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

Baseball information on MLB2 page………Week 18 CFL info coming soon on NHL page..……college football info on CF page……..NFL knowledge on NFL page

Tuesday’s six-pack
NBA over/under win totals for the coming season:
Golden State Warriors 67.5
Boston Celtics 56.5
Houston Rockets 55.5
San Antonio Spurs 54.5
Cleveland Cavaliers 53.5
Oklahoma City Thunder 51.5

Quote of the Day
“This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner–and to lie about how previous Presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers–is as low as it gets.

We have a pathological liar in the White House: unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this President should be ashamed because they know it better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.”
Gregg Popovich, a graduate of the US Air Force Academy

Wednesday’s quiz
Where did Stephen Curry play his college basketball?

Tuesday’s quiz
Mike Tomlin was a WR at William & Mary in his college days.

Monday’s quiz
Olympia is the capital of the state of Washington

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

13) You hear a lot of cruddy things about people these days; here’s something nice about someone, Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

Votto is the Reds’ biggest star; when a 6-year old boy in Cincinnati had cancer this past summer, Votto visited the kid, without wanting publicity, and tried to make the kid feel as good as possible as this horrible disease took its toll. He helped in a fundraising event for the boy’s family that the Reds sponsored- he contributed $10,000 of his own money.

The little boy passed away 10 days ago; Votto was at the memorial service, again not wanting publicity, but in this age of negativity, how can you can not talk about such a nice person?

12) Detroit Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford is on pace to get sacked 61 times this season; the last NFL QB to get sacked 60+ times in a season? Jon Kitna, also of Detroit, back in 2006.

11) Maryland fired its athletic director, in part because the guy tried to get the AD job out at California, and Maryland’s school president wasn’t about happy about that.

10) Rams play Arizona in London Sunday, but they’re staying in Jacksonville until Thursday, to get solid practices in, as opposed to doing tourist-type stuff in England. Different teams have taken different approaches to the London games; we’ll see how this works out.

9) New York-Houston playoff game Friday was the first time ever that the two cleanup hitters in a playoff game were the starting shortstops.

8) Cubs’ pitching coach Chris Bosio takes a while to the walk to the mound, but with good reason; he has a broken ankle, and is wearing a boot on his foot.

7) 37-year old Damien Wilkins has been out of the NBA since 2013, but he made the Indiana Pacers’ roster this season— good for him.

6) Nebraska hired Washington State AD Bill Moos as its new athletic director, which may be bad news for both football coach Mike Riley and basketball coach Tim Miles, both of whom have been struggling to win as much as the wealthy boosters would like.

5) Ike Iroegbu played an exhibition game for the Clippers last week with no name on the back of his uniform; he had arrived in LA just a few hours before the game. Clippers cut him over the weekend; he is probably headed to the G-League.

4) Golden State Warriors may have found itself a steal in Oregon alum Jordan Bell; the 38th pick in the draft scored 29 points in 49 minutes in the preseason.

3) When Cavaliers’ JR Smith drinks coffee, he puts in 8 creams and 8 sugars in each one. Not a lot of room left for the coffee.

2) 49ers released LB NaVorro Bowman last week, a once-great player who is still good enough to play in the NFL. Raiders/Cowboys are considered frontrunners to sign Bowman.

1) Chiefs were at the last NFL team to lose this season; last time the “last team to lose” won the Super Bowl that year? The 2006 Indianapolis Colts

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

Eagles 28, Panthers 23— Philly’s first two TD drives were 12-17 yards; they improve to 5-1 and now have 11 days until their next game. Eagles are 3-1 on road; their only loss was to the Chiefs. Newton threw for 325 yards but threw three INT’s; guys on TV wondered if he hurt his shoulder on the play when he dove, trying to get the ball into the end zone. Road team covered all six Panther games this season.

Dolphins 20, Falcons 17— Atlanta led 17-0 at the half, then didn’t score in 2nd half, running 23 plays for 100 yards on four empty drives. Miami went TD-TD-FG-FG on their second half drives, after scoring 3 offensive TD’s on 46 drives in their first 4.5 games. Falcons are now 4-12 as home favorites under Quinn. AFC East road teams are 8-2 vs spread outside the division.

Vikings 23, Packers 10— So you’ve got Aaron Rodgers on your fantasy team, or you bet the Packers or are just a Packer fan; on one play, everything goes up in smoke, when Rodgers leaves in first quarter with a broken collarbone. Case Keenum is way better than Brett Hundley, as far as backup QB’s go. Next week, Hundley will become only the 7th starting QB for Green Bay in the last 25 years- since ’08, Packers are 3-5-1 without Rodgers, not including two other games they lost when he got hurt in the first quarter.

Saints 52, Lions 38— One of strangest games in NFL history; Detroit scored a defensive TD and had a punt return for a TD, yet they trailed 45-10 with 6:10 left in 3rd quarter. Then with 5:20 to go in the game, after being down 45-10, Lions had the ball down only 45-38.

New Orleans defense scored three TD’s in this game; when they were on the field, they scored 21 points and the Lion offense scored 24. In last three games, all wins. Saints have 9 takeaways (+6), after having zero takeaways in their first two games, both losses.

Patriots 24, Jets 17— At 1:48 Sunday afternoon, Josh McCown was 11-15/149 passing with two TD’s, as Jets led 14-0; McCown wound up 31-47/354 but a key call on a goal line fumble by the Jets cost Gang Green a huge TD. The play was very similar to Todd Gurley’s goal line fumble against Seattle LW, involving the pylon and the player recovering his fumble.

Jets gained 408 yards but turned ball over three times; they covered on a FG with 3:40 left- they’re 13-5 vs spread in last 18 games as a home underdog. Gronkowski caught two TD passes for New England.

Redskins 26, 49ers 24— Niners became 5th team in first six weeks of season to bench their QB for non-injury reasons; in other words, because the guy sucked. Iowa alum Beathard is grandson of former Redskins’ GM Bobby Beathard; he was 19-36/245 in his NFL debut. 49ers may be 0-6, but their last five losses were by 3-2-3-3-2 points- they’re 3-1 as road underdogs. Washington is 5-11 vs spread in its last 16 games as a home favorite.

Bears 27, Ravens 24 OT— Baltimore scored two TD’s on special teams, and still lost- their offense averaged 3.8 ypa, gained 291 yards, turned ball over 3 times. In last six days, Chicago has four TD passes; one each by the punter and RB Cohen, two by rookie QB Trubisky. Bobby Rainey had a 96-yard kickoff return for a Raven TD, the first kickoff return for a TD in the NFL this year. Ravens are +8 in turnovers in their wins, -6 in their losses.

