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

Baseball knowledge is posted every day!!!
Team, pitcher trends are posted
College football stuff, NFL knowledge every week……

The Bunker is at 2390 Western Ave, on Route 20 by Western Turnpike golf course. It is a golf simulator with a bar/TV’s where you can hang out with friends and work on your golf game, or just make fun of your friends who are working on their game. Excellent place.

Thursday’s 6-pack
NFL leaders in passing yardage:
817— Derek Carr, LV
689— Kyler Murray, Ariz
680— Patrick Mahomes, KC
675— Justin Herbert, LAC
655— Tom Brady, TB
640— Dak Prescott, Dal

Quote of the Day
“Belichick wanted him out the door, and last year he threw 56 touchdowns. I think that’s a pretty good year.”
Tom Brady Sr, talking about his son’s leaving New England

Thursday’s quiz
Who played QB for the Carolina Panthers in their two Super Bowls?

Wednesday’s quiz
Terry Francona managed the Red Sox when they won the World Series in 2004 and 2007.

Tuesday’s quiz
When baseball split into divisions in 1969, Atlanta Braves won the National League West that year; they lost to the Mets in the NLCS. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud……..

13) Tampa Bay Rays clinched their third straight playoff spot Wednesday; they’re 94-59 this year, are jogging to the AL East title. Kevin Cash has done a hell of a job managing them; too bad they don’t draw very well. Have a feeling that when baseball expands in a couple years, the Rays could wind up north of the border, in Montreal maybe? 

12) Since 1990, NFL teams that started a season 0-2 made the playoffs only 11.6% of the time; those odds will go up, since the season is now 17 games instead of 16, but still, 0-2 ain’t good.

11) Since 2000, these NFL teams have started the most different QB’s:
29— Cleveland
26— Chicago (Justin Fields will be #26 this week)
24— Washington
23— Miami

10) Jeff Driskel is the backup QB for Houston tonight; technically he is their #4 QB, but Tyros Taylor is hurt and Deshaun Watson has other issues, so rookie Davis Mills and Driskel are it for the Texans this week. 

Hopefully Driskel writes a book someday; he played four years for the Florida Gators, then played his last year of college at Louisiana Tech. 49ers drafted him in the 6th round of the 2016 draft, but he never played for them. Here is Driskel’s resume:

2018: Bengals 1-4 as starter, 1,003 PY, 6 TD’s, 2 INT
2019: Lions 0-3 as starter, 685 PY, 4 TD’s, 4 INT
2020: Broncos 0-1 as starter, 432 PY, 3 TD’s, 2 INT

Four years, four teams. Quite an experience.

9) Kyle Schwarber has nine home runs in 10 games against the Mets this year.

8) Speaking of the Mets, Taijuan Walker gave up six runs in 2+ IP in Boston Wednesday; Walker was 7-3, 2.06 at the All-Star break this year, made the All-Star team, but in 13 starts since then, Walker is 0-8, 8.03 in 13 starts. A disturbing reversal of fortune.

7) Cardinals 10, Brewers 2— St Louis won its 11th straight game, have a 4.5 game lead over the Reds/Phillies for the second Wild Card spot.

6) Giants 8, Padres 6— Buster Posey had four hits, scored three runs; Giants have a 2-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West.

5) NFL QB changes:
— Davis Mills gets his first NFL start for Houston tonight.
— Jacoby Brissett starts for Miami this week when they visit Las Vegas.
— Justin Fields gets his first NFL when the Bears visit Cleveland.

4) Minnesota Timberwolves fired President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas; weird time to do it, so close to the start of training camp.

Timberwolves will switch ownership to Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore in 2023; you wonder if they wanted Rosas out, and let current owner Glen Taylor do the dirty work for them.

3) Braves’ OF Eddie Rosario hit for the cycle the other night; in the four at-bats where he got his hits, he saw a total of five pitches, which has to be some kind of a record.

2) Raiders’ kicker Daniel Carlson admitted his 14-point performance in Pittsburgh LW led to his losing a fantasy football game where he was playing against himself.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Braves, Brewers, Giants. Wild Card: St Louis @ Los Angeles
AL: Rays, White Sox, Astros. Wild Card: New York @ Boston

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings……..

13) If I was the football coach for the Cal Bears, would’ve made a ton of recruiting calls Monday night, especially to recruits on the offensive side of the ball.

Monday Night Football: Lions-Packers, Jared Goff, Aaron Rodgers, both Cal grads. 

12) FP Santangelo is the analyst on Washington Nationals baseball games; he played seven years in the major leagues, mostly with the Montreal Expos. 

Last night. Miami Marlins’ rookie catcher was struggling to catch pitches; he had three passed balls. Santangelo started telling a story about his playing days, when one of his teammates had six passed balls in one game.

Guy’s name was Jerry Goff, Jared Goff’s dad- he also hit a home run in that game.

11) Rookie QB Davis Mills will make his first NFL start on Thursday night, when his Houston Texans host 2-0 Carolina. 

Curious how the TV crew will handle this situation; Deshaun Watson is on the Texans’ roster, but he won’t be active, because of his pending legal issues. Mills/Jeff Driskel will be the two active QB’s, with Tyrod Taylor out for 3-4 weeks. Not an ideal situation.

10) San Diego Padres fired their pitching coach a few weeks ago; this week they fired their farm director, who had been in his job for seven years. Another scapegoat for a team that has gone in the ashcan the second half of the season. Padres are 18-32 in their last 50 games, will probably miss the playoffs.

When does ownership hold GM AJ Preller responsible for the team’s failures? Padres have made the playoffs once in Preller’s seven years, last year’s shortened season. He’s been suspended for 30 days (in 2016) for hiding medical records from other teams in trade talks. 

But hey, he went to an Ivy League school (Cornell), so he keeps his job. Oy.

9) Oldest rosters in the NFL:
4) Arizona (average 27.06 years old)
3) Houston 27.09
2) Chicago 27.13
1) Tampa Bay 27.20

8) Cardinals 2, Brewers 1— St Louis has won ten games in row, their best winning streak in 20 years. Looks like Cardinals will visit the NL West runner-up in a Wild Card game.

7) Anthony Gose is 31 years old; he was the Phillies’ 2nd round pick in 2008, played parts of five seasons for Detroit, hitting .240, with 19 triples, 57 stolen bases. Very good athlete.

Gose had pitching in his background; when the outfield thing didn’t work out, he went back to the minors and became a pitcher. This week, Gose got into a big league game on the mound, throwing 1.2 innings for the Indians against Kansas City, five years after his last appearance in the majors.

Pretty cool story that a guy worked that hard to re-boot his career; lefty relievers hang around for a long time if they’re effective. We’ll see how this goes.

6) JJ Redick retired this week after a 15-year NBA career, during which he made 41.5% of his 3-point shots; he played for six different teams, scoring 12,028 points.

