weather games aren't as much fun-- who likes to sit outside and freeze?
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) It was November 23 yesterday and we saw these scores.........
-- Georgia Tech 66, Alabama A&M 7
-- Clemson 52, Citadel 6
-- North Carolina 80, Old Dominion 20-- Tar Heels get a semi-pass because ODU is in process of moving up to I-A.
-- Alabama 49, Chattanooga 0
-- South Carolina 70, Coastal Carolina 10
Florida State hung 80 on Idaho, but Idaho is I-A, so they're big boys and need to recruit better. Playing I-AA teams rips off your fans, especially this late in the season. if you lose to a I-AA team, you should become ineligible to play in a bowl game that year. Speaking of which.......
12) Georgia Southern 26, Florida 20-- GSU didn't complete one pass, not one; they were 0-3 passing, ran ball 54 times for 429 yards. Florida is 4-7, will have its first losing season since I was in college-- 1979. Do you think Mike Gundy would leave Stillwater to coach the mighty Gators?
11) Oklahoma State 49, Baylor 17-- Game was 35-3 after three quarters; Bears haven't won in Stillwater since WWII. Gundy's stock is pretty high; if Florida came calling, he'd have an interesting choice to make. The coach who preceded Gundy in Stillwater is doing pretty well in the SEC.....
10) LSU 34, Texas A&M 10-- Tigers ran ball for 324 yards on a rainy day in Baton Rouge, beating A&M for third time in row over last four years. Aggies outgained LSU last year but were done in by turnovers; they were physically thrashed in this game.
9) San Diego State 34, Boise State 31, OT-- Aztecs are first conference rival to beat Boise in consecutive years since Broncos were playing in the old Big West Conference; Aztecs' two 4th quarter TDs came on a pick-6 and a punt return. Boise's 7-4 record is their worst in a long time.
8) Arizona 42, Oregon 16-- In the history of football, teams that rush for 300+ (304) yards and have a +3 turnover ratio never lose, not even if they're 19-point home underdogs. Wildcats lost to Wazzu last week, win this game, which would make you question why you bother handicapping games.
7) Vanderbilt 14, Tennessee 10-- Commodores have beaten Tennessee in consecutive seasons for first time since 1926; they've also won their last eight November games. "Coach Franklin, I have a Mr Haden on Line 1....."
6) Brian McCann: 5 years, $85M to play in the Bronx- their catchers hit .213 with eight homers LY. Think 5-year contracts are the ceiling now.
5) Boston College 29, Maryland 26-- Andre Williams had 263 yards on 32 carries as Eagles rallied from a 24-13 deficit to win on a last-second 52-yard FG, when kid had missed first try that was nullified by a Maryland timeout. Williams had TD runs of 74/72 yards.....in the 4th quarter.
4) Wizards 98, Knicks 89-- If Knicks could re-think getting rid of Jeremy Lin, you think they would still do it? Rockets are 9-5, Knicks 3-9. They're a team that lacks toughness with Chandler out injured.
3) Iowa 24, Michigan 21-- Watching this game before the LSU-A&M game was like watching the JV game before the varsity; how does Michigan not have better athletes at RB/WR? TV guys kept saying how great #87 is; all the kid did all day was drop balls right in his hands. .
2) Clippers/Lakers both have games in Staples Center Sunday; would be curious to know how many people were at both games.
1) Wyoming 59, Hawai'i 56 OT-- Cowboys gained 793 yards but needed a FG in OT to beat 0-11 Hawai'i, which at least got back to go back to paradise after the game, while the Cowboys had to stay in Laramie. Wyoming will be bowl eligible if they upset Utah State next week, but Aggies will be playing for a division title because of Boise State's loss.
Saturday's List of 13; Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Lets get the important stuff out of the way first: apparently singer Joan Jett got removed from the South Dakota float at the Macy's parade next week because she is a vegetarian. What is this world coming to?
12) UMass 81, New Mexico 65-- Lobos were lucky to beat UAB the day before; Minutemen pulled away late here- they led by 2 with 10:00 left, and are now 5-0. Good game with Clemson coming up Sunday night.
11) Good thing they refurbished Madison Square Garden; combined record of Knicks and Rangers: at home 5-11, on road, 9-8.
10) Oklahoma 86, Seton Hall 85-- Pirates led by 6 with 0:40 left but lost in regulation in Brooklyn. Only good news for Seton Hall is that it saves them from getting thrashed by Michigan State in Finals tonight.
9) Michigan 82, Florida State 80 OT-- Seminoles led by 10 at half, by 9 with 5:00 left, but couldn't finish deal-- if they beat Northeastern in 3rd place game Sunday, chance are FSU has done enough to get ranked in top 25.
8) Portland 98, Chicago 95-- Bulls led by 15 at half, then Derrick Rose hurt his good knee, they lost the game and now have to worry about when their star will be 100% again. Robin Lopez had 16 rebounds for Portland.
7) Providence 67, Vanderbilt 60-- Commodores led 56-40 with 9:40 left, but a 7:47 scoring drought did them in. Vandy was 0-7 from floor, 0-2 from line with three turnovers while their lead melted away.
6) UConn 59, Indiana 58-- Huskies other than Napier (10-14 from floor, 4-6 from arc) combined to shoot 11-39 from floor, 2-13 from arc. Indiana has kid named Hollowell, who scored 7 points in 31 minutes; someone on Twitter was pleading for Tom Crean to yank him from game; he was 2-7 from floor.
5) Minnesota 111, Nets 81-- Is it too late to re-activate coach Jason Kidd as a player and make Lawrence Frank the Nets' coach? I'm not kidding- they're 3-9 and sinking fast. Losing to Charlotte is worse than losing to the Wolves, but showing very little heart in Minnesota is a red flag.
4) Cardinals traded 3B David Freese to the Angels for OF Peter Bourjos, which is bad news if Jon Jay is on your fantasy team (not me!!!). Looks as if Carpenter will move to 3B and Kolten Wong will play 2B for the Redbirds.
3) Marc Gasol left Friday's game with a non-contact knee injury, which is usually bad news. Memphis is 7-6, but they're screwed if Gasol is out for an extended time. Somewhere, Lionel Hollins is just shaking his head, trying to figure out why Memphis fired him after he went 56-26 last year.
2) Navy 58, San Jose State 52 OT-- Spartans tied game with 0:00 left on a 4th down pass, but had no shot against Navy's option offense in OT. Navy ran ball for 432 yards; QB Reynolds had 240 by himself.
1) Doug Collins is a tremendous addition to ESPN's NBA coverage; he was talking about the relationship between coaches/teams last night, in light of how horrible the Nets are playing. He sounded exasperated, as if there are owners/GMs who think anyone can coach an NBA team. It ain't easy, and people in Brooklyn are finding that out now.
Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) Glad to see Dave Duncan is back in baseball, as advisor with Arizona. Duncan was one of my boyhood heroes with the A’s and later became one of the best pitching coaches, working with Tony LaRussa. Duncan lost his wife last year and at age 68, felt it was time to get involved again. We wish him well. Former A’s 1B coach Dave McKay has also joined the D’Backs staff.
12) UMass 96, Nebraska 90—Minutemen are building a resume, with wins over BC, LSU and now Nebraska; there were 82 foul shots and 35 offensive rebounds in this physical opener of the Charleston Classic.
11) Charlotte 68, Kansas State 61—Wildcats go 5-26 behind the arc, and while this isn’t as bad as losing to Northern Colorado, if K-State is going to contend in the Big X, you’d think they win games like this.
Question remains; can Bruce Weber recruit well enough to win consistently at this level of D-I? We know he can coach, but no one wins without players.
10) Northeastern 63, Georgetown 56—Wow. Hoyas were up 11 at half. Not sure if JTIII rates special consideration because of his dad’s status, but what exactly has he done with the Hoyas? Georgetown only scored 20 points in the second half.
9) New Mexico 97, UAB 94 2 OT-- Sometime in March, ESPN will do a list of the ten best games of the season- this game will be on that list. Lobos hit game-tying 3's in last 0:04 of both regulation and the first OT. UAB coach Jerrod Haase couldn't have slept well after blowing this game.
8) Florida State 85, VCU 67-- Its one thing for VCU to have a pressing, running team; its another thing to do it and beat a team with bigger, similar-type athletes that play in a better league. Rams got put in their place a little bit here, by a middle-of-pack ACC team.
7) Saints 17, Falcons 13-- If you just looked at Atlanta's two losses to the Saints this year, you wouldn't think the Falcons are having that bad a season. Its their other seven losses that are so alarming.
6) Major league teams apparently have an extra $25M each to work with this winter, as the new TV contracts kick in, so if you see some especially goofy contracts this winter, that helps explain it.
5) Angels finished 22nd out of 30 MLB teams in starting pitchers’ ERA this year; their farm system doesn’t have much and they’ve got a ton of money invested in position players for the forseeable future. Not sure how much they can improve that pitching.
Texas was basically given Prince Fielder, since they’ve got Profar to replace Kinsler at second base. Bad week for the Angels.
4) Padres signing Josh Johnson is an interesting move for both sides. Pitcher-friendly ballpark, one-year deal for guy trying to work his way into a multi-year payday next winter.
3) Seeing as Wartburg College held Grinnell’s sharpshooter Jack Taylor to three points Wednesday, what the hell were those other two schools doing, letting him shoot as many times as he did?
Do these teams not compete? Do their coaches get paid? That’s the one thing about Grinnell I don’t understand; some of their opponents seem to be in on the joke and let them score a ton of points. Why?
2) I remember watching Kobe Bryant score 81 points against Toronto; its like they were scared of him. Jesus Christ, it’s the NBA!!! Knock him on his ass a couple times!!!! No one did, and I’ve wondered why ever since.
1) As far as all this ARod/courtroom BS, here’s my take: if a major league team makes a trade or signs a player, let me know. Otherwise, wake me up when the spring training games start in March, or actually, when my fantasy league draft starts on President’s Day weekend.
As long as ARod gets the $90M he is owed over the next four years, I’ll be happy. Bronx Bombers stupidly gave him that contract-- pay the man.
Thursday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13 (7+6).......
32) Jaguars—Carson Palmer looked like a combination of Dan Fouts/Norm Van Brocklin last week, so I’m thinking Jags have a bad defense; in their last five games, on first drive of each half (10 drives) Jax has given up five TDs, three FGs and forced two fumbles. Opposing punters nap on the sidelines during their games.
31) Falcons—Atlanta looks like a team that has stopped trying; curious to see them tonight on national TV, against its arch-rival. Will be disappointing if they don’t give a strong effort.
30) Texans—Yanked Case Keenum for the hideous Matt Schaub Sunday, then announced Keenum is starting this week. Then why did you yank him last week? That phone you hear ringing in the Houston front office is Kevin Sumlin’s agent, on Line 1. Last time Texans won a game the Astros still had two weeks of games left to play.
29) Vikings—Fran Tarkenton wrote something this week about how his old team needs a change. Always good when the alumni jump ship.
Minnesota will be playing home games outdoors for the next two years, by the way, while their new stadium is being built. Vikings’ owners are building a domed stadium, which makes them smarter than the Twins owners, who apparently like to freeze every April-May-September.
28) Redskins—This couldn’t be working out better; Rams got two #1 picks from Washington from RGIII , and Redskins are losing left and right. Rams could reap a bonanza with two #1 picks next April.
Meanwhile, Daniel Snyder can’t be too happy, although since he’s really rich, he should always be happy. Everyone has problems, but rich people’s problems aren’t as bad as ours.
27) Packers—Without Aaron Rodgers, this team is 0-3. By the way, when does it become acceptable to refer to Rodgers as ARod and if we did, would people boo him, just out of habit?
7) Chiefs—Two punters in Chief-Denver game Sunday are Colquitt brothers, which reminds us that in the highest scoring game in NFL history (Redskins 72, Giants 41 in 1966) the two kickers were Charlie/Pete Gogolak, with Pete being the NFL’s first-ever soccer-style kicker.
6) 49ers—Wow, if 49ers slip up down stretch, Arizona is going to make playoffs, and Bruce Arians is going to become a kind of coaching guru, having led Colts to a playoff spot last year as an interim coach. This was a guy who was 21-45 while coaching Temple from 1989-92. Good for him. Meanwhile, why did the Steelers let Arians go as OC? Are they better since he left? Um, not even close.
5) Patriots—I’m tired of whining about Brady not having good receivers, so I’ll ask this: how many starting QBs in the NFL in the last 20 years made less money than their wife? Big-time models’ paychecks make athletes’ salaries look like middle class government employees. Is Brady the only one? Inquiring minds want to know.
4) Saints—Saints are really, really good because then-Dolphins’ coach Nick Saban listened to Miami’s team doctors and passed on Drew Brees’ post-operative passing shoulder and signed Daunte Culpepper instead. Oy.
Otherwise, the Saints might still stink, the team might’ve moved to Los Angeles in the post-Katrina period, and the Hornets/Pelicans would’ve moved to Seattle, instead of having Tom Benson buying them to keep them on Bourbon Street.
Seattle really deserves an NBA team and it could be Nick Saban’s fault that they don’t have one.
3) Seahawks—I’ve seen the Seattle blue jersey in the mall; they’re much sharper-looking in person than on TV. Good idea for an NFL Films thing; how new uniforms are designed, the process that takes place, the designs that aren’t chosen. It has to be a somewhat interesting process, no?
2) Panthers—Cam Newton won a national title in junior college, he won one at Auburn. In his third NFL season, his Panthers are heading to the playoffs. How did Newton get run out of Florida’s football program but Aaron Hernandez stayed? How good is junior college football in Texas?
1) Broncos— Remember the game in Foxboro in October 2009 when there was a freak snowstorm and New England beat the Titans by 50? I’m half-expecting some kind of weather debacle Sunday night; otherwise, if the Panthers riddled the New England defense, what will Peyton Manning do?
Ed Orgeron probably has his living room set up with Bronco gear, rooting like hell for Jack Del Rio to keep winning so he has to coach right up until Signing Day in early February, so he can’t leave for USC and Pat Haden will have to give Coach O the permanent head coaching gig at USC.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud
13) Early line on next week’s Iron Bowl, which has become even bigger than normal given Auburn’s terrific season; Alabama -15.5.
12) New kickoff rules in NFL have created a lot more touchbacks than there used to be, so lot more drives start 80+ yards from the goal line; which teams are the best at long drives? Which teams have had the most/least long drives? That’s why I’m here, to inform you on such things.
11) You watch Alex Smith play and wonder how on God’s green earth the Chiefs are 9-1. Well, he doesn’t make mistakes, and the Chiefs rarely give their opponent a short field. In ten games, KC has started 46 drives (2nd-least in NFL) at their own 20 or worse field position; their opponents have started 81 (most in NFL).
Chiefs win because they’ve forced opponents to play on a longer field. They lost to the Broncos because Denver has an offense that can drive 80+ yards with no problem, and the Chiefs’ offense couldn’t keep up.
10) On flip side, Falcons/Redskins are both -22, meaning they’ve both started 22 more drives 80+ yards from the goal line than their opponents have. Atlanta has the 4th-best ppp on long drives, but they’ve seldom had a short field this season.
9) When you look at points/possession on those long drives, five teams are averaging 2+ points/possession on long drives: Panthers (2.60), Broncos (2.56), Seattle (2.15), Atlanta (2.04) and the Bears (2.00).
Have to credit Chicago coach Marc Trestman for the job he’s done coaching backup Josh McCown while starting QB Cutler has been out injured.
8) Which teams are worst at driving from their own 20? Jaguars (0.74), Browns (0.90), Jets/Raiders (both 0.97) are the four worst in this category.
7) Besides the Chiefs, which teams have won the field position battle? Answer is: the winning teams. Denver (+23), Patriots (+22), Carolina (+21), Seattle (+20) are the next four teams in this category, behind the Chiefs’ +35.
6) Carlos Ruiz gets three years, $26M to stay in Philly, hit cheap homers for my fantasy team; Tim Hudson gets $23M for two years to go back to the Bay Area, this time on the wrong (SF) side of the bay.
5) Golfer Peter Uihlein is the first American to win Rookie of the Year on the European Tour. Lot of these golfers have well-worn passports; they go all over the world to play. Think the European Tour allows appearance fees, which are obviously very attractive. As Don Henley once sang, “……the lure of easy money has a very strong appeal.”
4) ESPN is wasting whatever money it pays refereeing analyst Gerry Austin; he gagged bigtime commenting on the non-call at the end of the Patriot-Carolina game Monday night.
If you’re not going to criticize when the refs screw up, then don’t take money for being a officiating analyst. The refs fouled up, Austin wouldn’t say they were wrong, and he made ESPN look bad in the process.
3) If you’re the Patriots and Tom Brady is coming down to the end of a tremendous career, how do you not get him better receivers? Seriously, besides Brady, who gets paid a ton on this team? Its ridiculous how New England basically had to do on-the-job training with its receivers. Some of it was losing Aaron Hernandez and Gronkowski being hurt, but they’re TE’s anyway. Belichick the coach is better than Belichick the personnel guy.
2) Worst part of the Monday night game ending the way it did was that it obscured what a terrific game it was, with an all-time great QB doing matching plays against a future great QB.
Imagine if Carolina played Denver in the Super Bowl? Think former Panther coach John Fox would be busy on Media Day?
1) Super Bowl is in 74 days, Winter Olympics start four days later, pitchers/catchers report in the week after that. Before you know it, it’ll be spring!!! Well, not quite, but time seems to fly as I get older.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Taunting penalties are my new pet peeve; how does an official pick one guy to flag for running his mouth, when you know there are half dozen guys doing same thing on just about every play? It seems arbitrary and unfair. That said, players know the rules exist, but lot of them don’t seem to care.
Couple weeks ago in Indy, Rams kicked off to start the game—it was a touchback, so basically, very little happened. Yet a scrub on the Rams got a taunting penalty; do you want to stay employed??? What could he be thinking? Please just shut up and play.
12) Anyone who knows me know I never root for the 49ers, but the Brooks hit on Drew Brees Sunday shouldn’t have been a penalty, not even under today’s lawsuit-hindered touch football rules. He didn’t hit Brees in the head; he hit him in the shoulders, really hard. Its football, people will get banged around, that’s a big part of why the sport is popular.
11) I am told one million PS4 consoles were sold the first day they were available, just in North America. One thing I’ve successfully avoided are video games, but lot of people really like them.
Read once where the wife of an NBA player had his video game stuff FedEx’ed to him on the road when he forgot it for a road trip- she was afraid if he couldn’t play video games in his hotel, he’d be out in the night clubs cheating on her. Lesser of two evils….lol
10) Belmont 83, North Carolina 80—Bruins’ first win over ranked opponent in 10 years; they made 15-37 from the arc, while Tar Heels were a dreadful 22-48 on the foul line, with Tokoto 4-16 by himself. UNC better get Hairston back soon; he covers up a lot of their weaknesses.
9) Division III hooper Jack Taylor of Grinnell scored 180 points in his first two games; he had 71 in the opener, 109 Saturday, making 24-48 behind the arc. Grinnell alternates three units of five guys and they have highly specialized roles; Taylor’s is to shoot, and he is good at it.
Have to ask though, who is coaching against them? Kid scores that many points, he has to get knocked on his butt now and then, just so he knows there’s an opponent out there. At least deny him the ball.
8) Iowa State 77, Michigan 70—Game was 5:00 Sunday so I missed it, but total of only 28 foul shots were taken. Debate on Twitter was about whether the teams fouled less, or did refs just call fewer fouls? Haven’t been too many debacles/foul shot marathons with the new rules; feedback has been generally positive. Hope it makes the game better by time conference play starts.
7) Unpleasant sound: hearing wind tear sheeting off the side of your house at 2:30 in the morning; makes a pretty loud sound, louder than the tree falling in the forest in that Geico commercial. Wind is scary; glad we don’t get much of it in upstate NY.
6) Matthew Stafford had 362 passing yards thru three quarters Sunday, then went 0-10 in fourth, as Detroit fell apart and lost to a sub-par Steeler team, 37-27. After Calvin Johnson, Lions have terrible receivers; the most expensive pizza in America this fall might’ve been the one Nate Burleson was bringing home when he got into an accident and broke his arm. Lions really miss him. As in really, really miss him.
5) Indiana State 83, Notre Dame 70—Sycamores are like a Mike D’Antoni team; first five 3’s they hit in South Bend were made by five different guys. What they may lack in athleticism they make up for in skills.
4) Houston Rockets’ Omer Asik isn’t from this country, so he probably never heard of former Padres’ shortstop Garry Templeton, who once uttered this phrase after he wasn’t picked to start the All-Star Game: “If I ain’t startin’ , I ain’t departin’”
Asik is mad because he ain’t starting and wants a trade. Rockets don't want to trade him, but it looks like the rift is beyond repair so they’re going to have to, which makes it harder to get good value for him.
3) Favorites to win college basketball national title: Kentucky/Louisville/ Michigan State, all 5-1. Kansas is 6-1, Duke 7-1. Odds are from golfodds.com.
2) Best thing about this football season is the Redskins’ 3-8 record, since the Rams have Washington’s 1st-round draft pick as the last part of the RGIII package from the trade two years ago. Rams have their own #1 pick and Washington’s, which makes next April’s draft very important.
1) My highest recommendation of Duck Dynasty is this: If a TV show can make me laugh on Sunday nights in 2013, when the Rams aren’t good, my football picks stink and I stupidly got involved in a fantasy league that isn’t going any better, if I’m laughing on Sunday nights this year, that TV show is damn funny. Duck Dynasty fits the bill. It’s a rare reality show that is good natured. Corny sometimes, but so what? Good stuff.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday.......
13) Bills 37, Jets 14-- WLWLWLWLWL; Jets are first NFL team ever to start its season by alternating wins/losses for their first ten games. QB Smith was 8-23 passing and was relieved by Matt Simms on a windy day. K Nick Folk even missed a FG, ending a streak of 23 straight made FGs.
12) Buccaneers 41, Falcons 28-- Tampa Bay may be 2-8, but they led their last three games 21-0/15-0/24-6, all in the first half. If I didn't know better, I'd swear the Falcons are tanking games, thats how bad they've been playing.
11) Steelers 37, Lions 27-- Detroit scored 27 points in second quarter, led 27-20 at halftime....then never scored again. Lions' second half output: five drives, 30 plays, 67 yards- they gained 274 yards in second quarter alone. Steelers need to lose their dreadful throwback uniforms- simply hideous.
10) Eagles 24, Redskins 16-- Philly snapped a 10-game home losing streak (and 12-game home streak vs spread) by racing out to 24-0 lead, then hanging on for dear life. RGIII threw an awful INT on last series, with Skins driving to score and tie the game. Philly gets to its bye week at 6-5.
9) Dolphins 20, Chargers 16-- San Diego was penalized 10 times for 76 yards; Miami had three 5-yard penalties, thats it-- marginal roughing passer call nullified a Dolphin fumble in red zone. Dolphins had 104 rushing yards after having two rushing yards in their Monday loss to Tampa Bay.
8) Bears 23, Ravens 20 OT-- Baltimore led 10-0 before game was delayed 2+ hours by bad weather; Flacco threw a pick-6 after the delay as teams went back and forth on a sloppy field. McCown is playing well enough to create doubt in some Bear fans minds as to who the #1 QB should be.
7) Bengals 41, Browns 20-- Cincy scored a defensive TD and a special teams TD within 0:31 of each other in the second quarter, overcoming an early 13-0 deficit. Bengals scored 31 points in the second quarter. Teams combined to convert only 5 of 32 third down plays. Cleveland was in red zone three times, could manage only six points.
6) Raiders 28, Texans 23-- Houston lost its 8th game in row to a 3rd-string QB making his first NFL start; McGloin is just second Penn State QB to start an NFL game in the last 20 years-- he was 18-32/197 and looked better than he did during most of his career at Penn State.
5) Cardinals 27, Jaguars 14-- Carson Palmer threw for 419 yards, two TDs, which means one thing: he was playing against my hapless fantasy team. An unusually high nine teams didn't have a turnover this week; they all won. 6-4 Cardinals are doing well; 49ers' struggles give them hope for playoffs.
4) Seahawks 41, Vikings 20-- FOX's Tim Ryan called Russell Wilson the #3 QB in the NFC; who is he better than? I'd rather have Cam Newton than Wilson. Rodgers? No. Brees? Hell no. Manning? No. Romo? No. Stafford? No. Football analysts tend to suck up to the teams they've covering.
3) Giants 27, Packers 13-- Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant once said "Its not who you play. Its when you play them." Playing the Packers during the Scott Tolzien era is better than playing them when Aaron Rodgers plays. Giants are now 4-6 after starting the season 0-6- they play Dallas next week.
2) Saints 23, 49ers 20-- 11 teams Sunday had turnover ratios of +2 or better; all of them won except 49ers, who were outgained by 181 yards, but covered because the Saints didn't score a TD in the second half. It looks like the 49ers don't want Kaepernick running because he doesn't have a competent backup, but passing/running dual threat is what made Kaepernick special last year.
1) Broncos 27, Chiefs 17-- I'm reading now that Jack Del Rio wouldn't be a popular choice to be USC's next football coach. He's an alum, was an NFL head coach for nine years; doesn't he basically have same resume that Pete Carroll had? I know this: UCLA fans want Ed Orgeron hired full-time as the next USC coach- they see him as a recruiter, not a coach. We shall see.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Auburn 43, Georgia 38-- Much like LSU's DeVry Henderson breaking Kentucky's heart 11 years ago with a miracle TD, a 73-yard deflected pass to Ricardo Louis on 4th-and-18 gave Auburn a huge win over the Dawgs. Very difficult loss for Georgia, which had trailed 37-17 with 10:00 left.
12) Central Florida 39, Temple 36-- JJ Worton made one of the greatest catches ever (seriously) to tie this game with 1:06 left, then UCF won it on a FG at the gun, avoiding a big upset after they beat Houston last week.
11) Wisconsin 51, Indiana 3-- Badgers ran ball for 551 yards in its annual destruction of the Hoosiers, who play very little defense. In their last four games with Indiana, Badgers beat them by a combined 255-44. Oy.
10) Ohio State 60, Illinois 35 (football)
Ohio State 52, Marquette 35 (basketball) Marquette had its 27-game home win streak shattered by the Buckeyes. I'm guessing Urban Meyer wasn't as pleased with his team's defensive effort.
9) Michigan State 41, Nebraska 28-- Cornhuskers scored 28 points despite turning ball over five times (-5); Spartans' defense had its worst day of the year, but its another good win for the Big Dozen's second-best team.
8) Hawks 110, Knicks 90-- Atlanta has red road uniforms, so the geniuses in New York who decided the Knicks should wear orange uniforms for this game made it almost unwatchable for TV viewers. New York's defense with Tyler Chandler out was even worse than the uniform combination.
7) Duke 48, Miami 30-- Blue Devils are 8-2, have won six games in a row and have a shot at a BCS bowl game- they scored last 20 points of the game. Dvid Cutcliffe is your national Coach of the Year.
6) Mercer 77, Seton Hall 74, OT-- Pirates led 25-13 early, but despite 35 points from Fuquan Edwin, they lost to Atlantic Sun's best team. Seton Hall was 17-30 from foul line, turned ball over 23 times.
5) Michigan 27, Northwestern 19, OT-- Wildcats lost their sixth game in a row, giving up tying FG at gun in regulation- their last four losses were all by either three points, or in overtime.
This game ended in the rain; could someone please give Brady Hoke a coat?
4) Heidelberg 42, Baldwin-Wallace 14-- Kid named Cartel Brooks ran ball 38 times for 465 yards, setting a Division III national record. Anytime you set a national record, thats a big deal.
3) UTEP 33, FIU 10-- How bad is FIU? Miners had lost their previous three games by combined score of 143-21; they covered here as a 7-point favorite. Who the hell could lay seven points with a team this bad?
2) North Carolina 34, Pitt 27-- Tar Heels led 27-3 in third quarter, blew the lead, but won when a freshman named Ryan Switzer scored on a punt return for the second time in the game. UNC is 5-5, with four wins in a row.
1) USC 20 Stanford 17-- Cardinal outrushed USC 210-23, but turned ball over three times on six drives after they tied game at 17. Andre Heidari hit a 47-yard FG to win game-- he missed a PAT after USC's first TD.
Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) There is so much information out on the Internet, the one thing I don’t need is speculation on what might happen, in this case talking about baseball free agency. Let me know when someone signs or gets traded; I’m not reading any of the other stuff, which is just guesswork, and in many cases not even educated guesswork.
12) Gary Payton II, son of the former NBA star, will go to Oregon State to play ball next year. Known as “The Mitten” (his dad’s nickname was The Glove), the younger Payton isn’t a big star but he’s a complimentary player and it would’ve looked really bad if he had gone to Utah State or St Mary’s instead of his dad’s alma mater.
11) Towson State beat Temple Thursday night, and it wasn’t an upset; Tigers were a 4-point favorite. Pat Skerry is writing a tremendous story in Baltimore, where the Tigers were 1-31 just two years ago. Just being favored over Temple spoke volumes; beating them says it even louder.
10) Ed Reed signed with the Jets after being cut by the Texans, which makes their game with Baltimore next week just that much more interesting.
9) A guy in Trinity, FL flashed a fake police badge at the drive-thru window at a Dunkin’ Donuts to try and get a discount on his donut purchase; when the attendant doubted that he was a cop, the guy flashed a gun. Wonder what kind of donuts they serve in jail?
8) Hank Aaron hit 755 home runs, was one of the greatest players of all-time, and also maybe the most underrated, but he only won one MVP award; in 1957, when the Braves were still playing in Milwaukee.
7) Baylor gave football coach Art Briles a 10-year contract extension to stay in Waco, a pre-emptive strike against Texas Longhorns trying to sign Briles away this winter. Now Baylor has to hope the Redskins don’t try and lure him to DC to coach Baylor alum RGIII.
6) If you’re on Twitter, Donald Trump is worth a follow, if only for the unintentional comedy of his timeline and the scowl in his picture. Guy wants to be President, for sure.
5) ACC basketball tournament is coming to Washington DC in 2016; it doesn’t belong in New York City, and you can bet the Tobacco Road bluebloods have said as much, behind closed doors.
4) Louisville had to pay the AAC $11M to leave the AAC only one year early; how much money do these schools have, to fork over that much money just to change leagues a year earlier than they were supposed to?
West Virginia paid $21M to bolt to the Big X early; Pitt/Syracuse both paid $7.5M to leave the Big East a year early.
3) Boston College is off to a dreadful 0-3 start in hoops; losing to Providence was no big deal, but losing to UMass and then Toledo isn’t good, not for an ACC team. Of all the teams who switched leagues, BC may be faring the worst, but that’s because they have football and couldn’t tag along with the religiously-affiliated schools who made up most of the original Big East.
2) Kid named Niels Giffey on UConn made 11 of his first 13 3-pointers this season; hard to do that in an open gym, with no one guarding you and no one watching.
1) Cal-Irvine has a 7-6 center named Mamadou Ndiaye who had 18 points, nine blocks in the Anteaters’ upset win at Washington Thursday.
Irvine lost its first two games, so this is another bad November loss for the Huskies and Lorenzo Romar, who are supposed to be better this year, but this Ndiaye kid bears watching.
Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.....
13) 9-0 Chiefs are big underdogs in Denver, against an interim coach and Peyton Manning’s gimpy ankle. They play again in Arrowhead in two weeks. Dwayne Bowe should like Colorado; weed is legal there now.
12) Washington-UCLA is the Friday night college game; Jim Mora coaches against his alma mater for the first time. Huskies lost their last seven visits to Pasadena.
11) Glad to see Gary Kubiak will be back on sidelines for the Texans Sunday, as they host Oakland. If you’re a Texan player with a minor injury, you’ve got to play right? Your coach just had a freakin’ stroke and he only missed 1.5 games.
10) Georgia pounded on Auburn the last two years, but Gus Malzahn might be national coach of the year this fall. Are Dawgs getting healthier?
9) Are the Arizona Cardinals contenders or pretenders? They’re 7-point favorites at Jacksonville Sunday; a win makes them 6-4 and puts them in the picture, albeit still fighting an uphill battle, but they need to win this game.
8) Mack Brown has Texas rolling, but now his Longhorns are in deeper water against Oklahoma State. This is one of the better games on Saturday.
