Saturday's List of 13:
Clearing out a cluttered mind.....
Baseball, hockey info every day during the season.....
College hoop, NBA info every day on college basketball page.....
-- ESPN should use Adrian Branch/BillWalton more as college basketball analysts, and Jay Williams/Bob Knight less. That would be an upgrade.
-- In 163 career PA at Safeco Field, Robinson Cano has four home runs. No cheap home runs in Seattle, unlike his last place of employment.
-- Adrian Peterson won't be happy; Matt Cassel signed for two years back with the Vikings, so no Michael Vick for Minnesota.
-- South Caroloina basketball coach Frank Martin is suspended for today's game at Mississppi State, after he publicly berated a player Tuesday.
-- Phil Mickelson double bogeyed three holes in a row Friday- that doesn't happen very often.
-- Princeton 91, Cornell 51-- Tigers ran out to a 22-0 lead. Yikes.
Quote of the Day
"There are winners and losers in the NBA, and a lot of people are trying to reclaim their position or change their culture or whatever. So yeah, there is [opportunity]. I've had conversations. Some of them are feelers. 'Are you interested?' type of thing."
Durham Bulls are the AAA farm club of what major league team?
Utah is known as the Beehive State.
Dustin Pedroia played his college baseball at Arizona State.
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Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) RIP Dr Frank Jobe, who died this week at age 88. I'm thinking Dr Jobe should get in the baseball Hall of Fame, along with Dr James Andrews; how many athletes' careers did they save?
12) Underrated coaching job of the year: Bobby Hurley has Buffalo 18-9 in his first year in western New York, one win away from winning the MAC East. Unless I missed it, ESPN hasn't done a feature on Hurley yet, and they should. Its an interesting story.
11) Eastern Kentucky 86, Murray State 83-- #2 seed in OVC goes down, as Colonels win their sixth straight game. EKU shot 59% from floor, faces top seed Belmont for the OVC championship.
10) Winthrop 62, High Point 60-- Top seed in Big South goes down on a 3 at the buzzer. Eagles are now 5-0 vs High Point this this tournament, but this was first time they weren't favored to win.
9) Wichita State 80, Evansville 58-- Unbeaten Shockers play Missouri state Saturday; Bears had Wichita down 19 with under 12:00 left on January 11, but Wichita came back to win in OT, then won the rematch easily.
8) Harvard 70, Yale 58-- Crimson avenged an earlier loss to their arch-rival, are the first team officially in the field of 68, since Ivy League doesn't have a conference tournament.
7) Milwaukee 74, Valparaiso 57-- Minor upset in Horizon, as Panthers KO the Crusaders and will face top-seeded rival Green Bay Saturday. Valpo did not have one offensive rebound; Milwaukee had 19.
6) Big Sky tournament is going to be bizarre; one day to go in the regular season, and 13-6 Weber State is in first place. How many times does a team with six losses with the regular season title? Wildcats need a win Saturday at Eastern Washington to win the regular season title outright. Its possible that four teams could tie for the last two spots in the conference tourney.
5) An iguana walked across the 18th green at Doral Friday; whats the rule if the iguana picks up a golf ball and walks off with it?
4) Golfer Jamie Donaldson hit a ball on the 8th hole with both his feet in the water, his pants rolled up to his knees. Don't see that on Tour much.
3) Dallas 103, Portland 98-- Mavericks (-2.5) made backers sweat for the cover in a game they once led 40-10 in the second quarter. 40-10.
2) Baseball is odd; watching lefty Jonathan Sanchez pitch for the Cubs, as he tries to hang on to a major league job. Sanchez threw a no-hitter in the major leagues, but has never harnessed his talent, with a 39-58 career record.
1) It pays to be a loudmouth in this world: MLB Network hired mouthy, know-little Christopher Russo to host an afternoon talk show. Russo was on WFAN in New York City for a long time; tennis is his favorite sport, but he is smart enough to know that no one calls a talk show to discuss tennis, so he pretends to know baseball. He is loud for the sake of being loud. Oy.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.....
13) John Calipari has created a monster at Kentucky, a program where there is a lot of player turnover every year and he has a roster full of NBA wanna-bes who don’t wanna-be in college very long.
That gives Kentucky a younger team than most of its opponents, albeit often more talented, but its hard to cultivate any type of chemistry when you have new stars every year. A team made up of less talented, smarter, more mature players will often beat the Kentucky model of team. Just the way it is.
12) Underrated bad job: driving a tractor trailer making deliveries in an inner city, say a beer truck or Coca-Cola or Dunkin Donuts. Not much room to navigate and when you do park the truck, it often screws up traffic while you’re making the delivery. Not something I’d like to do.
11) Two Dodger-Arizona games in Australia on March 22-23 will not have instant replay available. Why I’m not sure; they don’t have cellphones in Australia? Doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to orchestrate, but they’re not doing it.
10) Adrian Peterson wants the Vikings to sign Michael Vick as their starting QB; wonder what the reaction will be if that doesn’t happen. Now we know why Matt Cassel opted out of his Viking deal.
9) Syracuse used two subs in its loss to Georgia Tech Tuesday; they played total of 37:00, had 4 points, 5 rebounds, no assists, 8 fouls, not a strong contribution. If Grant’s back doesn’t get well soon, he’s going to have a long spring/summer to get ready for next season, because Orange aren’t beating anyone good without him.
8) Golden State Warriors are in top 6 in NBA in terms of pace of play and in top 10 in defense; they’re the only team that can say that.
7) For what its worth, the SATs are going back to the 1,600 scoring scale, so this is where I explain to you what a farce the SATs are.
Back in the day, the mid-70’s to be exact, I scored a 1,320 on my SAT and I took them with strep throat- the miserable human who proctored my exam wouldn’t let me take cough drops out of my pocket, once the test started.
Whatever, I got lucky on a test, it paid for my college education and made people think I was some stellar student. Uh huh.
6) In reality, I graduated U of Albany with a 2.28 GPA marked mostly by spending ridiculous amounts of time watching game shows on TV (this was just before ESPN came to be), eating tuna subs, playing pickup basketball.
The SAT is not an indicator of who will be a good student, and I’m living proof of it, but I’m glad it existed—saved me a lot of money.
5) Someone refresh my memory why Donnie Walsh left the Knicks; why would they let a guy like him leave? You think they could get better if they had a real sharp GM, but they had one and he bolted, so it doesn’t look good for their future now, does it?
4) Good move by college football gurus, allowing the 15-yard targeting penalty to be overturned after the replay review. Last year’s rule was so inflexible, it just didn't make a lot of sense.
3) Why is the MAAC tournament in Springfield? There are 11 teams in this mid-major league; none of them in Massachusetts; sometimes educated people can make some really unusual decisions.
My take: MAAC tournament only makes money when it is held in Albany, but schools were annoyed that Siena had the advantage having the tourney at home all the time, so they move it around.
2) Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall has to be happy every time a TV guru bashes the Shockers’ schedule; you just know he’s pushing the “us against them” mentality and the “no respect” card. Truth is, Wichita was in the Final Four last year and they’re going to be there again this year.
1) We’ve said this before, but all of these college teams are extremely fragile in terms of depth/chemistry; look at how Syracuse/Wisconsin/Ohio State have had extended downturns.
One injury, one key guy in a slump and things go sour. Lot of good players in the country, but 341 D-I teams give scholarships, so not many teams have real quality depth—who wants to sit on the bench?
Teams are fragile; remember that as we go thru March.
Thursday's List of 13: Teams to watch later this month.....
13) Arizona—Rebounding suffers from losing Ashley for the year, but they have moved on from that and are still good enough to win it all; would the committee give us an Arizona-Dayton second round game, Sean Miller vs brother Archie?
12) Duke—Interior defense isn’t good enough. Vermont was 31-41 inside arc against them in December; they’ve gotten better since then, but not that much better. Curious to see how they are after this 8-day break they just had.
11) Florida—Best team right now; actually have some depth, which was created while players sat out earlier in year. Donovan is an underrated great coach. They’re going to be very tough to beat.
10) Kentucky—Very hard to have an entirely new team every year, made up of young, talented kids who have one foot in the NBA already, whether they’re good enough or not. Would be surprising to see them in Sweet 16.
9) Michigan State—I keep saying wait til they get healthy, wait til they get healthy. Now they’re healthy, but they haven’t started playing better. Spartans rarely do that well in Big Dozen tournament, but they might need run there to get some momentum for the NCAA tournament.
8) North Carolina—Won 12 games in a row thanks to improved guard play and a watered-down ACC; their game at Duke Saturday will be the last great test for Dick Vitale’s vocal cords this season.
7) St Joe’s—10 years ago they got to the A-10 tournament unbeaten; this team might be their best group since then. Hawks only play six guys, but with longer TV timeouts in NCAAs, it shouldn’t be a problem. They’ve got six very good players.
6) Syracuse—Sinking faster than a skydiver without a parachute; losing at home to Georgia Tech/Boston College is awful. If Grant’s back injury doesn’t get better soon, they’ll be out in the second round of NCAAs.
5) UCLA—Not sure what to make of them; they suspended their two best players for the Oregon game, then struggled to beat Oregon State when they come back. Curious to see their games against the Washington schools this weekend. Think they could make the Final Four, but also know that Alford isn’t as good a tournament coach as Ben Howland was.
4) Villanova—Got waxed twice by Creighton, which was 30-50 from the arc against them, but have been really good the rest of the time. Need to watch them more the next two weeks. I think they’re Final Four capable, though.
3) Virginia—Smart, pass ball well, have veteran guys who can shoot it and they’ve lost once in the ACC. If their jerseys said Duke instead of Virginia, they’d be a hot pick to win the whole thing.
2) Wichita State—Made Final Four last year, are unbeaten this year, albeit in a Creighton-less MVC. This is a very good team; they wouldn’t lose to Georgia Tech or Boston College, either at home or on the road.
1) Wisconsin—Funny how they looked lost during a 1-5 midseason skid, now they might get a #1 seed. That’s how fragile teams are nowadays.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) My first impression of baseball’s replay system was a positive one Monday; umpires don’t leave the field, one is on a headset to an umpire in New York, another to the official scorer in the press box, and the whole review I saw took less than three minutes. Replay was inconclusive, so the original call stood.
12) From what I can tell, managers’ use of their challenge might be the biggest deal; managers get one challenge in innings 1-6- if they use it and are wrong, they’re done with replay for the game, unless the ump invokes his own replay review, which doesn’t seem likely. Umpires control all replay reviews from the 7th inning on.
11) Tuesday was National Pancake Day; a local radio station actually did its morning show from IHoP, which was giving away free pancakes.
10) Kansas big man Joel Embiid will sit out Jayhawks’ last two regular season games to try and get healthy for the postseason.
9) Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler called Texas GM Jon Daniels “ a sleazebag” Monday; the ex-Ranger vented about his former team, which isn’t always a good idea, other than it probably made him feel better.
8) Watched the Twins the other night; they were saying how Minnesota hitting coach Tom Brunansky got annoyed because Twin hitters were going into the clubhouse to watch their at-bats but far too often came back to the dugout complaining about the umpires instead of studying the pitchers’ approach to getting them out. So now he doesn’t want them watching video during the game, which seems like a waste of good technology.
7) Houston Astros’ prospect George Springer walked four times Monday; not often you see that in a spring training game, not often you see a rookie walk four times in any game.
6) Orioles signed Johan Santana to a minor league deal; O’s got ripped for a quiet winter, but they’ve been pretty busy since the Super Bowl. If Santana is healthy he’ll help the Orioles.
5) If I’m running the Knicks, I include Tyson Chandler in my rebuilding plans; he’s a team guy, works hard, doesn’t care if he shoots a lot. He’s had a lousy year, missing 24 games with an illness, but overall, I think he’s worth keeping as they go forward.
4) Navy, Loyola, Md were the first two teams eliminated from conference tournaments, as the Patriot League’s event started first.
3) Why would Toronto mayor Rob Ford go on Jimmy Kimmel’s show? Doesn’t he know he’s going to get ridiculed? This is where he needed a friend, a good friend to step in and say, “No more.”
Just grab him by the shirt and make him cancel his appearance. Now Ford feels like a fool for being set up, but in reality, he should’ve known better.
2) Providence 81, Marquette 80 2ot-- Kid on Marquette drained a 70-footer just after the horn went off in regulation, after both teams fouled three-point shooters in last 0:30. Wild game; Friars scored last four points to win after they once led by 11 in second half. Three Friars played 48+ minutes. .
1) I'm in a 16-team mixed keeper fantasy baseball league; its our 10th year with the league. Was looking thru a top 50 prospects list-- 42 of the top 50 minor league prospects are already on teams in our league. Some pitcher in the Southern League tosses a shutout, he gets picked up. Good league.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Big week ahead for Wichita State- they’ll try to win MVC tournament and become first squad since UNLV’s ’91 team to enter the NCAA tourney undefeated.
One note: over last 11 years, Wichita has never won the Valley tournament, going 11-11 in Arch Madness. They got eliminated the last two years by 1-3 points, but with Creighton in the Big East now, Shockers are obviously a very heavy favorite to win this year.
12) Kenpom.com has its five-man all-league team for each conference; their MVC team is Seth Tuttle of Northern Iowa and four guys from Wichita. Now that’s dominating a conference.
11) Reading some NFL Draft stuff; wildly differing opinions on the QBs in this draft. Read where one team had LSU’s Zach Mettenberger as the #1 QB, before he wrecked his knee against Arkansas.
10) Sunday would’ve been Dr Seuss’ 110th birthday, that’s a long time. He put a lot of wisdom in his books, often camouflaged by rhyme.
9) Tampa Bay Bucs’ new uniforms look like one of the teams in Any Given Sunday; haven’t seen the back of the jerseys yet, but it looks as if the numbers might be hard to read for TV announcers. Helmets have a much bigger Bucs logo than usual.
8) FOX’s Saturday afternoon baseball team has Harold Reynolds replacing Tim McCarver, a fairly big upgrade. Joe Buck remains play-by-play guy.
7) Glad the Sacramento Kings finally let Jimmer Fredette go; not sure why they even drafted him, considering they rarely used him. Its not like his game was a big secret; flashy with the ball, not very good without it, especially on defense.
By the way, have you ever heard of Vivek Ranadive? Me either until the other day; he is the new owner of the Kings.
6) Tennessee-Martin and Florida Atlantic fired their basketball coaches this week; Martin is a really hard job- they barely got to .500 in the OVC when they had Lester Hudson and he made it to the NBA.
FAU was victimized by football’s move to C-USA; that’s too big a jump for their hoop program, which wasn’t even good at the Sun Belt level. FAU is in Miami though, so you’d think a sharp guy could at least be competitive.
5) You know the Angels had their B-team going against Arizona Monday when Hank Conger bats third.
4) Ex-Angel Chone Figgins started at his fourth different position for the Dodgers Monday, as he looks to be LA’s super sub. Cuban 2B Alexander Guerrero has been a disappointment so far, a $28M disappointment.
3) Read over the weekend that if the Dodgers put Guerrero on waivers right now, no team would claim him. You had to figure, at some point signing these Cuban players pretty much sight unseen would come back to bite someone. Looks like it was the Dodgers, though they’ve made out really well with Yasiel Puig and $28M is a lot less to them than it is to just about any other team, except one or two.
2) Why teams lose, part 1: 2009 NBA Draft-- Minnesota had #5-6 picks in the first round, took Ricky Rubio, Jonny Flynn, who play the same position. #7 pick in that draft? Steph Curry. Oy.
1) Why teams lose, part 2: 2009 NBA Draft-- Knicks had the #8 pick- they took Jordan Hill from Arizona. Next two picks were DeMar DeRozan and Brandon Jennings- they're paying for that mistake now.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) They had an outdoor NHL game at Soldier Field Saturday night and it snowed, which is good; they tried to have one in Vancouver Sunday but it rained, which is bad. Vancouver has a retractable dome, so they closed it and played the outdoor game indoors, in front of 50,000 fans who paid to watch a game played outdoors, in the elememts. Oh well......
12) Eldrick Woods withdrew from the Honda Classic after the 13th hole Sunday, citing back pain as a reason. It is the 7th time Woods has withdrawn from a tournament, the fourth time in last five years.
11) Interesting baseball stat: Giants' 3B Pablo Sandoval swung at 45.5% of the pitches he saw last year that were out of the strike zone. Amazing that he swung at almost half the bad pitches he saw.
10) Giancarlo Stanton saw a strike on only 38.2% of pitches he saw LY, due to Miami being so terrible they don't have any other solid hitters in their lineup- he swung at 30.5% of those bad pitches, down from 37.1% he swung at the year before. Good thing walks count in my fantasy league.
Those stats are from Fangraphs.com, by the way.
9) Ohio State started this season 15-0, averaging 75.7 ppg; since then, they are 7-8, averaging 64.4 ppg. They look like a tired team.
8) Steve Alford is in his 23rd year as a coach already? Yikes.
7) Tulane's 16-14/8-7 mark doesn't look like much, but Ed Conroy had done a good job with the Green Wave, who were decimated by transfers after the school failed to get into the Big East.
Conroy also won at Citadel, going 36-29 his last two years there, which is almost impossible to do; the next SEC job that opens could be his.
6) Joakim Noah leads the Bulls in assists; he could be the first center to lead his team in assists since David Robinson 20 years ago.
5) Bruins beat the Rangers 6-3 in New York last night; interesting that the two head coaches, Claude Julien and Alain Vigneault, were once teammates in the early 80's with the minor league Salt Lake Golden Eagles. Good coaches come from all different kinds of backgrounds, not just ex-star players.
4) Oregon State basketball coach Craig Robinson is 38-68 in conference tilts in his six years with the Beavers; his predecessor, Jay John, got shown the door after going 28-80 in league games over six years.
Robinson is 7-9 in Pac-12 this year but has a veteran team that should be better; fact of the matter is, he is the President's brother-in-law and won't be fired, but you could make the case that he deserves to be.
3) Jake Peavy got scratched from his Monday start after he cut a finger on his left hand in an accident with a fishing knife. Andrew Cashner did the same thing couple years ago, only the injury turned out to be worse. Luckily for Peavy, he hurt his non-pitching hand.
2) NBA has to stop showing the Knicks on national TV; they're not a good adveertisement for their product.
\1) March Madness starts tonight, with two games in the Patriot League tournament. That makes two full weeks of conference tournament games.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) Of the 18 #1 seeds who have won the NCAA tournament, 14 of them covered their second round game. Just an indicator to look out for as we get closer to March Madness. Here's a breakdown........
1st round: Eventual champ 11-6-1 vs spread; 2nd round: 14-4.
12) Over the last 27 years, the team that won the national title went 21-6 vs spread in second round, only 16-10-1 in first round, although seven of last eight national champs also covered their first round games.
11) Game of the Day: SE Missouri State 118, Murray State 115, two OTs: Racers made 14-30 from arc and lost. Doesn't happen a lot.
10) Tough luck team of the week: Cal State-Northridge
Thursday: Matadors lost 82-81 at Fullerton.
Saturday: Matadors lost 106-105 in double OT at Riverside, missing the winning FT at end of regulation, tying FT at end of second OT.
Five of last ten Northridge games went to overtime (3-2).
9) Virginia 75, Syracuse 56--- Cavaliers clinched first regular season ACC title in 33 years, as Syracuse lost for third time in last four games. According to ESPN's expert Joe Lunardi, Syracuse is a #2 seed right now.
8) South Carolina 72, Kentucky 67-- John Calipari went thru his whole motivational bag of tricks, including getting thrown out with 10:25 left and Kentucky down 12- they got within a hoop, but Frank Martin got the best win of his 2-year tenure in Columbia.
Side note: Sindarius Thornwell is just a tremendous name.
7) If the AAC tournament started today, UConn-Memphis would be one hell of a first round game- they're tied for 4th right now. .
6) ESPN analyst Dan Dakich was working the Illinois-Michigan State tilt Saturday, but went after referee Ted Valentine on the air, in light of a run-in between Valentine and Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin earlier in the day.
Dakich is one of Bob Knight's henchmen; he played/coached at Indiana, so he has become an on-air critic of refs, especially refs who once threw Knight out of a game. Somehow Dakich works Big Dozen games on ESPN when his kid sits on the bench at Michigan; isn't that a conflict of interest?
5) Xavier 75, Creighton 69-- Musketeers get 20th win, a big win.
4) Oklahoma State 72, Kansas 65-- Cowboys are 3-0 since Marcus Smart got back on the court; this win punched their ticket to the NCAAs. Bench played total of only 24:00; this was Travis Ford's Super Bowl, and he won.
3) Kansas has won/shared its conference title ten years in a row and in three of those years, Bill Self had zero starters returning. Great coaching.
2) Upsets of the Day:
Northern Arizona (+12) wins 73-71 in OT at Weber State.
NC-Greensboro (+11.5) wins 73-71 at Wofford.
Illinois (+11) wins 53-46 at Michigan State.
1) Bad Beat of the Day: Western Michigan (+5.5) at Toledo-- Up 12 with 3:05 left, Broncos give up 14 straight points to Toledo, only to tie game and force OT with 0:34 left. They lost by 11 in overtime. Oy.
Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Don’t be surprised if footage of the post-game scuffle between New Mexico State and Utah Valley State Thursday results in schools cracking down on allowing court storming after the home team wins; you watch those clips and its easy to visualize something really bad happening.
Unrelated note from same game: If you see the clip again, check out the neon green sports coat one of the Utah Valley coaches was wearing; he is on the right side of the screen. Its an amazing piece of clothing; guy looks like a walking hi-liter.
12) Those teams are in the WAC, which has been decimated by conference realignment; their conference tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas just got a whole lot more interesting.
11) Last year was the first NCAA tournament in ten years with no ACC team getting a #1 seed. They’ll get one this year, but only because Syracuse is in the ACC now.
10) ESPN better keep Rece Davis on its team of announcers; no matter what he does, he is very good at it. He does the best job of making Bob Knight sounds like a competent game analyst, talking totally about game situations and drawing on Knight’s vast knowledge of basketball.
Since Knight seemingly has zero personality, it’s the only thing the play-by-play can do to get the best out of his partner.
9) Wizards beat Toronto 134-129 in triple OT Thursday; Wizards are vastly improved and a fun team to watch. They’re coached by Randy Wittman, one of Knight’s former players at Indiana.
8) Sounds more and more like the NFL will add two more wild card teams in 2015, making it seven playoff teams in each conference, with only the #1 seed getting a first round bye.
Two extra playoff games equals more TV money, ya know?
7) Conference USA has a 4-way tie for first place, with UTEP a game behind in 5th, which is important, since the top four teams get a first round bye. That will be one of the better conference tournaments.
6) Louisiana Tech star Raheem Appleby was scoreless in five minutes of play Thursday vs Middle Tennessee, as he returned from an ankle injury. If Appleby is healthy and can give Tech anything near what he did before his injury, Tech will be a tough team to beat in El Paso.
5) Remember when we talked last year about that $60M high school football stadium in Texas that seats 18,000 fans? Well, seems like the concrete in the stadium is cracking already, and the stadium has been closed until further notice. Somebody’s got some ‘splainin’ to do.
4) When you fill out your brackets in three weeks, remember that despite all the talk about upsets this and upsets that, a #1 seed has won the national title six of the last seven years, with UConn being the exception three years ago- they were a 3-seed.
3) Not sure why, but the NBA requested that Lebron James not wear that black mask anymore to protect his broken nose. He will switch to a clear mask for Miami's next game. Does anyone know why?
2) Bryce Alford scored 31 points for shorthanded UCLA Thursday, as they lost in double OT at home to Oregon; he looked a lot like his dad when he was playing.
Had Steve Alford not gotten the UCLA job, father/both sons would still be at New Mexico, and New Mexico’s Cullen Neal would be playing for St Mary’s, instead of for his dad with the Lobos.
So UCLA screwed St Mary’s over by hiring Alford, because the Gaels are lacking a perimeter shooter this year. Neal might’ve made them an NCAA tourney team.
1) I’m curious what those two UCLA kids did to get suspended for a game; from look of their body language and how they interacted with coaches during the Oregon game, it didn’t seem like it was anything too serious.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) It is estimated that hosting a Super Bowl is worth $500M to the area that hosts it, in terms of overall financial impact; not sure if that figure is 100% true, but politicians believe it is true, so as soon as the NFL made noise about pulling next season’s Super Bowl out of Arizona, governor Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial bill that revolved around religious freedom and businesses being able to turn down customers based on religious beliefs.
As usual in our world, many voices are heard, but money talks loudest.
12) If the NBA playoffs started today, a Toronto-Charlotte 3-6 matchup in East would be interested. Two teams you don’t think of being contenders meeting in the playoffs. Bobcats are Michael Jordan’s team, so that would add to the interest too.
11) In college football last year, the team that averaged the most average yards per play won the game 82.4% of the time. Team with most plays of 20+ yard plays won 70.6% of the time, team that ran the most plays won only 56.9% of games.
10) Dodger-Arizona spring training opener Wednesday drew 10,306 fans in the Arizona desert. Teams must make significant money on exhibition games, especially the more popular teams like the Dodgers or Cubs.
9) Philly Eagles have an advantage the next couple of years like the one Seattle Seahawks have had; QB Nick Foles will make only $770,880 this coming year, $815,880 in 2015, which gives them greater cap flexibility, at least until they have to pay Foles down the road.
8) 11 of the last 12 Idaho State basketball games have been decided by 6 or less points; Bengals must be fun to watch up there in Pocatello. Not easy to handicap their games, since they all seem to come down to the wire.
7) Surprising that the Michigan Wolverines have six basketball players from the state of Indiana.
You’d think they’d have a lot of players from, well……Michigan.
6) Travelers Insurance signed up to sponsor the Greater Hartford Open for another ten years, thru 2024. Good tournament to go to down there in Cromwell; if you go, I recommend sitting by the green at the driveable par-4 15th green, with the 18th tee right behind you. Can see a lot there.
5) A movie called Sharknado 2 filmed some scenes at CitiField in Queens this week; glad the Mets are putting their ballpark to good use. Never heard of the original Sharknado movie. Thinking it didn’t win any Academy Awards.
4) Despite not having star Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls are 31-26 and in 4th place in the weaker Eastern Conference. Tom Thibodeau is an excellent coach and Joakim Noah is kind of like a less talented Tim Duncan, a star who cares only about winning.
3) During his 14-year NBA playing career, Allen Iverson earned a total of $154,494,445 just in salary, yet he is said to be broke.
How does this happen? Where did it all go?
He’s far from the only celebrity this happens to, and it is sad. He should be set for life, not have less money than I do.
2) Mark your calendars, August 3 in Canton, OH. Bills-Giants, the NFL’s Hall of Fame Game. Should be a hot ticket; Canton is a fairly easy drive from Buffalo.
1) With former used car salesman Alan R Selig retiring soon as baseball commissioner, this question arises: would George W Bush make a good commissioner? He used to own the Texas Rangers, he knows the sport. Can think of a lot worse choices than him.
Thursday's List of 13: Doing soime thinking out loud.....
13) Its good to see boxscores again. Seriously. Even large boxscores with a lot of minor leaguers in them. Even boxscores of games that don’t mean anything. Spring training games have started, which is always a good thing.
12) Danny Granger is a free agent; Spurs/Clippers are said to be leading the race to land the talented wing, especially after Jamal Crawford got hurt in Wednesday night's game against Houston.
11) One thing the Angels are going to have to deal with as far as Mike Trout is this: they’ll need to have enough money left over to build a good team around him, or he won’t want to be there.
That means a solid pitching staff, which has been a Halo weakness. Pitching costs a fortune, when you don't develop your own young talent, which the Angels have not done.
Trout could be the next generation’s A-Rod; a tremendous player with such a big contract it precludes his team from becoming really good.
10) How does Lane Kiffin keep getting prime jobs? Head coach at USC, Tennessee, the Raiders; now he is offensive coordinator at Alabama. Why?
9) I know its only the first exhibition game, but Josh Reddick made two tremendous, home run-robbing catches in the A's game with the Giants Wednesday. Check out SportsCenter; tremendous plays.
8) Back in December, Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson had a meltdown during a postgame press conference and publicly shredded his team, which went viral and made all the national TV shows.
Seemed like it was a matter of time before the Salukis would implode and ol’ Barry would get fired, a la Pat Knight at Lamar. But Hinson is a solid coach and SIU has rallied; after a 2-6 start, they’ve steadied somewhat and are 8-8 in the Valley, 12-17 overall, not a great year but not an implosion either.
Hinson will bring in some better players and survive his meltdown. He still has a long way to go before he challenges Wichita atop the Valley though.
7) Dawned on me this week that I need the White Sox to become a strong offensive team, seeing as how I have Jose Abreu and Avasail Garcia on my fantasy team. Also dawned on me that I’m going to spend a lot of time this summer listening to Hawk Harrelson, which can be an experience. At least Hawk and I will be rooting for the same team.
6) Last weekend passed without a mention of the old Bracket Buster event ESPN used to hold on that weekend for several years. It was a good way for mid-majors to get TV exposure, but I guess it outlived its usefulness so they don’t do it anymore.
5) Ron Jaworski said he wouldn't draft Johnny Manziel in the first three rounds of the NFL draft. Manziel is the most polarizing football prospect in a very long time. Lot of smart people have varying opinions on him.
4) Magic 101, 76ers 90-- Philly lost at home to Bucks/Magic this week. This was Orlando's first road win in 17 tries (1-15-1 vs spread).
3) Raymond Felton will play for the Knicks in Miami tonight; apparently the Knicks cannot suspend him for his weapon violations. Seems like it is a marital issue more than a weapons issue. Why do people carry guns?
2) Disk jockey on the local FM radio station this week told a story of how his 14-year son is anorexic and near death in a California hospital; the guy and his wife got divorced, the wife took the two kids out west and now the kid is down to 5-foot-9, 95 pounds.
Not sure why he told the story on the air, but it was sad and broke down crying at the end. We wish the young man well in his recovery.
1) Wichita State is unbeaten but I don’t think a loss would help them, seeing as they’ll be playing inferior teams from now until the NCAAs, with the possible exception of Indiana State in the MVC tournament.
Syracuse was struggling vs ACC-level teams; once they can get some practice time in, they’ll be better off with some of the bandwagon emptied and having the pressure off them.
Losing to Duke isn’t a bad thing; losing to Drake would be.
Wednesday's List of 13: 13 dead people I'd like to meet
13) John Candy—One of the funniest guys ever, he was actually part owner of the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL in the late 80’s with Wayne Gretzky and the guy who owned the LA Kings. For one year, Big John was head of the CFL’s expansion committee. Seriously.
12) Charles Oscar Finley—Along with Bill Veeck, should be in Baseball Hall of Fame for all his innovations, such as night World Series games, the DH and more colorful uniforms. Think about how much money MLB owners have banked from apparel sales over the last 40 years; those are Charlie O’s innovations, man. Plus, he was an excellent GM who built one of baseball’s great dynasties in Oakland in the early 70’s.
11) Richard Nixon—After he lost the 1960 Presidential election, Nixon was approached about being Commissioner of Baseball.
Imagine how different history would be had he said yes?!?!?!?
10) Jack Warden—There was a time in the late 80’s when I was convinced Jack Warden had a role in every movie made. All of them.
The Verdict is one of my favorite movies, as well as the original Brian’s Song, when he played George Halas.
9) George Allen—One of my boyhood idols when he coached the Rams, one of Allen’s sons is now GM of the Redskins and another son was governor of Virginia. His last coaching job was trying to resurrect the football program at Long Beach State- they had a winning record in his last year.
8) Wilt Chamberlain—If the reports of his off-court prowess are true, Wilt had some of the greatest time management skills of all-time. Think about it. Plus, he scored 100 points in an NBA game. 100!!!! He went to Kansas on a track scholarship, so you know he was a great athlete.
7) Pat Summerall—Think of all the great events he called on TV, in the NFL, golf and tennis; plus he was a kicker for the Giants in the late 50’s. One of the great voices of all-time.
6) Jerry Coleman—He flew airplanes in combat missions in two different wars, played second base in the big leagues, then became an icon as an announcer in San Diego. Seemed like a genuinely nice person.
5) Harold Ramis—He passed away this week at age 69; wrote/directed/acted in some of the greatest modern comedies. Its hard to be funny when people expect you to be funny. Ramis was very funny.
4) Ed McMahon-- Most famous sidekick of all-time. Large man with a small ego, he was all over TV for years. The stories he must have had.....
3) Jack Klugman-- TV's Oscar Madison/Quincy owned race horses in real life; saw him at Saratoga Harness track one night-- they had a huge crowd, mostly there to see him present a trophy.
2) Paul Newman—He was Butch Cassidy, he was the hockey coach in Slap Shot, the down-and-out lawyer in The Verdict, and he even played Kevin Costner’s father in Message in a Bottle late in his career. He drove race cars and even had a salad dressing named after him.
Would’ve been great fun to pick his brain for a while.
1) Catfish Hunter—My favorite baseball player growing up; they spelled his name wrong on his rookie baseball card in 1965, so he became my favorite player, when I was a 5-year old.
What are the odds he would become a Hall of Famer?
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Was happy to see Dale Earnhardt Jr so excited Sunday night after he won the Daytona 500, his was pure joy. Lot of celebrities, they become too cool to show when they’re really, really happy, this was fun to watch.
12) There is too much speculation about who is in/out of the NCAA tournament, as if it were an ongoing selection process. ESPN reports Joe Lunardi’s stuff like it is fact; while he is usually very good with his analysis, it isn’t fact. “Oh, if Tennessee wins at Texas A&M, they’ll move into the field.” That type of “reporting” is just wrong. The committee will come up with the 68 teams in three weeks; those will be the facts.
11) Jadeveon Clowney ran a strong 40-yard dash at the Combine, somewhere between 4.47 and 4.53, depending on who you believe. Clowney didn’t have a strong senior year at South Carolina, but the success Vontaze Burfict had with the Bengals after a sub-par senior season at Arizona State will only help Clowney’s status. NFL Draft is May 8 and its going to be interesting.
10) Why wouldn’t a quarterback prospect throw at the Combine? What do they have to lose? Seems like agents are stifling the kids from showing their skills. If I was a prospect like Johnny Manziel, I’d want the whole league to see what I can do, let them know that I’m anxious to show off my skills. Guess that’s one of many reasons why I’m not an agent.