5) After being benched in his third game this season, QB Charlie Brewer has bolted the Utah Utes’ program; he is still eligible to play somewhere else next season. A four-year starter at Baylor, Brewer announced he would transfer to Utah back in December, but now a transfer from Texas is the #1 QB at Utah.

Brewer ain’t starting, so he’ll be departing.

4) Minnesota Vikings drafted 11 players last spring; in Sunday’s 34-33 loss at Arizona, none of those 11 guys played on offense or defense (few of them played on special teams), which isn’t a good look for the team’s front office.

3) Been a rough few weeks for everyone in Louisiana, because of the hurricane; the basketball team at U of New Orleans was displaced, but an old friend came thru for UNO athletic director Tim Duncan (not THAT Tim Duncan).

Duncan played ball at Memphis with Penny Hardaway, who is now the Tigers’ coach; UNO’s hoop team moved up to Memphis for most of the last three weeks— they were expected to ho back home sometime this week, where they hopefully can resume a normal existence.

2) Florida State’s football team is 0-3 for the first time since 1976.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Braves, Brewers, Giants. Wild Card: St Louis @ Los Angeles
AL: Rays, White Sox, Astros. Wild Card: Toronto @ Boston

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) Green Bay 35, Detroit 17:
— Packers outscored Detroit 21-0 in second half.
— Green Bay scored a TD on five of its first six drives.
— Only nine of Packers’ 61 plays came on third down.
— Green Bay is 12-3 ATS in last 15 home openers.

— Lions lost first two games, giving up 76 points.
— Detroit in 1st half: 31 plays, 178 yards, 17 points.
— Detroit in 2nd half: 26 plays, 140 yards, 0 points.
— Detroit wore white uniform pants for first time since 1949.

12) We need more nice in our world; this weekend in Cincinnati, Mookie Betts did a very nice thing for a young ballplayer.

Betts was playing right field for the Dodgers when Reds’ rookie TJ Friedl hit his first big league homer into the RF bleachers. Betts asked the fan for the baseball, and surprisingly, the guy tossed it to him. First home run baseballs can be pretty valuable in trade.

Betts throws the baseball towards the Cincinnati dugout, so Friedl can have it; next time Betts jogs out to his position, he brings an autographed bat out and gives it to the fan, so the guy got a valuable piece of memorabilia for giving up the baseball.

It was uplifting to see people being nice.

TJ Friedl-related trivia: his dad grew up with Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari; the two friends posed for a picture at the ballpark in Cincinnati the other day.

11) NFL home favorites are 3-11 ATS in non-division games so far this year; home underdogs are 6-4 ATS in non-divisional games, making dogs 17-7 ATS overall in non-divisional games.

10) In NFL games, I care a lot more about “plays run” than “time of possession”; some teams run a no-huddle offense, so time of possession doesn’t mean as much there.

9) 15 of 32 NFL teams used a different QB in Week 1 this year, than they did in Week 1 last year.

8) Over their last 34 games, Tennessee Titans have had 14 kickers on their roster.

7) So far this season, only three college football teams have thrown the ball less than Michigan; Army, Navy, Air Force.

6) Last Thursday, Washington QB Taylor Heinicke earned a $125,000 contract incentive; he played 60% of his team’s snaps in a win.

5) The last two years, young OF Lane Thomas hit 9-84 for the Cardinals; 4-36 last year, 5-48 this year. Not good; then at the trade deadline this summer, St Louis traded him to Washington for veteran P Jon Lester.

Since joining the Nationals, Thomas has hit .298 in 32 games, with a .906 OPS. Very good.

4) CSI is one of my five favorite TV shows of all-time; they’re re-branding CSI as CSI: Vegas, and bringing it back in a couple weeks. It is still William Peterson/Jorja Fox, so it should basically be the same show, which is good news for people who like good television. Looks as if the supporting cast will mostly all be new, which is a little disappointing.

3) NBA training camps start next week; saw a thing where the LA Lakers have six assistant coaches helping out head coach Frank Vogel. Things have changed a lot in the NBA; with so many younger players in the league now, skill development happens way more in the NBA than it used to.

Back when I was a kid, read a book called The Open Man, a diary of the Knicks’ 1969-70 season when they won the NBA title. Think I did a book report on The Open Man in this space during the pandemic; that season, the Knicks didn’t have an assistant coach. None.

Coach Red Holzman ran the team; trainer Danny Whelan helped him out with game management stuff like timeouts, and Dick McGuire did scouting, but Holzman was the only coach on the bench during games. Now teams have two rows of coaches on their bench.

2) Last Saturday, Duke, East Carolina, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest all won their football games; last time they all won on the same day?

October………of 1994.

1) Check your baseball highlight show when you can today; Miami’s Jesus Sanchez caught a fly ball bare-handed last night, preventing Washington from getting a double (he over-ran the ball, which was right near the right field line).

The catch was a lot like the one Kevin Mitchell made about 30 years ago, except Mitchell’s was in left field. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

Baltimore 36, Kansas City 35:
— Chiefs averaged 8.3 yards/play; only 6 of their 49 plays were on 3rd down.
— KC turned ball over on two of their last three drives.
— Chiefs were outgained by 68 yards/game in first two games.
— Kelce caught 7 passes for 109 yards and a TD.

— Jackson ran 16 times for 107 yards, threw for 239 yards.
— On their last six drives, Ravens scored four TD’s, kicked a FG.
— Last 5+ years, Baltimore is 5-1 ATS as home underdogs.
— Ravens snapped a 4-game skid vs Kansas City.

Arizona 34, Minnesota 33
— Vikings missed 37-yard FG at gun; they also missed a PAT.
— Vikings’ first four drives: 23 plays, 242 yards, 20 points.
— Vikings’ last seven drives: 40 plays, 176 yards, 6 points.
— Minnesota lost first two games by total of four points.

— Arizona scored 72 points in winning its first two games.
— Redbirds scored nine TD’s on 23 drives in two games.
— Murray threw for 400 yards and three TD’s.
— Matt Prater drilled a 62-yard FG for the Cardinals.

Tampa Bay 48, Atlanta 25:
— Falcons gave up 80 points in losing first two games.
— Atlanta has been outscored 44-15 in 2nd half of games.
— Tampa Bay had 13-yard edge in field position.
— Last 4+ years, Atlanta is 8-13 ATS as road underdog.

— Buccaneers won first two games, scoring 79 points.
— Brady threw for 276 yards, five TD’s in this game.
— Three of their five TD drives were less than 50 yards.
— Tampa Bay had two pick-6’s in 4th quarter.

Tennessee 33, Seattle 30, OT
— Tennessee outscored Seahawks 17-0 over final 17:32 of game.
— Henry ran ball for 182 yards, three TD’s.
— Julio Jones caught six passes for 127 yards.
— Last 6+ years, Titans are 15-10-1 ATS vs NFC opponents.

