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

Week 14 NFL info is posted
College bowl information is being posted
Saturday’s Army-Navy info is posted

Saturday’s 6-pack
Six leading scorers in college basketball:
25.7— Jordan Walker, UAB
23.9— Sam Sessoms, Coppin State
23.5— Jordan Dingle, Penn
23.2— Zach Edey, Purdue
23.1— Antoine Davis, Detroit
22.4— Bowen Born, Northern Iowa

Quote of the Day
“It’s as intense as it gets. I had relatives that were rooting against me!”
Former Xavier coach Chris Mack, on the Cincinnati-Xavier rivalry

Saturday’s quiz
Who was the Rams’ QB, the first time they played in a Super Bowl?
Hint: Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait doesn’t count

Friday’s quiz
Daryle Lamonica was the Raiders’ QB, the first time they played in a Super Bowl. 

Friday’s quiz
In The Natural, Roy Hobbs wore number 9 while playing for the New York Knights.  

Saturday’s Den: Random stuff with the weekend here…….

— Army-Navy game is Saturday afternoon. The last 16 Army-Navy games stayed under the total, an impressive streak of low-scoring games.

Total on this year’s game is 32.5; neither team throws the ball much.

— As of Friday afternoon, there were 69 quarterbacks in the college football transfer portal; there are only 130 I-A teams. Everyone who isn’t starting is looking for a school where he can start. Very little patience in the world these days; strange world we live in.

— There is a Division III college basketball team, Grinnell College in Iowa. The other night, Grinnell won a game 124-67; they took 111 shots, all of them 3-pointers!!!

40-111 on the arc, 4-6 on the foul line, no 2-point shots the whole game. Unique way to play the game; Grinnell is 4-6 so it doesn’t always work, but ESPN should toss one of their games on TV sometime, so we can see what it is like. 

— Minnesota Vikings are 10-2, but they’ve been outgained by 63 yards/game. Opponents are averaging 6.2 yards/play, Minnesota 5.2, but Vikings have won all the close games so far.

— Atlanta Falcons are giving rookie QB Desmond Ridder his first NFL start next week against New Orleans. Falcons are 5-8 and going nowhere this year; makes sense to give their rookie QB his first NFL playing time. 

— Before Thursday night’s comeback by the Rams, NFL teams were 70-2 this season when leading by 13+ points in the last 5:00 of a game. Now they’re 70-3. 

Raiders have led four games this season by 10+ points at halftime; they lost all four. Before this season, the Raiders’ all-time record when they led by 10+ points at the half:

156-15-1. Yikes. 

This is Derek Carr’s ninth year in the NFL; he’s thrown 14 red zone interceptions, tied for most in the league during that time.

— San Diego Padres gave SS Xander Bogaerts $280M for 11 years; the Red Sox last known offer to Bogaerts was six years, $162M. Big difference.

I mentioned during baseball season but it bears repeating; the owner of the Padres is Peter Seidler, whose grandfather was Walter O’Malley., the guy who moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.

— Baylor Bears won/covered four of their last five bowl games; they were the underdog in all five of those games.

— Since 2018, SEC football teams are 30-15 ATS when playing an ACC team.

— I did a double-take when it came across the screen that the Mets gave Brandon Nimmo $162M for eight years. His on-base numbers are impressive for sure, but he’s only played in 100+ games twice in his career.

— Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm bolted the Boilermakers to go back to his alma mater, Louisville. Brohm is 66-44 as a college coach; he also coached in Arena Football and also played some minor league baseball.

Purdue was 12-6 in conference games the last two years; Louisville is getting a good coach. 

— If you don’t have Amazon Prime (it is worth the $$$) NFL Network replays the Thursday night NFL games at midnight and again at 3am.

— You look at all the $$$$ that’s been thrown at baseball’s free agents the last few weeks, then you realize that Shohei Ohtani is going to be a free agent at this time next year. He is going to break the freakin’ bank. All the big $$$ teams are going to be in on him.  