Texans 33, Browns 17— Deshaun Watson woke up on draft day last spring with a text from Browns’ coach Hue Jackson, telling him to “be ready”. Then Cleveland passed on Watson; they are now 6-12 vs spread in their last 18 games as a road underdog.

Meanwhile, Houston scored 33-57-34-33 points in their last four games behind rookie QB Watson, a player the Browns could’ve taken themselves. I went to a damn state college, but even I know that quarterback is an important position in football— you need a good one.

Cardinals 38, Buccaneers 33— Arizona led 31-0, KO’d Bucs’ QB Winston (shoulder), but then Tampa Bay roared back behind backup QB Fitzpatrick, scoring four TD’s on their last six drives, but they never got ball back with chance to take lead. Cardinals averaged 11.3 ypa, scored 31 points on five red zone drives- they head to England next to play the Rams.

For the week, team over/unders are 13-13 heading into the Monday night game.

Rams 27, Jaguars 17— Special teams, special teams, special teams. John Fassel is the Rams’ special teams coach— his dad used to coach the Giants. When they fired him, he was replaced by Tom Coughlin, who now runs the Jacksonville franchise. Rams ran opening kick back for a TD, then blocked a punt for a TD later in the game.

Leonard Fournette’s first carry was a 75-yard TD; rest of the day, he ran ball 20 times for 55 yards, before leaving with a sprained ankle. Jaguars are +11 in turnovers in their three wins, -1 in their three losses.

Rams were held to 20-16 points in their two losses; they scored 27+ in their four wins.

Steelers 19, Chiefs 13— First half yardage: Pittsburgh 216, Kansas City -21. Despite that, KC trailed only 19-13 with 3:40 left when a bad pass by Roethlisberger took an unfortunate bounce off a defender’s hand and into Antonio Brown’s hands, were he scored the game-clinching TD.

Chiefs scored 17 TD’s in their first five games; they scored one here and rushed for only 28 yards- they lost despite an 11-yard edge in field position. Since start of LY, Chiefs are 0-3 vs Pittsburgh, 17-3 vs everyone else.

Chargers 17, Raiders 16— Five of six Charger game have been decided by 5 or less points; they won their last two games, both on road. Rivers found TE Henry with couple of key passes to keep game-winning drive alive- they kicked FG as time expired to win the game. Novak is their third kicker in six games, by the way.

Oakland lost its last four games, scoring 10-10-17-16 points; Carr played despite his back being not fully healed. Raiders ran a lot of shorter pass patterns so Carr wouldn’t be subjected to hits from linemen— thats why Amani Cooper’s numbers were down in this game.

Giants 23, Broncos 10— New York gets its first win of the year as 12-point underdogs; their reshuffled offensive line paved way for 146 rushing yards, second week in row they ran for 145+ yards. Siemian threw an awful pick-6 right before the half that broke the game open.

Denver was -3 in turnovers; NFL teams are 4-33 this season when they’re -2 or worse in TO’s. Giants play their next three games vs NFC West teams; Seahawks-Rams-49ers, with a bye mixed in there.

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

13) Rough week for big favorites:
Syracuse (+24) 27, Clemson 24
Boston College (+21) 45, Louisville 42
Arizona State (+18) 13, Washington 7
South Alabama (+18) 19, Troy 8
California (+14) 37, Washington State 3
Tulsa (+13.5) 45, Houston 17
Florida International (+13.5) 23, Tulane 10
UConn (+9.5) 28, Temple 24
Boise State (+7) 31, San Diego State 14

12) Friday the 13th hijinx; If you put $10 on a Syracuse/Cal moneyline parlay Friday night, you cashed a ticket for $700.

11) Washington State alum Klay Thompson was on the sidelines at Berkeley for the second half of the Coogs’ loss at Cal Friday night. Wazzu turned the ball over seven times; everything they tried went wrong. Just a very bad night, after they had beaten USC/Oregon their last two games.

Warriors beat Sacramento at home earlier Friday night.

10) South Carolina 15, Tennessee 9— Vols started a freshman QB, Vols didn’t score in second half. Vols play Alabama next; good luck with that. Just for the record, Butch Jones’ buyout is over $8M. You know someone dislikes your performance if they pay you $8M to go away.

9) LSU 27, Auburn 23— Auburn led this game 20-0; LSU ran punt return back for a TD early in 4th quarter, then kicked two FG’s in last 2:36 for the upset win.

8) Air Force 34, UNLV 30— Rebels led this game 30-7 in the 3rd quarter.

7) South Florida 33, Cincinnati 3— Bulls have won their last ten games, the longest current win streak in college football.

6) Rained so hard at the Akron-Western Michigan game that they postponed it until Sunday; the stadium had some damage with the heavy rains, they weren’t 100% sure they could play Sunday.

5) Texas A&M 19, Florida 17— Not often you beat a good team on the road when your QB is 8-24 passing, but Aggies pulled this win out- they’re 5-2, after blowing a 44-10 lead in their opener, a hideous 45-44 loss at UCLA. At one point early in 2nd quarter, A&M had four true freshman playing in their secondary— you don’t see that very often.

4) Ohio State 56, Nebraska 14— In its last two games, Ohio State outgained opponents 390-35 in the 1st quarter. Maybe Mike Riley can go back to Oregon State when Nebraska fires him.

3) Oklahoma 29, Texas 24— Sooners blew a 20-0 lead, but pulled out a win; Longhorns covered the last four games in this rivalry. Two of Oklahoma’s three TD’s in this game came on plays of 50+ yards.

2) USC 28, Utah 27— Utes scored a TD with 0:42 left to make score 28-27 USC, then went for two points and the lead— they failed on the attempt. I’ve said this before in this spot, but I really dislike this play— it is the macho thing to do, but if you’re the underdog, keep the game going as long as possible, plus this— YOU’RE ON NATIONAL TV!!!! National TV exposure is PRICELESS.

1) Army 28, Eastern Michigan 27— Eagles did the same thing as Utah, except with 0:49 left; this is even more of a blunder against a service academy, since chances are you have a better kicker than they do, as far as overtime goes. Army didn’t complete one pass (0-5) in this game, so they weren’t gonna score in the last 0:49 of regulation.

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

13) Back in the late 60’s/early 70’s, the great basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian said this:

“The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky, that they’re going to put Western Kentucky on probation”

Well, North Carolina got off with a slap on the wrist from the NCAA Friday, after wide-spread academic fraud was uncovered at UNC:

“While student-athletes likely benefited from the so-called ‘paper courses’ offered by North Carolina, the information available in the record did not establish that the courses were solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes.”
Greg Sankey, the panel’s chief hearing officer.