9) Lookalikes: golfer Victor Dubuisson and Brad Pitt, especially when they are wearing sun visors.
8) Included in Jim Boeheim’s post-game whining Saturday night was a complaint that the Orange had to play at Maryland last night after playing at Duke Saturday, while the Terrapins had Saturday off. Seems like a fair complaint, but the ACC ain’t trying do to Maryland any favors, seeing as they’re bolting the ACC for the Big Dozen. Sometimes things just happen.
7) On flip side of Boeheim’s meltdown was UNLV’s Dave Rice reacting like an adult to the Rebels getting hosed by a replay review at Boise State, which cost UNLV a game it had apparently already won.
My only question is this; if Rice was more of a bastard, prone to outbursts, would he have been more likely to get that call? Does yelling/working refs get you an extra call or two a game?
Would Bob Huggins or John Calipari have gotten that call? I’m just asking, and by the way, the basket UNLV scored should’ve counted, seeing as it was called good on the floor and no replay clearly showed it wasn’t good.
6) Its funny that Gene Simmons owns part of an Arena Football team, the LA Kiss; Simmons is highly skilled at making money, but he isn’t a sports fan, something he made clear on his reality TV show. Speaks well of the AFL that he invested in it though. His QB is likely to be Colt Brennan, who played college ball at Hawai’i.
5) In case you’re wondering, in an average NBA game, each team has the ball 96 or 97 times a game.
4) Syracuse 57, Maryland 55-- Terps outscored Orange 19-3 on foul line, but turned ball over 18 times (-7), wasting too many possessions to pull a big upset. Syracuse is very shaky right now; they play Virginia next.
3) Texas Rangers extended Ron Washington's contract thru the 2015 season, so he will not enter this year as a lame duck manager.
2) Sounds like the 49ers have a problem, in that Jim Harbaugh doesn’t get along well with the team’s other decision makers, to the point where he or some of the others may have to go.
Pat Riley wrote a book about how teams are constructed then either thrive or fall apart; this part he called “The Disease of Me” where people think they are the reason the team is winning, rather than the collective effort being the reason. Curious to see how this plays out, but how do the 49ers let Harbaugh walk?
1) RIP Harold Ramis. One of the great comedic minds of our time, Ramis was Bill Murray’s sidekick in Stripes, was a regular on Second City TV and was behind scenes in movies like Animal House, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, just a brilliant, funny mind. 69 is too young to go. Rest in peace, sir.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend....
13) Heading into Sunday, your busiest college basketball refs this season were: Roger Ayers (80 games), Karl Hess (79) , Jamie Luckie (78). Hess did one of the games I watched Sunday, so he's worked 80 games now too.
12) The third-place match in the World Golf Match Play tournament did not seem like much of an event, but there was a $120,000 difference between winning and losing that match. Not bad for playing 18 holes.
11) First Match Play tournament was in 1999, when Jeff Maggert needed two extra holes to beat Andrew Magee; back then, the final was 36 holes, so they played 38 holes that day. Until yesterday, that was the only final that had gone to extra holes.
10) 30-year old Brett Gardner, who has played three full seasons in the big leagues, got a $52M, four-year extension from Bronx. His on-base %age in his three full seasons of play: .383/.345/.344. Seems like a lot of money.
9) Jamal Crawford has played for 17 head coaches in his 14-year career in the NBA- he's played for six different teams. Crawford only played 17 games in his his college career, for Michigan in 1999-2000.
8) Dodger pitcher Jamey Wright is at his 21st spring training for his 10th big league team; last year was the only one of the 21 spring trainings that was in Florida. Wright has earned a little over $14M as a big leaguer since '96.
7) When Lebron James sat out Sunday with a broken nose, Greg Oden got his first start since December 5, 2009- it was his 61st NBA start. He was only at Ohio State for a year (32 games) so he hasn't played much ball.
6) Last time the driver who led the Daytona 500 at the halfway mark won the race was 1992, when Davey Allison was the winner.
5) Memphis Grizzlies are 31-24, but are ninth in west right now and out of the playoff picture; only four teams in the east are over .500.
4) Independence Bowl in Shreveport used to be called the Poulan Weed Eater Bowl; now its going to be the Duck Commander Bowl, sponsored by the Robertson family of Duck Dynasty fame. Robertsons have made a lot of money selling kazoo-type objects that attract ducks for hunters.
3) While Carmelo Anthony's Knicks are floundering at 21-35, the team that Jeremy Lin plays for (Houston) is 38-18. Coincidence? I don't think so.
2) Wednesday afternoon/night, MLB Network has three major league spring training games on: Jays-Phils, Reds-Indians, Dodgers-Arizona, as winter finally seems to be getting pushed out the door.
1) Since 1967, most NFL first round draft picks, by school:
USC 66, Miami 56, Ohio State 54, Florida 43.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday....
13) Duke 66, Syracuse 60-- Coaches preach poise to their players; well, coaches need to have poise too. When a bad call goes against you in a 60-58 game with 0:10 left, you don't have a childish meltdown and get thrown out of a game your kids still had a chance to win.
Syracuse played one true road game before New Year's and that was in New York City, where they have a ton of fans. Maybe if Orange played a road game now and then in pre-conference, they'd have more poise now.
12) Boise State 91, UNLV 90 ot-- Refs used replay to change a call, negating a Rebel basket at the buzzer. I watched the replay five times and could not tell which call was right. In that case, the call on the floor (good basket) is supposed to stand. It helps to be at home, I guess.
When UNLV coach Dave Rice was informed his team lost (got hosed), he did not act like a 4-year old who didn't get his ice cream. Classy guy.
11) Oklahoma State 84, Texas Tech 62-- Marcus Smart had 16 points, 10 rebounds as he returned from suspension and helped Cowboys end their skid at seven games. Bracketologists still have them in the field of 68.
10) Louisville 58, Cincinnati 57-- Russ Smith hit a jumper with 0:02.2 left to win this tense struggle, avenging an earlier home loss to the Bearcats. This was a lot like a tournament game.
9) Kentucky 77, LSU 76 ot-- Terrific game; LSU lost in part because their best player Johnny O'Bryant got really tired at the end-- he was 8-25 from the floor. Tigers are banged up, don't have much depth. Kentucky was 1-9 on the arc, still won, avenging an earlier loss in Baton Rouge.
8) Georgia State 80, UL-Lafayette 77-- Ragin' Cajuns had won six games in a row; they led by nine in second half, but 20-7 Georgia State had a 21-0 run to pull out their 20th win of the year. Sun Belt tourney is going to be good.
7) Wisconsin 79, Iowa 74-- Badgers started season 16-0, then lost five of six games, now has won five in a row. Even the good teams are fragile.
6) Florida 75, Ole Miss 71-- Marshall Henderson had 22 points in first half, zero in second half. Florida is now 14-0 in the SEC.
5) Ohio State 64, Minnesota 46-- Gophers were up 28-18 at half, then the second half happened. ESPN's Joe Lunardi had Minnesota as an 11-seed in NCAAs before this game- they're 4-8 in their last dozen games- their next two games are Iowa/Michigan. Good luck.
4) Miami 69, Boston College 42-- Eagles followed up win at Syracuse by getting bludgeoned by the 14-13 Hurricanes, who had lost six of previous eight games coming in. BC has to hire Bruce Pearl this spring.
3) New Mexico 58, San Diego State 44-- Lobos had huge week, winning big at UNLV, then dismissing Aztecs here. Teams meet again at Viejas March 8, and will probably play the next week in Vegas at the conference tourney.
2) Biggest upset of the day: Rhode Island 87 (+11) , St Bonaventure 78-- Rams snapped a 6-game losing streak with road win here.
1) Bad beat of the day: Syracuse (+6). Game ended in a push, but a lousy call nullified the tying hoop for Orange, then Boeheim went postal, got two technicals and Syracuse backers went fortunate to get the push.
I mean, you had a dog getting six points down 2 with the ball with 0:12 left, the game didn't go OT and you didn't win. Doesn't happen much.
Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here....
13) Weird to see the Lakers giving up; they saved $4M by trading Steve Blake to Golden State, but I’m just not used to seeing them acting like a beached whale.
12) Memo to ESPN; Celtics/Lakers were a combined 34-72 before Friday night’s pillow fight at Staples Center. Why is this game on national TV? Show Portland, show the Suns, anyone but these horrible teams with famous uniforms.
11) Is it me, or are the greens at the Match Play tournament easier than the greens at a normal PGA event? Seems like more long putts are getting made this week and very few short ones missed.
10) Seahawks don’t have to worry about Russell Wilson bolting to baseball; he hit .229 in two years in A ball. .229 in A ball does not give him any contract leverage whatsoever.
9) San Francisco snapped an 0-17 skid against St Mary’s Thursday, so good for them. Dons are now ahead of St Mary’s in the WCC standings, in third place.
8) Johnny Manziel may be five inches shorter than Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, but he has bigger hands; that’s one of the things they measure at the NFL Combine.
Teams value players with bigger hands for better ball security; since 1970, only one QB under 6-feet tall has been drafted in the first round-- Michael Vick. Success of Drew Brees/Russell Wilson is helping shorter guys.
7) Wouldn’t want to be the coach of the Russian Olympic hockey team after their disappointing showing the past week. Its not like they do this every year; hes going to have some ‘splainin’ to do.
6) Seahawks dumped WR Sidney Rice, which saves them $7M of salary cap space. Curious to see where he moves on to.
5) Tom Coughlin signed a one-year extension with the Giants (thru 2015); at 67, Coughlin takes some grief for being the NFL’s oldest coach, but no one brings up that at age 62, Pete Carroll is second-oldest.
4) Talk about parity, eight of eleven hoop teams in the Big Sky are either 7-8 or 8-7; their conference tournament should be letting Weber State (11-4) and Northern Colorado (10-5) play a best-of-3 series for the automatic bid. 0-15 Southern Utah is the league’s piñata.
3) Syracuse has an average of 55.6 possessions per game, is playing slowest tempo in ACC, in conference games. That’s a little surprising.
2) Last time an NCAA tournament was held without a team from Indiana was 2005; it could happen this year.
1) Last college hoop team to get to its conference tournament undefeated was St Joe’s 10 years ago; last team to make it to the NCAAs unbeaten was UNLV in 1991. Wichita State could do it this year.
Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) North Carolina 74, Duke 66-- UNC outscored Duke 20-7 on foul line; teams combined to go 7-31 from arc. tough game to ref; very physical, lot of carping from players. Five of eight guys Duke used finished game with four fouls. Very curious to see how Duke comes out Saturday vs Syracuse.
12) Michigan State 94, Purdue 79-- Tom Izzo turned into Paul Westhead for a night, as Spartans went 13-19 from arc in first half snd shot their way past a Purdue club that took 20 free throws in each half.
11) Guy sitting behind Spartans' bench wearing a Michigan State pullover was Izzo pal/former NFL coach Steve Mariucci, in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine this weekend.
10) Why aren't Eldrick Woods/Phil Mickelson at the Match Play event this week? Woods was probably planning to go to the Olympics with his girlfriend the skiier, but she got hurt-- did they go anyway?
9) Speaking of the Olympics, Islanders lost John Tavares for the season with a knee injury, which is why some people are against NHL players going to the Olympics.
8) None of the four #1 seeds made it past the second round of the Match Play tournament, an event that gets less interesting as it goes on. First day is the best action, with 32 matches going on all day.
7) Bruce Bochy has managed 19 years in big leagues, won two of last four World Series; his career record is 1,530-1,530.
6) Joe Maddon has a 677-620 record with the Rays, which is becoming Hall of Fame-worthy, when you conmsider they were 518-775 before he got to the Bay Area. He's made the playoffs four of the last six seasons.
5) NFL salary cap is going up 5%, to $130M per team; league is doing great financially, which is why Roger Goodell banked $44M last fiscal year.
4) Braves signed SS Andrelton Simmons to a $57M contract; young man hit only .248 LY in his first full year in the big leaguies.
3) Bob Knight was a great coach before they put the shot clock and 3-pointer in; he's a poor color analyst on TV. If you can't sound good working with Brent Musburger, you're a lost cause. Only time Knight shows an ounce of enthusiasm is when he talks about hunting/fishing.
2) Cal-Irvine 60, Hawai'i 56 ot-- Anteaters have never been to NCAAs, but they're on top of the Big West now; three of their last four wins are by 4 or less points, or in overtime.
1) BYU 73, Gonzaga 65-- Is the WCC a one-bid league this year?
Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Jim Weinstein lost his job this week. Never heard of him? I hadn’t either, but remember Super Bowl Sunday, when there was a crush of people at the train station in New Jersey, trying to get to Swamp Stadium?
Well, Mr Weinstein was the head of the New Jersey transit system and is the scapegoat for that debacle-- he is now unemployed.
12) Dallas Cowboys won a coin flip with Baltimore and will pick 16th in the NFL Draft in May, with Ravens going 17th.
11) For what its worth, under is 17-9 in Olympic hockey so far, with four games left to go- the third place game in the Olympics is for a medal, so you figure it is way more competitive than most consolation games.
10) My thoughts on the college football play clock debate is this: If you play faster, it tires players out, which slows them down, which creates less violent collisions, which reduces injuries. In my opinion, Saban/Bielema are trying to get rid of the fast-paced offenses because they don’t use it and its really hard to defend. There is no way they have evidence it increases injuries.
9) In the same winter a pitcher named Balfour got $12M for two years from Tampa Bay, a pitcher named Homer (Bailey) signs a 6-year, $105M contract with the Reds.
Is this a great country or what?
Not sure why Dusty Baker isn’t back with the Reds- they made the playoffs three of last four years. Didn’t do much once they got there, but not like this team is the Big Red Machine or anything.
8) Cleveland Cavaliers won their first six games after firing their GM; they were 16-33 before he got fired. Coincidence?
7) Las Vegas Wranglers minor league hockey team is moving downtown, into a modular arena that will seat 3,500 fans atop the Plaza Hotel- they had been playing for the last decade at the Orleans Arena.
6) Speaking of the Orleans hotel, they have a great 24-hour coffee shop. Tremendous pancakes; just thought you should know.
5) Tough news for Wyoming’s leading scorer Larry Nance Jr; he tore his ACL Monday night and is done for the year. Cowboys are an improved team this year but this is a tough blow.
4) No word on when the Iowa-Indiana game will be made up after a beam fell from the arena ceiling Tuesday, but the women’s game at Indiana can be played in that arena this week, since no one goes to women’s games anyway, so the seats where the beam fell can be blocked off and not be a hazard to anyone. If they played the men’s game with no fans, they’d be forfeiting a sellout, which is an awful lot of money.
3) Miami Dolphins finally fired offensive line coach Jim Turner; not sure what took them so long, since Turner was in the middle of the bullying debacle that haunted the Fish last season. Miami also fired the trainer who didn't cooperate with the NFL's investigation.
2) Saint Louis 89, George Mason 85 ot-- Billikens are 24-2, Patriots 9-17, but both Saint Louis wins over Mason this year came in OT. Go figure.
1) Boston College 62, Syracuse 59 ot-- If you play with fire long enough, eventually you get burned. BC is only 3-10 in ACC, but they made 11-22 on the arc and made enough plays down stretch to pull the huge upset. Orange have been letting inferior teams hang around-- it cost them here.
Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Back around Thanksgiving, I thought Oklahoma State was a good bet at 12-1 to win the national title. They were playing really well. Then the damn broke. First their big guy tore his Achilles, then the backup PG got arrested.
Twice. He was asked to leave, and not come back.
Then the Marcus Smart/fan incident happened and now you have a reeling Cowboy squad on a 7-game bender with Smart coming back from his 3-game suspension for Saturday’s game against Texas Tech. At this point, they might be on the bubble, and only because the bubble is weak.
12) OSU coach Travis Ford seems like a good guy; I feel bad for him. The center’s injury crippled the Cowboys’ interior defense, kid getting arrested twice is a huge distraction, then the Smart fiasco, no coach could’ve controlled that. What started out as a season of optimism has turned into a train wreck. We’ll see what happens when Smart comes back this week.
11) Someone put up a graphic Monday night comparing Doug McDermott’s college career to Larry Bird’s; fair enough, they both played in the MVC, are roughly the same size and both (to be honest) are Caucasians.
One thing: the graphic showed McDermott’s career 3-pointers, which are many, against Bird’s, which are zero. Why?
Because the 3-point rule didn’t exist when Bird was in college!!!
Its OK to hire people over 25 to do research. Seriously, it is.
10) How is Kendrys Morales still a free agent? Houston doesn’t need a first baseman/DH who can hit? They’ve lost 100+ games three years in a row, they need everything. Morales would put up big numbers in that ballpark.
9) Jameis Winston says he wants to be an NFL QB and a major league pitcher; am I the only person who thinks this can’t/won’t happen? Being an NFL QB is not a part-time job, not a franchise QB.
Your body gets beaten up during the 17-game season; going and pitching all summer, not even considering the seasons overlapping, doesn’t give the body time to recover. At some point he is going to have to make a decision between the two sports; when he does, you’ll know he’s matured some.
8) Tampa Bay Bucs are changing logos/helmets again; last time they did it was 1997. No word on if they’re changing colors too.
7) NBA commish Adam Silver says that eventually, NBA uniforms will have advertising on them. Wonder how Nike/adidas feel about that, since their logos are already on the uniforms? Teams have to make money where they can, but I’m not a fan of it. Guess that means the ads will be on the uniforms that are sold in malls, right?
6) Braves OF Jason Heyward his .322 from the leadoff spot LY, .223 everywhere else. I’m no Abner Doubleday, but I know where I’d bat him in the lineup, if I was managing in Atlanta.
5) The roof is falling in on Indiana's season; not only have the Hoosiers lost six of their last eight games, an 8-foot metal beam fell from the ceiling before the Iowa game last night, so the game was postponed because no one seems to know why the beam fell.
Luckily, no one was hurt; an 8-foot metal beam can do damage.
4) Let me see, David Letterman went to Ball State, Jimmy Fallon St Rose, Carson Daly Loyola Marymount, Jay Leno Emerson; finally, there is a job that has almost totally avoided being taken over by Ivy League-types. Only Conan O’Brien (Harvard) breaks the mold.
3) Real classy of the Bronx Bombers to rip Robinson Cano, now that he’s in Seattle. Wonder which Bronx higher-up urged hitting coach Kevin Long to open his mouth Monday; that wasn’t on his own.
2) Here is what you need to know about Cano; in last seven years, he’s played 159+ games every year, with huge production. He plays every day and he produces. What else is there?
You want him to pull a hammy sprinting to beat out a grounder that is impossible to beat out? How does that help anything?
1) Someone needs to explain to me why Butler is in the Big East; school is in Indianapolis, its the only non-Catholic school in the league. Nothing about the school suggests it should be in the Big East.
They've gone from being the Horizon's big fish to the Big East's guppies.
Tuesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Ryan Dempster could've hung around, gone on the DL and collected a $13.25M paycheck this year, but he is walking away from baseball this year and will not get paid, an unusual decision from a popular guy.
Dempster has earned $89,144,999 in his career, so apparently he's doing well financially, but still, $13M is $13M. He isn't retiring, so he could still return to the mound in 2015, but it would be for a lot less money.
12) Speaking of career earnings, Jake Westbrook retired last week, after his 13-year career. Westbrook had a 105-103 career record, earning just under $71M. Hopefully these guys put away most of that money.
11) Milwaukee Brewers had June 29 scheduled as a promotion-- Norichika Aoki Bobblehead Day, but when they traded Aoki to Kansas City, that ended that. Now June 29 is Scooter Gennett Bobblehead Day, so if you're in Wisconsin this summer, its a Sunday game with Colorado.
10) San Francisco Giants were 44-32 in divisional games last summer, but it was all the other games that cost them-- they were 11-23 vs NL Central teams, 14-16 vs NL East teams and 6-14 in interleague play.
9) Will be weird seeing Tim Hudson pitching for the Giants, after his nine years with Atlanta and six with the A's. Hudson turned down the A's this winter; he is smart enough to not want to pitch against the DH anymore.
8) There are rumors the Knicks want to trade for Kyle Lowry, but if I'm New York, I don't make any more trades with Raptors' GM Masai Ujiri- he gave them Andrea Bargnani, and also Carmelo Anthony. In other words, he is a lot smarter than they are, and should be avoided at all costs.
7) NFL Combine starts this weekend in Indianapolis, so they'll be lot of NFL news/rumors this week. Wish all the QBs would throw at the combine, but most of them just throw on their own campus at their pro day.
6) ESPN's Jonathan Coachmen does a good job on both TV/radio; funny that he used to do in between match interviews on WWE telecasts. He's come a long way from those pro wrestling days, for sure.
5) North Carolina 81, Florida State 75-- Tar Heels aren't in the top 25? No way there are 25 teams that are better than they are; polls don't matter, because of the tournament, but still, they're hot right now. Carolina-Duke is Thursday night; going to be a tough 48 hours for Dick Vitale's voice.
4) Struck me the other night that Ben Howland has disappeared this winter, hasn't been seen or heard from. You'd think he'd do some TV work, but not at all. He's coached in three Final Fours; he'll coach again, if he wants to. Hell, he got fired last spring after his UCLA team won the Pac-12 regular season.
3) In 1972 and 1973, CBS/NBA had a 1-on-1 contest with 34 players, two from each NBA team; they edited games and showed highlights at halftime of the CBS Sunday afternoon Game of the Week, and then the playoffs.
In 1972, Bob Lanier beat JoJo White in the finals, two stars.
In 1973, Geoff Petrie beat Barry Clemens in the final. Petrie was the Kings' GM until this season; he was a pretty good player. Clemens played small college ball at Ohio Wesleyan, averaged 6.7 ppg in a 10-year NBA career, during which he averaged only 15.9 minutes per game.
My point with this is that if the NBA had a 1-on-1 contest, and they would make a fortune if they did, the outcome might be very surprising.
2) Oklahoma State senior walk-on Mason Cox, a 6-10 sub, is on the team because an OSU assistant coach noticed him while he was practicing against the Oklahoma State women's team. One of the players on the women's team noticed him while he was playing intramurals.
Women's teams use males to practice against sometimes; Cox was the guy who simulated 6-8 Baylor star Britney Griner in practice.
1) Memo to Roger Goodell; do not put the Super Bowl in London. Ever.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Nebraska 60, Michigan State 51-- Tim Miles has his team primed to make a run in the NIT. Every team in the Big Dozen has at least three losses, and every team has at least three wins. No great teams, though.
12) Wisconsin 75, Michigan 62-- In a 60-possession road game, Badgers had two turnovers. Two. Wisconsin has now won four games in a row after they had lost five of six. Resilient team.
11) Pretty exciting Sunday in the MAAC.........
Canisius 92, Siena 88, triple OT....Marist 96, Monmouth 92 double OT
10) Golf is weird. Pat Perez eagled the 10th hole at Riviera Saturday, then had a triple bogey on the same hole Sunday. Go figure.
9) Disappointed to hear that Mark Mulder tore an achilles trying to make a comeback with the Angels. Mulder was 81-42 in five years with the A's-- I was in Fenway Park in August 2003 when he left with a stress fracture in his hip. Mulder completed 22 of his 150 starts for the A's. Thats a lot now; A's had six complete games all of last season.
8) Pat Knight was mercifully fired by Lamar after going 6-50 the last two years, after he went 23-12 in 2012 with the previous coach's players, whom he publicly blasted in a bizarre February 2012 news conference.
Odd that former Lamar/Oklahoma coach Billy Tubbs was the person most often quoted in the wire story; he used to be Lamar's AD. Tubbs' teams ran and ran and ran-- you'd think Lamar would go for someone more like that.
7) Watching Notre Dame-Boston College last night, it just didn't seem like an ACC game. Terrible level of play. BC has to go get alum Bruce Pearl, who is eligible to be hired this spring. Great coach; he would invigorate what is right now a program in a coma.
6) If Boston College doesn't hire Pearl, then Wake Forest, Washington State, Auburn, DePaul-- one of those schools should.
5) If you care about such things, road team is 11-1 vs spread in Syracuse's ACC games, 11-0-1 in Western Kentucky's Sun Belt games.
4) I turn on the TV and I see Charles Barkley interviewing the President of the United States, and I have no idea what to think. Still don't. Listening to the President, seems like he watches a lot of basketball. Interesting.
3) Why doesn't every golfer who wins a PGA Tour event get invited to play in The Masters? Seems like that would be a good reward for winning.
2) Creighton 101, Villanova 80-- Bluejays have lot of trouble with athletic defense of St John's, but not so much with Villanova-- they scored a total of 197 points in two wins over the Wildcats, a couple of easy wins-- they made 30 of 50 3-pointers vs Villanova.
1) Temple 71, SMU 64-- A bright day in a dismal season for the Owls, who are 2-12 in their last 14 games. SMU has had a good season, but they've also lost at Temple/South Florida, little bit of a red flag.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Olympic hockey does shootouts differently than NHL, letting same shooter go multiple times, once three players have gone, where in the NHL, each player is only allowed to shoot once.
Like the NHL system better, makes it more of a team game and puts strategy into the coach's decisions as to who shoots when.
12) Florida 69, Kentucky 59-- Kentucky led 48-47 with 8:14 left, when the ref gave John Calipari a technical foul-- Wildcats never led again, as Florida wins at Tennessee/Kentucky in same week. That doesn't happen much.
11) Syracuse 56, NC State 55-- Wolfpack gagged this game away, getting trapped in corner twice in last minute when they had ball and the lead. This was 7th time this season Syracuse has been tied/trailed in last 5:00, but they are still unbeaten, with a trip to Duke coming up Saturday.
10) Wyoming 46, San Jose State 38-- Spartans were outscored 20-9 in the second half, which may help explain why they're 0-13 in Mountain West. Not sure why Wyoming has turned into a slowball team, but they have-- it takes a little more effort to go to their home games in Laramie, not sure fans are going to want to drive thru winter weather to watch 46-38 games.
9) Yale 66, Princeton 65 ot-- Bulldogs were down 11 at half, rallied to win and stay tied for Ivy lead with Harvard at 7-1. No conference tournament in Ivy League and Yale already beat Crimson once-- rematch is at Yale.
8) Purdue 82, Indiana 64-- Wheels have fallen off for Hoosiers, who had a sub arrested for DUI late in week; they've lost six of last eight games, are 0-4 in last four games on the road- they host Iowa next.
7) ESPN's Joe Lunardi does good work with projecting who will be in the NCAA tournament, but ESPN uses his stuff way too much, like his word is official or something. "Oh, if BYU wins here, they'll be in the field of 68".
Please stop. Don't need this during every TV game for the next month.
6) Recruiting rankings aren't worth the paper they're written on; during the K-State-Baylor game, kid on Kansas State stole the ball and dunked in traffic, and the TV analyst yells about how coaches need to go out and see kids play, since this player was only a three-star recruit.
Recruiting analysts can't possibly see every player enough to make sound judgments on those kids. Players slip through the cracks, and sharp coaches find those kids, develop their skills and win a lot of games.
5) Matt Garza took $2M less to sign with Milwaukee than the Angels, and that seems odd, unless he doesn't want to face the DH. You'd think Angels have a better chance to be contenders than the Brewers do.
4) Arizona State's students need some lessons on how to act at games; couple of them spit on Oregon's coaches last week, one threw a cardboard cutout on the court Friday night after a shaky call by the refs, then 1,000 of them rushed the court when they upset Arizona, only there was still 0:00.5 left to play and they could've (but didn't) get a technical foul. Oy.
3) Certain things are amusing, others are funny, some are really funny, then there is the thing on my tax return that asks if I'd like to contribute $3 to the Presidential election campaign funds. Um, no thanks.
2) Upset of Day: Reggie Theus' Cal-Northridge Matadors (+13) won 80-78 in OT at Santa Barbara, Matadors' 4th OT game in their last six.
1) Bad Beat of the Day-- Kansas State (+4.5) had Baylor beat in regulation, but Bears hit a desperation trey at buzzer to send game to OT, then won by 14 in second overtime. If you had K-State in this game, it was a bitter loss.
Saturday's List of 13: Waiting to get plowed to freedom......
13) NFL commish Roger Goodell banked $35.1M in salary this past year, and another $9.1M in deferred compensation. Pretty good year-- hopefully at some point he'll do something to improve the quality of the NFL's product, which has slipped due to his all-out effort to settle/avoid lawsuits.
12) Don't want to hear the "player safety" argument; if the NFL truly cared about player safety, they wouldn't play Thursday night games four days after Sunday games. Football was meant to be played once a week.
11) Sports Illustrated writer Bruce Feldman wrote an excellent book about college football recruiting called Meat Market, which dealt with the Ole Miss program when Ed Orgeron was coach. Now Feldman has a book coming out about how quarterbacks are developed, coming out later this year. He is an excellent writer, so the book should be educational.
10) RIP Jim Fregosi, who passed away this week at age 71 after having a stroke while on a cruise. Fregosi played big league ball for 18 years, managed for another 15, leading the Phillies to the '93 World Series.
In New York though, Fregosi is best-known for being the guy the Mets got when they traded Nolan Ryan to the Angels- not the Mets' finest moment.
Lot of tributes for Fregosi on Twitter Friday; he was a beloved figure who was famous for telling great stories and being a good guy. He'll be missed.
9) Five of the teams in the Atlantic 13 are in the top 25. Not bad.
8) Oakland 83, Detroit 82 ot-- Teams are 25 miles apart, its a good rivalry developing in the Horizon League, which needs more TV exposure. Travis Bader was 8-13 from the arc, had 30 for Oakland-- he's made the most 3's of anyone in Division I history. this was a fun game to watch.
7) Arizona 69, Arizona 66 2ot-- Another tremendous game, with ASU needing this game lot more than the Wildcats. Weird ending in second OT, as Jahii Carson hung on the rim after a breakaway dunk with 0:00.7 left, but was spared by the officials, as were ASU fans, who stormed the court early, after a kid had thrown stuff on the court earlier in the game.
Arizona's Aaron Gordon is a good freshman player, but he is 12 for his last 39 on the foul line. Not good- he was 3 for 8 in this game.
6) Eric Musselman is an assistant coach at Arizona State-- his dad Bill was a terrific coach in college/pros- he was the Timberwolves' first coach. In their first two years, Minnesota had four players and two assistant coaches who later became NBA head coaches. Thats quite a coaching tree.
5) Pro golfer Fred Funk does a commercial for Mitsubishi Electronics that is pretty funny; you wouldn't even know he isn't an actor.
4) NBA is wisely going to centralized replay next year; the NHL already has it, and MLB/NFL should follow. Its the best way to do replay.
3) UConn-Temple got bumped off ESPN Thursday night so they can show the re-scheduled UNC-Duke game at 9:00.
2) Check out this article on NBA.com about our friend Nevada Smith, who is a coach in the D-League. Lot of life lessons involved here, number one being you should always be prepared when opportunity knocks, because you never know who is watching.
Coach Smith was well-prepared and is now living out his dream, going from a Division III college coach to coaching pros. Tremendous story.
1) Further sign of the softening of America; we've had a snowstorm here in upstate New York the last 36 hours. There is a guy who is paid to plow out the bottom of my driveway, but he is among the missing as I type this, eliminating the possibility of me ordering out for food, since the Domino's guy isn't climbing the two-foot mountain of snow that is still there.
I was going to complain more, but just heard that they had an earthquake in South Carolina tonight, the same week that they had a snowstorm. Oy.
Friday's List of 13: 2014 Over/under win totals for MLB
NL Win totals
AL win totals
Thursday's List of 13: Wrapping up a night of basketball...
13) Syracuse 58, Pitt 56-- Tyler Ennis hit a dramatic 35-footer at buzzer to keep Orangemen unbeaten. Very hard-fought game; Panthers played their hearts out, and then had those hearts ripped out by Ennis.
12) Weather forced postponement of seven games, including UNC-Duke, which will be made up a week from today, the 20th. They had eight inches of snow at Pinehurst golf course in North Carolina.
11) Penn State 66, Indiana 65-- This score makes us wonder who Indiana will host in the first round of the NIT? Hoosiers led by 11 with 3:19 to go, just a horrific loss at home.
10) Kings 106, Knicks 101 ot-- Jimmer Fredette is from Glens Falls, 45 miles north of Armadillo World HQ, so I root for him; kid hasn't played a lot for the struggling Kings, but he went off last night, scoring 15 points in his first 7:00 on the floor, wound up with a career high 24 points.
Most Fredette had played all season was 21 minutes in a blowout loss to the Pacers last month. Against ther Knicks, Jimmer played 27 minutes, made six of nine behind the arc-- he can help some NBA team.
9) Texas Tech 68, Oklahoma 60-- Tubby's Red Raiders are 5-0 vs spread as a road underdog in league play. Bad home loss for the Sooners.
8) Indiana State 68, Bradley 62-- Sycamores are 19-6, 10-3 in Valley; they are hurt by Notre Dame's demise- they beat Irish before Grant flunked out, so that would've been a quality win, but isn't now.
7) VCU 92, George Washington 75-- Rams avenged earlier loss to GW, as VCU was 13-25 from arc and forced 22 Colonial turnovers.
6) Rockets 113, Wizards 112-- Trevor Ariza had 32 points, 11 rebounds for improved Wiz, but Harden scored 35, was 16-16 from line, getting winning hoop at 0:00.7 mark. Houston was 35-47 on line as team, is now 36-17.
5) Boise State 71, New Mexico 70-- San Diego State lost at Wyoming last night, now Lobos go down here, as Mountain West road claims couple of top teams as victims. Boise has had trouble finishing games of late, but Marks hit couple foul shots with 0:13 left for win here.
4) Nebraska 67 , Illinois 58-- Cornhuskers have now won four in a row at home, as Tim Miles rebuilds another program. Illinois is having a horrendous season- they should be better than this.
3) UConn 83, South Florida 40-- Scores like this get coaches fired. USF is a football school, but they should be competitive in this league. They're not.
2) Washington 64, Stanford 60-- Huge charging call on Stanford with 0:05.3 left negated tying basket; Huskies are 5-0 at home in Pac-12. Very bad loss for the Cardinal-- tournament teams win road games like this one.
1) George Mason 91, UMass 80-- Patriots won second game in row after an 0-8 start in A-13; this game will hurt Minutemen on Selection Sunday.
Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Philadelphia 76ers became the second NBA team to lose games on consecutive nights by 40+ points each when they got pummeled by the Clippers, Warriors Sunday/Monday. ’94 76ers are the other team to get beaten that badly two nights in a row. You watch the 76ers play and you wonder how the hell they ever won 15 games.