— Seattle lost its first home opener since 2008.
— Seahawks’ last 3 drives in 1st half: 12 plays, 164 yards, 21 points.
— Seahawks rest of game: 24 plays, 150 yards, 6 points.
— Their last nine games vs Titans were decided by 7 or fewer points.

Dallas 20, LA Chargers 17
— Dallas ran ball for 198 yards, averaged 7.0 yards/play.
— Cowboys scored 17 points on three red zone drives.
— Two games this season, Dallas is 15-27 on 3rd down.
— Better balance this week; Cowboys ran ball 31 times, threw 27 passes.

— Chargers’ 7 drives: one TD, four FG’s, two INT’s. 
— Bolts scored only 14 points on four red zone drives.
— Herbert threw for 338 yards, also threw two INT’s. 
— Last 3+ years, Bolts are 3-14-1 ATS as home favorites.

Las Vegas 26, Pittsburgh 17:
— Raiders outgained Pittsburgh, 425-331.
— Las Vegas kicked FG’s on three of four first half drives.
— Raiders have 782 passing yards in first two games.
— Raiders are 7-1-1 ATS in last nine road openers.

— Steelers have been outscored 19-7 in first half this season.
— Pittsburgh ran ball 14 times for only 39 yards.
— Steelers have been outgained by 106.5 yards/game.
— Under is 9-4 in their last 13 home openers.

San Francisco 17, Philadelphia 11
— 49ers’ first four drives: 20 plays, 49 yards, 3 first downs, 0 points.
— 49ers’ last four drives: 43 plays, 267 yards, 19 first downs, 17 points.
— 49er’s two TD drives were 97-92 yards.
— San Francisco has two road wins despite being minus-2 in turnovers.

— Up 3-0 in 2nd quarter, Eagles were stopped on downs on SF’s 3-yard line.
— Both teams average starting field position; their own 19-yard line.
— Hurts threw for only 190 yards, ran for 82 more.
— Last 5+ years, under is 29-12 in Eagle home games.

Chicago 20, Cincinnati 17:
— Total yardage: 248-206, Bengals.
— Cincy lost despite a 13-yard edge in field position.
— Bengals turned ball over four times (minus-3)
— Bengals are 8-14 ATS last 22 games vs NFC opponents.

— Roquan Smith had a 53-yard pick-6 to put Bears up 17-3.
— Rookie QB Fields was 6-13/60 passing, ran 10 times for 31 yards.
— Dalton got hurt; he started 133 games for Bengals (70-61-2, 2011-19)
— Under is 5-1-1 in Bears’ last seven home openers.

LA Rams 27, Indianapolis 24:
— Rams drove 70 yards in four plays to take lead for good early in 4th quarter.
— Cooper Kupp caught nine passes for 163 yards, two TD’s.
— Rams averaged 11.6 yards/pass attempt last week, 8.7 this week.
— Under McVay, Rams are 5-0 SU in road openers (3-2 ATS).

— Wentz got hurt; backup QB Eason saw first NFL action in final 2:25 of game.
— Indy had two empty trips to red zone in their first three drives.
— Colts got gift TD in 3rd quarter when Rams screwed up snap on a punt.
— Indy starts 0-2 at home; their next three games are on road.

Carolina 26, New Orleans 7:
— Saints’ only TD came on a 18-yard drive early in 4th quarter.
— New Orleans ran only 43 plays for 128 yards.
— Saints had only six first downs, threw for only 80 yards.
— Saints are 2-10 ATS in last 12 road openers.

— Carolina ran 73 plays, converted 8-15 on third down.
— Panthers allowed total of 93 YR in first two games.
— McCaffrey has 59 touches in his first two games.
— Carolina beat Saints for only 2nd time in last 10 meetings.

Cleveland 31, Houston 21:
— QB Taylor got hurt; rookie Mills was 8-18/102 passing.
— Houston’s first three drives: 20 plays, 155 yards, 14 points.
— Houston’s last six drives: 39 plays, 154 yards, 7 points.
— Last 3+ years, Texans are 10-6 ATS as road underdogs.

— Browns were +3 in turnovers, had 12-yard edge in field position.
— Mayfield completed 19-21 passes, for 8.7 yards/attempt.
— Cleveland is 0-8 ATS as a favorite in their home opener.
— Browns are 11-16-1 ATS in last 28 games as home favorite.

Buffalo 35, Miami 0:
— Last two meetings, Bills beat Miami 56-26/35-0.
— Buffalo outscored first two opponents 24-0 in first half.
— Last 3+ years, Bills are 6-3 ATS as road favorite.
— McDermott is 18-12-1 ATS as a favorite.

— Tagovailoa got hurt; Brissett was 24-40/169 passing.
— Miami got to red zone three times, but didn’t score.
— Dolphins were outgained 707-475 in first two games.
— Dolphins have lost six games in row vs Buffalo.

Denver 23, Jacksonville 13:
— Denver opens up 2-0, with pair of road wins.
— Broncos had 11-yard edge in field position.
— Denver outgained Jaguars 398-198.
— Broncos converted only 2-11 third down plays.

— Jaguars have now lost 17 games in a row.
— Rookie QB Lawrence was only 14-33 passing for 118 yards.
— Jaguars’ second TD came on a 102-yard kick return.
— Jaguars are already minus-5 in turnovers this year.

New England 25, NJ Jets 6:
— Patriots had 15-yard edge in field position.
— New England has three TD’s on first 19 drives this year.
— Patriots outgained first two foes 653-495
— Belichick is 21-6 vs rookie QB’s.

— Rookie QB Wilson threw four INTs, three on first four drives.
— Jets started 0-2 four of last five years.
— Jets lost 11 games in row to New England.
— Jets ran ball for 152 yards, but minus-4 in turnovers is no bueno. 

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a college football Saturday

13) Alabama 31, Florida 29:
— Gators scored with 3:10 left, failed on 2-point conversion to tie game.
— Total yardage: 440-331, Florida- they ran for 245 yards.
— Alabama converted 7-13 third down plays. 

12) Penn State 28, Auburn 20:
— Clifford completed 28-32 passes for 280 yards, two TD’s.
— Auburn converted 10-17 third down plays.

11) Western Michigan 44, Pittsburgh 41:
— WMU threw for 357 yards, was +3 in turnovers in their upset win.
— Pitt QB Pickett threw for 382 yards, six TD’s in losing cause.
— MAC teams are 6-12 ATS as road underdogs, but this was a good win for them.

10) Clemson 14, Georgia Tech 8:
— Game had a 1:52 lightning delay, just before halftime. 
— Tech had ball inside Clemson 10 twice in last quarter, scored only 3 points.
— Tech outgained Clemson, 309-284.
— Last year, Tigers beat Tech 73-7.