That means one thing: Western Carolina, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina? They best be careful, because the NCAA is mad again, but they’re not gonna punish one of their fat cat teams.

12) Syracuse (+24) 27, Clemson 24– Clemson’s QB got hurt, didn’t play the second half; they missed two FG’s- their regular kicker got hurt in practice couple weeks ago. Tigers never led in this game. Big win for Dino Babers and the Orangemen.

11) Ezekiel Elliott’s 6-game suspension was upheld; Cowboys have their bye this week— will the suspension start in Week 7?

10) Brooklyn Nets’ coach Kenny Atkinson has seven brothers; imagine growing up in a house with eight boys in it? You couldn’t help but be a tough kid.

9) If you don’t think poaching is rampant in college basketball, consider this: There are 18 Division I college basketball transfers who are eligible this season, who scored 15+ points/game in their last stop. Kids who score 15+ a game aren’t transferring because they’re unhappy with their playing time.

8) Turns out that Roger Goodell’s wife had a secret Twitter account where she defended her husband against some of his detractors, which is pretty cool. Jane Skinner Goodell used to be an anchor on Fox News Channel; she has been married to Goodell for 20 years.

7) Random trivia: Bill Sharman played for the Boston Celtics in the 50’s; he was backcourt-mate with the great Bob Cousy. Sharman’s career free-throw %age: 88.3%; that is 13th on the all-time NBA list for FT %age.

Sharman also coached for 10 years in the NBA/ABA, going 466-353 in a 10-year career; in fact, he won the 1971 ABA title with the Utah Stars (Zelmo Beaty, Willie Wise, Ron Boone), then got the Lakers’ job the next year and won the 1972 NBA title (Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West).

Sharman also played minor league baseball, he played OF/3B, hitting .292 in 133 minor league games from 1950-55. He was called up to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951, but never got into a game.

6) 76ers’ coach Brett Brown has a 75-253 record in four years in Philly, but expectations are a lot higher this season, with the Sixers having so many good young players acquired thru the draft. Philly’s over/under win total in Las Vegas this season: 42.5. In other words, the 76ers are expected to make the playoffs this season.

Some umpiring facts to stash away for next season:
5) Over last three years, underdogs are 50-45 in Ted Barrett games; thats a strong trend.

4) Last four years, home underdogs are 7-24 when Conroy is behind the plate.

3) Last two years, under is 40-18 when Barksdale is umping the plate.

2) Thursday night, the Cubs had four baserunners in a row reach base with this sequence: Intentional walk, strikeout/passed ball, catcher’s interference and a hit-by-pitch.

Big rally, huh?

Well, in the HISTORY OF BASEBALL, this was only the 6th time ever a team had all four of those things happen in the same game, the FIRST TIME EVER in the same inning.

1) What is going on with guys managing in the baseball playoffs? Starting pitchers come in the game at any time now, everyone manages like they’re guessing. Cubs left Wade Davis in the game Thursday until he had thrown 44 pitches, 10 more than he had thrown in any game this season. Like Joe Maddon looked around and realized he didn’t have anyone else left.

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

Things I’m looking for this weekend……
13) 49ers are playing on road for third week in row; since 1997, underdogs are 23-34-1 vs spread if they’re on road for the 3rd week in a row.

12) LSU is honoring the 2007 national champs Saturday night, which means Les Miles will be in the house. Maybe if they ask him really nice, he’ll come back and coach the Bayou Bengals, who already have a 37-7 loss at Miss State and a home loss to Troy this season.

11) Dolphins are 2-2, despite scoring three offensive TD’s in four games; their OL coach being fired for alleged drug use, and their having played one home game so far. Miami visits Atlanta this week, a Falcon team coming off a bye— Falcons are 6-2 after their last eight byes.

10) TCU is the last unbeaten team in the Big X; Kansas State covered 9 of its last 11 tries as a home underdog, but they’re coming off an OT loss to Texas.

9) Giants lost 3 of their top 4 WR’s to injury last week, then suspended one of their best DB’s for four weeks after a sideline confrontation with the coach LW. Giants are a double digit underdog in Denver this week; an 0-6 start would have people calling for more heads to roll.

8) Coming off of wins over USC/Oregon, Washington State has a trap game in Berkeley, where the Golden Bears are 8-16 vs spread in last 24 games as a home underdog.

7) Chiefs are rolling at 5-0, but they lost twice to Pittsburgh LY. Roethlisberger is coming off one of the worst games of his career (5 INT’s vs Jaguars). Can Steelers bounce back here?

6) Last three Oklahoma-Texas games were all decided by 7 or less points, with Longhorns 4-0 vs spread in last four series games. Texas State Fair is the backdrop for this historic rivalry, with Sooners coming off a loss to Iowa State. when they were favored by 31 points.

5) It is Week 6 and Bills-Patriots-Jets are all tied atop AFC East, at 3-2. Buffalo has the week off, so winner of Patriot-Jet game is atop AFC East by himself. Jets won their last three games, but can their offense put up points against a struggling New England defense?

4) San Diego State is 6-0 and Boise State is in the rare situation of being a road underdog in a Mountain West game. Broncos are 37-18  vs spread in last 55 road games, but they were favored in vast majority of those games. Aztecs are 29-13-1 vs spread in their last 43 conference games.

3) Cleveland Browns passed on Deshaun Watson not once, but twice in LY’s draft; you think he remembers (undoubtedly, he does)? Texans scored 124 points in their last three games. Browns were held to 18 or less points in four of their five games.

2) Florida State is 1-6 for the first time since 1976, when I was a senior in HS and Bobby Bowden was in his first year as the Seminoles’ coach. FSU lost to Miami last week for the first time in eight years— can they win here and get their season jumpstarted?

1) Minnesota is 14-5 vs spread in its last 19 home games; they beat the Packers in Green Bay’s first visit to the Vikings’ new dome LY. Packers are playing their third dome game in six weeks to start the season; they’re 8-3 vs spread in their last 11 games.

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

13) Red Sox fired John Farrell Wednesday; he went 432-378 as Boston’s manager, winning the World Series in his first season (2013) but winning only one playoff game (1-6) the last four years. Farrell had a health scare with cancer in 2015, but that is behind him now.

If the Red Sox hire Brad Ausmus, who worked with Boston GM Dave Dombrowski in Detroit, then it figures that the GM just thought that Ausmus is a better manager than Farrell.

This Tweet from writer Peter Abraham:
“Dombrowski said Farrell was fired for reasons he won’t disclose and that no level of team success would have prevented that.”

He would’ve fired Farrell even if the Red Sox won the World Series? Hard to believe.

12) Washington 5, Chicago 0- Game 5 is Thursday night at 8 in Washington.
New York 5, Cleveland 2— Indians lost last seven games when they had a chance to wrap up a series. New York-Houston ALCS starts Friday night.