12) In 1994 I was an assistant high school hoop coach and we weren’t very good. One night, our JV lost by 40+ points then our varsity did the same, a very long night, but neither one of those debacles was as bad to watch as the Sixer-Clipper game Sunday night.
You expect more from professionals, I guess.
11) If retired basketball star Tracy McGrady were to become a professional pitcher, it would become one of this year’s better stories. Pro players who have seen him throw say he has a chance.
10) Marcus Smart got suspended for three games; what does Texas Tech do with their fan, who started the whole mess? Awkward situation; chances are he’s a big contributor, so they do not want to tick him off, so they probably do nothing, give the guy less visible seats and hope it all goes away. Seeing as they’re off the beaten path in Lubbock, they might get lucky that way.
9) Texas 87, Oklahoma State 68-- Tough times for the Cowboys now.
8) Notre Dame 68, Clemson 64 2ot-- Teams combined to take 50 3s, 32 foul shots, and they were 12-50 from arc, so by the end of this game, it was like watching two drunks slug it out at 4am. Tired players. KJ McDaniels of Clemson is really good- he scored 30 of the Tigers' 64 points.
7) The first exhibition baseball games are two weeks from today; typing that sentence makes me feel a little bit warmer.
6) Texas Tech is quietly 4-3 in its last seven games; they’ve covered all four of their Big X road games. Tubby Smith does his best coaching when he’s an underdog, and he is definitely an underdog in Lubbock.
5) Suits on USA Network is one of my favorite TV shows; its third season starts March 6, with Olympic swimming ace Michael Phelps a guest star. Have to wedge watching it in between conference tournament basketball.
4) An underrated part of basketball is making layups; teams that run the Princeton offense spend eight minutes in every practice on different kinds of shots around the basket. It sounds fairly obvious, but you see so many shots missed close to the basket; have to be able to play through contact.
3) SEC commissioner Mike Slive hired former NCAA tourney guru Greg Shaheen as a consultant, so SEC teams could upgrade their non-league slates to have a better chance to make the NCAA tournament.
Interesting move that hasn't had its effect yet; it will starting with next year's schedule. Shaheen overlooked day-to-day operations of NCAA tournament for years-- he is a very valuable resource for these schools.
2) Cleveland Browns fired their CEO and GM a year after they hired them; since 1999, Browns have had seven GMs, eight head coaches, 20 different starting QBs and 163 losses, all most in NFL during that time.
1) Someone needs to tell Lebron James that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the four best basketball players of all-time, if not the best.
Tuesday's List of 13: Looking at college hoop leagues......
13) Mid-American Conference-- Toledo is a surprise at 20-3/8-2, Bobby Hurley has Buffalo at 13-7/7-3, Akron leads the Eastern Division at 8-2.
12) Horizon League-- League misses Butler; Butler misses them. Green Bay is the leader at 9-2, Cleveland State is next at 8-3.
11) Missouri Valley-- Too bad Creighton skipped town; not sure if Valley will get a second NCAA bid if 25-0 Wichita State wins MVC tournament, but 18-6/9-3 Indiana State is the next best team.
10) Mountain West-- Steve Fisher is this generation's Tark the Shark, taking transfers from all over and winning big. New Mexico is next best team, while 15-9 Boise State has been a big disappointment. Down year for MW.
9) WCC--Gonzaga is on top (again), BYU/St Mary's have slipped a little but are still #2-3 in league. San Francisco is an improved team- don't think WCC is getting a second NCAA team unless Gonzaga loses WCC tourney.
8) Atlantic 13-- Could get five teams in NCAAs; bottom half of league is weak. UMass was 13-1 out of conference, is 6-3 in league. St Joe's just beat them and VCU at home, despite playing only six guys.
7) AAC-- Looks like another five-team league; SMU is in top 25 for first time since 1985. Louisville is 19-4 as it heads to ACC next year. Temple is having its worst season in years, at 6-16/1-9.
6) SEC-- Ole Miss is third-best team behind Florida/Kentucky; Tennessee has improved. After that? Not a whole lot. Missouri/Arkansas are hanging out in middle of league, while wheels have fallen off at Alabama.
5) Pac-12-- Arizona was best team until Ashley got hurt; now its close with Wildcats and UCLA. Jahii Carson is carrying Arizona State on his 5-11 frame; he is the MVP of this league, for sure. Colorado was crippled by Dinwiddie's injury, but they are still 18-6.
4) ACC-- 15 teams is too many; inviting Notre Dame was stupid, unless it came for football, too. Looks like five NCAA teams, unless Clemson makes a run in the ACC touney, which they've seldom done over the years. UNC has improved- their two games with Duke should be interesting.
3) Big East-- Creighton is really good now, but they better be recruiting their butts off; their top eight guys are all juniors/seniors. Villanova is tough, St John's won six of last seven games but rest of league is mediocre.
2) Big Dozen-- If you're 6-5, you're tied fior 4th here. Michigan State has the best team, but they can't all get healthy at the same time. Think league is a little overrated. Curious to see if Richard Pitino can get Minnesota into the NCAAs. Indiana is struggling mightily on the road.
1) Big 12-- I'd call this the best league; anytime talented Baylor is in 8th place, you know its a loaded league. Oklahoma State has had a horrible year off the court; Texas' Rick Barnes has done one of his best coaching jobs.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Think Marcus Smart's 3-game suspension is a little steep, but most people seem OK with it. Can't understand why the guy in the stands was yelling at him; Texas Tech was going to win-- why yell at a college kid who is going to be a multi-millionaire at this time next year?
12) Michael Carter-Williams was the 11th pick in last summer's NBA draft; he seems like a lock for Rookie of Year, making him first ROY since Mark Jackson in 1987 who was drafted 10th or later. Jackson was pick #18.
11) Golfer Jimmy Walker has won $3,605,833 in his last eight tournaments; in his first 187 tournaments, he won $7,298,429.
10) Walker was 18th golfer in last 18 years to have a 6+-shot lead after three rounds of a PGA tournament; only two of those 18 lost the tournament.
9) I love my IPhone, but could live without auto-correct for my spelling; sometimes it corrects things that don't need correcting, like names.
8) Memphis Grizzlies won Saturday night while taking only one foul shot, the first NBA team to ever do that. Hard to imagine a team winning a game where they took 90 shots from the floor, but only one free throw.
7) Tough week for the Charleston Cougars; they lost in OT at Towson on Saturday, after losing by 3 at Delaware Wednesday, when they led by 20 with 8:50 left in the game.
6) I'm guessing the NFL team that winds up with Michael Sam won't be signing former Dolphins' bully Richie Incognito as a free agent. Just a guess.
5) Knicks were 31-10 at home LY, are 12-17 this year; you look at their team and wonder why they've regressed so much? The roster isn't a whole lot different than LY, when they were 54-28. Mike Woodson will get fired soon, which won't help anything- they need to purge their roster, start over.
It wouldn't take that long to rebuild, but they would have to bite the bullet with one dreadful season. No one thinks New Yorkers would tolerate that, but they want to win and would understand a smart rebuilding approach.
4) Wisconsin 60, Michigan State 58-- Gary Harris was 3-20 from floor, 0-7 from arc, as Appling sat out. Willl the Spartans ever get healthy? Badgers snapped a 3-game home losing streak.
3) When Indians' pitcher Vinnie Restano and the Tribe wound up in an arbitration hearing last week, it was Cleveland's first arbitration hearing since 1991, which doesn't seem possible, but it is true.
2) Magic 93, Pacers 92-- Big week for Orlando, beating Thunder/Pacers at home; they've now won their last five home games.
1) Hearing more and more clamoring for a lower shot clock in college hoop; that will create more possessions, but more bad possessions, with ton of bad shots taken at the end of the shot clock. Look at how many bad shots there are in NBA games, but those players are so skilled, they make 'em.
College games are likely to become two-hour rebounding contests, with less talented players taking forced shots dictated by shot clock running out.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a college hoop Saturday
13) Texas Tech 65, Oklahoma State 61-- Marcus Smart shoved a fan who said something to him with 0:06 left to play. We're going to hear a lot about this-- Cowboys have now lost five of their last six games.
12) NC State 56, Miami 55-- Hurricanes missed a tying foul shot with 0:03 to play; Wolfpack grabbed the rebound, Kyle Washington appeared to elbow a Miami player in the face as he was fouled, but after an official review that had to take close to ten minutes, they didn't call a flagrant foul.
I thought it was the right call, but if that happened at any other time in the game, its called a flagrant foul, under the new, wimpier rules.
11) Pitt 62, Virginia Tech 57, double OT-- Hokies had 4-point lead with 0:40 left, but snatched defeat from jaws of victory by fouling a kid as he hit a 3-pointer with 0:34 left. Tech then went 0-13 from the floor in the two OTs. This wasn't a good game; neither team could make a shot.
Pitt's best player Patterson is playing hurt, scored five points.
10) Yale 74, Harvard 67-- Big upset here, as Crimson's 20-game home win streak ends. Ivy League doesn't have a tournament; these teams are both 5-1 with eight games to play. Rematch is at Yale; if teams tie for the league title, they have a playoff game at a neutral site.
9) SMU 76, Cincinnati 55-- Mustangs ended Cincy's 15-game win streak; looks like Larry Brown's team will make NCAAs, which probably means he will quit in April- he has never stayed with any one job for very long.
8) Kansas State 74, Texas 57--- Longhorns were down 39-18 at the half, as their 7-game win streak ends. Marcus Foster was 13-16, had 34 points for the Wildcats. Not too many easy outs in the Big X.
7) Arkansas 77, Vanderbilt 75-- Bench scoring was 40-2, Hogs; Qualls hit a 3 with 0;02.6 left for the win, after a series of questionable calls had gone for Vandy down the stretch. Having benches on the baseline makes game harder to coach, but provides more courtside seats to charge fans top dollar for.
6) Referees use replay as a crutch far tooo often; there are three of them making serious money; they can't not see so many things that they have to go to replay as much as they do. Coaches are also asking for reviews they don't care about to get extra timeouts.
Last thing college basketball needs are more timeouts.
5) St Joe's 69, VCU 62-- Hawks are using only six guys, since they've got three players out hurt; DeAndre Bembry was everywhere in this game- he had 18 points and a ton of energy plays.
4) Duke 89, Boston College 68-- Not sure why BC is in the ACC, not sure why they hired an Ivy League coach who apparently can't recruit ACC-level players. At least Al Skinner brought in kids who could compete athletically.
3) Minnesota 66, Indiana 60-- Gophers snapped a 3-game skid with Rick Pitino in attendance watching his son coach- he was sitting next to one of his other sons, who was dressed in a chicken suit. Minnesota's gym is called the Barn, so the students dress up as farm animals. Ah, college.....
2) Bad Beat of the Day: Arizona State (-3.5) 74, Oregon 72: Ducks were down 20 at the half, rallied to tie game, then covered in a losing cause.
1) Iowa State 84, TCU 69-- Melvin Ejim was Player of the Day, with 48 points, 18 rebounds against a Horned Frog team that is in over its head in the Big X-- they're very far behind the second-worst team in this league..
Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Cal-Irvine has never made NCAA basketball tournament, but they might this year; Anteaters have a 7-6 (yes, 7-6) freshman center named Mamadou Ndiaye who blocked 11 Long Beach State shots Thursday night- they’re one of the top three teams in the Big West and have a real shot to go dancing. Their gym was packed for the Long Beach game; don’t think I had even seen it half-full on TV before. Winning breeds enthusiasm.
12) Bill Walton contributed an excellent tidbit during the Oregon-Arizona game Thursday night; nine Princeton alums are D-I head basketball coaches, the most of any school. Who would’ve thought that?
11) This is how weird college hoop has been this year: Cal Bears lost four of their last five games- the one win was against Arizona, which was unbeaten and #1 in the country at the time.
10) Listening to Arizona coach Sean Miller at halftime of the Oregon game, he knows he’s in trouble inside without injured Brandon Ashley and is trying somehow to motivate his other big guys to play better.
Wildcats will be able to replace Ashley’s scoring by going smaller, but it looks like they’ll have trouble with big frontlines now.
9) Eldrick Woods is skipping Match Play tournament in two weeks, bad news for the World Golf Tour. Am curious to see who gets in in his place, since only 64 players can play in this bracketed event.
8) Montreal Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty had a hat trick Thursday night vs Vancouver, despite failing on two penalty shots; he is only the second player ever to get two penalty shots in the same period.
Max is 3-16 in shootouts this year, so apparently he doesn’t like thinking too much before he approaches the net.
7) Wade Phillips advised the Texans to draft Johnny Manziel; will they listen? Houston thinks they’re close to being a contender, which they were in 2012, will be interesting to see who they choose as their QB with former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien in charge now.
6) How did Fernando Rodney make $1M a year more than Grant Balfour in free agency, unless Balfour took a hometown discount to play near his Clearwater home? Rodney is nowhere near as good a closer as the Australian.
5) Coco Crisp was rewarded for his fine play by getting a 2-year extension from the A's; he has been a catalyst for the defending AL West champs. .
4) Good to see Anthony Davis (20.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg) get named to the West All-Star team; he is 20 years old. Solid building block for the Pelicans.
3) Southern Mississippi 60, Marshall 57-- Thundering Herd led almost whole game, then had their hearts ripped out by a 3-pointer with 0:02 left. Marshall played pretty damn well for an 18-point underdog.
Former Jacksonville/Rutgers coach Bob Wenzel is a good hoop analyst for CBS Sports Network; he in understated but very smart.
2) Good to see Alex Rodriguez drop his unwinnable lawsuit against MLB and accept his 162-game suspension; as long as the Bronx Bombers don't get off the hook paying the other $60M they owe ARod, I'll be happy.
1) Cavaliers 115, Wizards 113-- Washington had chance to get back over .500, they lose at home to a dreadful Cleveland team playing without Luol Deng. You wonder why some franchises are never good.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) OK, there is this NBA rule I never knew about that says a team can’t play with four guys on the court; if players get hurt/foul out, you can bring back a guy who fouls out, only every foul he gets from that point on is also a technical, kind of like the anti-DQ rule the ABA used to have.
Lakers used Robert Sacre like this at the end of their game in Cleveland Wednesday, rather than put Steve Nash in, who was there and in uniform, but they didn't use him because he played the night before in his first game back from injury. Lakers started game with eight healthy guys, not counting Nash, but they still scored 70 in first half and won easily, which is probably why the Cavaliers fired their GM Thursday.
12) From what you read, the Cavaliers are a train wreck off the court; not much respect for the new coach. Curious to see who they bring in as the new GM. Lot of people seemed to think Cleveland had a good nucleus of talent that might’ve been enough to lure Lebron James back to Ohio to finish his career. Now? Not so much.
11) There was a D-III college game Wednesday where Thiel beat St Vincent 124-121 in four overtimes; no such anti-DQ rule in college ranks. Thiel won despite playing the 4th OT with four guys. 11 players fouled out of this epic marathon.
10) Must have been a full moon Wednesday: VMI beat Gardner-Webb 108-104 in four OTs; kid named Tyrell Nelson had 24 points, 25 boards for G-W and he didn’t even start. At least both sides finished with five guys.
10) Whats up with Boise State? Veteran team, good perimeter players, but they melted down at end of last two games and blew double digit leads to UNLV, San Diego State. At UNLV, Broncos fell apart as soon as Drmic fouled out; against the Aztecs, they stopped defending the arc late in the game and a guy who was 10-37 on 3-pointers for the year beat them with a trey with 0:05 left. Tough loss.
9) My Signing Day highlight was when the camera was on at LSU and the #1 WR in the country announced he was going to play for the Tigers—mascot Mike the Tiger rushes into the room, hugs coach Les Miles and gives him multiple high 5’s. Nothing like a happy mascot on Signing Day.
8) Jets hired a new special teams coach, Thomas McGaughey from LSU, who was in Baton Rouge for three years. Mike the Tiger might not be quite so happy about that move.
7) This is Carmelo Anthony’s 11th year in NBA; his teams’ career record in playoff games: 23-44, with three series wins out of 13 played.
Oddity that means nothing: Anthony has never played in a Game 7 of a playoff series.
6) CBS will be showing eight of the Thursday night games the NFL Network had shown previously. Doesn’t change much for most people, just means better announcers and probably a few more commercials- there always seem to be a few more commercials.
5) Get well soon wishes to Wyoming hoop coach Larry Shyatt, who missed his third game Wednesday with a viral infection- the assistant coach who handled the scouting for that particular opponent have coached the games in Shyatt’s absence.
4) The son of NC State coach Matt Gottfried is coming to Albany to play hoop for Siena, which doesn’t have a scholarship open for next year. Seeing as Gottfried Sr makes $1.95M a year, he can afford to pay tuition for a year, until a scholarship opens for his son in 2015-16.
3) I'm no Mel Kiper Jr, but I'd bet anyone $10 that Johnny Manziel will wind up as a better pro than Blake Bortles of Central Florida.
2) Mike Emrick is broadcasting Olympic hockey, good news for listeners. Emrick doing hockey is the best announcing experience in all of sports.
1) RIP Mr Ralph Kiner, who passed away Thursday at age 91; he was a Hall of Fame slugger who lived a Hall of Fame life, having dated Elizabeth Taylor, been engaged to Janet Leigh and broadcast Met games for 50+ years.
He was living proof you could be a big star and a nice person. RIP, sir.
Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Not sure how accurate ESPN's recruiting rankings are, but Alabama had the nation's best signing class for third year in a row, according to those ESPN ratings- they signed 27 kids, including five of nation's top 15.
12) Georgia had the #9 recruiting class in America, but they had the #7 class in the SEC; only two non-SEC schools ahead of them were defemding national champ Florida State and also Ohio State.
11) Tennessee Volunteers filled a lot of holes (they hope) by bringing in a huge haul of 33 kids-- considering you can have 85 kids on scholarship and lot of freshmen redshirt, lot of true freshmen will play for the Vols next fall.
10) Matt Cassel opted out of his $3.7M contract for next year with the Vikings, and is a free agent. Must figure there are enough teams that need a QB that he'll make more than $3.7M somewhere else next year.
9) West Virginia 91, Oklahoma 86 ot-- Sooners had a 20-hour odyssey to get to Morgantown, because of weather issues- they never got to the arena until less than 90 minutes before gametime, then rallied back from a 14-point second half deficit to force overtime.
Look at a map; why are these teams in the same league?
8) When the Seahawks scored in the first minute of both halves Sunday, it was only the second time since 1970 that had happened in the NFL- thats over 10,000 games. Pretty amazing fact there.
7) Washington Wizards were over .500 for the first tine since October 31, 2009, before losing to the Spurs in two OTs-- having a healthy John Wall makes a huge difference. So does being in the weak Eastern Conference.
6) An 18-year old Australian PG named Dante Exum is going to enter the NBA Draft next summer; seems odd than an Australian 18-year old can do that, but an American kid can't. Really think kids should be able to go to the NBA right from high school, but if they go to college, then they would have to stay there for at least two years.
Would improve the college game and the NBA; having these one-and-done kids in college is a joke.
5) Richmond Spiders lost leading scorer Cedrick Lindsey with injuries to both knees; he played 37 minutes in Spiders' loss to VCU Saturday, must have gotten hurt in practice this week.
4) Pitt 59, Miami 55 ot-- Hurricanes were just 14-25 on the foul line as Pitt escape south Florida with a win and snap their two-game losing skid.
3) Delaware 67, Charleston 64-- Cougars were up 20 with 8:50 left, still lost- they scored three points in last 5:23. Blue Hens are 10-0 in the CAA; Davon Usher scored 42 points playing all 40:00- the Delaware subs played a total of only 13:00, making the late comeback even more impressive.
2) Former Steeler offensive lineman Alan Faneca lost around 100 pounds since retiring as a player and also finished his first marathon recently, pretty cool story. Can't even imagine what running 26 miles is like.
1) Purdue 77, Minnesota 74 3ot-- Boilers survived ridiculously bad (9-23) foul shooting to snap 4-game skid, while Gophers lost third game in a row.
Wednesday's List of 13: Top 17 QBs of Super Bowl era
Before we start here, I didn't include John Unitas on this list, because I didn't see him play at the peak of his career. Any set of ratings like this are highly subjective; make your own list and see how we compare.........
15) Troy Aikman—Went 3-0 in Super Bowls, much like Bradshaw, handing the ball off and relying on a really good defense, but 3-0 is 3-0 and it gets you here. Interesting choice between him, Eli Manning or Fran Tarkenton.
14) Terry Bradshaw—Went 4-0 in Super Bowls; lot of people put Montana too high on this list, then leave Bradshaw off. You go 4-0 in Super Bowls, you get on this list, even if you played on a team driven by defense.
13) (tie) Starr-Favre-Rodgers—Starr won most titles, Favre was most fun to watch, Rodgers will someday wind up being best of the three. Couldn’t decide, so I made an executive decision and put all three in this slot.
12) Dan Fouts—I know he never played in a Super Bowl, but dammit he was great; if you were choosing up sides for an all-time team, you’d be real happy if you wound up with #14. Seriously, if you were given the choice of Fouts or Aikman, with no teammates chosen yet; who you taking?
11) Roger Staubach—If I have the ball on my 20, down a FG with 2:00 left, who do I want as my QB? Either this guy, Warner or Elway, that’s who.
10) Ben Roethlisberger—Still adding to his achievements, but he has won two Super Bowls, and is carrying a franchise whose overall talent has eroded a decent amount.
9) Drew Brees—Much like Montana, benefits greatly from the coach he is playing for, very QB-friendly and in a dome. Miami once chose to go with Daunte Culpepper over Brees because of Brees' shoulder. Whoops.
8) Jim Kelly—Only QB to start in four straight Super Bowls; lost ‘em all, but he ran a high-powered offense playing in freakin’ Buffalo, plus he was really good in the USFL too. Think he might be the most underrated guy in this group.
7) Kurt Warner—If you know me, you know he is my personal favorite, but there have been 48 Super Bowls, that’s 96 starting QBs. The #1, #2 and #3 passing yardage games in Super Bowls have all been from #13, and he did it for two different teams, neither of which has done a damn thing since he left, and hadn’t done much in the decade before he got there.
See you in Canton in July, ‘15. I rest my case.
6) Joe Montana—I will go to my grave saying Steve Young was better than Montana; if Montana had never played for Bill Walsh, he would’ve been Jake Plummer, but he did play for Walsh and threw to Jerry Rice, he accomplished great things.
5) Steve Young—If you rushed Montana, you could shut him down; if you rushed Young, you activated his greatest weapon, his legs. Rooting against him was a 3-hour upset stomach, always worrying about containing him in the pocket.
4) Dan Marino—I’ll call him the greatest passer in NFL history and rank him this high despite no titles and feel good about it. There's a difference in being the best passer and the best quarterback. Elway was a better QB.
3) Tom Brady—Played in five Super Bowls, all decided by exactly three points. Plays for a team that doesn’t surround him with great receivers, which is odd. Could easily have five Super Bowl rings, could easily have none. But he has been a great player.
2) Peyton Manning—Amuses me when people rip him after his team loses a playoff game; would you want him playing for your team? At 37, he just had arguably his best year, so he ain’t done yet, if he doesn’t want to be.
1) John Elway—Weird thing is he never played in a college bowl game, and didn’t win a Super Bowl title until his last two years in the league. But he had it all; mobility, a rocket arm, and was great in the 2:00 drill. If I had to pick one guy to be my QB on an all-time team, I’d pick Elway.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) If I’m the Seahawks, I do something proactive with Russell Wilson’s contract, and get this baseball bug out of his system. He’s making under $700,000 a year; he obviously is going to get a big payday someday, so give him a chunk of it now, with the provision he stop with the baseball. Curious to see how this all turns out. If I ran an NFL franchise, my QB wouldn’t be playing another sport.
12) NFL dodged a huge weather bullet this weekend; my cousin teaches school on Long Island, they had a snow day Monday, with 8+ inches of white stuff falling in the NY/NJ area. They were lucky this time, missing the storm by 16 hours or so, but luck only lasts so long.
11) My opinion is that the NFL needs to improve the quality of its product, which slipped a lot this year. Less off-season practice hasn’t resulted in better football. This Super Bowl might’ve been the worst NFL game I saw all season. At some point, the product has to become important again; right now, avoiding lawsuits seems like the league’s priority, but that’s going to have to change.
10) South Point Casino’s Jimmy Vaccaro said his house had a higher Super Bowl handle than last year, with roughly 40% of the action on prop bets. I’m telling you, the 44-page PDF file LVH put out was a classic. Lot of imagination went into some of the more obscure props.
9) Glad to report that this: A guy I work with, his nephew was at the Super Bowl in New Jersey this weekend and met Mike Ditka, got his picture taken with him. Says Iron Mike is a good guy. Good to hear.
8) Read something on Twitter today that of 25 states that have pro sports teams, Texas, Florida and Washington are only three that do not have a personal income tax, which makes it beneficial for players to play there.
7) Why teams win: Russell Wilson was a 3rd round pick; Richard Sherman, Malcolm Smith (5th rounders), while Doug Baldwin/Jermaine Kearse were both undrafted free agents. That kind of front office legwork is how you win. Only four of Seattle’s 53 players were on the team before Schneider, Carroll took charge of the franchise.
6) Kevin/Craig Stadler will be first father/son to play in same Masters in April; will they pair the father/son together, or do they keep the seniors together and the regular Tour players together? One cool thing about golf; when Kevin Stadler won Sunday, you could see how thrilled he was; we were witnessing one of the best, if not the best moment of his life.
5) I follow a lot of people on Twitter, a lot. There is always dissent on topics, usually a lot of it. Did not read one negative comment about the halftime entertainment Sunday, so that’s good.
Everyone agreed it was a top-flight show; unusual for everyone to agree.
4) NFL doesn’t pay those acts that perform at halftime, but Bruno Mars has a deal with Pepsi and here’s another way they get paid; tickets for the Bruno Mars concert here in Albany later this year went on sale Monday morning at 10am; they were lined up Monday morning outside the arena, waiting for tickets. Can’t beat free advertising, not the kind the NFL can provide.
3) Looks like David Price will pitch for the Rays this season after all; if team struggles in first half, they could try and deal him in July, but what will they get for an expensive, talented pitcher who can be a free agent soon?
Buyer beware; if the Rays know this is his last year in Tampa, pitch counts will go out the window; why preserve his arm so he can pitch for someone else against you?
2) Early line on next year’s Super Bowl from William Hill Sports (I’m not making this up); NFC -3.5, over/under of 50.
1) Only 212 days until the 2014 NFL season opens on a Thursday night in Seattle, I’m guessing against the rival 49ers.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a not-so-super Sunday
13) NFL got lucky with the weather, then the game turned out to be a skunk anyway; you charge $16 for a cheesesteak at the stadium, and you're going to get a lousy game, its just bad karma.
12) Tennessee/Arizona State were two colleges that had the most alumni in the Super Bowl, if stuff like that interests you.
11) There has now been a safety in four of last six Super Bowls; there had been only five safeties in the first 42 Super Bowls.
10) Dodgers raised ticket prices 140% for this season, as expectations for the team with the highest payroll in baseball history are through the roof.
9) Arizona Wildcats are holding their breath that Brandon Ashley's foot injury isn't as bad as originally hoped. Ashley is their best defensive big guy and will be a huge loss if he is done for the season.
8) In case you were wondering, ESPN was showing a documentary on Mike Tyson when the Super Bowl kicked off. Always fun to see what they put on at a time when they know almost no one is watching.
7) Indiana 63, Michigan 52-- Wolverines lost fifth straight game at Indiana and lost their first conference game this season. Yogi Ferrell made 7-8 from the arc. Hoosiers play better against the better teams.
6) Nevada Wolf Pack is 8-1 vs spread in Mountain West games; three of their last four games went to overtime- they're a much-improved team.
5) Oregon State 71, UCLA 67-- Beavers survived 18 turnovers and shaky foul shooting (15-26) as they rallied to beat UCLA, which has been ordinary away from Westwood. Crowds in Corvallis were hurt by Sunday afternoon games when Seahawks were playing- they should pick up now.
4) Stephen Gallacher won the European tour event in Dubai; in last two rounds, he shot 61 (-13) on the back nine. Very impressive.
3) Took Kevin Stadler 239 tournaments, but he won on the PGA Tour in an unusual finish where all the contenders stumbled down the stretch. Now he will join his dad in Augusta, the first father/son duo in that event.
1) Congrats to Aeneas Williams on making the Pro Football Hall of Fame; back in August 2001, I met Williams in Canton, when the Rams played in the Hall of Fame Game against Miami.
They had an open practice on Sundays back then-- I was there to see Jack Youngblood/Jackie Slater get inducted in the Hall of Fame on Saturday, so I went to the open practice, and got this mini-helmet signed by some players, one of whom was Williams.
As he signed the helmet, we talked a little about his getting inducted into the Hall one day; my thought was if the Rams won the Super Bowl that year, he was a mortal lock to get in. He smiled as if he liked that idea.
Rams lost the Super Bowl that year but justice was done this weekend and Williams will be inducted in Canton this July. Good for him.
Sunday's List of 13: Happy Ground Hog Day, people......
13) First of all, Happy Birthday KL Wheat who turns 29 (again) today.
12) California 60, Arizona 58-- Best part of highlights was Cal coach Mike Montgomery shoving happy fans off the court who had come on with 0:00.9 left after the Bears took the lead. Wildcats are struggling to score- Nick Johnson was 1-14 in this game.
11) Syracuse 91, Duke 89 ot-- ESPN treated this game like a combination of the Super Bowl and a Presidential inauguration- they even showed Syracuse alum Vanessa Williams singing the national anthem. For a game on Feb 1st.
While I'm here, I can't listen to Dick Vitale for two straight hours anymore; he rarely analyzes the game, just follows his own script. He has done amazing things in raising money to research a cure for cancer, but as a TV analyst, his best days were a decade or two ago.
10) Quinnipiac 103, Siena 95 ot-- Jimmy Patsos has re-energized Saints' program, but their subs were 2-20 in this game. Quinnipiac's were 7-14.
9) Baylor 76, Oklahoma State 70-- Marcus Smart's season might be the end of talented kids coming back for their sophomore year; he isn't having a good year, was 3-14 in this game. he would've been the #1 pick had he come out last summer. Baylor had lost five games in a row before this.
8) Ohio State 59, Wisconsin 58-- Both teams are slumping, Badgers have now lost three in a row at home for first time under Bo Ryan. Its amazing to me how fragile so many teams are; one player goes into a slump or gets hurt and the team becomes a house of cards.
7) Northwestern 55, Minnesota 54-- If the Wildcats are 5-5 in Big Dozen, how great a league is it, really? Northwestern has won three conference road games in a row for the first time since....1960. Wow.
6) Bad Beat of the Day: Air Force (+9.5) loses 69-56 in OT at Nevada.
5) Hawks 120, Timberwolves 113-- Kevin Love had 43 points, 19 rebounds in a losing cause. 25-21 Hawks scored 72 points in the second half.
4) Sacramento State 78, Weber State 75 ot-- 10 points scored in last 0:07 of this game, six in last 0:01, yes six points in a second. Wild game, with 33 points and three technicals in the OT, including Weber State calling a timeout they didn't have with 0:07 left. Both coaches also got a T in OT, as Hornets ended a 12-game losing streak to Weber State.
Weber hit a 3 to tie game with under a second left, then Dylan Garrity stuck a running 75-footer as pandemonium broke loose in Sacramento's tiny gym.
3) The basketball college teams use now isn't leather, it is a composite material, which is why it sometimes takes very odd bounces. Kid yesterday hit a shot from the corner, when the ball hit the back of the rim and seemed to stick there, before falling limply into the basket. Shots that hits the back of the rim first should never just stick to the rim like the ball is deflated.
2) When the NCAA tournament selection committee meets next month, how will they evaluate wins/losses vs Colorado that happened before Buffs' star Spencer Dinwiddie got hurt? Any win over the Buffs before Dinwiddie got hurt is a great win, losses since he got hurt should be more damaging.
1) Lakers lost 12 games in January; last time they lost 12 games in same month was.....1964. This summer will be very interesting for them.
Saturday's List of 13: Idle thoughts with weekend here....
13) We talked earlier this winter about how the “neighborhood play” at second base was going to be an issue with the new instant replay system, since middle infielders often desert the base before the ball gets there to avoid collisions with base runners.
Turns out this won’t be an issue, since the neighborhood play will not be something that is subject to review in the new system, due to safety concerns for middle infielders.
With the first spring training game only 25 days away, it doesn’t seem crystal clear how this is all going to work, but you’d assume in a multi-billion dollar industry, they’d be working on it. You’d think.
12) Speaking of spring training, lot of MLB teams sent their moving vans off filled with equipment Friday to training camp sites throughout Florida/Arizona. In couple weeks they’ll be hitting fungos and taking BP.
11) New head of the MLB Players’ Association is Tony Clark, who five years ago was still an active player with Arizona. He’s come up the ranks in the union very quickly.
10) St Louis Rams owner E. Stanley Kroenke, who also owns the Nuggets, Avalanche out in Denver, recently bought 60 acres of land between the old LA Forum and Hollywood Park racetrack, which has been shut down.
All this furthers speculation the Rams might be headed back to Tinseltown should they not get improvements in their current home in St Louis.
Kroenke is a Missouri guy; his son played hoop for Mizzou, his first name is Enos (after Enos Slaughter of the Cardinals?), I kind of doubt he’ll move the Rams, but this land grab makes it look like he might unless St Louis gives him what he wants.
When you’re worth $5.9B, you’re used to getting what you want.
9) Rex Ryan was giving out free ice cream to passersby in Manhattan Friday out of an ice cream truck sponsored by the New Era cap company. He misses the playoffs one more time, he might be driving that truck for a job.
8) Power of the Super Bowl: 11 college basketball games Sunday, latest one starts at 2:30, even the game at Oregon State, which is an 11:30am local tip time. Its always fun to see what ESPN puts on during the Super Bowl.
7) I remember sitting at a bar in Las Vegas last spring and watching golf on TV and then I relaized, it was already the next morning in Florida, while I was still out the night before. Watching these European tour events from the Middle East, you wonder if the time zone changes screw up the golfers.
