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

***Baseball information is on the MLB2 page.***
Tuesday’s six-pack
Six of the more interesting college football games this weekend:
— Stanford @ Washington (-3)– Interesting game in Pac-12 North
— Wisconsin @ Michigan (-10.5)– Badgers not getting much respect.
— Louisville (-1) @ Clemson– Huge game in the ACC.
— Arizona State @ USC (-9)– Trojans favored by 9.5? Really?
— Oklahoma (-3.5) @ TCU– Big game for young Horned Frogs.
— Oregon (-1) @ Washington State– Sadly, this is on Pac-12 Network.

Quote of the Day
“Luckily, that amount of money doesn’t mean much to me anymore.”
Rory McIlroy, when asked last year about possibility of winning the Fed Ex Cup and the $10M check that comes with it

Tuesday’s quiz
What is the state capital of Michigan?
Monday’s quiz
Johan Franzen (2011) is the last NHL player to score five goals in one game.
Sunday’s quiz
Going into this season, Davey Johnson held the record for most homers in a season by a second baseman, with 43.

Super Bowl records- most passing yards in a Super Bowl:
keep in mind there have now been 50 Super Bowls (100 QBs).
3) 365 yards, Kurt Warner, Rams vs NE– Super Bowl XXXVI
2) 377 yards, Kurt Warner, Cardinals vs Pitt– Super Bowl XLI
1) 414 yards, Kurt Warner, Rams vs Tenn– Super Bowl XXXIV
Like donuts? Try Cider Belle donuts on North Pearl Street in Albany……

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

13) Very sad night in Miami Monday, Marlins’ first game since passing of its star pitcher, 24-year old Jose Fernandez. Every Miami player wore his #16 jersey during the game; the Marlins will now retire his number 16.

Before and during the game, players were crying on the field; Dee Gordon led off the bottom of the first inning with a homer and sobbed all the way around the bases.

Life is short, my friends. Lets enjoy it while we can.

12) Winner of golf’s Fed Ex Cup wins $10M; how much does his caddy get?

11) Cleveland Browns are first team since ’86-’87 Falcons to start five different QBs in a five-game stretch. Atlanta’s stretch is a little bogus, since it included the first replacement game they played in ’87, when players were striking and were replaced by inferior players.

Manziel-Davis-Griffin III-McCown-Kessler are your five Browns’ QBs. If they start Pryor at QB this week, it would be six games with six QBs.

10) Here is how stupid I was as a little kid: for about a month, my career goal was to be an architect.

Why? Because Wilbur Post (on Mr Ed) and Mr Brady on the Brady Bunch were both architects, and they never seemed to do much work. It is possible that I watched (and still watch) too much TV.

9) Another one that slipped by me: until yesterday, I had absolutely no idea that Angelina Jolie is Jon Voight’s daughter.

8) ESPN’s Brock Huard is one of the better football analysts on TV; he was telling a story Saturday about how when he was a backup QB with the Colts, offensive coordinator Tom Moore had Peyton Manning run the same running play 15 times in a row, because the other team couldn’t stop it. Makes sense. Sometimes simple is better.

7) NFL players who get taunting penalties are fined $9,115– that seems excessive. Seriously. I must say though, if somebody fined me $9,115 for taunting, I’d shut my damn mouth.

6) One huge difference in officiating between NFL and college; very few penalties called on defensive backs in college. In pro games, a DB can’t breathe on a guy without getting a flag.

5) Texas Rangers are 13-0 in last 13 games where winning run scored from 7th inning on; they’re 36-11 in one-run games.

4) LSU fired football coach Les Miles and OC Cam Cameron Sunday; Miles won an awful lot of games (and a national title) in Baton Rouge, but his inability to develop a balanced offense ticked off the wrong people and he got fired. His biggest problem was being at LSU at the same time Nick Saban was at Alabama.

Miles went 114-34 at LSU and got fired!!!! Tough crowd in Baton Rouge.

3) St Louis Cardinals are 6-15 this season in games following a day off.

2) Brian Kelly fired his defensive coordinator Sunday, which was lost in the bundle of other news during the day. Little early to be firing coaches.

Notre Dame was the last I-A college football team out of 128 to get a sack this season- that’s hard to believe, but it is true. They said it on TV, so it has to be true, right?

1– Michigan pounded Penn State Saturday, but Jim Harbaugh has some explaining to do to the folks at Nike who pay his program a small fortune to wear the Swoosh– some genius on Twitter had a pic of Harbaugh Saturday, zoomed in on it and realized he was wearing an adidas belt.

Not good.

That might not seem like much to you or me, but I guarantee you the fine folks at Nike are not amused. Michael Jordan even made an appearance in Ann Arbor as an “honorary captain” for Michigan game earlier this month, that is how much Nike covets having the Wolverines endorse its brand. Maybe MJ can send Harbaugh some Nike belts.

Nike belts sell for anywhere from $20-70 a pop on the their website.

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday………

1– Broncos 29, Bengals 17– Is Trevor Siemian a better QB than Peyton Manning was last year? Denver scored four TDs, two on plays of 40+ yards, handing Bengals their second loss in a row.

This is shaping up as the Year of the Inexperienced QB

2) Raiders 17, Titans 10– Tennessee had ball on Oakland’s 3-yard line in last 1:00 but roughing call on a Titan lineman pushed it back 15 yards, then a very shaky offensive PI call nullified the tying TD on the next play. Weird seeing Raiders getting calls from the refs. Game was 17-3 at half; Tennessee gained 393 yards but turned ball over three times.

3) Bills 33, Cardinals 18– Arizona turned ball over five times, including last four times they had it; Bills started three drives in Cardinal territory. Buffalo had only 88 passing yards, averaged 3.0 yards/attempt, but they won by two TDs, so who cares? Buffalo scored 31 points LW and fired their OC; no telling what they’ll do to the new guy.

4) Ravens 19, Jaguars 17– Justin Tucker nailed a 54-yard FG with 1:02 left to hand Jax its third loss in row. One TD, four FG tries is bit of a red flag for Ravens, but they’re 3-0, albeit vs Bills-Browns-Jaguars. 3-0 is 3-0.

5) Dolphins 30, Browns 24 OT– Cleveland’s kicker got hurt Friday; guy who replaced him was 3-6 on field goals, missing game-winner at gun of regulation. Browns are 0-3 but they’re fighting hard.

Hue Jackson coached his ass off in this game, but lost; he had rookie QB Kessler making his first NFL start, his third starting QB in three weeks, then he sprinkled in QB-turned-WR-turned-QB Pryor for running situations and he almost won.