11) New Jersey Giants suspended CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Wednesday when he came to practice and then went home without practicing- it apparently relates to something that happened on the sidelines during Sunday’s game with the Chargers.

10) Giants also lost 3 of their top 4 WR’s for the season in last week’s loss; of those four, only Sterling Shepard will be playing in Denver this weekend.

9) Utah Jazz big guy Rudy Gobert wears number 27 because he was the 27th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Not that he takes it personally or anything.

8) Butler Bulldogs are on their 4th basketball coach in the last six years, and they usually win. Texas Tech is on its 5th coach in eight years. Coaching can be a nomadic profession.

7) Guy named Tony Ressler owns the Atlanta Hawks; he is or was a minority owner of the Milwaukee Brewers. He has been married to actress Jami Gertz for 29 years— she was in movies like Less Than Zero, Sixteen Candles and Twister.

6) Minnesota Timberwolves have the longest active playoff drought in the NBA- 13 years.

5) Tennessee Vols are changing QB’s for their game with South Carolina this week; redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano gets the start over sophomore Quinten Dormady, who may transfer from Tennessee as a result of this.

4) Revenge in the CFL this week? On July 29, Calgary embarrassed Hamilton 60-1; Ti-Cats changed coaches shortly after that, and are now 4-2 in their last six games under new coach June Jones. Stampeders visit Hamilton this week on a serious roll; they’ve won 10 games in a row (8-1-1 vs spread).

3) South Alabama (+18) 19, Troy 8— Troy’s last game was an upset win at LSU, but teams that turn the ball over four times (-3) don’t win a whole lot.

2) Louisville brought in former Nevada/LSU coach Trent Johnson as an assistant, then fired assistant coach Jordan Fair, as fallout from the SneakerGate scandal continues to unfold.

1) If you have NBA TV and I think just about everyone does, Open Court is a good show to watch; there are two hour-long shows that were filmed this summer in Las Vegas, one with five NBA owners, the other with five coaches. Educational stuff if you like the NBA.

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

13) San Francisco 49ers are 27th NFL team since 1997 to play overtime games on consecutive weekends; Niners lost both games, are now 0-5, with last four losses all by 2 or 3 points.

12) Of the previous 26 teams who played consecutive OT games, five had a bye the following week, so that takes us down to 21 teams- those 21 teams went 11-10 SU in the third week, but 13-7-1 against the spread.

11) A breakdown according to how the teams did in the OT games:
WW?— Teams that won both OT games went 2-2 vs spread in that third game.
WL?— Teams were 1-3 vs spread in the third game.
LL?— Teams were 4-2-1 vs spread; this is where the 49ers trend this week.
LW?— Teams were 5-0 vs spread in the third game.

10) For the record, Baltimore has played OT games on consecutive weekends four times in the last 21 years; no one else has done it more than twice.

9) Ironic that with lot of college basketball coaches in hot water over fraud allegations with the shoe companies, the 16-team PK80 tournament taking place in Oregon next month to honor Phil Knight’s 80th birthday will be a big deal.

16 teams, all Nike-affiliated, will play three games in this event; might make it easier for the FBI to serve their subpoenas, with so many teams in the same city all at once.

8) Thru 4.5 games this season, Chicago Bears didn’t have a pass play longer than 30 yards, the only NFL team without one. Finally Chicago scored on a 38-yard TD pass in the third quarter Monday night; problem is, it was a pass thrown by punter Pat O’Donnell on a fake punt. Oy.

7) Mitchell Trubisky is the 30th starting QB for the Bears in the last 25 years.

6) San Diego State is bowl-eligible already, which means coach Rocky Long gets a $50,000 bonus, and the athletic director, for some reason, gets a $12,500 bonus.

5) New Orleans Saints traded RB Adrian Peterson to the Cardinals Tuesday for a conditional draft pick. Why would a RB without great receiving skills have signed with a Payton/Brees team in the first place? Arizona’s skill players have lot of miles on them; we’ll see if this helps them.

4) Greg Bird hit a home run in a 1-0 playoff game the other day; the first player to ever hit a home run in a 1-0 postseason game was Casey Stengel in 1923, he of course went on to be a famous manager in New York City, but he was also a good player, hitting .284 in 14 MLB seasons.

3) Political trivia: when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in college, he was a drummer in the University of Texas marching band.

2) I’m glad the NFL lightened up and allows (most) celebrations after TDs now. They don’t hurt anyone and I think most people like them. Maybe most importantly. the media likes them and over time, that will help the public’s perception of the league, which could use some help.

1) RIP to the great QB YA Tittle, who played 17 years in the NFL with Colts-49ers-Giants; his W-L record was 78-50-5, but he never won a playoff game (0-4). Keep in mind it was a lot harder to make the playoffs back then. Mr Tittle passed away over the weekend at age 90.

Tittle was also one of the opposing coaches against Al Pacino’s Miami Sharks in the excellent football movie Any Given Sunday. RIP, sir.

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

13) Connie Hawkins was the first basketball player I can remember palming the ball, just holding it in his hand like it was a softball. He had huge hands and was a great player— the Phoenix Suns jumped from 16-66 in their expansion season to 39-43 in his first NBA season, then 48-34 and 49-33 the next two years.

12) Suns lost a coinflip with the Milwaukee Bucks for the first pick in the 1969 NBA Draft- the Bucks took Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of 3 or 4 best players of all-time. Suns took a center from Florida named Neal Walk with the #2 pick, but the NBA also awarded them to rights to Hawkins, who played a couple years in the ABA after being wrongly banned from the NBA after a point-shaving investigation that never implicated him— he sued the NBA and collected $1.3M from the league, which was a boatload of money in the late 60’s.

11) Hawkins passed away over the weekend at age 75; he was Dr J before Dr J and ESPN— if he played today, he’d have a huge sneaker deal and would be on highlight shows every night. I’m trying to think of a modern comparison to him— Giannis Antetokounmpo comes to mind. Big wingspan, rangy, fun to watch.

As a little kid just learning basketball, Hawkins was great fun to watch. RIP, sir.

Elsewhere in the world……..
10) Alex, I’d like “Career Suicide for $200″, please: Miami Dolphins’ offensive line coach quit Monday after a video was released on social media showing him snorting a white powdery substance. Dolphins have scored three TD’s on 42 drives in their 2-2 start; this genius was making between $2.5M-$3M a year as a freakin’ assistant coach.

25 years as an NFL assistant coach; hope he saved some of that money.

9) Watched the Celtics-76ers preseason game Friday night; Sixers’ TV guys said the goal for Ben Simmons this year was “70% from the foul line.” Say what?