Rams 17, Raiders 16
— Rams scored two TD’s in last 3:19 to pull out this unlikely win.
— Mayfield was 22-35/230 passing, less than 48 hours after signing with LA.
— Jefferson caught a 23-yard TD pass with 0:10 left for the win.
— Skowronek caught 7 passes for 89 yards, his best game as a pro.

— Raiders drove 75 yards for a TD on their first drive; it was their only TD.
— Raiders led 16-3 with 3:30 left in the game.
— Raiders are 0-4 this year when leading by double digits at halftime; according to Josh Dubow of Associated Press, Raiders are the first team since at least 1930 to do that. 

— Rams drove 98 yards on 8 plays in 1:35 for the game-winning score.
— Why exactly do the Browns prefer Deshaun Watson to Mayfield??? WHY!?!?!?!?!

Friday’s Den: NBA trends

NBA trends (thru December 7)
Hawks (13-12):
— 2-5 last seven games SU.
— 4-5-1 ATS as home favorite, 3-6 as road underdog
— under 6-3 last nine games

Celtics (21-5):
— won/covered eight of last nine games SU
— 7-2 ATS last nine games as a home favorite, 7-5-1 ATS on road
— over 11-2 at home

Nets (14-12):
— won five of their last six games SU.
— 5-2 ATS last seven as a home favorite
— under 4-2 in their last six games.

Hornets (7-18):
— lost last five games SU.
— 4-8 ATS at home
— over 6-2 last eight home games

Bulls (10-14)
— lost three of last four games SU.
— 2-4 ATS as a home underdog.
— under 7-0-1 last eight home games

Cavaliers (16-9):
— won eight of last 11 games SU
— 8-1-2 ATS as a home favorite.
— under 6-0 last six games

Mavericks (13-11):
— won/covered three of last four games.
— 2-5 ATS as road favorites.
— over 5-1 last six games

Nuggets (14-10):
— lost last three games SU.
— 2-4 ATS as a road underdog.
— under 7-1 home games

Pistons (7-20):
— lost five of last seven games SU.
— covered last seven games as a road underdog.
— over 5-1 in their last six road games.

Warriors (13-13):
— lost three of last five games SU
— 7-1 ATS last 8 games as home favorite; 1-6 ATS as road favorite.
— under 7-2 last nine home games.

Rockets (7-17):
— 4-3 SU in last seven games
— covered last four home games.
— over 3-1 last four home games 

Pacers (13-12):
— lost four of last six games SU
— 10-6 ATS as an underdog
— under 6-3 last nine games

Clippers (11-8):
— lost three of last four games SU 
— 2-5 ATS as a home favorite.
— under 11-2 in their hone games.

Lakers (10-14):
— won five of last seven games SU
— 8-3 ATS last eleven games
— 2-6 ATS as a road underdog.
— over 4-2 last six games

Grizzlies (16-9):
— won/covered six of last seven games.  
— 4-11-1 ATS as a favorite
— under 6-3 last nine home games

Heat (11-14):
— lost three of last four games SU.
— 3-8-1 ATS as a home favorite
— over 5-1 last six home games.

Bucks (18-6):
— 6-1 SU last seven games
— 3-1 ATS last four home games.
— over 9-1 last ten home games.

Timberwolves (12-12):
— 2-4 last six games SU.
— 5-9 ATS at home
— under 6-3 last nine home games

Pelicans (16-8):
— won five of last eight games SU.
— 6-3 ATS last nine home games
— under 9-2 last eleven home games
— over 8-3 road games

Knicks (12-13):
— 1-5 ATS last six games as home favorite.
— 4-8-1 ATS at home.
— under 4-0 last four games 

Thunder (11-14):
— won three of last four games (4-1 ATS last five).
— 8-3 ATS as a road underdog.
— under 4-1-1 last six games

Magic (6-20):
— lost nine of last ten games SU
— 3-6-3 ATS as road underdog
— 8-4 ATS as home underdog
— over 3-1 last four home games. 