7) Undefeated Pacers host Milwaukee Friday, then visit the Bulls Saturday; will they be 10-0 on Sunday?
6) Only game between two top 25 college hoop teams this weekend is Ohio State-Marquette on Saturday afternoon.
Fox Sports 1 is aggressively marketing the Big East, which means more games for us to watch. Good for them.
5) Seton Hall goes south and visits Mercer (Macon, Ga) this weekend; Mercer is the best team in the Atlantic Sun, league that gave us Florida Gulf Coast last spring. Pirates better not look past the Bears in this game.
4) Who thought Miami-Duke would be a big game? Well it is, and its in football, not basketball. Duke wins here and David Cutcliffe gets in the conversation for national coach of the year.
3) 49ers-Saints is the best afternoon game Sunday; New Orleans won/covered its first five home games. They lost to the 49ers last two years.
2) Ed Orgeron is doing good work as USC’s interim coach; he beats Stanford this week, and unless AD Pat Haden already has his heart set on hiring someone else (James Franklin? Jack Del Rio?) he has to at least have Orgeron on the short list for permanent head coaches. It would still be surprising if he got the job, but it would no longer be shocking.
1) Patriots-Panthers is a fascinating Monday night game. You just look at numbers on paper and Carolina wins this game, but this is really their first time as a team in the national spotlight, against a fading franchise that has spent years in the spotlight and is used to games like this.
Cam Newton represents the new breed of more mobile QB’s; Tom Brady, to me, is one of the three best QB’s of all time, but he is 36 and his receivers really aren’t very good, except for Gronkowski. Tremendous matchup.
Thursday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13..........
32) Jaguars—They’re on a Thursday night game in a couple weeks; want to hear how NFL Network promotes that game.
31) Buccaneers—Led 21-0/15-0 in last two games, blew both leads. Have six players from Rutgers, why? Owners of Bucs have to do better job picking their next head coach. My advice? Lovie Smith.
30) Vikings—Wonder who had to explain to the owner why they spent $2M on Josh Freeman?
29) Falcons—Showing an alarming lack of heart. Last in NFL in rushing.
28) Texans—Back on Labor Day weekend, drafting Matt Schaub as my #2 fantasy QB seemed like a good idea; now Case Keenum is 6th QB I’ve used this season. Oy.
8) Lions—Now that they’re in first place, how do they handle prosperity, playing in Steel City, where they’ve lost their last eight visits? Last time Lions didn’t lose in Pittsburgh was a tie game in 1959.
7) 49ers—Bully team; if you punch them back, they’re not so good. Kaepernick’s passing numbers vs Carolina were alarming.
6) Patriots—9-1 in last ten post-bye games; big challenge for their young WRs against this stout Panther defense.
5) Chiefs—I know they haven’t lost, but the Bowe arrest is a bad omen that things are about to head in the wrong direction. Players are sometimes better off without free time, less time to get in trouble.
4) Seahawks—Activating Percy Harvin just as his old team comes to town. Had to enjoy seeing Carolina beat the 49ers last week.
3) Saints—At home, they’re #1 on this list; on road, maybe not in top 8. They’re at home this week.
2) Broncos—Averaging 41.2 ppg; next six highest scoring teams are all in NFC. #18’s ankle is a source of great concern in the Rocky Mountains.
1) Panthers—Went to Candlestick and outslugged 49ers; now Brady comes to town Monday night. Big stage for Cam Newton; curious to hear Gruden analyze his game.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) November 12, 1949: Maryland played Boston U in football at Fenway Park. A rookie radio announcer did his first broadcast that day, a guy named Vin Scully. Wonder whatever happened to him? 19-freakin’-49, and he still works baseball games on TV. By himself.
12) Arena Football has an illegal defense rule that basically outlaws safeties from double-teaming receivers; what it eliminates, in effect, are a second DB clocking the WR and creates mostly all single coverage on WRs.
I can see NFL going to something like that, where the linebacker/safety has to stay in a certain box in the middle of the field until ball is snapped, , behind line of scrimmage. Hopefully not, but you get the feeling football is going to be changing a lot over the next few years.
11) Former major league shortstop Jay Bell is the new bench coach in Cincinnati, where he’ll help new manager Brian Price, who was the Reds’ pitching coach until now.
10) DirecTV really needs to add the Pac-12 Network. They have the Big 10 Network, why not just add another station and get rid of some of the goofy stations I never watch, like three soccer channels or one of the tennis stations? How many home shopping stations do I need?
9) MVP of the Knicks is obviously Tyson Chandler, toughest guy they have. Spurs made 17 layups in their 31-point win Sunday, with Chandler out injured. TV people can call Carmelo Anthony a superstar all they want, but he’s only a superstar when the ball is in his hands.
There are two ends of the floor; Chandler plays fierce defense, which is why teams he plays for usually win.
8) 11 NFL teams have already lost their starting QB for at least one game; four of those 11 also lost their #2 QB. Three of the four started three different QBs in three weeks. Hard to win that way.
7) 13 of the top 30 NBA prospects played in the doubleheader at the United Center Tuesday night. That’s 13 out of 30 on only four teams.
6) Miami Dolphins have played 729 games in franchise history; Monday night they had only two yards on 14 carries, the worst rushing output in franchise history. Against an 0-8 team.
5) When people hear Dick Vitale doing college basketball games on TV, he sounds like a cartoon character, with his over-the-top enthusiasm, but not only was Vitale once a terrific coach, he has been a Hall of Fame warrior in the fight against cancer, raising over $100M. Wish I had his energy.
4) Chiefs are 9-0 and an underdog in Denver Sunday night, first time since at least 1990 that an undefeated team with 9+ wins has been an underdog. Dwayne Bowe’s DUI/weed arrest ain’t helping the Chiefs’ cause any.
3) Jose Fernandez won Rookie of the Year; why? Marlins were 18-10 when he started, 44-90 in all other games.
2) 36-year old OF Marlon Byrd made $700,000 but drove in 88 runs this year for Mets/Pirates, which inspired the Phillies to give him $16M for two years. What a country- he was a scrap heap guy this time lasst year. .
1) UMass beat LSU by a hoop, now has wins over an ACC (Boston College) and SEC team. Good start for them and the Atlantic 13. These games count just as much as any others on Selection Sunday in March.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Dolphins' loss Monday drops them to 4-5; 11% of 4-5 teams make it to the NFL playoffs-- 52% of 5-4 teams do. Damaging loss on many levels for Miami, which could've distracted some of the attention from off-field stuff if they were in contention for a playoff spot. Now? Not so much.
12) Gary Danielson said on CBS Saturday night that 31 players who were in the 2011 Alabama-LSU game have already been drafted into the NFL, and another 10+ are expected to get drafted in April.
11) I can't stand celebration rules in football; think players should be able to act out a little after they score a touchdown; now after ordinary plays if the clock is running, then players should put a lid on the theatrics.
10) I'm late with this, but Duck Dynasty is a tremendous TV program; this family got really rich selling duck calls for hunting and they all look like part of ZZ Top (except the women) and they're pretty funny. Its worth a look; at first, I had trouble understanding them talk, but now I've got it down.
9) Packers will be 4th team this season to start three different QBs, and it is only Week 11. Teams need to pay more attention to who their backup QB is. Someone should send a draft pick to Miami for Matt Moore.
8) Atlanta Braves are bolting Turner Field for suburban Cobb County in 2017; according to a friend of mine who used to live in Atlanta, "...Turner not in good area. More money in Cobb. Also huge junior programs there,"
7) Not only have Carolina Panthers outscored opponents 103-42 in first half of games this year, they've outscored last three foes 40-7 in second half-- next Monday night's game with New England figures to be a good one.
6) By age 25, 44% of women have had a child, but only 38% of them have been married. It would be nice if more kids got raised by two parents, but it looks like that trend is heading in the wrong direction.
5) Golfer Briny Baird was tied for lead in the PGA tourney in Georgia Sunday, when he lost the tournament by hitting his second shot on 18 into the water- not good. When he drained a 25-foot bogey putt to move up from a tie for 3rd to a tie for 2nd, he made himself an extra $124,000- not bad.
4) This was the fifth time in Buccaneers' 38-year history they started a season 0-8; Roger Goodell should make them hire Lovie Smith as their next coach, like tomorrow-- it just makes sense.
3) Tampa Bay has six former Rutgers players on its roster, more than any NFL team has from any one college; you would think Alabama-LSU, some SEC school or Ohio State or USC or Oregon. Rutgers, where Greg Schiano used to coach. Oy.
2) President Obama might want to find a job for his brother-in-law after Oregon State lost its opener to Coppin State; Beavers have done very little under Craig Robinson, and now this year is off to another dismal start.
1) Prediction based on nothing but a feeling: Jonathan Martin winds up on the Colts, with Luck, Fleener and the old Stanford OC- that would make him comfortable, being with college friends, and Miami could recoup a low draft pick for him, and then maybe this whole nightmare can go away.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday......
13) Vikings 34, Redskins 27-- Washington was outscored 20-3 in second half by a team that was 1-7 coming in. Monte Kiffin thinks Shanahan should fire his son Kyle, and replace Kyle with his own unemployed son.
12) Jaguars 29, Titans 27-- Tennessee converted 10-18 on third down, but turned ball over four times as Jax gets off schneid. Teams that scored TD on defense this week are 3-0-1 vs spread, with Arizona the push (%*$#(@). If you were -2 or worse in turnovers this week, you went 0-2-1 vs spread.
11) Eagles 27, Packers 13-- Tolzien replaced injured Wallace and was decent for Packers, but not good enough. Philly had excellent balance, with 211 yards passing, 204 on ground. Lets be honest: Foles is a better fit here than Vick.
10) Steelers 23, Bills 10-- Pitt-Notre Dame was played at Heinz Field at 8:00 Saturday night; what happens if it had poured Saturday? Field would've been a quagmire for this game. Shouldn't they have to put FieldTurf down if its going to be a muilti-use stadium?
9) Giants 24, Raiders 20-- This game went over total by 2.5 points; there were five TDs scored, one on a blocked punt, one by Oakland's defense, other three on drives of 5-5-90 yards. One TD drive longer than 5 yards and the game goes over the total. Wow.
8) Rams 38, Colts 8-- Speaking of WOW!!!!! Tavon Austin went nuts here, with TDs of 98-57-81 yards in an 11:33 span. Colts looked dead last week in first half at Houston-- they looked a lot worse here. Luckily for them, they've got no competition for the AFC South title.
7) Seahawks 33, Falcons 10-- Wow, Atlanta got bad quickly; they've lost six of last seven games, and only win was over winless Bucs. They're last in NFL in rushing, and have only four takeaways in last six games. Seattle is a bully team- they outgained Falcons 490-226. Oy.
6) Ravens 20, Bengals 17 OT-- Baltimore won despite the worst display of defense ever, allowing a 51-yard Hail Mary TD on last play of regulation. Ravens led 17-0 at half. Bengals' lead in AFC North? Its down to 1.5 games.
5) Lions 21, Bears 19-- Detroit swept Bears and now leads NFC North, by game over Rodgers-less Packers, 1.5 over Chicago. Cutler came back but was replaced by McCown on last series and he led Bears to a TD, but failing on the 2-point conversion ended the game. Bears had 12 points on four trips to red zone, and that cost them the game.
4) Panthers 10, 49ers 9-- I said this last week; if the Cowboys had Carolina's resume, ESPN would televise all their practices- their defense is really good. 49ers were 11-22/46 passing- they're a bully team and Carolina ain't a team you bully, not this season. SF converted twice on 13 third down plays.
3) Cardinals 27, Texans 24-- Texans punted from their own 39 with 5:00 left, down 34-24 with a 4th-and-10; this is coaching incompetence. Arizona then fumbled on its own 5-yard line to make the game a push, but Cardinals are now 5-4 and in playoff race, despite targeting Fitzgerald only six times.
2) Broncos 28, Chargers 20-- On last four series after grabbing a 28-6 lead, Broncos ran 18 plays for 35 yards; then Manning got hit low and kis knee is now banged up- he'll have an MRI Monday. Denver plays Chiefs two of its next three games; KC's last five games were against QBs who were backups in training camp this summer. Could Brock Osweiler be #6?
1) Saints 49, Cowboys 17-- Since 1997, Dallas is 133-133; they gave up 40 first downs in this game, an NFL record- they only ran 43 plays. Saints were annoyed coming off a bad loss, Dallas is banged-up heading into its bye week. Rob Ryan looked pretty happy on the sidelines, didn't he?
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Vanderbilt 34, Florida 17-- Commodores hadn't beaten Florida since 1988, hadn't won in Gainesville since 1945, which is also the last year the Cubs played in the World Series. Go figure. Gators are 4-5 and look like a longshot to play in a bowl game. Yikes.
12) Texas 47, West Virginia 40 OT-- Mack Brown's first OT win; Horns converted 10-23 on 3rd down, have now won six games in row. McCoy had 283 passing yards and three TDs. Why is West Virginia in this league?
11) Duke 38, NC State 20-- Wolfpack led this game with 4:00 left, then the Blue Devils scored three TDs in a bizarre 0:26 span to move to 7-2. DeVon Edwards had a kick return for a TD and two pick-6's, in one of the greatest days any defensive player has ever had, ever.
10) Celtics 111, Heat 110-- Boston scored five points in last 0:01.6 to steal a game in South Beach and win its third game in a row after an 0-4 start. Not a lot of excuses for a team losing when they led by 4 with 0:03 left.
9) UCLA 31, Arizona 26-- Bruins' freshman Myles Jack ran ball six times for 120 yards; he's a defensive player!!! Kid was playing both ways like a damn high school player. Jack had eight tackles and a fumble recovery- very good. .
8) Alabama 38, LSU 17-- SEC coordinators make almost $1M a year; LSU had ball on 1-yard line with that kid Hill at RB, a future NFL star, and they give it to a fullback who fumbled and was never seen again for the rest of the night. Bama might've won anyway, but 7-0 would've been a nice start.
7) Pitt 28, Notre Dame 21-- If I ran NBC Sports and was throwing my cash at South Bend, I'd sure as hell want a better product than what they're putting out on field. 18-38 passing, in this day and age? They were lucky to beat the Naval Academy last week. Underdog is now 8-0-1 vs spread in this series.
6) Manhattan 99, LaSalle 90 (2 OT)-- Explorers have four starters back from LY's Sweet 16 team, so this is an excellent win for the Jaspers, picked to win the MAAC this winter. Manhattan made 12-27 shots behind the arc.
5) Pacers 96, Nets 91-- On the Nets TV commercials, "championship" gets said like every other second. Now they're 2-4 and Indiana in 7-0; doubt Indy touted themselves as league champs in their ad campaigns this fall.
4) Nebraska 17, Michigan 13-- Wolverines had minus-21 rushing yards, as sacks count as rushing attempts; in their last two games, Michigan, the team Bo Schembechler made famous, has minus-69 rushing yards. Oy.
3) San Diego State 34, San Jose State 30-- Nice comeback win for Aztecs, who trailed 30-20 with 8:00 left, but RECRUIT A KICKER!!!! They missed seven consecutive FGs and five straight PATs before finally making a PAT in 4th quarter. Its not that hard; go try out some soccer players.
2) Virginia Tech 42, Miami 24-- Hurricanes got beat twice by Florida State, once last week, again Saturday, as they ran ball for only 28 yards with star RB Johnson out for year (leg). Hokies outgained Miami 549-352 after losing to Duke/Boston College the last two weeks.
1) Texas A&M 51, Mississippi State 41-- Johnny Manziel is must-watch TV; kid was 30-39/446 yards, with three of nine incompletions picked off, so he is fun to watch and never dull- he takes chances. You watch Alabama play and then realize A&M lost to them 49-42. Very, very good player.
Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Oregon suspended Dominic Artis, a key guard for them, and another kid for nine games because he was selling team-issued sneakers. Ducks struggled when he was hurt LY; Nike is one of Oregon’s biggest boosters, so you know they had as many shoes as they wanted.
12) Cubs opted out of their TV deal with WGN, who they’ve been in business with since 1948, pretty much when TV started. It’s a no-brainer business-wise, since they were locked in at their current price until 2022 if they didn’t opt out. Curious to see if Cubs will try to form their own network, or just extort more bucks out of WGN down the line.
11) Nick Saban makes $5.5M a year, Mack Brown $5.4M; they play 12-game schedules. Amazing, but not as amazing as Bret Bielema being the 3rd-highest paid coach in America. Think he wishes he was back in the Big Dozen where he could stomp on Indiana/Purdue every year?
10) Phillies raised some eyebrows when they hired a non-baseball person to become the analystics guy in their front office. Ruben Amaro didn’t need all that stuff when he had a great lineup that mashed the ball.
Now that the nucleus is old and fading, he needs some new thinking, so a guy who was once an assistant ticket taker in Class A ball is now the Phillies’ numbers’ guru. This may not end well.
9) Pro golfer Jason Kokrak got a hole-in-one at the pro-am at this week’s golf tournament in Georgia; the impressive thing is that the ace came on a 409-yard, par 4 hole. Don’t see that every day.
8) Tyson Chandler (leg) is out 4-6 weeks, meaning Knicks are now a donut team until Christmas, soft on the outside, empty in the middle. Chandler is their enforcer, a guy who cares about nothing but winning. His loss is a very big one.
7) South Carolina’s guard Sindarius Thornwell is early candidate for this year’s all-name team in college basketball. Tremendous name.
6) One early positive from the new rule changes in college hoop, before a game was played: Illinois coach John Groce has already said his Illini are spending a lot less time practicing taking charges, because he figures less charges will be called under the new rules.
Less flopping equals better basketball.
5) Las Vegas Wranglers of the minor league ECHL sometimes use a guy as an emergency backup goalie, if callups create a goalie shortage; guy’s day job is as a Neil Diamond impersonator- he travels all over the country and has made himself a nice career at it- he bears a striking resemblance to the famous singer.
4) John Elway’s #7 was retired by Stanford last night, 31 years after his last game. Elway never played in a bowl game for Stanford; there were less bowls back then, plus the Stanford Band play in 1982 cost the Cardinal a winning season and shot at playing in a bowl in Elway’s senior year.
3) Detroit Lions were -2 at Chicago, until Jay Cutler was declared good to go for the Bears; the line immediately went to Chicago -1.5, then settled back in as pick ‘em.
2) Aaron Rodgers’ injury turns out to affect the point spread for roughly nine points, with the shaky Seneca Wallace taking over, with even shakier Scott Tolzien his backup. Ted Thompson has done an excellent job as Packer GM, but not having a competent backup QB makes no sense.
1) This whole Dolphins thing is probably going to turn into a career-ruining debasco for more than one person; not a debacle, not a fiasco, but a debasco, something that permanently scars a person’s career.
Doubt that Incognito will get another NFL gig; the head coach, OL coach and offensive coordinator are all in jeopardy, as is the GM. Only thing that can save them is a winning streak that would make them a contender for a playoff spot, but that’s hard to do when you lose the whole left side of your OL.
Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend
13) College basketball tips off tonight, the best time of the year. There are rules changes this season designed to make the game less physical; there were a lot of fouls called in some of the exhibition games. Hopefully players, coaches will adjust to the new rules fairly quickly, or we’re going to spend a lot of time watching guys take foul shots.
12) Aaron Rodgers’ injury makes Bears-Lions a bigger game in the NFC North race; winner Sunday takes over first place and if Detroit wins, it basically gives them a 1.5-game lead over the Bears, since they would’ve swept the season series.
11) Two of the three best college football games this weekend were last night, which is unusual; Oregon's loss was good news for Florida State. Last night was first time Baylor was favored over Oklahoma since 1998.
10) Broncos play first game without John Fox in San Diego, ironically where Fox went to college. Peyton Manning won/covered his last seven post-bye games. How much will Fox's absence disrupt the Broncos' routine?
9) Kansas State-Texas Tech is pretty good game between teams you don’t think a lot about. Kliff Kingsbury has done a good job in Lubbock, in his first year as a head coach.
8) Saints’ DC Rob Ryan had the same job in Dallas LY; he has to have some kind of an advantage going against Cowboys Sunday night, especially since the Saints’ offense plays a lot better at home.
7) Central Florida-Houston game pits two of the three best teams in the new AAC; this should be a good game.
Still think Notre Dame messed up when they canned George O’Leary for “enhancing” his resume when he was a young coach.
6) Houston Texans play in Arizona without Gary Kubiak, which is more of a problem than Denver has, since Kubiak calls the plays for rookie QB Keenum. Its harder to replace a coordinator than a head coach and Kubiak is in reality also Denver’s OC. Good news is they think Kubiak will be back on the sidelines for the Texans next week.
5) Loser of the Nebraska-Michigan is going to be even more depressed than they are now, considering both are having down years. Cornhuskers got lucky on a Hail Mary play to beat Northwestern last week. Check out YouTube if you haven’t seen the play. Michigan QB Gardner should go back to his old number; he’s not playing very well.
4) Chiefs have a bye this week, but the way Andy Reid’s year is going, he should buy a Powerball ticket; chances are, he would win the jackpot.
3) Arkansas is a 17-point underdog at Ole Miss. Bret Bielema is the 3rd-highest-paid college football coach in America, but his Razorbacks haven’t won a game since baseball season ended. Think he regrets leaving Wisconsin?
2) Carolina-San Francisco is the best NFL game this week; who thought that would be the case, when the schedule came out last spring?
1) LSU-Alabama is almost always good theater; do you think any LSU alums are fanning the flames of the Saban-to-Texas rumors? Would they do something like that?
Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) A guy in Missouri is suing the Kansas City Royals for $20K+, claiming he suffered a detached retina when a hot dog thrown by the Royals mascot hit him in the eye. I wish I was making that up.
12) Our Hero of the Day is 23-year old Ryan Reiss; if you know the young man, today would be a good day to hit him up for a loan, seeing as he won the World Series of Poker’s Main event Tuesday, good for over $8M.
11) With Bill Raftery moving from ESPN to FOX to do Big East basketball games, it means more airtime for ESPN’s Jay Bilas, whose condescending act was well-tempered by Raftery’s pleasant nature. More of Bilas means more of the mute button.
10) Speaking of McDonough, his brother is GM of the Phoenix Suns; their dad was Will McDonough, the late sportswriter from Boston. Pretty well-connected family.
9) Twitter now inserts ads into your timeline, but you can get rid of them; click “more”, then “dismiss”.
8) In New England’s last six games, here is their yards/pass attempt: 10.2 at Atlanta in Week 4, then 4.0/4.9/4.1/4.0 the next four weeks, then 11.5 against the Steelers Sunday. Gronkowski had a big game against the Steelers, but for them to be under 5.0 ypa four games in a row, that’s unusual.
7) If you had the Indiana Pacers in a “last NBA unbeaten” pool, then you win, but chances are, no one had them.
6) Tyson Chandler is out for 4-6 weeks, so the Knicks are screwed for that long; he is the one tough guy the Knicks have, someone who covers up a lot of his teammates’ defensive flaws.
5) I laughed when Knick broadcasters said Tuesday that Andrea Bargnani hasn’t played much in 4th quarters because “he doesn’t rebound or defend well enough”. Well if that was what mattered, then Carmelo Anthony wouldn’t play either, since all he does is shoot.
Bobcat dribblers were going around Anthony Tuesday night like he was an orange pylon in a Driver Ed video.
4) I have Giancarlo Stanton in my fantasy baseball keeper league; imagine my joy when I read that the Marlins have no intention of trading him.
Do they really believe he’s going to sign long-term with them? He’s going to the Dodgers as soon as he can, or if not there, then the Angels. Miami is a dysfunctional franchise with a jackass for an owner. Why would anyone who is good commit to play there for a long time?
3) Speaking of fantasy sports, this year is my first foray into fantasy football in 25 years; you play two QBs a week in our league- the three I drafted were Rodgers/Schaub/Bradford, so you can guess how my season is going, and no, there won’t be another season next year.
2) Seattle Mariners named former Pirate skipper Lloyd McClendon manager; somehow, I doubt there are big lines outside the ticket windows at Safeco Field today. It is worth noting that new Tiger manager Brad Ausmus kept longtime Detroit bench coach Gene Lamont as his right-hand man.
1) Its funny how sometimes your life changes because of stuff that has nothing to do with you. It is widely assumed that Jack Del Rio is USC’s #1 choice to be its new football coach, but now if John Fox were to retire from coaching after his heart problem, or if Del Rio coaches Denver deep into the playoffs this year and that cuts too deep into college recruiting season, then someone else is going to get that USC job, someone who wasn’t expected to get it. All because John Fox, someone that person probably doesn’t know, needed a new heart valve. Life is odd sometimes.
Wednesday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13.........
32) Jaguars—Its November 6; they have no wins, and one loss by less than 14 points, a 19-9 loss in Oakland. Yikes.
31) Buccaneers—Led 21-0 in Seattle, which was impressive, then lost the game. Looks like the next coach at least has some talent to work with and an easy act to follow.
30) Vikings—On opponents’ first drive of each half in last five games (10 drives), Vikings have given up seven TDs and a FG. Not good.
29) Falcons—Bought a light for above my kitchen sink in Home Depot last week; that store is well-run, having a better year than Arthur Blank’s more well-known franchise.
28) Steelers—Not often a network TV analyst says on-air that a team isn’t giving its full effort, but that happened in 4th quarter of Steeler-Patriot game Sunday, when Phil Simms called them out. Would expect their best effort this week, just not sure how good it will be.
8) Lions—Rodgers’ injury opens this spot up for Lions or Bears. Interesting game in Windy City Sunday- Detroit won first meeting 40-32.
7) Colts—At one point in Houston Sunday night, Andrew Luck was 6-20 passing; he rallied his team to win against a team whose coach/play caller had a stroke at halftime. Those are the facts.
6) Saints— 2-2 outdoors, with a lifeless win over the winless Bucs. Will they be able to win one outdoor playoff game to get to Swamp Super Bowl?
5) 49ers—On a roll vs dregs of league; Panthers come calling in post-bye test Sunday. WRs Crabtree/Manningham could return soon.
4) Seahawks—Last two games were wins, but very shaky vs poor teams. Falling behind Bucs 21-0 at home is a definitive red flag.
3) Chiefs—9-0 is 9-0, but they didn’t score an offensive TD and were outgained 470-210 by team with undrafted rookie QB making his first NFL start. Two of their next three games are with Denver.
2) Panthers—If Dallas Cowboys had their resume, ESPN would televise all their practices. This is a good defense with a QB who was used to winning in college, and has finally had a strong first half of a season in this league.
1) Broncos—Best wishes to Coach Fox for a full recovery. Not 100% sure how much his illness disrupts things, since it is doubtful he had much to do with the offense and this is an offense-driven team.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Roger Goodell was probably happier than hell when he was named NFL Commissioner, but these are strange times for the NFL;
-- Two coaches collapsed on the same weekend, one of whom knew he needed a heart valve operation but was trying to put it off until after the season- the second was thought to have had a stroke, at age 52.
Miami lost two starting offensive linemen because one was bullying the other, and the one being bullied walked off the team, and now the alleged bully has been suspended for his alleged actions.
Tampa Bay is 0-8, has three players who got staph infections at team HQ, and is coached by a man who fired his QB early this season and who is universally disliked by scouts throughout the NFL, since he mistreated them when he was a college head coach.
The QB who got fired was signed by the Vikings for $2M for the rest of the season, but he didn’t even suit up for their game Sunday.
Jacksonville is also winless; their best player got suspended for the season for flunking drug tests.
-- For some stupid reason, the Super Bowl is in New Jersey. Outdoors, on a Sunday night in February. Oy.
12) Miami-Tampa Bay next Monday night figures to be the worst matchup ever for a primetime game, and neither one of those teams is the worst team in Florida. This won’t be a very good lead-in game for ESPN’s marathon of college hoops, which starts right after that game.
11) Its odd watching live golf at 3am, but Dustin Johnson won the World Golf event in Shanghai over the weekend; think he was 24-under. If this was the Memphis Open, they’d make fun of the course for being too easy (Johnson actually double-bogeyed two holes on Saturday and still finished -24) but I guess its not cool to mock foreign courses.
10) Panthers-Saints don’t play until Weeks 14-16; who knew they would be such big games? Chances are one of those games will get flexed into NBC’s schedule.
9) Not only have the Chiefs’ last five games been against QBs who were backups during training camp (or later), two of their next three games are against Denver, which just lost its head coach for at least a month.
8) Miami Hurricanes lost its star RB Duke Johnson to a broken ankle Saturday night, very tough loss for a gritty ‘canes team.
7) The average salary of the 125 highest paid players in major league baseball is $14.1M. That’s a staggering figure. The six starting pitchers the A’s used this season made a combined total of less than $11M this season, and they won their division.
6) Former NBA center Walt Bellamy passed away this weekend at age 74; he was a four-time All-Star and one of just seven players in NBA history to amass more than 20,000 points and 14,000 rebounds in a career.
Bellamy averaged 31.9 ppg as a rookie in 1961, but here in New York, he is best known for being one of two guys (Butch Komives) the Knicks traded to Detroit for Dave DeBusschere, who was the glue guy the Knicks needed as they won their only two NBA titles in 1970 and 1973.
5) One minute the Packers were one of the favorites in the NFC, the next minute, Aaron Rodgers was in the locker room, Seneca Wallace was their QB and the Packers were an underdog to even make the playoffs.
How do the Packers only have one backup QB and a lousy one at that? The Bills cut Matt Flynn Monday, so they can sign him to back Wallace up while Rodgers is out, but Monday night was an epic disaster for Green Bay.
4) St John’s is opening its basketball season against Wisconsin Friday night somewhere in South Dakota; there must be a good reason why, but I can’t find it.
3) After nine weeks of the LVH handicapping contest in Las Vegas, with 1,034 people in it, the six most popular picks each week are an really bad 14-40-1 against the spread. Going against popular opinion has been a good way to make money.
2) Part why the Vikings are awful: over their last five games, on the first drive of each half, Minnesota has allowed seven TDs and a FG, on ten drives.
1) You know how Media Day at the Super Bowl is always a big deal? It’s the Tuesday before the game and its in the stadium, and the players have to show up and some of them get asked questions, some of them stupid questions, well this Super Bowl is in New Jersey, in an outdoor stadium.
Are they really going to have Media Day outdoors in Swamp Stadium on a Tuesday afternoon in late January? Who thinks this is a good idea?
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday.......
13) Dolphins 22, Bengals 20, OT-- Miami is third team to score a safety in OT, first since 2004. Bengals outgained them by 120 yards but gave up a TD on offense and also lost star DT Atkins for year (ACL).
12) Panthers 34, Falcons 10-- Carolina gave up a first half TD for first time this year, but also had four takeaways- they've outscored foes 96-33 in first half. Panthers had a 15-yard advantage in field position. Atlanta is having as dismal a season as a pre-season contender could have.
11) Cowboys 27, Vikings 23-- Dallas scored with 0:35 left to escape with a win in a game where Pokes dropped back to pass 54 times, ran ball only nine times. Not often an NFL team gets outrushed 169-36 and wins.
10) Jets 26, Saints 20--Jets were +2 in turnovers, are now +1 in their four wins, -11 in four losses. Saints are now 1-3 on the road-- they dropped back to pass 53 times, ran it 13. Jets had a 14-yard advantage in field position, as Saints started nine of 11 drives 80+ yards from goal line.
9) Titans 28, Rams 21-- Losing teams find a way to lose, which is what the Rams did here; fumbled on their 19 and the Titans' 10; missed an easy FG at the end of the half and lost another winnable game. Might as well play Davis at QB; Clemens is 30 and he's a journeyman on a good day.
8) Chiefs 23, Bills 13-- 5th week in row KC faced a QB who was a backuup this summer and it showed-- Chiefs' two TDs were scored by their defense. Buffalo outgained Chiefs 470-210 and lost- they had ball in red zone three times and scored only six points. 2-14 last year, Chiefs are now 9-0.
7) Redskins 30, Chargers 24, OT-- Washington was 12-17 on 3rd down, averaged 9.1 yards/pass attempt, overcame giving up an early defensive TD. Good balance for Redskins, with 209 yards running and 291 passing.
6) Joke of the Day:
What do you call a midget fortune teller on the run from the law?
Answer: A small medium at large.
