Tuesday’s 6-pack, Quote, Quiz of the Day

We have basketball info every day…….Writeups on top 13 college football games for this weekend will be posted on CF page……..NFL stuff will be posted on the NFL page

Tuesday’s 6-pack
— Rams 54, Chiefs 51— Over-hyped game more than lived up to it.
— Auburn 88, Xavier 79 OT— Auburn-Duke in Maui Classic Tuesday.
— Hornets 117, Celtics 112— Kemba Walker scored 103 points in his last two games.
— Bears QB Trubisky has a sore shoulder, is questionable for Thursday’s game.
— Rutgers 63, Eastern Michigan 36— Game was 31-4 AT THE HALF!!!
— Mariners sold off ace pitcher James Paxton to Bronx for three minor leaguers. Oy. 

Quote of the Day
“No, there’s a play-hard issue.”
Wizards’ coach Scott Brooks, when asked if his team has leadership issues

Tuesday’s quiz
In the baseball movie Bull Durham, what position does Kevin Costner’s character play? 

Monday’s quiz
Drew Brees played  his college football at Purdue. 

Sunday’s quiz
Duke football coach David Cutcliffe used to be the head coach at Ole Miss.  

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) I hope this isn’t offensive but it made me laugh………

“An Albuquerque woman is suing Samsung for $1.8M after she necessitated medical attention after inserting her cellphone inside her vagina and was unable to retrieve it for 96 hours.”

The 39-year old woman claims her medical bills at University of New Mexico’s Hospital amount to $1,168,000 and that she has suffered from severe psychological distress because of the whole ordeal. She said she first inserted the cell phone inside her vagina as a dare from one of her friends, but quickly realized that the phone would not come out.

Moving right along………

12) Did you know that over the last six basketball seasons, Kentucky is just 2-10-1 vs the spread as a road underdog in conference games? 

11) Colorado fired football coach Mike MacIntyre, who had a 30-44 record in six seasons. Buffs started this season 5-0, but an injury-depleted team lost its last six games. MacIntyre will not coach Colorado in its last regular season game, against Cal. 

10) Kansas’ new football coach Les Miles gets a 5-year contract that will pay him $2,775,000 a year, with longevity bonuses 2020 and 2022. Its good to be friends with the AD. 

Miles gives a great press conference; he probably has been our Quote of the Day on this site as much as anyone, except maybe Steve Kerr.

9) We’ve talked before this season about Washington State QB Gardner Minshew, who has led the Coogs to a 10-1 record, throwing for 29 TDs and 3,852 yards. 

My question is this: How on God’s green earth was Minshew not the full-time starter last year at East Carolina? He split time with a Duke transfer named Thomas Sirk. Coaching matters. 

8) San Diego State football coach Rocky Long played DB in the old World Football League, playing for the Detroit Wheels in 1974. Great name for a team. WFL used a yellow football so it would show up better on TV. Pretty sure Pat Haden played in that league too ,maybe for the South California Sun.

7) Friday night, Utah Jazz lost 113-107; the team’s star Donovan Mitchell took 35 shots and had zero assists, which usually infers that the player is selfish, which Mitchell isn’t. 

Mitchell was 12-24 on 2-point shots, 1-11 outside the arc; you can pass the ball and not get an assist because your teammates miss shots, but 35 shots and zero assists is very unusual. 

Saturday night in their win at Boston, Mitchell took 21 shots and had six assists. 

6) QB’s the Redskins are working out this week to be a backup to new starter Colt McCoy; Mark Sanchez, EJ Manuel, Josh Johnson, TJ Yates and Kellen Clemens. 

How does every NFL team not keep three QB’s on their roster? What would’ve happened if McCoy had gotten hurt during the Houston game? Who would play QB then? Redskins don’t have a quarterback on their practice squad. 

5) Carolina QB Cam Newton threw an 82-yard pass to DJ Moore early in the third quarter in Detroit Sunday; it was the longest NFL reception in three years that didn’t wind up as a TD. Panthers kicked a FG on that drive; the 4-point difference was important in a 20-19 game. 

4) Los Angeles Rams’ business offices are pretty close to where the wildfires have been burning; the offices will be closed for a couple more weeks. Lot of team employees have been working from their homes during this difficult time in southern California. 

3) Singer Dolly Parton has donated over 100 million books to children; in a world that is going crazier by the day, thought I’d point out some good news, too. 

2) Sacramento Kings are 8-8 and much-improved this season, but there are rumors that the team’s powers-that-be are unhappy about the playing time their younger players are getting, and as a result, coach Dave Joerger’s job is in jeopardy. The front office wants the young players to play more; the coach wants to win now, so he can stay employed. Go figure. 

You wonder why some teams always, always lose???

1) Speaking of which, I wake up Sunday morning and one of first things I read is that the Browns are thinking about interviewing former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to be their new head coach. Seriously.  

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday……

Texans 23, Redskins 21— 33 years ago Sunday, Joe Theismann broke his leg in a Monday night game; just a gruesome injury. In this game, Alex Smith broke his leg in third quarter, with Redskins down 17-7; Colt McCoy came off bench and led two TD drives, but Houston kicked FG with 7:30 to win the game and improve their record to 7-3. 

Skins’ TD that put them up 21-20 in third quarter was first lead change in any Redskin game all season, which is kind of hard to believe. Washington allowed 17 or fewer points in all six of their wins; they’re 0-4 allowing more than 17. 

Cowboys 22, Falcons 19— First three quarters of this game, no TD’s, five FG’s, which is very un-Falcon-like. Teams both converted 50%+ of their 3rd down conversions, but they were poor in the red zone. 

Dallas is 4-0 when it scores 20+ points, 0-5 when it doesn’t; they’re 27-16 vs spread in last 43 games as road underdogs. Under Quinn, Atlanta is 10-17 as a home favorite. 

Lions 20, Panthers 19— Carolina hit the left upright with 34-yard FG in 3rd quarter, then missed PAT on TD with 5:13 left to play, so when they scored TD with 1:07 left that made score 20-19, Ron Rivera decided to go for 2…..and that didn’t work either. Panthers are now 6-15-1 vs spread in last 22 games as a road favorite. 

Giants 38, Buccaneers 35— These is no excuse for the Bucs being 3-7; they’ve gained 500+ TY in four of their last six games, but they cannot protect the ball. In their last eight games, Tampa Bay has turned ball over 27 times (-25). As the Hall of Fame coach George Allen used to say, “More games are lost than won.” 

Bucs benched Fitzpatrick after an awful INT in end zone; Jameis Winston came in and looked like Dan Fouts, completing 12-16 passes for 199 yards and two TD’s, but Manning completed 17-18 passes on the day, as Giants won their second game in a row after a 1-7 start. 

Don’t think I’ve seen this before: on their last nine drives, Tampa Bay scored five TD’s but threw four INT’s. All or nothing. They were also stopped on 4th down inside the Giants’ 5-yard line on their first drive of the game. 

Ravens 24, Bengals 21— Rookie QB Jackson won his first NFL start, running for 117 yards and throwing for 150 more, playing against a defense that had allowed 500+ yards in their previous three games- Cincy fired their DC last Monday. Bengals lost four of their last five games. 