When/if Browns get Josh Gordon back, their offense will make a big jump.

Over last 8+ years, Miami is now 11-27 vs spread as a home favorite.

6) Redskins 29, Giants 27– Five lead changes in second half in game with too much jawing, too many penalties (20 accepted for 198 yards). Skins kicked five FGs and passed up an easy one at end of 1st half, screwing up game management so badly that you wonder what would’ve happened if they lost this game by a point.

I like the Shepard kid who plays WR for the Giants; he catches a pass and doesn’t act like he cured cancer by doing so. He just keeps playing.

7) Packers 34, Lions 27– Game was 31-3 at one point; Packers only scored 3 points in second half- they have to be relieved, using 12-yard advantage in field position to score four TDs on eight drives. Detroit fought til the end, throwing for 368 yards, but they scored 13 points in 3 red zone trips.

8) Vikings 22, Panthers 10– Minnesota is on a 16-2 spread run in regular season; they scored only one offensive TD, but ran punt back for a score and picked Newton off three times (+3 in TOs). Vikings had eight sacks; October 23 is shaping up to be interesting, Bradford’s return to Philly.

9) Seahawks 37, 49ers 18– Easy Seattle win dampened by Russell Wilson spraining his left knee. Niners allowed 83 points in last two games.

I’m watching the late games and at one point I just yelled out, “How the bleeping bleep did we lose to the 49ers?!?!?!” No one else was here, so I basically was like an insane person but that happens a lot on Sundays.

10) Rams 37, Bucs 32– Last year, Rams two lost games just like this one, at Minnesota/Baltimore- those losses ruined their season. This year, they found a way to win, after a 70-minute lightning delay at the 2:00 warning. Bucs got to the 10-yard line at the end, but ran out of time.

Odd quirk of Jared Goff not playing yet; his QB coach is Chris Weinke, who went 1-14 as Carolina’s starting QB as a rookie in 2001, and Weinke was a little older, since he had played some minor league baseball. Case Keenum is doing just fine, no reason to rush the young QB into action.

As for Tampa Bay, they traded up to draft a kicker in the second round, and the young man is struggling. Bucs missed a PAT and a 41-yard FG.

11) Eagles 34, Steelers 3– You do realize that if Teddy Bridgewater hadn’t gotten hurt up in Minnesota, then Carson Wentz would be red-shirting this year, just like Rams’ Goff is. Instead he is heading to the Pro Bowl; in three games, Eagles haven’t even turned the ball over yet. Wow.

How would you like to be a coach at North Dakota State right now who is recruiting a QB for next year? Think his job is fairly easy?

12) Chiefs 24, Jets 3– I’ve never seen drive charts like the Jets’ in this game; they had ball 10 times, and turned it over 7 times, with two of those run back for KC touchdowns. Chiefs’ only TD drive was on a 35-yard drive; hard to tell if they didn’t try that hard on offense because of how well the defense played. KC scored only 10 points on three red zone visits.

13) Colts 26, Chargers 22– If you took San Diego +3, very bad beat; Luck hit TY Hilton for a 63-yard TD with 1:17 left for the win/cover. Chargers fumbled last two times they had ball; they missed a PAT, had only one TD in four visits inside the Indy 30-yard line.

I’m guessing the Pagano family is glad this is over; Chargers’ DC John and Colts’ HC Chuck are brothers. Tough weekend for the family members.

14) Cowboys 31, Bears 17– Good time to play the Bears; they have ton of injuries, but Fox is a good coach and they’ll get better. Prescott continues the amazing run of young QBs having success this season. Will be funny if Dallas keeps winning and then Romo gets healthy; who plays QB then?

For the week so far, favorites are 5-10 vs spread, home teams 7-8, over 8-7.

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

13) Florida State 55, South Florida 35– FSU’s star RB Dalvin Cook carried the pigskin 28 times for 267 yards, as Jimbo Fisher showed how little faith he has in his defense by continually feeding the ball to a banged-up Cook despite having a three-TD lead in the 4th quarter.

USF justified Fisher’s lack of faith in his defense by running for 290 yards.

12) Auburn 18, LSU 13– LSU appeared to score the game-winning TD as time expired; replay reviews apparently showed that time had expired before LSU got the play off. Very chaotic last 0:30. Auburn wins without scoring a TD.

Dalvin Cook had 28 carries for 267 yards for Florida State; Leonard Fournette had 16 carries for 101 yards for LSU in this one– why only 16 carries in such a close game?

Cam Cameron makes $1.2M a year coordinating the LSU offense, but his offense isn’t good- they didn’t score in second half last week, scored one TD in this game. In the immortal words of former NBA star Micheal Ray Richardson, “….the ship be sinking”.

11) Tennessee 38, Florida 28– Gators led 21-3 at halftime;  Twitter was calling for the coach’s scalp, then they played the second half. Vols ended an 11-game losing streak to Florida.

10) Duke 38, Notre Dame 35– 21-point underdog Duke put up 498 total yards; 208 rushing, 290 passing and the Irish are 1-3. Scapegoat for all this will be the defensive coordinator; either that or Brian Kelly will jump to the NFL next year.

9) North Carolina 37, Pittsburgh 36– Panthers scored 74 points in last two games, lost ’em both- they led 36-23 with 6:00 left; UNC scored winning TD with 0:02 left. Pitt ran ball for 281 yards; Tar Heels threw it for 453.

8) Colorado 41, Oregon 38– Huge win for Mike MacIntyre’s Buffs, who blew a 33-17 lead, then won game in 4th quarter behind backup QB Montez, who threw for 333 yards. Total yardage: 593-508, Colorado.

7) Wisconsin 30, Michigan State 6– Spartans got all fat ‘n happy after beating Notre Dame last week, then turned ball over four times here and got waxed by a Badger squad that hadn’t won in East Lansing since 2002.

6) Wake Forest 33, Indiana 28– Deacons are 4-0……..over last three years, they were 10-26. Wake Forest hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2011; would be ironic if they played Baylor and former coach Jim Grobe in a bowl game this season.

5) Tulsa 48, Fresno State 41 OT– With 10:16 left in first half, Fresno State led this game 31-0. They lost.

Tulsa ran 100 plays for 617 yards; football is the only sport I know of where the college version is a longer game than the pro version.

4) Purdue 24, Nevada 14– Not only did Boilers win, two QBs who jumped ship and transferred out of West Lafayette lost their games (Florida, LSU). in especially painful fashion.