5) Eagles 49, Raiders 20-- Nick Foles threw six incompletions, seven TD passes as Philly scored six TDs on first seven drives of the games. Foles is first QB to throw seven TD passes before the end of the third quarter, and in only his third start of the season.
4) Seahawks 27, Bucs 24, OT-- Winless Tampa Bay led 21-0 with 2:16 left in the first half\, but they're still winless, as Seattle snuck out a win over an inferior opponent for second time in six days. On their last five drives over the last 26:49 of the game, Bucs ran 24 plays for 61 yards.
3) Browns 24, Ravens 18-- Browns beat team that used to be the Browns for first time in last 12 meetings; defending champs are now 3-5 and sinking fast in AFC North, losing four of last five. Jason Campbell threw three TDs, as his nomadic career takes a positive turn.
2) Patriots 55, Steelers 31-- Pittsburgh hasn't fired a coach since 1968, but when mild-mannered Phil Simms says on national TV the Steelers quit (OK, he didn't say "quit" but it was obvious what he meant), you have to look at the coach and wonder whether the players are still listening to him.
1) Colts 27, Texans 24-- Best wishes to Texans coach Gary Kubiak, who collapsed walking off the field at halftime. He's 20 months younger than me, a guy who runs most every day and takes care of himself. Makes you wonder.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) First of all, thoughts/prayers to Coach John Fox for a quick recovery from heart valve surgery; he took ill on a golf course in Charlotte Saturday and has been hospitalized, with the surgery to happen soon.
Broncos haven't announced who the interim head coach will be, but expected thing is that it'll be Jack Del Rio, with Peyton Manning continuing to coach the offense (that was a joke, kind of). Get well Coach Fox!!!!
12) Michigan State 29, Michigan 6-- Spartans have a really good defense; they held rival Michigan to one yard on 22 rushes and had seven sacks for 49 yards. Michigan had been averaging 183.9 rushing yards/game.
11) 76ers 107, Bulls 104-- Philly's season over/under win total is 16.5 wins; well, they are now 3-0, with wins over Heat/Bulls. Alrighty then.
10) Brown 27, Penn 0-- John Spooney is the 100-meter champ of the Ivy League during track season; he had TD runs of 93-94 yards in the first 18:00 of this game, as Brown moves to 5-2. Seems to me the running backs coach at Brown owes the track coach and the offensive line coach some donuts- what running game succeeds without a terrific offensive line?
9) Minnesota 42, Indiana 39-- Gophers blew a 35-13 third quarter lead, then drove 75 yards in 3:06 for the winning TD, as they moved to 7-2. Minnesota averaged 12.5 yards every time they threw the ball. We said this a few weeks ago; it would be OK if the Hoosiers recruited some kids who play defense.
8) Missouri 31, Tennessee 3-- Tigers moved to 8-1 in what has been a dream season for them. Kid named Joshua Dobbs played QB for the Vols; in Phil Steele's magazine this summer, he was listed as the #6 Tennessee QB.
7) Detroit Tigers are expected to name former big league catcher Brad Ausmus as their new manager. When in doubt, hire a former catcher; Ausmus was a big league catcher for 18 years, hitting .251 with 80 homers. .
6) Georgia 23, Florida 20--Dawgs led 23-3 at halftime, survived couple of bizarre coaching decisions as they beat Gators for third year in a row. For a team with tremendous experience at QB, on OL, Georgia isn't that good.
5) Marshall 61, Southern Miss 13-- Larry Fedora went 34-19 in four years at Southern Miss; since he left for North Carolina, Golden Eagles are 0-20, as program has fallen off the cliff. USM had 18 winning years in a row before last year. Now? Not so much.
4) Notre Dame 38, Navy 34-- Middies ran ball for 331 yards, converted 10-16 against the Irish, who will earn the right to get thrashed in a BCS bowl if they beat Pitt/BYU in their next two games. Rees completed 12-20 against a service academy team that doesn't give sports scholarships-- not good.
3) Nebraska 27, Northwestern 24-- Cornhuskers scored on a 45-yard Hail Mary on the last play of the game, a tipped pass, as Wildcats lost their fifth game in a row, third brutal loss in a row. Huskers tied the game 21-all with a defensive score. Extremely bitter loss for Northwestern, which led 21-7.
2) Wisconsin 28, Iowa 9-- Hawkeyes' coach Kirk Ferentz makes $3,835,000 a year; his team is 13-19 in its last 32 conference games and its not that great a league. They were painful to watch in this game, completing 16-40 passes.
1) Florida State 41, Miami 14-- This was a really good game for a half, then the Seminoles pulled away in the second half. For some reason, they play Idaho in a couple weeks, right before they play Florida, then the ACC title game-- the Idaho game could be really, really ugly.
Saturday's List of 13: DDLohaus picks Breeders' Cup.......
Wow, the last two months have flown by. It's hard to believe it is time for the Breeders Cup.
Day one was filled with solid racing, good payouts and pretty scenery.
Friday saw Mike Smith get two wins right out of the gate and Royal Delta and Princess of Sylmar finish out of the money in the same race.
I don't know about you but I am very excited about Saturday and the prospect of getting a nice winner ( or two+) home.
2. Secret Compass
3. She's a Tiger
Bet: $10WP Untapable
Filly and Mare Turf
3. Tis Flirtatious
Bet: $10WP Laughing
Filly and Mare Sprint
1. Dance Card
2. Sweet Lulu
3. Judy the Beauty
Bet: $10WP Dance Card
3. Chips All In
Bet: $10WP Mizdirection
2. Strong Mandate
Bet: $10WPS Strong Mandate
1. The Fugue ( I was always partial to the fugue)
2. Point of Entry
3. Little Mike
Bet: $25WP The Fugue
1. Justin Philip
2. Private Zone
3. Majestic Stride
Bet: $10W Justin Philip
$2TRIBX Justin Philip/Private Zone/Majestic Stride
1. Wise Dan
2. No Jet Lag
3. Bright Thought
Bet: $5WPS No Jet Lag/ Bright Thought
1. Palace Malice
2. Mucho Macho Man ( another shot)
3. Fort Larned
Bet: $15WPS Palace Malice
$10W Mucho Macho Man
$20 EXBX Palace Malice/Mucho Macho Man
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here.......
13) Kobe Bryant and his rehabbing achillles are making $30,453,805 this year, making him the NBA’s highest paid player; Dirk Nowitzki is next, at $22,221,381.
12) Xavier Henry played one year at Kansas, four years ago; averaged 13.4 ppg in 27.5 mpg, not great, but he showed a lot of potential. He shot 42% behind the arc, which is good, so he bolted Lawrence and went to the pros, where he was the #12 pick in the 2010 Draft.
He’s been a sub in the NBA for three years now, earning a total of $6.5M. Did he make a good decision leaving Kansas early?
11) Lets say he stayed at Kansas another two years and improved his stock to where he would’ve been the #5 pick in ’12 Draft, which fellow Jayhawk Thomas Robinson was.
Robinson is making an average of $3.8M a year for his first four seasons, so while Henry would probably be making more per year had he stayed at Kansas, he had already banked a little over $4M by the time Robinson was drafted, and its hard to argue with that, assuming (a very big assumption) his money is being managed well.
10) Henry is with the Lakers now; he scored 18 ppg in 31 mpg in LA’s first two games. At age 22 and with Bryant out for the foreseeable future, this is a huge chance for him to make a name for himself and get a big contract after this season. It’s a very high stakes game that is played at this level; we wish him well and will be checking in on his progress every now and then.
9) Sacramento Kings gave outgoing NBA commish David Stern a key to their city before Wednesday’s home opener. Without Stern, the Kings would probably be playing home games in Seattle now.
That said, Seattle does deserve an NBA team; they got screwed royally when the Sonics moved to Oklahoma. Lets just say Stern won’t be getting a key to Seattle anytime soon.
8) Only seven NBA players listed as centers played 1,000 offensive possessions last year, as the line between power forward/center has blurred beyond recognition.
7) Dwight Howard had 17 points, 26 rebounds in his Rockets’ debut, a promising sign for Houston. Jeremy Lin didn’t start but played 30+ minutes.
6) Maryland PG Seth Allen broke his foot and is out 8-10 weeks; the soph was supposed to start for the Terps this year, their last in the ACC.
5) Florida Atlantic football coach Carl Pelini resigned after it came out he was seen smoking weed at a party. Owls are favored this week over 5-3 Tulane. Not often a team changes coaches mid-season and is favored in its next game. Pelini is the brother of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini.
4) If you care about such things, 17 of Bowling Green’s last 20 football games stayed under the total.
3) There are rumors about Jeff Tuel starting at QB for the Bills this week; Thad Lewis played last week with a sprained foot. Tuel was taking practice reps with the first team on Wednesday. Bills could become third team (Vikings/Browns) who’ve already started three different QB’s this season.
2) Dolphins’ starting OT Jonathan Martin walked off the team after a situation with teammates got out of hand. ESPN.com called it “ribbing from teammates”. An unsubstantiated Internet rumor said a teammate urinated in his food, which sent Martin packing.
Miami has lost four of its last five games; where are the team leaders to prevent stuff like this from escalating? This is beyond stuff coaches can fix; players have to police this themselves, and now its blown up into a major thing. Too bad.
1) Why is West Virginia in the Big X Conference? I mean, its two Kansas schools, two Oklahoma schools, Iowa State and four schools in Texas; their travel for basketball, in the dead of winter, is ridiculous. They couldn’t get in the ACC or Big Dozen? Seems to me they’d be a better option than Rutgers for the Big Dozen and I don’t care how many TVs there are in New Jersey.
Thursday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13.......
32) Jaguars—Its not good when a team’s best week of the season is their bye week, but…….
31) Buccaneers—Tampa to Seattle is a long plane trip to get spanked. Bucs are 17-point dogs this week, and Seattle’s offense was putrid Monday night. Good luck there.
30) Vikings—Please decide on a QB; one of these three, or Bob Lee or Joe Kapp or Gary Cuozzo. Just pick one and let him play.
29) Eagles—Wonder if Chip Kelly has called his agent and asked, “When does the NCAA’s show cause order against me run out?”
28) Steelers—You can’t allow the longest run by a QB in NFL history on the first play of the game. Worse yet, it was obvious Pryor was scoring when he crossed his own 25-yard line. Be ready to play—they weren’t in Oakland.
8) Bengals—Averaged over 10 yards per pass attempt in each of last two games--- that doesn't happen much.
7) Colts—This week will be first game Reggie Wayne has missed since '01.
6) Packers—RB Lacy gives their offense excellent balance; when they get some WRs back from injury, will be even better on offense.
5) 49ers—Bully team; they whack the weak sisters, but got beat pretty good by Seahawks/Colts.
4) Chiefs—Buffalo, then bye week, then Denver twice in three weeks, with division rival Chargers in between. What a great year they’re having.
3) Seahawks—As a Ram fan, makes me sick losing that game Monday nite. There is no way Seattle beats the Saints in January if the game is on Bourbon Street-- game might not be there, though.
2) Saints—On a neutral field, think Saints are NFC’s best, but if they have to go to Seattle in January, can they win there?
1) Broncos—What percentage of our nation’s football fans know who Peyton Manning’s backup is? Hint: He played in college at Arizona State.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) This week was first time ever Monday Night Football and a World Series game were going on at the same time in the same city, and only a couple blocks apart. Rough night for both home teams.
In ’86, Mets/Giants were both home on a Monday night, but those games weren’t even in the same state, seeing as Swamp Stadium is in New Jersey and the Mets play in Queens.
12) I’m not big on charting umpires during the baseball playoffs; games are under such scrutiny, think the umpires lose a lot of their individuality in the postseason, and that is what makes charting them worthwhile.
11) Ole Miss gave star guard Marshall Henderson a 3-game suspension; there was some thought during the summer that the school might toss the kid, but lets face it—he put the school’s basketball program back on the map, so he gets an extra chance an ordinary player probably wouldn’t have gotten.
The late Al McGuire would’ve approved- he used to come right out and say his star players got treated better than the others.
10) You could see Monday night how the Rams have some pieces in place to become a good team; they’re lacking a dynamic playmaker on offense, someone to be the hub of their attack the way Calvin Johnson is in Detroit.
St Louis has two more first round picks in April; theirs and Washington’s, so if they draft well and Bradford’s knee gets healthy, I might be a happy fella at this time next year.
Obscure fact: Eagles used to have a kicker named Happy Feller; he went to college at Texas. James Patrick Feller was 16-43 on FGs in three years, so his employers were unhappy, which is why he had a short career.
9) Was reading some player evaluations and Las Vegas people say that if Ryan Tannehill were to get hurt in Miami and replaced as a starter by backup Matt Moore, the line would only move one point in Miami’s favor, that’s how small a difference there is perceived to be between the Dolphins’ starting QB and his backup. Smallest such difference in the NFL.
8) When I was a little kid, for about two weeks I wanted to be an architect, since Wilbur Post (Mr Ed) and the father on the Brady Bunch both lived in really nice houses and never seemed to do any work.
Then someone explained to me how TV worked and that was the end of the architect thing, although having a talking horse would be very cool.
7) Charles Barkley (Wizards) has a dinner bet with Kenny Smith (Cavaliers) as to which team has a better record this season. Washington needs new uniforms and they need to go back to being the Bullets, when they had sharp all-orange uniforms. Barkley better hope John Wall stays healthy this season.
6) Louisiana Tech kicker Kyle Fischer (no relation) was Conference USA’s special teams player of the week this week. Good to see someone with the family name having athletic success. Lord knows I rarely helped out that cause.
5) The #1 junior college offensive lineman in America has switched his college pledge from Arkansas to Texas A&M, as Brett Bielema continues to realize he’s not in the Big Dozen anymore, now he’s in the big leagues, both on the field and in recruiting. Recruiting in the SEC is a 24/7 thing, for sure.
4) 6-3 guard Kadeem Allen, one of the best JC basketball players in America, has verbally committed to Arizona, as Sean Miller continues to be a recruiting dynamo in the desert.
3) Glad to see Ian Clark made an NBA roster after his stellar play in the summer leagues; kid played four years at Belmont, might be a tad undersized but boy he can play and now he’s on the Utah Jazz. Good for him.
2) This is the 43rd time the World Series has been 2-2; in the previous 42, the team that won Game 5 went on to win the series 27 times. I was surprised that the team down 3-2 won the series 15 out of 42 times!!!!
1) Wow, its hard to believe that Lebron James made his NBA debut ten years ago—time sure flies!!! From the look of the NBA games on TV last night, Lebron spent his whole summer making TV commerciials.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Interesting tidbit from NBC Sunday night: Green Bay Packers have three guys who have played for other NFL teams; FB Kuhn, backup QB Wallace and DT Pickett. That means 50 of their 53 players have never been on another NFL roster, which is a little remarkable.
Dallas Cowboys were like that in the late 70’s; at one point, Preston Pearson was only guy they had who had played for another team (Steelers).
12) Green Bay’s punter is Tim Mashtay, but unless you wanted him hold for kicks Sunday night, you didn’t see him do anything, seeing as the Packers didn’t punt the ball once.
11) New England hasn’t scored yet this year on their first drive of the third quarter; over their last five games, on first drive of the second half, Patriots have run a total of 16 plays for minus-23 yards.
10) Eagles didn’t score an offensive TD in either of their last two games, first time that has happened since 1999.
9) Chiefs’ win Sunday means the draft pick the give the 49ers next April as part of the Alex Smith trade goes from a 3rd round pick to a 2nd round pick, based on KC winning its 8th game of the year.
Don’t think anyone at Arrowhead is complaining, seeing as the pick figures to be a very low 2nd round pick anyway.
8) Speaking of Smith, he is now 27-5-1 in his last 33 games as a starting QB in the NFL, yet no one mentions him as one of the NFL’s better QB’s. Go figure.
7) Barring a really bad week on Wall Street this week, this will be only the 5th time in last 31 years the Stock Market went up in both September and October.
6) Bill Gates turned 58 years old Monday; he lives in a 66,000-square foot house, which I’m assuming is really, really big.
5) NFL teams with the most TD drives of less than 50 yards this season: Broncos 8; Cowboys-Bucs-Titans, all with 6.
Tampa Bay only has three TD drives longer than 50 yards.
Teams with the least: Texas-Giants-Steelers, all with 1.
4) Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee went out on a limb when he ripped Eldrick Woods for having four rules-related snafus this past season; will be interesting to see if TGC stands by Chamblee, or if they fire him from his plum job due to subtle pressure “…..the ball is in Golf Channel’s hands” from the Woods camp.
It kind of sucks if they let Chamblee go, not because he is so great at his job, but because free speech is one of the pillars of American society, or at least it used to be. Strong opinions make for interesting TV.
3) If you have a kid who likes Math and Halloween, get him a pumpkin with “3.14” carved into it. You know, Pumpkin Pi.
2) Its wrong that these scrimmages between D-I basketball teams this month aren’t open to public/media. Why suppress information that could help promote the sport (and help my handicapping)?
Not sure who to complain to about this, but an example: Harvard scrimmages Providence this week. Why not televise it and make some cash off it, or at least tell us who did what? Scrimmages aren’t always telling, but it would be better than being left in the dark.
1) Quick scrimmage story from my coaching days: Schenectady High at Christ the King, November of 2000. I was an assistant at Schenectady, which is Pat Riley’s home town in upstate NY. We had a very good, senior-laden team that went on to win the state title that year.
CTK is where Lamar Odom went to school; a pretty good team in the NYC Catholic League which at the time did not use a shot clock, so they didn’t play any zone defense, since teams could hold the ball.
So their coach requested that we not play any zone in the scrimmage and for the first 10-12 minutes, CTK held the upper hand. Then we had a quick coaching conference on the bench, figured we didn’t come 150 miles to get whacked and switched to our 3-2 zone and from that point on, our team dominated the scrimmage.
Point of story is this: Even if the NCAA let info out about these scrimmages, it wouldn’t be all-telling info, since some coaches prefer to work on things instead of playing all-out to win. Keeping the scrimmages secret doesn’t help the sport at all. (I guess that wasn’t that quick a story)
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday......
13) Panthers 31, Buccaneers 13 (Thursday)-- Carolina had 16-yard edge in field position, outrushed hapless Bucs 129-48. You could make an argument that the Buccaneers are in the tank, and I won't argue.
12) 49ers 42, Jaguars 10-- What should be the most exciting year of his life is turning into a nightmare for first-year Jags' coach Gus Bradley. He had to bury his dad this week (our condolences) and his job isn't going well either, as Jacksonville lost its first eight games, all by double figures.
11) Lions 31, Cowboys 30-- Stafford threw for 488 yards, 329 of which went to Calvin Johnson but Detroit was -4 in turnovers, so they needed an 80-yard drive in 0:50 to pull this exciting game out with 0:12 left. This was the second time in last 55 games an NFL team was -4 or worse in turnovers and won.
10) Giants 15, Eagles 7-- Vick felt his hamstring "pop" which could finish him for the year. This was the first time the Giants won without scoring a TD since a 9-6 win over Seattle on Sept. 22, 2002. Josh Brown kicked five FGs in what was a dreadful game.
9) Chiefs 23, Browns 17-- KC outrushed Browns 136-57, converted 10-19 on third down and are now 8-0 halfway thru their schedule. Campbell threw ball for 283 yards (7.6 ypa) in his first '13 start, but Browns were 3-12 on third down. Chiefs are now 5-13 in last 18 games as a home favorite.
8) Saints 35, Bills 17-- Buffalo turned ball over three times (-3), had 16-yard deficit in field position- this was first time this year Bills scored less than 20 points in a game. Brees completed 26-34 passes, was sharp off his bye.
7) Patriots 27, Dolphins 17-- Miami lost 4th game in a row after being up 17-3 at half; Fish were -3 in turnovers, lost despite holding Brady to only 116 yards passing and 2-10 on 3rd down conversions. Brady was just 12-22, only fifth time in eight games he completed more than half his passes.
6) Red Sox 4, Cardinals 2-- Last night's game ended on an obstruction call, this game ends on a pickoff at first when St Louis was down two runs. Jonny Gomes was the man for Boston, hitting a game-winning three-run homer. Red Sox used Lackey to to pitch 8th inning, his first relief stint since 2004.
5) Bengals 49, Jets 9-- Jet offense ran 65 plays Sunday; they were outscored 14-9 by Bengal defense on those 65 plays, with Cincy ran two INTs back for TDs. Dalton averaged 10.4 yards/pass attempts in this one-sided game.
4) Raiders 21, Steelers 18-- Pitt native Pryor ran 93 yards for TD on first play of the game, the longest run ever by a QB, as Oakland won its first post-bye game since 2002. Suisham missed two FGs under 40 yards and Steelers ran ball for only 35 yards-- hard to win that way.
3) Broncos 45, Redskins 21-- Washington led 21-7 with with 11:35 left in the third quarter, then the roof fell in-- Redskins threw picks on their last four possessions, while Denver gained 266 yards from that point on and scored a defensive TD against Washington's backup QB Cousins. This was a sloppy game, with nine turnovers-- seven INTs.
2) Cardinals 27, Falcons 13-- Atlanta ran ball for only 27 yards; in last two games, they've run ball 32 times for 45 yards- without Julio Jones, Ryan can't just throw it on every play and put enough points on board. Cardinals get to their bye 4-4, showing progress under first-year coach Arians.
1) Packers 44, Vikings 31-- RB Lacy gives Green Bay balance on offense that offsets all the injuries their WR/TE's have had. Both teams had a special teams TD in this game. Vikings need to decide on a starting QB.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) As of this morning, Fresno State is America's team; they're 7-0 with two OT wins, a 41-40 win and another game they led 42-3 that ended 42-37. They blocked a 37-yard San Diego State FG on the last play of regulation last night, then won in OT after blowing a 28-14 4th quarter lead. Fun team.
12) If Texas wins Big 12, does Mack Brown get to keep his job? After its 30-7 win at struggling TCU, Longhorns are 4-0 in league play. This game had a weather delay of 3+ hours, but Texas was in control before that.
As for TCU, does the phrase, "big fish, small pond" sound good right now?
11) San Jose State 51, Wyoming 44-- Cowboys led 16-0 early and 30-14 in third quarter, but gave up 482 passing yards to David Fales. Not often a team gains 599 yards and loses, but Wyoming did.
10) Connor Shaw is a warrior; the injured South Carolina QB came off the bench to complete 20-29 passes for 201 yards in a quarter and a half, leading Gamecocks back from a 17-0 deficit to a 27-24 OT win after Mizzou clanked the tying FG off the upright. Its the stuff legends are made of.
9) Al Golden is working miracles in Miami; Hurricanes are 7-0, despite trailing by 10+ points in each of their last three games- they play Florida St. next Saturday night, in what should be a very interesting game..........
8)....... seeing as Florida State was beating NC State 35-0 Saturday. In the first quarter. Seminoles are playing really, really well.
7) Baylor 59, Kansas 14-- Game was 38-nil at the half; think Charlie Weis tells recruits he has a "decided schematic advantage" over Art Briles? The next person who hires Weis as anything but a night watchman needs to be fired on the spot.
6) Minnesota 34, Nebraska 23-- Gophers had lost 16 games in a row to Nebraska by an average score of 40-9; now they're bowl eligible after running ball down Cornhuskers' throats for 271 yards. That doesn't happen much. .
5) As far as the end of the World Series game goes, the umpires called the play right; it wasn't a pretty end to an interesting game, but then again, this ain't the WWE, where everything is scripted for a maximum of drama.
If you are a Red Sox fan and are bitching at the umps, try bitching at the guy who threw the ball into LF, or your manager, who didn't walk John Jay with first base open and light-hitting Pete Kozma on deck.
4) UNLV 27, Nevada 22-- Rebels won Fremont Cannon for first time in nine years and are now 5-3 and need one more win to be bowl eligible. It says on my computer screen that the cannon is the most expensive trophy in college football, so I'm passing that knowledge on. Do with it what you will.
3) Lot of lousy games on TV today: Florida State, Alabama, Oregon, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Michigan State, Texas, Notre Dame, Baylor, Ohio State all won TV games by 20+ points- thank god for Fresno State.
2) Ohio State 63, Penn State 14-- Wow. In two true road games, Nittany Lions have allowed 107 points. Urban Meyer challenged the spot of the ball on a play when he was winning by 49 points. Oy.
1) On October 27, Duke, Tulane, Rice, Minnesota are all 6-2. In football. Is this a great country or what?
Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
Its funny, I pay for the MLB and NBA packages on DirecTV, but any rebroadcasts of their games late at night are blacked out, except for the NY teams. That makes no sense, I pay extra to watch the games, replays should be included.
Then there is the NHL, whose package I don’t have; they allow rebroadcasts to be shown late at night, so at times I wind up watching as much NHL as NBA, even though I bought the NBA’s package.
12) Talked earlier this week about Tim Lincecum getting a baffling $35M for two years from the Giants; read an explanation online that made very little sense. Of all the pitchers who threw 300+ innings in 2012-13, Lincecum had the 4th-worst ERA, yet he rakes in major bucks. Who cares if someone else signs him?
11) Put it this way: the six starting pitchers Tampa Bay used the most this season earned a total of $18,056,900 this year; Oakland’s six starters earned $10,725,000. That’s why the A’s/Rays win; they spend their money more efficiently, even if they do have a lot less of it.
10) When Jason Campbell starts Sunday’s game for Cleveland, he becomes the Browns’ third starting QB this year and their 20th starting QB since they started playing again in 1999.
9) Florida Gulf Coast took advantage of last year’s Sweet 16 appearance by signing a 3-star recruit, 6-1 G Zach Johnson; not too many Atlantic Sun teams sign 3-star recruits, so good for them. FGCU will be on TV a few times this fall, including the first night of the season November 8.
8) Speaking of which, Georgetown-Oregon are opening the season with a game in South Korea, I’m assuming on an Army base. Hoyas tried to play Florida last year on the deck of a ship, but excess moisture forced the game to be called at halftime.
7) Was stumbling thru YouTube the other night and found a clip I had never seen of the night Trent Green got hurt playing in a preseason game for the Rams, the injury that made Kurt Warner the Rams’ starter.
This was 1999, and the Chargers’ announcers were talking about how four preseason games are too many and there should be less of them. 14 years later and we’re still having the same discussions. Chargers’ coach in 1999, by the way, was current Oregon State coach Mike Riley.
6) Going thru college hoop stuff for this season, it is just weird that the Big East has teams in Omaha-Chicago-Indiana-Cincinnati-Milwaukee, none of which are very close to the east.
5) LB Lawrence Timmons had 17 tackles for the Steelers Sunday in their 19-16 win over the Ravens; he played most of the second half with a broken hand. Tough guy.
4) Jets are only NFL team with a winning record that’s been outscored this season. Only part that matters there is the winning record part.
3) If you own the Vikings and you see four different quarterbacks starting in a 7-game stretch, do you really believe your employees know what they are doing?
2) Rising star in football coaching: UL-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth, but since it is doubtful any SEC jobs will open up this winter, he’ll probably be back at ULL next season. Have to be careful not to take just any job; he is doing real well at ULL, so he can pick his spot in choosing his next job.
1) Very cool piece on YouTube about Northwestern’s basketball team, now coached by Chris Collins (son of Doug, friend of Coach K).
Collins is talking to the team about how one kid has worked harder than anyone in the Wildcats’ practices, and he calls walk-on James Montgomery to the front of the room, where he tells the team that James is now on scholarship and everyone yells, cheers and hugs the kid.
Then they show James calling his mother on his IPhone and you can hear his mother/sister cheering/screaming/crying on the phone. Touching stuff. A scholarship to Northwestern is serious money. Good for James.
Friday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13.........
13) Buffalo Bills play a rookie QB every week, but have scored 20+ points in every game; can they put a scare into the Saints on Bourbon Street?
12) Kent State and Akron are home underdogs in MAC games Saturday; MAC home dogs are 1-11 vs spread so far this season.
11) Jaguars are going to play one “home” game a year in London for the next few years; rumor has it they’re sending Dallas over the pond to play the Jags next year. That should go over well with season ticket holders in northern Florida.
10) Oregon State lost to I-AA Eastern Washington last month; in the past when the Beavers have a bad loss like that, they’ve pulled a pretty big upset later in the year. OSU hosts Stanford this week; could this be it?
9) Giants lost their last eight road games; Eagles lost their last nine home games. Something has to give Sunday at the Linc. Philly is 0-11 vs spread in its last 11 home games.
8) Clemson had to be a little shocked at how badly Florida State beat them last week; now the Tigers hit the road to play an improved Maryland team. Clemson better be alert this week, not let the Seminoles beat them twice.
7) Never thought I’d be happy to see the Rams sign Brady Quinn as a backup QB, but you see the names “Tebow” and “Favre” thrown around in wire reports, you’ll gladly take Quinn, who will wear #3.
If you’re going to buy a Rams’ jersey with Quinn on the back, get a number 94 jersey, for star DE Robert Quinn.
6) Weird week in the SEC, with few teams having week off and several other teams playing stiffs. Bama-Tennessee and South Carolina-Mizzou are the only decent games on the league’s slate this week.
5) Going back to LY’s playoff loss to Green Bay, Vikings have started four different QB’s in their last seven games. Yikes. When Christian Ponder starts Sunday place in place of Josh Freeman (concussion), it’ll be three different starting QBs in their last three games. Not good.
4) College teams send out a 2-deep depth chart for each side of the ball to the media during the week; USC’s 2-deep offensive chart has seven walk-ons out of 22 players listed. Utah beat Stanford, can they upset the Trojans in the Coliseum?
3) Dallas-Detroit figures to be high-scoring game, as all Detroit home games are. Cowboy defense has played better since a 51-48 loss to Denver.
2) Fresno State is still unbeaten, despite winning games 52-51 and 41-40 this year; the Bulldogs visit San Diego State late Saturday night trying to stay unbeaten- they're a fun team to watch.
1) Chiefs can get to the halfway mark 8-0 if they beat Cleveland Sunday. Browns are giving Jason Campbell his first start of the year, the third QB to start for the Browns in eight games. I hope Campbell writes a book someday; he’s played for so many teams and so many coaches, he must have some great stories to tell.
Thursday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13........
32) Jaguars-- ’84 Oilers were last team to lose first six games by double figure margins; Jags are at seven and counting. Only game they’ve covered was as 27-point underdogs.
31) Buccaneers—No wins, three staph infections, QB was fired, with coach soon to follow. Not their finest moment.
30) Vikings—Scooped up Josh Freeman, QB Bucs fired, for some unknown reason; he threw 53 passes Monday, despite having Adrian Peterson behind him. This is called bad coaching.
29) Browns—0-6 when Weeden starts; so Jason Campbell gets his turn this week. This team has some talent, they went 3-0 when Hoyer started.
28) Giants—Has any team ever looked less happy to win a game than the Giants Monday night? They’ve lost eight games in row on road, Eagles have lost nine in row at home. Something has to give Sunday at the Linc.
8) Bengals—Marvin Lewis is working wonders with this franchise, but how does Mike Zimmer not get a head coaching job? One of Bengals’ strengths is continuity amongst their assistants.
7) Packers—They seriously need to lose the throwback uniforms. Awful. Horrendous. Very glad Jermichael Finley seems to be doing better.
6) Saints—Probably should be higher on this list, but I have the only 7-0 team 4th, so then again, maybe not.
5) Colts—Jim Irsay did a masterful job deflecting pressure off his young QB last week, with Peyton Manning coming to town. Indy gave other defenses a roadmap on how to defend Denver. All those teams need now is Robert Mathis to terrorize #18, but only the Colts have him.
4) Chiefs—Still have two games left with Denver; would they sign up for a split right now?
3) 49ers—Won/covered last four games, have vacation in England this week against the hapless Jags.
2) Seahawks—I’m sure they’re terrified of Kellen Clemens Monday night, but the '99 Rams lost their starting QB to injury and won a Super Bowl five months later, so unusual things can happen.
1) Broncos—You don’t lose the top spot because of a 39-33 loss at Indy; at one point, when down 19, Denver was 200-1 to win the game; 20 minutes later, they were 1.35-1, before the INT when they were down 36-30. In-game wagering is wild.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud
13) Would be curious to hear what Jim Leyland has to offer in the TV broadcast booth, especially with Tim McCarver retiring from FOX after the World Series. Can you smoke in the broadcast booth? Leyland used to chain smoke in the dugout before MLB banned it.