Simmons shot 67% from the line at LSU two years ago; the goal should be 75% or 80%, not 70%; what did he do all last year when he wasn’t playing? Should’ve been working on his shot, yes?

He can really pass the ball, he is a high-level passer, but he has to develop a pull-up jumper to make defenses respect him, which takes a defender out of passing lanes. He picked up at least two charging fouls against the Celtics.

Simmons is still a young guy (21) but if he wants to be a great player, his shooting has to improve.

8) UCLA held a outdoor practice at Venice Beach over the weekend; it is good to live in southern California. UNLV held an outdoor practice in downtown Vegas last year; its a cool gimmick to get the fanbase interested.

I’m curious to see UCLA without Lonzo Ball this year; he made all his teammates a lot better. They’re not going to get as many open looks this year without Ball running the offense.

7) Houston Rockets were sold this summer for $2.2B, thats how profitable NBA teams are now, with the worldwide appeal of the league.

6) Why the Sacramento Kings are almost always bad:

They had the 20th pick in the NBA Draft in June, and took Duke’s Harry Giles, who when he was a 9th grader, was the #1 player in the high school Class of 2016, but then he tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee in 2013, then his ACL in his right knee in 2015..

In his one year at Duke, he averaged 3.9 ppg in 11.5 mpg, hardly numbers for a first round draft pick, but the Kings being the Kings, used the 20th pick on him.

Now Sacramento says Giles is out until at least January, to “improve his overall health.” Oy.

5) Sacramento’s record the last 10 years:
33-49, 38-44, 17-65, 25-57, 24-58, 22-44, 28-54 (twice), 29-53, 33-49, 32-50.

4) 76ers gave Joel Embiid a 5-year, $148M contract extension; he played 25.4 mpg in 31 games LY, scoring 20.2 ppg, grabbing 7.8 rpg. Missing 51 games is a red flag, especially after sitting out the previous two years; wonder what kind of games-played incentives are in the contract.

Embiid scored 11.2 ppg in 23.1 mpg in his one season at Kansas, then sat out his first two years in the NBA with injuries- he is 23 years old.

3) Big 14’s conference basketball tournament is leaving the midwest and is headed to Manhattan in March; thats New York City, not Manhattan, Kansas.

Because the Big East has Madison Square Garden in Championship week, the Big 14 agreed to have its tournament a week earlier than normal, which means their teams will all play a couple of conference games the first week in December, to make up for the week the league loses in March due to moving the tournament up.

This is a 5-game stretch of Indiana’s schedule in late November/early December:
Nov 29- Duke, Dec 2- @ Minnesota, Dec 4- Iowa, Dec 9- @ Louisville, Dec 16- Notre Dame. Tough stretch of games for the Hoosiers.

2) Washington State football coach Mike Leach played rugby, not football, in his college days at BYU. He is one of only four I-A head coaches who didn’t play college football.

BYU had great passing teams in those days; Leach credits LaVell Edwards for having a big influence on the Air Raid offense Leach runs now.

1) Baseball playoffs:
Astros 5, Red Sox 4— Houston moves on to ALDS, using Justin Verlander in relief.
Cubs 2, Nationals 1— Chicago takes 2-1 lead in this series.
New York 7, Indians 3– Game 5 is in Cleveland Wednesday.
Los Angeles 3, Arizona 1– Dodgers advance to the NLCS.

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

Patriots 19, Buccaneers 14— Tampa Bay missed three FG’s; they’ll have a new kicker next week. Bucs had ball on Patriots’ 15-yard line when game ended, but ran out of time. Both teams gained 400+ yards, but combined to score only 27 points on seven red zone drives. Big improvement for New England defense, but they still allowed 409 yards.

Chargers 27, Giants 22— Manning was sacked/fumbled on his own 11 with 3:46 left, Chargers scored three plays later for their first win of the year. Giants are 0-5 and head to Denver next week without WR Beckham, who broke his ankle. Four of Chargers’ five games were decided by 5 or less points. Giants never got in red zone in this game; their TD’s were on plays of 23-29-48 yards. Chargers are 23-11-1 in last 35 games as a road underdog.

Bengals 20, Bills 16— Cincy outgained Bills 388-221, but turned ball over three times (-2); they held Buffalo to 3.8 ypa. Both teams scored 13 points on three red zone drives. Buffalo is now +8 in turnovers for the year, but they need their passing game to drive the bus now and then. For the week, individual team over/unders are 14-12 Under heading to Monday night.

Jets 17, Browns 14— Cleveland changed QB’s at halftime, trailing 3-0; Hogan went 16-19 for 194 yards in two TD’s in 2nd half, would think he is now the #1 guy. Browns had ball in red zone three times, scored zero points, turning ball over twice in red zone in first half, then losing ball on downs in 3rd quarter. Suddenly Jets have won three games in row and tied for first in AFC East with Bills/Patriots. Browns are 4-11 vs spread in last 15 games when favored.

Jaguars 30, Steelers 9— While the Giants are 0-5, Tom Coughlin’s Jaguars are 3-2- they picked Roethlisberger off five times in this game (+4), with pair of pick-6’s 2:30 apart in third quarter when Steelers led 9-7. Jaguars are +10 in turnovers already. Steelers lost two of last three games; they didn’t score a TD in this game. Jax ran ball for 231 yards; they’ve run ball for 155+ yards in 4 of their 5 games.

Dolphins 16, Titans 10— Awful offense on both sides; they averaged 3.1, 2.8 ypa- these are NFL teams!!! Dolphins have three TD’s on 42 drives this season- why are they paying Cutler $10M? Backup QB Cassel was 21-32/119 passing for Titans, who lost 57-14 LW. Titans are 8-34 on 3rd down the last three games- they went 3/out on 16 of last 26 drives. Longest play from scrimmage in this game was 17 yards- very rare there is a game with no plays of 20+ yards.

Colts 26, 49ers 23 (OT)— All three Indy home games have been decided by 3 points; Brissett threw an awful INT in red zone on Colts’ first possession of OT, but Vinatieri bailed them out on next possession, bitting 51-yard FG to send everyone home happy. Colts had 7 plays of 20+ yards, most of any NFL team this week; they had 11-yard edge in field position, but scored only 13 points on four red zone drives. At 2-3, Colts are still alive with QB Luck expected back soon.

Eagles 34, Cardinals 7— Philly won this game easily, holding Cardinals to 31 rushing yards- they averaged 9.6 ypa. Eagles are 39-73 on 3rd down this year- they’re up 1.5 games in NFC East. Arizona gave up 12 TD’s in their three losses, one each in their wins, by a FG each over Colts/49ers. Cardinals have run ball for only 51.8 yards a game this year- they lost field position by 15 yards in this game. Hard to win that way.