Mountain West teams are getting hammered this year; they’re now 2-11 vs spread as a non-conference road underdog. Not good.

3) Utah 31, USC 27– When was last time USC/Notre Dame had combined record of 2-6? Utah won this game Friday night with TD in last minute, on drive led by a QB from LA who grew up rooting for the Trojans, but they never tried to recruit him.

2) Stanford 22, UCLA 13– One of worst gambling beats of all-time; Cardinal (-3.5) scored nine points in last 0:24, beating UCLA, the spread in one fell swoop– Cardinal has now beaten UCLA nine games in a row.

I’m assuming David Shaw can be a head coach in the NFL, if he wants to be; would be curious to know if he is interested.

Sidelight: it is great fun to be in a Las Vegas casino when a team covers the way Stanford did (defensive TD on last play). People who were cursing 10 seconds before now declare themselves to be brilliant, while people who were grinning ear to ear start cursing the QB laying on his back.

1– Giants 9, Padres 6 (10)– NL Wild Card is Mets/Giants tied, with St Louis a half-game back. Cardinals have one extra game to play. Giants led this game 6-0 with Bumgarner on mound, blew the lead, then won it in extra innings.

Like we said yesterday, if this were to end in a 3-way tie (for two spots), there is chaos as far as the process to decide who doesn’t get in– its a weird system that you know they don’t want to use.

I think it is like this: Teams A-B play one day, the winner gets in, the loser then plays at Team C the next night, in effect giving Team B two chances to win one game and make it. Winner of the second game would then play one game at the winner of the first game to advance. Oy.

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

13) FOX announcer Joe Buck is from St Louis; his dad was a Hall of Fame announcer for the baseball Cardinals. Obviously he loves his hometown and had some sharp comments for Rams’ ownership when they skipped town for Los Angeles last winter.

Mr Buck showed his professionalism last Sunday when he and Troy Aikman worked the Rams’ home opener in the LA Coliseum. Couldn’t have been that much fun for him but he did his job and he did it well, which is why he makes a boatload of money. Good for him.

Ironic thing is that Aikman was a big Rams’ fan growing up so he thinks it is cool the Rams are back in LA.

12) Patriots 27, Texans 0– New England special teams/defense dominated game; Pats scored three TDs, but on drives of 22-21-47 yards, with two of three TDs coming after they recovered fumbled kick returns by Texans.

3rd-string QB Jacoby Brissett ran for a TD, didn’t turn ball over (NE was +3 in turnovers) but he also hurt ligaments in his thumb, so we’ve seen the last of him, seeing as Brady comes back October 9. Remains to be seen if Patriots will add another QB for the Buffalo game next week.

11) Speaking of the Bills, they still owe fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman $3M over the next 16 months.

10) Looks as if Jimmy Garoppolo would play against the Bills in Week 4, but if he never takes another snap for the Patriots, he’s already made himself a ton of money from someone, when he becomes a free agent after 2017. Competent QBs are in high demand.

9) This happened Thursday night; Patriots’ punt returner fumbled as he was tackled, the ball goes 7-8 yards forward, but NE recovers. Refs say the fumble counts, but Patriots recovered, so no big deal.

All of a sudden, Houston challenges the call; they want the ball pushed back to where the fumble happened. They win the challenge, but so what? You can only challenge a maximum of three plays/game; was it worth it?

Sideline reporter then piped in that Houston coach O’Brien was talking to his QB and wasn’t even watching the play. Texans’ punter went over to him and told him he had to look at the play and challenge it, and he did.

Didn’t make the Houston coaches look very good; it is the danger of your head coach also coaching the QBs. No one is the “CEO” of the game.

8) Padres’ OF prospect Hunter Renfroe got an intentional walk in his first major league plate appearance; not bad. He got two hits in his first start on Thursday; he put up big numbers in the minors.

7) Mets have 39 players on their roster; 25 is the limit before September 1. Terry Collins used 22 guys on Wednesday, 27 on Thursday; having so many guys in your dugout lends itself to over-managing.

Jay Bruce is hitting .174 since the Reds traded him to New York. They pinch-hit for him against a lefty the other night and have buried him on the bench since, preferring to start Alejandro De Aza.

6) Detroit scored a run in Minnesota Thursday on a wild pitch that was thrown during an intentional walk. Been a tough year in the Twin Cities.

5) June 14, 2015, Washington-San Diego-Tampa Bay made a 3-way deal. Nationals got Joe Ross/Trea Turner, San Diego got Wil Myers, Rays got Steven Souza Jr– there were other minor leaguers involved, so the final verdict on the deal can’t be judged for years, except that Tampa Bay got the short end of things.

Tim McCarver was working the Cardinal-Cub game Friday and declared that “whoever in San Diego traded Trea Turner should be fired” before he looked the deal up, at which point he changed the subject. Washington probably got the better of the deal, but Myers is pretty darned good, too.

4) Speaking of the Cardinals, Matt Adams got picked off first base in the 4th inning Friday, with St Louis trailing 4-0. Adams is in no way a base stealer– terrible baserunning.

3) Jon Miller/Mike Krukow were talking on Giants’ TV the other night about the scenarios if Giants-Mets-Cardinals finish in a 3-way tie for the two Wild Card spots. Put it this way; it would be good for travel agents.

2) Minnesota is paying Sam Bradford $7M this year; Eagles already paid him an $11M signing bonus in March. Vikings visit Philly October 23. Should be a fun day.

1– Kevin Garnett retired Friday; he played 21 years in the NBA, scoring 26,071 points, playing in 14 All-Star games. He grew up in South Carolina but played his last year of HS ball in Chicago, then jumped right to the NBA. Great career; hope he goes on TV, so we can learn from him.


Friday’s List of 13: Things I’m looking for this weekend………

13) This week, Cleveland Browns are starting their third different QB this season.

In Week 3.

Miami Dolphins have an awful spread record at home but they’re dropping way down in class this week, after playing Seahawks/Patriots. Then again, we talked yesterday about how well young QBs have been faring this year. Tough game to figure.

12) USC changed QBs this week, went to a freshman for its game at Utah. A 1-3 start wouldn’t go over too well with the home folks- this will be a tough spot for the young quarterback.

11) Arizona Cardinals covered their road opener the last eight years, which goes back farther than the Bruce Arians era. Buffalo fired their OC last week after a 37-31 loss, so I can’t wait to see how different their offense is this week.