12) Key stat in Jets’ win over New England: Patriots converted 1 of 12 third down plays, Jets were 11-21. Those are very strong numbers for a Jet team that is way better than anyone thought they would be.
11) Credit to Jet coaches for seeing that New England used that push tactic against the Saints and even though it wasn’t called then and had never been called in the NFL (it’s a new rule), they pointed it out to the refs and it got them a big win. That’s one time you can look at the coaches and know they pulled their team over the finish line first with a key piece of strategy.
10) LVH Sportsbook, which I think is the best sportsbook in Las Vegas, has Alabama -3 over Oregon, -6.5 over Florida State if the teams met today in the BCS Championship game. Someone else, Golden Nugget maybe, listed the Tide as -9.5 over Ohio State.
9) Bears fired Lovie Smith so Jay Cutler would play better; now Cutler is out four weeks, the Bears are giving up 33 ppg over last four weeks-- they’re only 4-3 despite forcing 18 turnovers (+7). Chicago is 4-1 when they force 3+ turnovers, 0-2 when they do not.
8) Bears signed QB Jordan Palmer to back up Josh McCown on the roster, with Cutler out for a month; Palmer is Carson Palmer’s little brother- he was doing film study for espn.com, analyzing Tom Brady’s play last week.
Nothing like a journeyman pro sitting behind a keyboard and critiquing one of the three or four best QBs of all time, when he himself wasn’t even that good in college, at UTEP. Now we armchair QBs can analyze his play.
7) Bronx Bombers offered free agent 2B Robinson Cano $138M for eight years ($17.25M/year); he is asking for $305M for ten years. Dodgers just signed Cuban IF Alexander Guerrero, so will be hard for Scott Boras to use LA as leverage against the Bombers in negotiations.
6) Miami Hurricanes got off easy from the NCAA, losing three football scholarships, one basketball scholarship for each of the next three seasons, but they can go bowling this year, which is huge for their recruiting, especially since doing so well on the field. Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith, who was at Miami when most of this stuff happened, got a five-game suspension; I’m guessing he is relieved.
5) This season, only two of 30 big league managers were former pitchers; John Farrell gets the Red Sox to the World Series, so the Reds hired pitching coach Bryan Price as their new manager, replacing Dusty Baker. Teams like to imitate winning teams. Price has never managed anywhere before, so he probably works cheap too, which never hurts.
4) Dodgers fired bench coach Trey Hillman, which doesn't bode well for Don Mattingly, since bench coach/manager are usually closely linked. Mattingly wants a multi-year extension; they obviously aren't offering one.
3) Clippers/Lakers share the Staples Center for home games; Clippers are going to cover the Laker stuff on the walls for home games this year, which I’m actually surprised they’ve never done before.
Clips are probably the better team this year, but some Laker folks are upset about their banners/jerseys being covered up. To me, not a big deal, just a team fighting to establish its own identity.
2) Not sure how I forgot to mention this yesterday, but congrats to coach Nevada Smith on being named head coach of the Rio Grande Vipers of the NDBL; three days ago, Coach Smith was hoop coach at Keystone, a D-III school in eastern Pennsylvania. Now he's coaching pros-- it shows how the Houston Rockets are progressive thinkers and hire based on merit.
1) Can’t see how anyone drops Denver out of the #1 spot in the NFL power ratings, just because Broncos lost 39-33 at Indy. Doesn’t matter that much, but why should it be automatic that they fall a slot or two just because of one bad night?
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Want to punish white collar felons who committed non-violent acts? Make them help coach Little League in the suburbs; that’ll teach them to break the law. Of all the things I’ve done in my 53 years, that was one of the least rewarding. The sense of entitlement among the great majority of those ungrateful humans was astonishing.
12) Home plate collisions are probably going to be banned in big league baseball after this season, following the lead of amateur ball from years ago. Runners will have to avoid tags or be called out, could be ejected for running over the catcher at home plate.
11) I’m thinking CSI should be in the regular high school curriculum, if for no other reason than to hammer into kids’ heads that it really is extremely difficult to get away with committing crimes, which hopefully results in less crime. Plus, its interesting to study, better than most science classes that were taught when I was in high school.
10) Jim Leyland is stepping down as Tigers’ manager, which is bad for the Tigers and bad for baseball. Wonder if his refusal to use Phil Coke vs Ortiz in Game 2 of the ALCS had anything to do with it?
9) RIP Ed Lauter, one of our favorite character actors; he was the prison guard in the original Longest Yard, and the hockey coach in Youngblood. If you watch movies/TV at all, you’ve seen him.
8) If I told you three years ago that..........
a) Butler would be in the Big East and
b) Butler’s coach would quit to be the head coach of the Celtics, you would’ve had me committed. Real life is often stranger than fiction.
7) I've seen every Monday night football game since they started showing them when I was 10 years old; Monday night's Viking-Giant debacle was one of the ten worst Monday night games ever. Just a terrible game.
6) Orlando Magic are breaking with NBA tradition and won’t have morning shootarounds on the road, hopefully to keep players fresher.
They’ll do afternoon walkthroughs in hotel ballrooms, so they can give out scouting info closer to gametime, so hopefully info will be retained better.
5) Mike Ditka turned 74 last week; Willie Horton turned 71. On subject of age, Pete Carroll sure doesn’t look 62, but he is.
4) Recurring downside of rooting for the A’s; I know Grant Balfour will be closing games for someone else next year, which sucks; he did such a great job for the A’s the last two years, but his time to get paid has come and the A’s don’t pay closers.
3) ESPN's studio show before Monday night games is awful; Tom Jackson actually flipped a coin on the air to decide who he picked in the game. It doesn't occur to these nitwits that fans of the team are watching, so why show disrespect to those viewers? Earn your money, people.
2) Downside of following a lot of people on Twitter; I got about 25 tweets telling me Sam Bradford tore his ACL. Thanks.
Who will the Rams sign to backup Kellen Clemens? As long as it isn’t Tim Tebow, I’ll be OK with it. If they sign Tebow, I might get physically ill. I'd rather have 62-year old Dan Fouts at QB than Tebow. Seriously.
Update; looks like it'll be Brady Quinn or Greg McElroy. Oy.
1) I’m convinced the biggest untapped market for a huge pay-per-view event in the summer would be a 64-player 1-on-1 tournament sponsored by the NBA, with proceeds going to charities.
Have it the week of baseball’s All-Star Game, just before the Vegas Summer League- it would be huge; imagine a Lebron-Kobe matchup, or Durant-Anthony or Rose-Steph Curry? Tremendous!!!!
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday.......
13) Jets 30, Patriots 27 OT-- Each team got a pick-6, Pats couldn't hold its 21-10 halftime lead, then lost in OT after a new rule was enforced for the first time, giving Jets a first down when they had missed a long FG. Gronkowski caught 8 balls for 117 yards; no other Patriot had more than 44 yards. Brady was 22-46-- New England is just another pretty good team.
12) Chargers 24, Jaguars 6-- Jax was first team since '84 Oilers to lose its first six games, all by 10+ points; now they've done it again, losing to a team that made a cross country trip after winning on Monday night. Jaguars now go to England to go hammered by the 49ers next week.
11) Chiefs 17, Texans 16-- Chiefs were minus in turnovers for first time this year, but defense held on in 4th quarter; on Houston's last three drives, they ran eight plays for minus-31 yards. Thought Keenum did well enough in his first start, but with Foster (hamstring) hurt, Texans had trouble running ball.
10) Bengals 27, Lions 24-- Detroit's special teams screwed this game up; they led 10-7 but had a 33-yard FG blocked; how many 33-yard FGs get blocked in the NFL? Then Lions' punter shanked a 27-yard punt in the last minute, giving Bengals great field position to set up GW 54-yard FG.
9) Bills 23, Dolphins 21-- Buffalo got a pick-6 on third play of the game; really hard for Miami to overcome that dismal a start- this was first game Dolphins outgained an opponent this season. Bills' only other TD was on a 44-yard drive-- they were +2 in turnovers.
8) Redskins 45, Bears 41-- Wild game where Cutler got hurt but backup QB McCown was 14-20/204 and looked good doing it. Washington scored TD to win game with 0:45 left. Six of seven Chicago games have gone over total.
7) Cowboys 17, Eagles 3-- Philly has now lost nine home games in row, and Foles got KOd, so they better hope Vick can play next week, or it'll l be USC rookie Barkley under center next week against the Giants. Dallas is now on top of the weak NFC East.
6) Panthers 30, Rams 15-- Horrific game for St Louis, which lost Bradford (knee) and it may be serious. Carolina still hasn't allowed a first half TD this season. Weird that Rams played first outdoor game on October 20. Newton was 15-17 passing; Panthers didn't turn ball over. Good game for him.
5) Falcons 31, Bucs 23-- Tampa Bay had one TD, three FGs on four drives in red zone; Schiano kicked FG with 5:00 left when he was down 14 and had only two timeouts left, then didn't onside kick. Atlanta was just 3-9 on third down and had only 18 rushing yards, not good.
4) 49ers 31, Titans 17-- Niners head to England on 4-game win streak after spanking Tennessee in game where they outrushed Titans 153-70, were 8-16 on 3rd down. Tennessee lost last three games, scoring four TDs on 32 drives, after their surprising 3-1 start.
3) Packers 31, Browns 13-- Rainy day in Lambeau saw Weeden fall to 0-6 as Cleveland's starting QB; seeing as he just turned 30, its time for Browns to go scout college QBs, unless they'd be happy with Hoyer there. Green Bay has injury issues at receiver, but rookie Boykin caught 8 balls for 103 yards.
2) Steelers 19, Ravens 16-- Eighth game in last ten series meetings that was won by exactly three points. Neither offense was sharp (two TDs, seven FGs in game)-- Big Ben drove Steelers 39 yards on seven plays for winning FG in game that gives Bengals two-game lead in AFC North.
1) Colts 39, Broncos 33-- First game in NFL history with 39-33 final score; Denver had three turnovers, 103 penalty yards and eight 3/outs on 16 drives. Four teams were -2 or worse in turnovers this week; they lost all four games by an average score of 31-22. Broncos started 11 of 16 drives 80+ yards from end zone, thanks in part to awful night by Denver PR Holliday.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) Florida State 51, Clemson 14-- Ouch. Total yardage was 565-326 in a game where Seminoles had 104 penalty yards and still hung 51 on Clemson, winning for first time in last six visits to Death Valley. Right now the three best teams in country are Oregon/Alabama/FSU, with a big gap to #4.
12) Cal Lutheran 20, Claremont-Mudd 6-- Kid named Matthew Aven made a 62-yard FG for Claremont-Mudd College, a D-III school in California. The longest FG in NFL history is 63 yards. Pretty impressive.
11) Duke 35, Virginia 22-- Cavaliers led 22-0 with a minute left in the first half; they never scored again, as Blue Devils moved to 5-2. Virginia gained 175 yards in the first quarter, seven yards in third- they're 2-5 and sinking fast.
10) Northern Illinois 38, Central Michigan 17-- NIU's QB Jordan Lynch ran ball 32 times for 316 times, a I-A record for a QB- he also threw for 155 yards-- think he earned his scholarship today, no?
9) BYU 47, Houston 46-- BYU trailed 38-34 at halftime but rallied to hand Houston its first loss. BYU ran 115 plays for 681 yards, had 41 first downs. Houston had a kick return for a TD, a defensive TD, a safety....and still lost
By way of comparison, there were a total of 126 plays run in Purdue's 14-0 loss at Michigan State; 115 plays by one team is a huge number.
8) Tennessee 23, South Carolina 21-- Winning FG was set up by maybe the best catch I've ever seen; a one-handed grab by Marquez North down the left sideline while he was well-covered. Butch Jones has done a good job with limited resources this year; if he recruits well, Volunteers are going to be back in the SEC title hunt before too long.
7) Oregon 62, Washington State 38-- Most underrated athlete in college football might be Oregon's duck mascot, who does pushups for every point the Ducks score. You try doing pushups in a duck costume.
Wazzu QB Connor Halliday was 58-89 for 557 yards, four TDs, four INTs, the I-A record for passes in one game. If Jim Leyland coached at State, he would've taken Halliday out and his backup would've given up a grand slam.
6) Missouri 36, Florida 17-- Superior coaching job by Gary Pinkel; he has a freshman QB making his first college start, so he has the kid throw a bomb on the first play, reinforcing that he has confidence in his players. Maty Mauk threw for 295 yards and Mizzou is an unlikely 7-0 team.
5) Notre Dame 14, USC 10-- In this day and age, not many college games have scoreless second halves, but this offensive horror show did. Irish lost QB Rees (concussion); how does a school that doesn't share any of NBC's TV money not recruit more than one competent passer?
4) Vanderbilt 31, Georgia 27-- The USC score and this one probably made Vandy coach James Franklin a lot of $$$-- you don't think Pat Haden is going to make Ed Orgeron the permanent coach, do you? Haden's good friend is JK McKay, son of the great USC coach- they're going top shelf for the next USC coach and when Vandy upsets Georgia, Franklin goes on top of that list. .
3) Auburn 45, Texas A&M 41-- The 3:30 SEC game CBS shows every week is on a roll, every game has been great theater; Tigers ran ball for 379 yards in a game where both teams gained over 600 yards. Johnny Manziel is a warrior, passing for 454 yards, running for 48 more, but he is getting pummeled every week-- today he tweaked his shoulder on a running play.
2) Michigan 63, Indiana 47--- Memo to Hoosiers' coach Kevin Wilson; its OK to recruit defensive players. Jeremy Gallon caught 14 passes for 369 yards for the Wolverines; guys in video games don't do that. Michigan put up 751 yards and still led only 49-47 with 7:00 left.
"Offensively the tempo helps us, but it might hurt our defense," Wilson said. At least Captain Obvious will have a job on TV someday.
1) Alabama 52, Arkansas 0-- In 2010, Bret Bielema's Wisconsin team beat Indiana 83-20 and Northwestern 70-23; wonder what the two coaches who lost those games think of Bielema's Razorbacks losing 52-7/52-0 the last two weeks, now that he's coaching in the best league in the country?
Bielema's Badgers were 0-3 in overtime games LY; Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez has to be happy Bielema left since his replacement is an upgrade.
Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here
13) White Sox are going to sign Cuban 1B Jose Abreu to a 6-year, $68M contract; seeing how well Cuban imports Cespedes/Puig have done coming to the big leagues, Abreu should bolster the Pale Hose attack, but does it also signal the end of Adam Dunn or Paul Konerko's run in Chicago?
12) I’m tired of teams complaining about their opponents celebrating; if you don’t want your opponents to celebrate, beat them. Even in this me-first era, teams that lose don’t celebrate.
11) Over the last 45 years, no NFL team that has a new coach and a new QB has started a season 7-0; Chiefs go to 7-0 if they beat Houston Sunday.
10) Speaking of the Texans, Case Keenum will be the 10th NFL QB to start this season who went to high school in Texas. None of those 10 played for the Texas Longhorns, a fact that has undermined Mack Brown’s tenure in Austin- his staff’s inability to identify or develop the top prospects in the Lone Star State is coming back to haunt them.
9) America doesn’t have a lot of faith in Josh Freeman. Over the last 25 years, no team that was 0-6 or worse has ever been favored by more than a FG. Until this week, as the Giants are -3.5 over the Vikings Monday night, in Freeman’s debut as Minnesota’s QB.
8) NFL should scrap these Thursday night games, go with Monday night doubleheaders; football wasn’t meant to be played on three days’ rest, no matter what the accountants say about the money it brings in. College teams that play on Thursday generally have the previous Saturday off. The NFL is preaching non-stop about player safety; well……..
7) Central Florida is becoming a regional football power under George O’Leary, who was once hired as head coach by Notre Dame, but let go when it was discovered he had embellished his resume as a young coach, then neglected to eliminate the false info as he became a prominent coach with real credentials. When you stop and think about it, wouldn’t they have been better off just sticking with him?
Everyone makes mistakes; his weren’t so bad.
6) Hard to take the NBA preseason too seriously when you see them playing games in China-Brazil-Argentina; its all about making money globally, not getting teams ready to play the season.
5) But if you're in Manhattan Sunday morning, the Knicks have an open scrimmage at Columbia University from 11-1.
4) Some (or more) UCLA basketball fans may be glad that Ben Howland is gone as Bruins’ coach, but let me make this very clear: Steve Alford is not an upgrade over Howland, who went to three Final Fours and won the Pac-12 regular season title LAST YEAR.
Alford has a sketchy postseason record and has never coached in spotlight of a place like LA—he played in the spotlight in college, but that isn’t the same thing. He seems like a good guy, but Howland is the better coach.
3) Georgia Tech gets Tennessee transfer Trae Golden eligible right away, which helps the Jackets, since Golden averaged 12 ppg LY and is only transferring to be near his sick father. He has one year left to play in college.
2) Nolan Ryan bowed out in Texas, loser of a power struggle with young GM Jon Daniels, so the question becomes: Is this good for the Rangers, who won a lot of games with Ryan at CEO? As an A’s fan, I’m kind of glad he’s out of the Texas organization.
1) Guess it would have been good theater if Red Sox-Dodgers had met in the World Series; Boston let the Dodgers have Adrian Gonzalez for almost nothing last summer, as long as they also took the enormous contracts of Carl Crawford/Josh Beckett. All the Red Sox really got was salary relief so they could rebuild their roster, which they obviously did very well.
The five players Boston got from LA were four stiffs and James Loney, who went to the Rays as a free agent last winter. Building a baseball team is a curious business; it would've been interesting if both teams involved in such a big trade had wound up in the World Series a year later.
Friday's List of 13: Things I’m looking for this weekend
13) If Ed Orgeron wants to remove “interim” from his current job title, then beating Notre Dame in South Bend would be a good way to start. Not sure the probation/injury-depleted Trojans have enough to get it done.
12) Winless Jacksonville Jaguars take their sorry act to England next week, but not before they host the Chargers in a huge trap game for San Diego, coming off a home upset of the Colts on Monday night.
11) UCLA-Stanford should tell us who Oregon’s top challenger in the Pac-12 is; Jim Mora’s team is also at Oregon next week, so huge part of the season for them.
10) Josh Freeman becomes Minnesota’s third starting QB in six games; its also his second start in Swamp Stadium this season, for his second team and against two different opponents.
9) Florida at Missouri features two backup QBs starting, but Gators’ Murphy already has couple starts under his belt, while Tigers’ Mauk is making his first college start, a week after the Tigers upset Georgia between the hedges.
8) How will Case Keenum do in his first NFL start in Arrowhead? Will Gary Kubiak get fired on the plane on the way home? Can the Chiefs get to 7-0, after being 2-14 last year?
7) Will St Louis finish off the Dodgers at home? The last two times Cardinals led the NLCS 3-1, they lost the series, but they finished both of those series on the road. Redbirds are under .500 vs lefties and are facing Kershaw/Ryu in Games 6-7.
6) Texas Tech figures to win at defensively-challenged West Virginia, but when your two QBs are a walk-on/freshman, road games can be tricky.
5) 0-5 Buccaneers at 1-4 Falcons. Have to figure Atlanta makes some kind of second half run; their losses were all last-minute deals. Hopefully for them they straightened some stuff out during their bye week.
4) Georgia lost to Mizzou last week in large part because they’ve got a ton of injuries; now the Dawgs visit Vandy, which has slipped a bit this year after going to a bowl in 2012. This is a game Georgia needs to win.
3) First NFL rematch of the season finds New England visiting Swamp Stadium; they beat Jets 13-10 on a Thursday night in Week 2; Patriots’ receivers have gotten a lot better since then.
2) Florida State-Clemson play for the top spot in the ACC two excellent QBs but one is a senior the other a freshman, and Seminoles have lost their last five visits to Death Valley.
1) Highlight of the weeknight is obviously Peyton Manning returning to Indianapolis to play his old team. Colts got caught looking ahead Monday night in San Diego. Broncos are an offensive juggernaut and get star LB Von Miller back this week.
Thursday's List of 13: Ranking the unbeaten 14.........
14) Houston—What a collection of stiffs they’ve beaten, but they covered all five, so good for them. Being a 9.5-point home dog to BYU says a lot.
13) Fresno State—Have wins by 52-51/41-40 scores and damn near blew a 42-3 lead at Hawai’i. Looking at their schedule, 11-0 is very possible, but November 9 at Wyoming will be dicey.
12) Northern Illinois—Won by 31 at Purdue, also won at Iowa, but all six opponents scored 20+ points. Senior QB, new coach, interesting team. Not sure if they're real good or the Big Dozen teams stink. Or both.
11) Missouri—Franklin’s injury puts crimp in what was a great start for Pinkel’s squad. tough games coming up with a backup QB.
10) Texas Tech—Two QBs are a walk-on and a freshman, but they score points. Meat of their schedule lies ahead; the two Oklahoma schools on consecutive Saturdays, plus Baylor and Texas.
9) Miami—Upset the Gators and crushed Ga Tech at home, but have trip to Florida State ahead and tonight’s game in Chapel Hill won’t be easy.
8) Baylor—Bears put up video game numbers against the weak sisters; they should jog past next two opponents, then the tough part—a Thursday game against Oklahoma November 7 should be excellent. Bears are going to need deep pockets to keep Briles as their coach.
7) Louisville—Friday’s game with Central Florida pits two best teams in the new AAC. Cardinals have one of three best QBs in country, could easily finish 11-0 if they beat UCF.
6) Ohio State—Who would be a better mortician, Urban Meyer or Jim Nantz? Nantz has the whole “Hello friends….” line down pat, but no one is as dour as Meyer. Not even close. Seriously, even on TV, Meyer was a sour guy. Don't think I ever heard him laugh once in his year on TV.
5) UCLA-- Mora's team is at Stanford, at Oregon the next two weeks; win those two games, and the national title chase could go thru Westwood.
4) Florida State-- Seminoles haven't won in Death Valley since 2001, and were favored in three of the five losses. That said, freshman QB Winston is best QB they've had in a long time. FSU-Clemson will be fun Saturday.
3) Clemson-- Home side won last six games with Florida State; if they win this week, biggest obstacle left to national title game is November 30 at South Carolina, which has beaten the Tigers the last four years.
2) Alabama-- Won 49-42 at Texas A&M, then allowed 16 points in next four games against pile of stiffs. LSU comes calling November 9.
1) Oregon-- 45-24 win at Washington is their closest game; would love to see them play Alabama-LSU winner for the national title, seeing how they sent Tennessee of SEC home with a 59-14 whupping last month.
Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) In three of Justin Verlander's last four starts, Detroit lost 1-0. Not what you expect from a Tiger team with that good a lineup.
12) New England has averaged 5.2 or less yards/pass attempt every game but one this season; LY, they were under 5.6 ypa once all season.
11) Apparently Mike Tomlin, or someone higher than Tomlin in the Steelers’ hierarchy, wasn’t thrilled with Emmanuel Sanders’ somersault into the end zone Sunday. Hey at least he got in the end zone. With the ball.
10) Tuesday night’s UL-Lafayette-Western Kentucky football game shows you how desperate some of these smaller schools are for TV exposure. Seriously, they’d play at 3am if ESPN asked; just look at the college hoop tipoff in November, when teams play games at 6am and 8am local time in order to get on national TV.
9) In case there was a human left on this planet who doubted that football is more popular than baseball, Sunday night’s Redskin-Cowboy game drew 13.8M more viewers than Game 2 of the ALCS.
8) Seahawks play at Arizona this week, in St Louis next week, which will end a stretch of four road games in five weeks, with all four of the road games in domed stadiums.
7) 6-9 Wanaah Bail became eligible for UCLA, a good addition for Steve Alford's frontcourt- he gives them some depth off the bench.
6) Chargers are 1-7-1 vs spread in game following their last nine wins.
5) Jets signed former college QB Josh Cribbs, who used to be a damn good kick returner for the Browns; wonder if they’ll use him in some Wildcat packages or just as a returner?
4) Brandon Jennings will miss the first week of the NBA season because of a hairline fracture of his jaw and an impacted wisdom tooth; neither of those sounds like much fun. He’ll probably lose weight during all that too, so it’ll take a while for him to get back to maximum strength.
3) If I own the Dodgers, a team with the highest payroll in baseball history, I want the team managed by a better manager than Don Mattingly.
2) There are 14 unbeaten teams left in major college football; we’ll be ranking them in this space tomorrow.
1) I’m thinking that our election ballots should have incumbents marked on them, so we know who to vote against next month. This shutdown stuff is annoying enough that I might actually research it in the newspapers and bring a cheat sheet into the voting booth so I know who not to vote for.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Our condolences to family of major league umpire Wally Bell, who died this weekend at age 48; he worked the Cardinal-Pirate series last week.
12) Wonder if there is tension between Tioger manager Jim Leyland and GM Dave Dombrowski; Detroit added lefty Phil Coke to the roster for the Boston series, I'm guessing because David Ortiz is 1-15 in his career vs Coke. But Sunday, when Ortiz was up with bases loaded and Coke was out in the bullpen, he stayed there while Ortiz hit a grand slam. Whoops.
What is the point of activating Coke if he isn't used there?
\11) NFL home underdogs in divisional games are 5-2 vs spread- they are 14-9 in non-divisional games.
\10) NFL home favorites in divisional games are 13-5 against spread; they are 18-19-1 in non-divisional tilts.
9) AFC West teams are 13-4 vs spread in non-divisional games; teams from AFC South are 6-13 vs spread outside their division. .
8) Kudos to the honorable humans at Jiffy Lube, who wouldn't change the oil in my car Monday because I hadn't driven enough miles since my last oil change. Would've been easy enough to make the change and take my cash.
7) Broncos get star LB Von Miller back this week, just in time for Peyton Manning's return to Indianapolis. Colts are on short rest this week.
\6) Chicago is 4-2 despite allowing 21+ points in every game; five of the six games went over the total. There have been seven TDs scored by defense or special teams in their games this season. Bears have had 3+ takeaways in five of their six games- they lost 26-18 to the Saints in the other game.
In Chicago's four wins, their field position was: +14/+15/+14/+12. In their two losses, it was -18/-15. Very unusual to have six games with none of them having even close to similar average field position.
5) Carolina is 2-3, despite outscoring opponents 50-12 in the first half; they still haven't allowed a first half TD this year.
4) Last three Raven games were decided by total of 8 points; four of their last five games stayed under the total. Baltimore is 11 for its last 46 on third down conversions- they were 24-54 in their first three games.
3) Cowboys scored 31+ points in their four wins, all at home; they've been held to 16-21 points in their two road games, both losses- they've dropped back to throw 111 times in their last three games, run ball only 49 times and now Ware/Murray are out for this week and probably next week too, games at Philadelphia/Detroit.
2) Houston was outscored 67-10 in second half of their last four games; no word yet on which QB they're starting at Arrowhead this week, but there could be major changes coming for the Texans, with their bye in Week 8.
1) How about the Chargers playing at Jacksonville Sunday, in an ultimate trap game? Emotional Monday night win, cross country flight and playing the worst team in the NFL? Try handicapping that game.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday........
13) Steelers 19, Jets 6-- Huge sigh of relief from western Pennsylvania; in their three losses, Jets are -10 in turnovers; they're -1 in their three wins. Pitt was -11 (0-11) in turnovers coming in, +2 here; teams that were +2 or better in turnovers this week are 6-0 SU and against the spread.
12) Chiefs 24, Raiders 7-- Can we just name Andy Reid Coach of the Year already? Chiefs were 2-14 LY, are 6-0 now; they've shut out three of their six opponents in second half, are +12 in turnovers for season and have scored a TD on defense or special teams in five of their six games.
Chiefs had 10 sacks in this game; the other 27 teams who played this week have averaged 2.3 sacks per game. .
11) Eagles 31, Bucs 20-- Worst coiaches in NFL history: Lou Holtz quit as coach of the Jets before the last game of a 3-11 season in 1976; Les Steckel's 3-13 season coaching Minnesota was so awful that Bud Grant came out of retirement to coach again. Marty Mornhinweg was 5-27 in two dismal years in Detroit, but he had an excuse: Matt Millen was the GM.
Enter Greg Schiano, who will go down as one of the great disasters in NFL history; he treated NFL scouts like dirt when he coached Rutgers, now NFL teams are smacking his Buccaneers around like a cheap pinata. Lovie Smith is warming up in the bullpen to take over for Schiano next year. .
10) Packers 19, Ravens 17-- Baltimore has allowed one TD in three home games, but Pack's only TD was enough to win here. In Green Bay's first three games, they scored nine TDs, kicked three FGs in 13 red zone drives. In their last two games, they kicked five FGs on five red zone drives. Packers have run ball run for 167.7 yards/game in last three games.
9) Lions 31, Browns 17-- I pay a decent amount of cash for DirecTV's NFL package, but if I want the Red Zone channel, I have to give them more money, for Sunday Ticket Plus, or some such rubbish. There is no limit to the greed of some people. For the record, I didn't buy the Red Zone channel, so there is occasionally some limit to my being gullible. Not often though.
8) Panthers 35, Vikings 10-- Our thoughts/prayers go out to the Peterson family, after their little boy was murdered. I'm adamant that if he is guilty, the guy who killed the little boy should be tortured before he is executed so he has to experience the maximum anount of pain.
As for the game, Minnesota has a huge QB problem and Carolina has a strong record after a loss.
7) Rams 38, Texans 13-- Solid afternoon for my favorite team, but hard to believe the Kubiak regime will survive this debacle, thats how bad Houston was in this game, turning ball over four times. Texan fans weren't too classy when they cheered injured QB Schaub-- losing can do that to you. .
6) Bengals 27, Bills 24 OT-- Buffalo's four home games have been decided by total of nine points; Thad Lewis was decent in his second NFL start, but he sprained his foot and may be out. Not many teams score 20+ points in their first six games and wind up with a 2-4 start-- not good.
5) Seahawks 20, Titans 13-- If you missed last play of the first half in this game, don't worry; you'll see it on NFL Network in follies films for the next 40-50 years. Seattle's kicker broke his nose so the punter tried a FG on last play of the half, only the new holder botches the snap, makes like Garo Yepremian in the Miami-Redskin Super Bowl and Tennessee scores gift TD on the last play of the first half.
\If you laid 13 in this game, the gambling gods owe you one.
4) Broncos 35, Jaguars 19-- Since 1976, NFL favorites of 20+ points are now 1-8 against the spread. Peyton Manning goes back to Indy next Sunday night to play his old team. I'm guessing he won't throw a pick-6 then, like he did in this snoozer of a game. Denver was sleepwalking and won by 16.
3) 49ers 32, Cardinals 20-- So I get up earlier than usual Sunday to watch the ESPN fantasy football shows and try to be diligent about my team; they tell me not to play Larry Fitzgerald, because there were rumblings out of the desert that his hamstring wasn't good. I'm a good listener; I bench #11, then he goes out and grabs six balls for 117 yards and a TD. Sleeping late next week.
2) Patriots 30, Saints 27-- Brees was 17-36 passing, 0-6 when he targeted Graham; at some point on his flight home, Payton will swear to be aggressive with the ball the next time he is protecting a lead. 36-year old Brady is doing amazing things with Arena League-level WRs; it really is interesting.
1) Cowboys 31, Redskins 16-- Washington's special teams were putrid in this game; Dallas had a PR for TD, a 90-yard KR, they missed a FG and the nitwit special teams coach got a 15-yard penalty for running into an offical on the sideline during the punt return TD. RGIII doesn't look like the same guy he was last year. You expected more out of them coming off a bye.
Hey if Lane Kiffin fired his dad at USC, couldn't Mike Shanahan fire his kid? If Houston fires Gary Kubiak, will Shanahan bring him to Washington to help tutor young Griffin and bail out the overmatched Kyle Shanahan?
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.........
13) Texas 36, Oklahoma 20-- Longhorns didn't just beat Oklahoma, they kicked their butts all over the field, running ball for 255 yards, scoring on both defense and special teams. An excellent day for Mack Brown.
12) South Florida 13, UConn 10-- Bulls won second game in row after 0-4 start, despite completing just 8-28 passes and not scoring on offensive TD in either one of their wins. Kicker Marvin Kloss had six FGs in the two wins.
11) Mississippi State 21, Bowling Green 20-- Top-tier MAC teams are pretty good, but this would've been a horrific loss for Dan Mullen, who will need to either beat Ole Miss in Egg Bowl or pull a big upset to get to a bowl.