Steelers 20, Jaguars 16— With 2:00 left in 3rd quarter, Jaguars led 16-0; this is a brutal loss for Jags, making them 3-7 and basically ending their season. Jags started three drives in Steelers territory, but scored only three points on those drives. Jaguars passed for only 64 yards. 

Steelers’ first 9 drives: 33 plays, 125 yards, zero points, five 3/outs.
Steelers’ last 5 drives: 27 plays, 249 yards, 20 points. 

Roethlisberger ran for the winning TD with 0:05 left; Steelers won their last six games. 

Seahawks 27, Packers 24— Seattle outrushed Green Bay 173-48; Packers converted only 3-11 third down plays. 46-yard FG Crosby missed when Packers led 7-0 turned out to be painful. 

Home teams are now 9-2 in Thursday night games this season. 

Colts 38, Titans 10— Tennessee crushed New England LW, so of course they come here and get their butts kicked. Titans’ QB Mariota hurt his elbow near end of first half; Gabbert played 2nd half. Colts have now won 17 of last 20 series games, 10 of last 11 played here. Indy has won four games in a row after a 1-5 start. 

In the first half, Titans’ DC, 69-year old Dean Pees was taken to the hospital with “a medical issue.” We wish him well. 

Saints 48, Eagles 7— If you don’t think the NFL season is long, consider this: the Saints lost at home to the Buccaneers in their season opener. Not exactly an omen of things to come. Saints won their last eight games, covered last eight- they scored 45-51-48 points last three games. 

Eagles are learning a fact of life in the NFL; it is never far from the penthouse to the outhouse. Philly lost five of its last seven games- they have one takeaway in their last four games. 

Broncos 23, Chargers 22— LA’s six-game win streak comes to an end; they screwed up clock management while trying to run out the clock. Chargers had ball at midfield at the 2:00 warning, but they took hardly any time off the clock before punting the ball back to Denver. 

Broncos won 12 of last 15 series games; five of last six Charger games, seven of last nine Denver games stayed under the total. Chargers’ loss gives Kansas City some breathing room heading into the Monday night headliner in the Coliseum. 

Chargers outgained Denver 479-325; they converted 9-15 on third down; six of those nine conversions were on plays of 20+ yards. But they didn’t win. 

Raiders 23, Cardinals 21— These two teams and the 49ers are all 2-8, tied for worst record in the league, which will be interesting when the draft comes around in April. Cardinals beat the 49ers twice; Oakland won this game but got crushed by San Francisco. 

Arizona ran only 52 plays, completed only 9-20 passes, converted 3-11 on third down, and their best player is Larry Fitzgerald, who will retire soon. Cardinals are minus-10 in turnovers in their last four games. Not sure how strong their future is. 

Bears 25, Vikings 20— Chicago won/covered its last four games; they’re 5-1 at home, 5-0 as a home favorite. Quick turnaround for Chicago; Bears had the Sunday night game, then play at 12:30 Thursday afternoon.  

Both teams turned ball over three times in this game; Minnesota threw 46 passes, ran ball 14 times. This wasn’t one of Kirk Cousins’ best nights. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a college sports Saturday

13) Ohio State 52, Maryland 51 OT— This was the strangest of games……..
— Maryland’s QB tore his knee up last week, is out for the year; they gained 535 yards in a game where their backup QB played the whole game.
— Terps had TD runs of 81-75 yards, just in the first quarter- they ran the ball for 339 freakin’ yards, which we’ll get back to later.
— Urban Meyer looks stressed out on sidelines, like he could keel over for good at any minute.
— Buckeyes have allowed 31+ points in three of their last four games.
— Maryland scores in OT to make score 52-51; did we mention they ran the ball for 339 yards? They go for 2 points and the win, but they throw a pass with their backup QB. No bueno.
— 47 of their first 61 plays were runs, but they threw a pass with the game on the line.

I was thoroughly entertained by this game, but the end just ticked me off. Do what you do best!!!! Run the damn ball. Maryland wins this game, and the interim coach might become the full-time coach. Now? Good luck interviewing for jobs this winter.  

12) Oklahoma State 45, West Virginia 41— Not everyone who plays college football is going to the NFL; senior QB Tyler Cornelius threw a total of 24 passes in his first three years at OSU, but he is the starter this year and this was a big day for him on Senior Day, going 30-46 for 338 yards and three TD’s as they upset West Virginia. 

Here are the distances between West Virginia and their Big X rivals:
— Iowa State 872 miles; Kansas 902, Kansas State 983
— Oklahoma State 1,086, Oklahoma 1,137, TCU 1,238
— Baylor, 1,299, Texas 1,401, Texas Tech 1,467

Why the bleep is West Virginia in this league and not the Big 14 or the ACC? 

11) UCLA 34, USC 27— Joshua Kelley ran ball 40 times for 289 yards, the most yards for any UCLA RB since 2004; Bruins are 3-8, USC is 5-6. Last time both of these schools finished with losing records was 1958, before I was born. Trojans have to upset Notre Dame next week to get to 6-6 and be bowl eligible— ain’t gonna happen. 

Where does USC look for a new coach? Would they dare consider Lane Kiffin again? How about John Harbaugh or Mike Leach? 

USC has had three former football players (Garrett, Haden, Swann) as AD’s; how about hiring an experienced administrator and running things the right way? 

10) Nebraska 9, Michigan State 6
— Neither team scored a TD, or completed half their passes.
— Total yardage was 289-248 MSU
— Spartans converted 9-20 on 3rd down, but only scored three points?
— Nebraska won four of its last five games after an 0-6 start.
— This is first time Nebraska had won a game without scoring a TD since a 3-0 victory over Kansas State in 1937.

9) Utah 30, Colorado 7— When I was in Las Vegas last month, my only college football bet was Colorado over Arizona State; the Buffs won/covered, but they haven’t won since, turning a 5-0 start into a 5-6 debacle. Colorado blew a 31-3 lead in an awful home loss to Oregon State late last month, and they haven’t recovered from that. 

In their last five games, Buffaloes were outscored 101-20 in the 2nd half.

8) Wisconsin 47, Purdue 44 OT— Boilermakers led 27:13 with 7:00 left in game, but they let game slip away and lost to the Badgers for 7th time in a row. Wisconsin had 13 penalties for 171 yards, but ran the ball for 385 yards. 

Purdue is 5-6, with four losses by 4 or fewer points; they need a win at Indiana next week to go to a bowl game. 

7) Upsets of the Week:
— Ball State (+9.5) 42, Western Michigan 41 OT
— Bowling Green (+7) 21, Akron 6
— Kansas State (+6.5) 21, Texas Tech 6
— Miami OH (+6.5) 13, Northern Illinois 7
— Oklahoma State (+5) 45, West Virginia 41

6) Utah State 29, Colorado State 24— Aggies were a 27-point road favorite, but host Rams scored with 1:36 left to take a 24-23 lead. Utah State then drove 71 yards on six plays for the GW TD, scoring on a 33-yard pass with 0:43 left to play. 

Colorado State appeared to score a TD on a Hail Mary on the last play of the game, but the kid who caught the ball had stepped out of bounds running down the field, so he was ineligible to touch the ball first, so that nullified the TD, luckily for 10-1 Utah State. 

5) Temple 27, South Florida 17— USF led this game 17-0 at halftime; Owls’ last two scores came on a punt return with 10:35 left and then a defensive score with 1:37 left. 