6) Celtics were 2-15 in January; I saw them play three of those games and my only surprise is somehow they won two games. They are terrible.
5) University of Tennessee’s athletic department dumped adidas gear for Nike; you wonder how much of a blow that is to adidas. I mean, if the Vols get good in football again, they’ll be putting 110,000 people into Neyland Stadium on fall Saturdays and lot of those people will buy t-shirts, golf shirts, gym shorts, sweatsuits, all made by Nike.
It has to be worth a significant amount of money.
4) Must be lot of good point guards in the Western Conference if Goran Dragic missed out on playing in the All-Star Game. He's very good.
3) Speaking of the All-Star Game, wouldn’t mind see sides chosen for that game the way they did the Pro Bowl, have two captains pick teams, instead of the stale East/West format. Have a pool of 20 guys who have to be picked, then the last 4-6 guys can be anyone the captains see fit. Would be little more interesting, but All-Star games don't usually interest me much.
2) Colts kicker Adam Viniatieri thinks 50+-yard FGs should be worth four points; Roger Goodell thinks extra points should be eliminated. Somehow I don’t think we’ll be seeing the 4-point field goal anytime soon, and I’d be against eliminating the extra point.
Making the extra point a longer kick seems like an interesting idea, but they would have to keep the two-point conversion where it is.
1) Why would anyone buy a $30 hat celebrating a team as a conference champ? If you wait two weeks and your team wins the Super Bowl, you buy that hat; if they lose, why would you want a hat that reminds you your team lost the Super Bowl? It makes no sense to me, but people must buy ‘em, or else they wouldn’t sell ‘em.
Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.....
13) Never understood why people would pay more for game-worn gear from pro athletes; you can have the same stuff made for far less money. Now it turns out teams are scamming collectors by selling them “game-worn” stuff that is just beaten up to look game-worn. Tremendous.
The whole collecting thing has always seemed like a cesspool for hucksters anyway- the small amount of collectibles I have is just stuff that has special meaning to me, stuff I would never want to sell.
12) Once saw a Rams' #12 jersey selling for $1,200; supposedly it was worn by Joe Namath during his less-than-stellar one year in LA. Namath had a 2-2 record as the Rams' starter before he was mercifully replaced. I asked the guy why would I pay $1,200 when I could have the same jersey made on the Internet for $200, and it would be new? Guy just laughed.
11) UCLA 70, Oregon 68-- Ducks erased 11-point deficit by holding UCLA scoreless for 5:13, but then Bruins scored last five points of game to escape Eugene with a win, as Oregon lost for sixth time in their last seven games.
10) Air temperature isn’t that important a factor for the game Sunday night in Swamp Stadium, but wind could be; Peyton Manning will be checking those flags, not wanting a windy night, which would make longer passes much tougher to complete.
9) Baltimore Orioles are making a big push to sign 37-year old pitcher AJ Burnett; O’s have taken lot of heat for their quiet winter, this would take some heat off them. Not sure why Burnett would leave the Pirates to pitch in a smaller ballpark in the league with the DH, but money usually speaks the loudest in these situations.
8) Edmonton Oilers’ goalie Ben Scrivens had 59 saves in Oilers’ 3-0 win over San Jose Wednesday, the most saves by an NHL goalie in a regular season game since Quebec’s Ron Tugnutt had 70 saves in a 3-3 tie with the Bruins in March, 1991.
7) Bll Walton is fun to listen to on weeknight Pac-12 games; he had Arizona-Stanford Wednesday- at one point, he started a monologue about Rodin’s sculptures, then showed singer Joan Baez’ picture from her high school yearbook at Palo Alto HS, and launched into a discussion of why sacrifice is essential to success. He is fun to listen to, as long as you don’t mind occasional tangents away from the game.
6) What do the non-Olympian NHL players do during 17-day Olympic break? Going to take discipline for those guys to stay in shape for when the season resumes. It'll be almost like starting the season all over again.
5) Nebraska 60, Indiana 55-- Cornhuskers won third straight home game, rallying back from down 13 at half. Hoosiers drop to 3-5 in Big Dozen.
4) Cincinnati 69, Louisville 66-- Bearcats blew a 17-point second half lead, then rallied to stay unbeaten in AAC. Sean Kilpatrick had 28 for Cincinnati.
3) UTEP 89, Louisiana Tech 79-- Miners threw their leading scorer off team few weeks ago, have still won 10 of last 11 games, are tied for top in C-USA with Southern Miss. Tim Floyd may be shady, but he is also a terrific coach.
2) Suns 102, Pacers 94-- Goran Dragic had 28 points as Indiana lost for just second time in 23 home games this season. Phoenix is 28-18; Jeff Hornacek is looking a lot like the Coach of the Year.
1) Courage is an overused word. Want someone with courage? Try the army solider in the Middle East, the guy who diffuses bombs with no robots to help him. He might do 4-5 in one day; screw one up and he’s dead. Now that takes onions, thats real courage.
Thursday's List of 13: Random stuff on another cold day
13) Back in 2010, new Penn State coach James Franklin was offensive coordinator/coach-in-waiting at Maryland. As soon as Ralph Friedgen retired, Franklin was set to take over, but Franklin got itchy and took the Vanderbilt job on December 17, 2010.
Six days later, Friedgen was fired; you don’t have to be freakin’ Sherlock Holmes to figure out that someone at Maryland didn’t want Franklin to take over- they waited until he was gone to jettison Friedgen, a Maryland alum. Now they’ll be going up against him in the Big 14 starting next season. Could be good theater.
12) Not only that, but Friedgen has resurfaced as OC at Rutgers, so the Terps will be seeing him again too. Maryland in that league is going to take some getting used to, moreso than most of the conference musical chairs that have gone on the last few years.
11) Marshawn Lynch was fined $50,000 this year for not talking to the media; he has to study Bill Belichick and learn how to say nothing while talking and he could save himself a lot of money. Just utter boring cliché after boring cliché; it’ll bug the writers a lot more than it bugs him.
Why throw good money away fighting a battle he cannot win?
10) Outgoing NBA commish David Stern read the Top Ten list on David Letterman’s show last night. Always wondered if a guy like Stern watches basketball for fun when he’s sitting home doing nothing, or if its just a job to him. He did a very good job for the NBA, for sure.
9) One thing on the list for my April trip to Las Vegas is the Pinball Hall of Fame on East Tropicana, kind of near UNLV- they have over 200 old fashioned pinball machines you can go in and play for a quarter or 50 cents. Good stuff; I’ve meant to go there but haven’t yet, but I will in April.
8) It snowed in Charleston, SC Wednesday morning, closing six bridges in the area. TV trucks going to the Vandy-Georgia basketball game weren’t able to get to Athens. Hoop games at Auburn/NC-Wilmington were postponed. They’re not used to cold, cruddy weather in the South.
7) Dallas Cowboys promoted Rod Marinelli to defensive coordinator, demoted 73-year old Monte Kiffin; been a rough year or so for the Kiffin clan, although somehow Lane Kiffin wound up with another bigtime job, as OC at Alabama.
Marinellu and Monte Kiffin worked together in Tampa, so they're still going to be using the same defemse.
6) Utah State basketball player Jalen Moore has an Afro reminiscent of former big league OF Oscar Gamble or Coolidge from the White Shadow; don’t seen many of those anymore. Gamble’s Afro was so big he had trouble keeping his batting helmet on.
5) Baylor Bears have lost five games in row, are 1-6 in Big X; they hit a potential game-winning 3-pointer Monday night that was a half-second after the horn went off. Their next three games are Kansas and the two Oklahoma schools; things could get worse before they get better.
4) Arizona State 89, Cal 78, ot-- Sun Devils blew 16-point lead in second half, but tied game in a 3-ball with 0:17.7 left. Third loss in a row for Bears, who started Pac-12 play 5-0.
3) Penn State 71, Ohio State 70, ot-- In Columbus. Buckeyes have now lost five of their last six games.
2) Northwestern 65, Wisconsin 56-- Badgers shot 26%. In Madison. This is the first time ever Penn State/Northwestern won Big Dozen road games on the same night. Penn State has been in this league since 1993.
1) There is no NHL All-Star Game this year because of the 17-day break the league is taking for the Winter Olympics.
That just seems weird, no NHL All-Star Game- I would’ve thought they’d have it outdoors, in Calgary or Winnipeg or some frigid place.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) Loved reading the story of Providence basketball coach Ed Cooley, who lost 125 pounds since last July and now runs every day and is feeling much better. Not only that, his Friars are having a better season than expected and could make the NCAA tournament, despite losing their PG for the season in December. Good for him.
12) Michigan State 71, Iowa 69 ot-- Spartans were mentally tougher- thery are now 12-1 in their last thirteen games with Iowa.
Free throws: Michigan State 11-20, Iowa 30-43, State still won. Hawkeyes didn't score a basket for 14:41- they got a layup with 0:06 left in OT to end the ridicuclously long drought at home.
11) Saratoga’s Anthony Weaver is the new defensive line coach of the Browns, coming over from Buffalo with new coach Mike Pettine. I once scouted Weaver in a high school basketball game; our team was supposed to play Saratoga in the sectionals, but they lost the game before playing us. Weaver set a mean pick, for sure.
10) The swing of the European Golf Tour that goes Abu Dhabi/Qatar/Dubai must be an interesting three weeks; the European Tour moves to South Africa next week.
9) I am constantly amazed that people stand outside and smoke in this frigid weather; it is illegal to smoke indoors in public places in New York, so people stand outside, but dammit, wind chills have often been below zero. It baffles me that people would do that.
8) Kevin Durant scored 30+ points in his last 11 games, the longest such streak since Tracy McGrady eleven years ago. Durant is hands-down MVP of the league right now, with Westbrook out injured.
7) In case you care about such things, the Olympics at Sochi will be nine hours ahead of the eastern time zone, meaning lot of events during the day here on TV, and lot more on tape delay at night.
6) Domino’s runs a commercial that stresses they want you to order food online instead of on the phone, so I tried it Monday night-- it is an efficient service. Fast, not expensive and tasty food. I recommend it, especially the penne alfredo.
5) Read where Brazil has spent $2.3B on Olympics-related projects; that’s billion, with a B. Summer Games are there in 2016; the Olympics are only two weeks long. $2.3B seems an awful lot of money to recoup, even if tourism to Brazil increased dramatically.
4) Toronto is the #3 city in North America in terms of where movies/TV shows are filmed, behind LA/New York. Was surprised to read that.
3) Creighton 63, St John's 60-- Doug McDermott scored 39 of Bluejays' 63 points, including the game-winner with 0:02.9 left.
2) This is the business of college basketball; Siena recently signed a recruit from Virginia to their last available scholarship for next year, but they said they’re not done recruiting yet, which means if they find someone they want who wants to come to school here in September, one of their bench guys is going to transfer to another school, or decide to walk on, or quit altogether.
Its how the business works and it is a business; kids get run off. Happens all over the country, most of the time fairly quietly.
1) My State of the Union address:
Democrats try their best to help poor people, especially this President.
Republicans try their best to help rich people, in other words, themselves.
Neither party gives a rat’s ass about the middle class. That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong, but the evidence says I'm right.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Listening to lot of talk this week as to who the best-ever QBs are; hard for me to hear Jim Kelly dismissed because Bills never won a Super Bowl- he played in four straight Super Bowls, no one else has done that. I don't think he takes a back seat to anyone as one of the greats of the game.
12) This is David Stern's last week as NBA commissioner; during his time in charge, seven new teams came into being. NBA games are now broadcast into 215 countries. Stern made NBA owners a ton of money; I'm not fond of how they market their league, but they don't care what I think.
11) Glad to hear Jerry Remy will be back in the broadcast booth for Red Sox games this year. Last summer, Remy's son apparently killed a woman who is the mother of their child- no one seems to be disputing his guilt, and Remy took the news hard, taking a leave of absence from his job. He said in the last few days that he has agreed to come back to work this spring.
10) A guy in Australia bet a $435 parlay on Wawrinka/Li to win the singles titles at the Australian Open tennis tournament. Wawrinka was #8 seed, Li was #4 seed. When the parlay hit, the guy collected $196,185. Pretty good payday, especially when you consider Nadal got hurt early in the men's final and basically limped his way through a four-set loss as the favorite.
9) Baltimore Ravens hired former Texans' Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator, replacing Jim Caldwell, which seems like an upgrade. Kubiak brought Rick Dennison in as QB coach, even though he was a running back. Not sure why you would have a QB coach who wasn't a QB.
8) Oklahoma State offered Phil Forte a scholarship before they offered one to Marcus Smart. Oy. I mean, Forte is a good player and he'll stay for four years, but that is a surprising piece of knowledge.
7) Former Louisville hooper Chane Behanan has transferred to Colorado State and will be eligible for his last season starting next December. Kid had some off-court problems, is being giving a second chance by Larry Eustachy, who apparently needs a talented forward to fill a gap next season.
6) Over/under on the Pro Bowl was 94; game ended 22-21. Not fond of the idea that teammates play against each other, but at least the teams seemed to give an actual effort, as opposed to previous Pro Bowls.
5) Boston Celtics have played road games on consecutive nights six times this season; they're 6-0 against the spread on the second night.
4) John Wall isn't on the 28-man list for the Olympic team? I mean, I don't give a rat's ass about the Olympics, but if you're making a list of the 28 best players in the NBA, John Wall is on it. No way are there seven point guards better than him, thats all I'm saying.
3) 230 American athletes are headed to Sochi next week for the Winter Olympics, the largest delegation ever sent to the winter games. Funny thing is, our country doesn't usually do that well in the winter games, does it?
2) Good lord, they made a Sherman and Peabody animated movie; when I was a kid, I loved that cartoon on TV. Not shelling out $10 to see it in the theater, but I'll definitely catch it on HBO or Showtime.
1) Roughly $700M was bet legally on baseball in Nevada last year; we're excited about the weather getting warmer and getting started with pitching charts and umpire trends. We love college hoop, but this winter cannot end soon enough. I'm planning a trip to Arizona for spring training next year.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.....
13) NBA has to start flexing their Sunday games; three games Sunday, half of the six teams they showed stink. Boston, New York and the Lakers are all awful teams. How about showing Indiana or Phoenix? They aren't the most glamorous teams, but they're very good and they're in the league, too.
12) NBA cares deeply about marketing its stars, far less about marketing its teams. Thats what they've chosen to do, for better or worse.
11) Want to win a bar bet? Denver LB Paris Lenon is last remaining player who played in the old XFL- he played for the Memphis Maniax, where his coach was Kippy Brown, who is now Seattle's WR coach.
10) Clemson lost at North Carolina again, making them 0-57 in Chapel Hill, a ridiculously bad streak that may never end; in 2008, Tigers took UNC to double OT, but still got beat by ten that day. Tar Heels are not especially good this year- you'd think Clemson would've competed a little better.
9) Paul Pierce was 10th player taken in the 1998 NBA Draft, not even the first Kansas Jayhawk taken; Raef LaFrentz was pick #3. First pick in the '98 draft was Michael Olowokandi. Drafting is an inexact science, for sure.
8) Celtics are now 0-5 in games Rajon Rondo has played since coming back from his injury- their rebuilding job is a very big one.
7) Quote of the Day, part 2: "That would've been great, if it went in."
The great Hubie Brown, commenting after Carmelo Anthony jacked up yet another fallaway jumper in transition, while he had a teammate open on the other side of the court. ESPN tends to be soft on Anthony, since most of the play/play guys on the network went to Syracuse, and he won them a national title in his only season there.
6) Scott Stallings won the PGA Tournament in San Diego this week, even though he hit only four of 14 fairways Sunday- the man can putt. .
5) I've done my fair share of Internet dating, so I'll say this about the TV commercials match.com is running: Don't be expecting one of those women in the commercials to show up for one of your dates. Ain't happening, but you might get a request for $595 from some nice woman in Nigeria. Uh huh.
4) NFL issued over 5,000 media credentials for the Super Bowl; hell, even I could've gotten one. Wouldn't be too excited about sitting outside, though, at 6:30 at night on Ground Hog Day. For 3.5 hours. In New Jersey.
3) Matt Garza got $50M for four years from Milwaukee; its gotten to the point where any veteran pitcher who doesn't make $12M a year is awful, or should fire his agent. Lot of teams don't think Garza's arm is healthy.
2) CBS Sports reports there are five golfers in their 20's who have 3+ wins on the PGA Tour: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Anthony Kim.
1) UCLA 76, Cal 64-- Golden Bears came to LA 5-0 in Pac-12 play, left LA looking like a team that isn't very good. You're never as good as you look in your wins, never as bad as you look in your losses, but they looked awful this weekend. Curious to see them play at home this coming week.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) Clippers 126, Raptors 118-- Terence Ross made 10-17 3's, scored 51 points in a losing effort for Toronto; he had been averaging 10.2 ppg while making 40.7% of his 3-pointers this season.
12) Thunder 103, 76ers 91-- Kevin Durant took Friday night off, then had a triple-double in this game. Sixers need three more wins to go over their total of 16 wins that was set in Las Vegas this summer./
11) Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall is 132-33 over the last 4.5 years; in his last three years at Winthrop, he was 79-19. Guy is a terrific coach.
10) Three of five Mountain West games went OT last night, and a fourth was decided by two points. Competitive and entertaining league.
9) Fresno State has a kid named Cezar Guerrero who, to be kind, is not shy with the ball in his hands- he was 5-12 from arc at UNLV, just 1-8 inside it and also had six assists. His coach gives him a lot of freedom, and seeing as Fresno lost its last two games in OT, thats a lot of trust in a sophomore.
8) St John's 69, Butler 52-- Wonder what the bigwigs at Butler think now- they're the smallish fish in a very big pond, their coach took off last summer for the money of the NBA, after this move was made. They're 1-7 in their first season in the Big East. Hope their admissions standards are low.
7) You'll see a lot of college football coaches get contract extensions over the next 10 days; why? Because National Signing Day is February 5, and this is an easy way to get your coach's name in the news, while reassuring recruits the coach ain't going anywhere.
6) Six of the the ten coaches in the Big X Conference have been to a Final Four, with Travis Ford/Fred Hoiberg two that haven't, and they both could get there this season. Trent Johnson has such a monstrous rebuilding job at TCU to try and catch up with some of the great programs in this league.
5) Villanova 94, Marquette 85, OT-- A horrendous charging call caused this game to go OT; the Marquette defender had both his heels in the semi-circle, where charges aren't called. Supposedly. Villanova won anyway.
4) San Diego 65, Portland 63........Gonzaga 84, BYU 69-- both teams that played in the triple OT game Thursday got beat Saturday night.
3) Alabama 82, LSU 80-- Crimson Tide blew a 19-point second half lead, then pulled the game out late. LSU scored 57 points in second half and lost.
2) Texas 74, Baylor 60-- Bears lost last four games, are 1-5 in Big X, after going 12-1 out of conference. Rick Barnes is doing better without having the highly touted recruits on his team- they're 5-2 in league play.
1) Interesting to see how the Knicks are home all week and there are two outdoor hockey games in the Bronx, in the week before the Super Bowl in New Jersey. Lot of stuff to do this week, if you don't mind being cold for at least some of them. I am told this is the coldest winter in NY since 1978.
Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) We’ll get more into Super Bowl prop bets next week, but one bet you can make is this: Peyton Manning is a 78.5 yard favorite over Russell Wilson in gross passing yards (before sacks).
12) Over/under on how many times Manning says “Omaha” at the line of scrimmage is 24.5. Yes, you can bet on this stuff.
11) Cowboys are considering Scott Linehan as an offensive playcaller; as a Ram fan, my advice to Dallas: DON'T DO IT!!!!!! Linehan used to be the coach of the Rams, not my favorite years as a fan.
10) Grant Balfour takes $12M for two years from Tampa Bay, instead of more money from the Mets- that doesn’t happen every day.
9) When the New Orleans Pelicans win, people can get 50% off on online orders at Papa John's in the New Orleans area. Luckily for Papa John, they don't win much. Unfortunately for me, the Papa John's locations in Albany closed up. Its seriously the best pizza I've ever had.
8) Buffalo replaced new Browns' coach Mike Pettine with Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator; he will be Buffalo's 4th DC in the last four years.
7) Josh Smith bolted UCLA for Georgetown, now he’s flunked out of school at Georgetown. Young man should hire himself a personal trainer, get his butt in shape and try and make an NBA or D-League roster.
6) White Sox signed Robin Ventura to a contract extension, which leaves five major league skippers heading into the last year of their current contract.
5) ESPN's Jon Barry was talking about his dad last night; Rick Barry was one of the greatest players ever, probably the best free throw shooter of all-time (he shot them underhanded). Rick Barry doesn't get the credit he deserves; he was a guy who spoke his mind, which offends some people.
4) UNLV gave football coach Bobby Hauck a 3-year extension and $200K raise after the Rebels went 7-6 and lost to North Texas in a bowl game-- it was first bowl game in 13 years for UNLV.
3) Giants’ OL David Diehl called it a career at age 33 Friday; he won two Super Bowls as a starter. Guys like him are part of what makes the NFL so cool; he was a 5th-round draft pick, but turned out to be a very important player. When he was drafted, doubt anyone outside his friends/family batted an eyelash.
2) CEO of JP Morgan Chase made $20M this past year, up from $11.5M in 2012. He must have had a good year.
1) Greg Maddux/Tony Larussa are both having caps with no logos on their Hall of Fame plaques; that’s a growing trend, since so few players stay with one team their whole career now. Why have caps at all on the plaques, if there’s not going to be a logo on them?
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) There is an NHL game at Dodger Stadium Saturday night; high in LA Saturday is expected to be 77, low around 52. Not sure how it all works, but the game starts after dark- is there a maximum temp the game can be played at, before it is postponed?
12) There are also NHL games in the baseball park in the Bronx over the next week, where warm temps will be no issue whatsoever. Outdoor NHL games have become very popular.
11) Marlins’ president David Samson (former stepson of owner Jeffrey Loria) apparently took July-August off last summer to appear on the CBS reality series Survivor, which was filmed in the Phillipines and starts airing late next month.
Not often the president of a big league ballclub takes July-August off, seeing as the trading deadline is July 31, but the Marlins aren’t your normal organization, and they’re probably better off without Samson anyway. I’m sure the taxpayers of south Florida are thrilled they paid for a new ballpark for a team run by this guy and his weasel stepfather.
10) Read this week where the Bronx baseball team took in $60M less in ticket revenues in 2013 than it did the year before, which is a big part of why they abandoned hopes of staying under the $189M luxury tax limit to sign Tanaka. If he makes them a contender, they’ll easily make up his $22M salary in ticket sales and improved TV ratings for the YES Network.
9) Peyton Manning is the only player in this year’s Super Bowl who has already won a Super Bowl ring. Seahawks are the first Super Bowl team since 1990 with no players who have even played in a Super Bowl.
8) Former Titans’ coach Mike Munchak signed on as OL coach for the Steelers, good get for Mike Tomlin’s staff.
7) Golfer Steven Webster started the Qatar Open (European Tour) with a double-eagle on the 10th hole Wednesday, his first hole of the tournament. Don’t often see an albatross anytime, much less on the first hole of a tournament.
6) Kevin Durant is averaging 35.6 ppg, 5.6 apg since Russell Westbrook got hurt; he was averaging 28.1/4.8 before Westbrook’s injury.
5) Oakland Raiders are being sued by their own cheerleaders, which could be a first; ladies are suing for a variety of offenses. Not the best sign for an organization when stuff like this happens.
"The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court alleges that the organization withholds all pay from the Raiderettes until the end of the season, does not pay for all hours worked and forces the cheerleaders to pay many of their own business expenses."......from ESPN.com
4) 71-year old Mike Pope, who was tight end coach for the Giants’ for a very long time, has re-surfaced in Dallas. Giants went out of their way to say that OC Kevin Gilbride wasn’t fired, but then it came out last week that if he didn’t “retire” he was going to get the boot. Semantics; guys like that do not quit, unless they leave for a better job. Gilbride is 62, way too young to retire from a job that lucrative. Hell, Pope is 71 and he still wants to coach.
3) We’re almost to the point in the basketball season where we can start speculating on where Bruce Pearl will resurface as a head coach next season; his show cause order from the NCAA ends after this season, so he’ll get hired by someone. St John’s? Auburn? Washington State? Pearl is an excellent coach whose NCAA violations seem miniscule, given stuff that’s gone on since then.
2) When the Browns fired Rob Chudzinski after his first year as head coach, I figured they had someone in mind who they would quickly scoop up; why else can a guy after only one season on the job? 26 days later, they finally named a coach, guy who was a high school coach 13 years ago.
Now Art Briles/Gus Malzahn were also high school coaches and so was Mike Holmgren at one time, but the Browns look very foolish right now.
1) Back in 1979, Tigers had a first-year manager named Les Moss who had been a pitching coach; he was 27-26 when Detroit fired him, for no other reason than Sparky Anderson became available and Anderson was a great manager, so they scooped him up and sent Moss packing.
Felt bad for Moss, who never got another chance to run a team, but at least those Tigers had a plan to become better, and they did, winning the World Series five years later. The Browns? They hired a former high school coach and really appear to be clutching at straws.
Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Masahiro Tanaka gets seven years, $155M from the Bronx Bombers, 5th-highest salary ever for a pitcher. He is 25 and was 24-0 in Japan last year. Supposedly the four teams Bronx beat out for his services were the Dodgers, Astros and the two Chicago teams, but its hard to believe Houston was serious. Chances are they kept their name in the mix to placate their shrinking fan base after LY’s debacle of a season.
In reality, the contract is four years, $88M; Tanaka can opt out after years 4,5,6, so the only way it plays out to $155M for seven is if Tanaka isn't that good and doesn't want to be a free agent again.
12) I’ve been trying to read about Tanaka, but not lot of info out there; one red flag is that in his last Japanese start, in Game 6 of their championship series, he threw 160 pitches, as in 1-6-0. Teams here have a coronary if a guy throws 115. Even at age 25, you wonder how much wear and tear he’s already had.
11) Tanaka has thrown 1,315 innings by age 24; in the last 50 years, only three major leaguers had thrown that many innings by age 24: Larry Dierker, Frank Tanana and Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven.
All three were very good pitchers, but all of them were also age 24 in the 60’s or 70’s. Curious to see how this all works out, him pitching in a tiny ballpark in the league with the DH.
10) Guy named Al Melchior does fantasy baseball work for CBSSports.com; his initial projection for Tanaka this season was 13-9, 3.55 with a 1.22 WHIP. For $22M a year, I’d expect more than 13-9, 3.55, but that’s just me.
In non-Tanaka-related items…….
9) Since spring training is so long, I’m assuming MLB will use the month of exhibition games to iron out the kinks in its new instant replay system. You know, screw up a few times in exhibition games when no one cares who wins, so the system runs flawlessly starting on Opening Day. Is that too big an assumption for me to make?
8) Former Texas Longhorns’ DC Manny Diaz surfaced at Louisiana Tech; Diaz was once a production assistant at ESPN who impressed Bill Parcells with his knowledge/enthusiasm, so Parcells got him started in coaching.
7) Harvard got waxed by 7-12 Florida Atlantic Tuesday, which will hurt their seeding in March; doubtful anyone in the Ivy will beat them out for the automatic bid. Should they somehow not win the league (Princeton already has a loss and Ivy doesn’t have a postseason tournament), it isn’t going to look good to get pounded by a weak C-USA outfit.
6) Atlanta Falcons signed Scott Pioli as an assistant to GM Thomas Dimitroff; the two used to work together in Foxboro.
5) Peyton Manning made $336,135 more per week this season than Russell Wilson made for the entire season. Think about that for a second. Wilson made less than $550,000 this year, Manning makes around $860,000 a game. Someone’s going to be writing Wilson a very big check very soon.
4) Debut of Horseplayers on the Esquire Channel Tuesday night seemed realistic for my experiences at the racetrack; have to see what KL Wheat says when he sees it. Esquire also has a show called Friday Night Tykes, about Pee Wee football in Texas. Can’t make myself watch that yet; youth sports is a whole different story for a whole another day. LOL
3) NBA teams are 5-6 vs spread in game after beating Miami Heat; 3-5 if favored, 2-1 if an underdog.
2) Three ACC games Tuesday were all played at a snail’s pace, with 61-59-58 possessions for each side.
Typcial game would be more like 68 possessions; with each possession 17.6 seconds, roughly half the shot clock. Trying to keep the ACC relevant in football has really hurt its basketball product, though adding Louisville next year will help. North Carolina's decline isn't helping any.
1) Walking the three blocks from my office to my car Tuesday at 4:00, my face was the coldest it has ever been. Ever. I’m beating a dead horse here, but having the Super Bowl in New Jersey at 6:30 pm on a Sunday night in February is just plain stoopid. Just. Plain. Stoopid. It’s the JPS Super Bowl.
Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Still shaking my head over Creighton’s demolition of Villanova Monday night; the video montage of Ethan Wragge making his first seven 3’s (first seven 3’s!!!!) is funny, because every time the ball goes in, Bill Raftery just laughs, like the ball going thru the net triggers a laugh track. The rematch in Omaha will be an interesting game.
12) DeAndre Jordan had seven dunks for the Clippers in Detroit Monday, the most by any NBA player in a game this season.
11) Part of John Beilein’s explanation for his team’s win at Wisconsin was, “…..the kid played with a lot of swag.” When John Beilein uses “swag” in a sentence, its time to put that word in the freakin’ dictionary.
10) Deadline for a major league team signing this Tanaka character is Friday; my question is this, is he any relation to former pro wrestler Professor Toru Tanaka? Mr Fuji? Tanaka was 24-0 in Japan LY; from what I read, he is less of a strikeout pitcher than Yu Darvish, but has a nasty splitter. He will be overpaid, for sure.
9) Other free agent pitchers are waiting for Tanaka to sign so they can hook up with a team; Ervin Santana is probably the best of those guys—he is said to be asking for a lot more money than his perceived value.
8) NFL should have a Constitutional Convention and totally re-do their rules, paring down the rule book to make the game simpler again.
Rules about how many guys can be on each side of the ball on field goal tries or on onside kicks are unnecessary; rules on not being able to advanced muffed punts make no sense.
Take the radios out of players’ helmets, if you’re worried about concussions. Don’t play Thursday night games if the team played the previous Sunday.
Seems like the league office, while well meaning, is trying to make the game perfect, which can’t be done, while also trying to make a fortune on the TV end of things. Time to go back in time a little and shrink the rulebook.
7) Roger Federer is 55-1 in his service games at the Australian Open; if Roger Goodell ran tennis, they might outlaw Federer serving, because its boring, just like he is talking about eliminating extra points in the NFL.
6) Evaluating college football players for the NFL Draft is an inexact science, but if game film isn’t one of your top criteria, I’m questioning how effective you can be in scouting. Workouts are nice, interviews can tell you stuff about a guy, but game film tells you whether or not the guy can play and that is what is most important.
5) Phillies signed pitcher Chad Gaudin, who was 5-2, 3.06 in 30 games (12 starts) for the Giants LY; solid long man, good sixth starter if you have an injury, the kind of guy who can help you win.
4) Seven of the 49ers’ eight Pro Bowl players decided to skip the NFL’s All-Star Game, which should be done away with anyway.
3) Since the NCAA tournament went to 64 teams in 1985, 15 of 116 (12.9%) #1 seeds failed to make the tournament the following year, last one being Pitt in 2012. Indiana has a chance to do that this year; UConn did it three of the previous 15 times, which is surprising.
2) If/when the Knicks fire Mike Woodson, they need to give the clipboard to Carmelo Anthony and let him coach the freakin’ team. Woodson has been dealt an unwinnable hand and is doing what he can with it, but handwriting is on the wall- he is gone, just a matter of when.
Phil Jackson, Pat Riley or Gregg Popovich couldn't win with this group of stiffs, and they would be too smart to try.
1) Very interesting contrast in the Super Bowl; Denver receivers had 2,583 yards after catch (YAC), an average of 161.4 yards/game, most in the NFL. Seattle allowed only 1,275 YAC, an average of 79.7 yards/game, least in the league.
Tuesday's List of 13: Random stuff on a winter day.....
13) NFL is considering eliminating the extra point, since only five out of roughly 1,200 kicks were missed this year. One suggested proposal involves a touchdown being worth seven points instead of six, with the potential for an extra play from scrimmage that would yield an eighth point, but if you did not get the 8th point, you would also lose a point, falling back to six. .
12) When Lions' QB Matthew Stafford was in high school, the center on his football team was Clayton Kershaw, the $215M man with the Dodgers.
11) Favorites are 26-19-2 vs spread in the history of the Super Bowl, but just 1-5 the last six years.
10) Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin is sitting out tonight's game with Edmonton, ending his iron man streak at 679 consecutive games.
9) Canucks' coach John Tortorella got 15 days (six games) without pay for his role in locker room fracas in Vancouver the other night- with a 17-day Olympic break starting February 9, Tortorella isn't going to be around his team very much between now and the beginning of March.
8) Nebraska 68, Ohio State 62-- Tim Miles is a good coach who built the program at North Dakota State and made Colorado State relevant- this was his first league win this season. Nebraska is sinking a lot of resources into its basketball program; Miles will make them a winner.
7) $98.9M bet in Nevada's sports books on last year's Super Bowl was a new record, first time in seven years their handle exceeded the year before.
6) Charlotte's Al Jefferson had 22 points, 19 rebounds Monday; in the first quarter, he had 10 points, 10 boards, making him the first player this year to get a double double in the first quarter of a game.
5) Speaking of the Bobcats, their 18-25 record would put them in the NBA playoffs, if those playoffs started today. Thats not good.
Meanwhile out west, Memphis/Denver are both 20-20, but would miss the playoffs if they started today. Oy.
4) Toronto Raptors' GM Masai Ujiri must love the Knicks; he used to be the Nuggets' GM; he was the guy who traded Carmelo Anthony and he also foisted Andrea Bargnani on New York. Guy is making a career out of taking the Knicks to the cleaners.
3) 24 overs, 23 unders in the first 47 Super Bowls, if you invest in totals.
2) Creighton 96, Villanova 68-- Bluejays lost at Providence Saturday, then made 21-35 treys in Philly last night, crushing the #4 Wildcats. Teams in this era are so erratic; Creighton was 4-19 on arc Saturday in Providence.
1) Super Bowl VI was held outdoors in New Orleans, at Tulane Stadium; it was 39 degrees at kickoff, making it the coldest Super Bowl ever, until this Sunday night. Colder the night, the better for Seattle, right?