10) Tennessee has lost 11 games in a row to Florida; they had Gators beat LY, but coach Jones messed up the game with horrid clock management. Dobbs is a senior QB; Florida is starting a backup who couldn’t win the starting job at Purdue– this is a must-win game for the Volunteers.

9) Got a lot of grief on Twitter when I complained in Week 1 about Josh Norman not shadowing Antonio Brown all over the field. Got comments like “Easier said than done” or “the corner on the other side is capable”

Guess what? Redskins visit Swamp Stadium Sunday and Norman is going to shadow Odell Beckham; someone else on Twitter pointed out “it (shadowing) can be done. Just have to do some coaching.”

Apparently Washington’s defensive staff did some coaching this week.

8) James Franklin is 1-3 as a double digit underdog at Penn State; we know the guy can coach- he got Vanderbilt to bowl games, but if you’re the coach at Penn State, being an 18-point underdog is no bueno.

7) Steelers are 0-8 in their last eight visits to Philly; their last win in Philly came at Franklin Field, in 1965. Carson Wentz is about two weeks from being inducted in Canton, but he better learn how to slide. Eagles are 0-8 in last eight tries as a home underdog.

6) Alabama is a 44-point favorite over Kent State; will Nick Saban take it easy on his alma mater? I’m guessing Saban would go all-out playing volleyball at a family picnic. Doubtful there will be mercy here; Kent State’s reward will be when the guarantee check from Bama clears.

5) John Pagano is San Diego’s DC; Chuck Pagano is the Colts’ HC. They have a family reunion this week. Chargers led 24-3 at Arrowhead, blew the lead, then pounded the Jaguars at home last week. Nothing the Colts have done so far is impressive.

4) Cal Golden Bears won 50-43 last week, lost 45-40 the week before; they’re must-watch TV. Cal visits Arizona State this week; ASU beat Texas Tech 68-55 couple weeks ago. Do these teams even recruit defenders?

3) Will the Rams ever score a touchdown? They just played two division games, play Arizona next week; this is a trap game against Bucs squad playing its home opener.

2) Florida State lost 63-20 last week; that just doesn’t happen to the Seminoles, who had to be humbled, stunned. FSU visits an improved South Florida team this week; very curious to see how Florida State plays- they completed only 8-24 passes last week.

1– Vin Scully broadcasts his last game at Dodger Stadium Sunday; the guy has worked Dodger games for 67 freakin’ years, before my parents met and they were married in 1955.

Mr Scully is and always will be the greatest baseball announcer ever.

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

13) As a football handicapper, I was looking to go against young QBs, especially when they make their first road start, because playing QB in the NFL is very hard. Aikman-Elway-Eli Manning; they were all bad when they started out. It is a freakin’ difficult job.

So after two weeks, Siemian-Wentz-Prescott-Garoppolo, none of whom had ever started an NFL game two weeks ago, are 7-1 now, and if you throw in Sam Bradford’s start after being a Viking for 8-9 days, that’s 8-1 for QBs who I was looking to go against. Very surprising.

12) My question is this: have coaches simplified things for these QBs?  If so, maybe the lesson here is that simpler is better and that coaches have been making the game too complex. Let the players play.

11) 247 different players caught a pass in NFL’s Week 2; that’s an average of 7.7 per team.

10)  For the first time in 20 years, there are no Big X teams in the top 15 of the AP poll; that’s no Texas-Oklahoma-Okla State-Baylor, etc……..

9) Actor Terry Crews (Longest Yard, Draft Day) was a walk-on football player at Western Michigan who earned a scholarship as a sophomore and wound up being drafted in the 11th round by the Rams, back when the draft had more than the current seven rounds.

8) Normally, major league teams are not allowed to make $$$ from sales of apparel of players who aren’t on their 40-man roster. Stunningly (not really), the Mets were given an exemption with Tim Tebow, so now they’re recouping their $100K investment by selling his #15 jersey.

Jerry Grote and Carlos Beltran can’t be real happy about that.

7) Mets are 70-39 when they hit a home run, 10-32 when they do not.

6) Carlos Gonzalez is a free agent after next season; over the last three years, CarGo has a .976 OPS at Coors Field, .707 on the road. He also has an injury history. Will Rockies trade him (most likely), sign him long term (expensive/doubtful) or let him walk (unlikely)?

5) For the last 40-45 years, Dick Enberg has been one of our country’s best broadcasters, in several sports; he is retiring as TV voice of the Padres next week. Once upon a time, Enberg was an assistant baseball coach at Cal State-Northridge.

My fondest memory of Enberg was his doing college basketball for NBC with Billy Packer and Al McGuire; talk about managing egos!!! Had to be a balancing act, keeping those two great characters/basketball minds on the same page. I learned so much about basketball from those three guys. Mr Enberg will be missed.

4) Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have six kids? They also have $400M to divvy up in their divorce proceedings. I’m guessing when rich people go their separate ways, things can get complicated.

Read on the Interweb that when Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas got divorced, their settlement was 57 pages long and they didn’t have any custody issues to haggle over. As usual, the lawyers get rich.

3) When the Toronto Blue Jays play in Seattle, they have a lot of their own fans at the games. Blue Jays are Canada’s team; lot of people come down to the Emerald City from Vancouver to root on their Jays.

2) Got the IOS 10 upgrade on my IPhone yesterday; in lot of ways, it is like having a new phone. I’m due for a new phone if I want one, but will wait now- what  is the point when there are lot of new features on this phone?

1– Thanksgiving weekend 2017, there will be a 16-team college hoop event in Portland, OR to honor Nike founder Phil Knight.

There will actually be two 8-team tournaments, with Duke-North Carolina-Michigan State-Oregon among the teams participating. It is expected to be a one-time happening, but it’ll be a good one.

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

13) New rule in NFL this year; offensive coordinator up in booth can talk directly to the QB thru the radio in his helmet. Should wind up helping offenses, cutting out the middle man on the sidelines.

Jon Gruden said last night that not many teams are utilizing the new rule yet. Why? It should especially help teams with young QBs.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson is calling plays; they said Monday that he had never called plays in a game before Week 1 against the Browns.

12) Remember the scene in Moneyball where Billy Beane is in a room with all his scouts, and basically dismisses how they do their jobs?

Well, the Jonah Hill character in Moneyball was Paul DePodesta, who is now working for the Cleveland Browns (he was a WR in college at Harvard), and apparently, that same meeting happened for real in Cleveland last winter, with lot of the Browns’ old-school scouts saying they preferred Carson Wentz over Jared Goff or a trade of the pick- those scouts got fired before the draft.