9) Cincinnati 38, Indiana 24:
— Game swung when Indiana’s best defender got tossed for targeting.
— Trailing 21-17 late in 3rd quarter, Cincy ran kick back 99 yards for a TD.
— Indiana outgained Bearcats, 376-328, but turned ball over four times (-2).

8) BYU 27, Arizona State 17:
— ASU outgained Cougars, 426-361, but turned ball over four times (-2).
— BYU led 21-7 at half; Sun Devils cut it to 21-17 after three.
— BYU WR Romney caught six passes for 95 yards and a TD.

7) This week’s upsets:
— Northern Arizona (+26) 21, Arizona 19
— Western Michigan (+14.5) 44, Pitt 41
— Colorado State (+14.5) 22, Toledo 6
— Fresno State (+11) 40, UCLA 37
— Incarnate Word (+11) 42, Texas State 34
— East Carolina (+10) 42, Marshall 38

6) West Virginia 27, Virginia Tech 21:
— Game ended with Hokies on WVU’s 4-yard line.
— Tech had three drives stall inside WVU’s 10-yard line.
— West Virginia led 27-7 with 2:00 left in third quarter.

5) Wake Forest 35, Florida State 14:
— Seminoles are 0-3 for first time since 1976.
— FSU turned ball over six times (-4).
— Wake outgained Seminoles, 484-317.

4) SMU 39, Louisiana Tech 37:
— SMU scored on a 33-yard Hail Mary on last play.
— Mustangs outgained Tech, 578-483.
— Two QB’s combined for 746 passing yards, 9 TD passes.

3) East Carolina 42, Marshall 38:
— Marshall led 38-21 with 8:00 left in game.
— Pirates scored two TD’s in last 2:31 of game.
— Marshall outgained ECU, 647-563.

2) Fresno State 40, UCLA 37:
— 34 points were scored in last 8:10 of this game.
— Fresno scored on 13-yard TD pass with 0:14 left for the win.
— Bulldogs outgained UCLA, 569-395.

1) San Diego State 33, Utah 31 OT
— Utah scored two TD’s in last 4:16 to force OT.
— San Diego State threw ball for only 44 yards the whole game.
— Took three overtimes for Aztecs to come out on top. 

Saturday’s Den: Wrapping up a busy Friday

13) Louisville 42, Central Florida 35:
— Louisville ran pick-6 in for winning score with 0:13 left.
— UCF had picked off a Louisville pass on the previous play.

12) Maryland 20, Illinois 17:
— Maryland scored 10 points in last 2:13 to pull out the win.
— Taulia Tagovailoa (Tua’s brother) was 32-43/350 passing for Terps.
— Illinois completed 10-26 passes; not good.

11) Illinois coach Bret Bielema went 68-24 in seven years as head coach at Wisconsin, then jumped to Arkansas for bigger money- he went 11-29 in five years of SEC games there, got canned and is off to a 1-3 start at Illinois.

His athletic director at Wisconsin was the old football coach; maybe that was a better situation than he realized.

10) Reds 3, Dodgers 1:
— Luis Castillo fanned 10 Dodgers in 6.1 IP.
— Reds stayed within a game of 2nd Wild Card slot.
— Jesse Winker was back in lineup; Reds were 12-16 while he was on IL.

9) Cardinals 8, Padres 2:
— Dylan Carlson homered twice, knocked in five runs.
— San Diego is now 1.5 games out of the second Wild Card slot.

8) Giants 6, Braves 5 (11):
— Giants ran out of position players, had to use P Gausman as a pinch-hitter; his sac fly drove in the winning run in the 11th inning.
— Braves took 5-4 lead in 9th inning on d’Arnaud’s 3-run homer; Giants tied it in bottom of 9th.

7) Phillies 4, Mets 3:
— Philly is now only two games out for first place in NL East.

6) Twins 7, Blue Jays 3:
— Hyun Jin Ryu gave up five runs in 2+ IP.
— Toronto slipped out of top two Wild Card slots in AL.

5) Red Sox 7, Orioles 1:
— Sale came off IL, allowed two baserunners in five IP.
— Hunter Renfroe knocked in three runs for Boston.

4) Mariners 6, Royals 2:
— Rookie Jarred Kelenic homered twice for Seattle.
— Chris Flexen, who pitched in Korea LY, is 12-6, 3.66 for Seattle this year.

3) New Orleans Saints will be without seven offensive coaches in Carolina Sunday due to COVID protocols. Saints are expected to practice at TCU all next week, then return to New Orleans the following week, when they’ll host the Giants in Week 4.

2) Austin Peay is bolting the Ohio Valley Conference for the Atlantic Sun; Governors have been in the OVC since 1962.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not):
NL: Braves, Brewers, Giants. Wild Card: St Louis @ Los Angeles
AL: Rays, White Sox, Astros. Wild Card: New York @ Boston  

Friday’s Den: Random stuff with weekend here…….

13) I’ve been hoping this would happen; Thursday, NFL Films/HBO announced that Hard Knocks will have a regular season set of shows, centered on the Indianapolis Colts, starting in November. This will be 1,000 times better than the training camp version, providing HBO gets good access behind closed doors. Looking forward to it. 

12) Washington 30, Giants 29:
— Hopkins kicked a 43-yard FG at the gun for the win.
— Hopkins missed a 48-yard FG on previous play, but Giants were offsides.
— Heinicke threw for 336 yards in only his second regular season start.
— McLaurin caught 11 passes for 107 yards.

— Giants scored 6 of last 7 times they had ball, but 5 of 6 scores were FG’s.
— Jones threw for 249 yards, ran for 95 more, didn’t turn ball over.
— Giants averaged 5.8 yards/rush; Jones is more of a threat with his feet than his arm.
— Giants are 0-2 for the fifth year in a row.

11) Active major leaguers who’ve played most games without ever playing in playoffs:
— Kyle Seager, Seattle
— Jean Segura, Philly
— JT Realmuto, Philly

10) Phillies 17, Cubs 8:
— Chicago led this game 7-0 in 4th inning.
— Phillies went 10-22 with runner in scoring position.

9) Whoever finishes second in NL West will be in the one-game Wild Card thing, even though that team will finish miles ahead of their Wild Card opponent. Right now, the Dodgers are 17 games ahead of St Louis; that would be the Wild Card matchup, if it happened today.

8) In 21 of the Seattle Mariners’ last 37 games, the winning run scored in the last three innings; they’ve played a ton of close games this season.

7) Louisiana 49, Ohio U 14:
— Game was only 28-14 after third quarter.
— Total yardage; Louisiana won, 562-250
— Montrell Johnson ran for 84 yards and four TD’s.