4) Florida State 22, Boston College 21— Seminoles hit on a 74-yard pass with 1:49 left to snap a 3-game skid and stay bowl eligible; they play the Florida Gators next week. FSU needs to win that game to get to 6-6. 

In itself, going to a bowl isn’t that big a deal, especially a minor bowl, but the practices teams have before those bowls are important— it helps coaches develop their younger players who might be starters next year. Also, it appeases the boosters, at least a little bit. 

The 3-4 hours the bowl is on TV also helps for recruiting; it is free advertising for the program. 

3) Furman 76, Villanova 68 OT— Paladins were a 16-point underdog; looks like the defending national champs might be in for a tough year. Wildcats took 44 3-pointers, only 27 2-point shots against a Southern League team, which doesn’t bode well for Big East play. 

Villanova is the first defending national champ since 1996 to start the next season 2-2 or worse. 

It is November 18 and Furman has already beaten two of last year’s Final Four teams; they won at the buzzer at Loyola, Chi earlier this month. 

2) Clemson 35, Duke 6— These teams are in same league, but since 2009, Clemson has had 52 players drafted by NFL teams; Duke has had four. David Cutcliffe is doing an excellent job of keeping the Blue Devils going to bowl games with lesser talent. 

1) Vanderbilt 36, Ole Miss 29 OT— This was a fun game to watch; a sketchy replay reversal nullified the Rebels’ tying TD in OT. Vandy plays Tennessee next week; the winner will be bowl eligible. 

Saturday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind……

13) Today’s Cal-Stanford football game was moved to December 1, due to poor air quality in the Berkeley area because of the wildfires in northern California. 

12) Monday is always one of my favorite sports days of the year; first day of the Maui Classic, plus Monday Night Football, but this year should be even better. 

Rams-Chiefs is obviously a possible Super Bowl preview, plus the Maui Classic this year has an amazing field, eight good-to-great teams. 

First round Maui matchups:
Game 1: Auburn vs. Xavier, 2:30 on ESPN2
Game 2: Duke vs. San Diego State, 5:00 on ESPN2
Game 3: Arizona vs. Iowa State, 9:00 on ESPNU
Game 4: Gonzaga vs. Illinois, 11:30 on ESPN2

Not a bad day; I’m guessing there will also be pizza involved. 

11) The record for most 3-pointers made in a D-I basketball game is 15; the record has been tied twice this week, first by Furman’s Jordan Lyons, and then by Josh Williams of Robert Morris. 

Lyons was 15-34 on the arc in a 107-67 win over North Georgia; Williams was 15-25 in a 104-57 win over Mt Aloysius- both of those opponents are obviously not D-I opponents, but still…….

10) It is funny how TV people change their mind: 15-20 years ago, when John Chaney had his Temple Owls rolling, he helped popularize the idea that when one of your players got two fouls in the first half, he sat for the rest of the half. It became almost an unwritten rule, and guys on TV religiously adhered to that. Keep the player out of foul trouble so he can play hard later on. 

Nowadays, coaches don’t do that as much; with thinner rosters due to more transfers and early jumps to the NBA, coaches try to steal minutes here and there when a guy has two fouls in the first half, and yes, the TV guys are now saying that THIS is the right way to coach. Go figure. 

9) University of Houston DT Ed Oliver, projected as a first round pick in next April’s NFL Draft, missed his 4th straight game Thursday; apparently there is tension between Oliver and the Houston coaching staff on that issue- Cougars lost two of their last three games. 

Oliver and coach Major Applewhite had a heated exchange as the team walked off the field at halftime Thursday; Oliver didn’t return to the sidelines for the second half.

8) Worse news for Houston is that their QB, D’Eriq King, tore up his knee Thursday and is done for the season. 

7) Green Bay Packers were trailing Seattle 27-24 Thursday night and had a 4th-and-2 from their own 33 with around 4:30 left; they punted, despite having only one timeout left and having Aaron Rodgers as their QB. Green Bay never got the ball back and coach Mike McCarthy took a ton of grief for it Friday. 

Winning only one Super Bowl in 13 years when your QB’s were Brett Favre and Rodgers might get McCarthy shown the door after this season.

6) Packers’ TE Jimmy Graham broke his thumb Thursday; not sure how long he is out for. 

5) NFL teams who have the fewest draft picks playing somewhere in the NFL:
— 31 Giants
— 32 Jets
— 34 Falcons, Chargers
— 35 Titans, Bears
— 37 Saints

4) A 27-year-old Georgia man and his 54-year-old mother were arrested Tuesday at an IHOP restaurant in Newnan, GA after the man escaped prison, but then stopped at IHOP for pancakes, and also to meet with his children. Unfortunately the mother ran a stop sign on her way to the IHOP, which was her undoing. 

The man had been slated for work release; now he’s charged with felony escape and his mother is charged with aiding and abetting.

3) Iowa 91, UConn 72— Huskies had an emotional win over Syracuse Thursday, then were flat as a pancake here, and got squashed by the Hawkeyes. 

2) Loyola Marymount 65, Georgetown 52— Lions are 4-0; Mike Dunlap is a really good coach- he used to be a head coach in the NBA and he won a national title in D-2 ball. LMU is trying to play like Virginia this year and so far, it is working. 

1) RIP William Goldman, 87, who wrote All The President’s Men and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; he also worked on the script for A Few Good Men and had a great writing career that included Marathon Man, The Princess Bride, The Stepford Wives, The Great Waldo Pepper, A Bridge Too Far, Chaplin and Misery.

RIP, sir. 

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here…….

13) Annual tradition here in not-so-beautiful upstate New York. When it snows outside, and it is snowing now, I get on the Interweb and price condos in Las Vegas, where snow is merely a rumor. 

Snow is the only bad part of living here; nothing is quite as much fun as getting up on a step-ladder to sweep the snow off my satellite dish. 

12) Last year at this time the Miami Marlins sold off their whole outfield; Stanton, Ozuna and Yelich. Wonder what the odds were that of those three guys, Christian Yelich would be the MVP this season? He had a great year, leading Milwaukee to a playoff berth.

11) San Diego Union-Tribune writer John Maffei is the only one out of 30 voters who didn’t vote for Jacob deGrom for the NL Cy Young Award. Mr Maffei values W-L record as a stat, so deGrom’s 10-9 record for a dismal Mets team didn’t impress him much.

10) UConn 83, Syracuse 76— Huskies made 12-21 behind arc; Syracuse was playing without G Howard; things aren’t as easy when you play away from home.   

9) DePaul 72, Penn State 70 OT— Nittany Lions jumped out to 11-0 lead, trailed 36-31 at half, then forced OT, where they missed wide open, game-tying jumper at end of OT. DePaul is 3-0 for first time in ten years. 

8) Ohio State 69, Creighton 60— Second quality road win for the young Buckeyes, who won at Cincinnati last week. 

7) Seahawks 27, Packers 24— Seattle outrushed Green Bay 173-48; Packers converted only 3-11 third down plays. 46-yard FG Crosby missed when Packers led 7-0 turned out to be painful. 

6) Houston Rockets and Carmelo Anthony parted ways after 10 games; who thought this pairing was going to be a good idea? Anthony didn’t want to come off the bench, but when you get older and your skills decline, what did he think was going to happen? 