76ers (12-12):
— lost last three games SU (0-3 ATS)
— 8-4 ATS at home 
— 2-5 ATS as a road underdog
— over 3-1 last four road games

Suns (16-9):
— lost 3 of last 4 games SU (3-5 ATS last eight)
— 1-4 ATS last five as a home favorite.
— under 8-3 last 11 home games

Trailblazers (13-11):
— 3-7 last ten games SU
— 12-7 ATS as an underdog.
— over 4-1 last five home games

Kings (13-10):
— 3-1 SU last four games
— 7-3 ATS as a favorite.
— eight of last nine home games went over.

Spurs (6-18):
— 0-11 SU last 11 games (1-10 ATS)
— 4-7 ATS last 11 games as home underdog.
— under 4-1-1 last six road games

Raptors (13-12):
— 4-5 SU last nine games
— 5-2 ATS last seven games as home favorite
— over 6-3 last nine road games

Jazz (15-12):
— won three of last four games SU (3-6 ATS last nine)
— 11-4 ATS as an underdog
— over 5-2 last seven home games

Wizards (11-14):
— lost six of last eight games SU (3-2 ATS last five)
— 2-6 ATS last eight games as a home favorite. 
— over 5-2-1 last eight games.

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

— Baseball happenings:
Aaron Judge— 9 years, $360M from New York (A)
Masataka Yoshida— 5 years, $90M from Boston
Willson Contreras— 5 years, $87M from St Louis
Xander Bogaerts— 11 years, $280M from San Diego

Kenley Jansen— 2 years, $32M from Boston
Jose Quintana— 2 years, $26M from New York (N)
Jameson Taillon— 4 years, $68M from the Cubs.

— Paul Hewitt was 321-251 in 18 years as a college basketball coach; he went 66-27 in three years at Siena, which is a few miles from Armadillo World HQ here in Albany. Very good coach; he went on to coach at Georgia Tech in the ACC.

Hewitt is now coaching the Ontario Clippers in the G League, which is really good basketball but off the beaten path a little bit. His team is off a 10-2 start this year. 

— NC State’s center Dusan Mahorcic got hurt the other night; this week they signed a recruit to replace him, Isaiah Miranda, a 7-foot-1 center and four-star recruit. He will be in Raleigh next week and will be eligible to start playing in January.

Miranda is from Rhode Island, has been playing at Southern California Academy in Castaic, CA and played in the Rhode Island Elite summer program.

— Wisconsin Badgers are hiring Phil Longo from North Carolina to be the Badgers’ offensive coordinator, which will make the Badgers look totally different on offense going forward.

Wisconsin has long been a ground/pound team with mediocre QB’s (except Russell Wilson); Longo’s offense at North Carolina ranked in the top 15 in total offense in each of the past four seasons— his philosophy is predicated around the Air Raid offense, more wide open.

— Stat of the Day: Eastern Michigan’s football team is 32-10-1 against the spread in its last 43 games as an underdog.

— The best QB’s in the bigger college football conferences earn an average of nearly $200,000/year in NIL income.

— Texas-San Antonio QB Frank Harris is coming back to San Antonio next year for his 7th year with the Roadrunners, his 4th year as the starter. Roadrunners are 30-9 SU the last three seasons, winning Conference USA the last two years.

— Kentucky QB Will Levis is skipping the Wildcats’ bowl game against Iowa.

I said it last year when Kenny Pickett did this at Pitt; I’m totally against a quarterback sitting out a bowl game. The QB is the leader of the offense, if not the whole team; it is the Al Pacino speech from Any Given Sunday, the one he said to Jamie Foxx:

“You’re a goddamn quarterback! You know what that means? It’s the top spot, kid. It’s the guy who takes the fall. It’s the guy everybody’s looking at first – the leader of a team – who will support you when they understand you. Who will break their ribs and their noses and their necks for you, because they believe. ‘Cause you make them believe. That’s a quarterback.”

— Rice Owls are in a bowl game, despite their 5-7 record; this will be their first bowl since 2014. Owls are a 7-point underdog against Southern Miss in the LendingTree Bowl in Mobile, AL.