6) Kris Bryant plays all three OF positions, he plays 3B, he’s even played some first base, but I’m wondering if he would hit better if he just played one position. His versatility will get him a huge contract this winter, but not sure it helps him be his most productive self.

5) Pittsburgh Pirates have a bad record, but they’ve been spunky of late; Pirates are 4-0-1 in their last five home series.

4) Las Vegas Raiders’ backup QB Marcus Mariota got hurt running the ball Monday night, is out for a few weeks. Nathan Peterman steps in to back up Derek Carr.

3) Buffalo Sabres/Toronto Maple Leafs are going to play an outdoor hockey game in Hamilton, Ontario this winter; the outdoor games have proven to be very popular.

2) Former Steelers’ QB Devlin Hodges was in Rams’ training camp this summer; this week he signed a 3-year deal with Ottawa in the CFL.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not):
NL: Braves, Brewers, Giants. Wild Card: St Louis @ Los Angeles
AL: Rays, White Sox, Astros. Wild Card: Boston @ Toronto

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) Red Sox 9, Mariners 4 (10)— Last two days, Boston outscored Seattle 12-3 in last two innings, pulling out a pair of wins that pushed the Mariners four games out of playoff chase. 

12) Atlanta Braves have played in 11 games this season that were tied after eight innings; they lost 10 of them, but somehow are still in first place in NL East.

11) Cubs aren’t going anywhere this year; it’ll be interesting to see the team they put on the field next year. On July 18, they acquired 1B Frank Schwindel on waivers from the A’s; the guy has hit .361 in 39 games for Chicago, with a 1.075 OPS. He’s been awesome.

10) Cardinals 11, Mets 4— St Louis scored 25 runs in their 3-game sweep of the Mets; they’ve won five in row overall, are now in the 2nd Wild Card slot, but by a narrow margin.

9) Pirates 5, Reds 4— Cincinnati has lost four in row, 12 of last 16 games, as the playoffs begin to slip away. They’re 11-16 since the last time LF Jesse Winker played.

8) Marlins 8, Nationals 6— Jesus Sanchez homered twice, including a 2-run blast during a 4-run ninth inning. Marlins are two games ahead of Washington in the race to avoid the cellar in the NL East.

7) New England hasn’t been 0-2 since 2001; Packers haven’t been 0-2 since 2006, Dallas hasn’t been 0-2 since 2010.

6) Last six times Denver Broncos won their season opener, they also won in Week 2.

5) Cowboys’ DE DeMarcus Lawrence broke his foot, is out 6-8 weeks; he is Dallas’ best defensive player.

4) Mike Trout haas’t played since May 17; he has an injured calf. Imagine the fantasy teams that have gone down the drain this year because he hasn’t played?

3) In 1980 the Oakland A’s had three different starting pitchers throw 14-inning complete games, because their bullpen sucked and their manager (Billy Martin) didn’t give a rat’s ass about the future of the franchise. He just wanted to get re-hired by the Bronx Bombers.

I was 20 that summer; 41 years later, the A’s bullpen is just as bad, and it has cost them dearly over the last month (10-18 in last 28 games) as playoff contention slips away. They play the Astros, Mariners mostly the rest of the way; they’ll have to score lot of runs to win more than they lose.

PS From 1982 on, those starting pitchers that were overused in 1980 all had medical issues and the A’s felt into the trash can, thanks to a manager who put himself ahead of the team in 1980. After a 68-94 season in 1982, Martin jumped back to the Bronx. Good riddance.

2) When college coaches recruit these days, you think they propose ways players can make $$$ off the new NIL rules? Would seem stupid if they didn’t; the QB at Alabama had an $800,000 deal before he threw a pass. Basketball especially, with smaller rosters; lot of money to be made.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not):
NL: Braves, Brewers, Giants. Wild Card: St Louis @ Los Angeles
AL: Rays, White Sox, Astros. Wild Card: 3-way playoff (Tor-NY-Bos)

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings…….

13) There were nine outright wins by underdogs in Week 1 of the NFL, the most in any Week 1 since 1983. 

12) NFL home favorites went 2-6 ATS in non-divisional games.

11) Before Monday night, Baltimore Ravens had won 98 games in a row when they led by 14+ points; last time they had lost was in 2004 against the Bengals, when they lost 27-26 after leading 23-3.

10) Five assistant coaches for the New Orleans Saints tested positive for COVID; their team now has stricter protocols this week, lot like last year’s.

9) USC’s last three football coaches were all fired during a season; does that make it harder for them to hire a top-flight candidate? If your expectations dwarf the reality of their situation, is it that great a job?

Alabama/Clemson are dominating the sport right now, but schools like USC, Texas have the delusional idea that they should be dominating the sport. Only so much room at the top.

8) Umpire Junior Valentine was working first base Monday night in New York, when an errant throw drilled him in the side of the face, pretty close to his right eye. He’s a tough guy; he worked the plate Tuesday night, with a very large bruise on his face.

7) Was listening to the Minnesota Twins’ TV  broadcast Tuesday; Justin Morneau was talking about, while he was in Class A ball, the Twins had a rule that every player who gets two strikes on them had to choke up for the rest of the at-bat. He kept doing it most of his career.

Once a batter gets two strikes on him this year, his batting average is .166.

6) Twins weren’t too happy with the umpires in their extra-inning loss in New York Monday afternoon; they must’ve been thrilled when those four umps boarded the team flight back to Minnesota. Same crew is working the Twins-Indians series this week.

5) San Diego Padres were 68-58 when they fired pitching coach Larry Rothschild; they’re 6-12 since they fired him. Not good.

4) Jake Woodford pitched for the Cardinals Tuesday night, against the Mets. One of the Mets’ best hitters is Pete Alonso; Woodford and Alonso were high school teammates in Tampa.

3) Atlanta (76-67) is the only NL East team over .500; Phillies are 72-72.

2) RIP to the great comedian Norm MacDonald, who passed away from cancer at age 61. There isn’t enough laughter in our world today; he was a funny guy.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not):
NL: Braves, Brewers, Giants. Wild Card: St Louis @ Los Angeles
AL: Rays, White Sox, Astros. Wild Card: 3-way playoff (Tor-NY-Bos)

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but……

13) Raiders 33, Ravens 27 OT
— Carr tossed a 31-yard TD pass in OT to end the game.
— Raiders kicked FG in last 0:05 of each half.
— Las Vegas threw for 409 yards, survived two red zone turnovers.
— Over is 7-1-1 in Raider home games since they moved to Las Vegas.

— Jackson’s fumble in OT set up the winning score.
— Baltimore averaged 5.6 yards/rush; Jackson ran for 86 yards.
— Ravens converted only 3-12 third down plays.
— Raiders ran 80 plays from scrimmage, Baltimore 67.