10) Penn State 43, Michigan 40 OT-- Game was so odd, so even; yardage was 390-389 Penn State, with Lions turning ball over four times, Wolverines three. PSU tied game with TD in last minute of regulation by driving 80 yards in 0:23 with no timeouts- pretty good for freshman QB Hackenberg.
9) UNLV 39, Hawai'i 37-- Rebels haven't beaten anyone good, but they've won four games in row for first time since 1984- they blew a 19-point lead in second half, kicked a FG at the gun for the win.
8) Oregon State 52, Washington State 24-- Sean Mannion was 34-51/493 passing; he is the best quarterback very few people have heard of, and he has a pro coach in the underrated Mike Riley (former coach of Chargers). This game was actually 24-24 after three quarters.
7) Baseball note-- Jonny Gomes plays for the Red Sox-- this is 4th playoff team he has played for the last six years, though he didn't appear in playoffs for the '08 Rays. Rays-Reds-A's-Red Sox. Gomes is a great team guy.
6) Central Michigan 26, Ohio U 23-- 17.5-point dog Chippewas pulled biggest upset of day, scoring with 0:22 left after Ohio fumbled a punt, their fourth turnover of the day. Bobcats had won four games in row coming in.
5) Missouri 41, Georgia 26-- Costly win for 6-0 Mizzou, which lost QB James Franklin for rest of regular season (shoulder). Georgia is also banged-up after giving up 113 points the last three Saturdays (2-1).
4) Utah 27, Stanford 21-- Utes stopped Stanford at the 6-yard line in final minute to preserve the biggest home win in program history. Bubba Poole had 111 yards rushing, 75 more receiving-- Utah outgained Cardinal, 410-389.
3) Tulane 36, East Carolina 33 OT-- Cairo Santos kicked five FGs for the Green Wave, who also got a 98-yard pick-6, and ECU missed a 42-yard FG with 0:03 left, as surprising Tulane (10.5-point dog) moved to 5-2.
2) Texas Tech 42, Iowa State 35-- Red Raiders ran 101 plays for 666 yards, outgained State 666-311 but only won by 7 points, because they were -3 in turnovers, in part because their freshman backup QB was starting for first time. Florida-LSU game had a total of only 124 plays in it- this one had 179.
1) Texas A&M 41, Ole Miss 38-- Johnny Manziel was 31-39/346 passing on a night when Aggies needed every yard. After giving this a decent amount of thought, Manziel most reminds me of the old QB Fran Tarkenton.
Saturday's List of 13: Random Saturday stuff......
13) OK go get a map, or just go to Mapquest.
Find the Atlantic Ocean, then find the state of Indiana, then find the town of South Bend in Indiana. Put your finger on South Bend, then look at the Atlantic Ocean again, and then explain to me how the hell Notre Dame is playing basketball in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Not football, just basketball, though they do have to play five football games a year vs ACC teams, but while they don’t have to share NBC’s football money with the rest of the league, they do share in the league’s basketball money. What a country.
12) A minor league hockey team in Bakersfield is giving away a funeral plot for two as part of a promotion; you laugh, but its worth $5,000 and its something everyone will need at some point.
Why is there a hockey team in Bakersfield? They’re in the same league as a team in Las Vegas, so you tell me. I’ve seen the team in Vegas play; minor league hockey is always good stuff.
11) Sam Cassell Jr committed to play basketball for UConn next year; he is playing at Chipola JC in Florida now, while his dad is an assistant for the Washington Wizards- he coached the Wiz’ team in the Las Vegas Summer League.
10) Speaking of Las Vegas, UNLV hasn’t won four football games in a row since 1984, but they will if they beat Hawai’I tonight and they’re a 9.5-point favorite.
9) I don’t see how any commissioner of any sport should be in the Hall of Fame for that sport, unless they were a founder, with one possible exception being Pete Rozelle, who brought the NFL into the television age and helped turned it into the money-making machine it is today.
Paul Tagliabue? No freakin’ way. Think Hall of Fames should be reserved for players/coaches/GMs, people who win/lose games.
8) Someone told me this week that USA Today is $2 a copy now; do people really still buy newspapers? Why? I can see people buying the local paper because they’ve got coupons for shopping that help save money, but $2 a day for a national paper? I don’t get it.
7) When you see NBA teams playing preseason games in the Phillipines, you realize their preseason is as much about marketing their product than it is about getting ready to play a season. Sending Jeremy Lin’s team over to Asia is making the Rockets/NBA a lot of money.
6) Why can’t the NFL go to 14 playoff teams next year instead of 2015? Giving out only one bye per conference is going to change how December games are played in the league.
5) When Giants lost 27-21 in Chicago Thursday, they avoided becoming the first NFL team ever to allow 30+ points in each of their first six games.
4) Eli Manning has thrown eight 4th-quarter INTs this season; no one else has thrown more than three.
3) Its amazing the amount of people I talk to who have no idea when Columbus Day is; I told someone I had Monday off from work and they’re like, “Why??” Um, the guy who discovered America? Remember him?
2) Since 2003, NFL underdogs of 14+ points are 43-36-3 against spread. Since 1976, dogs of 20+ points are 7-1, with only loss when the expansion Buccaneers lost 42-0 at Pittsburgh when the Steelers were an NFL power.
1) There is an ongoing struggle in sports management between old-school types who run things “by feel” and mostly younger people who like to use numbers/analytics to explain/analyze things.
At some point, you better have a little of both on your side, because while you need data to make good decisions, there definitely are intangible, immeasureable things that make a team win/lose.
Some Ivy League whiz kid will come up with a formula someday to define what a good teammate is, but its BS, because a lot of what that entails happens off the field, away from the analysts’ eye, in the locker room, on the team plane, in restaurants/hotels.
The value of human intuition and instinct will never disappear from running sports teams or any type of business, and that’s coming from a numbers guy.
Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend
13) Saints-Patriots is the best NFL game this week. How much clutching, grabbing of Saint TEs/RBs will be allowed? New England had zero penalties last week in Cincinnati.
12) Is Oklahoma-Texas Mack Brown’s last stand with the Longhorns? If Brown is gone, would Art Briles leave Baylor to coach a conference rival?
11) In Tampa, we have Nick Foles’ 7th start, Mike Glennon’s 2nd. Foles’ best start came on this field last December. Both Philly wins this year came within the NFC East.
10) Unbeaten Missouri goes between the hedges to play banged-up Georgia, which is off a pair of epic wins over LSU/Tennessee.
9) Matt Cassel starts at QB for the Vikings, but with newly-acquired Josh Freeman looming over his shoulder. Carolina hasn’t allowed a first half TD yet this year, but is only 1-3.
8) Indiana got the Penn State monkey off its back last week, now they try to build on that success when they go to Michigan State. Hoosiers are better, but how much better?
7) Cardinals struggle with lefty pitching, which could be bad news with Kershaw/Ryu facing them in the NLCS.
6) Michigan Wolverines struggled to beat Akron/UConn, now they visit Happy Valley to play a Penn State team that got upset at Indiana last week.
5) The Bronco juggernaut is a 28-point favorite over Jacksonville, which fired Denver DC Del Rio as head coach two years ago. Peyton Manning goes back to Indy next week, doubt he or his teammates look ahead.
4) Northwestern fought Ohio State tooth-and-nail last week but came up short at home; now they’re a 10-point dog at Wisconsin. This week might tell us more about good the Wildcats are than last week did.
3) Raiders have been lousy the last few years, but they’ve still won their last six visits to Arrowhead, where they are Public Enemy #1. 5-0 Chiefs are looking to triple last year’s win total as well as exact some revenge for those six losses.
2) Will Jadeveon Clowney play at Arkansas? Is everything good with the Gamecocks? Not often a coach calls out a player like Spurrier did, but he’s a unique coach.
1) Colts-Chargers Monday night game features Indy coach Chuck Pagano going against his brother John, who is San Diego’s DC. Pretty good QB duel, too.
Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud
13) Michael Wacha’s last two starts are amazingly good: two hits, one run (the Alvarez HR Monday) in 16 IP.
In those two games, batters are 2-48 against him. Wow.
12) Of the four pro sports teams in Philly, none of the four coaches who were in their job on January 1 are still employed by that team- tough year. Chip Kelly is now the dean of active head coaches in Philly- he was coaching Oregon this time last year.
11) LaSalle basketball coach John Giannini thinks the transfer rate in college basketball might be as high as 50% every year if there were no rules regarding players sitting out after a transfer. In other words, chaos.
10) Falcons-Raiders-Jaguars will be “home” teams for the NFL’s three games in London in 2014. There are rumors that because of security concerns at recent 49er-Raider fans with fans of both teams clashing, that game might be the one that gets moved to England next year.
9) With four baseball playoff games and an NFL game at night, was this past Monday the best sports Monday of the whole year?
8) Nice to know federal workers are getting paid; but they’re getting paid to do nothing. Our government’s leaders are screw-ups and that’s being nice.
7) Joe Girardi signed up for another four years in the Bronx, at $4M a pop. Where does this leave the Cubs in their search for a manager?
6) Speaking of blame, Rex Ryan needs to learn basic strategy; up 20-14 with 13:30 left Monday, Jets scored a TD to go up 26-14. At that, you really have to go for two points, since a 12-point lead is basically the same as a 13-point lead, but a 14-point lead is WAY better. But no, Jets kicked the PAT, Atlanta scored two TDs to take a 28-27 lead and only Geno Smith’s last-minute heroics saved Rex from a very long week in the Big Apple.
5) Scary thing is that Ryan said Tuesday that he didn't realize he should have gone for two until after the Falcons went ahead. Say what?? Why do the Jets have assistant coaches if they're not assisting Ryan?
4) In case you wonder about such things, Mike Glennon’s two backups with the Buccaneers are Dan Orlovsky and Jordan Rodgers, not exactly rating as high as Frank Reich or Don Strock as high-quality backup QBs.
3) Logical landing spot for Matt Flynn is back in Green Bay, where he knows the offense and they need a better backup to Aaron Rodgers.
2) USC plays its first game under interim coach Ed Orgeron tonight; my question is this: who is running their offense? Lane Kiffin did all that; and with such inexperienced QBs, you need a strong coach to help them thru games. Orgeron reached out to former Cal coach Jeff Tedford, but Tedford turned him down.
Guy named Clay Helton is the OC; his dad used to coach the Houston Cougars; before coming to USC, Helton had only coached at Duke and in Conference USA-- not very USC-like.
1) Speaking of Kiffin, where does he go from here? He’s still young but has had three prime coaching jobs; Tennessee/USC and the Raiders. No one else is hiring him, not for a while. I’d be curious to hear him on TV, to hear if he offered any insight. He already has enough money to sit home and do nothing if he wants, so we’ll see what happens.
Wednesday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13
32) Jaguars—Henne is a better QB than Gabbert, especially with explosive Blackmon back at WR; they’re 27.5-point underdogs at Denver this week, biggest spread since expansion Falcons played Johnny U’s Colts 47 years ago.
31) Bucs—No one likes the head coach, which wouldn’t matter except he fired the franchise QB and is now 1-8 in his last nine games overall- they haven’t scored in second half of their last two games. There is a new QB; soon there will be a new head coach.
30) Giants—Can’t remember an NFL team giving up 31+ points in each of its first five games; basic problem is that OL has fallen apart in front of a very good QB who is immobile, which screws things up. When Eli got protection, he moved ball and scored lot of points, which obscured other problems which seem glaring now.
29) Steelers—When you’re best week of the season is your bye week, you know its bad. Catch Jets on short week off Monday night upset win this week.
28) Vikings—Not sure what they’re trying to do bringing in Freeman, not sure they know what they’re trying to do. Had hard time deciding between them and Carolina for this spot- teams play this week, loser gets #28 next week.
8) Bengals—Held Brady without TD; rain or no rain, that’s a good deal. Still think letting rookie QBs watch for a year isn’t a terrible idea, but it seems like an obsolete idea. Long term, it could help, but we’ll never find out, except for guys who rise from obscurity to become starters.
7) 49ers—Bully team; they try to run it down your throat, but if they can’t, not sure Kaepernick is good enough to beat you throwing ball, especially with WRs woefully thin behind Boldin. Defense is banged-up, so they may have to win couple shootouts as season goes on.
6) Patriots—They had zero penalties at Cincinnati last week, in a game they never led; how does this happen? Their LBs/DBs will clutch/grab prolific Saint receivers all game Sunday; curious to see how many flags get thrown on them.
5) Colts—Wayne/Hilton are dynamic 1-2 punch at WR; they did great job seamlessly moving from Peyton era to Luck era. Jim Irsay is an underrated owner.
4) Chiefs—Have scored on defense/special teams in four of five games; Alex Smith manages game really well and that’s no insult, its how you win. This 5-0 team was 2-14 last year, but now rival Oakland comes to town, having won last six visits to Arrowhead. This should be fun.
3) Seahawks—Came close to sweeping Houston/Indy road trip; they’re totally dominant at home, figure to wind up with best record in NFC if they can beat Saints .
2) Saints—Speaking of which, big game this week has Who-Dats invading Boston. Again, we’re going to be watching Patriot defenders mugging TE Jimmy Graham to see how many flags they draw- it’s a key to this game.
1) Broncos- Converting 58.3% on third down, when they even get to third down. I am 53 years old; this might be the best offense I’ve ever seen, and I’m also a Ram fan, so very partial to Greatest Show on Turf, but these Broncos don’t turn ball over, which makes them better.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but...........
13) Teams that played in the first four Thursday night NFL games are 7-1 SU/ATS in their next game; only loss was when the Eagles got smoked 52-20 in Denver.
12) Houston Texans have been outscored 46-3 in second half of their last three games; in 77 NFL games this season, only twice has a team not had at least one play of 20+ yards—it was the Texans both times, in Weeks 3-5.
11) Minnesota Vikings signed Josh Freeman Sunday night, giving them a troika of mediocrity under center: Ponder-Cassel-Freeman. Cassel never even started a game in college (USC), but is probably the best of the three.
10) Tampa Bay replaced Freeman on its roster with Vandy grad Jordan Rodgers, Aaron’s younger brother. Fans are not rushing ticket windows because of this. Bucs haven’t announced yet who they’re going to replace HC Greg Schiano with next season, but odds are he’s getting the boot too, just like Freeman did.
9) Patriots lost in Cincinnati Sunday despite having a 10-yard edge in average starting field position. NFL teams with a 10+-yard advantage are 28-6 so far this season.
8) NFL meant well with all the pink stuff (breast cancer awareness) last week, but they’re wisely going back to yellow penalty flags this week; lot of times you couldn’t tell the penalty flags from players’ towels.
7) Jose Lobaton's walk-off homer into the rays' tank was the first time a Tampa Bay player has ever honered into the tank in right-center field.
6) Next year there will be 39 bowl games, which is ridiculous; 78 of the 128 I-A teams playing in a bowl. The new bowl game in the Bahamas could be interesting, but where does it stop?
5) Texas Tech QB Baker Mayfield has been playing great, but isn’t on scholarship; kid hurts his knee, can’t play. Can he get the same treatment a scholarship athlete gets? I don’t think walk-ons eat at the training table with scholarship players. If he’s done for the year (they don’t think he is) will they still give him a scholarship?
4) One of the TV analysts on a college game this week, think it was either Chris Spielman or Glen Mason, said “……95% of college football coaching is recruiting. All these guys know Xs and O’s.” Was stunned he used a figure as high as 95%- no way is that true in basketball.
3) 77 NFL games so far this season; the winning teams are a combined +80 in turnovers. Winning teams were +20 this past week.
2) Denver Broncos are 35-60 (58.3%) on third down conversions; they’ve been at 50%+ in all five games and scoring a ridiculous 46 ppg. Its been a long time since an offense was this good.
1) Carolina Panthers outscored foes 37-9 in first half this season; they haven’t allowed a first half TD in four games, and they’re still 1-3. Oy.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday..........
13) Eagles 36, Giants 21-- Vick tweaked his hammy, Foles was 16-25/197 in relief, as Philly moved to 2-0 in divisional games, 0-3 in other games. Giants are 0-5, giving up an average of 36.4 ppg, are already -13 in turnovers. They go to Chicago this coming week for the Thursday night game.
12) Chiefs 26, Titans 17-- KC blew a 13-0 halftime lead, were just 1-12 on third down, but scored last three times they had ball; as Alex Smith becomes first Chief QB since Mike Livingston in 1969 to win his first five starts as a Chief. 5-0 Kansas City is +10 in turnovers.
11) Ravens 26, Dolphins 23-- Miami had only 10 first downs and 22 rushing yards as they lost for second time in six days after a 3-0 start. Ravens ran ball for 133 yards after having only 24 last week in Buffalo. Miami tried a 57-yard field goal on the last play of the game, but it was wide left.
10) Rams 34, Jaguars 20-- Jax traded LT Monroe to Baltimore so they could move rookie Joeckel there, but he got hurt in first half and is out for the year. Jaguars looked little better on offense with WR Blackmon back, but this is a bad team. They should trade Jones-Drew for draft picks, too.
9) Bengals 13, Patriots 6-- Pats were 1-12 on third down, didn't score a TD on a rainy day in Queen City- they also didn't commit one penalty. Bengals ran ball for 162 yards, held Brady to 4.0 yards per attempt- his streak of 52 games with at least one TD pass comes to an end.
8) Colts 34, Seahawks 28-- Seattle led 12-0 early, thanks in part to a safety on a blocked punt, but Indy scored a TD on a blocked FG, Andrew Luck was tremendous on third down, converting 7-12 and TY Hilton caught five balls for 140 yards. If Luck would stop throwing to Darrius Heyward-Bey, he'd be even better; he targeted Heyward-Bey six times but none were completed.
7) Baseball....... Alvarez, Martin had RBI hits in 8th inning as Pirates took a 2-1 series lead with a 5-3 win over St Louis.........Dodgers scored 10 runs in first four innings and crushed the Braves 13-6.
Somehow, Atlanta is sending Freddy Garcia out to start Game 4-- he turned 37 Sunday and started only three games for the Braves this season.
6) Packers 22, Lions 9-- Calvin Johnson was a late scratch for Detroit, and it showed; Detroit was outgained 449-286, Packers won easily despite scoring only one TD. This was only second NFL game this year with no turnovers; first one ended 52-20, so offenses here struggled on a sunny day.
5) Saints 26, Bears 18-- New Orleans has one TD, five FG in seven red zone drives in their two road games (seven TDs, four FGs at home). Bears' Jeffrey caught 10 balls for 218 yards, but Chicago had a 15-yard deficit in its average starting field position, and thats hard to overcome.
4) Cardinals 22, Panthers 6-- I'm beating a dead horse, but Cam Newton is a great talent, NFL teams are worth almost a billion dollars each, and Carolina has Mike Shula as its offensive coordinator, after they stupidly let John Fox walk as head coach. Give Newton a real offensive mind to work with!!!!
3) Broncos 51, Cowboys 48-- Amazing shootout with 1,039 total yards in it; Dallas scored a TD on its first four second half drives, but an INT on the last one proved to be the difference. Teams combined to convert 13-19 3rd down plays. Last time an NFL team lost scoring 48+ points was 2004, when the Browns lost 58-48 to Cincinnati.
2) 49ers 34, Texans 3-- Schaub threw a pick-6 for 4th game in row; Houston looked like a dispirited team by game's end. Kaepernick was just 6-15 for the night passing, hitting one long TD pass to Davis that broke game open, but Harbaugh has to be little concerned with Niners' lack of depth at WR.
1) Raiders 27, Chargers 17-- Pryor looked good throwing the ball, but they need to work on playing with a lead. Charles Woodson scored his 13th TD on defense and picked off his 56th career pass. If you're an Oakland fan, you're optimistic going forward with Pryor ar your QB.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.........
13) Georgia 34, Tennessee 31 OT-- Dawgs beat LSU 44-41 last week, are now very banged up heading into next week's game with unbeaten Missouri. SEC football is tremendous entertainment; this was a great game. My dad is 87 and doesn't like college football that much- he was glued to this one.
12) Baylor 73, West Virginia 42-- Mountainners were a 30-point dog, had four takeaways, scored 42 points but didn't even cover, as Baylor ran ball for 468 yards, passed for 396 more. Maybe West Virginia should recruit some athletes who play defense. Just a thought.
11) South Carolina 35, Kentucky 28-- Gamecocks are 4-1 but have issues with star LB Clowney, who unexpectedly begged out of playing in this game. This might be a case where they'd be better off without him, as talented as he is. As big an ego as the kid may have, Spurrier's is bigger.
10) Ball State 48, Virginia 27-- Cardinals are now 25-7 vs spread in last 32 games as a road underdog, but this wasn't just a cover, they whupped a team from the ACC. Big day for the MAC and David Letterman's alma mater.
9) Notre Dame 37, Arizona State 34-- Whoever made ASU's schedule cares more about money than winning; the last four Saturdays, Sun Devils played Wisconsin-Stanford-USC-Notre Dame. They did well to go 2-2.
8) Clemson 49, Syracuse 14-- Orangemen moved their basketball team out of the Big East for this??? Clemson was 23-32 passing for 466 yards, thats over 20 yards per reception. Men against children. Slow children.
7) Indiana 44, Penn State 24-- Huge win for Kevin Wilson's program, as Hoosiers beat Penn State for first time in 17 tries. IU scored three TDs in a span of 3:40 early in 4th quarter. First true road games are often tough for a freshman QB, and for Penn State's Hackenberg, this was the case.
6) Ohio State 40, Northwestern 30-- Wildcat QBs were 25-31/343 passing for the night, but Buckeyes covered on defensive score on last play of game; someone estimated the TD cost one sportsbook in Las Vegas $3-4M. .
5) Miami 45, Georgia Tech 30-- Al Golden has done underrated job with the Hurricanes; this game was tied at halftime, and Tech's option attack is supposed to wear defenses down, but Miami won second half, 28-13. Helps to have a senior quarterback, too.
4) UL-Lafayette 48, Texas State 24-- Ragin' Cajuns won, but Bobcats ran consecutive kickoffs back for TDs, in a span of 8:12. Don't see that much.
3) Quick baseball tangent: In a players' poll couple years ago, CB Bucknor got more than twice as many votes as anyone else as the worst umpire in the major leagues. How is he working playoff games?
If you care about such things, Bucknor played CF in college at Cortland State in central NY. He was born in Jamaica. He is not a good umpire.
2) South Florida 26, Cincinnati 20-- Bulls' only two TDs were scored by the defense and on a blocked FG. Terrible loss for the Bearcats, losing to a winless team playing its third-string quarterback.
1) Stanford 31, Washington 28-- Last game of night was one of best; have no idea how replay official called U-Dub's last pass incomplete. Must have better eyesight than me. And both of ESPN's announcers.
Saturday's First List of 13: Notes on the first Saturday in October
13) Dan Uggla makes $13M a year but isn’t on the Braves’ roster for the NLDS. Guess the laser surgery he had in August didn’t fix whatever his hitting problems are.
12) Browns' QB Brian Hoyer tore his ACL Thursday night, which puts #3 QB Jason Campbell in line to back up previously-deposed starter Brandon Weeden- they're apparently not interested in adding Josh Freeman..
11) 49ers’ WR Anquan Boldin has 24 catches for 372 yards and two TDs; the Niners’ other five WRs combined for 13 catches, 112 yards, zero TDs.
10) In their last 260 games, the Dallas Cowboys are 130-130.
9) Guess Louisville’s basketball team didn’t practice too much this week, since Rick Pitino was all over TV, shilling for his new book, the sixth book he’s written. I’ve read a couple of his other ones— they were better than you think they'd be.
8) City of Houston already has nine kids from Class of ’14 committed to play D-I basketball next year. Thing is, all nine are playing out-of-state, which seems odd considering there lot of D-I teams in Texas.
7) 6-6 forward Trevon Bluiett, a 4-star recruit from Indiana, de-committed from UCLA, which hurts Steve Alford’s program; Butler/Xavier/Purdue are said to be the new frontrunners for his services. Guess the kid doesn’t like warm weather.
6) There is a suite at the Palms with two bowling alleys in it and another one with a half court basketball court. Either one would be tremendous.
5) Scapegoats, part 1: Texas Rangers fired their 74-year old bench coach and their first base coach after losing the play-in game to Tampa Bay. Yup, must’ve been their fault.
4) Mets' All-Star pitcher Matt Harvey will have Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2014 season.
3) I’m not a big Jim Boeheim fan, but he’s done great, great things for Syracuse and he makes $2M a year, which he more than earns, considering how much $$$ their basketball program makes; wonder how his proclamation that paying college athletes would be “idiotic” will play with recruits.
If you read his whole statement, he makes perfect sense, but how many kids will look at it that way?
2) I’m a big Dusty Baker fan, since he was nice to me when I met him back when I was 15 years old and he had a broken wrist while playing for the Braves. Sad to see him get fired by Cincinnati; I’m thinking if the Dodgers don’t win the World Series, they’ll give Don Mattingly the boot and Magic Johnson will hire Dusty as manager. The guy is 167 games over .500 in 20 years as a manager, after all. He even got the Cubs to the playoffs.
1) I was having a bad day at work the other day so I took a walk downstairs to get some food; there was guy sitting in the lobby, wearing shorts. I’m wondering why the guy was wearing shorts, when I realized his left leg is artificial. One of those metal prosthetic legs you see guys run races with sometimes. End of complaining for me this week; that guy was out and about with an artificial leg and he was smiling. No reason I couldn’t be, too.
Saturday's Second List of 13: Yup, its your lucky day......
13) Baseball is going to be vastly different next year, when replay delays replace delays caused by managers arguing with umpires; I’m thinking it’ll be change for the better. Now if we can eliminate pitching coaches visiting the mound, it’ll be even better.
12) This season hitters had their lowest on-base percentage since 1973, the first year of the DH. Texas’ 3.63 team ERA was its lowest since 1983. Offense is down, and it’s a problem for baseball, maybe another reason why the DH won’t go away, which is too bad.
11) Retired ballplayer Bobby Bonilla still makes $1.2M a year in deferred payments from the Mets; 13 of the 25 current Pirates made less than he did this season.
10) I like the one-game Wild Card thing; it makes winning the division more important. Feel little bad for the NL West teams who have to compete against the wealthy Dodgers every year, but from my standpoint as an A’s fan, better they be the wealthy giant than an AL team.
9) Arizona traded its LT Levi Brown to Pittsburgh, as Steelers try to dig out of an 0-4 hole. Seeing as everyone else in AFC North has two losses, their season isn’t lost yet, but its getting there pretty fast.
8) KC Royals’ late surge saved manager Ned Yost’s job; he got a 2-year extension as Royals missed playoffs but showed promise, although they traded two of their best young prospects (Myers/Odorizzi) to Tampa to get James Shields so they could win this year.
7) OC Thunder guard Russell Westbrook had his knee scoped, is out 4-6 weeks, which means he’ll miss at least a couple weeks of the regular season.
6) Hamilton Tiger Cats of the CFL are getting a new stadium; Tim Horton Field, sponsored by the donut company, joining Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence as sports venues sponsored by donut franchises. When is the Krispy Kreme Center getting built somewhere?
5) Cleveland Indians lost the Wild Card game, but they entered the playoffs on a 10-game win streak, 4th-best ever. Of the top three, the ’60 Bronx Bombers (15) and ’71 Orioles (11) lost the World Series in seven games, and the ’70 Orioles (11) won the Series.
4) I know this can’t be done because of our country’s laws, but I’m adamant that every member of Congress should immediately be told that they’re fired, as soon as their terms are over. Every one of them should become a lame duck. Shutting down the government tells me there are people who could do their job better, since they’re not doing it all right now.
3) Jaguars traded starting LT Eugene Monroe to Baltimore for multiple late round draft picks, as Jags acknowledge that they’re in such bad shape that it’ll take a lot of draft picks/new players to fix things. Ravens had 24 rushing yards last week, so this helps both teams.
2) Greg Oden is trying out for the Miami Heat; the former #1 pick hasn’t played anywhere in four years, and only played in 82 NBA games (60 starts, 9.4 ppg) after playing a half-season at Ohio State that was hampered by an injured wrist. Have to think he is almost starting over, skill-wise, but he is still fairly young and could be quite a coup for Miami if they can develop him into a productive player.
1) When you hear the term Moneyball, that’s what it refers to, being ahead of the curve when it comes to finding talent, looking for/finding players where other teams aren’t looking.
The latest trend seems to be recycling top prospects who failed in other organizations. Oden is a good example. Josh Donaldson was a 1st-round pick of the Cubs; Eric Sogard was a 2nd-round pick of the Padres.
These are guys who were highly regarded at one time, but did not flourish with the team that drafted; they’re given a second/third chance and now their talent is coming through.
Small market teams have to be smarter and more persistent; that’s why the A’s-Rays-Pirates are winning now, and its why Miami keeps winning, because they work hard to surround Lebron/Wade with solid complimentary players.
Friday's List of 13: Things I’m looking for this weekend……
13) A’s-Tigers; no other baseball matters at Armadillo World HQ. A’s had Detroit by the tail in playoffs LY but let them slip away. Hopefully this year will be different, but the Tigers are a formidable opponent.
12) Winner of Chief-Titan game will be NFL’s early Cinderella story. KC is running ball more than the Eagles did under Reid, thanks to Jamaal Charles.
11) How good is Northwestern? Ohio State visits Evanston Saturday night; will Northwestern alum Brent Musberger and former Buckeye QB Kirk Herbstreit scuffle in the broadcast booth?
10) Unbeaten Seahawks have been unsteady winners on the road; they visit the 3-1 Colts, who whacked the 49ers in Candlestick two weeks ago. Super Bowl preview?
9) Vandy-Mizzou is the James Franklin Bowl; Mizzou’s QB and Vandy’s coach are both named James Franklin. Don’t know much about Missouri yet; we’ll know more after this game.
8) Bears have forced 3+ turnovers in all four games; they’re scoring lot of points under offensive guru Trestman. Short week and travel off Monday night game for Saints, who struggled in outdoor game so far this season.
7) Maryland is improved, but by how much? They’re 15-point dogs at Florida State, which slept thru first 20:00 at BC last week ,before pulling away for a methodical win. This is a good yardstick for the Terps.
6) Terrelle Pryor is back at QB for Oakland in this 11:30 Sunday night game; if this game gets good TV ratings, could we see Sunday night doubleheaders in the next TV contract?
5) Arizona State-Notre Dame are playing at Jerry World in Dallas, for some reason. ASU’s schedule must’ve been made by Evel Knievel, or somebody who despises Todd Graham. Wisconsin-Stanford-USC-ND on consecutive Saturdays. Not easy.
4) Matt Schaub has thrown a pick-6 in three consecutive games, throwing the Texans and my fantasy team into the ashcan; now he goes to San Francisco to face a 49er team that had three extra days to rest/prepare after waxing the Rams in St Louis last Thursday.
3) Washington Huskies are a well-coached veteran team, but so is Stanford. This should be a really good game. Cardinal crushed Wazzu in Seattle last week and no one else had done that so far this season.
2) Broncos’ juggernaut visits Jerry World on Sunday; problem for Dallas is that their defense is the same one Peyton Manning practiced against for seven years with the Colts. Game is on turf though and Cowboys have scored 67 points in two home games, so this could be a fun 4:25 game Sunday.
1) Yeah, there are three other playoff series besides the most important one; TV network execs will be rooting against Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and the A’s. Yup, three of the five lowest payrolls made it to the playoffs this year. So did three of the five highest payrolls. Go figure.
Thursday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13.........
32) Jaguars— Traded LT Monroe to Baltimore this week. Been outscored 75-8 in first half of games; could be getting 27.5 or 28 points in Denver next week, which would be biggest spread in NFL history. It opened at -26, but who will take it?
31) Buccaneers—War between Schiano/Freeman becoming increasingly ugly; releasing Freeman’s medical data breaks the law. Next year, neither guy will be anywhere near Bucs’ Place. Best news for Tampa; this is their bye week.
30) Steelers—0-4 for first time since ’68; they’re already -11 in turnovers, and still haven’t run ball for more than 80 yards in any game. Best news for Steelers: this is their bye week, too.
29) Giants— Hard to have a screwed-up OL with immobile QB. Outscored 69-7 in last two games, by teams who combined to go 8-24 last year. Neither Jersey team got inside red zone last week, though each team scored on one long TD. Cut RB Scott this week, who played 27 of 56 snaps in KC.