— Thru 13 weeks, the top four WR’s, in terms of PPR scoring for fantasy football:

Stefan Diggs, Buff
Tyreek Hill, Miami
Davante Adams, LV
Justin Jefferson, Minn

— Thru 13 weeks, the top four RB’s, in terms of PPR scoring for fantasy football:

Austin Ekeler, LAC
Josh Jacobs, LV
Chrstian McCaffrey, Char-SF
Derrick Henry, Tenn

— Wofford basketball coach Jay MacAuley took a leave of absence (was suspended) recently, after players apparently complained about MacAuley’s coaching methods. 

Under MacAuley, Wofford is/was 58-42, 30-23 in conference games. They beat Coastal Carolina by 10 Tuesday, in their first game without MacAuley.

— Illinois’ basketball team is 7-1 ATS in non-conference games, but they lost their Big 14 opener, 71-66 at Maryland.

— So far this season, Big 14 teams are 8-2 SU against Big East teams, 6-4 against the spread.

— UConn 75, Florida 54— If the NCAA Tournament started tomorrow, the 10-0 Huskies would be a Final Four team.

— Jacksonville 73, VCU 62— 5-2 Dolphins get upset win, jump 17 spots in the ratings.

— Brown 59, Rhode Island 58— URI is 2-7; Atlantic 15 teams aren’t supposed to lose to lower level Ivy League teams. Horrendous loss. URI is turning ball over 22.2% of time (#326). 

— Miami 107, Cornell 105— 79 possessions, both teams scored over 1.3 points/possession, in other words, defense took the night off. Miami led by 21 early in second half, hung on for an unimpressive win. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings……..

— Long time ago, 1986 to be exact, a guy gave me a chance to write a preview of the NCAA Tournament in my local newspaper, the Albany Times Union. Friend of mine worked for the paper and recommended me. The preview was about one-third of a page; it went well, and I wound up writing a daily tips section for four years in the paper, just above the odds for that day’s games, a miniature version of what I post here these days.

The man’s name was Al Vieira; I just heard that he recently passed away. 

Writing that stuff was great fun, and it led to me to writing this space for the last 21 years; I appreciate Mr Vieira’s faith in my friend’s word and in me. He was a good newspaperman, our sports section was better because he was here.

RIP Al Vieira. Thanks again.

— Pet Peeve of the Day: When people refer to QB-WR-RB’s as “skill positions”, as if being a offensive lineman doesn’t take any skills.

If your offensive line isn’t good, your offense will be in the ashcan; witness this year’s Rams, who haven’t started the same five guys on the offensive line in any two games this season. As a result, their offense has struggled, the QB/star WR got hurt. It has been a cruddy year.

Blocking takes enormous skill, it is just harder to measure.

— Speaking of which, Rams claimed free agent QB Baker Mayfield off waivers from Carolina Tuesday; he figures to start most of the rest of the season. He would be an excellent backup to Matthew Stafford in 2023; if he bolted as a free agent (no one else claimed him on waivers) the Rams would get a compensatory draft pick. 

Mayfield is 31-36 as an NFL starter, splitting two playoff games for Cleveland in 2020.

— This month marks the 8th anniversary of my retirement from working for New York State; one of the very few disappointing parts of being retired is this: Weekday daytime television sucks. Seriously. 

There are some exceptions; March is a great daytime TV month, with college basketball and spring training games going on. This week is also an exception, with the winter meetings in baseball happening (this year in San Diego).

MLB Network has people on talking about baseball all day long, a good thing. Works better when teams make transactions; not whole lot of those so far, but……….

— Cleveland Guardians gave 1B Josh Bell a 2-year, $33M deal.
Texas Rangers gave P Andrew Heaney a 2-year, $25M deal.
Chicago Cubs signed OF Cody Bellinger for one year, $17.5M

San Francisco Giants gave OF Mitch Haniger $43.5M for three years.
Philadelphia Phillies gave P Taijuan Walker $72M for four years.

— Baseball had their draft lottery Tuesday; first three picks in July’s draft will be:
1) Pirates
2) Nationals
3) Tigers

— Busy day for a Tuesday in December; Tennessee Titans fired their general manager Jon Robinson, even though the Titans are 7-5 this year, leading AFC South by three games.