12) Mariners 5, Red Sox 4:
— Mitch Haniger’s 3-run HR in 7th was difference.
— Seattle is only two games out of last Wild Card spot.

11) When I think about Week 1 of any NFL season, “overreaction” is the word most often used. It is one game out of 17, but then today I heard that in college football, USC fired Clay Helton after they lost to Stanford Saturday. Talk about overreaction!!!!

USC was 46-24 under Helton; lot of college football programs are run by delusional rich people who have no patience- they think their school should win the national title every other year, if not more often. Texas fired Tom Herman and hired a guy who had previously been fired for showing up drunk, but hey, the guy worked for Nick Saban after that, so maybe…….

Hard to feel too sorry for Helton; his buyout is in the $12M range, but still…….

10) All four teams in AFC West, all four in NFC West won this weekend; NFC North went 0-4 this weekend.

9) Really good rule change by the NFL: if the replay official sees an obviously wrong call, he can beep in and change the call, without the team having to challenge the call.

8) Washington QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is out 6-8 weeks with a hip injury; Taylor Heinicke is the new starter. Washington signed QB Kyle Shurmur to the practice squad Monday; his dad is the offensive coordinator for the Broncos.

7) New Orleans Saints are living/practicing in the Dallas area this week; there’s a chance that if things go well in New Orleans as far as power being restored, Saints could play their Week 4 game with the Giants in the Superdome. Their next home game after that isn’t until Week 8.

6) Arkansas Razorbacks are in college football’s top 25 for first time since 2016.

5) San Francisco Giants clinched a playoff spot Monday night, the first team to clinch a spot in this year’s postseason. Quite a run they’re on.

4) Last QB drafted #1 in the NFL Draft to win his first NFL start?

David Carr, for Houston in 2002.

3) 14 different New York Mets have homered three times in one games: Yoenis Cespedes is the only Met who did it twice.

When DH comes back to the National League next year, I wonder if Cespedes will re-surface.

2) I’m flipping around the TV late at night and I stumble across Addams Family re-runs; it was on TV way back in the 60’s when I was 5-6 years old— loved that show, especially Cousin Itt and Thing.

Funny thing is, my mother never let me watch the Three Stooges, for whatever reason, but she was OK with me watching the Addams Family, which was 1,000 times weirder. Some of the stuff in that show is downright strange.

Go figure.

1) 49ers/Bears both used their rookie QB’s in short yardage situations Sunday; only a matter of time before both of them are starting. 

Trey Lance’s situation is odd; he only played one college game last year; he came from a I-AA program. He just doesn’t have a lot of experience. Will be an interesting decision for Shanahan, when to throw the rookie QB into the fire. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

Cincinnati 27, Minnesota 24 (OT)
— Vikings drilled a 53-yard FG at gun to force OT.
— Minnesota threw 50 passes, ran ball only 22 times.
— penalties: Vikings 12 for 116 yards; Bengals 3 for 15
— Vikings are 0-4-1 SU, 0-5 ATS last five road openers.

— Cincinnati kicked 33-yard FG on last play of overtime.
— Bengals’ first three drives: 11 plays, 14 yards, 0 points
— Bengals’ next three drives: 24 plays, 225 yards, 21 points
— Cincinnati started out 1-0 five of last eight years.

San Francisco 41, Detroit 33
— SF led this game 38-10 with 5:00 left in third quarter.
— 49ers got pick-6 that made it 28-10 with 1:10 left in half.
— 49ers averaged 11.5 yards/pass play.
— 49ers won 9 of last 11 season openers.

— Detroit had ball on 49ers’ 25 in last 0:30 to tie game.
— Lions lost five of last seven home openers.
— Over 9-3 in their last 12 home openers.
— Lions’ last 11 season openers went over the total.

Pittsburgh 23, Buffalo 16
— Steelers blocked a punt for a TD. 
— Steelers’ first five drives: 21 plays, 38 yards, 0 points.
— Steelers’ last four drives: 34 plays, 231 yards, 16 points.
— Steelers are 11-3 ATS in last 14 games as road underdogs.

— Bills ran 79 plays for 371 yards; Steelers 55 for 252.
— Buffalo had ball in red zone four times, scored only 16 points.
— Bills converted 8-18 on third down; Steelers only 4-12.
— Buffalo averaged only 4.7 yards/pass attempt. 

Carolina 19, NJ Jets 14
— Jets’ first eight drives: 37 plays, 68 yards, 0 points.
— Jets scored TD’s on two of their last three drives.
— Jets started 0-1 five of last six years.
— Last 5+ years, Gang Green is 10-23-2 ATS as road underdogs.

— Panthers had 14-yard edge in starting field position.
— Total yardage: Carolina 381, Jets 252.
— Panthers’ QB Darnold threw for 279 yards and a TD.
— Last 6+ years, Carolina is 16-9 ATS vs AFC teams.

Philadelphia 32, Atlanta 6
— Total yardage: Eagles 434, Falcons 260
— Three trips to red zone, Eagles scored 22 points.
— Philly had 14 penalties for 89 yards; Falcons 12 for 99.
— Eagles won five of last six season openers.

— Falcons were only team in 1:00 games not to score a TD.
— Atlanta was also only team not to have a play of 20+ yards.
— Last 5+ years, Falcons are 15-19 ATS as home favorites.
— Falcons lost five of last six Week 1 games

Arizona 38, Tennessee 13
— Arizona scored on four of first five possessions (24 points)
— Total yardage: Cardinals 416, Tennessee 258
— Murray threw for 289 yards, four TD’s. 
— Cardinals had 17-yard edge in starting field position. 

— Titans’ first four drives: 15 plays, minus-16 yards, 0 points.
— Henry was held to 58 yards on 17 rushes.
— Tennessee lost SU last four times they opened season at home.
— Titans are 2-6 SU last eight home openers (2-8 ATS last ten)

Seattle 28, Indianapolis 16
— Seahawks averaged 9.3 yards/pass attempt.
— Seattle scored TD’s on three of first four drives.
— Seattle won last 3 road openers 28-26/38-25/28-16.
— Seattle is 8-4-1 ATS last 13 games vs AFC teams.

— Colts started out 0-1 the last eight years.
— Indy had ball in red zone four times, scored only 16 points.
— Colts had only one play of 20+ yards.
— Seattle had 10-yard edge in starting field position. 

LA Chargers 20, Washington 16
— Chargers converted 14 of 19 third down plays.
— Keenan Allen caught nine passes for 100 yards.
— Chargers are 5-0-1 ATS last six Week 1 road games.
— Bolts are 7-2-1 ATS last ten road openers.

— QB Fitzpatrick left with hip injury in first quarter.
— Washington kicked a FG on three of first five drives.
— Total yardage: Chargers 424, Washington 259
— Washington ran only 49 plays; Chargers ran 78. 