Panthers (3-1) @ Lions (3-1)— Carolina is now 3-0 on the road, scoring 23-33-27 points. Cam Newton lit Detroit up; he was 26-33/334 passing, averaging over 9.0 ypa for 2nd week in row. Newton lost his Dannon yogurt commercial because of his comment to a woman reporter last week- Dak Prescott takes his place. Detroit was +9 in turnovers coming in; they were -1 here, and lost field position for first time this year.

Seahawks 16, Rams 10— Los Angeles in the red zone Sunday:
1st quarter: Lost fumble on 1-yard line
2nd quarter: Kicked a 34-yard field goal
3rd quarter: Missed a 35-yard field goal
3rd quarter: Threw INT on a screen pass
4th quarter: Lost ball on downs as game ended.

Thats five trips to red zone, 3 points, a total of five turnovers (-3). Can’t win that way.

Ram opponents are 24-49 on 3rd down the last three games.

Ravens 30, Raiders 17— Baltimore’s season so far:
First two games: +7 turnovers, won 20-0/24-10. Led 17-0/21-7 at half.
Second two games: -5 turnovers, lost 44-7/26-9. Trailed 23-0/19-0 at half.
Sunday at Oakland: 8.5 ypa, no turnovers, led 21-3.

Raiders lost their last three games; their QB has a broken back, and his backup lost his last six NFL starts. Not good.

Packers 35, Cowboys 31— Aaron Rodgers drove Green Bay 75 yards on nine plays for the winning TD with 0:11 left, after Dallas had taken the lead with 1:13 left. Cowboys led 21-6 at one point, but Rodgers is a great QB- Packers are 4-1 now. Green Bay is now 7-1 in last eight games against the Cowboys, winning last three visits to Dallas, 37-36/34-31/35-31.

Chiefs 42, Texans 34— JJ Watt broke his leg, which took the air out of the building early on; Kansas City won/covered its first five games, scoring 17 TD’s on 52 drives. Chiefs are 13-2 as a road favorite under Reid. Rookie QB Watson threw five TD passes in a losing cause; in last two years, Cleveland has passed on Wentz, Prescott and Watson- their QB now is Kevin Hogan. Good thing guy that runs their franchise went to an Ivy League school- an educated imbecile.

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

13) Iowa State (+31) 38, Oklahoma 31— I hope Iowa State’s Joel Lanning gets a vote for the Heisman Trophy; this kid used to be the Cyclones’ QB, but when Iowa State decided to start Jacob Park at QB this year, Lanning willingly switched to middle linebacker, because thats was where he was needed.

Park left the team this week to deal with medical issues; senior Kyle Kempt started at QB, but in running situations, Lanning came in and ran the read-option.

Imagine a kid in the Big X playing both ways? He recovered an Oklahoma fumble near the goal line, sacked Baker Mayfield with 9:04 when the Cyclones led 31-24— he ran the ball 9 times for 35 yards, was 2-3 passing for 25 times. Tough kid.

12) Miami 24, Florida State 20— Seminoles’ freshman QB James Blackman is listed at 6-5, 165 pounds; thats really thin, but it illustrates why most freshmen football players redshirt, so they can hit the weight room and training table so they get bigger/stronger before they actually start playing. He needs to add a lot of muscle to his frame. Not many 165-pound quarterbacks in the NFL. Or in major college football.

This game had a great second half, after a sleepy first half; Miami scored winning TD with 0:06 left after Florida State had taken the lead with 1:24 to play. Hurricanes ended a 7-game losing streak against FSU. The Seminoles are 1-3, and that doesn’t happen much.

11) Michigan 14, Michigan State 10— Wolverines turned ball over five times (-5) and lost by only four points. Spartans gained only 252 yards, were 2-14 on 3rd down but pulled out a road win.

10) Arizona 45, Colorado 42– Arizona’s backup QB Khalil Tate rushed for 327 yards and four touchdowns, setting the single-game record for most rushing yards by a quarterback. Arizona’s starting QB got hurt on the first series of the game, and Tate took over from that point.

9) Navy 48, Air Force 45— Middies blew a 31-10 third quarter lead, then scored winning TD on a 16-yard pass with 0:15 left. Navy is 5-0; their next two games are Memphis/Central Florida.

8) Bowling Green 37, Miami OH 29— Talk about hideous losses; Miami had the ball on the BG 1-yard line, down 30-29 wth 1:40 left- they botch the shotgun snap, Falcons pick it up and run 93 yards for a TD, instead of taking a knee and ending the game (Miami had only one timeout left at the time). But BG’s defense held, so it wound up not mattering.

Miami had 37 first downs, gained 612 yards, but lost; stuff like that doesn’t happen very much. Only four of their 37 first downs came on third down plays, so they moved the ball at will, but turnovers undo a lot of things.

7) Virginia 28, Duke 21— Cavaliers are quietly 4-1, with a win at Boise State in their only road game- they visit 1-5 North Carolina next week.

6) South Carolina 48, Arkansas 22— Arkansas is now 10-24 in SEC games under Bielema; no bueno. Gamecocks led 20-10 until they scored two defensive TD’s 4:10 apart to break game open midway thru 3rd quarter. Hard to win when you’re -4 in turnovers, which Arkansas was.

5) Upsets of the Day:
Iowa State (+31) 38, Oklahoma 31
Bowling Green (+14) 37, Miami OH 29
Southern Miss (+13.5) 31, Tex-San Antonio 29
Central Michigan (+12) 26, Ohio U 23
UAB (+11.5) 23, La Tech 22- UAB blocked tying PAT with 3:32 left.
Arizona (+7) 45, Colorado 42

4) Georgia 45, Vanderbilt 14— Dawgs ran ball for 423 yards here; they have two very good QB’s, one a sophomore, one a freshman. But the best QB in next year’s HS class just committed to go to Georgia, too. Why? You can only play one at a time……..

Looking down the road, don’t two of those three kids wind up transferring away from Georgia?

3) Western Michigan 71, Buffalo 68 (7 OT)— Game went seven OT’s, after WMU blew 10-point 4th quarter lead. Both teams had 30+ first downs, ran 90+ plays in this marathon.

2) Nationals 6, Cubs 3— Chicago’s bullpen imploded during a 5-run 8th inning that evens series at 1-1, heading back to Windy City. Ryan Zimmerman hit the go-ahead homer.

1) Bad Beat of the Week: Texas (-4) 40, Kansas State 34 OT— K-State missed a 53-yard FG off the upright in OT, then Texas ran the ball in for the winning TD on 3rd-and goal from the 2, with the runner dragging several tacklers over the goal line with him. If you had +4, it was a pretty tough beat.