28) Rams—Season of promise is a debacle so far; they’ve been behind 21-0/24-0/24-3 in last three games. Better beat Jags this week, or else…….
8) Dolphins—Lead NFL in red zone offense points/possession, have quick turnaround vs Ravens this week, after losing for first time Monday night in Superdome. Having problems getting free agent WR Wallace involved.
7) Colts—Crushed both 49ers/Jags on 2-game road swing, now host 4-0 Seattle this week. Organization not getting enough credit for staying strong after Manning era ended- its tough to replace a legend, still be a good team.
6) Lions—Scored 27-40 points in last two games; none of their three TD drives vs Chicago were longer than 51 yards, plus defense scored one. Stafford is lone QB drafted in ’09 who is still starting.
5) Patriots—Tom Brady is one of three best QBs of all-time; look at the journeyman WRs he throws to, and he makes it work. In last two games, Pats allowed one TD, four FGs on opponents’ eight red zone drives.
4) Chiefs-- +9 in turnovers, have allowed opponents inside 20-yard line four times in four games. We chuckled LY when 2-14 team had six guys in Pro Bowl, but they did and still do have talent- its getting coached better now.
3) Saints—Lot of fun watching #9 play QB. Defense appears improved under Rob Ryan; he's kept things simpler than when he was in Dallas.
2) Seahawks—Finding ways to win, but have to be little concerned about Wilson’s play on road. Win enough games, though and you don’t go on road in the playoffs.
1) Broncos—Could sit here all day and quote stats about how great they’ve been; only 17 of their last 144 plays came on third down. Think about that one. Already scored three TDs on special teams, too.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) How can you look at what goes on in American politics and not think that all politicians are a bunch of weasels? It is unfathomable that the government has been shut down but Congressmen are still being paid. If I refused to do my job, I wouldn’t get paid and neither would you.
12) Speaking of which, my doorbell rings Sunday around 3:15; it’s a couple and their little girl, maybe 8-9 years old- the mother is running for town council, and they want to talk to me. Ha!!!!
The husband has a Bronx Bomber hat on, making it even worse. I take their flyer, tell them I’ll vote for her but (not to be rude) I’d rather watch football than talk to her. Politicians makes me want to puke.
11) CB Bucknor is working the A’s-Tigers playoff series, despite almost universal acclaim (by MLB players) as being the worst umpire in the big leagues. From my standpoint as an A’s fan, it could be a lot worse, could be Angel Hernandez or Kerwin Danley, so I’m OK with it, but isn’t there a merit system for umpires making it to the postseason?
10) In its last two games, Houston Texans were outscored 33-0 in second half; Matt Schaub has thrown a pick-6 in three consecutive games. Texan fans are not amused- tough game this week at Candlestick, too.
9) Point guard Angel Rodriguez transferred from Kansas State to Miami, to be closer to a sick relative, but he didn’t put in a waiver to play this season, probably because Hurricanes figure to be a lot better next year and he only has one season left to play. Rodriguez is a very good get for Jim Larranaga’s ‘canes.
8) ESPN hired George Karl as a game analyst and mercifully added Doug Collins to its God-awful pregame/halftime show, replacing Michael Wilbon. Collins is excellent on TV; curious to hear Karl during games. I’m guessing he’ll be very good.
7) Cubs fired the first volley in the Joe Girardi sweepstakes by firing manager Dale Sveum, like it was his fault the team stinks. Sveum didn’t pay Edwin Jackson $13M a year, but he gets the gate anyway. Where will they turn if Girardi stays in the Bronx?
6) Been doing college hoop research, and I’m thinking, how did Ben Howland not get another coaching job? Guy has been in three Final Fours, he won the Pac-12 regular season LAST YEAR but still got fired? Why?
For UCLA, this was simply change for the sake of change, because Steve Alford isn’t an upgrade over Howland, but seems like Bruin fans simply got tired of Howland. We’ll see if he surfaces on TV this winter.
5) Jaguars play at Denver October 13: pointspread was expected to be 27.5 or 28, the biggest one ever, but it has opened in Las Vegas at +26.
4) Twins lost 93+ games three years in a row, but gave manager Ron Gardenhire a 2-year extension; good for them, since they obviously think they’ve got a good manager. Minnesota has a couple bigtime prospects coming to the majors in the next year or so- they should improve in 2014, but since neither one of them pitches, how much better will they get?
3) Falcons are 1-3, but had ball on 3-yard line in last 1:00 to beat Saints, on 13-yard line in last 1:00 to tie New England, but didn’t score either time- they allowed Miami to score in last minute in that loss, so you’re looking at a 1-3 team that just as easily could be 4-0. Small margin between winning and losing in the NFL.
2) Speaking of which, best red zone team offenses so far, in terms of points per possession:
Miami 6.27, Rams 5.90, Carolina 5.86. Chargers 5.77.
Best red zone defenses: Chiefs 3.25, Panthers/Bucs 3.29 and Seattle 3.36.
1) Rough end to the season for the Reds, who lost their last six games while scoring a total of ten runs. Francisco Liriano was winless in four starts vs Cincinnati during the season, but was masterful last night.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but...........
13) We’ve become such an impatient society; we get news instantly on Twitter or by text, no one waits for anything anymore, so we get college football coaches being fired before baseball season ends. One thing you need to remember about football, where you have so many players; it takes a while to implement your system, and then get the right players for it.
In 1979-80, the 49ers went 8-24 but didn’t fire their coach after two poor years; in 1997-98, the Rams went 9-23 in a coach’s first two years there, but stayed the course with their coach.
Both teams won the Super Bowl in their coach’s third season; you might have heard of the coaches: Bill Walsh and Dick Vermeil.
12) Going way back to 1956, ten years before the Super Bowl existed, and Vermeil was San Jose State’s quarterback; Bill Walsh was a graduate assistant on that coaching staff. What are odds that two Super Bowl winning coaches would be involved at same time in a mid-major program like San Jose State?
11) Can’t be much fun in Tampa these days, where former starting QB Josh Freeman was relegated to the press box for the Bucs’ home game with Arizona Sunday. Coach says it was a mutual decision; QB’s agent called the coach a liar. Now apparently the Bucs' leaked some of Freeman's medical information, a blatant violation of privacy laws. Awesome.
Meanwhile, you watch the Jets and Mark Sanchez is helping coach Geno Smith, talking to him in between series and trying to help. Say what you want about Sanchez the QB, but everything you read about him says he is a high quality human being.
10) I would love to know the percentage of when an NFL team throws an incomplete pass on first down, how often do they run the ball on second down? I’m guessing at least 70%. Teams are so paranoid about 3rd-and-long that they almost give up trying to get 10+ yards on second down and simply work to create a manageable third down. Offensive football was a lot more fun to watch when the QBs called their own plays.
9) Weird doings in Miami Sunday, where Henderson Alvarez pitched a no-hitter, but game was still 0-0 in 9th inning, when Marlins won game on a walk-off wild pitch. Anytime Miami sweeps a series its odd enough, but you don’t see walk-off wild pitches too much.
Detroit wound up winning the AL Central by only one game, but they were never really threatened- they just stopped hitting once they clinched.
8) In case you care about such things, with Jake Locker hurt, looks like the Titans’ new backup QB is Rusty Smith, who was on their practice squad. Smith played for Howard Schnellenberger at Florida Atlantic; he's thrown 45 passes in four NFL games, starting one in 2010.
Still think it should be a rule that all NFL teams dress three QBs every week, even if the 3rd QB is an emergency-only guy; it protects the quality of the product, in case of injury.
7) First USC cans Lane Kiffin, now UConn fires Paul Pasqualoni, both before the baseball playoffs start. This reeks of placating disgruntled big money boosters; from a tangible football standpoint, how does it help recruiting, or help the team play better?
Whomever coaches USC or UConn next year is already coaching somewhere else right now, so why not let Pasqualoni finish the season? He has to be a capable coach, why embarrass the guy?
USC is a little different because it is so high profile, the fans’ displeasure would have had a negative impact on recruits, and with only 56 kids travelling to Tempe last week, the Trojans most definitely have a lot of recruiting to do. If you think I’m wrong about this, let me know what you think.
6) If their season keeps going in this direction, at what point do the Eagles have to play Nick Foles at QB? Or do they? Michael Vick is over 30, the team seems headed downward- they went 4-12 LY, after all. Infusing some young blood in the lineup is an option, at every position.
5) Buffalo fans are getting their money’s worth; Bills’ first three home games were decided by a total of six points.
4) Why do people take pictures of their food and post them on Instagram? And why is it always healthy or fancy food?
I’m going to take a pic of a bag of Doritos and a carton of half-eaten fried rice and post it, just for a little nutritional balance.
3) Knicks wisely picked up the option on coach Mike Woodson thru 2015; he is a solid coach, as much as you can be watching Carmelo Anthony jack fall away jumpers night after night. At least Woodson yells at him to get back on defense.
2) OK, I’ve always wondered this: Rays-Rangers last night, an unscheduled play-in game, where do the profits from that game go? Is there some big vault inside Alan R Selig’s office with stacks of cash in it, and they just dump another wheel barrow full of money in there on Wednesday morning?
1) I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall in John Elway’s luxury suite two years ago, when Denver was going 8-8 with Tim Tebow at QB- must have driven him freakin’ nuts.
Two years later, the Broncos are a powerhouse, Tebow is unemployed and Elway is the Jerry West of the NFL.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday..........
13) Vikings 34, Steelers 27-- Pitt is 0-4 for first time since 1968, when they went 2-11-1 and fired Bill Austin, replacing him with Chuck Noll. They have had only three head coaches since that season. Why did the spread go up after it was announced Cassel was playing? He's as good as Ponder.
12) Bills 23, Ravens 20-- Buffalo outrushed defending champs 203-24, had five INTs (+2 turnover ratio), held Ravens to 3-16 on third down. Each side had ball 16 times in this game, an awful lot for an NFL game-- 10 of Ravens' 16 drives started 80+ yards from the end zone.
11) Browns 17, Bengals 6-- Cleveland is 2-0 with Hoyer at QB, they held the Bengals to 63 rushing yards, one field goal on two red zone drives. Three of the four AFC North teams are tied for first place at 2-2, and Steelers aren't one of those three.
10) Colts 37, Jaguars 3-- Would the Jaguars win the CFL title? Three TDs on 48 drives is no way to start a season. Jax hasn't come within 10 points in any game yet this season, outscored 129-31. Luckily for me they play the Rams next week and then they go to Denver, where the spread is expected to be as high as 28 points, maybe the highest spread in NFL history.
9) Seahawks 23, Texans 20-- Major choke job by Houston, which led 20-3 at half, had ball in Seattle territory up 20-13 with 3:00, to play, then threw a pick-6 to tie game, and they lost in OT. QBs can't throw balls like that.
Remember now, Lane Kiffin got fired this weekend, but lot of the stuff that has USC's program in decline happened under Pete Carroll's watch, before he beat feet a few steps ahead of the NCAA calling.
8) Cardinals 13, Bucs 10-- Both teams had three turnovers, neither team gained 300 yards, Larry Fitzgerald didn't catch a ball in the first half, but the Redbirds won despite 10 penalties for 90 yards and going 1-10 on 3rd down; Mike Glennon's debut at QB didn't help Greg Schiano's job security any.
Doug Martin had 27 rushes for 45 yards; it is painful just to type that.
7) Lions 40, Bears 32-- Only second Detroit win in last 11 series games; its four TDs came on drives of 22-2-51 yards, plus the defense scored one. Two teams combine to convert 3-23 on third down and turn ball over seven times. Lions forced seven 3/outs, won field position battle by 18 yards.
6) Chiefs 31, Giants 7-- In last five halves, Giants were outscored 100-21. In its 4-0 start, Chiefs won field position by 15-14-23-12 yards; this just doesn't happen much in the NFL. Turnovers were even here, which makes final result little more telling, since Giants were -9, Chiefs +9 in first three games.
5) Titans 38, Jets 13-- Tennessee lost QB Locker with hip injury, won this game by forcing four turnovers (+4)- their first three TD drives were 18-26-46 yards, then defense scored one, too. Rough day on road for rookie QB, as Jets had six 3/outs, 10 penalties, were 4-13 on third down.
4) Chargers 30, Cowboys 21-- Dallas led 21-13 at half, but rough weekend for Kiffin family (USC-Ole Miss-Dallas all lost) ended with Cowboys getting blanked in second half. Rivers was 35-42/392 passing, averaging 9.2 yards per attempt. NFC East is a combined 4-12 SU.
3) Redskins 24, Raiders 14-- Oakland led 14-0 early thanks to blocked punt for a TD, but Skins scored a defensive TD and sacked Flynn seven times as Raider fans asked, "Why did we trade for this guy?" Hopefully RGIII's knee will get better; right now, he looks like a shell of what he was last year.
Raiders are down 10 with 3:30 to go, have 4th-and-1 at the Washington 17-- how do they not kick a FG there to get within seven points? Do coaches go to game management class after they get hired? If not, they should.
2) Broncos 52, Eagles 20-- If Chip Kelly called USC today, how fast do you think he could get out of his Philly contract? Since halftime of Week 1, Iggles have been outscored 131-73. Steve Mariucci said on NFL Network that he wouldn't be that surprised if Denver went undefeated this season.
1) Patriots 30, Falcons 23-- AFC East teams are now 8-1 vs spread outside their division. BC alum Ryan wasn't as sharp as normal; Smith drops to 19-5 vs spread in games following a loss. Atlanta is now 1.5 games behind Saints in NFC South- they seem to do just enough to lose.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.........
13) Rangers and Indians won, Tampa Bay lost, so Rays/Texas are tied for the second Wild Card spot, a game behind Cleveland. I'm rooting hard for the 3-team playoff, just because baseball makes the All-Star Game result matter, so they deserve a mess as the playoffs begin.
12) NL Wild Card game will be Reds at Pirates Tuesday, first playoff game in the Steel City since 1992.
11) Georgia 44, LSU 41-- A football classic, with 670 passing yards between the two QBs, who are were roommates as freshmen.
10) Buffalo 41, UConn 12-- Huskies are now 0-4 after almost upsetting Michigan last week- they also lost to Towson State. Think Big Dozen regrets taking Rutgers over UConn? Nope, me either.
9) Arizona State 62, USC 41-- In immortal words of former NBA player Micheal Ray Richardson,. "...the ship be sinking." ASU gained 612 yards, scored 42 second half points. Trojans traveled only 56 scholarship players and star WR Marqise Lee got hurt returning a punt when it was 48-21.
I had no idea ASU has over 73,000 students; they're the biggest college in the country and Central Florida is second. Who knew?
8) USC has 40 alumni on NFL rosters, most of any team, but LSU leads NFL with 11 alumni as defensive backs- think that helps recruiting? .
7) Northern Illinois 55, Purdue 24-- Huskies have beaten Iowa/Purdue this season; they should get one of the Big Dozen's bowl slots in December.
6) Hunter Pence gets $90M, five years from the Giants, giving agents all over America big smiles. If Pence gets $18M a year, what will Robinson Cano get? I don't think Cano will get more than five years, though.
5) Oklahoma 35, Notre Dame 21-- Irish were 9-25/104 passing with three INTs and were taken to the woodshed in the first 5:00 of this game, before making a game of it later on. Sooners had 212 rushing yards, 238 passing.
4) Every once in a while we mention a high school in Texas (Allen HS) that has an 18,000-seat football stadium that cost $60M, but now word comes out that their marching band has 850 kids in it. 850!!! What do they all do, I mean other than march? Wonder which school board member has a business that sells the band members the uniforms they wear?
3) East Carolina 55, North Carolina 31-- Pirates had 36 first downs, gained 603 total yards. Good news for Tar Heel fans-- basketball practice started this weekend, so that season is only six weeks away.
2) Alabama 25, Ole Miss 0-- Rebels had covered their last four visits to Tuscaloosa, but managed 205 only yards here, after some Ole Miss players said they thought they could score on the Alabama defense. Crimson Tide had 254 rushing yards and put the Rebels in their place.
1) Way out west very late Saturday nite, Fresno State led 42-3 at Hawai'i with 6:15 left in third quarter; Rainbow Warriors then scored 34 points in 13:24, pulling within 42-37 with 7:51 left in game, but Bulldogs hung on for the win, which would've been the worst collapse in college football history.
Saturday's First List of 13: Why two lists today????..........
13) Of the five NL playoff teams, only the Dodgers are in the top 10 in MLB payrolls; surprised to see the Braves with only the #19 payroll. They don’t get the credit they deserve for long-term excellence.
12) When the Manager of the Year results are released, they should also give out the names of anyone who didn’t vote for Clint Hurdle or Terry Francona, just so we know who the nitwits are.
11) Since 1985, NFL teams that are 0-3 are 38-77 SU in their fourth game, 54-57-4 against the spread. Three of the NFL’s six winless teams are favored this week. Three of the seven unbeaten teams are underdogs.
10) Eagles (24), Packers (21) have the most plays of 20+ yards so far this season. Tennessee (6) has the least, followed by Rams-Jags-Panthers with 8 and yes, the impotent Rams already played their 4th game.
9) Lions are only NFL team that hasn’t given up a 20-yard play on a 3rd down; that covers the 34 third down plays Detroit opponents have had this season.
8) Miami Dolphins are playing their 78th Monday night game this week; 53 of the first 77 (68.8%) came at home.
7) Akron extended hoop coach Keith Dambrot thru 2023, that’s ten years from now. Dambrot is probably best known for being Lebron James’ high school coach, but he has done a terrific job with the Zips.
6) Veteran assistant basketball coach Bob Cantu, who has been at USC for several years under a few different coaches, has surfaced as one of Tim Floyd’s assistants at UTEP. When a school changes coaches and they keep one of the holdover assistants, that’s quite a compliment.
5) Sacramento Kings gave DeMarcus Cousins a 4-year, $62M extension; he averaged 17.1 ppg and 9.9 rebounds a game LY. They should put Shaquille O’Neal in charge of Cousins’ development, seeing how Shaq is a partial owner of the team now.
4) Total in the Cal-Oregon game Saturday is 85; not sure if I’ve ever seen that before, not even when our man John Jenkins was coaching the Run-and-Shoot at Houston. I mean, the game could end 42-41 and the under would still cash. Crazy, just plain crazy.
3) Former used car dealer Alan R. Selig is retiring as baseball commissioner after the 2014 season, when he will be 79 years old; any guesses on who replaces him?
George W Bush? George Will? Cal Ripken? Tony Larussa (hey, he’s a lawyer)? One of those Ivy League wonderboys who keep getting GM jobs in their 30’s? Selig is making roughly $15M a year, so it should be a highly sought-after position.
2) I’m wondering if it is harder for a guy who was an only child to become the leader of a team? Has anyone ever done a study on this? Seriously if you’re drafting a QB to become the face of your franchise, shouldn’t you have information like this?
An only child spends less time around other kids growing up; you wonder if it affects their interactions with their peers as they grow older. It is a billion dollar industry, after all, helps to have all the knowledge you can have.
1) College basketball practice started Friday; teams can have 30 practices over the next 42 days, when games start. College hoop is this website’s favorite sport, so we’re excited about the season starting.
Saturday's Second List of 13: Because its your lucky day...........
13) New rule suggestion: Every year a major league team loses 100+ games, they have to lower ticket prices by 10%+ the following year; this would discourage teams tanking like the Astros and Marlins did this year.
Marlins fired GM Larry Beinfast Friday, after 12 years with the team.
Miami’s situation is especially hideous, since they just got a gorgeous new stadium built by the taxpayers. At least you can see that the Astros have a plan to win eventually. Houston is the 4th-biggest city in the country; they should have a prosperous franchise.
12) Key word there is should; Astros took 1B Nate Freiman from San Diego in the Rule 5 draft last December, but they didn’t want to keep him on the big league roster all year, so they put him on waivers and the A’s took him in March. Big Nate helped Oakland win the AL West as a sub; with the collection of stiffs the Astros played all year, they couldn’t have found a spot for Freiman?
They had freakin’ Carlos Pena on the team, for Pete’s sake. Not good.
11) One last Astros note as their six-month death march crawls to an end; they went 6-31 against Texas/Oakland this year, 2-17 against the Rangers. Whats going to change for these three teams between now and next year?
Why should 2014 be any better for Houston, other than finally bringing George Springer up and letting the Wojciehowski kid pitch? It takes more time than other sports to develop a winning baseball team. In the meantime, Astro management should cut their fans a break on ticket prices.
10) Arizona Diamondbacks have played 78 extra innings this year, which is four short of the all-time record, set way back in 1918.
9) Jason Giambi has two walk-off HRs against the White Sox this year, the first player to do that against any team since 1968, when Detroit’s Gates Brown hit two against Boston. Tigers won the World Series that year.
Ironic that Mr Brown passed away Friday, at age 74.
8) Nets hosted the NBA All-Star Game in 1982; saw the game program this week, it cost $4. Wonder what the game program for this year’s All-Star Game costs? $25? $30? More?
7) TNT analyst/former NBA coach Mike Fratello was coaching the Ukrainian national team this summer; hopefully TNT or NBA Network got some behind-the-scenes access to do some features to show this winter. Would be interesting to see how an American coach works with a team of foreign players.
6) Florida Gators are -13 at Kentucky this week, with a backup QB making his first career road start. It’s the lowest series pointspread since 2007. Florida covered the last five series games.
5) Wall Street Journal had an interesting article that blamed declining student attendance at college football games on fact that college football stadiums have terrible cellphone signals, and in this day and age, phone-addicted kids can’t go three hours without texting or tweeting.
Some schools are considering spending $2M or more to make their stadium’s WiFi system state-of-the-art.
4) Air Force suspended its young QB Awini indefinitely, which is very bad news for an inexperienced team that was already struggling.
3) Virginia Tech played its 27th Thursday night game on the ESPN networks this week, the most of any college football team.
2) Colorado Rockies gave retiring star Todd Helton a horse as a going-away present; I never would’ve thought of that.
1) Robinson Cano’s asking price this winter: $305M, 10 years. Alrighty then, guess that rules the A’s out. No harm in asking, but if he (or anyone else) gets a 10-year contract, I’ll be stunned. Those very long contracts have proven to be mostly a disaster for ballclubs.
Friday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but..........
13) Where will the NL Wild Game be played? Reds-Pirates play three games this weekend, winner gets home field. Six months of games boils down to one weekend, as teams jockey for position for next week’s playoffs.
12) Whole NFC East is playing road games against the AFC West this weekend; with a combined 3-9 record thru three weeks, it doesn’t look like Dallas is going to have much of a fight for the division title.
11) Three of the seven NFL unbeatens are underdogs this week; three of the six winless teams are favored. Go figure.
10) LSU QB Zach Mettenberger originally went to Georgia, but got kicked off the team and wound up at LSU, where his career has blossomed under former NFL coach Cam Cameron.
Zach’s mom still works in the Georgia athletic department; Dawgs’ coach Mark Richt gave her this week off. Big game in Athens.
9) Steelers-Vikings was once a Super Bowl matchup; now it’s a battle of winless teams in London. Someone is coming back across the pond 0-4, which will make for a very long flight and bye week.
8) Oklahoma visits Notre Dame, where pass interference flags fly like confetti when the Irish have the ball. Sooner QB Blake Bell is making his first road start; he’s more of a runner than a passer, but was 27-37/413 in his first start against Tulsa. This will be a little different than playing against Tulsa. OK, a lot different.
7) Bucs coach Schiano went ahead and benched Josh Freeman for rookie Mike Glennon, a much anticipated move. Curious to see how the team reacts, not like Glennon did that great when NC State cut Russell Wilson loose so Glennon could start for two years in Raleigh.
6) USC is a 6-point underdog at Arizona State, which played Wisconsin, Stanford the last two weeks; what genius made that schedule? First Pac-12 road start for Trojan QB Kessler; the way USC fans seem to despise Lane Kiffin, maybe USC will play better in a hostile environment.
5) All three Charger games have been decided by exactly three points, with both San Diego losses coming in last 0:30. Dallas ran the Rams out of JerryWorld last week. Road team won last four meetings in this series.
4) Wisconsin coach Gary Anderson is 16-3 vs spread as a road underdog; Badgers lost their first road game 32-30 at Arizona State, in a bizarre ending. Big game in the Big Dozen.
3) In New England’s first three games, they faced two rookie QBs and then Josh Freeman, who was benched three days later; now they’re facing Matt Ryan’s Falcons, who are 19-4 vs spread off a loss under Mike Smith. Major step or two up in class for New England’s young receivers.
2) Can Texas avoid a second consecutive September meltdown by coming from behind to get in the Wild Card game? Can the Indians complete a fantastic season by making the playoffs? Who will be top seed in the AL?
1) Dolphins at Saints is an excellent Monday night game. Once upon a team, Drew Brees left the Chargers as a free agent after shoulder surgery; the Miami head coach, acting on medical advice, chose Daunte Culpepper over Brees as a free agent signee.
Brees signed with the Saints and has done great. The Miami coach quit after two years, but has done well since elsewhere. Guy named Nick Saban.
Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but..........
32) Jaguars—They should trade Maurice Jones-Drew for draft picks; whats the use of having a bigtime runner if you’re never ahead? They need help, as in a lot of new players. Do what the Rams/Browns did; let the star RB go and eventually strengthen the rest of your team.
31) Giants—Tough times for Coach Coughlin, who had to bury his younger brother this week after he died in a freak accident.
30) Steelers—Ben Roethlisberger is a warrior; he hung in there Sunday and fought hard, not always well, but he took a lot of shots and competed until the end. Much like the Giants, Pitt’s OL is fouled up and as a result, so is their season. Going to be a long flight to London.
29) Buccaneers—Their last two head coaches have both been guys who had never been NFL coordinators; could the next coach be Lovie Smith? He’d be a major upgrade over the last two.
So they benched Josh Freeman for rookie Mike Glennon, who was the guy that replaced Russell Wilson at NC State when the coach cut Wilson loose before his senior season. Coach was fired within 18 months.
28) Redskins—They played a fun game Sunday (both teams had over 400 total yards) but fun doesn’t matter if your career rests on winning. At 0-3, they really, really need a win this week, at Oakland.
8) Cowboys—I’m thinking USC fired the wrong Kiffin last year.
7) Saints—Still amazing the league suspended Sean Payton for the same length of time as Greg Williams, when the whole bounty thing was Williams’ doing. Too bad Saints-Titans don’t play each other this season.
6) Chiefs—Can the NFL give Andy Reid Coach of the Year in September? How about Alex Smith being 3-0 while the 49ers are 1-2?
5) Dolphins—Ryan Tannehill was a WR at Texas A&M until he was a junior. His OC now is Mike Sherman, who was his coach at A&M and used to be coach of the Packers. They're off to a 3-0 start, but if my franchise QB was as inexpereinced as Taneyhill, I'd get him a better QB guru than he has to help Sherman have a more productive offense..
4) Patriots—They’re going to keep coaching those young WRs; they’re going to keep getting better as the season goes on, just wait and see.
3) Bears—Defense is still forcing turnovers and Cutler’s play has improved under Trestman’s tutelage.
2) Seahawks—Interesting game this week at Houston.
1) Broncos—Without looking it up, who is:
a) the Broncos' backup QB and b) the offensive coordinator for Denver?
If you say Peyton Manning is the OC, you get partial credit.
Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but..........
13) If you want to bet the World Series before the playoffs start, the AL rep is -$140 over the NL champ, whomever they may be.
12) UCLA is raising $50M to build a new football practice facility, almost as much as that high school football stadium in Dallas cost.
11) Detroit Tigers have used only six starting pitchers all season and the sixth, Jose Alvarez, only made five starts.
They’re worried about Miguel Cabrera’s recurring injuries, but they’ve been lucky with their starting pitchers’ health.
10) ESPN.com reports that since 2001, CC Sabathia has thrown 43,390 pitches, most in the major leagues.
9) AFC East teams are 6-0 against the spread outside their division so far this season.
8) St Louis Cardinals are 75-42 vs righty starters, 16-23 vs lefties, which could be bad news if they play the Dodgers (Kershaw/Ryu) in short series.
7) Lions’ WR Nate Burleson broke his arm in a car accident; football coaches have to hold their breath every time the phone rings. If its not a stripper hitting a player in the head with a bottle, it’s a one-car accident or a DUI. As the old saying goes, nothing good happens after midnight.
6) In three of the last four years, golf’s Player of the Year didn’t win a major that year; if Eldrick Woods wins this year, it’ll be four of five.
5) Seven NFL teams are 3-0, which means they have as many wins as the four teams in the NFC East combined (3-9).
4) 49ers held only two of their last nine opponents under 27 points.
3) South Carolina better not be overlooking Central Florida this week; the Knights already won at Penn State and have an NFL-level QB in Blake Bortles and an excellent coach in George O’Leary.
2) In NFL’s long history, the Giants and Redskins have never been 0-3 in the same season. Until now.
1) Shaquille O’Neal bought part of the Sacramento Kings; hopefully that means he is off TNT’s studio show (please Lord, make this happen). Its not that he says bad things, its that I can’t understand half of what he says, so I don’t even know if he’s good or bad, he just takes airtime away from Charles Barkley, which is who you want to listen to on that show.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but..........
13) Each NFL franchise is almost a billion dollar business; some are actually worth more than that. So how come when the Colts scored a TD with 4:13 left in the game to go up 19-7 Sunday, they kicked the PAT instead of going for two? At that point in the game, being up 13 points is no better than being up 12, but being up 14 is way better.
This is the kind of basic strategy a Pop Warner coach would know to do. How does an NFL head coach screw this up?
12) Kentucky’s basketball team is going to have six freshmen this fall who were McDonald’s All-Americans last year; combined with returning players from LY, and some egos are going to be bruised when really good players are sitting the bench. My question is this: of the six freshmen, how many will still be at Kentucky as sophomores?
11) Did you know the Frisbee was invented in 1947; who comes up with something like that? Imagine trying to sell that idea for the first time, the strange looks the guy must’ve gotten? He must've made a freakin' fortune.
10) If you look at ESPN’s top 100 high school basketball seniors from LY, none of them went to high school in New York City, which is highly unusual. Now there might’ve been a kid or two who was from NYC and went to an out-of-town prep school, but none went to HS in the Big Apple.
9) …… all of which helped make the recruiting battle for Lincoln High’s Isaiah Whitehead a little more juicy, since he is a Class of ’14 kid who is definitely a top 50 player. Seton Hall nosed out St John’s for Whitehead; Kevin Willard is having a very good recruiting year. Weird that St John’s has to go outside NYC to get players.
8) “Cleveland has thrown in the towel.” NFL Network’s Steve Mariucci, an old Mike Holmgren assistant, on Sunday morning’s pregame show. Of course, Cleveland then beat the Vikings in the Metrodome, so the whole throwing-the-towel-in thing was ludicrous.
7) Its amusing that Holmgren ripped Cleveland for trading Trent Richardson (who he drafted before they fired him) but then said he once offered the Colts his entire 2012 draft for Andrew Luck.
You see, having a really good QB is critical in the NFL; the Browns don’t think they’ve got one, so they need to stockpile draft picks to get one, and some other players too. Holmgren is a smart guy, but so are the people running the Browns; people just see situations differently sometimes.
6) I always wondered how much these companies pay to sponsor NASCAR teams; well when NAPA pulled out of sponsoring Michael Waltrip’s team last week, they took their $16M a year with them. $16M a year!!! That buys an awful lot of shock absorbers.
5) Phillies did the expected and named Ryne Sandberg fulltime manager; he is not an upgrade over Charlie Manuel, but the Phils’ roster is aging so much it may not matter who the manager is for the next couple years.
4) Hockey season starts next week (yes, next week!!!); if you’ve never seen a pro hockey game in person, do it.
It is the one sport that gains the most in the translation between TV and being there in person. Its an excellent night out.
3) Michigan just snuck by Akron/UConn the last two weeks, which is a major red flag- the Zips followed up their 28-24 loss by losing at home to UL-Lafayette the next week. Wolverines aren’t getting enough out of their passing game. Interesting to see how they do in league play.
2) Rollerball was on Turner Classic Movies last week; really, it was. It is a pretty goood movie, with a much, much younger James Caan starring as a futuristic roller derby star, but a classic? Really?