5) Lakers’ G Rajon Rondo broke his hand, is out 3-5 weeks.

4) Former LSU football coach Les Miles took a one-time lump sum payment of $1.5M from the school, reduced from the $6.5M he was scheduled to get over the next five years, but that tells me that Miles is going to be a head coach somewhere else next season. If he took the $6.5M, he would’ve had to stay out of coaching until 2023.

3) Someone on Twitter posted a list of their ten favorite airports, and it started a firestorm of responses; since I only fly to one place, and it is usually a non-stop flight, my list is short: 

1) Las Vegas
2) Albany
3) Baltimore (sometimes my flights stop there; they have a Chick-fil-A)

2) Cal Bears postponed their basketball game with Detroit Mercy Thursday night because of poor air quality in the area due to the wild fires. San Francisco also postponed Friday night’s home basketball game with Arizona State. 

1) Jim Boeheim has been the basketball coach at Syracuse for 43 years; he played for the Orange, was an assistant coach there before being head coach. Boeheim’s son Buddy is a player for Syracuse now; how the hell do they spell the kid’s last name wrong on his orange jersey? 

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud……

13) Lot of college basketball games in November are awful; mismatches and teams just scheduling easy wins, but Tuesday I was highly entertained by two excellent games. 

Memphis-LSU was great entertainment; Penny Hardaway will build a power with the Tigers, and LSU has a strong young team, also. Both teams played fast and played well. 

Georgetown-Illinois was fun to watch; Illini PG got a concussion during the afternoon walk-thru and didn’t play, which brings up a pet peeve of mine. 

12) Some coaches are insane; they have these “walk-thrus” on game day but there are guys who turn them into practices— put it this way, you can’t get a concussion while walking. Having a practice on game day takes energy away from the game, which is all that matters. Getting your point guard hurt during a practice on game day is bleeping stupid. 

Patrick Ewing’s team has upgraded its talent in his second year on the job, but they got a gift here when the other team’s point guard got hurt. 

11) Draymond Green’s one-game suspension cost him $120,000, which is pocket change to Green, but the public nature of it makes it way more significant than that. Green has been the heart of this Warrior dynasty; the most important player isn’t always the best player. 

10) Chiefs-Rams line is now 3.5, moving up from 2 or 2.5 when game was scheduled to be played in Mexico City. Total doesn’t seem to have moved, staying at 63.5, the highest NFL total ever. 

9) Michigan 73, Villanova 46— Some alum gave Villanova so much money they named their gym after him, then they had FS1 interview him during the game. Too bad he couldn’t play; Michigan avenged (somewhat) their loss to Villanova in the national title game last April. 

This game was 44-17 at halftime. Wow. 

8) SEC decided to make Nashville the permanent home of its conference basketball tourney, signing a deal to keep the event in Music City thru 2035.

7) IUPUI 76, Boston College 69— Jaguars from the Horizon League were 16-point underdogs; a 6-3 guard named Camron Justice torched the Eagles for 29 points. 

6) Magic 111, 76ers 106— Philly led by 16 early in 4th quarter, losing Jimmy Butler’s debut with the 76ers. Orlando is 7-8 and appears to be an improved team- their last winning season was seven years ago. 

5) Timberwolves 107, Pelicans 100— Minnesota’s first game with Saric/Covington; from this point on, their record will be measured against Philly, because of the big trade. 

4) Pistons 106, Raptors 104— Reggie Bullock scored on an out-of-bounds play at the buzzer as Dwane Casey won his return to Toronto after the Raptors fired him last spring, despite a regular season record of 320-238 (21-30 in playoffs). 

3) Radford 63, Notre Dame 60— Not as big an upset as we’d think; Radford won the Big South LY, won a play-in game, then lost to Villanova in NCAA’s. Highlanders were only a 12.5-point underdog; they’re in top 20 nationally in experience, top 50 in minutes continuity and they play a slow tempo, so they’re hard to guard. 

2) Singer Billy Idol became a US citizen this week; good to see people who are so happy when they become citizens. This country was built by immigrants, something we shouldn’t forget. 

1) NFL flexed the Steelers-Raiders game out of the Sunday night slot on December 9 (Week 14) and instead will show Rams-Bears on NBC. Should be nice and balmy in Chicago for a night game on December 9th. Do they think of the fans in Chicago who pay to go to these games?

Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings……

13) Monday night’s Rams-Chiefs game was moved from Mexico City to Los Angeles, after the NFL determined the field in Mexico City wasn’t up to NFL quality. Player safety took precedence over the almighty buck, which is the way it should be. 

12) Random fact that doesn’t matter for Monday night’s game anymore; the altitude in Mexico City is 7,350 feet. Denver’s altitude is 5,280 feet, which is why the Broncos play in Mile High Stadium, at least thats what it was called before corporate sponsorship was invented. 

11) Congrats to the great Bob Melvin, who was named AL Manager of the Year Tuesday night. I watch the A’s play every night; you have no idea how great a job he did, leading the team with the lowest payroll in baseball to the playoffs this past summer. Well deserved award!!!

That said, Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash was also awesome this season, winning 90 games with a Rays’ squad that doesn’t exactly spend a lot of money either. 

10) Eli Manning’s career W-L record in regular season games is 113-110; he is the only NFL QB ever with 100+ wins and 100+ losses for the same team. 

Question for Giants’ fans out there: Who do you think was a better Giant, Eli Manning or Phil Simms? I’m curious what you think- e-mail me at ffib13@gmail.com 

9) If you’re debating whether Manning is a Hall of Famer, keep in mind that Joe Namath (62-63-4) is only Hall of Fame QB with a losing record- he won only two playoff games, one Super Bowl, albeit the Super Bowl that forced the AFL/NFL merger. By way of reference, Jim Plunkett was 72-72 and also won two Super Bowls- he isn’t in the HOF. 

8) Brooklyn Nets’ star Caris LeVert hurt his foot in Minnesota Monday night; the injury was so gruesome, there were teammates in tears on the Brooklyn bench, but it turned out relatively well. LeVert dislocated his foot, won’t need surgery and could return later this season. 

7) That didn’t take long; former Browns’ coach Hue Jackson is going to join the Cincinnati Bengals‘ coaching staff immediately; his title on the Bengals’ staff is unknown right now, but he joined the team Tuesday.

Bengals have a bye this week; they play the Browns play a week from Sunday, and then again in Week 16- those games figure to be very interesting.

6) Penny Hardaway is going to create a monster program at Memphis; not only is he a legend at Memphis he has two former NBA players (Sam Mitchell, Mike Miller) on his coaching staff, as well as another former Memphis Tiger (Tony Madlock). Memphis is a hotbed of high school talent; hard to believe Hardaway isn’t going to dominate the recruiting there. 

Memphis-LSU game on SEC Network Tuesday night was great fun. 

5) Golden State Warriors have dissension? Apparently, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant got into it late in Monday night’s loss to the Clippers, and the dispute spilled over into the locker room after the game. Green was then suspended for Tuesday night’s game. 

I’ve said this before, but seems like in a league where most everyone is really rich, the NBA has an awful lot of angry people. If the Warriors can’t get along, who can? 