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

13) I made a rare appearance in the Hannaford grocery store near my home Thursday; I eat out just about every day, so I don’t need a lot of groceries, but I had 5 or 6 items as I went to the checkout aisles. (If you must know, had Fig Newtons, Cherry Coke, hamburger rolls, Rice Krispies, hot dog rolls and milk.)

One aisle had 6 or 7 people waiting on line, so that wasn’t an option; I’m not fond of waiting on lines. The other aisle was the Express Aisle; 14 items or less. My kind of aisle, I was there.

I’m behind one woman in line, a woman with an entire shopping cart full of items. She starts taking the items out, and she obviously has more than 14, and thats counting the five 2-liter bottles of Pepsi as one item. She has 23 items; how do I know this? I counted them.

12) Now I’m annoyed, because it is just a lack of respect for anyone other than herself; she looks to be around 50, a normal suburban person, except for the fact that she is taking 23 items thru the Express Aisle (14 items or less). I look at the young kid working the register, debating whether to make a fool of myself and call her on this indiscretion. I would’ve laughed if the cashier had refused to wait on Ms 23Items- he didn’t.

I’m bailed out by two other aisles being opened up just as I was about to make a decision; rather than create a scene, I just scoot over to the next aisle— I was out of the store before Ms 23Items got her bags into her shopping cart.

11) In the larger scope of life, obviously none of this is important, but it points out how the basic respect we have for each other is decaying throughout society. No one cares about anyone except him/herself. We need to have more respect for other humans; it doesn’t cost anything, and it improves everyone’s quality of life. Less stress equals a better life.

Elsewhere in the world…….
10) Watching Justin Verlander pitch in the playoffs Thursday gave me the creeps; he’s made five playoff starts against the A’s and was 4-0, 1.23 in those games- the one game he didn’t win was when the A’s rallied from behind in the late innings to beat Detroit’s bullpen.

Verlander is two decent years away from being a Hall of Famer.

9) How offense in the NFL is changing; the receiving leader for 7 of the 32 NFL teams is a running back. Teams are running ball less but are using RB’s out of the backfield to beat linebackers in individual matchups.

His first two years in the NFL, Todd Gurley caught 64 passes for 515 yards (8.0 yds/rec) in 29 games, with no touchdowns. In four games this year, he’s caught 20 passes for 234 yards (11.7 yds/rec), three TD’s. Twice as many catches per game, 46% more yards per catch.

8) Tampa Bay Bucs lost Thursday night, but now they get 10 days off before their next game, which is especially helpful in their case, since they already had their bye week in Week 1, because of the hurricane damage in Florida caused their game with Miami to be moved to Week 11.

7) I’d love to see a team playing New England let the QB call his own plays, just in case they’re still doing any BS stealing signals (chances are they are). They couldn’t do it if the QB called his own plays- no signals to steal.

Of course, that would greatly reduce substitutions by the offense, but the coach could send in personnel groupings and let the QB pick what plays he wanted that used those groupings.

6) Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan owns a ship that is 312 feet long (almost an entire football field) and cost $200M to build. You can rent this ship, for $1.2M a week, plus expenses.

If you’re wondering, $1.2M a week works out to $7,142.86 an hour for the week.

5) Toronto Raptors signed 3rd-year guard Norman Powell to a 4-year, $42 million contract extension; Powell has started 42 games in two years, averaging 16.7 mpg in his 125 NBA games.

$10.5M a year to a guy who has played 16.7 minutes a game? Wow.

4) Was glad to find a Golden State-Minnesota game on TV live from China in the middle of the night Tuesday—game started at 2am Wednesday morning here in NY. The reason substitutes like Powell make $10.5M a year is that the NBA is wildly popular world-wide, which makes all the teams extremely profitable.

3) Charlotte Hornets’ Nicolas Batum tore ligaments in his elbow and will be out for six weeks or so. Batum averaged 15.1 ppg and 5.9 assists a game last year.

2) Former NBA star Walt Frazier still does Knicks games on MSG TV in New York City; he is very good. The other night, he was talking about how some NBA teams have only 3-4 preseason games this year, due to the shortened preseason.

Back when he played (late 60’s/early 70’s), Frazier said the Knicks played 16 preseason games, and sometimes traveled from City A to City B with their opponent, which had to be odd.

1) Washington Post reported this week that 78% of Americans do not own a gun; 19% of Americans own 50% of our country’s gun, while 3% of our population owns the other 50%.

3% of Americans own 50% of the guns. Think about that.

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

13) Green Bay won six of last seven games vs Dallas, beating Cowboys in playoffs two of last three years; they won 37-36/34-31 in last two visits to Big D. 4:25 game on FOX will be a big one, mainly because Dallas is 2-2 after going 13-3 last season.

12) Miami-Florida State was rescheduled to here after the hurricanes last month; now there is the threat of more rain. Miami scored 83 points in winning its first two I-A games, but they’ve lost their last seven games with Florida State.

11) Bengals got their first win last week; they led by 2 TD’s at halftime in Green Bay the week before, but lost in overtime. Cincy needs to beat the 3-1 Bills here; they’re 6-2-1 in their last nine pre-bye games. Bills have allowed only 13.5 ppg in their 3-1 start.

10) LSU had some players-only meetings this week after their loss to Troy State; players-only meetings are not a good sign. Neither is the AD meeting with the coaches during the week. Florida lost one of its QB’s for the year LW; Gators won their first three SEC games despite nine their players still under suspensions. This should be a very interesting game.

9) Something has to give in Swamp Stadium, with 0-4 Chargers visiting 0-4 Giants. 14 years ago, the Chargers drafted Eli Manning, but Manning’s family didn’t want Eli playing for San Diego, so the Chargers traded him to New Jersey. Otherwise, Ben Roethlisberger would’ve likely become a Giant instead of a Steeler.

8) Utah is 4-0, but three of their next four games are against Stanford, USC, Oregon, so we’ll know everything we need to know about the Utes after that stretch.

7) Jets will be a surprising 3-2 if they can beat the winless Browns in Cleveland this week. Jets ran ball for 256 yards last week. Browns are -6 in turnovers already; they allowed 9.0/8.0 ypa in their last two games.

6) Michigan State is 7-2 in its last nine games with Michigan (9-0 vs spread); Wolverines’ defense has allowed 13.5 ppg, and they’ve played a decent schedule so far. This is first road game for the Spartans, who are 3-1— both teams are really young.

5) Seahawks-Rams is suddenly a big game with playoff implications in the NFC West. If the good guy— I mean, if the Rams win, they’ll be two games ahead of Seattle.