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Broncos 26, Patriots 16-- Nine years and counting without a title for the Patriots; in other words, no titles since Spygate. Denver had two drives that took over 7:00. The better team won.
12) Seahawks 23, 49ers 17-- Home team has now won 10 of last 11 series games between these two division rivals.
11) Twitter almost exploded after Richard Sherman's rant with Erin Andrews on the FOX post-game interview; most who had opinions sided along racial lines. My take: If you don't want to listen to him, beat him.
10) 98 underclassmen declared for the NFL Draft; there are seven rounds in the draft, 32 teams drafting, so that is 224 picks. Add in the 400+ seniors who would like to be drafted, and there will be a lot of disappointed young men when draft is over.
9) If you care about such things, Peyton Manning yelled "OMAHA" 33 times Sunday, raising $24,800 for his charity foundation. Eight companies kicked in $100 each for every time he said it in Sunday's game.
8) Coming into Sunday's game, Brady/Manning combined for 343 wins, the most combined wins for any two opposing starting QBs in a playoff game.
7) I was looking at a table with local NFL markets' TV ratings for their teams' games; not surprisingly, ratings paralleled teams' won-lost records. Seattle/Kansas City's ratings were way up; Atlanta/Houston's took a dive.
6) Oregon State 80, Oregon 72-- Ducks have now lost four games in row after starting season 13-0- they allowed 89.5 ppg in the four losses.
5) Looks like ESPN will dump Brent Musburger as the play/play guy on its #1 Saturday night college football game; they'd like him to work on their new SEC Network, which debuts in August. Chris Fowler is the favorite to replace Musburger; my opinion is that Rece Davis would be a better choice.
4) Some enterprising journalist needs to find former NC State football coach Tom O'Brien and ask him what went on between him and Russell Wilson that led to Wilson leaving NC State for Wisconsin, without having to sit out a year? O'Brien is now an assistant coach at Virginia.
3) This could happen; how about a second round NCAA tournament game with Minnesota-Louisville, Rick Pitino vs Richard Pitino? Good theater. Wonder who Mrs Pitino would be rooting for?
2) Apple commercial with Robin Williams narrating from Dead Poets' Society is excellent; whoever is doing Apple's commercials deserves a raise- the one they did at Christmas was also really well done.
1) Jimmy Sexton is an agent; he reps five of the 14 SEC football coaches, as well as Jimbo Fisher and Jim Mora; his 14 college coaches earned a total of around $20M this past season. He's the Scott Boras of college football.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Kansas 80, Oklahoma State 78-- Jayhawks led by 17 at half, held on to win; Smart was 0-6 from arc for OSU- rest of Cowboys were 12-22.
12) Aaron Rodgers was at the Oklahoma State-Kansas game; one of the things on his bucket list was seeing a basketball game in Lawrence.
11) Northwestern 54, Indiana 47-- You don't beat Wisconsin, then lose at home to the dreadful Wildcats. Too erratic. Hoosiers are a weird team.
10) Rhode Island 71, George Mason 69-- Rams were up 3 with 0;05 left, tried to foul intentionally, but kid threw up a 45-footer just as he was fouled, made all three foul shots to tie game. URI then won on free throws of their own with 0:00.7 left. Danny Hurley has improved the Rams.
9) Texas Tech is up 4-0 at TCU 4:00 into their game Saturday; big kid on TCU gets ball under the hoop and tries a fancy dunk; not only does he miss, he hangs on the rim and gets a technical. Brilliant!!! So now TCU goes into the first TV timeout scoreless, plus Tech got a foul shot coming out of the timeout. No wonder TCU is a football school.
8) Kid named Isaiah Austin on Baylor plays basketball with a prosthetic right eye, as the result of a childhood injury. Courageous young man.
7) USC is 0-5 in Pac-12 play, with 18 points the closest of the five losses; time to tell the assistants to skip games and go recruiting instead.
6) Only four of 14 San Antonio Spurs were born in this country, which is a telling thing; foreign players are less selfish, less spoiled and schooled better in the fundamentals of the game, there is no other way to say it.
5) Syracuse 59, Pitt 54-- 13-23 foul shooting doomed Pitt. Three of five Syracuse starters played all 40:00.
4) TV announcers were praising Arizona point guard TJ McConnell as a "great point guard..." like he is the second coming of Isiah Thomas; couple of years ago, kid was playing at Duquesne and no one could pick him out of a lineup. He is very good, he distributes the ball better than anyone Arizona has had in recent years, but calling him great just isn't accurate.
3) Fran Fraschilla pointed out on ESPN Saturday that the average D-I team rebounds 31-32% of its own missed shots; the best teams are around 45%.
2) My friend Dennis from Las Vegas says that since 1996, NFL teams that scored 40+ points in a playoff game are 3-22-2 vs spread in their next game.
1) 14 years ago today I was in St Louis at the NFC title game, watching the Rams beat Tampa Bay and move on to the Super Bowl. Just a tremendous day that I'll never forget. Conference championship games aren't as much fun when your favorite team isn't involved, but today should be good anyway.
Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) Donnie Walsh is one of NBA’s sharpest executives; he used to run the Knicks, but James Dolan let him go after the ill-advised trade for Carmelo Anthony (not Walsh’s idea) and now Walsh runs the 31-7 Pacers, who are on top of the Eastern Conference, while the 15-25 Knicks are both lousy and unwatchable, unless you like fadeaway 20-footers. This isn’t a coincidence.
12) A man in California was indicted for beating his wife with a vacuum cleaner. Prosecutors have yet to claim that a conviction is in the bag.
11) Golf Channel turned 19 years old Friday; they do a good job with European Tour stuff in addition to the PGA Tour and were smart enough to hire morning host Holly Sonders, who is amazingly beautiful, in addition to also being a pretty good golfer.
10) Clayton Kershaw and this Tanaka fellow who is coming over from Japan have the same agents; 4% of Kershaw’s $215M deal comes out to $8.6M; Tanaka figures out to score big too, so it’s a good year for their agents.
Elsewhere on the scumweasel front, CC Sabathia has signed with Jay Z, who apparently has no clients outside of New York City.
9) ESPN.com pointed out that St John’s-Butler-North Carolina-Temple, four programs with great history, have a combined 0-18 record in league play.
8) Speaking of struggling teams, before Lakers-Celtics met Friday night, their combined winning %age was .354, worst ever for any Laker-Celtic game.
7) Redskins are keeping Jim Haslett as defensive coordinator; I’m a big fan of his from his days as Rams’ interim coach. He was the unlucky bastard who was coach of the Saints when Katrina hit New Orleans, which wound up costing him that job. I’m glad Washington kept him.
6) Mark Reynolds turned down the Bronx Bombers to sign with Milwaukee? Interesting decision, seeing as Bronx has a big opening at third base for this coming season.
5) Stanford’s DC Derek Mason is the new football coach at Vanderbilt, where he becomes the smallish fish in very deep waters. He has a tough act to follow; James Franklin made the Commodores relevant and has already poached two of Vandy’s recruits for this year, with six more offers on the table. Mason needs to plug that leak and keep as many good players as he can in Nashville.
4) Someone counted last week; Peyton Manning yelled out “Omaha!!!” 44 times at the line of scrimmage last week, which thrills the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, which made a commercial featuring the calls.
3) If you don’t think this is a great country, consider that Trevor Plouffe will earn $2.35M this season, or $14,506 per game.
That’s Trevor freakin’ Plouffe, the Twins’ infielder. He hit .254 with 52 RBI and a .309 OB% LY. 2.35 million dollars. .309 OB%..
2) Funniest sports story of last year had to be Russian President Putin pocketing one of Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl rings, then turning and walking away; supposedly the ring is still in the Kremlin library. Wonder if Putin watches NFL games on the Sunday Ticket?
1) RIP Russell Johnson, the actor who played Professor Roy Hinkley on Gilligan’s Island, died at age 89 in the state of Washington. Russell was a war pilot who earned a Purple Heart in WWII after being shot down and becoming an actual castaway on an island.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Scout for the Washington Nationals compared Cuba’s enthusiasm for baseball with way Alabama fans love college football, so I guess enthusiasm isn’t a strong enough word, seeing how Alabama gets 90,000 fans at its spring game.
Curious to see how many Cuban players come to the big leagues in the next few years—one non-defecting player is keeping 80% of his salary with 20% going to the Cuban baseball organization, which could be a wave of the future, and will result in more Cubans coming here to play ball.
12) Glad to see Charlie Manuel took a front office job with Philly, even after they canned him as manager last year. Manuel is a great hitting instructor, so guessing he could do some of that in the minor leagues.
11) There is an actual TV show called Treehouse Masters where they build custom tree houses for people and some of them are pretty nice. There are a lot of unusual TV shows out there.
10) Remember before the Raiders’ last game, when Terrelle Pryor’s agent claimed the Raiders wanted Pryor to be lousy in their last game so they could get rid of him? Well, Pryor fired the agent, so guess he wants to stay in Oakland- question becomes, do they want him?
9) Jack Del Rio’s son was a walk-on QB at Alabama this year; he transferred out and is rumored to be headed to Oregon State, which had offered him a scholarship coming out of high school.
8) Great to see Mike Zimmer get a chance to be a head coach; he has been an NFL coordinator since 2000, he has earned his chance. Saw him on Hard Knocks last summer and he seems like a good guy.
7) Norv Turner is headed to Minnesota to be offensive coordinator for Zimmer’s staff; Norv’s son Scott will be QB coach. That recipe worked so well for the Shanahans in Washington, no reason not to try it again.
6) Georgia hired DC Jeremy Pruitt away from Florida State; Pruitt has been on staff for the last three national champs, having worked at Alabama before FSU- he is seen as rising star in coaching.
5) Guy named Bo Davis was defensive line coach/recruiter at Texas the last three years, then moved on to USC earlier this month after Mack Brown got canned. He lasted a week at USC before bolting to Alabama, where he’ll work for his college coach Nick Saban, who he played for at LSU. Football coaches are gypsies, the way a lot of them bounce from job to job.
4) Forbes Magazine did an article that studied finances (coaches’ salaries, recruiting budgets) of college basketball programs, and decided that St Bonaventure’s Mark Schmitt was giving his school the most bang for its buck- Bonnies spent only $88,000 a win which seems like a lot, but is apparently the lowest figure amongst the D-I schools they studied.
3) My last word until next fall on the Jim Caldwell hire: Its really good to be friends with Tony Dungy.
2) Providence basketball team is down to playing six players; their game with St John’s was their first of three games in six days. Good luck there, and by the way, they need to go recruit more players, several more.
Friars beat St John's in double OT, as Red Storm blew 4-point lead in last 1:20 of the second OT- they're 0-5 in the Big East. .
1) So I’m reading a fantasy baseball magazine about Sabermetrics and how it can help you; the person who wrote it obviously knows a lot about Math, but then he references Cub pitcher Travis Wood and calls him right-handed, which would be true if only he wasn’t a lefty.
So now the author has no credibility and I’m not sure whether to dismiss the article or not. I love numbers, but I’m in the middle on advanced metrics; you still have to watch and see if a person can play- the eye test has to have meaning.
Would be nice if the math dude knew which hand a guy threw the ball with.
Thursday's List of 13: NFC teams' playoff histories
Arizona (5-6)—Had one playoff win before Kurt Warner got to the desert; the future Hall of Famer came very close to getting them a Lombardi Trophy. Home team won eight of their ten playoff games.
Atlanta (7-12)—Only 4-3 at home; were first road team to win a playoff game at Lambeau when Michael Vick was there. Home loss to 49ers LY was Niners’ first road playoff win since 1970.
Carolina (6-5)—Disappointing home loss last week, but came close to winning Super Bowl when Jake Delhomme was QB, so you figure Cam Newton will get it done eventually.
Chicago (10-13)—1-1 in Super Bowls; 14 of other 21 playoff games were at home. Their ’85 team allowed only 10 points in its three playoff wins. Still think they made a mistake firing Lovie Smith.
Dallas (33-25)—From ’66-’97, were 32-19 in playoff games; since then, they’re 1-6. Lost last seven road playoff games, with last road win 17-13 at Chicago in ’97.
Detroit (1-10)—One win in 47 years, a glorious 38-6 win over Dallas in ’91, under the tutelage of Wayne Fontes. In 47 years, they’ve hosted two playoff games, and are 0-9 on the road. Into this mess they bring Jim Caldwell, who once went 26-63 in eight years at Wake Forest, and didn’t win a Super Bowl while coaching Peyton Manning. Oy.
Green Bay (23-15)—Won first nine home playoff games in Super Bowl era, are 3-4 in last seven. Won Super Bowls with three different QBs (Starr-Favre-Rodgers).
Minnesota (19-27)— Have most playoff losses in Super Bowl era. Hiring Mike Zimmer is an excellent move. 0-4 in Super Bowls, 1-6 in last seven road playoff games, now they’re going to play home games outdoors again for two years while their new stadium gets built.
NJ Giants (20-11)—Since ’07, have only made playoffs three times, but won Super Bowl two of those three years (8-1 in last nine playoff games). Still can’t believe the Super Bowl is going to be in Swamp Stadium in two weeks. Not America’s most brilliant idea.
New Orleans (6-9)—Didn’t play a playoff game from 1967 until 1987, didn’t win one until 2000; are 1-6 in road playoff games, but won last five at home, after losing first three. Super Bowl IV was in New Orleans, but outdoors at old Tulane Stadium.
Philadelphia (15-19)—Lost last three home playoff games, with last win in ’06 over the Giants. Lost Super Bowl XV in 1981 under Coach Dick Vermeil, 19 years before Vermeil won a Super Bowl with the Rams.
St Louis (16-21)—Haven’t made tournament since ’04; are 4-1 in playoff games in Jones Dome, were 4-4 in California- they won division seven years in row in 70’s, should’ve won at least one title with that group.
San Francisco (29-18)—28-24 win at Atlanta LY was their first road playoff win since 1970; they’re now 4-9 in road playoff games, 20-8 at home, 5-1 in Super Bowls.
Seattle (10-12)—Won last seven home playoff games; if they make it #8, they go to their second Super Bowl- their first-ever playoff win was over Denver, a former AFC West rival who they could easily play in the Swamp February 2.
Tampa Bay (6-9)—Lost NFC title game in their 4th season, are still just 1-6 in road playoff games. Haven’t made playoffs since 2007, will get back soon under Tony Dungy disciple Lovie Smith.
Washington (21-13)—Won three Super Bowls with three different QBs, are 13-2 in home playoff games, losing to Seattle in ’12, Chicago in 1994. Jay Gruden was a head coach in the Arena League for eight years; he is an interesting hire.
Wednesday's List of 13: AFC teams' playoff histories
What follows is a study of AFC teams’ playoff records during the Super Bowl era (1966-2013). Ravens’ record includes the Browns up until 1995. Record in parentheses is total playoff record over last 47 years.
Baltimore (19-20)—Were 1-7 in road playoff games as the Browns, are 8-5 in Baltimore. Defense driven, won Super Bowls with Dilfer/Flacco at QB.
Buffalo (11-15)—Played in four straight Super Bowls, lost all four; 9-2 in home playoff games, 3-12 in road/neutral games. Cincinnati (5-12)—Lost last six playoff games, with last win in ’89. 0-8 all-time away from home in playoffs.
Cleveland (0-1) – New Browns’ greatest moment was 36-33 loss at Pittsburgh in ’02, their only playoff game; they keep firing coaches every year, it’ll be their only playoff game ever.
Denver (20-17)—14-4 in Mile High playoff games; 8-1 in first nine, 6-3 in last nine. Win this week at home and they go to their 7th Super Bowl (2-4).
Houston (2-2)—Home side won all four of their playoff games (2-0 at home, 0-2 on road). Now we’ll see what Bill O’Brien can do.
Indianapolis (18-20)—Took Manning few years to win his playoff game, so be patient with Luck; Colts are 2-6 in playoff games since beating Bears in Super Bowl seven years ago.
Jacksonville (5-6)—Tom Coughlin’s greatest work; played in AFC title game in second season, then hosted same game three years later, but lost both. 33-14 home loss to Titans in ’99 has to especially sting.
Kansas City (7-15)—Total of only seven playoff wins despite playing in two of first four Super Bowls. Are 2-5 in home playoff games; haven’t won in postseason in 20 years, losing last seven playoff games.
Miami (20-19)—Outscored 74-12 in last three playoff games; last playoff win was in ’01. 3-11 overall in playoff road games.
New England (25-16)—Sunday will be their first road playoff game in seven years, since 38-34 loss at Indy. Won three Super Bowls, none since Spygate.
NJ Jets (13-13)—Only seven of 26 games were played at home, with last one 41-0 win over Colts in ’02. Their win in Super Bowl III paved way for AFL-NFL merger.
Oakland (26-18)—Used to have a great history, now haven’t been in playoffs since 2002. Home teams are 31-8 SU in their non-Super Bowl playoff games- their last road playoff win was at San Diego. In 1980.
Pittsburgh (33-20)—9-3 in last 12 playoff games, have six Super Bowl titles, only three head coaches since 1969. Easy to forget that Neil O’Donnell once started a Super Bowl for them.
San Diego (10-13)—One of only two teams (Chiefs 2-7) with losing records in home playoff games during this era. Chargers are 7-6 in games decided by 7 or less points, 3-7 in games decided by more than seven.
Tennessee (12-18)—Best Oiler teams ran up against great Steel Curtain Steeler teams. Haven’t been to playoffs since ’08, haven’t won game there since ’03. Only 5-5 in home playoff games.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Confidence is essential in being successful at anything; look at golfer Jimmy Walker. He goes winless for seven years on the PGA Tour, total of 197 tournaments, then wins two of his next six. Why?
Because now he believes he can win. He always had the talent, just needed that little nudge that told him he is good enough.
12) Bad news as expected for Colorado basketball: Spencer Dinwiddie is out for the year with a torn ACL. He was their best player- big loss.
11) Duke 69, Virginia 65-- Blue Devils were up 11 with 4:10 left, Virginia went up by a point, but Duke got a great bounce on a 3-ball from the corner and escaped with a win. You get the feeling, though that something is amiss with Duke- very little defensive presence inside.
10) Dunkin’ Donuts is expanding into California; does that mean In ‘n Out Burger or Jack in the Box might come east? Jack/Box has 24-hour breakfast—darned tasty.
9) Vin Scully doesn't have a Hall of Fame vote; how is that possible?
8) Cleveland Browns paid deposed coach Rob Chudzinski $10.5M to go away, that’s million, with an M. Wish someone would pay me to go away.
7) Irony Department: Peyton Manning’s first NFL playoff win was in 2003, 41-10 over…..the Broncos.
6) College/pro teams sometimes use search firms to find a new coach, which is total BS. What the hell is a GM/AD doing if he needs a firm to find a coach for him? These firms get 20-30% of the new coach’s first-year salary, which is a significant amount of money.
Sometimes its payola; the search firm puts the AD/GM in his job, then that exec uses the same firm to fill coaching vacancies, paying back the agency for getting him his job. No way in hell an NFL exec should use a search firm, it says you can’t do the job yourself.
5) Broncos-Patriots Sunday is only second time in last nine years the #1-2 seeds have met in AFC title game, and only fifth time in last nine years NFL-wide (out of 18 games).
4) Lions lost out on hiring Ken Whisenhunt; this is a franchise that in the 47 years of the Super Bowl era, has a playoff record of 1-10. One playoff win in 47 years, plus they once let Matt Millen run their franchise. Oy.
3) ESPN analyst/Duke alum Jay Williams ripped Maryland coach Mark Turgeon on–air Sunday night, as the Terps were getting drubbed by Florida State. He basically said Terps play too tight because Turgeon takes guys out after they make mistakes; does Williams think Coach K is a highly tolerant leader who laughs off his players' miscues?
Unusual for an analyst to go after a coach like that; not sure if its because Maryland is bolting the ACC, but I’m sure it hit some exposed nerves in Maryland, especially coming from a Duke alum.
2) One of the great stories is from former LSU QB Rohan Davey, who also was a backup for the Patriots for a while.
He said that when the Tigers came out of the tunnel to start a Saturday night game in Baton Rouge, “…you could smell the bourbon in the air.”
Nick Saban paraphrased that story in speech to football coaches Monday. If you’ve never seen an SEC game in person, it really is quite an experience- if you love college football or a good party or both, I highly recommend it.
1) Two QBs in AFC title game are making a combined $52M this season; two QBs in NFC title game are making a combined $1,266,000. Yikes.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a winter weekend....
13) Early lines for next Sunday's conference title games:
Denver -6.5 over New England.....Seattle -3.5 over San Francisco, which will be playing on the road for the fourth week in a row.
12) Turns out when Jim Harbaugh got flagged for being on field after Vernon Davis' TD, he wasn't arguing that Davis was in bounds, he saw the clock kept running after the whistle, from 0;09 to 0:05, and if the play had been ruled incomplete, that would've cost the 49ers an extra play.
11) Washington 71, Colorado 54-- Loss is irrelevant for Buffs, who lost star guard Spencer Dinwiddie (knee) for the year, the one thing they couldn't have happen. Other than Askia Booker, Colorado is now VERY young.
10) There is a guy in Utah who has four wives, all at once. Is this guy the biggest glutton for punishment ever? He had to go to court to make it legal-- this poor bastard must never get the remote control.
9) Rockets-Wizards NBA game in Washington Saturday had two rain delays, because it waas raining out and the Wizards' arena has a leaky roof.
8) Eagles' WR DeSean Jackson had $250K worth of stuff stolen out of his home this weekend; it was supposedly in a safe. Apparently he needs a new safe, or he shouldn't tell people the combination, but now he has offered a $50,000 reward for the return of the stolen stuff, which includes jewelry and a gun. If someone stole my entire house, they wouldn't get $250,000.
7) Big Ten Network runs a commercial touting Northwestern as the Big Ten's school in Chicago, but the Wildcats don't have any kids from Chicago on their basketball team. Maybe Chris Collins should recruit some.
6) Of the last 26 Heisman Trophy winners, the only QB to win an NFL playoff game is??????.............Tim Tebow. Go figure.
5) So if Steve Alford didn't get the UCLA job, he'd still be at New Mexico, and so would his son, Bryce, who is a very promising freshman. But then Craig Neal would still be an assistant coach, and his son Cullen would be playing at St Mary's instead of New Mexico, so Gaels lost a solid recruit because UCLA hired a new coach. Life can be funny sometimes.
4) Pitt lost 6-6 soph Durand Johnson (ACL) for the year, which hurts their depth- he was averaging 8.8 ppg in 19.8 mpg.
3) Chicago Bears fired their DL coach and LB coach, but kept their DB coach and the defensive coordinator- their front seven must've been awful. .
2) Appaently Alex Rodriguez can go to spring training this year; he isn't officially suspended until the season starts, but what does Bomber brass do with him? He is still owed $61M from 2015-17, but he can't play this year, so do they send him to the minor league camp? Play him in the major league exhibition games? Interesting question that treads unchartered waters.
1) Funniest thing about this whole ARod debacle will be watching Bronx Bomber fans rip ARod and wish he was retired; well, Bombers have won one World Series since 2000, one in the last 13 years. Same as the Marlins.
In that postseason, ARod came to the plate 68 times, reached base 34 times, with six HRs, 18 RBI, 15 runs scored. In 15 games. So while you hope the door doesn't hit his butt on his way out, at least appreciate him for helping you win the last World Series Bronx might win for quite a while.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) Syracuse 57, North Carolina 45-- Tar Heels are 0-3 in ACC; there are fifteen teams in the league- North Carolina is 15th. Talent is spread so thin around the country that losing PJ Hairston has crippled UNC.
12) Oklahoma 87, Iowa State 82-- Sooners were 13-30 from arc, Iowa St. was 6-26; OU was +10 on foul line and still only won by five. Kane turned his ankle but x-rays were negative. Iowa State plays Kansas next.
11) Clemson 72, Duke 59-- Teams are so wildly erratic now; Tigers lost by 15 at home to Florida State Thursday, then this. Duke is 0-2 on ACC road, only two true road games they've played this season.
10) Villanova 74, St John's 67-- At some point, New York media is going to figure out that Steve Lavin is a great guy but not a very good coach. This was a game that was there for the Red Storm to win, they couldn't. Lavin is in his 4th year at St John's- he is 27-34 in conference play.
9) Mississippi State 76, Ole Miss 72-- Bulldogs took advantage of the last game of Marshall Henderson's suspension to upset their in-state rivals, who have a decent amount of talent surrounding Henderson. State outscored them 15-6 in last 5:00 of this game.
8) California 88, Oregon State 83-- Beavers honored Gary Payton at the half, when they led Cal by 10, then they fell apart in second half. Could be Craig Robinson's seat is getting a little hot in Corvallis-- he is 35-67 against Pac-12 opponents-- this is his sixth season at Oregon State.
7) Wichita State 72, Missouri State 69 ot-- Shockers were down 18 at half, rallied to stay unbeaten- they were still down 4 with 1:00 to go. Even on the road and playing from behind, Wichita outscored Bears 31-11 on the line.
6) Nevada 62, Utah State 54-- Wolf Pack upsets Utah State, is surprise 4-0 and on top in Mountain West. Deonte Burton is Nevada's best player; he is amongst nation's leaders in minutes played.
5) Tex-San Antonio 85, Charlotte 77-- Roadrunners open their first year in C-USA by winning SU as home underdogs of 8 and 11.5 points. Not bad.
4) Portland State 81, Montana State 78, 3ot-- Griz is now 1-3 in Big Sky, as Northern Colorado has emerged as Weber State's top challenger at top of league. Vikings were 12-27 from arc- big win for them.
3) Virginia 76, NC State 45-- Cavaliers lost by 35 at Tennessee in its last pre-conference game, then won first three ACC games by 12-23-31- they ran out to a 30-9 lead in this game. Not a lot of consistent teams right now.
2) Georgetown 70, Butler 67 ot-- Bulldogs are 0-4 in Big East with three losses in OT- they outscored Hoyas 25-8 on foul line but were 2-21 from arc. Early returns suggest the AAC is better than the Big East right now.
1) Bad Beat of the Day: Minnesota (+10.5) loses 87-75 in OT at Michigan State. Gophers scored late in regulation to force OT. Richard Pitino has an improved team, but is 2-2 in league, with two close losses. If you invested in the Gophers in this game, the gambling gods owe you one.
Saturday's List of 13: Ranking the months of the year....
I do this once a year or so; seems like a good idea at the start, then I can never decide about the rankings. Anyway, here is this year's ranking.......
12) January—Dog days of winter; if not for MLK Day (a welcome Monday off) this month would be even worse. NFL is basically over, Super Bowl is next month. All you got is conference play in college basketball and some golf-NBA-NHL. Actually, next year, January’s rating could pass February, if the college football playoff is as big as I think it’ll be, but that is next year. There is nothing worse than 31 days of January weather.
11) February—Similar to January, just three less days; horrible weather, the same sports, but at least spring training and NASCAR start later in the month, which helps some. Plus it gets dark later in February, which is also good and now the Super Bowl is this month.
10) May—Not lot going on in May, though they did move NFL Draft there this year; NBA/NHL playoffs wind down and there is Memorial Day weekend, but its mostly a baseball/golf month, with improving weather.
9) June—Not a lot happens in June, but the weather is usually really good and I get a lot of research done. Getting married in June turned out to be a bad idea (for her), but that’s over and done with.
8) March—NCAA tournament is my favorite event of the year, but it’s the end of winter weather, spring training baseball can only take us so far, so this month still lags behind the rest. If I lived in Arizona/Florida, this might be near the top of the list, with exhibition baseball games to go to every day.
7) November—Very, very busy month for this website; college football, NFL, NBA-NHL, college basketball. There will be some changes this coming fall to how I deal with November here. I get three holidays this month which helps, but the weather also gets worse and it often snows in November. Snow is not something I enjoy.
6) April—First couple weeks of baseball are a breath of fresh air after winter, which jumps this month over May; NHL-NBA playoffs start and first two rounds are kind of busy, plus I always take a Las Vegas vacation this month, which never hurts.
They also release the NFL schedule in April, so research for the fall can begin. Any month win an annual Vegas vacation gets a boost.
5) December—Almost as busy as November, but throw in Christmas, New Year’s Eve, bowl games, my birthday and an annual trip to Las Vegas and you get an improved rating. Weather can be hideous, but people put up lights and sing songs, which helps. Plus this December I’ll be retiring from my day job, which could make it Month #1 for 2014.
4) August—Socially in Albany, August is the best month of the year, which is like being the tallest guy in a midget colony. Saratoga race track makes this area a social hot spot for most of the month, there’s always stuff to do at night and the weather is still good. Plus NFL preseason games are on and we’re getting ready for college football.
3) October—This is lightest month of the year for this website; you have baseball playoffs, football, golf is winding down with an occasional trip to the desert (I highly recommend Halloween in Las Vegas—it is TREMENDOUS). NHL is starting up.
October is a month to recharge for the busy two months that follow it.
2) September—Love it when football season starts; baseball season is winding down, it is still summer weather, plus you get to laugh at the kids going back to school, since we remember how much we hated that when we were kids.
1) July—I spend couple weeks in Las Vegas every summer, going to NBA Summer League games at UNLV; underrated, affordable fun. Plus it is indoors and Vegas is way hot in July. Like 112 or 113 degrees hot.
Racetrack starts in Saratoga when I get home, and we start prepping for football season. Every day is warm in July and there’s a lot to do.
To me, July is the best month of the year.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.....
13) Redskins hired Jay Gruden as their new head coach; he used to be a coach in the Arena League, but quit to go back to playing QB on a different team, probably only time that’s ever happened. Washington will apparently keep Jim Haslett as defensive coordinator.
12) Not sure how Bengals’ DC Mike Zimmer isn't a head coach? Does he not interview well? I heard him talk on HBO’s Hard Knocks, seems fairly normal; he is the only person who has been an NFL coordinator every year since 2000, without becoming a HC, demoted or unemployed.
11) In college ball, Alabama OC Doug Nussmeier moves on to Michigan, where he can tutor fellow lefty tosser Shane Morris. Nussmeier was a fine QB at Idaho and was a backup QB with the Saints. Would guess Gardner goes back to WR for Michigan, but that’s not based on anything they said, just makes sense for a lefty OC to be coaching a lefty QB.
10) Apparently Alabama let Nussmeier walk because Nick Saban wants to bring Lane Kiffin in as OC, all of which could make the third Saturday in October a lot more interesting, when the Tide traditionally plays Tennessee, Kiffin’s old team.
9) UAB’s head coach Garrick Magee quit to become Bobby Petrino’s OC at Louisville; now there’s a slap in the face, quitting as a I-A head coach to become an offensive coordinator. Maybe he was just beating the posse out of town, since the Blazers were 5-19 under Magee’s watch.
8) Petrino is making $24.5M for seven years at Louisville, with a $10M buyout; who else would hire this disloyal human? Western Kentucky is second team he’s quit on in $hort order for greener pa$ture$.
7) Want to feel warmer? Dodgers-Padres are ESPN’s first Sunday night game on March 30. Opening Day is the 31st; LA-Arizona are playing two games that count in Australia before that, so the Dodgers will play three games before 27 other teams play their season opener.
6) Knicks have to trade JR Smith, no matter how bad a loss they take on the deal; he basically gave Mike Woodson the finger when he untied a Philly player’s shoelace after being explicitly by Woodson told not to do that anymore. Lack of respect is a deal-breaker; even if they cut him, he has to go.
5) Fordham lost 87-81 at Duquesne Wednesday; they had an odd stat line, making 16-41 from arc, 10-30 inside arc, 13-22 on foul line. Not very often a team takes 40+ treys in a 40:00 game.
4) If you care about such things, Pete Rose will be signing autographs at Art of Music in Mandalay Place in Las Vegas on February 1, then every day from Feb. 9th til the end of the month. There is a very good pizza place called Slice of Pizza right down the hall from Art of Music, probably a better investment than paying $75 to get Pete’s autograph.
3) New Jersey Giant starters lost 91 games to injuries this past regular season, most of any team in the NFL.
2) 16 people didn’t vote for Greg Maddux for the Hall of Fame. It’s a free country and those people are entitled to do as they please, but that doesn’t mean it makes an ounce of sense.
1) If DirecTV carries the new WWE Network but still doesn’t have the Pac-12 Network, someone’s getting a phone call.
Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Popular wisdom is that the first round byes are a huge advantage in NFL playoffs, but over last eight years, #1 seeds are just 7-9 SU in this round of the playoffs, 4-12 vs spread. That’s a fairly big sample size, eight years. Lot of pressure on the #1 seeds to take advantage of their strong position; doesn’t happen every year.
12) Over last three years, #2 seeds, who also get the coveted bye, are 6-0 SU, 5-1 vs spread, and the non-cover was by half a point.
11) They’re talking about expanding the NFL playoffs to 14 teams, which would eliminate byes for the #2 seeds. Sounds like a ploy to fatten the network TV contracts, which means it was probably Jerry Jones’ idea.
10) Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but the writer who didn’t vote for Greg Maddux for the Hall of Fame because he played in the steroids era voted for Jack Morris, who also pitched part of his career in that era. Anyone who things Morris was close to being as good as Maddux is just wrong. I’m not sure how anyone can leave Maddux off his ballot.
9) Gaylord Perry wrote a book that chronicled how he cheated as a Major Leaguer and he is in the Hall of Fame, so not sure how you can keep the steroids guys out. Cheating is cheating, no?
8) Louisville brought Bobby Petrino back as football coach, which is tough to justify from a PR standpoint but from a pure football standpoint is a strong move. Now they just have to keep him off his motorcycle and away from job ads on the Internet. All that matters is winning, and Petrino wins.
7) Next year’s Western Kentucky-Arkansas State football game will feature a school on its third coach in three years against a school on its fifth coach in five years. Game should be sponsored by Kinko’s and a moving van company.
6) If you don’t think big-time sports help a school’s overall profile, consider this: applications to attend Florida Gulf Coast are 35% higher this year than they were at this time last year. 35% higher. Think last year’s wins in the NCAA tournament helped at all?
5) The older San Diego State’s Steve Fisher gets, the more he looks like the late John Wooden. Fisher is this generation’s Jerry Tarkanian, building a great program at a school with zero basketball tradition while taking a lot of transfers. He is a great coach.