11) Tuesday, Adam West (Batman) turned 88, David McCallum (Ducky on NCIS) turned 83; they’re both still very active, great for them.

10) Backup QB for the Patriots this week? WR Julian Edelman, who was a QB in college at Kent State. Jimmy Garoppolo will dress, but doubtful his shoulder is good enough for him to actually play, other than handing off.

9) Akron beat Marshall 65-38 last week; Marshall plays Louisville this week. Uh oh. Louisville is a freakin’ powerhouse; they might go over the listed total of 74 by themselves.

8) Miami Dolphins are 0-2, but they played good teams on the road, and both of those teams’ starting QBs were injured in the game. Miami could be an underrated team moving forward.

7) Dak Prescott’s salary for this season: $545,848; Sam Bradford’s WEEKLY salary: $411,765.

6) Seattle Seahawks had nine offensive lineman dressed Sunday; six of the nine weren’t Seahawks last year. Very unusual turnover for a good team.

5) San Francisco Giants are tied for last NL Wild Card spot, despite blowing 30 saves this year, and eight just in the first 19 days of September.

4) Baseball analysts are now saying the rise in use of maple bats are responsible for rising home run rates. Barry Bonds used a maple bat when he played, but was in the minority. More players are using them now.

3) In Marlins’ Park in Miami, there is a nightclub behind the left-field fence, and there is a bar on a walkway above that.

Monday night, Giancarlo Stanton hit a ball over the Budweiser sign that hangs over the bar that is above the nightclub. They said 466 feet; it is good that Stanton has come back from his leg injury– he isn’t playing on consecutive days yet, but he wasn’t expected back at all when got hurt.

2) Marlins-Nationals played 13 of their first 42 games against each other this year; then didn’t play again from May 22-September 18. Weird.

1– Unusual college basketball road trip: Louisiana-Lafayette is in southwest Louisiana, by the Gulf of Mexico. Ragin’ Cajuns have a basketball road trip that first goes to Minnesota, then to Montana State. There is no easy way to get from Bozeman, MT to Lafayette, LA. Dress warm, fellas.

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

13) OK, it happened again twice Saturday night, both in very important spots in the game. Twice, guy scoring an easy TD dropped the ball, before he crossed the goal line. What is wrong with people?

Oklahoma player ran a kick back 95 yards for a TD after Ohio State had taken a 14-0 lead- he had to act like a cool guy and dropped the ball, only he dropped it before he crossed the goal line, as replays clearly showed.

Luckily for him, the replays were shown after the ensuing kickoff.

Last game of the night, Texas at Cal. Cal leads 50-43 with 1:30 left; Texas is out of timeouts. Cal runner breaks away for an easy TD, or he could just slide down and end the game, since Texas had no timeouts.

Not only does the runner not take a knee, he does the cool guy thing and drops the ball, before he crosses the goal line. Number 14 on Texas picks the ball up– Longhorns should have the ball with 1:20 or so left on their own 20, down 7, with a real chance to force overtime.

Somehow, the officials rule the ball wasn’t picked up in time to make it an official recovery, so Cal got the ball on the 1-yard line and the game ended after 2 or 3 snaps. When are players going to learn?

12) Baylor fired football coach Art Briles last spring because of all the off-field hijinx that had been going on under Briles’ watch in Waco; they brought in Jim Grobe as an interim coach, but Briles’ son Kendall is still the Bears’ offensive coordinator– that musn’t be awkward at all.

11) Random fact: Roger Maris’ 61st home run in 1961 was the only run scored that night in a 1-0 game.

10) George Washington fired basketball coach Mike Lonergan over the weekend, a few months after charges about him verbally abusing players surfaced. I read about this in June or July, but nothing happened until now; curious timing.

If they had fired Lonergan during the summer, players could’ve left; not sure why they would’ve, since many of them wanted him fired, but now that school has started it would be lot harder for a player to leave and not lose a year of eligibility besides the year he has to sit out after a transfer.

9) Duke’s non-conference basketball schedule: two games in NYC, two more at a casino in Connecticut, one in Greensboro, five home games and a game at (totally rebuilding) UNLV at T-Mobile Arena, not the Thomas & Mack Arena. Not one game on another team’s home court.

8) 2001 Atlanta Braves are only team to make the baseball playoffs with a losing record at home. If the Cardinals make it, they would probably be the second- they’re 33-41 at Busch Stadium this year.

7) Indianapolis Colts haven’t had a 100-yard rusher in a game since 2012.

6) Before they blew a 9th-inning lead Friday night, San Diego Padres had won 143 games in a row when they led after 8 innings. That’s two years in between blowing a game in the 9th inning.

5) One other Padre note: Last winter they fired their trainer, a guy who had been with the organization 18 years, the last 10 with the big league club. The new trainer was then told to take two sets of notes on players’ injuries, the second (less extensive) set to be sent to opposing teams.

Other teams (Red Sox, Marlins) aren’t happy that GM AJ Preller wasn’t penalized more heavily than he was (month without pay). Will be interesting to see if San Diego makes any trades at all this winter.

What San Diego should do is fire Preller and bring the old trainer back.

4) Eli Manning hasn’t missed a start since he took over the Giants’ #1 QB job; during that time, 174 other QBs have made their NFL debuts.

3) Last year, 372 high school players from Texas got I-A football scholarships; Florida kids got 364, kids from California 286.

2) Ole Miss led Florida State 28-6 in 2nd quarter, lost 45-34.

Rebels led Alabama 24-3 Saturday, lost 48-43.

Two people that should be nervous about their job security: the defensive coordinator and the conditioning coach. People like to look for scapegoats if a season falls apart.

1– John Wall plays for the NBA’s Washington Wizards; I’m assuming he wants people to come out and root for the Wizards, but Sunday he showed up at the Redskins-Cowboys game wearing a blue Dallas jersey- growing up in Raleigh, apparently Mr Wall is a Cowboys fan.

Nothing like alienating the home folks.

Monday’s List of 14: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

Titans 16, Lions 15–Detroit blew 21-3 lead last week, rallied to win; they led this game 15-3 after 3rd quarter. Tennessee has allowed one offensive TD in two games. 79-year old Dick LeBeau is the Titans’ DC; he played his whole 14-year career in the Motor City.

Texans 19, Chiefs 12–KC has been outscored 34-6 in first half of its two games; they didn’t score a TD here. There have been 67 offensive TDs scored this week with 66 FGs tried, compared to 77 TDs LW, with 65 FGs tried. Favorites are 7-8 vs spread so far this week.