Houston 37, Jacksonville 21
— Jaguars were 3-12 on 3rd down, Houston 12-21.
— Jaguars threw three INT’s, were minus-3 in turnovers.
— Lawrence did throw for 332 yards in his NFL debut.
— Jaguars are 2-6-2 ATS last 3+ years in AFC South road games.

— Texans won last seven series games.
— Houston scored on five of seven drives in first half.
— WR Cooks caught five passes for 132 yards.
— Tyrod Taylor is now 25-21-1 as an NFL starter.

Kansas City 33, Cleveland 29
— Cleveland led 15-3 midway thru second quarter.
— Browns in first half: 3 drives, 25 plays, 231 yards, 22 points.
— Browns in second half: 5 drives, 24 plays, 126 yards, 7 points.
— Cleveland averaged 10.1 yards/pass attempt. 

— Last 19 years, Super Bowl loser is 4-15 ATS in Week 1 the next year
— Chiefs won last seven season openers (4-1 ATS last five)
— Last six years, they scored 33-42-38-40-34-33 in Week 1.
— Over 5-0-2 in their last seven home openers.

Miami 17, New England 16
— Miami scored a TD on first drive of each half.
— Dolphins ran ball 23 times for only 74 yards.
— Since 1994, under is 23-5 in Miami’s road openers (13-0 last 13)
— Dolphins are 9-4 ATS in last 13 games as road underdogs.

— New England fumbled on Dolphins’ 11-yard line with 3:31 left
— Patriots outgained Miami 393-259.
— New England scored 13 points on four red zone drives.
— Patriots were 11-16 on third down, Miami 4-11.

New Orleans 38, Green Bay 3
— Green Bay had ball in red zone twice, turned ball over both times.
— Packers ran ball 15 times for 43 yards.
— Green Bay converted only 1-10 on third down.
— Packers, Falcons were only teams not to score a TD this week. 

— Winston completed 14-20 passes for 148 yards, five TD’s.
— Saints are 18-6 ATS in last 24 games on natural grass.
— New Orleans had 13-yard edge in starting field position.
— Saints are 9-1-1 ATS in last 11 games as single digit underdog.

Denver 27, NY Giants 13
— Denver ran ball for 165 yards, outgained Giants 420-314.
— Gordon ran ball 11 times for 101 yards.
— Broncos scored four of last five times they had ball.
— Last 9+ years, Denver is 21-14-2 ATS vs NFC opponents.

— Giants started 10 of last 11 seasons 0-1.
— Last 4+ years, Giants are 9-23-1 ATS at home.
— Big Blue is 1-9 SU, 0-10 ATS last ten home openers.
— Last 2+ years, Giants are 1-8 ATS vs AFC opponents.

LA Rams 34, Chicago 14
— Chicago punted only once, went out on downs three times.
— Montgomery ran for 108 yards but appeared to hurt his hand.
— Bears are 2-5 ATS last seven road openers.
— Last 5+ years, Chicago is 10-17-1 ATS as road underdogs.

— Stafford threw three TD passes, two of them 67-56 yards.
— Under McVay, Rams are 5-0 SU in Week 1.
— Rams won/covered last seven home openers.
— LA in 2nd half: 3 drives, 24 plays, 220 yards, 21 points.

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday

13) Oregon 35, Ohio State 28:
— Ducks ran ball for 269 yards, pulled a big upset. 

12) Stanford 42, USC 28:
— USC’s kicker was tossed for targeting on the opening kickoff.
— RB Peat ran ball only six times, but for 115 yards.
— USC alums ain’t going to be happy with this score.

11) Jacksonville State 20, Florida State 17
— Gamecocks hit a 59-yard TD pass on last play for the huge upset.
— WR caught ball on the 19 and avoided several defenders to score.
— Dieter Brock’s alma mater is I-AA; this is a horrendous loss for FSU.

Dieter Brock was a great QB in the CFL; in 1985, at age 34, he signed on to play for the Rams, and he helped them win the NFC West (12-5 as a starter), won a playoff game, then lost NFC title game. That was his only season in the NFL.

10) BYU 26, Utah 17:
— Cougars win this rivalry game for first time since 2009.

9) TCU 34, California 32:
— Golden Bears went 0-3 on 2-point conversions, blew a 19-7 lead.

8) Notre Dame 32, Toledo 29:
— Toledo grabbed 29-24 lead with 1:35 left.
— Notre Dame drove 75 yards in three plays to avoid the upset.

7) Upsets of the Day:
— Stanford (+17.5) 42, USC 28
— Oregon (+15) 35, Ohio State 28
— BYU (+7) 26, Utah 17
— Vanderbilt (+6.5) 24, Colorado State 21
— Arkansas (+6) 40, Texas 21
— Iowa (+4) 27, Iowa State 17

6) Brewers 3, Indians 0:
— Corbin Burnes/Josh Hader combined to throw a no-hitter.
— Indians are first team to be no-hit three times in a season.
— Zach Plesac started all three of those games for Cleveland.
— This was Milwaukee’s first no-hitter since 1987 (Juan Nieves).

5) Toronto swept a twinbill in Baltimore:
— Toronto 11, Orioles 10— Jays scored four runs in last inning.
— Toronto 11, Orioles 2— Trailing 1-0 in last inning, Jays erupted for 11 runs.

4) Air Force 23, Navy 3:
— Since start of last year, Navy has started six different QB’s.
— This was first win for Air Force in last five visits to Navy.

3) Arkansas 40, Texas 21:
— Texas fired Tom Herman after he went 32-18 in four years, 22-13 in Big X games, 4-0 in bowl games.
— Just because someone worked with Nick Saban (Sarkisian), it doesn’t make him a great coach.

2) Texas A&M 10, Colorado 7:
— Don’t see lot of 10-7 college games.
— A&M’s QB got hurt early on; his backup threw game-winning TD pass with 2:41 left.
— Total yardage: A&M 288, Colorado 260

1) Miami 25, Appalachian State 23:
— Miami kicked a 43-yard FG with 2:04 left for the win.
— App State had a 100-yard kick return for a TD.
— Total yardage: 375-326, Miami

Saturday’s Den: Clearing out a cluttered mind…….

13) NFL needs to get step back from its crackdown on taunting; none of us who watch games give a rat’s ass about players running their mouths. Tell the officials to tune the players out and only penalize players who hit each other illegally.

Week 14, 2017; Eagles @ Rams. Big game. Carson Wentz throws an incomplete pass on third down, Philly is going to try a field goal, but the ref flags the Rams’ DB for taunting, giving the Eagles a first down. Later in that same series, Wentz runs with the ball and tears his ACL. Had that taunting flag not been thrown, Wentz wouldn’t have torn his ACL, Nick Foles wouldn’t have been Super Bowl MVP.

Taunting penalties are way too subjective; sometimes stepping back from a bad decision is the best way to go and this is one of those times.