4) Do the President and Vice-President ever drive a car during their time in office? The consensus of people I’ve asked is no, although GW Bush drove a truck on his ranch during his vacations. I wouldn’t want to go eight years without driving, even if I did have a staff at my beck and call.
3) So If the Prez and VP don’t drive, then they don’t have to pay car insurance, right? That means they have to re-apply for insurance when they become civilians again, right? Would someone dare turn a down a man in his 60’s who hasn’t driven in eight years?
\2) It would be very cool to own the car the President owned before he became President; am assuming he sells it, since he won’t be using it while in office. You don't think his car sits in a garage for eight years, do you?
1) By the way, I would like a vote for the Hall of Fame; I watch as much baseball as humanly possible, 6+ hours a day seven days a week for six months. I’m pretty sure I’d know enough to vote for Greg Maddux, at least.
Wednesday's List of 13: Ranking the NFL survivors.......
13) You’d think Jimbo Fisher would take a nice vacation after Florida State won national title, but January is a huge recruiting month; college football coaches recruit their butts off up until Signing Day, which I think is February 5 this year. You want to win games, you better recruit well, and this is the main month for that. Monday night’s win was a pretty good infomercial for the Seminoles, don’t ya think?
12) Average attendance for the 35 bowls this year was 48,793, lowest since 1979. Addition of several minor bowls have hurt the overall average, and there’s going to be three more next year, including one in the Bahamas.
11) Surprised no one has scooped up Johan Santana as a free agent this winter; he should be healthy after arm surgery in 2011, not sure what kind of $$ he is asking for, but he’s going to help someone.
10) San Diego State’s basketball win at Kansas Sunday is a boost for the whole Mountain West Conference, raising the Aztecs’ profile, so every team that beats them also gets a lift. Could result in the league getting an additional bid on Selection Sunday.
9) Let me see, the college football title game was in Pasadena; the Super Bowl is in New Jersey. Advantage, college football.
Ranking the eight remaining NFL playoff teams……
8) Colts—Looked very dead when down 38-10 at home Sunday. Indy rallied to win, now head to frigid Foxboro this week. Since 2001, Belichick is 8-1 in this round, 4-4-1 vs spread.
7) Chargers—Last four Super Bowl champs were the Eagles’ opponent in their home opener. Chargers were that team this year. I’m just sayin’….
6) Saints—Got their first-ever road playoff win in Philly, go for two in row this week; their worst game this season was a 34-7 primetime loss at Seattle in Week 13- they'll play better this week. Will it be enough?
5) Patriots—At some point the Patriots’ negligence in surrounding Brady with good skill people is going to bite them; they can beat Houston/Cleveland with what they have, but not elite teams. I’m saying they go out next week.
4) 49ers— Lost 10-9 at home to Carolina in Week x. Facing a much tougher defense and a more mobile QB this week. At least the weather will be better.
3) Panthers—Home underdogs against a team they already beat after they get a bye? Something tells me Ron Rivera is playing the “no respect” card this week.
2) Seahawks—Bengals were dominant at home this year; look how much good it did them in playoffs. Saints already got squashed here once this year, Seahawks go for the sweep Saturday.
1) Broncos—Wonder if Manning would’ve rather faced the Chargers or his old team the Colts here? My theory has always been that divisional rivalries are more likely to provide upsets, so if I was a Denver fan, I’d rather they’d have played the Colts. San Diego is on a serious roll right now, and McCoy worked with #18 for a year, so that’s an advantage.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde pointed out Monday that new Texas football coach Charlie Strong has always shunned the non-football parts of coaching, which often take up a lot of time at a bigtime college program.
Forde says if Strong doesn’t adjust those ways at Texas, which has its own TV network, his stay in Austin might not be a happy one. Coaches have a lot of off-field responsibility at a place like Texas, which is why the coach makes $5M a year. No one doubts that Strong can/will win with Longhorns, but part of his job is to help keep his rabid fanbase informed, and that ain’t always been something he has embraced at Louisville.
12) If you like watching coaches flip out, check out highlights of Iowa-Wisconsin Sunday night, when Hawkeye coach Fran McCaffery loses his mind in Madison and gets tossed, while his team has a lead, which it then lost, never to regain. This isn’t the first anger management episode for McCaffery, who voiced a displeasure for overly physical play whole coaching here in Albany for Siena.
If you don’t like physical play, why in the name of Rick Mahorn would you go coach in the Big Dozen, where Michigan State occasionally practices in shoulder pads?
Hawkeyes have a nice team; they need their coach to have more poise.
11) Marshawn Lynch gets fined $50,000 for not talking to the press; someone buy this guy a copy of Bull Durham, so he can watch the scene where Kevin Costner instructs Tim Robbins on the art of the using boring clichés in interviews. Why spent thousands of dollars when you don’t have to? You think Belichick likes talking to the press? No, so he bores them to death with cliches, and saves his money.
10) Sometimes life is simple: I’m looking at hotels for a future vacation- one place has an actual landing pad for helicopters. I correctly decide that this place is too expensive for me. On to the next choice.
9) Legitimate question: I’d love to know if Brad Stevens is enjoying himself coaching the Celtics. Not the wins/losses, we can see those in the paper, but the mechanics of the job, compared to coaching Butler, which looks to be in very deep water (at least this year) in the new Big East.
8) Knicks are 8-2 when Carmelo Anthony has 4+ assists in a game, 3-17 when he does not. Not only does he have to move the ball, the person he moves it to has to make the shot. Iman Shumpert had an excellent Texas swing last week; can he keep it up?
7) Dolphins’ coach Joe Philbin fired offensive coordinator Mike Sherman Monday, which had to be a sad day, since Sherman was Philbin's English teacher in high school. Am guessing that decision came from up above.
6) Lot of underclassmen WRs declared for the draft this weekend; the Combine will be very interesting the day they all work out. Draft is going to be very deep at that position.
5) Excellent decision by UCLA’s Brett Hundley to come back to school for his junior year; QB’s need to stay in school and play as many games as possible, so they’re game-ready when they get to the pros. Bill Parcells didn’t like drafting QBs who had played less than three years in college.
4) There is a TV show called “Bad Ink” about a business that fixes bad tattoos. Will check it out and report back; it has to be better than lot of those other fabricated “reality” shows, which aren’t very real at all.
3) Auburn coach Gus Malzahn cashed in $575K in bonuses this year, in his first year at Auburn. Malzahn used to be a high school coach; he must think he hit the freakin’ lottery, but he would have added another $625K last night if Auburn had hung on for the win in what was a great game.
2) If you like to read good writing, really good writing, check out Joe Posnanski, either on Twitter or on his blog. He might be the best sportswriter in America right now.
1) Now that the games are over in college football until August, the real competition starts for the next four weeks; recruiting season. Games in 2018 and 2019 will be decided by where high school kids decide to go to college over the next four weeks. It is highly competitive stuff; a book called Meat Market is the best book I’ve ever read about recruiting. If you like college football, its well worth your time.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.....
13) Colts 45, Chiefs 44-- KC started season 9-0, wound up 11-6, blowing 38-10 lead here, which almost never happens. Considering they were 2-14 last year, this was a great season, but a bitter ending.....Chargers' win keeps a Manning-Colts playoff game from happening, at least this week.
12) Saints 26, Eagles 24-- New Orleans had 434-256 edge in total yardage, but needed FG at gun to win it. Saints are now 1-5 in road playoff games in their 47-year history. Eagles only ran the ball for 80 yards.
11) Chargers 27, Bengals 10-- Cincy won/covered all eight home games in regular season, then went -4 in turnovers here. Dalton had an awful game for a team that hasn't won a playoff game since 1990, before the Internet existed. If you want to criticize Marvin Lewis, check out the Bengals' history before he became their coach-- very, very ugly.
10) 49ers 23, Packers 20-- Kaepernick's running was difference-maker in a very interesting game. All three home teams who played outdoors got beat; Colts were only home winner, and they were down 38-10.
9) This is first time in ACC basketball history that Duke/North Carolina/ NC State all lost their conference opener in same season.
8) Early leader for best new word of 2014: Twidicule-- getting ripped on Twitter. If you're not on Twitter, you're missing out- it can be great fun, lot of information out there. Freedom of expression is a wonderful thing.
7) UCLA 107, USC 73-- Steve Alford wins first Battle of LA with Andy Enfield, who doesn't have near enough good players right now. Eventually he will, then these games will become must-watch TV.
6) Wake Forest 73, North Carolina 67-- Deacons survived 19-33 shooting on line to win here. Tar Heels are as erratic as any team I can remember, but this is a big win for Jeff Bzdelik, who has lot of critics in Winston-Salem.
5) Just when you thought Southern Illinois' basketball season couldn't get worse, their team bus got stranded in heavy snow on I-57 Sunday night, after Salukis got pounded by Illinois State. They're expected to stay on the bus overnight, with enough food/gas to remain safe.
SIU is 4-11, their coach Barry Hinson became an Intermet sensation when he publicly ripped the players who didn't hide their disdain for him- the coach's son-in-law tragically died two days later. Hinson and two assistants went recruiting after the game and aren't on the bus. Must be a happy group.
4) Odd fact; in 1972, Miami Dolphins went 17-0, the last undefeated team in the NFL, but they had to win the AFC title game at Pittsburgh. Anyone remember how they decided home field for playoffs back then? I can't.
3) FOX Sports1 is keeping Bill Raftery busy; he did two games on New Year's Eve (St John's-Xavier/Villanova-Butler), did Oregon-Colorado game Sunday. Good to hear Raftery doing games outside the east-- think he's the best analyst on college hoop right now-- him and Greg Anthony.
2) Pro sports teams often bring motivational speakers in the night before a big game, to get the players focused; 49ers brought in Ric Flair to speak to the squad Saturday night. If you don't know, Flair is a former pro wrestler, who is a bigger than life personality with the catch phrase, "To be the man, you gotta beat the man!"
Dustin Pedroia gave his thumbs-up on Twitter for Flair as a motivational speaker; can't argue with the results, 49ers got a big road win.
1) RIP Mr Jerry Coleman, an American hero who was a Marine pilot in two wars, as well as a terrific second baseman and later an announcer for 30+ years, mostly with the Padres, passed away Sunday at age 89.
If you ever heard him on the air, you could tell he was a very nice man with a sense of humor and keen wit. But flying in two wars, that takes onions man, flying a plane when people are trying to shoot you down. RIP, sir.
Sunday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a winter day........
13) Quite a day for the NFL, with two tremendous playoff games; feel bad for Chief fans, going two decades without a playoff win and then having this happen, blowing a 38-10 lead in the second half. Colts face Denver if the Bengals win Sunday.
12) 10 of the last 13 Super Bowl winners won at least one road playoff game that season.
11) Titans fired Mike Munchak; not sure what took them so long, or if he wants the Penn State job, or if Penn State wants him. Not saying Munchak deserved to be fired, but generally those moves are made little more quickly.
10) If you care about such things, favorites covered the last six national title games in college football.
9) Pitt 74, NC State 62-- Panthers fell behind 17-2 on road in their first-ever ACC basketball game, then stormed from behind to win.
8) Georgetown 77, St John's 60-- Someone at ESPN is going to lose their job when Steve Lavin returns to the network in a year or two. This game was 42-16 at halftime, and Georgetown isn't that good.
7) University of Portland has a machine that tracks the arc of a shooter's shot as he practices; guy on TV said 43 degrees is ideal. Alrighty then.
6) College basketball refs lean on replay way too much; there are three of them, how can they have to look at so many replays?
5) Indirect effect of Syracuse going to ACC: local channel 51, which no one watches, picked up Saturday noon ACC basketball package, probably because Syracuse is now in the ACC. They never had this package before. I live two hours east of Syracuse; lot of Orange fans here.
4) East Carolina-Tulane-Tulsa are joining the AAC next year, replacing Louisville/Rutgers. This ain't a positive move for the league, especially when it comes to basketball. Not a lot of tradition there.
3) Knicks lost Friday night after JR Smith jacked a 3 with 0:21 left and score tied; they could've held ball for last shot. He said he thought the Knicks were losing, which explains a lot about JR Smith-- low basketball IQ.
2) Looking forward to the USC-UCLA hoop game this afternoon; first meeting between Enfield-Alford, in what should be an excellent rivalry. It is already a big rivalry in the recruiting arena; now we'll see it on the court.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars finished 4-12; all four teams they beat fired their coach. Thats a bad season.
Saturday's List of 13: Idle stuff on a frigid night........
13) Excellent night of college football; too bad the two games were on at the same time. Then again, watching the Clemson game saved me from muting Gus Johnson on FOX.
12) How do people who drive the snow plows get to work?
11) Bill DiBlasio, the new mayor of New York City, looks at least a little bit like Rex Ryan.
10) Going forward, Alabama is going to see a lot of no-huddle offenses; they'll adjust, because Nick Saban is smart, but they looked shaky in both Auburn, Oklahoma games when the other offense went real fast.
9) Surprised to see the Ivy League ranked as the #13 college hoop league right now; thats as high as I an remember them being ranked.
8) If you care about such things, under is 19-12-1 with three bowls left to go this season.
7) Of the 12 NFL playoff teams, Seattle (36), Carolina (42) allowed the least amount of 20+ yard plays; Chiefs (78), Packers (77), Denver (75) allowed the most.
6) On offense, Eagles led with 99 plays of 20+ yards; Carolina has the least of the 12 playoff teams, with 43.
5) Chargers (-4), Packers (-3) are only two playoff teams with negative turnover ratios.
4) NFL assigned referee Jeff Triplette to the Charger-Bengal game, which is surprising, since it is generally thought that Triplette is one of the worst refs the NFL has. Feel bad for the refs in Green Bay- they're going to freeze their butts off.
3) Last time the AFC West had three playoff teams was '93, with Chiefs, Broncos and the LA Raiders.
2) If you like pro basketball, check out the D-League some night; their games are shown on a channel on YouTube for free. Watched a game tonight; it is like the NBA, except there are no stars to dominate the ball. Fun to watch.
1) It is 6 below zero outside as I type this; it is 29 days before the Super Bowl; can you imagine if the Super Bowl was in New Jersey this weekend? It would be a debacle, 75,000 people paying huge money to freeze their butts off. Miami-New Orleans-Tampa-Phoenix; there's your Super Bowl rotation.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff on a snowy day........
13) Chicago Bears locked up Jay Cutler thru 2020 with a new contract; whether you like the signing or not, have to like the decisive nature of it. They didn’t leave anyone hanging and now have their future course plotted. All Cutler has to do now is play better, a lot better.
12) It also means no starting QBs will be free agents this winter; only way to upgrade at QB is thru the draft or getting lucky with a backup/free agent.
11) If you look at NFL Wild Card games over the last 10 years, favorites are 14-6 vs spread in the games involving the #’s 3-6 seeds.
10) Over last two years, favorites are 4-0 vs spread in games where spread was 4 or less points. This is the 4th time in five years the NFC’s #5 seed is favored over the 4-seed, but the #4 seed won four of last five years.
9) Bowl losers who return to the same bowl the next year are 14-14 vs spread; 6-5 if favored, 8-9 if the underdog.
8) Toronto Raptors have gotten better since trading leading scorer Rudy Gay to the Kings; in their first ten games without Gay, Raptors were 7-3 and averaging 30 more passes per game. Ball moves better when one guy isn’t taking the majority of the shots.
7) You see a college basketball score that surprises you, check out the box score; Pepperdine upset BYU the other night. Waves were 13-24 from the arc, BYU 1-11. That’s how upsets happen.
6) Creighton had odd numbers in its easy win over Marquette Tuesday; Bluejays were just 4-4 from foul line and 12-27 inside the arc, but made 13-35 outside the arc. Rarely does a team with almost no offense inside win so easily, but Creighton beat Marquette by 18 in its Big East debut.
5) Over the last 14 years, Dallas Cowboys are 2-12 in Week 17; in a league where very few teams have a big margin for error, this is very bad.
4) Oregon State/Texas Tech both lost their last five regular season games, then went out and won their bowl games easily. Go figure. Handicapping bowls can be a very frustrating experience.
3) Not pleased with people bashing Bill O’Brien for leaving Penn State. No way was he told the truth when they hired him, about how deep the trouble was they were in with the NCAA. He busted his butt for two years, kept the Lions relevant and now has moved on to a much better job in the NFL, with a team that was a division favorite four months ago. Penn State can't go to a bowl until 2016, when current freshmen are juniors/seniors.
It’s a business, plain and simple. If O’Brien doesn’t win games, he's going to get fired; he has to make as much money as he can, while he can.
2) Hard to believe, but Chargers didn’t play games on artificial turf this season and Chiefs only played one; both teams are on carpet this weekend.
1) Tip of the cap to retiring linebacker London Fletcher, who played 16 games a year for 16 years, after playing D-III ball in college at John Carroll (Don Shula’s alma mater). Fletcher won a Super Bowl ring with the Rams; he had a terrific career that he should be very proud of.
Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) New Year's Day used to be one of the best days of the year, culmination of the college football season, but the BCS system put an end to that. Not sure why they have four early games on at once with the Rose Bowl/Fiesta Bowl on TV unopposed, but thats the way things are.
Curious to see how things change next year with the new playoff system.
12) NHL struck gold with its outdoor games; 105,491 fans sat in the snow all day and watched Toronto beat Detroit in a shootout. It was estimated that almost half the fans came across the border to root for the Leafs. Road team is now 6-2 in NHL's outdoor games.
11) Mike Emrick is the best play-by-play announcer in any sport; its a treat to listen to his enthusiasm calling a game.
10) Buccaneers finally got it right and hired Lovie Smith; Tampa Bay is at Chicago next year- expect to see it as an early season primetime game.
9) Liked seeing injured LSU QB Zach Mettenberger wearing a headset, taking notes during the Tigers' bowl game; too often, injured players seem like an outcast on the sidelines. Mettenberger was like an assistant coach; it had to help young QB Anthony Jennings in his first college start.
8) You wonder if coaches at Georgia/LSU weren't totally unhappy about playing young QBs in their bowl games; it gives them a head start on next season. Its sad for a senior QB to miss out playing in his last bowl, but next fall, the experience those two QBs got Wednesday will be a big help.
7) South Carolina RB Bruce Ellington made a couple excellent catches in the Gamecocks' win over Wisconsin; easy to visualize him as a player similar to Dexter McClusker of the Chiefs, a dependable 3rd down back.
6) ESPN GameDay needs to do a profile on Mrs Jim Mora; her husband was a terrific NFL coach who became famous thru post-game sound bites; Jim Jr is a terrific coach at UCLA who seems a lot more pleasant than his dad. Would be a good feature to hear from their wife/mother.
5) Harvard beat Boston College 73-58, sixth year in row Crimson beat BC. Hard to be a viable ACC program if you can't beat an Ivy League team. In its attempt to get better in football, ACC has hurt itself as a basketball league.
4) Since 2004, teams that won a bowl game, then returned to the same bowl the next year are 11-15 against the spread, 1-3 this year.
3) There are 256 games in the NFL's regular season; this year, in 28.5% of those games (73), one side got 70%+ of betting action. Those teams were an surprisingly bad 31-42 (42.5%) against the spread.
2) LSU won the Outback Bowl, so Outback restaurants are giving away free blooming onions today if you go in and say "Outback Bowl". It isn't often you can get something for nothing; today is one of those days.
1) No doubt in my mind, most interesting part of the NFL Draft will be which team drafts Johnny Manziel. To me, he is a lot like Fran Tarkenton; others have compared his daring antics to Brett Favre. No matter what, he is must-watch TV; his career will be interesting to follow.
Wednesday's List of 13: Things to look for in 2014.......
13) College football playoff is going to be a huge deal; picking those four teams might very well make Twitter explode. You’re going to have a diverse committee of people picking those teams; going to be an interesting debate.
12) Instant replay in baseball is going to be dicier than you think; those neighborhood plays at second base on double plays are going to be challenged now, and some middle infielder is going to get hurt because he has to stay in there and make sure his foot is on the bag when he takes the throw.
11) NFL Draft is May 8-10; hoping the Rams reap another bonanza thanks to the RGIII trade, maybe even parlaying the Redskins’ top pick this year into even more draft picks down the road. It’s the formula Jimmy Johnson used to make the Cowboys a power.
10) Don’t take this the wrong way, but if the Super Bowl in Swamp Stadium goes really smoothly, they’ll be tempted to have more cold weather Super Bowls. Championship games should be played in as close to ideal conditions as possible. Some hideous weather on Ground Hog Day could discourage future cold weather Super Bowls.
9) I really hope DirecTV picks up Pac-12 Network; also curious to see what the SEC Network is going to look like when it kicks off next summer.
8) I can finally stop complaining about the FOX Saturday baseball Game of the Week blacking out all the other games played at the same time; if you have the MLB package, all Saturday afternoon games will be shown. About freakin’ time.
7) There is a movie coming out where Kevin Costner is GM of the Cleveland Browns and Denis Leary is Browns’ coach; this has the potential to be really good, especially Leary as the coach, if they let his character rant now and then.
6) I’m making an attempt at giving up soda (again) this year; did it from 2010 until early last year, but in an attempt to lose some weight, am trying again. Wish me well.
5) Mariners/Rangers both spent a fortune on free agent position players this winter; can the A’s win their third straight AL West title?
4) Pat Riley has a copyright on the term “three-peat”; will he capitalize on it this year, if his Miami Heat win their third NBA title in a row?
3) Which college basketball team will emerge from nowhere and become this March’s Florida Gulf Coast, the upstart Cinderella that takes down a big name team? The gap between the bigger schools and smaller schools is widening in college hoop and it will continue to do so until high school kids can go straight to the NBA, but upsets still happen now and then.
2) I’m hoping that 2014 is a year where this country figures out that free speech is an essential part of American life; if something offends you, block it out, but everyone has to have a right to express themselves. Its why God invented the mute button.
1) Hope you keep reading this website as we head towards the end of our 13th year on the Internet; I wish you health and happiness this year, and also a lot of winners.
Tuesday's List of 12: Ranking the NFL's playoff teams......
12) Chargers—Were lined up illegally trying to block Chiefs’ GW FG that missed Sunday; refs didn’t call it. Stupid rule to begin with, but seems like a hard one to screw up. I mean, there are three 300-pound guys who aren’t where they’re legally supposed to be. Anyway, if you have the onions to run a fake punt in OT, you deserve to win, so good for Mike McCoy.
11) Packers—Aaron Rodgers was a modern-day Willis Reed Sunday, coming back from injury to lead his team to a last-minute win by throwing a TD on 4th down; tremendous exhibition of guts. He got help from the refs early; don’t hit the guy with the broken collarbone, but still, excellent performance.
10) Chiefs- Kudos to KC’s front office/coaches for developing enough talent to almost win a game when they sat out 20 starters. This team won two games LY; now they’re a playoff team. Andy Reid doesn’t look good in red, but he is your Coach of the Year.
9) Bengals—Won/covered all eight home games, which doesn’t happen much; they’ll struggle on road, but hopefully they’ll win a playoff game to take some heat off Marvin Lewis, who has been criticized by nitwits for not having playoff success. Nitwits forget that before Lewis got to Cincy, the Bengals were a freakin’ joke. He has done an excellent job.
8) Eagles—How was Chip Kelly an assistant coach at New Hampshire for fifteen years? Seriously, all of a sudden someone discovered he was really smart? Hey, Art Briles/Gus Malzahn were high school coaches.....
7) Colts—Not really sure what to make of them; they got spanked at home by the Rams, but beat 49ers-Seattle. Think spread on their game with Chiefs is little light, Luck having big edge at QB over Alex Smith.
6) 49ers—How did Cardinals/Ravens cut Anquan Boldin loose? Excellent player, a big WR with great hands/toughness. He started out at Florida State. as a QB. Curious why he has played on three different teams.
5) Saints— Falcons could’ve done them a huge favor by upsetting Carolina, giving Saints a bye/home field in conference semis. Now road-challenged NO has to go to Philly and win. Interesting game.
4) Patriots—If Brady doesn’t win MVP, there should be no such award; his best receiver is looking at life in prison, the next two best guys are hurt half the time, yet Patriots continue to win. Brady is one of the three best QBs I’ve ever seen, in terms of leadership/winning, and I’m no New England fan.
3) Panthers—Lost at home to Seattle, so they have to be behind Seahawks, but they’ve got defense to win on foreign soil. Need Steve Smith healthy; not sure if he’ll be back for first playoff game.
2) Seahawks—Not sold on Russell Wilson as a great QB; if you make him beat you passing, not sure he can. Their defense plays with great energy, they’ll be very tough to beat on their home field, and have already posted a shutout at Swamp Stadium, where the Super Bowl is being played.
1) Broncos—Shaky on this ranking with Von Miller done for year, but #18 has put up amazing numbers this year, should get Welker back for playoffs. CBS is praying for Pats-Broncos AFC title game.
Monday's List of 16: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday.......
16) Panthers 21, Falcons 20-- Carolina had nine sacks, as Falcons ended up 2-6 in games decided by less than seven points. Panthers get first round bye in playoffs, which could help WR Steve Smith get healthy for playoffs.
15) Packers 33, Bears 28-- Aaron Rodgers is pretty damn good, throwing for 318 yards, including the division-winning 48-yard pass to Randall Cobb with 0:38 left, in his first game action since November 4. Legendary stuff. Easy to look at the Bears and wonder if firing Lovie Smith was the right move.
14) Titans 16, Texans 10-- Houston is the first team in NFL history to start season 2-0 and finish 2-14; rumors were running wild Saturday night that they want to hire Penn State's Bill O'Brien as their new coach. If O'Brien leaves, it could be Titans' Munchak, a PSU alum, who replaces him in Happy Valley. .
13) Steelers 20, Browns 7-- Credit to Pitt for clawing back to 8-8 after its horrific 0-4 start; if Chiefs make a 41-yard FG at end of regulation, Steelers would've made the playoffs. Not sure why, but Browns are apparently going to fire Rob Chudzinski after one season as HC.
12) Giants 20, Redskins 6-- Washington would have 2nd pick in the draft, except they traded it to the Rams for RGIII; Skins would've been accused of tanking games if they owned that pick, thats how bad they were in December. Whoever replaces Shanahan will be Snyder's 7th coach in 15 years.
11) Bengals 34, Ravens 17-- Cincinnati won/covered all eight home games, and will host San Diego in playoffs next week. Baltimore was awful in red zone, scoring five TDs on last 20 red zone drives. Game they won in Detroit when Tucker kicked the six FGs was a red flag- no TDs.
10) Colts 30, Jaguars 10-- Underrated story is how well Indy has done in post-Manning era; not that easy to replace a legend. Not sure where Jaguars are headed, but an offseason with no changes in the front office/coaching staff might help. Stability is good.
9) Eagles 24, Cowboys 22-- Dallas fought hard but fell short and finishes 8-8 for third year in row. Eagles get home game with Saints next week- not many people thought Kelly would do this well in pros. Odd decision to throw ball on 4th-and-1 on Philly 40 down 17-16 was Cowboys' undoing in this game.
8) Jets 20, Dolphins 7-- All Miami had to do to make playoffs was beat either Buffalo or the Jets; they scored one TD on 23 drives in two games. Rex Ryan went 8-8 with a rookie QB; he deserves to stay on as coach. .
7) Vikings 14, Lions 13-- Detroit went +2 in turnovers, still managed to lose 15th game in last 16 visits to Twin Cities. Minnesota will play outdoors next two years, while their new stadium is built. If I was a Lion fan and Detroit does not fire coach Schwartz, someone would be getting an angry phone call.
6) Patriots 34, Bills 20-- 4:25 start shows how little NFL cares for fans who buy tickets; how was this not a 1:00 start? Its freakin' December 29, in winter in the Northeast. Not a critical game, so not a TV decision. Patriots are 20-1 in last 21 games with Buffalo, winning last 13 played in Foxboro.
5) Saints 42, Bucs 17-- TV types saying Saints would be better off next week in a dome, but they got waxed in St Louis and barely beat Atlanta in the Georgia Dome. If you own the Bucs, do you let Penn State have Schiano?
4) Broncos 34, Raiders 14-- Oakland lost its last six games, was outscored 66-16 in first half of its last two home games. Where do they look for a QB? McGloin? Sanchez? Draft? They're out of salary cap hell now, so they should field a better team next year. for Denver, its Super Bowl or bust.
3) 49ers 23, Cardinals 20-- Niners opened season with 34-28 home win over Packers, now they'll play playoff game in Lambeau, where Kaepernick's running ability is going to be important. Terrific season for Arizona, just bad timing to be in a tough division.
2) Chargers 27, Chiefs 24, ot-- KC sat 20 of 22 starters, gave QB Daniel his first NFL start and damn near won. Succop pushed game-winning 41-yard FG wide right, a kick that would've put Steelers in playoffs. San Diego makes it to the playoffs; no one thought that was happening.
1) Seahawks 27, Rams 9-- Seattle gets #1 seed in NFC, Rams get #'s 2-13 picks in first round of draft next May. NFL teams should pick backup QBs who can play, not guys who know the offense. Clemens is a good teammate, but you ain't beating anyone good on road with him playing QB.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Looks like Penn State coach Bill O'Brien has emerged as the leading candidate for the Houston Texans' coaching vacancy.
12) Good offenses get first downs on 1st/2nd down; here are the teams with highest %age of first downs on 1st/2nd down:
Cowboys 79.3%, Broncos 76.9%, Cards 76.8%, Chiefs 76.1%
11) Here are the teams with lowest %age of first downs on 1st/2nd down: Titans 65.6%, Ravens 66.2%, Jets 67.1%, Panthers 68.0%
10) Bill Walton gave out his all-time SEC basketball team on the air Saturday night and didn't have anyone from Kentucky on it:
Maravich-Wilkins-Pettit-O'Neal-Barkley. Three LSU guys.
9) If you care about such things, under is 11-3-1 in first 15 bowl games.
8) Five NFL teams didn't put anyone in the Pro Bowl:
7) All three refs who worked the Louisville-Kentucky game worked at the Final Four last spring. Not a coincidence.
6) DePaul's teams are called the Blue Demons; why don't they wear blue road uniforms? Not sure why teams wear black road uniforms.
5) Why would anyone trade for Andrew Bynum? He's played in 24 of a possible 110 games since leaving the Lakers. Seems like a pain in the butt.
4) There are only three NFL games Sunday with no NFL playoff implications and two of those three, Texans-Titans/Redskins-Giants, will determine the #1 pick in the draft in May. Going to be a very interesting Sunday.
3) Rutgers has had five offensive coordinators in the last five years; their coach was so conservative Saturday, the play-by-play guy was calling him out. They fired three more assistant coaches since this season ended; you need continuity to have a good program. Rutgers doesn't have it yet.
2) Houston Rockets are 7-1 vs spread if they played the night before.
1) The Apple TV commercial where the kid films his family's Chirstmas Day might be the best TV commercial of the last twenty years.
Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here....
13) Sam Farmer of the LA Times points out if the Eagles win Sunday, it’ll be the 11th year in a row an NFL team won its division the year after they finished last in the division.
12) You’ll be glad to know I’m not a security risk; got passed thru this different security gate on my Las Vegas trip- didn’t have to take belt, shoes, hat off or take the laptop out of my computer bag. Watching who else went thru that line, it looked like anyone with gray hair got sent there.
11) MAC teams are already 0-4 in bowl games and were favored in three of them. Oy.
10) Curious to see who winds up with this Japanese pitcher Tanaka, who has 53 complete games at age 25, a sure sign he’s been overused. I’ve read six years for $100M, plus the $20M posting fee, which comes out to $20M a year. Good luck there.
9) It needs to be pointed out that two years before Mike Krzyzewski became Duke’s basketball coach, Blue Devils were in the Final Four; the previous coach was Bill Foster, who moved to South Carolina (then an independent) to replace the legendary Frank McGuire.
Foster was annoyed with the Duke administration, in part because they never paved the coach’s parking lot, even after he made the Final Four; he was also a very good coach.
8) Detroit Lions lost their last nine December/January games. Next year, a new coach will be trying to break that streak.
7) James Harden had a weird game Thursday, scoring 27 points while going only 2-9 from the floor. He was 22-25 on foul line, making him the first player to score 27+ points while scoring two or fewer baskets. Hard to do.
6) Reading an article about the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, which used to be the Peach Bowl; chairman of the Chick-fil-A committee is Leeman Bennett, who used to be the coach of the Falcons/Bucs.
Georgia Dome being built saved the old Peach Bowl, which then became the Chick-fil-A; when it was played in old Fulton County Stadium, they had hard time getting good dates/teams to play in it. Now its one of the top six college bowl games, as the dome gave it better flexibility to be played after Christmas and at night.
5) If you care about such things, McDonald’s sausage-egg-cheese biscuits are way better than Dunkin’ Donuts’ but the hot chocolate at DD is much better. People at Dunkin’ Donuts forgot to put the sausage in my sandwich Thursday, a small problem.
4) USC DC Clancy Pendergast got shown the door with Steve Sarkisian bringing in his own DC from Washington, Justin Wilcox. Football coaching can be a nomadic existence, for sure. Pendergast has been a DC in the NFL and will do well; he improved the Trojans’ defense a lot this year, under difficult circumstances, but right now, he needs a new job.
3) 19 of the 32 NFL teams started the same QB all year; the record in the Super Bowl era was last year, when 20 started game, so Roger Goodell’s touch football rules where QB’s are concerned are paying dividends.
2) Penn State can’t go to a bowl until 2016; can they keep coach Bill O’Brien until then? He is sought after by some NFL teams; lot of money to turn down, especially when you consider the hand he was dealt when he took the Penn State job. No way did he know what he was getting into and he’s done very well, going 15-9, but at some point, money talks.
1) I’ve been babbling all fall about the NFL Draft being next April; they’ve actually moved it back until May 8-10, 2014. Not sure why.
Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.........
13) We noted yesterday how Jon Kitna is making around $55,000 for his one week with the Cowboys; he is donating that money to the school district where is an Algebra teacher- that’s really generous.
I wonder if he makes $55,000 a year teaching school.
12) Aaron Rodgers is a go for Sunday in Chicago; line opened with Packers as a 3-point road favorite. 11-point difference in Packer spreads with/without Rodgers is the biggest right now for any NFL player.
11) You look at Kyle Orton, see a player with a 35-34 career W-L record in NFL; not bad. Dallas won’t be important Sunday, though its been a while since Orton started and played a whole game, but its not like he’s Seneca Wallace or Curtis Painter.