Patriots 31, Dolphins 24– Jimmy Garoppolo posted a 21-0 lead before he hurt his shoulder and left for the day. Rookie Jacoby Brissett took over; Miami stormed back but couldn’t catch up, so now heading into a Week 3 Thursday game with Houston, the Patriots have a rookie QB and no one to back him up- by time you read this, they’ll probably have signed someone.

Garoppolo’s stint as the #1 QB may be over, unless he can play in Week 4; Brady returns October 9 in Cleveland.

Ravens 25, Browns 20– Cleveland took a 20-0 lead with its third TD of the day with 4:34 left in first quarter; Luke McCown looked like Frank Ryan or Brian Sipe, but Ravens blocked the PAT, ran it back for two points, and the Browns never scored again.

Gut-punch loss for young Browns, who will get a big boost in Week 5 when their best WR (Josh Gordon) returns from a suspension. Ravens were 10-16 on 3rd down in this game.

Steelers 24, Bengals 16– Rained during this game; Bengals threw for 366 yards, ran for only 46, making their 2-game totals 690 passing yards, 103 on the ground– not nearly balanced enough. Of course, Cincy hasn’t played a home game yet either.

Cowboys 27, Redskins 23– Cousins threw an end zone pick with Redskins up 23-20 with 10:35 left, then rookie QB Prescott led Dallas to the winning TD, driving 80 yards in 11 plays (5:50). Cowboys are now 9-4 vs spread in their last 13 NFC East road games. When you start the season with two home games and are 0-2, no bueno.

Giants 16, Saints 13– Last year Denver won two games without scoring an offensive TD, the only two NFL games to end that way all year. So far this year, there have been three– Minnesota LW and Giants/Rams this week.

Last year, Saints beat Giants 52-49 in Superdome; this game had one TD on offense, and Giants scored a TD on blocked FG which obviously was a huge factor in the game. New York won with a -3 turnover ratio, and that is pretty rare in the NFL.

Panthers 46, 49ers 27– Weird game; 7 turnovers, 7 TDs, 6 FGs tried. Total yardage was 529-302 Carolina. Over is 8-7 so far this week; of the 67 TDs this week, 19 came on plays of 20+ yards (28.4%), compared to 17 of 77 last week (22.1%).

Cardinals 40, Buccaneers 7– Awful game for Tampa Bay; they turned ball over five times, averaged 4.0 yards/pass attempt- they have to be happy to be 1-1 going into their home opener next week. Arizona has long trip to Buffalo next week (better September than December) in its road opener.

Rams 9, Seahawks 3– Russell Wilson is playing thru a high ankle sprain; he cannot run well and until he can, Seattle’s offense is in trouble- they scored one TD in their first two games.

As for the Rams, typical Jeff Fisher; beat the good team (Seattle), lose to the cruddy 49ers. LA has not scored a TD yet, though the offense had nice drives in this game which flipped field position and took pressure off the defense, which was excellent here.

Winning is better than losing, especially when 91,000 people showed up for the home opener. But rookie QB Jared Goff will play soon and rookie WRs Spruce and Cooper have to get into the lineup too.

It was a happier day at Armadillo World Headquarters.

Broncos 34, Colts 20– Denver scored two defensive TDs, held Colts to 253 yards (Andrew Luck was only 21-40 passing). Indy is 0-2, allowing 73 points in two games.

Was reading something on the Interweb last week, debating Luck vs Cam Newton as a QB; put me down for Newton, no doubt about it.

Falcons 35, Raiders 28– Atlanta averaged 11.1 yards/pass attempt, losing despite a 9-yard edge in average field position. Oakland is only NFL team that shares its home field with a big league baseball team- they allowed 69 points in splitting their first two games.

Chargers 38, Jaguars 14– San Diego blew a 21-0 lead LW, had a 35-0 lead in this game; that’s impressive. Chargers drove 75 yards for a TD on their first drive of both games this season- that’s good coaching and a veteran QB who is one of the best.

Vikings 17, Packers 14– Not sure why Green Bay eschewed an easy FG when they were down 3, but they did and it cost them. Adrian Peterson hurt his leg (check status). Sam Bradford played really well, considering he’s been a Viking for 10 days or so.

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

13) Louisville 63, Florida State 20– Friend of mine told me this summer, quote/unquote, “Louisville will win lot of games and score lot of points this year”. Hanging 62 on Syracuse is one thing, but scoring 63 on the Seminoles is something different altogether. Very, very impressive.

Showtime’s weekly half-hour reality show on Florida State football should be very interesting this week.

12) North Dakota State 23, Iowa 21– Bison have now won six in a row against I-A opponents. Why do teams still play them? You’re better off playing a crummy MAC or Sun Belt team.

This was no fluke, by the way; total yardage was 363-231, N.D. State.

11) Alabama 48, Ole Miss 43– Lane Kiffin’s brother is an assistant coach at Ole Miss; what do you think they talk about at Christmas dinner?

10) Michigan State 36, Notre Dame 28– I never had a job in my life where the boss could just walk in and fire me, if he/she wanted to. Brian Kelly looked like he wanted to fire his defensive coordinator late in this game, and if he wants to, he can.

9) Nebraska 35, Oregon 32– Ducks went for two after all five TDs and only converted one of them. Not sure why they’ve poached a I-AA QB the last two years. Also not sure it helps a kid get to the NFL faster; after all, where is Vernon Adams these days? (Montreal in CFL) I know Carson Wentz played I-AA as a senior and he is in the NFL now.

8) South Carolina 20, East Carolina 15– ECU’s Tay Jones caught 22 passes for 190 yards; somehow, the Pirates didn’t score a TD until 2:27 was left to play. Total yardage was 519-312 ECU, but they turned it over 4 times (-4).

7) Ohio State 45, Oklahoma 24– This game wasn’t even this close. DBs at Oklahoma are not good. A kid who had five career catches coming into this game scored four TDs for the Buckeyes.

Oklahoma took the opening kickoff, drove down the field but missed a 27-yard FG. That was the high point of their night- they’re 1-2 and play their next two games against TCU and Texas.

6) I’m posting this before the Texas-Cal game is over (Cal leads 35-33 as I type this sentence). Longhorns freshman QB Shane Buechele wears #7; his father’s roommate in his college days at Stanford? John Elway.

5) Michigan 45, Colorado 28– Buffs led 21-7, then 28-24 before QB Sefo Liufau left the game with an injured foot. Too bad- if that injury is bad, it is going to ruin what could be a breakthrough season in Boulder for coach Mike MacIntyre, who is a very good coach (won at San Jose State).