1) College basketball practice starts this weekend; teams are allowed 30 practices over 42 days starting Friday, allowing them to stretch workouts out more. As soon as baseball ends on Sunday, we’ll be hitting the books, getting ready for the season this winter.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday.........
14) Titans 20, Chargers 17-- Locker drove Tennessee 94 yards in 10 plays and got winning TD with 0:15 left to improve Titans to 2-1. Tennessee was one of four teams this week not to turn ball over-- all four won. First three San Diego games have all been decided by exactly three points.
13) Browns 31, Vikings 27-- With all the chaos surrounding the Browns and their trade this week, no one gave them a chance here, so Brian Hoyer drove Cleveland 55 yards in 11 plays and threw a winning TD pass with 0:49 left.
Cleveland also scored a TD on a fake FG; very big day for them.
In the LVH handicapping contest in Las Vegas, if you take the six most popular picks every week, so far those teams are 2-15-1 vs spread, while the six least popular picks each week are 12-5-1. Go figure.
12) Patriots 23, Buccaneers 3-- Tampa Bay has only one offensive TD on 22 drives in its last two games; the 2014 Bucs will have a new coach and the kid from NC State (Mike Glennon) will be their QB, and people will wonder how Greg Schiano ever hoodwinked the Bucs into hiring him as head coach.
11) Ravens 30, Texans 9-- Houston led 6-3 with 3:00 left in half, then in a span of 1:54, Baltimore scored a TD on both defense/special teams. Refs in this game have to soak their arms after this flagfest; a total of 24 penalties for 200 yards were called. Both kickers had three field goals.
10) Cowboys 31, Rams 7-- Lot of preseason hype about the Rams being so much better this year; so far, not so much. The new WRs have been just as lousy as the old ones were. With the other three teams in NFC East starting season a combined 1-8, Dallas might clinch the division by Halloween.
9) Saints 31, Cardinals 7-- Arizona scored on its first possession, then for rest of the day, they ran 44 plays for 167 yards, not very good. Graham was tough, catching nine balls for 143 yards from his tight end spot. New Orleans was 7-13 on third down, kept the Arizona offense off the field.
8) Lions 27, Redskins 20-- Last time the Lions won a road game against the Redskins, it was 1935 and the game was in Boston. One of the better games of the day (TY: 441-420 Lions). Huge red flag for Washington: Griffin looked creaky when he ran (six carries, 37 yards) but he did pass for 326 yards.
7) Bengals 34, Packers 30-- Green Bay led 30-14 with 19:00 left to play, but lost this game when Bengals ran a fumble back 58 yards for a score with 3:47 left, when Green Bay tried to run ball on 4th-and-1 with no fullback to block. Bengals scored the first 14 and last 20 points of the game.
6) Panthers 38, Giants 0-- Giants are first team with 13+ turnovers through three games since 2001, when Lions/Cowboys both did- they're -9 in turnover ratio and have a total of 133 rushing yards. In three games. Carolina had seven sacks Sunday, six in the first 22:00 of the game.
Since 1978, 161 teams started the season 0-3; five made the playoffs.
5) Dolphins 27, Falcons 23-- Miami goes to 3-0 by driving 75 yards in 13 plays to win the game with 0:38 left, after Atlanta missed a 35-yard FG. Not a lot of 35-yard FGs are missed in NFL. Falcons led 20-10 in third quarter-- when they have to go on the road in the playoffs, or miss the playoffs, they'll regret letting this game slip away.
Punt returner Douglas waved all the Falcons away from a short punt, then for some reason picked the ball up, ran with it and fumbled when hit, giving the Dolphins the ball on the Atlanta 19. Thats how you lose close games.
4) Colts 27, 49ers 7-- Big news after game: Aldon Smith is indefinitely out of the 49er lineup; his locker was empty after the game. He got a DUI Friday. In their last two games, 49ers have one TD on 21 drives, ten 3/outs, 7 turnovers.
In his last two games, Kaepernick is 24-55 passing; meanwhile Alex Smith is 3-0 with the Chiefs, and they play the staggering 0-3 Giants next week.
3) Seahawks 45, Jaguars 17-- How did Jacksonville become so terrible? In three games, they've been outscored 92-28. Jags should've kidnapped Seattle backup QB Tarvaris Jackson and taken him back to Florida-- he's way better than any of the Jaguar quarterbacks.
2) Jets 27, Bills 20-- Why do rookie QBs have to play right away? Quality of play is in the ashcan because teams don't play starters in preseason, but the one thing rookies need is game repititions, so the first month of season teams are trying desperately to win while also developing talent. Oy.
Jets won this sloppy, ugly game despite having 20 penalties for 168 yards; they averaged 11.4 yards per pass attempt- they started 12 of their 15 drives 80+ yards from goal line, but managed TD drives of 80-80-85 yards.
1) Bears 40, Steelers 23-- Can't turn ball over five times and win, especially if the two of the five turnovers are run back for TDs. Steelers are a mess with a trip to London to play the Vikings up next.
Steeler DC Dick LeBeau was playing in NFL before I was born; he is 76 now, he looks younger than me. What an amazing 41-year coaching career he's had, after playing for the Lions for 14 years.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) Florida 31, Tennessee 17-- Gators beat Tennessee for ninth year in a row, but lost QB Driskel (ankle) for the year. Vols started Peterman at QB for the first time; I'm thinking you're better off giving a kid his first start in front of the home folks, but thats just my opinion.
12) 39,425 happy people saw the Pirates beat Cincinnati and take a big step towards clinching their first playoff spot in 21 years. Magic number is now 3 for the Pirates to clinch a postseason berth.
11) Pitt 58, Duke 55-- Tom Savage is first ACC QB in 14 years to throw six TDs in a game, as Panthers used four INTs to get their first ACC road win. 22,714 loyalists watched this game in Durham; when was last time Pitt and the Pirates played on same day, and Pirates' crowd was 16,711 higher?
10) Florida A&M got a check for $900,000 to go to Ohio State and get beat by the Buckeyes; I understand they need the money for their program, but good grief, 76-0 leaves scars. Hope they spend the money wisely.
9) On June 28 the Tigers were 43-35 and Victor Martinez was hitting .225; now they're 91-64 and he's hitting .303. Tremendous second half for the veteran hitter, who missed last year with a severe knee injury.
By the way, if you took Chris Sale (+$128) against the Tigers Saturday, you are not happy today. White Sox led 6-0 in 9th inning, blew the lead, then lost 7-6 in 12 innings. Not many teams blow a 6-0 lead in the ninth inning.
8) Michigan 24, UConn 21-- Huskies scored a defensive TD, led 21-7 with 13:39 left in third quarter, but didn't score again. Second week in row Brady Hoke's team snuck past an inferior opponent; you play too many games like this, eventually you lose a game you shouldn't.
Its what Pat Riley calls "tempting the cruel hand of fate"; if you leave things up to one or two unusual events happening, sometimes they do.
7) Virginia Tech 29, Marshall 21, OT-- Thundering Herd had a 39-yard FG blocked in OT that would've won the game. Tech's first TD scored after they blocked a punt, but Hokies converted just 2-16 on third down.
6) Notre Dame 17, Michigan State 13-- Spartans scored one TD in four trips to the red zone, which hurt them as much as the refs bailing the Irish out at several turns with four pass interference penalties.
Seriously, the Pitt game last year, when a PI call kept the game alive, the end of the Stanford game when the Cardinal RB scored a TD but it was ruled a fumble, and the bogus penalty at Oklahoma LY that nullified a TD- they get a lot of marginal calls their way. Why is that?
5) USC 17, Utah State 14-- Think SC alumni are happy after a 17-14 win over the gritty Aggies, especially after a 10-7 loss to Wazzu? Nah, me either, but this was a decent win. Utah State has a terrific QB and has become one of the teams BCS powers don't want to play.
4) Oregon State 34, San Diego State 30-- Aztecs led 30-21 with 3:00 left, but OSU scored two TDs in 0:09, the second on a pick-6 with 2:31 left, to give former Charger coach Mike Riley an unlikely win in his return to San Diego. Why the hell was San Diego State throwing the ball on first down with 2:31 left in a 30-28 game? Difficult loss for the Aztecs.
3) Rutgers 28, Arkansas 24-- Razorbacks had the ball and a 24-7 lead with 3:00 left in third quarter, but lost to Scarlet Knights for second year in a row. If you can't close vs Rutgers, how are the Hogs going to do in the SEC West? Bielema will find there are no Indianas in the SEC West.
2) I saw the second half of the documentary on Lawrence Taylor; good stuff, very well done and fair. Have to check out the rest of it soon; one thing I hope after watching the show-- I just hope he can stay out of the limelight and live a somewhat normal, under-the-radar life.
1) Saturday was a dreadful day for college football; seriously, what did the TV people think when they put this week's schedule together? Michigan at UConn was a primetime game? This ain't basketball. Maybe Utah-BYU is deserving of more national attention, but this was a lackluster day at best.
Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here.......
13) Odd Fact of the Day: Mark Buehrle has two no-hitters in his underrated career (400+ starts, never on DL, won World Series in ‘05); same umpire was behind the plate for both no-hitters, Eric Cooper.
12) Imagine the panic in Alabama when news leaked out that someone from Texas talked to Nick Saban’s agent back in January about becoming the Longhorns’ football coach? Its hard to believe Saban would bolt Bama for another college job, but Texas has a lot of money, so who knows?
At some point, Saban’s immense success with the Crimson Tide will build expectations up to a ridiculous level and he’ll leave, making it a very, very difficult job for whomever eventually replaces him.
11) Last time the Giants/Steelers both started 0-2? How about 1970. If I’m coaching the Steelers, I’m giving Roethlisberger the go-ahead to go no-huddle, fast break offense- it’s the best chance they have to win. How can you run the ball all the time without a decent OL?
10) Guy that owns Under Armour clothing company is a billionaire and he isn’t 40 yet; must be nice to be that smart.
9) Bronx Bombers are 81-73, but have been outscored this season, 646-630; hard to believe a team with a $200M payroll could get outscored over a six-month season, but its true.
What about Hideki Kuroda? He will be 39 in February, and is 2-7, 4.84 against Orioles-Boston-Tampa; how do you bring him back next year and if you don’t bring him back, who replaces him that is better?
8) While the Dodgers clinched the NL West this week, news came out that their old owner, Frank McCourt, donated $100M to Georgetown, meaning that every Dodger fan now despises the Hoyas. I’ve asked this before; who has $100M lying around to give away?
7) Could someone explain to me how/why North Carolina and NC State are in different divisions of the ACC? According to Mapquest, Chapel Hill is 31 miles from Raleigh.
6) Giancarlo Stanton hit a homer this week off a hoagie stand in Philly that is on a walkway way beyond the left-center field fence, maybe 460-475 feet from home plate; ESPN showed the homer about six times that night, which immediately caused me to dread next summer’s Home Run Derby, when Stanton pulls an oblique hitting his 60th shot out of Target Field.
How they haven’t picked him to be in the HR Derby to this point is beyond me, but he’s on my fantasy team- I need him healthy, which he often isn’t.
5) One of the most important things I need to do in writing this site is to manage my time well; there is so much information on the Interweb (as Clint Eastwood’s character called it in his last movie) that you can drown in it— I have to prioritize what I read and then cut myself off at a certain point so I have time enough to write, then have time to do other stuff, too.
4) Read this week that there are over 23 million homes in this country that receive food stamps; that’s just a staggering number.
3) I’m walking from the parking lot to work this week and I see these guys getting on a scaffolding to go up the side of a building to wash windows when it is 45 degrees out. Pretty tall building, pretty cruddy job, lot of respect for those guys that do that- I’d have a heart attack going up a building like that.
2) You know this week’s college football card is awful when ESPN’s GameDay is in freakin’ North Dakota; I’m not kidding, they’re in Fargo at North Dakota State, which won the last two I-AA titles and beat Kansas State this season.
1) Player trades are unusual in the NFL, especially in Week 3 of the season, so when Browns traded last year’s 1st round draft pick Trent Richardson, lot of people in Cleveland got very upset, especially people who paid for season tickets this year, a season management has apparently already given up on, since it is assumed one of their #1 picks next year will go for a QB to replace Brandon Weeden.
I’m not a Browns’ fan, but seems to me you have to wait and see- they just signed Willis McGahee to run the ball this year and they have seven picks in the first four rounds of the ’14 Draft- if they draft really well next spring, this could turn out to be a great move for them.
Our society isn’t very patient anymore, that’s for sure, but that’s easy for me to say, since it isn’t the Rams involved.
Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.....
13) Patriots are 2-0, with wins by a total of five points; Buccaneers are 0-2, losing twice in last minute by total of three points. Can Brady develop some chemistry with someone other than Edelman (6-21 on non-Edelman targets last week)?
12) Its been ten years since Fresno State was favored over Boise State, in a series where the favorite covered the last 11 meetings. Hard to lay points to coach Peterson, who is 86-7 coaching Boise , and is 3-2 as an underdog.
11) Jacksonville is a 20-point underdog in Seattle; their HC Bradley was Seahawks’ DC the last few years. Seattle is in a major letdown spot after routing rival 49ers last week.
10) Texas Longhorns are -5 over Kansas State; will be a cold day in hell before I lay points with this Texas team, which is showing no life under Mack Brown, who is probably a lame duck, and not an Oregon Duck.
9) Carolina Panthers are 0-2, with two losses by total of six points, including a loss on last play in Buffalo last week; in come the 0-2 Giants, who’ve allowed 78 points in their first two games, but are dropping down in class here. Coach Coughlin’s younger brother died in a tragic accident earlier this week; our condolences to the family.
8) Utah State will have the best QB on the field when they visit USC Saturday; ever think you’d see the day Utah State was only a 6.5-point underdog in the LA Coliseum?
7) 0-2 Steelers are punchless on offense; they host 2-0 Chicago team playing its road opener, after winning pair of home tilts by total of four points. Chicago gave up a TD on both offense and special teams last week but still won- doesn’t happen much.
6) This could be the weekend the Pirates clinch their first playoff berth in 21 years; meanwhile, the Steelers are life-and-death to score a touchdown. The world has turned upside down in the Steel City.
5) Arizona State beat Wisconsin last week on one of the strangest endings ever; now they visit Stanford as a 7-point road dog in a conference game- who made that schedule?
4) 2-0 Dolphins opened season with couple of road wins; now they host 1-1 Atlanta, which has injury issues but is better than either team Miami has already beaten.
3) Wyoming scored 34 but lost at Nebraska; they need to go to Air Force and win. Cowboys lost six of their last seven meetings with the Falcons, but they're the better team this year. Want to go bowling? Win this game. .
2) Why are the Raiders on Monday Night Football? Oakland gets 14.5 points in Denver, which hung 90 points on Ravens/Giants. Raiders are 18-3 against spread as a divisionaal road underdog, but other than that, this isn’t an appealing game for primetime.
1) BYU-Utah is a bitter rivalry made moreso by Utes leaving Mountain West for Pac-12, while Cougars went ndependent. Game seemed more significant when it was played in November, but new conferences and their playoff games have pretty much killed what used to be Rivalry Saturday the week before Thanksgiving.
Thursday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13...........
32) Jaguars—One TD in two games, didn’t even cover as 6.5-point dogs in Oakland where Raiders had been 9-23 as a home favorite over last decade. 20-point dogs this week- they do have sharp-looking uniforms though.
31) Browns—Horrendous uniforms and now their QB is hurt after failing to score a TD in Baltimore last week. Looks like they're going with Hoyer over the more experienced Campbell this week, a curious decision.
Trading Trent Richardson to the Colts gives them two #1 picks next April and is kicking sand in face of previous Browns adminiustration.
30) Panthers—Lot of times I watch Carolina games because I enjoy watching Cam Newton play, but for Pete’s sake, could you give him a better OC than Mike Shula? How can an NFL franchise that has to be worth a half a billion dollars pinch pennies with its coaching staff?
What else is there to spend money on? You want to pinch pennies, fire the cheerleaders. Good grief. Anyway, they should’ve won in Buffalo last week and now a desperate 0-2 Giant team comes calling. Interesting game.
29) Redskins—Outscored 50-7 in first half of their two games; no one seems to know if QB is hurt, or if his knee is just restricting his movement. They better beat Detroit this week, or things could get ugly, since we’re such a patient society these days.
28) Steelers—You can’t run the ball without an adequate offensive line; actually, you can’t do much of anything with a leaky OL, but at least if they let Big Ben throw the ball a lot, they’d have a better chance to win and they’d be watchable.
8) 49ers—They got smoked in Seattle LY too and wound up in the Super Bowl. Niners host Harbaugh’s old team this week, as Luck returns to the Bay Area with his Colts.
7) Chiefs—Trivia; KC was first team, other than Lombardi’s Packers, to play in two Super Bowls, but they haven’t been in one since winning Super Bowl IV. Reid’s 2-0 start has people in KC optimistic again.
6) Texans—First team since at least 1970 to start 2-0 while winning both games on last play of the game; tough game in Baltimore this week, with Andre Johnson banged-up. Clemson rookie WR Hopkins looks like a keeper.
5) Patriots—Will be interesting to follow their WR’s progress, as they learn NFL game from ground up. am thinking they’ll be lot tougher after their bye week.
4) Saints—Won first two games by skin of their teeth; could be a team that needs home field in playoffs, or at least to play in a dome somewhere- they seemed out of sync outdoors on grass last week.
3) Dolphins—Hey, you start an NFL season with two road wins, and I don’t care who they were against, you get ranked this high. Miami didn’t have a penalty last week; hope they get a sellout for their home opener with Atlanta this week.
2) Seahawks—Really good on defense, still not sold on their passing game. Scored 12 points at Carolina, completed less than half their passes against 49ers last week. Championship-level teams do better than that.
1) Broncos—Speaking of which, they’ve scored 90 points in two games against good teams. Now we’ll see how they do as 14-point favorites against a bitter dicvisional rival Monday night.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Good move by CBS, promoting Greg Anthony to its lead analyst voice on college basketball ahead of Clark Kellogg, who always seemed to be yelling at us, and who seemed very uncomfortable when Steve Kerr was inserted at times to create a 3-man booth. Kellogg retreats to the studio.
12) Through two weeks, AFC West teams are 7-1 aganst the spread in non-divisional games.
11) NFL home underdogs are 7-3 overall; 3-0 in divisional games, 4-3 in non-divisional tilts. Home favorites are 6-4 in divisional games, 5-6-1 in non-divisional games, 11-10-1 overall. Underdogs are 18-13-1 against spread.
10) Rangers played Rays in St Pete the last two nights, battling for the top Wild Card spot, and didn't draw 11,000 fans for either game. When Rays pack up and leave the Trop for another city, don't ask why.
9) In 14 years with the Eagles, Andy Reid started 3-0 once, in '04 the year Philly made it to the Super Bowl. Reid’s Chiefs will be 3-0 if they beat the Eagles in Reid’s return to Philadelphia Thursday night.
8) IPhone 5s and IPhone 5c’s are available starting 8am Friday, which means lot of college kids will be skipping early classes to go to the mall. It’ll be like Christmas in September. Are Apple stores ever not crowded?
7) The median salary in this country last year was $51,017; in case you care about stuff like that. Or what A-Rod makes every 2.5 innings.
6) Kyle Anderson averaged 9.7 ppg LY for a very average UCLA team that fired its coach after the season. Now his father has come out and said his son’s sophomore season will most likely be his last at UCLA, and he’ll head to the NBA Draft. It is freakin’ September 18; could the father wait until his kid does something NBA-like before he makes the kid a pro?
How about just being the best college player he can be, then thinking about the draft? Would that be so bad? I’ll say this; if the kid isn’t guaranteed to be picked in the top half of the first round, he’s dumb to leave school early.
5) PGA has already announced the 2024 Ryder Cup is going to be at Bethpage Black on Long Island; 2024, for Pete’s sake. Meanwhile, its 2013 now and I have no idea what I’m having for dinner tonight.
4) British Columbia Lions lost QB Travis Lulay to a shoulder injury last week; now they’re deciding between inexperienced backup Thomas Demarco (played at Old Dominion, is an investment banker in offseason, very smart and very popular among his teammates) and nine-year veteran Buck Pierce, a former Lion (2005-2009) who was recently re-acquired in a trade with Winnipeg. Lions have a big game with Saskatchewan this week.
3) Danny Valencia's leadoff triple in the ninth inning emded Koji Uehara's streak of 37 consecutive batters retired; he then scored the go-ahead run on a sac fly as the Orioles got a big win, 3-2 in Boston.
2) When Giants played Baltimore in the '01 Super Bowl, I bought my dad a ticket for $325. Thirteen years later, top tickets for the Super Bowl in New Jersey will cost as much as $2,600- those tix will include access to indoor restaurants, which could be valuable on an early February evening.
1) Not often an NFL pointspread approaches 20 points, but Jacksonville is getting 19.5 points this weekend in Seattle- they'll need 'em.
.Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
Eagles start season with Monday-Sunday-Thursday games, meaning Weeks 2-3 are both on short rest, albeit at home; tough way to break into pro ball for Chip Kelly, whose defense allowed 53 points in its last six quarters.
12) So much fuss has been made about the Eagles’ offense, but thru two games, the Jets (144) have run more plays than Philly (136). If the Eagle defense can’t get the other team off the field, the pace of the Philly offense won’t matter that much.
11) Also, it would be nice if Kelly knew the rules regarding QB injuries and using a timeout to keep your QB in the game if he gets banged up late in the game. Kelly admitted he didn’t know the rule, which isn’t good.
10) Minnesota has to get better in the red zone; in their 31-30 loss to the Bears, Vikings had the ball in the red zone three times, and kicked three FGs which proved decisive in a one-point loss.
Obviously, going home to play after starting with a pair of divisional road games will help, but not often you lose when your defense/special teams score a TD in the same game, like the Vikings did in Chicago. Not good
9) Forbes Magazine does a top 400 of the wealthiest people in America; Angels’ owner Arte Moreno just missed, coming in at #404, but at $1.25B or something like that, his family will still be able to get by for the foreseeable future.
8) Oklahoma oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, who gives Oklahoma State so much money they named their football stadium after him, isn’t a billionaire anymore; poor guy is only worth $950M. Guess the price of gas will be going up again soon, if he wants to get back over the $1B mark.
7) A homeless guy in Boston found $42,000 in a backpack and turned it into police; most of it was in traveler’s checks and there was also a Chinese passport in the pack, so hopefully word of this will at least get back to China, so they know not all of us over here are greedy bastards.
Also it would be nice if someone gave the homeless guy a chance to somehow get back on his feet, since he is obviously an honorable human.
6) Denver Broncos scored 11 offensive TDs in their first two games, but only four of those 11 TDs came on drives longer than 63 yards, so the defense, special teams are doing their part, too. Broncos outscored their first two opponents (Ravens/Giants) 61-24 in second half, so John Fox is making solid halftime adjustments.
5) Over last four years ('09-'12), 30 NFL teams started season 0-2; none of those 30 teams made the playoffs.
4) VCU beat UConn for a top 50 basketball recruit; Terry Larrier, ranked #42 in his class, also had Florida-Florida State-Miami-Seton Hall on his list, so this is a good get for an Atlantic 13 team, beating Big East/ACC teams.
3) Braves’ OF Justin Upton is 19-59 against Washington this year with four HRs; half of the 40 outs he made were strikeouts, so he is hitting .322 against them, despite having more strikeouts than hits.
2) Braves-Nationals game got postponed Monday since the Washington ballpark is close to the Navy yards where the shootings took place. Teams will play a doubleheader today (Tuesday).
1) I don’t like to talk too much about political/social stuff, but there are too damn many shootings in this country. To me, that means too many people have guns. I know a lot of responsible people like to hunt and all that, but you can’t have stuff like this happening a few times every year. That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong, but 12 innocent people died Monday. Why?
Monday's List of 13+1: Wrapping up a sports Sunday.........
14) Chargers 33, Eagles 30-- San Diego was +20 in plays run (79-59); they converted 10-15 third downs, held Philly to just 89 rushing yards (had 263 in opener), and kicked winning FG with 0:07 left. Am guessing lot of survivor pool entries bit the dust with this result. Key here was Chargers keeping ball away from prolific Eagle passing game (422 yards).
13) Ravens 14, Browns 6-- After two weeks, Cleveland has had ball for 24 drives, with one TD, nine 3/outs. Second-year QB Brandon Weeden is older than Aaron Rodgers. Defense shut Baltimore out in first half, but they ran ball for only 65 yards, had 13 first downs. Is Jason Campbell's time coming?
12) Texans 30, Titans 24 OT-- Houston is first team since 1970 merger to win its first two games of a season, both on last play of the game. That said, impressed by Tennessee splitting opening road trip, though total yardage in this game was 452-248, Texans. Houston has lot of offensive weapons.
11) Dolphins 24, Colts 20-- Well-coached Miami didn't have a penalty; 20 years qgo, Joe Philbin was the OL coach at D-III Allegheny College, when Gators won D-III national title. Allegheny's head coach was Ken O'Keefe, now the Dolphins' WR coach. These guys earned their coaching stripes.
10) Bills 24, Panthers 23-- Nine plays, 80 yards in 1:36 to win game pegs Manuel as a real NFL QB; not sure what Carolina's defense was doing on its last play, but it wasn't good. Panthers are now 2-14 under Rivera in games decided by 7 or less points. Why did they let John Fox walk?
9) Falcons 31, Rams 24-- Mike Smith is 19-4 vs spread when he lost his last game; this one wasn't as close as final score, though Rams fought back from early 21-0 disaster to twice get within seven points. Steven Jackson scored an early TD against his old team, but then left with an injury.
8) Packers 38, Redskins 20-- At halftime, Aaron Rodgers had 335 passing yards and three TDs. Washington has been outscored 50-7 in first half of its games so far. Green Bay ended a streak of 44 games in row without having a RB run for 100+ yards-- James Starks had 132 rushing yards.
7) Chiefs 17, Cowboys 16-- Dallas is one of only five teams this week with -2 or worse turnover ratio-- only the Texans won, and they needed OT as an 8-point favorite. Eight of ten Cowboy drives in this game started 80+ yards from goal line- they had 14-yard deficit in average field position. Chiefs are 7th team since 1970 to start 2-0 after winning two or less games the season before-- they haven't turned the ball over yet this season.
6) Bears 31, Vikings 30--Cutler drove Chicago 66 yards in 10 plays in 3:05, getting winning TD with 0:10 left. Bad day for weather in Windy City-- NASCAR and White Sox were delayed, golf was postponed and Bears won this exciting but soggy game. Speaking of Chicago, what genius put a college game in Soldier Field the day before this game? On a grass field? Oy.
5) Saints 16, Buccaneers 14-- Game was delayed 70 minutes by lightning early on, then New Orleans played in coma-like state until last minute, when Brees woke up in time to lead drive for game-winning FG. Payton took FG off board at end of first half for no good reason. Through two games, Tampa Bay has been penalized 23 times for 220 yards, and lost by 1-2 points.
4) Arizona 25, Detroit 21-- Cardinals threw a pick-6, were just 1-11 on 3rd down, but found a way to win, driving 61 yards in seven plays over 2:29 as Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) sat out second half. Eight of 15 games this week have been decided by 4 or less points, or in OT. Reggie Bush got hurt, will have an MRI Monday. Redbirds had a 21-yard edge in field position.
3) Raiders 19, Jaguars 9-- Thru two games, Jaguars have had 24 drives, one TD, one FGA and 14 3/outs. Oakland is +236 in rushing yards through first two games, as mobile QB Pryor gives them added dimension. Very difficult to be optimistic about the Jaguars right now.
2) Broncos 41, Giants 23-- Denver scored 90 points in its first two games; you can't beat them kicking FGs. Giants didn't score a TD until 3:08 was left in third quarter- they've turned ball over 10 times in two games (-8) with Eli throwing seven INTs. 33 rushes, 73 yards in two games for Big Blue.
1) Seahawks 29, 49ers 3-- An average starting QB in NFL makes $8.14M a year; Russell Wilson makes $636,000; someone needs a new agent. While I'm here, Cris Collinsworth is actually good on TV; he can be a little preachy, but he is enthusiastic and knows his stuff- thats all you can ask for. This score made for a happy 62nd birthday for Pete Carroll.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) Bizarre happenings after midnight, where Arizona State won 32-30 over Wisconsin when the Badgers tried to put the ball in the center of field for a last-second FG, but ran out of time because the refs didn't call an ASU player for laying on the ball and delaying the game. I'm not giving this play its due for how truly weird it was-- just watch SportsCenter.
Now Wisconsin could have kicked a 31-yard FG at an angle without trying to center the ball, but they got cute, probably confused the refs and they lose an odd, interesting game they probably should've won.
12) Oregon State 51, Utah 48 OT-- Not often you get outrushed 260-48 and win, but the Beavers did, despite blowing a ten-point 4th quarter lead. OSU's Mannion was 27-44/443 throwing the ball.
The son of former Atlanta Brave great Dale Murphy plays TE for Utah; he caught a couple passes for 31 yards in this game.
11) Alabama 49, Texas A&M 42-- Down 14-0 on road, Crimson Tide rallied to win, despite giving up 628 yards. In a game with 137 plays, only 14 of them came on third down-- was it great offfense or lousy defense? Manziel will be a better pro than McCarron, but what a leader McCarron is.
10) Ole Miss 44, Texas 23-- Mack Brown fired his defensive coordinator last week; does he fire the special teams coach next, after Rebels ran a punt back for a TD? Mack is as good as gone, let the speculation begin on who his replacement will be. By the way, Ole Miss ran for 272 yards, so it couldn't have been all Manny Diaz' fault, since he wasn't there.
9) Why some teams win and some teams don't; this is from the second round of the 2007 baseball draft.....
77th pick-- Mets-- Scott Moviel, P listed at 6-11, 245
78th pick-- Atlanta-- Freddie Freeman
Moviel went 22-32 in five minor league seasons, never getting higher than Class A ball. He last pitched in 2011. Oy.
This is from the first round of the 2011 draft........
13th pick-- Mets-- Brandon Nimmo, HS OF from Wyoming
14th pick-- Miami-- Jose Fernandez
Nimmo hit .273 with two homers this season, in his second full year of Class A ball- his team did win the SAL title, so there's that, but Fernandez might be Rookie of the Year (12-6, 2.19) this season. In the big leagues.
8) Michigan 28, Akron 24-- Last week the Zips beat I-AA James Madison 35-33, and were outgained by 142 yards. This week, Akron had ball inside the Michigan 5-yard line in the last 0:10 but was stopped; total yardage in this game was 425-418. Did I mention Akron hasn't won a road game in almost five years? Wolverine QB Gardner threw a pick-6 for second week in a row.
7) UCLA 41, Nebraska 21-- Bruins beat Huskers for second year in a row, as Jim Mora seems to be the right guy in Westwood. As for Nebraska, lose the black jerseys. Just wear red. Bruins averaged 11.4 yards/pass attempt, two weeks after the Wyoming Cowboys scored 34 on Nebraska.
6) Auburn 24, Mississippi State 20-- Better team lost this game; Mullen has a gem in soph QB Prescott, who threw for 213 yards, ran for 133 more in his first college road start. He wears #15 for a reason; Mullen was at Florida for part of the Tebow Era. Auburn QB Marshall passed for 339 yards and led the game-winning drive, but he isn't nearly as good as Prescott.
5) Central Florida 34, Penn State 31-- Remember the name Blake Bortles; he was 20-27/288 passing and is one of the better QBs in the country. UCF hung 507 yards on Penn State; their OC is Charlie Taaffe, from Albany-- he used to be a head coach in the CFL
4) Maryland 32, UConn 21-- Randy Edsall won in his return to the Nutmeg State; his Terps outrushed UConn 224-34. Still hard to believe Maryland is going to the Big Dozen next year, but they are.
3) Oklahoma 51, Tulsa 20-- Blake Bell finally got to start a game at QB for the Sooners and was 27-37/413 passing; he is supposed to be just a runner, so we'll see as Oklahoma's competition gets stiffer.
2) Bartolo Colon threw eight shutout innings as the A's won in Texas for the second day in a row and moved to 5.5 games ahead in the AL West race; Rays won in Minnesota and tied Texas atop the Wild Card standings. .
1) Yu Darvish of the Rangers is the first pitcher in 24 years (Hershiser, '89) to lose four or more 1-0 games in the same season.
Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Texas Tech football coach Kliff Kingsbury is a better man than I; Thursday night, game tied with 5:00 left against TCU. One of his players scores a TD with 4:56 left to put Tech ahead, only he drops the ball in a cool-guy move, but he drops it on the half-yard line, and TD doesn’t count.
Not only doesn’t it count, but Tech got a 15-yard penalty for celebrating the TD-that-wasn’t, so now they’ve got the ball on the 16-yard line. Somehow, Kingsbury doesn’t flip out on the kid (I’m assuming someone did behind closed doors afterwards) and Tech scored again and wound up winning 20-10. Maybe that’s the lesson Bobby Knight taught coaches; in Youtube/Twitter era, it is bad for recruiting to flip out in the public eye, even if you’re right to do so. In any event, tremendous composure by Kingsbury.
12) Not sure if this is relevant or not, but it is interesting. Comparing Chip Kelly’s 1st NFL game with Steve Spurrier’s first game as coach of the Redskins:
Kelly's Eagles: 77 plays, 443 yards, 33 points.
Spurrier's Redskins: 73 plays, 447 yards, 31 points.
Spurrier is one of the greatest college coaches ever, but only lasted two years in Washington.
11) On a semi-related note: a guy in my fantasy league has Peyton Manning and Michael Vick as his two starting QB’s; he had 50 more points than anyone else in the league last week.
10) Patriots had 11 penalties, nine first downs Thursday; their offensive coaches have to teach remedial receiving to this band of WRs, who will get better as time goes on. Brady has leaned heavily on his TEs the last few years, but has no one there to lean on now, so it’ll be Edelman until one of the young WRs emerges as a star, and one of them will.
9) How about Bucs’ backup QB Mike Glennon? He is the kid NC State played at QB after coach O’Brien told Russell Wilson he could take a hike for his senior season (Wilson was a star with the Badgers and now Seahawks) and now he looks like he’ll be the guy who becomes Tampa Bay’s starting QB when Greg Schiano runs Josh Freeman out of town.
Freeman had been a team captain two years running; you think suddenly his teammates didn’t vote him a captain this year? Think again. Schiano better be careful, or he’ll lose his team and then his job.
8) Over/unders on QB’s passing yardage for Saturday’s Alabama-A&M game; McCarron’s is 239.5 yards, Manziel’s 282.5 yards.
7) Joe Girardi is a free agent after this season; think he’ll want to stay in the Bronx? If he wanted to go to the Cubs (he and his wife are both from that area) would Theo Epstein can Dale Sveum and hire Girardi? Girardi really has done a good job this season, but not sure the long-term prospects in the Bronx are all that great, with expensive, aging players clogging up the payroll.
6) I love players who play with exuberance/enthusiasm; so what if Jose Fernandez flips his bat after a home run? If you don’t want him flipping his bat, then don’t let him hit a damn home run!!!!
I enjoy watching Puig play for the Dodgers; his countryman Cespedes isn’t as demonstrative (maybe because he’s 4-5 years older) but these Cuban players who have made it to the majors are very good and adding a lot to the game. Puig is liable to throw the ball anywhere at any time from RF and boy does he have a cannon.
Cespedes should be playing CF but has adjusted well to LF. How the A’s outbid everyone for him is a mystery but its also one of the main reasons Oakland is doing as well as it has the last two years.
5) Speaking of Fernandez, the Marlins are 54-91, a bad team, but they won Fernandez’ last 11 home starts, with last loss May 21. Fernandez is 12-6, 2.19 at age 20. That’s not that far from Steve Carlton’s ’72 season, when he went 27-10 for a 59-97 team.
4) A hot dog vendor at Comerica Park got fired, apparently because he was vocal of his dislike for putting ketchup on hot dogs. Seriously. I can attest to fact that some Midwesterners despise ketchup on hot dogs (I was told off in Chicago for doing it, October 2003) but why, I do not know. Seems like a bad reason to become unemployed.
3) Credit where credit is due department: To former used car salesman Alan R. Selig, for the second Wild Card idea. It has revitalized September baseball and created interest throughout the month, where in many years, there hadn’t been any.
Now if we could just get a salary cap and get rid of the DH………
2) The media talks way too much about the Jets/Mark Sanchez, but not nearly enough about how Rex Ryan lost 120 pounds; that’s a tremendous achievement and he deserves a lot of credit for it.
If I’m a Jet fan, the first two games encourage me; Smith is a better QB than I thought he would be. They still need better RB’s/WR’s to give him some help. The defense is playing its butt off.
1) Tom Brady was just 6-21 passing Thursday when he targeted someone other than Julian Edelman. The extra three days they have before their next game will benefit those young Patriot WRs, who need a lot of repetitions in both practice and games.
Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend........
Texas A&M upset Alabama LY, on its way to winning its freshman QB a Heisman Trophy; now the Crimson Tide comes looking for revenge, having covered 15 of its last 21 as a road favorite, but with an inexperienced OL. Interesting game.
12) 49ers-Seahawks is the Sunday night game, an intense rivalry, in part because the coaches don’t like each other. Harbaugh’s Stanford Cardinal once upset Carroll’s USC team as a 42-point underdog, and that is not a misprint. 42-point dog.
11) Trap game for the Saints in Tampa, after Bucs gave a game away in Swamp Stadium with a stupid penalty on the second-to-last play when they basically had the game won.
10) South Carolina lost between the hedges last week, now hosts a Vandy squad that isn’t a pushover anymore.
“They have fast guys now. They never used to have fast guys” was Spurrier’s comment after LY’s game in Nashville.
9) Washington bashed Boise State at home, now goes to Chicago with its senior QB to face an Illinois squad that pummeled Cincinnati at home last week. Pretty good intersectional game.
8) Terrelle Pryor’s first road start wasn’t bad, 217 passing yards, 112 more on ground. Now Oakland is a 6-point home favorite over a Jacksonville squad that didn’t score a point on offense last week. How many times will the Raiders be favored to win this year? Big opportunity for both sides.
7) Chip Kelly’s offense ran 53 plays Monday night, just in first half, then took foot off gas pedal in second half; will McCoy get 31 carries again? Can Vick stay healthy for 16 games playing at this pace?
Chargers looked awful against Houston’s no-huddle offense late Monday night, not a good sign for this game.
6) Texas fired its DC after one dreadful game last week; former Syracuse coach Greg Robinson, never considered much of a mastermind, is his replacement. How are the defensive players supposed to react when their coach gets canned after one bad game?
This doesn’t happen much in college ball, I’m looking forward to see how the Texas defense plays against a pretty good Ole Miss team that the Longhorns pounded 66-31 LY.
5) Andy Reid might win AFC Coach of the Year before September ends; his Chiefs host a Dallas squad coming off a big divisional win but with Tony Romo’s ribs hurting. This is a tough game for Cowboys to win. Arrowhead crowd will be very loud. After 14 years in black, Reid looks odd wearing red.
4) Central Michigan must be awful if they’re a 7-point dog to UNLV and its not basketball; Rebels lost 58-13 at home to Arizona last week.
3) Bengals are -7 over the Steelers Monday night, most point they’ve been favored by in this series since 1989. Pitt is crippled on offensive line with C Pouncey out for year. Hard to win with a crippled OL.
2) UCLA visits Nebraska after upsetting the Cornhuskers 36-30 (+5) LY; both teams have experienced QBs. Mora probably has coaching edge, but the Huskers covered seven of last nine as a home favorite.
1) This is probably last time the Manning brothers play each other, unless they meet in a Super Bowl; Giant defense was porous last week, now faces a QB who threw seven TD passes last week. Eli also threw seven TDs, just that two of the seven went to the Cowboys.
John Fox is an old Giant assistant. Frontrunning nitwits will start questioning Coughlin if Denver makes Big Blue 0-2. Archie is probably playing the over.
Thursday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13; top 8, bottom 5.......
13) AFC North—Whole division went 0-4 last week; only the Bengals should a semblance of hope. Its only one week, though.
31) Jaguars—Not often an NFL team finishes a games with two points, but Jacksonville pulled it off. Would they consider adding local hero Tebow?
30) Browns—They’re now 1-14 in season openers. In 15 years, they’ve been 1-0 once. Once. Their second-year QB is almost 30, by the way.
29) Redskins—Looked poorly coached throughout first half Monday, which is what happens when you start a QB who didn’t play in preseason. Backup QB Cousins’ injury is an underrated factor there-- RGIII might not even be playing if Cousins were available.
28) Steelers—Offense didn’t score until last two 2:00, at home vs Titans. Lost C Pouncey for year to injury. They’ve only had three coaches since 1969, but if this continues…….
8) Bears—They’re not as good as a couple of the teams who lost, but you need to be .500 to get in the top 8 here.
7) Eagles—Liked the approach; more teams need to try and score all the time. Are you listening, Gary Kubiak? Ran ball for 250+ yards, too.
6) Patriots—Brady is one of the three best QBs of all-time and he is the only reason for this rating; if I'm Robert Kraft, I'd like to know why a team with such horrible WRs let Wes Welker leave town? .
5) Texans—Not easy to win after being down 28-7, but also how the hell does a team with this much firepower get down 28-7? No-huddle offense looked really good Monday night. How about using it more often?
4) Seahawks—Play way better at home than on the road. Interesting game Sunday night, against division rival San Francisco.
3) Saints—Sean Payton will be Most Valuable Person in league this year. Good goal line stand at end Sunday to beat rival Falcons.
2) 49ers—I watched Kaepernick play several times in college, had no idea he’d be this good in the NFL. Not sure anyone else did either.
1) Broncos—Someone explain to me why Wes Welker was allowed to leave Foxboro; Denver offense looked unstoppable in Week 1.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) We’ve talked last few days about the LVH SuperContest in Las Vegas, the biggest football handicapping contest in the country, where 1,034 people put up $1,500 each and pick five games a week, with first prize over a half million bucks. Well, the combined record of these 1,034 people in Week 1 turned out to be 1,966-2,986, or 39.7% winners. Not very good.
12) Week 1 in NFL had a total of 8,143 passing yards (254 per team) and 63 TD passes, both all-time records for one week.
11) Giants turned ball over on their first three drives Sunday night, becoming first NFL team since the ’05 Vikings to do that.
10) Adrian Peterson had 93 yards on 18 carries Sunday, which is good, until you realize he had 78 yards on his first carry, 15 on his last 17 carries. Minnesota needs better QB play; wouldn’t shock me if backup Matt Cassel wound up playing for them.
9) Seahawks came into the NFL in 1976, so in 38 seasons, this is the first time the Lions-Saints-Seattle all started the season 1-0.
8) From 1960-2011, San Diego lost one game it led by 20+ points; they lost one to Denver LY and then again Monday. In the fourth quarter of his last 17 games, Philip Rivers has turned ball over 13 times.
7) Chip Kelly’s aggressive approach to football exposes other NFL coaches as ultra-conservative humans who are mostly afraid to take chances. Look at the offensive firepower Houston has, but they don’t unleash it until they’re down 28-7 in third quarter? Good grief, when they went no-huddle, San Diego had no chance to stop them. None.
Flip side of that is that coaches are terrified of injuries; McCoy carried ball 31 times at Washington, an unsustainable rate for an entire season.
6) Pirates’ 1-0 win in Arlington Monday night clinched Pittsburgh’s first winning season in 21 years; the Pirate TV guys didn’t even try to hide their delight with this. Pretty cool, especially since they beat Texas and also helped the A’s in the process.
5) Underrated baseball record: 19 total bases in one game, held by Shawn Green, when he hit four HRs in a game May 23, 2002 in Milwaukee. Green was 6-6 with six runs scored and seven RBI. That’s a month for some guys.
4) It was 101 degrees in Des Moines, IA Monday, the first time it has been 101+ in Des Moines in September since 1939.
3) Someone made a movie about basketball player Jeremy Lin’s life; why? Couldn’t it have waited until he turned 30?
2) NHL training camps open this week, the season starts in three weeks, about ten minutes after the baseball regular season ends. That’s a very short offseason, and a very long regular season.
1) September 11 will always be a sad day in this country, for obvious reasons. Our thoughts/prayers go out to families who lost people that day. Two of my friends are flying cross country today; safe travels to everyone. Enjoy every day you can, there are no guarantees in life.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but...........
13) Carolina Panthers ran 49 plays in their whole game Sunday; Eagles ran 30 in the first quarter Monday night, 53 in the first half, in their 33-27 win over the Redskins. Curious to see how teams adjust to this unique, faster style, but Washington sure wasn't ready for it.
12) Texas Longhorns pushed the panic button and fired DC Manny Diaz Sunday, after BYU ran for 550 yards in a 40-21 upset win. Texas is 1-1 and won their first game 56-7, and a coaching change is needed already? Yikes. Texas replaced Diaz with former Syracuse coach Greg Robinson.
11) Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight has a bruised knee, will miss at least one game as run-oriented QB Blake Bell will start the Sooners' next game.
10) USC named Cody Kessler its starting QB, even though he already started the Trojans' first two games; USC didn't have a pass play longer than eight yards against the Coogs Saturday. Trojans play Boston College next.
9) Hunter Pence has started every game for the Giants this year; the last time a major league OF started every game in a season was Jeff Francoeur for the 2007 Braves.
8) Gene Simmons is now co-owner of the Los Angeles KISS of Arena Football; being an excellent businessman, Simmons has offered Tim Tebow a contract with the KISS, which would help Tebow become a better QB, and make both of them a lot of money, but the AFL season is already over for this year. Maybe next spring; if Tebow really wants to be an NFL QB, he has to improve his passing. He can do that in the AFL.
7) USC's ugly 10-7 home loss to Washington State Saturday already has jackals circling over Lane Kiffin's head. Los Angeles media has floated names of (USC alum) former Jaguar coach Jack Del Rio, Vanderbilt's coach James Franklin as possible replacements if Trojan AD Pat Haden fires Kiffin.
6)\ Jacksonville declared Blaine Gabbert out for this week's game; backup QBs for Jaguars are Chad Henne and the highly suspect Ricky Stanzi- they also have Denard Robinson, who could run the Wildcat.
5) Fresno State ran the old hook-and-ladder trick play Saturday, with the guy scoring a TD an offensive lineman- odd play to see. Miami once scored a TD in playoff game on that play, but with Duriel Harris scoring a TD.
4) TCU lost QB Casey Pachall for eight weeks with a broken left arm, which is his non-throwing arm. Horned Frogs play on TV Thursday, against Texas Tech in Lubbock.
3) College football has a rule on 2-point conversions, where the defense can score two points by returning a fumble, INT or blocked kick all the way back for a score. The NFL needs this rule; makes the game little more interesting.
2) No one dislikes NFL exhibition games more than me, but Monday's game shows how you need one or two games to sharpen your skills to play in real games, where the speeds amps up exponentially. Robert Griffin III will have his training camp this month, which ain't how its supposed to be..
1) Its an understatement to say that the Redskins got a bad deal from the NFL playing the Eagles in Week 1. No one really knew what to expect from Chip Kelly's team. Future opponents will be better prepared.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up Opening Day in the NFL.......
13) Saints 23, Falcons 17-- Sean Payton won his return to sidelines as Brees averaged 9.2 yards/pass attempt; Saints stopped Atlanta on 3-yard line in the last minute to preserve the win.
12) Patriots 23, Bills 21-- New England scored two TDs, on drives of 16-32 yards; they held Bills scoreless in last quarter and kicked winning FG with 0:05 left, to escape Orchard Park with a win. Buffalo people have to be little happy despite the loss; EJ Manuel (18-27/150) wasn't bad in his debut.
11) Titans 16, Steelers 9-- Three safeties in the NFL by 1:30 Sunday? The Titans screwed up the opening kickoff and trailed 2-0 0:03 into the season, but Steelers didn't score again until there was 1:23 left. Someone explain to me why Todd Haley is a coordinator in the NFL? What has he done?
10) Jets 18, Buccaneers 17-- Bucs' LB Lavonte David is Goat of the Day, after his late hit on Geno Smith handed the Jets the 15 yards they needed to get into position to kick the winning FG-- otherwise, they would've had to throw a Hail Mary on the last play to try and win. Not his finest moment.
Discipline isn't having short hair, or no facial hair and shined shoes; what it is is doing the right thing when you'd rather do something else. All David had to do was not clock Geno Smith out of bounds, and the Bucs win, but he did, and the Buccaneers didn't, because of a highly undisciplined play.
9) Chiefs 28, Jaguars 2--Jax blocked punt for safety 2:33 into game, but it was all downhill from there: they punted 11 times themselves. You wonder if they would consider the Tebow Option; only 59,416 tickets were sold, and neither Gabbert/Henne seems like the answer under center.
8) Bears 24, Bengals 21-- There have been 111 plays of 20+ yards in the 13 games so far this weekend; 42 on first down, 38 on second down, 31 on third down, in case such things interest you. Cincy is -6.5 over the Steelers in next Monday's game, most they've been favored over Pittsburgh by since 1989.
111 big plays in 14 games; thats 7.9 per game, four per team.
7) Dolphins 23, Browns 10-- Cleveland is now 1-14 in season openers, as Browns completed less than half their passes, ran for 47 yards, converted once on 13 third down plays. 297 people picked the Browns in the LVH contest; the thought occurred to me around 3:00 Sunday-- why?
6) Seahawks 12, Panthers 7-- Three red zone trips for Seattle; two FGs and a zero; their blue jerseys are really nice, though. DeAngelo Williams fumbled on the Seattle 8-yard line with 5:25 left, killing what was an excellent drive.
I'm beating this to death, but why did Carolina let John Fox walk? Do they care about winning? They have a terrific young QB, and Mike Shula is their offensive coordinator? Auburn QB/Alabama OC? Oy.
5) Lions 34, Vikings 24-- Adrian Peterson's Vikings are to this decade what Eric Dickerson's Rams were to the mid-80's; pretty nice team, but not good enough QB play to win big. Detroit takes too many cheap penalties- Suh had an illegal block penalty that nullified a TD, and if you look at the replay, all it was is a blatant cheap shot. He's better than that, or he should be.
4) Colts 21, Raiders 17-- Oakland was one of eight teams this week to have turnover ratio of -2 of worse; those eight teams were 0-8 SU, 1-7 vs spread, with Raiders only team that covered the spread- they ran ball for 171, passed it for 201 yards, but there were four teams that didn't turn the ball over this week, and they went 4-0, winning by an average score of 25-14. .
3) 49ers 34, Packers 28-- Kaepernick passed for 412 yards, as Boldin caught 13 balls for 208 in his 49er debut. There were 16 plays of 20+ yards in this game, most of any game so far this week. Packers went 3-out six times, which helped SF have a 13-yard advantage in average field position.
2) Rams 27, Cardinals 24-- St Louis is like Detroit; improved, enthusiastic, but they've got to cut down on cheap, stupid penalties that hurt their field positioin and make life harder. The hideous pick-6 Bradford threw came in his end zone because of a roughing penalty at the end of a Cardinal punt. At some point, if Rams/Lions are to become playoff teams, they've got to grow up and let their play do the talking.
1) Cowboys 36, Giants 31-- Six turnovers doomed the Giants, who had 428 passing yards, but also failed to score a TD after a 1st-and-goal at the 1 after a long INT return in first quarter. You score two defensive TDs, you win, but has to be mentioned that Romo showed guts playing second half with painful rib injury. Giants are now 4-1 in JerryWorld, scoring average of 33 ppg.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Washington State 10, USC 7-- Lane Kiffin has a QB controversy, and it ain't good; his two QB's combined to go 11-21 for 54 yards passing in this dismal performance, including a pick-6 near the end of the first half that gave Wazzu its only TD. Thats right, Mike Leach won SU as a 15-point road dog in a game where his offense didn't score a TD. Alrighty then.
12) BYU 40, Texas 21-- What in the name of Robbie Bosco is going on here? BYU completed only 9-27 passes, but ran the ball for an school-record 550 yards-- let me repeat that, TEXAS GAVE UP 550 RUSHING YARDS TO BYU. Mack Brown becomes the early favorite to replace Lee Corso on the GameDay program if Mr Corso decides to retire after this season.
BYU QB Hill ran for 259 yards on 17 carries, 2nd-most by any D-I QB in the last ten years. Oy.
By the way, if you go to a BYU game, bring an umbrella; they've had lengthy weather delays in each of their first two games.
11) Miami 21, Florida 16-- Gators recruited Jeff Driskel instead of Teddy Bridgewater; whoops. Florida outgained Miami 413-212, but turned the ball over five times, three times in the red zone. Miami will be in the top 25 this week for the first time in three years.
10) Georgia 41, South Carolina 30-- Dawgs beat Carolina for first time in four years, as two SC assistant coaches got into a brief scuffle on the sideline, during the game. They're both defensive coaches-- the Gamecock defense had a very bad day, allowing 229 rushing yards, 309 passing.
9) Iowa 28, Missouri State 14-- Crowd of 64,201 in Iowa City was smallest for a Hawkeye home game in a decade. That can be bad for a head coach's job security, especially if that coach makes a whole lot of money.
8) Tennessee 52, Western Kentucky 20-- Hilltoppers turned ball over five times in a six-play span in the first quarter, which might amuse me if I hadn't picked them on this site. WKU trailed 31-3 before they punted, which has to be some kind of a record. They got within 31-17, then threw two more picks in Tennessee's end zone. Don't win a lot with seven turnovers.
7) Michigan State 21, South Florida 6-- Recruit a QB, Willie Taggart; USF was 6-26 passing for 66 yards, converted once on 13 third down plays. They lost to McNeese State last week by 30 points. McNeese State is I-AA.
6) Oklahoma State 56, Tex-San Antonio 35-- Cowboys tried onside kick while up 21 with 10:00 to go; T. Boone Pickens must've laid the 26 points.
5) Michigan 41, Notre Dame 30-- Highlight of this game was Eminem's appearance in the ABC booth during the second half; it raised awkward to a whole new level. NCIS star Mark Harmon was there too; Michigan honored his late dad Tom, who won the 1940 Heisman Trophy.
4) Oregon 59, Virginia 10-- Memo to Virginia coaches; Ducks went for two points after their first TD in their last two games LY; put your defense on the field and anticipate a fake. No one blocks extra points anyway.
Might also be good advice for Mike Shanahan Monday night; curious to see if the Eagles try any fake PATs with Chip Kelly their new coach.
3) Red Sox had been shut out in five of John Lackey's last 11 startts, so they took care of business early Saturday, racing out to a 10-2 lead in the 4th inning. Boston has scored 54 runs in its last four games, but Jacoby Ellsbury may also have a broken foot, which would be a very expensive fracture, since he is a free agent after this season.
2) Of the 25 guys on the Mets' Opening Day roster, only three have been on the active roster all year: Dillon Gee-Daniel Murphy-Latroy Hawkins. For a team with a $93M payroll, they're not very good, but at least they're not paying Vernon Wells $18M to play for another team, like the Angels are.
1) 1,034 optimistic humans entered LVH's football handicapping contest, the #1 football handicapping contest in the world- they pick five NFL games a week against the spread, with first place taking home $542,850.
Total prize pool, with a $1,500 entry fee, is a cool $1,551,000.
Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here.......
13) High school/college coaches all over America will be showing Denver LB Danny Trevathan picking off Joe Flacco Thursday, then dropping the ball in gleeful celebration as he ran around the end zone, celebrating his defensive touchdown.
Problem is, he dropped the ball when he was on the 2-yard line, so there was no touchdown, and one of his teammates got hurt in the scramble for the loose ball. Not good.
Its not often you see a coach openly berate a player on the sideline, but Denver DC Jack Del Rio did this time, and it was deserved.
12) Pirate catcher Russell Martin is making $7.5M this year, $9.5 next year; I’m thinking there’s $17M the Bronx Bombers wish they had spent last winter. No offense, but how do you have a $190M+ payroll and have Chris Stewart as your catcher?
11) Houston Astros have upgraded their team a lot during this season, as prospects drift up thru their farm system, but they’ve still been outscored 106-38 in the 8th inning this season.
10) Before Peyton Manning did it Thursday night, Minnesota’s Joe Kapp was last NFL QB to throw seven TDs in one game and that was way back in 1969.
9) Basketball coach at Skyline HS in Dallas was fired, because he didn’t play the principal’s son enough, and apparently this is an e-mail/text trail that backs up the fired coach’s claim. Not good, I mean principals make six figures and you’re going to risk your job because you think your kid should be playing more minutes? Brilliant!!!
8) It took Denver TE Julius Thomas until 10:30, about 90 minutes after kickoff, to get picked up in our fantasy league. Tom Brady couldn’t have been very happy watching Wes Welker run amok Thursday night.
7) Washngton Wizards’ F Jan Vesely has had a busy summer; I saw him play well in the Las Vegas Summer League and now he is playing for the Czech team in the Eurobasket event. Dangerous for guys to play ball year-round. At some point, your body is going to break down.
6) “It is what it is” and “It is a process.” If you hear either of these two answers, you know the person saying it didn’t want to answer whatever the question was.
5) HS forward Jaylen Johnson committed to Louisville Friday morning, as Rick Pitino begins his Hall of Fame induction weekend. Not a bad trio of college coaches getting inducted: Pitino, Jerry Tarkanian and Guy Lewis. Lot of wins there.
4) In case you care about such things, over the last eight years, teams that lost the NFL’s mid-week season opener are 3-5 in Week 2, 2-6 vs spread (2-5 as favorites). Ravens will be favored at home next week.
3) Over last decade, teams that win the mid-week season opener are 2-8 vs spread in Week 2 and were favored in all ten games. Denver’s visit to the Swamp next week should be close to a pick ‘em.
2) Broncos-Giants in Week 2 is probably the last Manning Bowl, but it isn’t a primetime game. Surprising. CBS must’ve lobbied hard to make that their first 4:30 doubleheader game of the season.
1) NHL season starts in 24 days? Seems like the Stanley Cup playoffs ended about two weeks ago. Remember now, we have trend information on the NHL/NBA and college basketball every day, all season long.
Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.........
13) NFL opened last night; there are 13 games Sunday, two on Monday. How will the rookie QBs (Manuel/Smith) do and Terrelle Pryor, who might as well be a rookie- how will he fare at Indy?
12) Georgia is -3 against South Carolina, after Dawgs laid an egg at Clemson, botching a tying 25-yard FG on a bad snap. Gamecocks smothered North Carolina in their opener, but this is the SEC opener and this is a big game
11) Cleveland Browns are 1-13 in season openers, but are pick ‘em Sunday at home against the Dolphins, in Chudzinski’s debut as Browns’ HC. Curious to see Brandon Weeden playing under Norv Turner’s tutelage.
10) Florida-Miami will be a noontime steambath Saturday; Gators struggled to 24-6 win over Toledo Saturday. Miami is on the way back; this will be a good yardstick for them.
9) Will Jay Cutler play better after the Bears fired the generally-successful Lovie Smith to bring in a QB guru as head coach? Smith is only the 4th NFL coach since 1990 to get canned after winning 10+ games; Cutler’s play better improve a lot.
8) Tom Brady is 36 and is without his top five pass catchers from LY; interested to see how they fare at a Buffalo team with a new coach, rookie QB and very low expectations.
7) LY, Oklahoma beat West Virginia 50-49, when the Mountaineers lost despite gaining 778 yards in a amazingly weird game. WVU is rebuilding on offense—they struggled with William & Mary last week, so this could be a long day for them.
6) Sean Payton is back on the sideline after getting suspended LY for things one of his assistants did; expect the New Orleans offense to bounce back to its 2010-11 levels.
5) San Diego State, South Florida both lost by 20+ points last week to I-AA teams, now Aztecs go to Ohio State, and USF goes to Michigan State. Good luck, fellas.
4) Underdogs covered 11 of last 14 Notre Dame-Michigan games, with dogs winning ten of those games SU. Last Irish visit to Ann Arbor for while, since ND ended this rivalry.
3) Mike Leach’s Coogs are better than they’ve been in while, but are they good enough to challenge a USC team that still hasn’t really decided on which QB it wants to play. Wazzu had a shot at beating Auburn last week—I’m looking forward to this game.
2) 73-year old Monte Kiffin is the new DC in Dallas, after his son fired him at USC. (Really, he did) Cowboys should be better on defense, but they’ve lost at home to the Giants four years in a row. As much as the networks put Dallas on in primetime, it would be nice if they played like they deserved the attention.
1) Packers lost twice to San Francisco LY, including a playoff game in Candlestick. Tough opener here; 49ers had some injuries in the offseason. Good 4:25 game for FOX, for those of you won’t be watching my Rams play Arizona.
Thursday's List of 13: Searching for the meaning of life..........
13) Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell blew out his knee giving his teammate a leaping chest bump after a TD Saturday at Clemson; wonder how many HS/college coaches around the country have banned the leaping chest bump? Somewhere, former Arizona Cardinal kicker Bill Gramatica (who ruined NFL career by doing same thing) is nodding his head sadly.
12) I’m told that when you’re on jury duty, you have to turn in your cellphone while court is in session. Um, no thanks. When was last time I was awake for 3-4 hours straight without looking at my phone?
11) You have to check out You Tube or plays of the week for the fantastic catch Josh Donaldson made Tuesday night on a foul ball by the tarp in Oakland. He catches the ball and disappears between the trap and the stands, with only his glove showing, with the ball in it. Tremendous play.
10) Someone at ESPN thinks Virginia Cavaliers are going to have a good hoop team; they’re on three Big Mondays this year, the first one without a Big East game every Monday (FOX Sports1 has the Big East now).
9) Jason Kidd bought Jay Z’s share of the Nets? How much $$ does Kidd have? What %age of the Nets did Jay Z own? Jay Z is an agent now, so he had to sell his part of the team due to conflict of interest rules.
8) Three NFL stadiums with highest ticket prices on the secondary market? Patriots/Bears/Giants.
7) Miami Dolphins’ owner Steven Ross donated $200M to the University of Michigan, to do whatever it is you do with $200M. Who has that kind of money laying around? Must be nice. Think the Dolphins’ scouts will get beneficial treatment at Michigan football practices from now on?
6) Patriots’ first three games, they oppose these three QBs: EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, Josh Freeman; the first two make Freeman look like Dan Marino. New England plays at Atlanta/at Cincinnati in Weeks 4-5, but hard to believe they’re not jogging to another division title, with two of their three division rivals totally crippled at quarterback.
5) Assistant basketball coach Ben Johnson left Washington State after nine years on the Paloose; he is a Bennett connection, having played at Green Bay. Just an odd time of year for a change like that to happen.
4) Butch Jones is Tennessee's fouth football coach in last six years; he needs to have a talk with the genius who scheduled games at Oregon/at Florida on consecutive Saturdays later this month. Hard to win that way.
3) Reds' TV announcers don't take it easy on Dusty Baker, thats for sure. Watched lot of their marathon with St Louis last night, game with lot of twists and turns-- they second-guessed the Reds' manager a lot.
2) Five years ago, Clint Hurdle led the Rockies to the World Series; now he is leading the Pirates to their first playoff berth in 21 years. Let me think; someone who leads those teams to the playoffs is a damn good manager.
1) Serious question I wish someone would ask Rex Ryan: How long a leash does Geno Smith have in Sunday's game? Is there a chance Matt Simms would get the nod to come in off the bench?
Monday's Den: Over/under win totals for 2013 baseball.......
|Detroit Tigers, 90
||Los Angeles Dodgers, 90
|Los Angeles Angels, 89.5
||Washington Nationals, 90
|Texas Rangers, 87
||Cincinnati Reds, 88.5
|Toronto Blue Jays, 86.5
||Atlanta Braves, 86
||San Francisco Giants, 86
|Tampa Bay Rays, 86
||St Louis Cardinals, 85.5
|Oakland A's, 83
||Arizona Diamondbacks, 81.5
|Chicago White Sox, 80.5
||Philadelphia Phillies, 81.5
|Boston Red Sox, 79.5
||Milwaukee Brewers, 79.5
|Kansas City Royals, 79
||Pittsburgh Pirates, 79
|Cleveland Indians, 77.5
||San Diego Padres, 74.5
|Baltimore Orioles, 76.5
||New York Mets, 74
|Seattle Mariners, 76.5
||Chicago Cubs, 72
|Minnesota Twins, 64.5
||Colorado Rockies, 71.5
|Houston Astros, 59.5
||Miani Marlins, 64.5
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