Durant wasn’t happy on the Thunder, who were a very good team; now he’s not happy on the Warriors, who are a stacked team. Maybe he can go to China and score 50 a game like Jimmer Fredette and make all the decisions- maybe he’d be happy then. 

4) Sacramento Kings beat the Spurs 104-99 Monday night, ending a 14-game losing streak against San Antonio. Kings are 8-6 and appear to be vastly improved, and they also seem to be enjoying the experience. Good for them. 

3) Le’Veon Bell didn’t report to the Steelers by 4pm Tuesday, cannot play in the NFL this season; he forfeits all of his $15M salary, hoping to clean up as a free agent this winter. We’ll see how that works out for him. 

2) Alabama is playing The Citadel in football this weekend; this is pathetic, that a team as good as Alabama is playing a I-AA team. Play a Sun Belt team, play a MAC team. Have some guts and play someone who can challenge you. This is embarrassing. 

1) Nathan Peterman’s NFL career has mercifully come to an end, after the Bills cut him. Not sure what took them so long, but Josh Allen is almost ready to play again, so Peterman was released.

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) According to people who know such things, Rams-Chiefs’ total of 63.5 Monday night in Mexico City will be the highest total in NFL history.  

Of the 14 NFL games that have had totals of 58+, 11 games went over, 3 stayed under- the favorite won 13 of the 14 games SU. 

Previous highest total was 62 (Rams-49ers in 2000). 

12) Before this year’s schedule was made, Rams-Chiefs both requested to play in Denver this past week, to get ready for the high altitude in Mexico City; the NFL obviously turned both teams down. Rams are practicing at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs this week, so they’ll be cold but maybe it’ll help on Monday night. 

Rams by the way, appear to be playing a preseason game next summer in Hawai’i. 

11) Brook Lopez is a 7-foot center for the Milwaukee Bucks; in his last two games, Lopez is 14-25 outside the arc- he made six treys in the third quarter alone Sunday in Denver.

This is all very strange; in his first eight years in the NBA, Lopez was a combined 3-31 behind the arc, which made sense, the guy is a 7-foot center. But then he worked on his shooting. 

In the last three years, here are Lopez’ 3-point numbers, in his 9th-11th years in the NBA:
2016-17: 134-387, 34.6%
2017-18: 112-325, 34.5%
2018-19: 39-93, 41.9%

10) Sounds the Baltimore Ravens will ask coach John Harbaugh to take a hike after this season; curious to see what direction they’ll go in from here. Would Harbaugh be a good fit at USC, or is former Cal coach Jeff Tedford (Aaron Rodgers’ college coach) the front runner there? 

Would the Jets dump Todd Bowles and hire Harbaugh if he was available?

9) Louisville fired football coach Bobby Petrino Sunday morning; this is the Cardinals’ first losing season since 2009, but it has been a dreadful season. Louisville lost its last seven games, is 2-8- they’re 1-8 vs spread, so they’ve been non-competitive. Petrino will get $14M to go away; the rich boosters that pay the tab for this stuff must be very impatient people. 

News of the firing came during Petrino’s TV show Sunday morning and ran on a crawl on the bottom of the screen, which seems a little bit cold-hearted. 

Then again, if Rick Pitino wins his legal claim with Louisville they could owe him $44M, which means the school would owe $56M to coaches…..who don’t work there anymore. 

8) First true road game for Duke’s basketball team is on the 8th……..of January. They play five games on neutral courts before then, but zero true road games. 

7) New Jersey Giants cut OL Patrick Omameh, who signed a three-year, $15M contract in the offseason; pretty big blunder, but maybe they think signing Jamon Brown off the scrap heap makes up for it, at least partially. 

6) Jimmer Fredette scored 75 points in a Chinese League game Sunday; his team lost 137-136. He was 7-10 on the arc, 17-24 inside the arc. wonder how many points his guy scored? 

5) Some good news: 48.5% of eligible voters showed up and voted last week, the highest midterm turnout in any election since 1966.

4) Paul Pierce said on TV the other day that Duke could beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is an interesting debate. I would disagree with him on that, but the fact that it is even a debate is sad for Cleveland basketball fans.

3) Florida voted down greyhound racing earlier this month; I went to the dog races couple of times in Florida, never understood why anyone would wager on them. Fun to watch, it was a decent afternoon out, but horse races are a lot more fun.

2) Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford turns 31 in February; he is a good player, but this is his 10th year in the NFL and his career playoff record is 0-3. His regular season record is 63-71. He makes $27M a year. 

My question is this; if you’re trying to make the Lions better, do you trade Stafford for draft picks and try to strengthen the rest of the team? Stafford could still bring a pretty good haul in a deal- look around, good QB’s aren’t exactly everywhere, or does Detroit commit to Stafford for the rest of his career and hope that suddenly everyone around him starts playing better?

1) West Virginia’s basketball team has a freshman guard from Wisconsin named Jordan McCabe; when the kid was 12 years old, his dribbling skills were so advanced that he appeared with the Harlem Globetrotters one night, and also did his dribbling thing on the Ellen TV show. 

Not a lot of people can say they worked for Ellen DeGeneres and Bob Huggins.

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

Cowboys 27, Eagles 20— Home side has now lost nine of last 11 series games; Dallas won five of last six visits here. With seven weeks left in the season, Redskins have a 2-game lead in the NFC East. Cowboys are 4-0 when they score 20+ points, 0-5 when they don’t; they ran ball for 171 yards in first game with their new OL coach. Eagles are 0-4 as home favorites this year. 

Rams 36, Seahawks 31— About 20 Rams players/coaches had to evacuate their homes this week because of the wild fires; the team didn’t practice on Friday, but did enough here to move to 9-1. Seattle ran the ball for 273 yards; they’re only NFL team that runs the ball more than they throw it. Costly win for the Rams; looks like WR Cooper Kupp tore his ACL.

I wasn’t going to mention this if the Rams lost, but since they won, hopefully the NFL will grade referee John Hussey very poorly for this game- he gave Seattle their third TD by throwing a flag on Rams’ DE Fowler when Fowler complained about being held after a 3rd-and-11 pass that fell incomplete. Fowler was walking away but the referee wouldn’t walk away and threw a flag that amounted to a turnover in Rams’ territory at a key point in the second half. 

Titans 34, Patriots 10— When your division rivals are three of the worst organizations in the NFL, you can afford to lay an egg now and then. Tennessee DC Dean Pees spent six years with New England— his defense was brilliant, holding Patriots to one TD and only 284 yards. New England ran ball for only 40 yards, was just 3-15 on third down. 

Right now, looks like the Patriots might be battling Pittsburgh for the #2 seed in the AFC and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Tennessee is a game behind Houston in the AFC South. 

Browns 28, Falcons 16— Rookie QB Mayfield completed his first 13 passes, finished 17 of 20 for 216 yards, as Cleveland played their best game in a long time, ending Atlanta winning streak at three. Rookie RB Chubb ran 92 yards for a Cleveland TD; Browns ran ball for 211 yards, had three TD drives of 80+ yards. 

Bills 41, Jets 10— Matt Barkley started his first NFL game in two years, got his 2nd career win (2-5) as a starter, as Buffalo crushed the Jets, outgaining them 163-1 in the first quarter. Jets now have two TD’s on their last 35 drives. 