4) Houston 40, Cincinnati 16– Misleading score from Thursday; game was 19-16 with 7:00 left. Cougars scored couple of defensive TDs to make the final score look like a rout, when it was anything but.

3) Arizona State 32, Tex-San Antonio 28– UTSA led 28-12 with 6:00 left in third quarter Friday, but ASU wore them down and escaped with a tough win on foreign soil. UTSA’s QB Dalton Sturm is named after Patrick Swayze’s character in the 1989 movie, Road House.

2) Stanford 27, USC 10– Trojans/Florida State lost by a combined 60 points this week. Trojans/Oklahoma/Notre Dame are a combined 3-6. USC goes to Utah this Friday, so for them, 1-3 is a distinct possibility.

1– Big 14 had a 9-2 week; Illinois got waxed by Western Michigan, Iowa lost to a I-AA team, while Maryland/Wisconsin escaped close calls as big favorites. But Nebraska-Ohio State-Michigan State had very big wins that will help the league’s standing come playoff time.

Saturday’s List of 13: Why is no one happy anymore?

13) Is it me, or is no one happy anymore?

I’m tired of hearing people complain, whether it be millionaire athletes, or media pundits complaining about the athletes, or Presidential candidates complaining about each other. It is tiring. See the good in things!!!!

And yes, I’m complaining about people complaining.

It is almost like it is a crime to admit you’re happy. I’m a 56-year old bald guy with a middle class retirement income, and I’m happier than hell and I don’t care if that offends you, because being happy is a good thing.

Is our world perfect? Hell no. Is it better than it used to be? Yes it is. Can it be even better if we tolerate and respect each other? Most definitely.

12) In case you were wondering, the Cleveland Browns’ new backup QB is USC rookie Cody Kessler, with 37-year old Josh McCown the new starter.

11) If you wonder why baseball teams coddle their pitchers, keep in mind that back “in the old days”, when men were men and threw complete games (sarcasm), Dodger pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale were both great, but Drysdale was done when he was 32, Koufax when he was 30. They wore themselves out.

Koufax threw 1,192 innings his last four years in the big leagues; that is 298 IP per year. He had 54 complete games his last two years. Drysdale threw 239+ innings 10 years in a row. That’s an awful lot of work.

Teams have so much money tied up in their stars today that they cannot afford to have them blow their arms out, because they’re going to get paid whether they’re hurt or not, so they get coddled so they’ll stay healthy.

10) Red Sox are 14-1 with Rich Porcello starting at Fenway Park this year; only loss was 1-0 to the Orioles Wednesday.

9) Speaking of the Red Sox, one of the morals of the AJ Preller suspension is this: Do not mess with Boston GM David Dombrowski– you try and screw him over on a trade and there will be consequences.

AJ Preller went to a fancy college; Dombrowski went to Western freakin’ Michigan, but in this case, the guy from the state school wins out. Ha!!!

8) And there is also this: San Diego traded Colin Rea to the Marlins earlier this summer. Rea came out of his first Miami start in the 4th inning with a bum elbow and was sent back to San Diego a few days later. How on God’s green earth did the Padres think they were going to get away with that?

7) I’m thinking that the next few years, baseball will schedule more doubleheaders to create more off days for players.

6) Buffalo Bills fired their offensive coordinator, the day after they lost a game 37-31, with touchdown plays of 84-71-18 yards. I’m obviously missing something here. You fire a coordinator after two games?

5) How does an NFL head coach not know that when he is winning by six points and scores a TD with 4:00 left, putting him up 12, he has to go for two points??? At that point, being up 13 is the same as being up 12, so the PAT is useless, but being up 14 is way better.

This is a guy making $3-4M a year to be a football coach and he doesn’t know basic game management strategy? Seriously?

4) New Mexico is playing football at Rutgers today; they’re getting a $900K guarantee from the Scarlet Knights, a surprisingly high figure.

3) I despise the taunting/celebration penalties in football; let the players have fun. Would the celebrations become excessive? Of course they would, but at some point, the players would police themselves, and things would get reigned in.

If football eliminated those penalties, I think they’d get a lot better treatment from the media, because the media would be more entertained during games, and when that happens the media complains a lot less.

2) I’m looking forward to the San Diego State-Gonzaga midnight game during the ESPN basketball marathon in mid-November. That should be a terrific game. Niagara-Hartford at 6:30am might be a chance for a nap.

1– Strange times in baseball; the Padres are getting nailed for espionage with medical information, a guy on the Cardinals got four years in jail for hacking the Astros’ computer system. Richard Nixon would be proud- he almost became baseball commissioner in the early 60’s.



Friday’s List of 13: Things I’m looking for this weekend

13) Miami Dolphins played good defense at Seattle LW, lost 12-10 in last minute to a Super Bowl-winning QB. How will they do against Jimmy Garoppolo in his Foxboro debut?

12) Florida State-Louisville is a damn good noon game; lot of offense, with Seminoles’ frosh QB Francois getting his first road start.

11) Cleveland Browns may be 1-17 in season openers, but they’re 5-2 in Week 2 home games. Ravens struggled to a 13-7 home win over Buffalo last week; how will they do in their road opener in their old home?

10) Stanford won six of its last eight games with USC; Trojans won last week, but a win here would do a lot more to help soothe the beatdown they took from Alabama.

9) Steelers knocked Cincinnati out of the playoffs LY; Lewis is now 0-7 as a playoff coach. This is a legit rivalry; can Bengals win on road two weeks in a row?

8) LSU is 15-1 in its last 16 games vs Mississippi State, but only QB to beat the Tigers plays for the Dallas Cowboys now. Fournette is expected to play; would expect LSU to show a more balanced offense with Efling at QB.

7) Will Josh Norman stay on one side of the field like he did Monday night, or will they figure out how he can cover Dez Bryant all over the field?

6) When Nick Saban exploded on the sideline at the end of last week’s easy win, he was already preparing for this game with Ole Miss, which beat the Crimson Tide the last two years. I’m guessing practice was a little intense in Tuscaloosa this week.

5) Rams are under the gun in their first Coliseum home game since 1979; they were so bad Monday night in Santa Clara, natives will be restless if they fall on their faces again. Rams actually swept Seattle last year.

4) Oklahoma Sooners are a home underdog for the first time in 16 years. Ohio State has only three senior starters, only six starters back from LY.