12) 40 or so years ago, Texas Longhorns had a basketball coach named Abe Lemons who was ahead of his time; his teams played fast (this was before the shot clock era), he was a character, would’ve been a big star on social media today.

One year his team was struggling; Lemons’ weekly TV show opened with the shot of a coffin on the set, with a spotlight on it. The camera focused in on the coffin, with organ music playing in the background. 

The door of the coffin opens and there is coach Lemons in suit/tie; he sits up, looks at the camera, smiles and says…….

“We ain’t dead yet!!!”

Like I said, the man was ahead of his time. 

12) Dallas Cowboys lost RT La’el Collins for five weeks; there are rumors that Collins didn’t flunk drug tests, he simply neglected to show up for them.

Dallas is expected to get Zack Martin back next week, but now their OL still won’t be 100% until at least Week 7.

11) Thursday night, Cowboys were 4th NFL team EVER to gain 450+ yards, have a +3 or better turnover ratio and yet still lose the game.

10) When Teddy Bridgewater takes the field Sunday, he’ll be the 10th QB to start for Denver since Peyton Manning retired five years ago.

9) Doug Kezirian is hosting Daily Wager on ESPN and he just called Mike McCarthy “an idiot” and roasted him for a couple minutes on national TV. Yikes. 

8) Now that my fantasy baseball team has been forcibly removed from the playoffs, I’m scouting guys for next year (it is a dynasty/keeper league).

When I’m scouting a young player, prefer to watch the other team’s TV feed; they’re way more likely to give honest opinions about players on the other team. The home TV network guys always say positive things, even if the guy is playing poorly.

I mean, Keibert Ruiz is hitting freakin’ .107, but the Washington TV guys praise his defense, his eye at the plate if he takes a pitch out of the strike zone. He was a career .301 hitter in the minor leagues, so he figures to hit eventually, but it is OK to criticize a guy until he does.

7) Mets 10, Bronx 3— Bronx is 2-11 since their 13-game winning streak; they’re 2nd team in MLB history to go 2-11 or worse in the 13 games immediately following a single-season win streak of 13+ games (1991 Rangers).

6) Reds 4, Cardinals 2— Joey Votto hit his 30th homer, Reds scored two runs in 9th.

Dodgers 3, Padres 0— San Diego drops into a tie with the Reds for the second Wild Card slot.

5) When Big X snubbing Memphis in its expansion, should the Tigers try to join another league, like the ACC? They’re elite in basketball, halfway decent in football; they’d help some league, and the AAC seems like a conference on a serious decline right now.

4) Sports betting became legal in the state of Washington Thursday; former Sonics’ star Shawn Kemp made one of the first bets.

3) Trevor Bauer’s administrative leave was extended again; he is done for this season, and is likely to be eventually suspended for all of next season, too.

2) Marvin Miller got inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame this week; he made all the players a boatload of money, had a tremendous impact on the business of baseball, not sure he made the game better or worse, but the players sure as hell better appreciate all he did for them.

The guy who gave the speech honoring Miller Wednesday went on longer than he was supposed to; the crowd was restless, was giving him grief, a crowd made up mostly of Bronx Bomber fans. Ungrateful bastards; it was Miller’s work that played a huge part into the advent of free agency and buying players, which is the only reason Bronx regained prominence in the late 70’s- they’ve gone on to outspend teams in smaller markets for decades.

If anyone should’ve given Miller’s legacy a huge ovation, it is New York fans.

1) I’m not saying summer went by fast or anything, but NBA training camps open in less than three weeks. 

Friday’s Den: Questions with the NFL season starting

13) Buccaneers brought back all 22 starters from LY’s title team; will they be the NFL’s first repeat champs since 2004? 

12) Ryan Fitzpatrick is Washington’s QB, the 9th NFL team he has started for. Fitzpatrick has been around so long, his first head coach was Mike Martz, back with the Rams in 2005.

11) For first time since 2005, Saints have a QB who isn’t Drew Brees; how will Sean Payton combine the talents of Jameis Winston/Taysom Hill? Hill was content to back up Brees, one of the all-time greats; Winston is not one of the all-time greats.

10) Urban Meyer as an NFL coach should be interesting; how will he handle losing? If he goes 9-7, they’ll throw him a parade in Jacksonville, but Meyer never went 9-7 in college. He will be playing a rookie QB, which makes things even more interesting.

9) Rams are 43-21 in four seasons under Sean McVay, but they blew things up this winter and traded for QB Matthew Stafford, who played 12 years in Detroit but never won a playoff game (0-3). The trade helped the Rams’ salary cap issues; lot of pressure on the coach/QB to maintain the success that Jared Goff had on the field.

8) Four years ago, the Eagles won the Super Bowl, with backup QB Nick Foles the star after starter Carson Wentz got hurt in Week 14. Now, Foles is in Chicago, Wentz plays for the Colts and Jaylen Hurts is the QB, coached by rookie HC Nick Sirianni.

Eagles went 9-7, 9-7, 4-11-1 the last three years; not sure why Doug Peterson got the boot after one bad season, but now they’re starting over.

7) Dallas Cowboys have 36 new players and a QB who has had major injury problems over the last year- they went 0-4 in preseason, which doesn’t necessarily mean much. They’ll need Dak Prescott to be healthy and productive.

6) Minnesota Vikings have their sixth offensive coordinator in six years; their OL coach got fired for refusing the COVID vaccine. This will be Kirk Cousins’ 4th year as starting QB; the team was 25-22-1 the last three years. More is expected this year.

5) Last four years, New Jersey Giants are 18-46; Daniel Jones is 8-18 as starting QB. They’re 10-21-1 ATS at home the last four years; will Jones protect the ball well enough (22 INTs in 26 starts) to help the Giants move up in the standings?

4) What will the Houston Texans do with Deshaun Watson? He is on the 53-man roster but Tyrod Taylor will start, and Watson won’t be active. Watson’s legal issues still lurk; will another team have the onions to trade for him, and if so, what will Houston get back in return?

3) Can the Buffalo Bills take over dominance in the AFC East? Lot of expectations for the Bills after they went 13-3 LY and lost in AFC title game.

2) New England will have a rookie QB starting for first time since Drew Bledsoe in 1993; they went 5-11 that year, when Bill Parcells was the coach. Mac Jones won a lot at Alabama, he knows the playbook, always a good thing, so he should be an upgrade over Cam Newton.

1) Sam Darnold has mononucleosis last summer, then came back and played and the Jets were a bad team, so they fired the coach and traded Darnold to Carolina- they play Carolina Sunday.

I’m thinking the Jets made a mistake trading Darnold; mono is a tough illness to bounce right back from. Now the Jets have a rookie QB, and rookie QB’s generally struggle. They also have a rookie head coach.