Couple weeks ago, the Titans’ offensive coordinator got a DUI late at night, after the Titans returned home after a big win in Green Bay. It is unclear if that played any role in all this, but the OC still has his job- Tennessee is 0-2 since the DUI.

Titans were over .500 every year Robinson was GM; they got whacked by the Eagles 35-10 in Philadelphia last week, with former Titan AJ Brown catching 8 passes for 119 yards and two TD’s against his old team.

— West Virginia QB JT Daniels is going back into the transfer portal, which is becoming an annual event: Daniels threw for 2,107 yards this year, his third college stop. Next year he will be playing for his fourth college team.

2018-19 USC— 12 games, 2,887 passing yards; 15 TD’s, 11 INT’s
2020-21 Georgia— 9 games, 1,953 passing yards; 17 TD’s, 5 INTs.
2022 West Virginia— 10 games, 2,107 passing yards; 13 TD’s, 9 INTs.

If nothing else, he can write a hell of a book someday.

— ACC quarterbacks on the move— These ACC QB’s are in the transfer portal:
Kevin Slovis, Pitt
Devin Leary, NC State
Phil Jurkovec, Boston College
DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson
Jeff Sims, Georgia Tech
Brennan Armstrong, Virginia

Six of 14 ACC QB’s are transferring this season.

— Some of the quarterbacks taken in the 2016 NFL Draft:
1st round— Jared Goff, Rams
Carson Wentz, Eagles
Paxton Lynch, Denver

2nd round— Christian Hackenberg, Jets
3rd round— Jacoby Brissett, Patriots
Cody Kessler, Browns

4th round— Connor Cook, Raiders
Dak Prescott, Cowboys— 135th player taken in the draft.

NFL Draft continues to be a fascinating subject.

— Kent State football coach Sean Lewis, the head coach, quit to become offensive coordinator at Colorado under new head coach Deion Sanders. Lewis was 24-31 coaching Kent, 1-1 in bowls- that was Kent’s first-ever win (1-3) in a bowl game.

Lewis’ offenses are known for playing with fast tempo, quick snaps; they had the 4th-fastest offense in the country this season. Playing in altitude in Boulder, a fast-paced offense will be designed to exhaust visiting defenses.

Colorado had to pay Kent State a $750,000 buyout to get Lewis to Boulder.

— Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei got benched early in the ACC championship game, now he’s in the transfer portal. Uiagalelei completed 59.9% of his passes for Clemson, throwing for 5,681 yards, with 36 TD’s, 17 INT’s, but he was 8-29 passing in the Tigers’ 31-30 loss to South Carolina, which led to his benching the next week.

— Georgia Bulldogs have been so good this season, QB Stetson Bennett hasn’t played in the 4th quarter in six of their 13 games.

— Chicago Bears’ last five games, they’ve been outscored 38-0 in last 2:00 of each half.

— There are 42 guys in the NBA this season earning $30M+; $30M for 82 games works out to $365,853.65 per game.

— UNLV hired Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom as its next football coach; Odom went 25-25 coaching Missouri from 2016-19, going 13-19 in SEC games.

— New Hampshire 74, Boston College 71 OT
UNH led by 9 with 11:21 left in game.
ACC’s Eagles led by 5 in the overtime.
This is a horrendous loss for BC; the bottom of the ACC is awful.

— Illinois 85, Texas 78 OT
Longhorns led by 10 with 8:04 left to play.
Illinois made 10-23 shots behind the arc. 

— Georgia Tech 79, Georgia 77
Yellow Jackets shot 57% inside the arc
Georgia was only 9-16 on the foul line. 

— Virginia 55, James Madison 50
Game was tied with 7:51 left to play.
7-3 Dukes could make some noise in their first year in the Sun Belt.

— Arkansas 65, NC-Greensboro 58
SoCon’s Spartans led by 12 early, 26-21 at halftime.
Arkansas outscored UNCG 19-9 over final 5:51 of game. 