3) Tough duty for the Colts, heading to Denver after they lost 39-35 at home to Detroit LW. Siemian was good enough to win in Denver’s opener; Broncos had three extra days to prep after their Thursday night win.

2) Total in the Oregon-Nebraska game is 74; people in Lincoln are going to be puzzled with having the Cornhuskers play shootouts, when they’ve been such a great running team through the years.

1– Vikings open their new domed stadium Sunday night against Green Bay. Still not sure why they didn’t put a dome on their baseball stadium, but fans have to be happy they don’t have to sit outside on December weekends anymore.

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

13) Dick Vitale has raised over $18M to fight cancer; he really does so much great work fundraising to promote research for battling cancer, especially pediatric cancer. He deserves a lot of credit; he is 77 and still has so much energy. Good for him.

12) I get frustrated when people say they cannot write– anyone can write!!!! If you can talk, you can write. You just sit down, visualize your thoughts and type them on a keyboard, or write them on paper. It can be intimidating at first but it is well worth the effort.

Or you can talk into a tape recorder and transcribe what you said and there…….you have written!!!!

11) Joe West has been a major league umpire for 40 years; that’s really impressive. I’m just impressed that anyone can stand up for three consecutive hours without eating anything.

10) Baltimore Orioles have 17 stolen bases…..all season. 26 players have more than them.

9) St Louis Cardinals haven’t scored a run in their last 28 games against Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman, that covers five years.

8) Why would anyone play baseball and bat right-handed? There is no tangible advantage to batting righty, but there is to batting lefty– you’re that much closer to first base!!! Always amazes me.

7) Eagles’ long-snapper Jon Dorenbos is a magician who is a finalist on a talent program– America’s Got Talent. We wish him well.

Young man had a tough childhood; when he was 12, his father murdered his mother, and Jon had to testify at his father’s trial. At age 12.

6) LSU has 44 alums in the NFL this year, most of any college. Next are Alabama (42), Florida State (41), Ohio State (39).

5) The Big X is talking about expanding to more than the current 10 teams, but apparently Oklahoma State doesn’t want front-running contender Houston to join the league- the Cowboys recruit the Houston area heavily and if the Cougars were to join the Big X, that would probably cripple OSU’s recruiting.

4) 2017 baseball schedule was released Wednesday; things start with two games April 2, then the real Opening Day is Monday, April 3. There is one scheduled doubleheader next year; A’s @ Tampa Bay, the first scheduled twinbill in the major leagues in six years.

3) Texas Rangers finished their season series with their in-state rival Astros with a 15-4 record. Rangers lead Houston by 10.5 games, so they’re basically even except for the games against each other.

2) Time management is one thing I need to get a better handle on; even in retirement from my day job, that only freed up 45 or hours a week, and roughly half of that is eaten up by sleeping a normal amount, which I never did before, so having the discipline not to waste time is important.

1– Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 for $142M. Now they’re worth $4.2B. Not sure if Jones will ever get in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he damn sure should be in the Rich Guys Hall of Fame.

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

13) Texas Rangers are 87-59, going to jog to the AL West title, but if you bet them in “1st 5 innings” bets, they’re 63-62-27- not so good.

Texas has been incredibly good in the last four innings of games. Texas is 33-10 in 1-run games; combined with last year’s 27-22, that makes manager Jeff Banister 60-32 in one-run games. That’s an extremely good record.

12) How did NFL teams do on their first drive of the game this weekend?

8 TDs, 4 FGs for 32 teams on their first drive of the game; 4 TDs, 6 FG on their first drive of the third quarter.

Patriots, Cowboys, Packers, Buccaneers scored on their first drive of both halves.

11) Underdogs covered all four divisional games this weekend; home dogs in non-divisional games were 3-2, road underdogs 4-3.

10) Robert Griffin III has a broken bone in his shoulder; Cleveland will start 37-year old Josh McCown this week against the Ravens. he is 2-17 as a starting QB the last two years, for the Bucs/Browns.

9) it is ironical that RGIII got hurt as the Browns were losing to an Eagles team led by rookie Carson Wentz, since Philly traded for Cleveland’s first round pick so they could grab a franchise QB (Wentz). Now the Browns can use the Eagles’ first round pick next year to grab their own franchise QB– the draft next April is in Philadelphia, of all places.

8) Former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino is still coaching basketball; he coaches the Keiser University Seahawks, an NAIA team in West Palm Beach- they were 30-5 last year.

Coach Massimino will be 82 in November; he led the Wildcats to the 1985 national title, the last college game without the shot clock.

7) Apparently there was a Ryan Braun/Yasiel Puig trade on the table, which team do you think said no to the trade? Me personally, I’d never take Puig- from what I read, he doesn’t like baseball that much. He is just so good at it he still made the major leagues.

6) Wally Backman quit as manager of the Mets’ AAA team in Las Vegas. Backman is 57, a good manager but has never gotten a shot at the big leagues– he had some off-field problems which prevented him getting hired by the Diamondbacks in 2004. Hopefully he will get his chance.

5) A family in Las Vegas gave UNLV $10M towards the building of an indoor practice facility for football. From UNLV’s website:

“The Fertitta Football Complex will become the day-to-day home of the program and include an academic center, locker rooms, offices, meeting rooms, strength/conditioning center, media room, training table and nutrition bar, athletic training center and player lounge.”

Facilities are crucial in recruiting; this should help the Rebels a lot.

4) Tweet of the Day from ESPN’s Louis Riddick, with regards to Josh Norman only covering Antonio Brown on one side of the field Monday:

“It’s possible to have a corner travel/match/whatever you want to call it, and play man OR zone. It just requires some teaching. Just sayin’.”

Redskins play Dallas Sunday, so all Cowboys have to do is keep Dez Bryant on the other side of the field and Norman will never cover him? Oy.

3) Oklahoma Sooners are a home underdog against Ohio State this week; last time they got points at home was back in 2000 against Nebraska (+2). Sooners won that game 31-14.

2) Sometimes we don’t know how good we had it: When I was a teenager, the Rams hired an unknown coach named Chuck Knox. From 1973-78, under the conservative-but-successful Knox, the Rams went 54-15-1, won the NFC West all five years, but went 3-5 in the playoffs and then…….the owner fired Knox for his playoff failures.

Funny thing is, they were much worse that next year without Knox, but the NFC West stunk, the Rams won it at 9-7 (they were 4-5 at one point) and made it to their first Super Bowl. Life is weird sometimes.

1– Rams got shut out Monday night, first team to get shut out in Week 1 since…….the ’09 Rams. Excuse me now while I go puke.