Friends of mine who are Jets fans were clamoring for Todd Bowles to be fired during the Jets’ bye week (this week). Buffalo outgained them here 451-199, playing with a QB they signed off the street a few weeks ago. 

Saints 51, Bengals 14— New Orleans won its last eight games and they scored 40 points in the game they lost; this was a total ass-kicking, as New Orleans ran for 244 yards, threw for 265 more and led 35-7 at halftime. 

Bengals/Titans are tied for the second Wild Card spot in the AFC, but this was a discouraging game, a total no-show; Cincinnati has lost three of its  last four games- good teams don’t lose this badly at home. New Orleans covered its last seven games. 

Redskins 16, Buccaneers 3— A very unusual boxscore:
— Tampa Bay outgained the Redskins 501-286
— Fitzpatrick threw for 406 yards, but Tampa Bay scored 3 points.
— Bucs had ball in red zone on five different drives; they turned ball over twice, missed two FG’s and kicked a FG.
— Tampa Bay was -4 (0-4) in turnovers, usually a recipe for disaster.
— Washington has allowed 17 or fewer points in all six of its wins; they’re 0-3 allowing more than 20 points, but have a 2-game lead in the NFC East.

When Dirk Koetter is applying for his next coaching job this winter, he’ll have to explain how his offense gained 501 yards but scored only three points. In their last seven games, Buccaneers are an incredibly bad minus-21 in turnovers- thats only seven games!!! 

Steelers 52, Panthers 21— Home teams are 8-2 on Thursday night games; think it is a big advantage to be at home with the short week. 

Steelers won/covered their last five games; they scored on a 75-yard pass with their first play of the game, after Carolina had taken a 7-0 lead. Panthers are two games behind New Orleans in the NFC South, but they play the Saints twice in the last seven weeks. Carolina +11 in TO’s in their wins, -5 in losses- they were -2 in this game.

Packers 31, Dolphins 12— Miami was in red zone three times, kicked two FG’s; they didn’t score an offensive TD for second week in a row (20 drives). Dolphins lost their last four road games, by 31-10-19-19 points- they’re 3-9 vs spread in last 12 games as road underdogs. Green Bay was in red zone four times, scored four TD’s. Packers are now 19-12-2 in their last 32 games as HF.

Colts 29, Jaguars 26— Indy scored 37-42-29 points in winning last three games, after a 1-5 start; Colts didn’t score in second half here, holding on for dear life after leading 29-13 a minute before halftime. Vinatieri missed a 52-yard FG that would’ve covered the spread with 2:53 left. Over is 5-1 in the Colts’ last six games. 

Jacksonville’s offense showed some life, but they’ve lost five games in a row, and were outscored 97-23 in the first half of those games. 

Bears 34, Lions 22— Chicago threw for 348 yards, was +3 (3-0) in turnovers; they’re 4-1 at home this year, 4-0 as HF. Bears averaged 11.2 yards per pass attempt- their defense sacked Stafford six times. Chicago kicker Parkey missed two FG’s, two PAT’s; last guy to do that (Cleveland’s K in Week 2) got cut after that game. 

Lions fired their special teams coach Monday, so they’ve got issues in their building; Detroit ran ball for only 76-66-34 yards in their last three games; they allowed 16 sacks in their last two games- maybe the OL coach should’ve been canned instead of the special teams guy. 

Chiefs 28, Cardinals 16— Since 2000, Chiefs were 23rd NFL team to be favored by 17+ points; those teams went 8-13-2 vs spread (they all won SU). KC was +2 in turnovers, won field position by 12 yards; Arizona holding them to 26 points seemed like a win for Arizona. 

Chargers 20, Raiders 6— Chargers won their last six games; they’re 5-0 outside LA, holding Oakland without a TD here. Raiders had ball on 2-yard line on their first drive after faking a punt for a first down, but they went for it on 4th down and got stuffed. 

Under Lynn, LA is 4-1-1 as road favorites, 3-0 this year- they held last five opponents under 20 points. Raiders lost last four games; they’re 3-7-1 vs spread in last 11 games as home underdogs. 

When you get to the red zone three times and score only three points, that not good. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday

13) Oklahoma 48, Oklahoma State 47— State scored with 1:07 left but went for two points and the lead, maybe because their kicker missed the PAT on their previous TD. 

We’ve talked about this couple times already, but I’m not a fan of going for two points and the win, yet every ex-player on TV applauds when a coach does it. There is a time to be conservative, to keep your team on national TV playing an exciting game (recruiting, anyone?!?!?!)

OSU had 39 first downs, gained 640 yards but lost. Entertaining game. 

12) Texas 41, Texas Tech 34— Longhorns led 34-17 with 7:00 left, but Tech rallied to tie the game with 1:45 left. Texas then drove the field and threw the GW TD pass with 0:21 left. 

11) Northwestern 14, Iowa 10— Wildcats are 0-3 in non-conference games, losing to Duke, Akron and Notre Dame, but they’re 6-1 in conference and clinched a spot in the Big 14 title game with this win. Four of their six conference wins are by four or fewer points; this will be their first-ever appearance in the Big 14 championship game. 

Iowa threw 41 passes, ran ball only 22 times, converted 3-13 third down plays; they’ve lost three games in a row after a 6-1 start. 

10) Pitt 52, Virginia Tech 22— Panthers won their third game in a row; they had TD plays of 73-78-97 yards, and averaged 13.9 YARDS PER PLAY in this game. Virginia Tech lost its last three games, allowing 44 ppg, and is now 4-5. 

9) Old Dominion 34, North Texas 31— Mean Green led 28-0 with 3:00 left before halftime, but let this game get away on the road, slip to 7-3. 

8) Florida 35, South Carolina 31— Gamecocks led 31-14 with 16:00 to play, but Florida went on TD drives of 75-89-66 yards to pull out the win and improve to 7-3. 

Georgia 27, Auburn 10— Auburn coach Gus Malzahn is in the first year of a 7-year, $49M contract; his Tigers are 6-4 and haven’t played Alabama yet, so they’re going to be 7-5 heading into their bowl game, which won’t be a great bowl (their other game is vs Liberty).

Not going to be a great winter on the plains for coach Gus.  

7) Upsets of the Week:
— UNLV (+22.5) 27, San Diego State 24
— Wake Forest (+19.5) 27, NC State 23
— Old Dominion (+14.5) 34, North Texas 31
— Minnesota (+12) 41, Purdue 10
— Northwestern (+11) 14, Iowa 10
— Bowling Green (+7) 24, Central Michigan 13

6) Indiana 34, Maryland 32— Terrapins ran ball for 59 times for 353 yards, outgained Indiana by 168 yards but lost- thats what four turnovers (-3) will do to you. 

Ohio State 26, Michigan State 6— Buckeyes’ punter Drue Chrisman pinned Spartans inside their own 6-yard line five times in the second half; he was interviewed on TV after the game. MSU completed less than half its passes for third time in last five games. 

5) UAB 26, Southern Miss 23 OT— UAB didn’t have a football team in 2015-16, but people fought to bring the team back and now in their second year back, the Blazers are 9-1 and are a hell of a story. Good for them. 

4) Arizona State 31, UCLA 28— Herm Edwards’ Sun Devils are 6-4, become bowl-eligible. 