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

— Louisville is playing Cincinnati in the Fenway Bowl December 17, a game that kicks off at 11am in Boston. Pretty obscure game, other than the schools are only 100 miles apart- they haven’t played each other since 2013, but then this happened.

Louisville coach Scott Satterfield quit as coach of the Cardinals to take the Cincinnati job, when Luke Fickell bolted Cincinnati to become the coach at Wisconsin.

Now we have an obscure bowl game being played at 11am on a December day in Boston in a baseball stadium, with both teams led by interim coaches. Should be awesome.

— New York Mets signed P Justin Verlander to a 2-year, $86.66M contract Monday, making up for the loss of Jacob deGrom to Texas.

Verlander was 18-4 , 1.75 ERA with 185 strikeouts in 175 IP over 28 starts LY for the World Series champion Astros.

Verlander and Max Scherzer will both make $43.3M/year the next two years.

— Thats $86.6M for two guys; the enter roster of the Oakland A’s made $48,443,900 last year.

— SS Trea Turner has signed/will sign an 11-year, $300M deal with the Phillies. Turner hit .298 last year for the Dodgers, scoring 101 runs, knocking in 100 more.

— Buccaneers 17, Saints 16
Tampa Bay drove 63 yards, scored winning TD with 0:03 left.
Bucs’ first eight drives: 49 plays, 216 yards, 14 first downs, 3 points.
Bucs’ last two drives: 21 plays, 154 yards, 11 first downs, 14 points.
Tampa Bay is 0-5-1 ATS this year coming off a loss.
10 of 12 Tampa Bay games stayed under the total.

Saints led this game 10-3 at half, 16-3 with 3:30 left to play.
Bucs were 8-15 on third down, New Orleans was 5-14.
Saints are 4-3 scoring 24+ points, 0-6 when they score less.
Saints covered their last five visits to Tampa Bay.
Saints have been outscored 77-28 in last 2:00 of each half.

— San Francisco is down to rookie Brock Purdy at QB now; Purdy was Mr Irrelevent, the last player taken in the last spring’s draft, but he was 25-37/210 in relief Sunday of injured Jimmy Garoppolo against the Dolphins. This week will be his first NFL start.

As of right now, 36-year old Josh Johnson (1-8 as an NFL starter) is the 49ers’ backup QB. Ironically, Johnson played college ball at U of San Diego (not San Diego State) where his coach was former 49ers’ coach (current Michigan coach) Jim Harbaugh.

— Cleveland Browns released QB Baker Mayfield; will he sign with the 49ers? Mayfield was 30-31 in four years with Cleveland, splitting two playoff games in 2020. He went 1-5 as QB of the Panthers this year, and now, he’s a free agent.

— Since 2016, Oklahoma State is 6-0 ATS in bowl games, Washington State is 0-5. 

— Early lines for the national semi-finals in college football:
Georgia -7 vs Ohio State
Michigan -9 vs TCU

— Pre-season odds for teams that wound up winning their conference title:
AAC: Tulane +3500
ACC: Clemson -135
Big 14: Michigan +600
Big X: Kansas State +1200
C-USA: Tex-San Antonio +200

MAC: Toledo +325
Mountain West: Fresno State +225
Pac-12: Utah +225
SEC: Georgia +150
Sun Belt: +900

— Vancouver 7, Montreal 6 OT— Canucks trailed 4-0 after the first period; they’re the second team in NHL history to fall behind by 4+ goals, rally to take the lead, then fall behind again, before rallying to win. 

The other? Boston Bruins back in 1973……..against the Canucks.

— Sunday night, Golden State Warriors beat Houston 120-101
Warriors made 25-52 3-pointers.
Rockets made 3-28 3-pointers.

Shooting is marketable, kids. You can make a lot of $$$ (or a college scholarship) if you can consistently make 3-point shots. Go out and practice.

— North Carolina Tar Heels lost their last four basketball games; in the last ten days, they’ve dropped from #1 in the country to #43.

— Texas Rangers used 13 different left fielders last year; maybe they should sign Aaron Judge.