4) It’ll likely be a somber crowd in Las Vegas for the San Diego State-UNLV game, the first big outdoor event in Vegas since the shootings Sunday night. Aztecs are 5-0 and on a serious roll. UNLV is 2-2; this will be a great test for them.

3) Arizona won five of last six games with Philly, winning 40-17 in last visit here two years ago, but Cardinals are only 2-2 this year, with FG wins over Colts/49ers- shaky. Eagles won their last two games by a total of five points- this should be a good game.

2) Washington State won its last two games with Oregon, 52-33/45-38; they’ve covered their last seven games against the Ducks. This is Wazzu’s first true road game, coming off their emotional win over USC last week.

1) Chiefs are the only unbeaten team left in the NFL; short week for them here. KC won/covered their first four games, scoring 14 TD’s on 42 drives- they haven’t turned ball over in their last 3 games. Houston found itself a QB with rookie Watson- they scored 90 points in last two games.

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

13) With Giants playing the Chargers this weekend, Eli Manning faces the team that drafted him; Manning then forced a trade to the Giants by saying he didn’t want to play in San Diego.

Ben Roethlisberger was also drafted in the first round that year: career playoff records of the three QB’s who are linked together in history:

Roethlisberger (last of the 3 taken) 13-7, Manning 8-4, Rivers 4-5.

Some NFL notes looking at how teams do on the first drive of each half:
12) Jaguars/Packers are the only NFL teams who scored on the first drive of all their games; three FG’s and a TD for both teams.

11) Bills-Bears-Colts are the three teams who haven’t scored on the first drive of a half; Falcons-Broncos-Giants are the three teams that haven’t allowed a point on the first drive of a half.

10) On the first drive of their 8 halves this season, Detroit Lions have run 41 plays for 109 yards, 3 points; they’ve been outgained 298-109, outscored 17-3 by their opponents on 1st drives.

9) NFL defines “explosive plays” as running plays longer than 11 yards, passing plays longer than 15 yards. Teams with the most this year: Patriots 48, Rams 43, Cardinals 39, Falcons 38

Teams with fewest explosive plays: Dolphins 13 (in 3 games), Ravens 17, Bengals 23.

8) From Gil Brandt: Since 1990, 28 of 196 NFL teams that started season 1-3 made the playoffs, with 2001 Patriots the only one of those 28 teams to win the Super Bowl.

Elsewhere…….
7) Toronto declined Jose Bautista’s option; he will be 37 in a couple weeks- he hit .203 this year. Will be interesting to see what kind of a contract he gets for next year.

6) According to covers.com, under has hit 55.1% of October NHL games the last four years.

5) 8 guys from last year’s NBA All-Star Game changed teams in the off-season; that seems like a lot.

4) Nevada Wolf Pack has 11 transfers on its roster; five are sitting out this season, six will be playing. Eric Musselman hasn’t recruited many freshmen in his tenure at Reno.

3) Former Purdue hooper Robbie Hummel retired from playing, will be an analyst for the Big Ten Network and ESPN.

2) Willie Reed signed a 3-year, $15M contract with the Miami Heat that was voided because he was represented by an agent who wasn’t certified by the NBA. Now he is on the Clippers, with a one-year deal for the minimum salary. Lot of leeches in the world, when there is money involved.

1) If you had the Chiefs as the last unbeaten team in the NFL, you’re a hell of a lot smarter than I am.

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

13) I’ll apologize up front if the first part of today’s Den is preachy or overly political, but I’m pretty sad about all the shootings in our country recently. This shouldn’t be happening.

The 2nd Amendment was written in 1791, 226 years ago. Bicycles hadn’t been invented yet, so some of the laws passed then are obsolete now.

Our gun laws are outdated; we need to ban automatic weapons and assault rifles and any guns that are only useful in wars. 58 people died for no reason Sunday night; little kids died a few years ago in a school shooting. This isn’t acceptable.

If you’re a hunter, you’re not killing a deer or a rabbit with a freakin’ assault rifle- they are used by people who are involved in a war. They should be illegal in our country.

12) The National Rifle Association (NRA) is really powerful; they’ve got lot of politicians in their pockets, which is why our gun laws are stupid.

At some point when the mourning is over in Las Vegas, our politicians have to do their jobs and put a lid on the horrible weapons that are killing our own citizens. Please?!?!?!?

11) It takes onions to be a policeman or a fireman, seriously. You have to have a lot of guts to to walk into the line of fire when everyone else is running away from it, so credit to the police in Las Vegas who saved a lot of people Sunday night.

No one is perfect; not all cops are perfect, but dammit, they do a hell of a job protecting us and deserve our thanks.  So….thank you!!!

10) Something I learned this week; When you donate blood, it expires after 42 days. So many people donated blood in Las Vegas this week, but six weeks from now, they’re going to need more. Giving blood doesn’t cost us anything and it is badly needed, so we should do that.

On to some of the fun things in life…….
9) Los Angeles Rams are first NFL team since the 1954 Giants to lead the NFL in scoring thru four games, when they finished last in scoring the year before.

8) JD Martinez is the first big leaguer since Johnny Bench in 1970 to hit 45+ homers in a season and not get hit by a pitch that season.

7) Detroit Lions are +9 in turnovers already, with 11 takeaways in four games; thats a lot.

6) San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard will sit out the whole preseason as he recovers from a quad injury. Regular season starts in two weeks.

5) NFL stashes a lot of its less attractive games in Weeks 5-7, during the baseball playoffs. Wth 256 games in an NFL season, they’re all not great games. How they make the schedule is a very interesting subject- their marquee games are in primetime or later on in the season.

4) Kermit Davis is the basketball coach at Middle Tennessee State, a very good mid-major team but not like they’re Gonzaga or VCU. Coach Davis makes $750,000 a year— that surprised me. MTSU must have some very well-heeled boosters who love basketball.

3) I enjoyed watching the Miami Marlins this season; with Stanton-Ozuna-Urena on my fantasy team, I watched just about all their games. Not the best team, but they seemed like a bunch of good guys who genuinely like each other and enjoyed playing ball together. Was fun to see.

2) One thing about baseball on TV; if you want to learn about your team, watch the first game of a series, with the OTHER TEAM’s ANNOUNCERS. TV/radio people talk before each series, to clue each other in on their teams, so all the broadcasts are more informed.

If Team B’s announcers say something that is critical of a player on Team A, chances are 95% it came from one of Team A’s announcers. Team B’s TV guys are slow to criticize the home team, but not so much when it comes to criticizing Team A and as a viewer, you can learn that way.

1) Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry both signed 5-year, $205M contracts; with an 82-game regular season, that means those two are both making $500,000 a game!!!!