10) You want to know why 70% of NBA players are broke within five years of retiring? Dwight Howard bought all his teammates Rolex watches for Christmas. Real ones.
9) If you're interested in such things, over is 23-7 in Detroit Piston games, 12-4 at home, 11-3 on road.
8) Pitt 30, Bowling Green 27-- Freshman James Conner ran the ball for 229 yards and also played some on defensive line, as Pitt survived loss of senior QB Tom Savage in second quarter. Not often an ACC team is underdog to a MAC team in a bowl game.
7) Utah State 21, Northern Illinois 14-- State RB Joey DeMartino ran ball for 143 yards and a TD in his hometown, as Huskies ended season with two straight losses after almost making it to a BCS bowl. Tough end to a terrific career for NIU QB Jordan Lynch, who only ran ball for 39 yards.
6) Odd thing is that the Steelers are 7-8, Arizona 10-5, and Pitt probably has a better chance of making the playoffs, since Cardinals need New Orleans to lose at home to the Bucs, which probably ain’t happening.
5) Quote of the Day, part 2, from Mark Cuban:
"I think Jerry would be crazy to fire Jason Garrett. Not that he would, but the hardest thing to do -- and I’ve said this before -- is hire a head coach. That’s the hardest thing to do in professional sports, in my opinion."
4) Hawks 127, Cavaliers 125, 2ot-- Atlanta is 3rd-best team in East; Jeff Teague hit buzzer beater for the win, offsetting 40 points from Kyrie Irving. Hawks lost Al Horford and Demarre Carroll to injuries
3) Trailblazers 116, Clippers 112 ot-- LaMarcus Aldridge scored 32 points three days after he had his wisdom teeth removed; this was an excellent game.
Chris Paul had 34 points, 16 assists for the Clippers, who lost second tough road game in 28 hours.
2) Michigan will start freshman QB Shane Morris in its bowl game Saturday, with starting QB Devin Gardner sidelined by turf toe.
1) Shouldn’t Texans’ owner Bob McNair order his coach to lose this week’s game, to ensure Houston gets the #1 pick in the draft? Maybe he thinks the way they’ve played this year, they’ll lose without being told to, but that #1 pick would be a huge trade chip that could improve a team in a hurry, if it could net multiple picks in a trade.
Thursday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a winter day......
13) Clippers-Warriors has turned into a heated rivalry; teams play again on January 30. we'll find out who the NBA office thinks are its best refs by what officials they put on that game.
12) Dwight Howard has missed 13 more foul shots than the entire Dallas Mavericks' team. Howard had 20 rebounds last night, is playing really well for the 19-11 Rockets, but 56% isn't good and thats an improvement.
11) Dallas Cowboys signed Jon Kitna for one game; he's been an algebra teacher in state of Washington the last two years. His one week holding the clipboard will earn Kitna $55,294, more than I make in a year.
10) Brooklyn Nets' payroll is $102.2M, by far highest in the NBA; at what point do they pull the plug on Jason Kidd and GM Billy King? Speaking of King, what has he ever done to rate him being an NBA GM?
9) I've got no opinion on the sleeved unfiorms NBA teams wore Christmas Day, but they need to put numbers on the front, so refs can identify the players better. Uniforms in CYO even have numbers on the front.
8) I'm not a big fan of the NBA rule that allows the ball to be advanced to the hash mark in the front court when a timeout is called; it creates more interesting end-of-game situations, but it does so in an artificial way.
7) This season is just 4th time in last 20 years no NBA coaches got fired before Christmas, maybe because 13 were fired last offseason.
6) Toronto Raptors (11-15) are leading their division; only three teams in Eastern Conference are over .500.
5) On other hand, Houston Rockets are 19-11, but wouldn't have the home court edge in first round of the playoffs, if they started today.
4) Knicks are 0-9 vs the West, 9-10 against the East. If ESPN insists on putting them on TV every Christmas,, let them play an eastern team.
3) Memo to Hollywood film makers: No more movies about Nazis. Really, enough already. Now there's another one coming out. Get an original idea.
2) Buffalo (2,386 miles) travelled the farthest to its bowl game, other than two teams that played in Hawai'i. Maryland (27 miles) travelled the shortest distance, other than Tulane, which played on its home field.
1) Interesting that the NHL takes three full days off for Christmas; no games from the 24th-26th; they're also taking an Olympic break from Feb 9th-26th. What happens to teams without lot of Olympic participants?
Wednesday's List of 13: Merry Christmas to everyone
NFL needs to put back in a rule where every team dresses three QBs every game; even if the #3 QB only plays in an emergency. Dallas is going to have two QBs dressed Sunday if Romo can't play, and Jon Kitna has been a high school teacher the last two years-- he is 41.
12) Dallas brought in five QB suspects to be Kyle Orton's backup against the Eagles Sunday night: Carr-Skelton-Thigpen-Hanie-Bartel, but they settled on Kitna because he knows the offense.
Guy has been a teacher for two years and is one injury away from being the QB in a play-in game for the playoffs. Wow.
11) If you turn your head and listen, Lou Holtz sounds like Uncle Si on Duck Dynasty.
10) Speaking of Duck Dynasty, family patriarch Phil Robertson played QB at Louisiana Tech in the late 60's, completing 179-411 passes with 12 TDs, 34 INTs and 2,237 yards.
You may have heard of his backup QB at Tech: Terry Bradshaw.
9) New York Post reports that Josh Brown is the first kicker in Giants history with three field goals of 40+ yards in the same game.
8) Only once since 2000 have two #1 seeds met in the Super Bowl. That was Colts-Saints in 2009.
7) Coaching turnover in college football is under-reported; of the 128 or so defensive coordinators in I-A football, the two who have been in their job the longest work at Navy-Oregon State. Go figure.
6) It'll be a shame if the Cardinals don't make the playoffs; they deserve to be in, but they'll need to Bucs to win at New Orleans Sunday, and the Saints are 7-0 at home, so thats probably not happening.
5) Cincinnati Bengals are third team to score 40+ points in four straight home games in same season; '52 Lions, '00 Rams are other two.
4) Expect a ridiculous amount of cash to be thrown at Japanese free agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who is coming here next year. Bronx/Dodgers are expected to try and get him; Cubs and Boston could be involved, too.
Red flag: He has 53 complete games, which means that arm has thrown a lot of pitches. Not sure he'll be worth the $20M posting fee, plus salary.
3) Oregon State 38, Boise State 23-- Sometimes I think the best way to handicap bowl games is just to read the Internet and pick against teams who have drama off the field. Boise sent one of its backup QBs home and they got drilled in this game. Pac-12 is 2-1 vs Mountain West in bowls, and the loss was Washington State's collapse in New Mexico.
2) Fellow on FS1 was picking NFL games the other night, but they didn't post his record for the season. Would be nice to know if he was hot or not.
1) Rule of thumb: people getting off airplanes in Las Vegas are happier than people getting on planes in Vegas to go home.
Tuesday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13:
32) Texans-- If the Texans/Giants win this week, I'm pretty sure the Rams get the first pick in the draft next April-- tremendous!!!!
31) Redskins-- If they had their own first round pick in April, teams would be accusing them of tanking games, thats how pathetic they've been late in these last few games. If Snyder gives Mike Shanahan the ultimatum of "fire your son or else", Shanahan has to refuse, right?
30) Lions-- "Coach Saban, Mr Ford is on Line 1." Detroit will be a popular job to apply for; lot of talent. Good to follow an underachieving coach.
29) Browns-- In 15 years, they've been 1-0 once. Once.
28) Raiders-- Not really sure what they're trying to do; would love to know the back story of why they're apparently not happy with Terrelle Pryor.
8) Colts-- Credit to Jim Irsay for building a franchise that has thrived after Peyton Manning moved on; no one thought that was happening.
T6) Bengals/Saints-- Both are great at home, not so much on road.
5) 49ers-- They're really good when Kaepernick runs, but if he ever got hurt, say goodnight; Colt McCoy is the backup. Oy.
4) Patriots-- If Belichick quits when Brady does he should be banned from the Hall of Fame for ten years, just for being a cheating weasel.
3) Broncos-- Von Miller's season-ending injury is a huge blow to defense.
2) Seahawks-- If they can't run ball, can Wilson win a game with his arm?
1) Panthers-- Tesams with great defense can win one road playoff game.
Monday's List of 15: Wrapping up a sports Sunday........
15) Bills 19, Dolphins 0-- Miami laid an egg with a chance to move into #6 slot in AFC; 6 first downs, outgained 390-103, 4th NFL team this year with no TDs, no FGs attempted. Fish will regret getting swept by Buffalo.
14) Panthers 17, Saints 13-- Not often an NFLteam is 0-9 on 3rd down and wins, but Carolina takes NFC South by driving 65 yards on five plays, with winning TD scored at 0:23 left. Saints are baffling with poor road play.
13) Cowboys 24, Redskins 23-- Dallas drove 87 yards in nine plays, scoring on 10-yard pass on 4th-and-goal with 1:08 left. Best part of this is that the Rams have Washington's 1st-round pick and are one Redskin loss away from getting the #2 pick in next April's draft.
12) Rams 23, Buccaneers 13-- What do you do if you own the Bucs? They start season 0-8, are 4-3 since, but 170 total yards in a 10-point loss to a 7-8 Ram team playing without its QB? How is this in any way encouraging?
11) Eagles 54, Bears 11-- So when Dallas wins, this game basically became a meaningless one for Philly, except for a chance to move up from #4 to #3 seed in NFC if they win in Dallas next week. Meanwhile, the Bears are in if they win, so yours truly goes and bets on the Bears. Not my finest moment.
10) Jets 24, Browns 13-- No way should Rex Ryan be fired; he's 7-8 with a rookie QB, 6-2 at home, and he's toned down his mouth. if they were going to fire him, should've been last year. As for the Browns, my cabbie yesterday is from Cleveland and seriously ranted about the Browns my whole ride. In fact, he may still be bitching about them-- not a happy dude.
9) Colts 23, Chiefs 7-- KC was +21 in turnovers coming in, but -4 doomed them here; teams might play again in playoffs in two weeks. After scoring 101 points the last two weeks, they laid an egg here, which helps Denver.
8) Bengals 42, Vikings 14-- Cincy is 7-0 SU/ATS at home, and AFC North champs; what does Minnesota do going forward? They're playing next couple years in a college stadium, will they anoint Cassel their #1 QB? What about paying Josh Freeman $2M to play one dreadful Monday night game?
7) Broncos 37, Texans 13-- Horrendous season for Houston has seven days left in it; if they could muster a win, my Rams could get the #1 pick. Peyton Manning is a Hall of Famer obviously, but I'm thinking he cares a little too much about individual records. Lot of 1-yard TD passes; I'm just sayin'......
6) Titans 20, Jaguars 16-- Nothing says Christmas like playing blackjack at 3am while Mariah Carey sings Christmas carols, mixed in with sounds of 20 or 30 slot machines, and people yelling at the craps table. Brings the holiday spirit out in me, ya know?
5) Cardinals 17, Seahawks 10-- We're finding out why Ben Roethlisberger likes Bruce Arians so much; excellent football coach, and Redbirds' defense is better than you think. This makes Carolina's game next week at Atlanta very meaningful for getting #1 seed; if they win, the Seahawks would have to win against the Rams for #1 seed.
4) Giants 23, Lions 20 OT-- Detroit is most gutless, self-destructive team in a while; they complain because the fans boo? Lions were -19 in turnovers in their last eight games- they threw a pick-6 with 4:57 left in this game with a 20-13 lead, then don't challenge a play in OT when they should have. There are rumors that Nick Saban could be interested in this job when it opens.
3) Chargers 26, Raiders 13-- Oakland had been 18-9 vs spread as underdog in divisional games; they were stopped on 6-yard line in last minute, as they tried for backdoor cover here. Raiders get out of salary cap hell next year- it would be unfair if they fired Dennis Allen and didn't let him coach when they are going to have a better roster next season.
2) Steelers 38, Packers 31-- Green Bay had ball on 1-yard line in last 0:30 but got a false start penalty which takes ten seconds off the clock and costs them a chance to run two more plays. I don't like watching games in snow, but being here in las Vegas, it wasn't as bad as if I was home in New York.
1) Patriots 41, Ravens 7-- My favorite new thing is TV people praising Bill Belichick for doing such a great coaching job with a limited roster. Here is a news flash; Belichick is responsible for the mediocre roster they have. Brady deserves a better supporting cast. Ravens have one TD in last two games.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Colorado State 48, Washington State 45-- Epic collapse by the Coogs, who led 45-30 with 3:00 to play, but fumbled twice and lost a game in which they were outgained 595-400, but led 35-13 late in second quarter.
12) USC 45, Fresno State 20-- Trojans have resilient kids, playing for three different head coaches this year; they crushed Fresno here, leading 35-6 at the half. Bulldogs were good on defense; USC's speed on defense smothered the Fresno offense. By far worst game of the day.
11) San Diego State 49, Buffalo 24-- Aztecs survived 13 penalties for 122 yards to beat MAC team that was favored. By the way, Buffalo's AD is son of the Duke AD, which is why Boibby Hurley is Buffalo's hoop coach.
10) UL-Lafayette 24, Tulane 21-- Someone needs to teach Tulane's coaches a course in game management; they screwed up the last minute of this game pretty badly, winding up with a 48-yard FG instead of trying one last pass into end zone to win game. ULL QB Broadway played this game with cast on his right arm. Cajuns are just fourth team in last 30 years to win the same bowl game three years in a row. Tulane tied game after trailing 21-0.
9) Shin Soo-Choo gets $130M for seven years from Texas; he had a .423 OB% last year, with 21 homers, 20 steals, 107 runs scored.
8) Brook Lopez broke his foot, is out for the year, as Nets' year from hell continues; Lopez already had a screw in the foot he re-broke.
7) Ohio State 64, Notre Dame 61-- Buckeyes were down 8 with 0:50 left, pulled game out in unlikely fashion. Teams combined to go 7-32 from arc.
6) North Carolina 97, Davidson 85 OT-- Tar Heels were 34-47 on foul line, Wildcats just 14-24. Carolina is one weird team- they lost to Belmont/UAB, beat Kentucky/Michigan State/Louisville, damn near lost this game.
5) Florida State 60, UMass 55-- First loss for Minutemen, very solid win for Seminoles that'll carry weight on Selection Sunday.
4) Illinois 65, Missouri 64-- Illini ended its 4-game skid in this rivalry game, played every year in St Louis. Mizzou only played seven guys.
3) Oregon 100, BYU 96 OT-- Ducks rallied to stay unbeaten, winning game they trailed by 7 with 2:25 left. BYU missed 14 of its 36 foul shots.
2) Oklahoma State 78, Colorado 73-- Buffs'' young guys inside got pushed around by OSU's big guys, but both of these teams will win at least one game in March Madness. Colorado was just 6-22 from arc.
1) Boston U, 83, Maryland 77-- Team leaving ACC for Big Dozen shouldn't lose to a team from Patriot League that jumped from America East.
Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but I'm in Vegas
13) There's a lot going on around here this week; great twinbill at MGM tonight, a tournament at both Orleans/South Point this weekend, I was at the UNLV-Sacred Heart game last night, USC-Fresno bowl game is today. Hard part of visiting here is paring your to-do list down to a manageable size.
12) Nothing says Christmas like hearing carols playing and slot machines at the same time; absolutely tremendous.
11) I'm a sucker for 24-hour coffee shops; one at Orleans Casino gets my recommendation. Lot like eating at Denny's; from me, thats a compliment.
10) Someone gave Indiana University $40M to refurbish their basketball arena; $40M buys a lot of refurbishment.
9) SEC has slipped to #7 in college basketball power ratings, behind the new AAC, which is a hybrid of Big East/C-USA schools. Good hoop league.
8) Toledo is 10-0, still only ranked #73; its been a while since the Rockets were relevant in roundball-- they play Kansas on the 30th in Lawrence.
7) Kevin Youkilis is going to close out his fine baseball career by playing a year in Japan, unless he does real well and can cultivate interest from a team here for 2015. He's had a bad back, so retirement is more likely.
6) Aaron Rodgers is out again for the Packers, who won last two games, both by a single point. This is the 7th game in a row Rodgers has missed.
5) Phoenix Suns are 15-10, 7-6 on road, a pleasant surprise in the NBA, for new head coach Jeff Hornacek, who is turning out to be an excellent coach.
4) Today is December 21, which means the sun starts setting later and it is all downhill until spring!!!! Only eight weeks until spring training.
3) Its funny walking into UNLV's basketball arena when its 45-48 degrees out and seeing workers wearing parkas and heavy, warm hats, like they are in freakin' Antarctica. 45 degrees in December is paradise to me.
2) Video poker tip: On 25 cent video poker, you'll win more often if you play for more than one coin at a time; my experience has been if you play 25 cents at a time, the machine bleeds you dry, which is why penny slots are so profitable for casinos.
1) Exchange on an elevator between me and a very tall woman wearing an amazingly tall pair of high heels and a bright pink sweater:
Me: "How do you walk on those heels? They look uncomfortable."
Woman: "Honey, for $500, I'll explain it to you. Interested?"
Me: "No thanks, I'll just google it." Gotta love Las Vegas.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) How great are the San Antonio Spurs? They sit Duncan/Ginobili for a game in Oakland that is on TNT; the Turner executives can't be real happy about it, especially with Tony Parker hurt, but they beat the Warriors by a hoop anyway. Greg Popovich is one of greatest coaches in NBA history.
12) I'm sitting at Bishop Gorman HS the other night watching really good high school teams play and the thought struck me that a couple of these kids are only 2-3 years away from being millionaires. Good for them.
11) I'm watching TV here late at night and someone who looks a lot like Sarah Palin comes on doing commentary and I can't tell if its really her or if it is someone doing a really good job making fun of her- I mean, she is wearing a camouflage shirt on national TV. Turns out the real Sarah Palin is funnier than any of her imitators. How in God's name did she run for Vice-President?
10) Kobe Bryant broke a bone in the same leg as his torn achilles, is out for six weeks, and you wonder if his career as we knew it is basically over?
9) Dallas Cowboys are first NFL team since '97 Raiders to lose three games by a single point in the same season.
8) Do college football players like going to Boise for a bowl? I mean, San Diego State's players basically live in paradise, and they're spending a week in Idaho in December? I'm sure Boise is a fine place, but its cold there. When you think of bowl games, you're usually thinking nice weather.
7) North Carolina is a combined 50-106 from foul line in its three losses, losses by 3-4-3 points.
6) Long Beach State 72, USC 71-- 49ers led by 14 at half, hung on for its first D-I win of season; Trojans need better players.
5) SC Upstate 74, South Carolina 68-- Awful loss for Gamecocks; Frank Martin is having trouble getting his program started. Upstate is 6-5, not a world beater, but they also won at Virginia Tech by a point.
4) Orioles postponed a news conference to announce Grant Balfour's signing because he has some physical issue; looks like he won't be getting $14M for two years, as originally announced.
3) In 'n Out Burger has the greatest milkshakes..........ever.
2) Someone has to explain to me why ESPN employs Skip Bayless and his sidekick, Stephen A Smith? They're ridiculous self-promoting screamers who just provoke argument- they add little in way of intelligent debate. If I ran ESPN, I'd be embarrassed to have those two jackasses on my payroll.
1) Why is Mike Krzyzewski the only college basketball coach who doesn't do halftime interviews on TV? His assistants always do them. No one gives a rat's ass what his assistants think- he should be doing the interviews.
Thursday's List of 13: What happened to free speech?......
13) A&E suspended Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson for stuff he said in a magazine interview; I don't agree with what he said, but dammit, he's an American and he has a right to state his beliefs, even if they are offensive to some people. Soldiers risk their lives to protect our free speech.
Our society has become so babified that every time some group is offended, someone has to get fired. Grow some thick skin and realize that our society is diverse and we're going to disagree on things, sometimes wildly so.
If you don't like Robertson, don't watch his TV show, don't buy the stuff his family's business sells, but we all have a right to say what we think and the day we lose the right is a scary one to think about.
12) Speaking of free speech, Southern Illinois hoop coach Barry Hinson went on an epic rant on his own team after the Salukis lost to Murray State Monday night- its been all over ESPN. Hinson is a good coach who came close to getting Missouri State to the tournament a couple times, but hasn't been to get any traction with the Salukis.
His frustration boiled over, he and his players obviously dislike each other and if he keeps his job, sounds like Hinson will be recruiting a lot of new players, but its possible that his bosses might replace him first.
11) Texas 86, North Carolina 83-- It was widely thought that Rick Barnes was on a hot seat at Texas, but now he is 10-1 with wins at Temple, North Carolina, and he has one of ten least experienced teams in country.
10) Knicks 107, Bucks 101, 2ot-- NY shooting %ages: Anthony 9-29, Bargnani 5-15, Smith 7-23 (5-17 from arc). Must be fun team to coach.
9) Bobcats 104, Raptors 102, ot-- Charlotte is 12-14 under former Siena assistant Steve Clifford; right now, they're a playoff team.
8) Michael Jordan is trying to sell his Chicago mansion; not saying its big, but it has 15 bathrooms in it. 15 bathrooms. I'm not sure the high school I went to had 15 bathrooms, and it had 2,000 students in it.
7) Texas Southern 90, Temple 89-- Aaric Murray washed out at LaSalle and West Virginia, mostly for off-court reasons; he had 48 points in this game, playing for former Indiana/UAB coach Mike Davis.
6) Stanford 53, UConn 51-- Huskies are 4-1 vs top 100 teams, with five games decided by total of seven points. Stanford lost a home game to BYU when they scored 103 points; holding UConn to 51 was interesting.
5) In some states, the people who sell winning lottery tickets get a large reward; it was close to cruel when some nitwit TV reporter told a woman in Georgia she was getting $1M for selling the winning MegaMillions ticket, when in fact, that rule doesn't exist in Georgia.
Ticket seller in San Jose got $1M, ticket seller in Georgia? Bupkus.
4) I heard on TV last night that worldwide, this was the warmest November on record, which goes back to 1880. December? Not so much.
3) Heat 97, Pacers 94-- Indiana led by 15 in third quarter but couldn't hold on, in a game that got ridiculous hype considering it was December 18. This could be a great Eastern Conference final, but thats five months from now.
2) I'm tired of hearing TV people assuming that someone is someone is smart just because they went to an Ivy League school. Incredible BS. For Pete's sake, Chris Berman went to Brown-- you think he is especially brilliant?
1) New Jersey Giants do not need a new head coach, they need a sturdy offensive line to protect their immobile QB, and some running backs who can take pressure off a beleaguered passing game. They need better players; the coach has won two Super Bowls- he's pretty damn good.
Wednesday's List of 13: No one asked me, but........
13) I truly enjoy rooting for the A's, but worst part is when the good players leave for greeener pa$ture$. Closer Grant Balfour goes to Baltimore for $15M for two years; we wish him well, he did great work for the green/gold.
12) Oakland Raiders have $56M of dead money on their payroll for this year, but next year, they only have $9M, so they should be able to improve. Imagine paying $56M to guys who aren't playing for you anymore?
11) This is the sixth year in row Cleveland Browns finished under their season over/under win total for that year; you get the impression they've improved this year, but it hasn't shown in the win/loss column yet.
10) Bronx Bombers signed 36-year old 2B Brian Roberts, who played in 193 of his team's last 648 games; they had already signed Jacoby Ellsbury, who played in 96 games/year since 2009. Who's next, Rocco Baldelli?
9) ESPN estimates that Justin Tucker's 23 fantasy league points Monday night affected the outcome of 11,000 different fantasy football games this past week. Its arguably the greatest game an NFL kicker has ever had, going 6-6 on FGs, with a 61-yarder to win the game.
8) Wonder if a game like Tucker's will wind up hurting Morten Andersen's candidacy to make the Hall of Fame; Andersen was a great kicker who kicked for a dome team in 22 of his 25 NFL seasons; its undeniable that being a dome kicker is easier than kicking in the elements, unless the elements are in Denver, where thin air makes long kicks more accessible.
7) Cowboys are 135-135 in their last 270 games, 5-18 in last 23 against teams that finished the seasson with a winning record.
6) Florida Gators had seven football players transfer in the last three weeks; either that, or they were asked to transfer. Stuff like that happens, as scholarships are one-year, renewable deals.
5) Hard to believe, but Detroit is -18 in turnovers, in its last seven games. On other hand, Seattle is +10 in its last five games.
4) Teams that scored a TD on defense/special teams were 6-1 last week, with both teams scoring (Browns had two) in Cleveland-Chicago game. Teams that had a 10-yard+ advantage in field position were 10-0 last week.
3) Iowa is 4-1 in bowls under Kirk Ferentz when facing an SEC team; they are 2-3 in all his other bowl games.
2) Three times this year an NFL team failed to score an offensive TD and also didn't try a field goal:
-- Jaguars, Week 1 at home against the Chiefs. Lost 28-2.
-- Eagles, Week 8 at home against the Giants. Lost 15-7.
-- Giants, Week 15 at home against the Seahawks. Lost 23-0.
1) Judging by sounds outside here every night, there aren't too many quiet nights for the Las Vegas PD; when everyone comes here on vacation to let loose, you wind up with lot of sirens blaring.
Tuesday's List of 13: Greetings from America's favorite city
13) I'll apologize in advance for being erratic with posting times this week, since I'm on vacation in Las Vegas. No snow here, by the way.
12) Ravens 18, Lions 16-- Justin Tucker was 6-6 on FGs, nailing a 61-yarder to win the game, as Detroit screwed up another game they had no right to lose. People in Alabama can start getting nervous again, because Jim Schwartz will get fired and Nick Saban will be a popular choice to replace him.
Schwartz should've called timeout after the Ravens' 3rd down play on last drive, which would've given his offense another 30 seconds to work with after Baltimore went ahead. Lions are 2-4 this year in games decided by six or less points-- they're not going to win the NFC North in a season where Green Bay and Chicago both lost their starting QB and Minnesota never had one.
11) People are killing the Lions because they turn the ball over too much, and 30 in 14 games is way too many, but then you realize the Giants have coughed the ball up 39 times this year and you know why they're 5-9.
10) Cincinnati punter Kevin Huber broke his jaw and cracked a vertebra when he got clocked during a punt return Sunday night. Football is a violent game; if you're standing in the middle of the field, need to have your head on a swivel and protect yourself. Huber didn't do that.
9) Arizona Cardinals scored a defensive TD in four of their last six games.
8) Miami Dolphins are 4-3 at home; all seven games were decided by 4 or less points, so Miami should get high renewal rates for 2014 season tickets.
7) NFC West teams are 19-5-1 vs spread when they're favored to beat a team that isn't in their division.
6) If you look at the last eight defending Super Bowl champs before this year, they've combined to win one playoff game in the season after their title, which isn't a good trend for the Ravens, who snuck out their last two games in near-miraculous fashion.
5) Highest over/under in a bowl game: Duke-Texas A&M 73.5.
Lowest over/under in a bowl game: Michigan State-Stanford, 42.5
Not every bowl game has a total posted yet, but most all of them do.
4) Rams' tight end Cory Harkey is the son of former big league pitcher Mike Harkey; younger Harkey played college ball at UCLA. His dad was in the big leagues for eight years, appearing in 131 games for five teams.
3) I highly recommend HBO's show leading up to the outdoor hockey game in Ann Arbor between Toronto-Detroit New Year's Day; HBO has done this show for a few years now and it is very well done. You get access to see stuff that fans do not usually get to see. Good TV.
2) Nets' Joe Johnson scored 29 points Monday, just in the third quarter. He declined to play the fourth quarter against an overmatched Philly team that may or may not be trying its best to win games. Rumors persist the Sixers are trying to position themselves for next June's draft, and winning games now isn't a part of that equation.
1) Was in a memorabilia store in Mandalay Bay last night; they've got lot of signed jerseys that are all hideously overpriced, but $1,595 for a jersey signed by Robert Griffin III might be the most unsellable thing in that store.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday.......
14) Atlanta 27, Washington 26-- Redskins turned ball over seven times, but scored with 0:18 left and looked like game was headed to OT. For whatever reason, Shanahan went for two, the try failed and Redskins are 3-11. Cousins passed for 381 yards and three TDs, but five lost fumbles doomed the Skins.
13) 49ers 33, Buccaneers 14-- Niners ran for 187 yards, had 18-yard edge in field position in an easy win. Red zone still an issue for 49ers; they kicked three FGs on four drives inside Tampa 20. If you own the 4-10 Bucs, do you fire Schiano or give him another year?
12) Cardinals 37, Titans 34 OT-- Arizona led 34-17 with 3:20 left, turned Ryan Fitzpatrick into Dan Fouts for a half hour, botched an onside kick and found themselves in OT, where tey got an INT and won, despite being -3 in turnovers. Two weeks ago, they lost by FG in Philly despite +3 TO ratio.
11) Rams 27, Saints 16-- Rams are +17 in turnovers in their six wins; they were +3 in this game, ran ball for 144 yards. Baffling why Saints just aren't nearly as good on road as they are in Superdome-- they were even lousy in dome road games, at Atlanta/St Louis.
10) Seahawks 23, Giants 0-- At one point, Giants had four INTs and five first downs; they haven't scored in first half of last two games, will have first losing season since 2004. Seattle can clinch home field thru NFC playoffs by beating the Cardinals at home next week.
9) Bears 38, Browns 31-- Cleveland scored two defensive TDs, still lost for fifth week in row, with last three losses by 4-1-7 points. Chicago also had a defensive score, is in first place if the Ravens upset Detroit tonight.
8) Colts 25, Texans 3-- Hard to believe how dismal a season Houston has had; their last win was Sept 15, two days after the Astros' last win. Astros lost their last 15 games. At least the Rockets are pretty good. Right now the Colts would host Kansas City in a first round playoff game.
7) Bills 27, Jaguars 20-- I've got nothing interesting on this game, so I'll rant about announcers calling players "winners", as if it is pre-ordained; for every winner, there has to be a loser, and I refuse to believe that some people are pre-ordained losers. Thats just how I feel.
6) Dolphins 24, Patriots 20-- All seven Miami home games have been won by 4 or less points, so high drama for season ticket holders in south Florida and a superior coaching job by Joe Philbin. Patriots are an average team with an all-time great QB nearing the end of his career.
5) Vikings 48, Eagles 30-- Respect your opponents; obviously Philly took this team lightly. Chip Kelly used to be coach at Oregon, Matt Cassel never started a game at USC- he passed for 370 yards in this game, as Minnesota jogged to a win with Adrian Peterson sitting out (foot).
4) Panthers 30, Jets 20-- Carolina passed up an easy FG while up 16-6, and that is why they didn't cover; every once in while, Ron Rivera turns into Les Miles and does things that do not make sense- this was one of those. Jets are competitive when they hang onto the ball and they did in this game.
3) Chiefs 56, Raiders 31-- Jamaal Charles scored 48 fantasy points in my league today; five TDs, 195 receiving yards. Chiefs led 35-10 with 5:42 left in second quarter- they clinched playoff spot with win, after going 2-14 LY. In all, 763 points were scored Sunday, the most ever in one day.
2) Packers 37, Cowboys 36-- Epic collapse by Dallas, which led 26-3 at the half; keep in mind Matt Flynn was unemployed on Halloween, after he was cut by three different teams, just this season. Green Bay's first five drives in second half: 38 plays, 312 yards, five touchdowns. Oy.
1) Steelers 30, Bengals 20-- Cincinnati could've moved up to #2 slot in the AFC with win here, so of course they were down 21-0 in first quarter to its rival that is basically playing out the string. Bengals need home field as much as anyone other than the Saints-- this was a damaging loss.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) If you think Mack Brown "resigned", you believe in the Easter Bunny; the rich jackasses at Texas fired his butt, plain and simple. Brown won more games than Woody Hayes, won a national title, never slugged a player on the other team, and he gets fired after an 8-4 season. Some world we live in.
I will say it again, guys like Brown don't quit. They get bought out. Fired.
12) Jameis Winston won the Heisman Trophy, the most overrated thing in all of sports; he is the second freshman in a row to win it, despite 115 voters completely leaving Winston off their ballot because of his off-field issues.
It bugs me that they start talking about the Heisman in August, there is a hour long show before the official announcement, its almost like there are people who think a trophy matters more than winning/losing games.
And now there are 115 people who know more about the legal system than the District Attorney in Tallahassee, who decided not to press charges against Winston for what may or may not have happened.
On to games, which are infinitely more fun to talk about...........
11) Arizona 72, Michigan 70-- Wildcats were down 9 at half, down 58-50 with 6:45 left but rallied to give 6-4 Michigan its second home loss. Arizona was +13 on boards, had 17 offensive rebounds.
10) Princeton 81, Penn State 79 OT-- Tigers were down 18 with 6:34 left, rallied to move to 8-1. Bad loss for Penn State, which played this game at its old arena, Rec Hall instead of the Bryce Jordan Center.
9) St Peter's 83, Seton Hall 80, OT-- Peacocks snapped its 17-game losing streak to the Big East's Pirates, a horrific loss for Kevin Willard, who might've lost PG Sterling Gibbs to a leg injury with 0:10 left in regulation.
8) Notre Dame 79, Indiana 72-- Irish lost to North Dakota State at home during week, then beat Hoosiers here on neutral floor. Go figure.
7) North Carolina 82, Kentucky 77-- Teams combined to make 55-88 on foul line, 6-19 on arc in high-energy foulfest; other than Paige, who was 10-10 on line, Heels were 16 of 35, but UNC held Julius Randle to 11 points.
6) St Mary's 82, Boise State 74-- Gaels made 7 of first 8, 12-23 from arc in their first road game of season, blowing 16-point lead then pulling away late for solid road win. Refs weren't as whistle-happy here as in Chapel Hill, which benefitted more physical St Mary's. Freshman guard Carter played 34 minutes off bench; he looks like a keeper for Randy Bennett.
5) Blazers 139, 76ers 108-- Portland scored 111 in first three quarters; they were 21-37 from arc for game, their subs were 10-14. If you played the over on Philly's wins this season, are you happy with their 7-18 record? Blazers are 20-4 and on a serious roll, but the eastern teams are just awful.
4) Four NHL games went to OT/SO Saturday; road team won all four.