3) Washington State 31, Colorado 7— Coogs ran 94 plays, injury-riddled Colorado ran 54; Buffaloes lost their last five games after a 5-0 start. Wazzu is 9-1 and rolling, in a story that is really interesting, in both happy and tragic ways. 

This time last year, Wazzu’s QB was Luke Falk, who is on the Miami Dolphins now. The young man who was penciled in to be his replacement this year (he threw 129 passes off the bench) took his own life after last season, in an unspeakable tragedy. 

Gardner Minshew was going to transfer from East Carolina to Alabama, with hopes of being a grad assistant coach in 2019; he knew he would sit the bench in Tuscaloosa this year. But when Washington State needed a QB, Minshew went to Pullman instead and is now having the time of his life. Life is weird sometimes. 

2) San Diego 56, Davidson 52— This I-AA game had some interesting stats:
— Davidson ran the ball 73 times for 789 yards, gained 852 TY.
— San Diego was 24-36 passing for 556 yards; they gained 625 TY.
— Toreros averaged 15.4 yards per pass attempt.
— Davidson had three TD runs of 80+ yards, in the first quarter alone.
— Davidson led 31-7 early in the second quarter.
— San Diego threw the game-winning 20-yard TD pass with 1:43 left. 

1) Eastern Michigan 27, Akron 7— EMU has a gray football field, much like Boise State has a blue field; when I watch clips of EMU home games on my laptop, it looks like the game is in black-and-white, except for the players. Weird.

Akron had six first downs, four turnovers, only 90 total yards. Eastern is bowl eligible

Saturday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind……..

13) Last summer, CBS Sports polled more than 100 coaches asking them to identify the most powerful person in college basketball; Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari and Big 14 commish Jim Delany finished 1st-3rd, and a guy I never heard of finished 4th. 

Bret Just used to be a high school coach; now he’s an agent for three NBA coaches, two NBA GM’s, Geno Auriemma and a bunch of other college coaches, including Andy Enfield, Chris Beard, Frank Martin. There is a tournament in Kansas City in a couple weeks where all four coaches are Just’s clients. 

Influential guy, the Scott Boras of basketball coaches. Now I know his name. 

12) Texas 73, Arkansas 71 OT— Longhorns’ Kerwin Roach stuck a 3-ball in transition with 0:01 left to tie the game 63-all, after Texas trailed almost the whole game, which was played on a military base at Fort Bliss in Texas. 

11) Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco has a hip injury and may not play next week against the Bengals. Rookie Lamar Jackson would start if Flacco can’t.

10) Dez Bryant signed with the Saints Wednesday, then tore his achilles in practice Friday. 

9) Five biggest upsets in college football so far this season:

Old Dominion (+27.5) 49-35 over Virginia Tech
Oregon State (+24.5) 41-34 over Colorado
BYU (+22.5) 24-21 over Wisconsin
Akron (+21.5) 39-34 over Northwestern
Wake Forest (+19.5) 27-23 over NC State

8) Pretty cool Thursday night on the Clippers-Blazers TV broadcast; with TV guy Ralph Lawler retiring after 40 years behind the mike, Lawler’s wife Jo joined her husband and Corey Maggette on TV for a few minutes during the second quarter, which led to a lot of laughter. 

It has been great fun listening to Mr Lawler’s good natured broadcasts over the years on NBA League Pass. It helps that the Clippers are improved under new owner Steve Ballmer. 

7) Obscure Stat of the Day: Since 2000, 54 NFL teams scored 50+ points in a game; those teams went 52-1-1 against the spread. The ’13 Cowboys (-7)  beat Denver 51-48 but did not cover.

6) There is a great article about friendships in the NBA on thescore.com  If you follow the NBA or sports of any kind, this is interesting information. 

5) JJ Redick plays for the 76ers but lives in Brooklyn with his wife and kids, which seems odd. He must like riding on trains, assuming that is how he commutes. 

4) Learned something yesterday about the wild fires in California; fires move faster going uphill because the wind goes with it; not so much going downhill. 

Scary stuff, watching houses and towns in danger of being destroyed. Hope everyone is OK. 

3) Stony Brook 83, South Carolina 81— Seawolves beat George Washington in their opener, pulled a second upset here. Good news for the America East Conference.

2) Joe Mauer retired after 15 years in the big leagues. I happened to be watching the Twins’ last home game in September; when Mauer went to 1B, his kids went out there too— you kind of figured that was it for Mauer, at least in Minnesota. 

1) Jim Calhoun coached his first game for the St Edward’s Bluejays last night; the 76-year old Calhoun is now a D-III coach, six years after he left UConn. St Edward’s was an all-girls’ school until this year.

Calhoun got T’d up in the first half Friday; his team was down 11 at the half, but rallied to beat William Paterson 79-74.

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here…….

13) ESPN’s Mark Jackson is much better as an analyst in a 2-man booth than a 3-man booth; he tells some terrific stories when he has more airtime. 

In 1986, Jackson led the nation in assists; one of his teammates (Walter Berry) won the Wooden Award, symbolic of the year’s best college player, so obviously St John’s must’ve had a damn good season (they went 31-5), but this was the year after Chris Mullin went to the NBA and apparently there were internal issues with the team. 

In their fifth game of the year, St John’s was nursing a late lead and Jackson was dribbling so he would get fouled, make foul shots and preserve the lead, but Berry wanted the team to give the ball to him so he could score more, and from that point on, from the end of the fifth game to the 36th game, Berry and Jackson never spoke again that season. You just never know. 

12) Monday night, Enes Kanter had 23 points, 24 rebounds off the bench for the Knicks, as well as seven assists. Kanter is the first NBA player since Charles Barkley in 1986 to have a 20-20 game, and also have 5+ assists, in a game he didn’t start. 

11) In the Atlanta Hawks’ arena, you can get your haircut during the game. Not sure why you would pay major bucks to watch an NBA game, then spend even more money to not watch the game while they cut your hair. Then again, I don’t have much hair to cut.

10) Speaking of the Hawks, Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce was a college teammate of Steve Nash in his playing days at Santa Clara.

9) Kansas City Chiefs outscored opponents 93-20 on the first drive of each half; thats 18 drives for each team. 

8) Miami Dolphins are only NFL team that hasn’t scored a point on their first drive of a game this season: nine drives, 42 plays, 198 yards, no points. No bueno. 

Jets kicked only one FG on their first drive of a game, but they also gave up a defensive TD, so they’ve actually been outscored 7-3 on their game-opening drives. 

7) Minnesota Vikings are playing better recently; in their last three games, the Vikings scored TD’s on their first drive of the game, going 68-91-65 yards for those TD’s. 

6) Rich Gannon was working the Charger-Seahawk game Sunday; Sebastian Janikowski was kicking for Seattle. Way back in 2000, Janikowski’s rookie year in Oakland, Gannon was the first holder Janikowski had during preseason, but Gannon said he was so bad at holding, they told him to forget about it and make punter Shane Lechler the holder. 

5) Boise State is a home underdog to Fresno State tonight, first time the Broncos have been a underdog on the Blue Turf since 1999. 

4) Pittsburgh Steelers are only team in NFL with only one divisional game left. Everyone plays a divisional game in Week 17. 