3) Xavier 64, Cincinnati 47-- Bearcats shot 33% from floor, 14-26 on line; sometimes it looks like they practice without a basketball. Xavier was 11-16 behind the arc; how does a team do that and only score 64 points?
2) Utah 81, BYU 64-- Utes snapped 7-game skid in this rivalry, holding BYU to 32.8% from floor. Big win for Larry Krystkowiak, whose 9-1 Utes hadn't beaten a team in top 150. Now they have.
1) It snowed in Egypt this week for the first time in 112 years; its snowing outside as I write this, 24 hours before my trip to Las Vegas. We need those runways cleared of snow by 6am Monday, of this I am sure.
Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Baker Mayfield walked on this year as a freshman QB at Texas Tech, won the starting job, played well but is now transferring; if he gets a scholarship, Tech has blocked him from going to another Big X school. If not, he can go anywhere he wants. Seems sad that a kid without a scholarship can be blocked; if you wanted him so bad, then hook him up with a free ride.
12) Texas Rangers drafted Seahawks QB Russell Wilson in Rule 5 minor league draft Thursday; Seahawks can’t be real happy about that. Wonder if they’ll have anything to say if he goes to Rangers’ spring training and puts a uniform on, works out? I wouldn’t want my QB playing another sport.
11) Golden State Warriors are most fun NBA team to watch, especially at home; they’re never out of a game, the way they shoot the ball. When they get Andre Iguodala back from injury, they’re going to be a tough team to beat.
10) The Frozen Four, NCAA hockey’s national championship, is going to be in that hockey hotbed of Tampa in 2016. It was here in Albany once; I went to the semifinals. Excellent event.
9) Timberwolves’ Kevin Love has six games this year with 25+ points, 15+ rebounds; rest of the NBA has eleven games like that.
8) Pirates gave Charlie Morton $21M for three years; Mets gave 40-year old Bartolo Colon $20M for two. Colon should do well in spacious Citi Field but he’ll also have to hit now. Running the bases could be a problem.
7) Last five Dallas Cowboy games are against QBs who were backups this summer; three of the five were still backups on Halloween.
6) When Arkansas State hires its new football coach, that’ll be five head coaches in five years, not counting interim coaches for the bowl games they’ve been in. If I’m the AD of that school, I’m tempted to put a hefty buy-out in the next coach’s contract, which gets reduced with every year he stays at ASU. Interesting that ASU keeps winning, but the people in Jonesboro can’t be real happy with whats gone on there.
5) Surprised Brandon Phillips has Bronx Bombers on his no-trade list; you’d think hitters would want to play in a ballpark that is ridiculously small.
4) Parking for the Super Bowl at Swamp Stadium is $150. Just to park. No tailgating either.
3) Linemaker at the Wynn in Las Vegas has Florida State rated as -13 over Auburn, but posted game at -9 because the public likes the SEC’s team, seeing as SEC teams won the last seven national titles. Line on game was 8 or 8.5, last time I looked.
2) Johnny Bench applauded baseball banning collisions at home plate; when he collided with Gary Matthews in 1975, he needed six cortisone shots every three weeks, to deal with the pain. Home plate collisions have been illegal in amateur baseball for decades now.
1) Scott Boras suggested the Tampa Bay Rays should move to Montreal, where the Washington Nationals used to call home.
Boras should be Commissioner of baseball, he has enough influence, though he might have more in his current job than if he became commish. If the Tampa area doesn’t build a new ballpark, they’re going to lose the Rays, that seems obvious, whether it is Montreal or Nashville or somewhere else.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) I’d be curious to know how Brad Stevens is enjoying coaching the Celtics; is it more/less enjoyable than college, how he feels about dealing with the press, etc. We know the money is better in the NBA and there is very little recruiting (except for during free agency, but the GM probably does more of that). No way of finding out, but would be interesting to know.
12) Media reports said “1B Mark Trumbo” was traded to Arizona this week; well the second he became a Diamondback, he became a “3B/OF” since Paul Goldschmidt has 1B locked up in the desert.
11) Very unusual that Kansas Jayhawks are going 28 days without a home basketball game; you think Duke would ever do that? Jayhawks challenge themselves on road, which is why they get better late in seasons. Not lot of bigtime teams go four weeks without a home game.
10) Gonzaga at West Virginia on a Tuesday night in December? Long way to go for one game, especially during the school week. According to MapQuest, its 2,320 miles from Spokane to Morgantown.
Lot of time to study on the plane.
9) Thumbs up to Brooklyn Nets’ uniforms, simple black/white but very sharp. Too bad the team that wears those uniforms is having such a dreadful year, but at least they look good in warmups.
8) NHL has surprising amount of stuff that is better than other sports: the best playoffs, by far, the best instant replay system, and the shootout is a surprisingly fun way to eliminate tie games. Wish they’d eliminate fighting, but guess that ain’t gonna happen.
7) I’m old enough that my high school didn’t have girls’ basketball until I was in 10th or 11th grade; will never forget watching one game, and our team wasn’t good the first couple years, but this one girl shot 5-42 in one game and this was before 3-pointers.
I’m not making this up, she was 5 for freakin’ 42, it was amazing. She was a smart girl, in AP classes but she made Machine Gun Grant look like John Stockton. Long year for the coach; eventually, their girls' program became better than the boys' but it took a while.
6) One of the tricky things about handicapping college basketball in December is finding out when transfers become eligible; there are some good players who become eligible as soon as first semester ends and then those teams have to integrate the new player, often a key player into the lineup. Once we get past New Year’s, there are less variables since most coaches will have a more established rotation.
5) LA Kings are playing a hockey game at Dodger Stadium January 25 against Anaheim, seriously they are; one thing to play outdoors in Edmonton or Buffalo, but Los Angeles? Will be curious to see how that looks on TV.
Its a 6:30 local start, to eliminate the chances of the sun messing with the ice.
4) Lot of people in Seattle won’t go to Starbucks because it was the owner of Starbucks who sold the NBA’s Super Sonics to Clay Bennett, who he knew would move the team out of Seattle to Oklahoma.
Little bit mystifying why the NBA won’t put another team in Seattle; they put another team in Charlotte and Seattle is a way better NBA market than Charlotte.
3) Providence lost starting PG Kris Dunn (knee) for the season; tough break, Ed Cooley’s team has gotten a lot better, but with new rules, game has become even more PG-dependent.
2) Wind chill in Green Bay Wednesday morning was around 40 below; I know the weather here in upstate NY can get dicey, but its seldom that bad. Why the hell does anyone live there?
One Christmas here when I was a kid it was that cold, and we couldn’t go to our cousins’ house because the car wouldn’t start, which was fine with me, since it was too damn cold to be outside anyway. I’ll be tempted to move to a warmer place when I retire form the day job in a year or so.
1) Those analystics guys the Mariners are using now aren’t important in identifying Robinson Cano, a drunk guy could do that, but now they have to find complimentary players who will help Seattle win and that can be tricky.
Setup men, a backup catcher, stockpiling depth in AAA, that’s where the number crunchers can find a hidden gem that scouts overlook.
That’s where the Marlins failed; they just threw a lot of money at a problem and assumed they’d have a good team when the dust settled; there’s an art to it and its why teams like Tampa Bay/Oakland often exceed expectations- they have the art down pat.
Thursday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13........
32) Texans—Hard to believe they haven’t won a game since Week 2, especially with double digit halftime leads at home vs Colts/Patriots. New coach inherits some talent, but who will the QB be?
31) Redskins—New coach will be Daniel Snyder’s 8th in 15 years; he will inherit a mess.
30) Bills—Always wonder how many Super Bowls they would’ve won if they had beaten the Giants in Tampa that year. Seems like an awful long time ago now, which it actually was. I had a lot of curly hair back then.
29) Raiders—Whats up with Terrelle Pryor? He was on the bench, then he was in the game Sunday, then he wasn’t; he isn’t a better prospect than the McGloin kid? Oy.
28) Browns—Before he retires, all of Jason Campbell’s bad luck in his career is going to reverse itself and he’s going to have one huge year, win the MVP and get to the Super Bowl. I am seriously predicting this.
8) Cardinals—They’ve scored a defensive TD in each of their last three home games. Has a guy ever been Coach of the Year two years in a row, for two different teams? Bruce Arians has had a terrific 15 months.
7) 49ers—Frank Gore has torn an ACL in both knees, but he’s come back and really had an excellent career. Hope he sends his surgeon and the 49ers’ trainer a nice gift every Christmas.
6) Patriots—I’ve lost track of Tom Brady’s salary, but he is underpaid, no matter what he makes. The team they’ve put around him is very ordinary.
5) Chiefs—They won two games LY and are 10-3 now, but they’re not going to win their division. Superior coaching job by Andy Reid.
T3) Saints—Wonder who would’ve gotten the Alabama job had Nick Saban chosen Drew Brees to be his QB with the Dolphins, because he’d still be in Miami. Rumors are floating about Saban going to Detroit next year.
T3) Panthers—Won eight of last nine games; we’ll see what they learned Sunday night when they get the Saints in Charlotte next week.
2) Seahawks—Great point by Troy Aikman or someone on TV last week, about how some QBs run to run/gain yards, but Russell Wilson runs to find an open receiver. Lucky for Pete Carroll, Wilson hit .220 in the low minor leagues, or else he might be the 2B in Colorado by now.
1) Broncos—Who would win if Denver played New England and Brady, Manning both sat out? Brock Osweiler vs Ryan Mallett. Mallett was the much better college player, but Denver went 8-8 with Tebow at QB two years ago, so I’m saying the Broncos.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) Joe Torre gets in Hall of Fame off his 1,173-767 record and four titles managing the Bronx Bombers, so he deserves it, but lets not get confused and call him a great manager. Here are his records with four other teams, where he won three division titles and no pennants in 15 seasons:
-- Mets 286-420-- Not exactly Cooperstown material there.
Braves 257-229, Won NL West in 1982.
Cardinals 351-354-- No playoff appearances.
Dodgers 259-227-- Two division titles in the ill-fated McCourt era.
Torre was also a very good player, a .297 hitter with 252 homers (he hit .363 one year), so he deserves his plaque, but not like he ever turned around a losing program—he just managed a team with enormous financial advantages and led them to four titles. Hall of Fame worthy, but not as tough as making losers into winners, as others have done.
12) Once again, no bowl games between Pac-12-SEC. In 1989, Washington beat Florida 34-7 in the Freedom Bowl in Anaheim; since then, the BCS title game three years ago (Auburn-Oregon) is only bowl matchup between the two leagues. In 24 years. Very strange.
11) How on God’s green earth is Oregon State in a bowl? They’re 6-6, lost to I-AA Eastern Washington, allowed 37.2 ppg while losing their last five games,-- not only do they get a bowl game, they get to go to the Hawai’I Bowl?!?!?! And Western Kentucky sits home? Nice system.
10) First instinct was to whine a little when I read Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson quickly bolted the MAC champs for Wake Forest, but the reality of the situation is this: Not only is this finals week and bowl season, it is recruiting season, from now until February 4. Very important.
So the coach at Wake Forest has to recruit his ass off to make the Deacons relevant; Jim Grobe is a really good coach who couldn’t keep Wake's head above water. Clawson has to recruit, hire a staff and try to revive a program at one of the smallest schools in America playing bigtime football- if he took the job, he had to hit the ground running and so he will. Good luck, it’s a very hard job. If I were him, would’ve tried for the UConn job instead.
9) Damn, must’ve been some serious dysfunction in Seattle last summer, as heads butt over the new school/old school approach to evaluating baseball players. You read some quotes now and people are still carping about the Mariners' front office and what went on last year; they’ve got two big-time stars in King Felix and Cano.
Curious to see who they surround those two with.
8) Rudy Gay makes $18M a year, from everything you read is a really good player, but now he’s been traded twice in 11 months, albeit Toronto traded for him, then changed GMs and the new GM obviously doesn’t think as highly of him.
Memphis/Toronto are two new school teams who are leaning on metrics more than most; must be that Gay doesn’t rate highly under that microscope. All I know is Lionel Hollins went 56-26 in Memphis LY, even after they took a loss on Gay’s trade to Toronto; why hasn’t he gotten another job?
7) NFL moved 8:25 Patriots-Ravens game in Week 16 to a 4:25 game, and put the 1:00 Bears-Eagles game into primetime, so if you have Iggles’ season tickets, buy some TheraFlu, prepare to spend Christmas sneezing.
6) Rams are 5-4 this year when game goes over the total, 0-4 when it stays under; they’ve scored five TDs on defense/special teams in their last three wins. St Louis is +14 in turnovers in their five wins, -7 in eight losses.
5) Buccaneers had weird start to season; they were even in turnovers in each of their first six games. In their last six games, Bucs are +14 in turnovers, which is why they’ve won four of last five and covered five of last six.
4) For fans of irony, look no farther than the Las Vegas Bowl, where USC will play Fresno State, which is Lane Kiffin’s alma mater.
Best yet, I’ll be at this game; excited to see the Trojans in person, having rooted for them since I was a little kid. Trojans will be on their second interim coach of the year; will they be flat without emotional leader Ed Orgeron, who quit as interim coach once Steve Sarkisian got hired?
3) I'm a big believer that pro teams with sub-.500 records shouldn't make the playoffs. For instance the Celtics are 10-13 but lead in NBA's Atlantic Division- to me, they shouldn't qualify for playoffs unless they go at least 41-41. A more deserving team in the other conference should replace them. .
2) Redskins’ team doctor says RGIII is healthy; RGIII says RGIII is healthy. Washington coaches and anyone with a working set of eyes knows that he isn’t nearly as good a player as he was last year, healthy or not. His physical capabilities have obviously diminished.
Can’t they just bench him for cause? Is he giving his team its best chance to win? Very curious to see how he plays next year, more specifically how he runs, after a full winter of rehab.
1) There have been 208 NFL games so far this season: in only three of them has a team not punted for the whole game. Two of those three teams were playing the Cowboys that day.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) I’m a firm believer that if a QB runs with the ball and crosses the line of scrimmage, then he should lose his “protection” that QBs get, since he is no longer a passer but a runner.
That’s not the way the game is officiated. Too many roughing penalties are making defensive players very tentative. On a day with horrendous weather Sunday, the most TDs ever were scored.
12) Arbitrary taunting seems to get called in key spots and it is nauseating-- I’ve seen flags thrown in games where I didn’t care who won, so its not that. The article on The MMQB.com last week on NFL refs pointed out that they don’t want offsetting penalties, they want the instigator flagged.
Good grief, these WRs/DBs don’t shut up for three hours; who instigates who? They never stop yapping, just seems like whoever annoys the ref the most gets the flag. Just throw a flag, call it offsetting and get on with things.
11) If the NFL Draft were held today instead of in April, top 5 picks would be: 1) Texans 2) Rams (from Redskins) 3) Falcons 4) Vikings 5) Raiders.
10) One of four Jesse Owens gold medals from the 1936 Olympics sold for $1.47M last week.
9) Instant mute button: Kevin Harlan and Gus Johnson; both are self-promoting screamers. Harlan should know better; his dad was CEO of the Packers for years. He is a solid play-by-play guy when he shuts his act off. Johnson we don’t know about; his act never stops, so maybe its not an act and he’s just annoying all the time.
8) Still trying to figure out why the field in Philly wasn’t cleared at halftime Sunday; they must have plows in eastern Pennsylvania. They cleared between the hash marks at halftime in Baltimore. Field at the Linc was so bad teams wouldn’t try extra points- they had eight freakin' inches of snow.
7) Bobby Petrino’s Western Kentucky team is the only 8-4 college football squad that isn’t going to a bowl game. Think Arkansas would like to have him back as coach?
6) Washington Redskins have had seven head coaches in 14 years under Daniel Snyder; Pittsburgh Steelers have had three head coaches since 1969.
5) Orel Hershiser is leaving ESPN, will be replaced on Sunday Night Baseball by Curt Schilling; my first thought is that this is not good, but we’ll see. Hershiser is smart and he’s good on TV- he’s going to the Dodgers’ new regional network.
Schilling just seems to talk a lot, and if a guy like him has less money than I do (he lost all his $$$ in business) why should I care what he thinks? Over his career, Schilling earned $114M+ in salary. How is he broke?
4) ESPN retains Jon Gruden at least thru next year, taking his name out of the coaching rumor mill. Am guessing he’ll get back into coaching once his sons are all out of high school, making a Dick Vermeil-like (14 years) return to the NFL after a lengthy absence.
3) Odd basketball game Sunday; Virginia Tech won in OT at Miami, despite going 1-3 on the foul line, 12-34 from the arc. Teams with that kind of 3’s/FT ratio almost never win; there aren’t that many of them in the first place. Bottom half of the ACC isn’t very good; they ruined this once-great basketball league to try and get better at football.
2) Ole Miss lost two tough hoop games last week, 61-58 at Kansas State, 115-105 in OT at home to Oregon. Marshall Henderson was 2-13 from the arc at K-State, scoring 13 points in 26 minutes. He was 10-23 from the arc against the Ducks, scoring 39 points in 35:00, but Rebels still fell short.
To me, Henderson is the basketball equivalent of Johnny Manziel; very talented but a handful to deal with away from the games.
1) Lets face it, if NFL owners really cared about player safety, there would be no Thursday games, and if they cared about the ticket buying public, there would be no night games in Chicago in December, or Super Bowls in New Jersey.
Its evolved to where greedy humans like Jerry Jones have a cash cow and they’re milking it for all the cash they can, and they’re not as concerned as they should be with the quality of the product. That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday.......
14) Chiefs 45, Redskins 10-- Washington didn't look like an NFL team in this game, they looked a team that has quit on the season. Chiefs scored two special teams TDs, had TD drives of 13-25-41 yards. Weren't lot of fans left in the stands whewn the secind half started.
13) Ravens 29, Vikings 26-- Game was 12-7 Minnesota with 3:00 left, then five TDs scored in the last 2:05, one of the craziest stretches in league history. Seemed like once the snow stopped, the defense couldn't do anything on the slick field and there were big plays all over the place. Over the last 50 years, 36 points in the last 2:20 of the 4th quarter is 12 more than any other NFL game. It really was weird to watch.
12) Patriots 27, Browns 26-- Cleveland gagged away a 26-14 lead with 2:00 left, as Patriots scored twice in 0:30, recovering an onside kick. Over their last six games, New England has been outscored by 47 points in first half, but then averaged 26.5 ppg in second half, winning five of the six games.
11) Jets 37, Raiders 27-- Jets were even in turnovers, so they won; in their six wins, Gang Green is +1 in turnovers- they're -19 in seven losses. Jets also blocked a punt for a TD. You watch the Raiders play and wonder what their plan is for the future, or if they even have one.
10) Bengals 42, Colts 28-- No turnovers, no sacks, not lot of defense in this game; underrated stat-- Cincinnati won/covered all six of its home games this season. Over their last six games (3-3), Colts were outscored 113-24 in first half, but they clinched AFC South when Titans lost, so they can rest up.
9) Eagles 34, Lions 20-- Mystified why several inches of snow was never cleared off field at this game; Detroit led 14-0 with 5:00 left in third quarter, but once snow stopped, Eagles ran 25 plays for 361 yards on their last five drives, all TDs. Not often a team scores TDs on both punt/kick returns and still loses. Detroit is minus-15 in turnovers in its last six games.
8) Dolphins 34, Steelers 28-- If Miami makes playoffs, Joe Philbin better be Coach of the Year, with all the BS he's put up with this year. Under had been 5-0-1 in Dolphins' last six games, but on a cruddy day, Miami ran ball for 181 yards with an OL thats been better without Incognito/Martin.
7) Buccaneers 27, Bills 6-- Tampa Bay won four of last five games, covered five of last six, with only loss at Carolina. Teams combined to convert 5-26 on 3rd down; Bucs only completed 9-25 passes, but Buffalo turned ball over five times. Not many teams win with five turnovers and six points.
6) Broncos 51, Titans 28-- Denver averages 25.1 ppg at home this year, just in the second half- this was the 4th home game this year Broncos scored 30+ points in second half, as thin air in Mile High altitude takes its toll. Titans were -12 in field position, -2 in turnovers- you need to win those categories to beat a team thats better than you.
Denver's Matt Prater kicked a 64-yard FG, breaking the all-time record, but at altitude, still not as impressive as Dempsey's 63-yarder at Tulane Stadium.
5) Cardinals 30, Rams 10-- Credit to Arizona for its improvement this year, but I buy Sunday Ticket to watch Rams' games and I can no longer stand to watch Kellen Clemens play- he just isn't very good. Why not let young QB Austin Davis play a little, maybe he's good? If he isn't, then he's no different than Clemens. On the bright side, Rams have the Redskins #1 pick in April.
4) Chargers 37, Giants 14-- Eli Manning has two Super Bowl rings, is 0-3 against team that drafted him; I'm sure he's happy with his career, but Giants fell behind Redskins 14-0 last week, a signal that they're not preparing well, which was confirmed in this game. San Diego is very hard to figure out.
3) 49ers 19, Seahawks 17-- Niners kicked four FGs, threw pick in red zone, yet still won game they needed lot more than Seattle, which was travelling on a short week after whipping Saints. In two games with Seattle, Kaepernick is 28-57 passing; 49ers have one TD, three FGs in five drives into red zone.
2) Packers 22, Falcons 21-- Green Bay trailed 21-10 at half, held Falcons scoreless in second half, and are still alive at 6-6-1, thanks to sloppy play in Detroit/Chicago. This was their first win without Rodgers; they finish with Cowboys-Steelers-Bears, will need #12 back to win division.
1) Saints 31, Panthers 13-- Carolina kicked FGs on first two drives; hard to win in Superdome kicking FGs; Panthers' last loss was Week 5 at Arizona, also in a dome. Saints visit Charlotte in two weeks, for an outdoor game.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Michigan State 34, Ohio State 24-- Buckeyes completed 8-23 passes, converted 1-10 on 3rd down and gave up 304 passing yards as Michigan State moves on to Rose Bowl and Florida State-Auburn to BCS title game. Ohio St. rallied to lead after trailing 17-0, but now they're a disappointed bowl team.
12) Auburn 59, Missouri 42-- Auburn ran ball 74 times for 545 yards; I've been charting games every week here for years, almost never see stats like that, maybe when teams play a I-AA opponent. Gus Malzahn coached in high schools for 16 years; what took him so long to get a college job?
11) Rice 41, Marshall 24-- Big day for Sammy the Owl, as Rice wins its first C-USA football title, and basketball team beats South Alabama in triple OT, after blowiong a 15-point halftime lead. Not too often Rice has a big day in sports, unless its baseball. Marshall is way better at home than on road.
10) Oklahoma 33, Oklahoma State 24-- Sooners scored two TDs in last 0:19 to deprive rival Cowboys of BCS bowl slot, which now goes to Baylor. Three different QBs threw 7+ passes for Oklahoma in this game.
9) Stanford 38, Arizona State 14-- Cardinal-Michigan State figures to be a darned good Rose Bowl. Spartans will be in Pasadena for first time in 26 years. Hard for college team to beat same team twice in one year-- not too many rematches in college ball, unlike the NFL- good win for Stanford.
8) Fresno State 24, Utah State 17-- Bulldogs won MWC title, but they are 0-4 this season recovering onside kicks; NFL teams are 34-40. David Carr was a flop as the first pick in the NFL Draft; will that hurt his brother Derek in the draft? Young Carr was 36-53/404 in this game.
7) New Mexico State has a 7-5, 360-pound center named Sim Bhullar who is better than you would think; he has a brother Tanveer who is 7-3, 335 and who is redshirting as a freshman this year. Aggies have seven foreign players, but need to find a better league than the decrepit WAC.
6) Texas 81, Temple 80 OT-- Teams combined to make 36-66 on foul line in this bizarre game, where Temple's Dalton Pepper got a lane violation trying to rebound his own foul shot (it went in) in the last minute. Owls are 4-4, look like a team that won't be paying attention on Selection Sunday.
5) Wake Forest 76, Richmond 66, OT-- Had to be a big win for Wake coach Bzdelik after Deacond fired the football coach this week; lot of Wake alumni are trying to get the AD fired, the AD being Bzdelik's pal. Spiders led by 12 in the second half, lost despite forcing 21 turnovers, very un-Spiderlike.
4) Illinois State 81, Dayton 75-- Flyers gets in top 25, then go and lose to a 4-4 team that graduated all five of its starters last spring. Losses like this one do not look good during Championship Week in March.
3) Mavericks 108, Trailblazers 106-- Monta Ellis scored 22 points, the last two on a ridiculous, leaning jumper that beat the clock to give Dallas its win at Portland. Damian Lillard had 32 for the Trailblazers.
2) Florida State 45, Duke 7-- Duke is going to bowl for second year in row for first time in school history, but what bowl is going to be real excited about having a team that just lost 45-7, and doesn't have a big following?
1) Colorado 75, Kansas 72-- Fans stormed the court in Boulder after Askia Booker took three steps, then drained the game-winning 3-pointer, ending a 19-game losing streak to the Jayhawks. Walking violations like this one are often ignored in end-game situations; not sure why?
Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) Robinson Cano takes $240M for ten years from Seattle, shaking up baseball’s free agent landscape. If Jay Z gets the normal 4% take, that’s $8.69M for him. Now Beyonce has enough cash to go grocery shopping this weekend.
12) Curtis Granderson gets $60M for four years to play for the Mets; if they play him, Juan Lagares and Chris Young in the outfield at the same time, that’s a damn good defensive outfield, three CFs.
11) Big news day in Seattle: Washington Huskies replaced Steve Sarkisian with Boise State coach Chris Peterson, who went 92-12 on the blue carpet in Boise. Lot of people consider that an upgrade for the Huskies.
10) Now for the bad news for U-Dub fans: here are the records of the last three coaches who left Boise State for greener pa$ture$. Hint: two of the three work in television now.
– Houston Nutt: 5-6 in one season at Boise. Went 75-48 (42-38 in SEC) at Arkansas, then 24-26 (10-22) in four years at Ole Miss. Works for CBS College Sports now.
– Dirk Koetter: Got Boise’s dominance rolling with 26-10 mark in three years, then went 40-34 (21-28 in Pac-10) at Arizona State, is now OC for the Falcons, after doing same thing for Jacksonville.
– Dan Hawkins: 53-11 at Boise, went 19-39 (10-27 in Big X) at Colorado, worked on ESPN for couple years, went 2-3 this past summer in a cameo in the CFL and is now back on ESPN, where he is actually pretty good on TV.
Bottom line: No coach has left Boise and come close to having as much success as he did with the Broncos.
9) 38-year old Hiroki Kuroda is going to get $16M for next year from Bronx Bombers; he was 0-6 with 6.56 ERA in his last eight starts in ‘13.
8) If you have some time, go to themmqb.com and read the 3-part series they did on NFL officials. Illuminating stuff on how officials prepare, how they’re scrutinized. Good behind the scenes access, if you like the NFL, well worth your time.
7) Packers have passed on first down 68% of time in five games since Aaron Rodgers got hurt; they threw on first down only 58% of the time in their first seven games, with Rodgers under center; their 3rd down conversion rate is 23% without Rodgers, 46% with him.
6) Tough year for Gary Kubiak, who had a stroke at halftime of a game, came back, then got fired after the Texans lost in Jacksonville Thursday. Am guessing the interim coach will be Wade Phillips, who is also having a rough year, having lost his dad last month.
5) Could Kubiak surface as OC with the Redskins if Mike Shanahan pulls the plug on his overmatched son Kyle?
4) Josh Henderson’s knee injury has Vanderbilt’s hoop team down to eight scholarship players; on December 7, that’s not good news. Walk-ons have to bust their butts just to create quality practices.
3) Oral Roberts’ hoop team, which bounced from Summit League to the Southland two years, is heading back to the Summit next year. ORU is in Tulsa, so maybe they figured Southland was a better geographic fit, but like a lot of other schools, they changed their mind and headed back to the Summit, where they had been from 1997-2012.
2) Think about this for a second: Bronx Bombers gave a guy a 7-year contract for $21M a year who played an average of 96 games over the last four years, but let a guy walk who played 159+ games the last seven years, helped them win a World Series and is a better run producer than the oft-injured guy? This makes sense how? Mariners’ first visit to the Bronx is April 29.
1) As I'm typing this, Mike Napoli got $32M from Boston for two years and Carlos Beltran got $45M for three years in the Bronx. None of these guys pitch; I've been told that pitching is an important part of baseball.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weeknd here.......
13) With Robinson Cano still in free agent limbo, people here in upstate NY have been critical of him because he doesn’t sprint out every ground ball he hits. Fair criticism, but here is how many games Cano has played the last seven years: 160-159-161-160-159-161-160. He plays every game.
Meanwhile, in one A’s-Angels game last April, three guys (Crisp-Young-Bourjos) went on the DL after pulling muscles running out grounders they had zero chance to beat out. I want my star players to play every day; if that means taking a play off now and then to prevent wasteful injuries (Evan Longoria missed 88 games with a pulled hammy in 2011) then so be it. Cano always plays and that’s important.
12) Looks like Richard Pitino got out of Miami just in time; while Pitino’s Minnesota Gophers were beating Florida State Tuesday night, his old team, Florida International, lost to a D-II team by 28. Pitino was only at FIU for a year and now he’s a millionaire in Minnesota.
11) Thanks to DirecTV not having the Pac-12 Network, this has to be the latest in the college hoop season I’ve gone without seeing UCLA play yet. ESPN3 and Pac-12 Network are not available to DirecTV subscribers, which is too bad. Like to watch as many games as possible, and especially the Bruins this year, with Steve Alford now coaching there.
10) Eli Manning refused to play for the Chargers after they drafted him, but his backup QB at Ole Miss got traded to San Diego this week, when the Padres got OF Seth Smith from Oakland for Luke Gregerson.
9) Feel bad for Nets’ assistant Lawrence Frank getting demoted after Brooklyn’s 5-12 start, but then you hear Frank will get paid $5.3M over the next four years, for whatever menial tasks he’s been assigned, and you stop feeling bad for him. He’ll probably be the interim coach when they mercifully fire the overmatched Jason Kidd later this year.
8) If you’re a Twins’ fan, you’re glad they opened their wallets this winter, but are you excited that they spent $73M on Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes? I’m asking, not saying there shouldn’t be excitement, but Hughes especially seems more like a suspect than someone who will be a big help.
7) I’m no fan of the Heisman Trophy; think it gets too much talk, especially early in a season, but if Johnny Manziel isn’t one of the four finalists this year, then I’m not sure what criteria they use to pick guys. Jordan Lynch went 6-17 passing in a MAC game last week, what would he do in the SEC? Is he hanging 42 on Alabama? I don't think so.
6) LSU QB Zach Mettenberger apparently tore his ACL against Arkansas and won’t be able to work out before the NFL Draft in April. He and the Murray kid at Georgia are in the same boat now, its too bad.
5) Golf is an Olympic sport now? They’ll lose whatever credibility the “Olympic ideal” has/had when Eldrick Woods and his co-workers tee it up for a gold medal. Escorts in Brazil should have a big two weeks, though.
4) Boston Celtics are 8-12…….and in first place in the hideous Atlantic Division. Toronto would be in first if they hadn’t blown a 75-48 lead in Oakland Tuesday. Raptors didn’t even cover the game as 8-point dogs after leading by 27 in the third quarter.
3) NBA teams have very detailed scouting; for instance, when Michael Carter-Williams of the 76ers shoots from 10+ feet away from the basket, he is 29-64 (45.3%) when he shoots from the left side, 12-61 (19.7%) when he shoots from the middle or right, so you play him tighter on the left side of the floor. Information like that hasn’t always been available, but now it is.
2) With Giants going to San Diego this week, lot is being made about how Archie Manning wouldn’t let Eli play for the Chargers; had he not done that, the Giants had already told Ben Roethlisberger they were going to draft him, so they would not have taken Philip Rivers, who obviously wound up in San Diego. NFL history in the last ten years would be a lot different.
1) Saints’ airplane had troubles Monday night; they didn’t get out of Seattle until noon ET Tuesday, meaning this is a very short week for their coaches/players, with a big game against Carolina Sunday night.
Thursday's List of 13: Our NFL List of 13..........
32) Texans—Curious to see if they’ll fire Kubiak or bring him back next year; they led Patriots by 10 half, were pounding Indy at half when Kubiak had his mini-stroke. There is talent here, but no wins since Week 2.
31) Browns—Hoyer gave them a spark at QB and so did Campbell, but they both got hurt; Weeden put up big numbers last week, but they still lost at home to 3-9 Jaguars. What kind of numbers would Josh Gordon put up with a decent QB throwing him passes?
30) Redskins—Post-season staff evaluation should be fun, when the owner suggests that the head coach fire his son, the OC. The coach makes $7M a year, so he ain’t going anywhere; the franchise QB appears to not get along with the coach’s son. Its officially a debacle.
29) Falcons—Good comeback win in Toronto, so they’re 1-0 in Canada this year, but 2-9 in this country.
28) Packers—0-4-1 without Aaron Rodgers; when he returns, they jump into top half of league, but by then it might be too late.
8) Cardinals—When Temple fired Bruce Arians years ago, wonder if he thought he’d ever be back in Philly, as an NFL head coach?
7) Chiefs—Will right the ship in DC this week, then jockey for Wild Card position; Broncos aren’t going 2-2 against their soft finish.
6) Saints—They’re scoring 13 points less a game on the road than at home, and that includes a dome game in Atlanta. Winning in Seattle in January ain’t going to be easy.
5) 49ers—Only good thing about Candlestick Park was A’s the won World Series there in ’89; I’m looking forward to when they implode the place. In early 70’s, they actually had artificial turf there, not really sure why.
4) Patriots—Would be interesting if Seattle played Pats in Super Bowl, since Pete Carroll was Pats’ coach before Belichick. If they do, hope Seahawks hire extra security for their practices.
3) Broncos—I can’t help but think when the Ravens scored that 70-yard TD in the last minute to force OT in that playoff game LY, was that Peyton Manning’s best shot to win a Super Bowl in Denver? They’ll be a #1 seed, but a #1 seed with a gimpy, 36-year old QB.
2) Panthers—Won/covered last eight games, play Saints two of next three weeks, with a division title at stake. Carolina covered 7 in row as a road dog.
1) Seahawks—I’m not giving up on the Tom O’Brien angle of the Russell Wilson story until some network has the onions to go interview O’Brien and ask him why he cut such a “coach’s dream” loose before his senior year at NC State?
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.
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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