3) Last time Alabama had a Senatorial election, Nick Saban got 19,000 write-in votes. If he ever somehow got elected, Saban would have to decline; quite a pay cut from the $8M a year Saban makes now to the $175,000 or however much a senator makes. 

2) How would you like to be the person who ran for assembly in Nevada, and lost to a dead guy? 

72-year old Dennis Hof owned a brothel that was featured on the HBO show Cathouse; he passed away October 16, but he still won an election Tuesday in Nevada’s 36th Assembly District against Democratic educator Lesia Romanov. 

1) Le’Veon Bell posted a couple of Tweets this week with the text upside down; not sure how or why he did that, but it does look pretty cool. 

If Bell doesn’t report to the Steelers by 4:00 Tuesday, he can’t play this year, so he won’t make any of his $14.55M salary and he defeats the purpose of his holdout. Hopefully he is getting good advice, but that doesn’t seem too likely, unless he just doesn’t want to play anymore.

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) So I’m voting Tuesday and this guy voting next to me had his daughter with him- she is maybe 6, 7 years old. As he is voting, the little girl says “Thats not who mommy voted for” and the guy says “Daddy isn’t going to vote for everyone Mommy voted for” and then the little girl and dad start arguing, with the little girl wanting mommy and daddy to agree on everything. 

Quality entertainment. And for free. 

12) Sunday was a rough day for Nevada sports books; every NFL team that the public supported covered the spread. A guy who is a 25-year veteran of working in Las Vegas said it was one of the 10 worst days Nevada sports books have ever had in sports wagering.

11) Times have changed; the Cowboys willingly wore blue jerseys at home Monday night. There was a time when Dallas went on the road, opposing teams would wear white at home, to force the Cowboys to wear the blue jerseys that they didn’t seem to like wearing. 

10) New Mets’ GM Brodie Van Wagenen is making $10M for four years. He was the agent for the Mets’ two best players, Jacob deGrom and Yoenis Cespedes. He was also Tim Tebow’s agent; Tebow is expected to start next season at AAA Syracuse. 

9) Lot of NBA teams have cameras over the baskets, which provide great replays of action around the rim; the funny thing is that they then put advertising on top of the backboards, so you see it when those replays are shown. Wonder how much they charge for that? 

8) The NBA is more fun to watch now than it has been in a while; lot more passing, solid shooting. The success Golden State is having has influenced the game in a positive way. 

7) Toronto Argonauts fired coach Marc Trestman after a 4-14 season, but his Argos won the Grey Cup LAST YEAR. 

Trestman won two Grey Cups coaching Montreal from 2008-12, then went 13-19 in two years coaching the Chicago Bears. He later was an OC for the Baltimore Ravens, but was fired during the 2016 season. Mr Trestman could write a very interesting book. 

6) Not that I’m bitter or anything, but I see DeAndre Ayton and Allonzo Trier playing major minutes in NBA games this fall, but when I picked Arizona in their first round NCAA game last March, they lost by 21 to a freakin’ MAC team. No bueno!!!! LOLOL

5) Miami, Florida, Florida State all went 0-2 the last two weekends. 

That is the FIRST time that has EVER happened. 

4) San Francisco Giants hired GM Farhan Zaidi as their new GM Tuesday. 

For the past four years, Zaidi  was GM of the rival Dodgers; before that, he was the assistant GM to Billy Beane with the A’s. 

3) Jamal Murray scored 48 points for Denver Monday night; he took a shot late in the game, trying to get to 50, and the Celtics get all offended, like Murray isn’t supposed to try and put the ball in the basket. Thats what he gets paid for. 

You don’t want him to score 50? Guard his bleepin’ ass, don’t let him get to 40!!! Don’t run your mouth after the game, move your feet during the game.

2) Guy at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City put $6 down on a 12-team parlay this weekend and he hit it, with Titans (+5) clinching his $9,600 payoff. Well done!!!

1) Chicago Blackhawks fired coach Joel Quenneville, who won three Stanley Cups in Chicago, the last one in 2015. He’s the second-winningest coach in NHL history with an all-time record of 890-532-214. Sounds like a guy who won’t be unemployed too long. 

Wednesday’s Den: Wrapping up Opening Night in college hoop

13) Kansas 92, Michigan State 87— Jayhawks led this game the whole way, were up 50-36 at halftime, but Spartans fought back late and made the Kansas fans sweat. 

Dick Vitale started his 40th season on ESPN with this game; he surprised me by saying that he thinks college basketball season starts too early, and shouldn’t begin until after Thanksgiving Day. Don’t think I agree with that; after Thanksgiving would be too late. 

I liked the early season basketball marathon ESPN used to run for 24 hours, but they’ve done away with it now. That would’ve been early next week. Who needs sleep? 

12) Duke 118, Kentucky 84— Blue Devils led this game 34-13 at one point, and then it got worse; impressive display by a very young Duke team- game was 59-42 at halftime, 85-52 with 12:22 left. Wildcats don’t get whacked like that very often. 

11) Texas Southern 72, Baylor 69— When you pay an opponent to come to your gym and play, they’re not supposed to win. Last year, Texas Southern played its first 13 games on the road- their first home game was New Year’s Day. TSU started last year 0-13, lost by 31 at Baylor, but the Jonny Jones era gets off to an excellent start here. 

10) Arizona State 102, Cal State-Fullerton 94 2OT— Titans made NCAAs LY but weren’t given a big chance here; Ahmad/Allman combined for 64 points, but no other Titan scored more than 11 points- they’ll need a third scorer to emerge. 

ASU was only 26-44 on foul line; they took 18 more FT’s than Fullerton. 

9) North Carolina 78, Wofford 67— This game was tied 46-all with 10:30 left, but reality set in down the stretch. Credit to Roy Williams for going to Wofford’s gym and playing a real road game— it’ll make the Tar Heels better. Wofford has to be encouraged by this game. 

More teams need to have some guts and play some true road games. 

8) Georgia State 74, East Tennessee State 68— Couple of solid mid-majors hooked up here; ETSU had 27 offensive rebounds, but were just 4-23 on arc, 17-27 on charity stripe. Four Georgia State starters played 35:00+, so not a lot of depth there. 

7) Bills-Jets total this week is 36.5; it is the lowest NFL total since 2012. 

6) Penn 72, George Mason 71— Quakers win a nail biter despite going 6-18 on the foul line. 

5) Stony Brook 77, George Washington 74 OT— GW led this game 22-0 but lost; not exactly the best way to start your season. Stony Brook’s first points came 10:14 into the game; they were only 6-26 on arc, 17-27 on foul line, but they out-rebounded the Colonials 46-38, who were 16-34 on the foul line in at overtime loss. 

4) Providence 77, Siena 67— Friars made 13-25 on arc, Saints 12-28 in relatively foul-free game; only 20 FT’s were tried in this game. Siena started a soph and two frosh in coach Christian’s Siena debut; they have to be somewhat encouraged by this game. 

3) There are now 353 Division I basketball teams; Cal Baptist (WAC) and North Alabama (Atlantic Sun) are the two new teams this season. 

2) Boston College 73, Milwaukee 53— BC was down 10 at the half in this game; they outscored the Panthers 46-16 in second half. 

1) Louisiana Tech 71, Wichita State 58— Could be more of a rebuilding job than people thought for the Wheatshockers- they were a 10-point favorite here.