— Bronx Bombers signed GM Brian Cashman to a 4-year contract extension; Cashman has been GM in the Bronx since 1998. New York won the World Series the first three years Cashman was GM; they’ve won it once in 22 years since.  

Here are New York’s payrolls since 2009, last time they won a World Series:
2010— $206,333,389 (1st)
2011— $201,689.030 (1st)
2012— $197,962,289 (1st)
2013— $228,835,490 (1st)
2014— $203,812,506 (2nd)
2015— $219,282,196 (2nd)
2016— $213,472,857 (2nd)
2017— $168,045,699 (2nd)
2018— $168.540,000 (6th)
2019— $118,832,077 (3rd)
2020— $110,852,878 (1st)
2021— $191,205,631 (2nd)
2022— $240,290,714 (3rd)

If you’re scoring at home, that means New York has spent $2.47B in payroll (that’s billion, with a B) since their last championship. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

Browns 27, Texans 14
— Browns scored two defensive TD’s, ran punt back back for a TD.
— Offense had 11 drives: no TD’s, 2 FG’s, four 3/outs.
— Watson was 12-22/131 passing, threw an INT in red zone.
— Browns ran ball for 174 yards (4.6 yards/carry)
— Cleveland has outgained 10 of 12 opponents, but they’re 5-7.

— 23 of 41 points in this game were scored by defense/special teams.
— Texans are 1-10 in last 11 games SU, 2-8 ATS in last ten.
— Last three games, Texans’ offense has scored 3 points in first half.
— Houston was 1-12 on third down, Cleveland 4-13.
— Texans are 10-21-1 ATS last 32 games coming off a loss.

Ravens 10, Broncos 9
— Ravens drove 91 yards, scored only TD of game with 0:28 left.
— QB Jackson sprained his knee, is expected to miss future game(s).
— QB Huntley was 27-32/187 passing, also ran for 41 yards.
— Baltimore won six of its last eight games SU.
— Seven of last nine Raven games were decided by 5 or fewer points.

— Broncos didn’t inside red zone (Baltimore 20-yard line) all day.
— Broncos scored 16 or fewer points in 10 of 12 games.
— Denver was 2-12 on third down, Baltimore 3-13.
— Denver lost eight of last nine games, scoring 12.5 ppg in last eight.
— Last six games, Broncos have eight TD’s on 92 drives.

Packers 28, Bears 19
— Packers’ first six drives: 43 plays, 181 yards, 10 points.
— Packers’ last three drives: 19 plays, 206 yards, 18 points.
— Green Bay was +3 in turnovers; they converted 6-13 on 3rd down.
— Green Bay won last nine series games, covered last eight.
— Packers are 13-4 ATS in last 17 games coming off a loss (4-4 TY).

— Fields ran for 55-yard TD in 1st quarter; not sure if he ran again rest of game.
— Fields did average 10.2 yards per pass attempt.
— Last six games, Chicago gave up 33.5 ppg.
— Chicago lost six in row, nine of last ten games SU (2-7-1 ATS).
— Bears 12-20-2 ATS last 34 games coming off a loss.

Commanders 20, Giants 20
— Washington led 10-0 after the first quarter.
— Commanders’ next six drives: 44 plays, 160 yards, 3 points.
— Washington drove 90 yards to score tying TD with 1:45 left.
— Nine of their last eleven games stayed under the total.
— Washington is now 6-1-1 SU/ATS in its last eight games. 

— Giants scored TD on first drive of second half to take 20-13 lead.
— Rest of game; on seven drives- 29 plays, 93 yards, no points.
— Washington: 82 plays, 411 yards. Giants: 65 plays, 316 yards
— Last three games, Big Blue converted 12-37 (32.4%) on third down.
— Washington has bye next week, then plays Giants again in Week 15.

Steelers 19, Falcons 16
— Steelers in first half: 41 plays, 225 yards, 16 points.
— Steelers in second half: 26 plays, 113 yards, 3 points.
— In four post-bye games, Pittsburgh ran ball for 161.3 yards/game.
— In four post-bye games, Steelers converted 30-60 on third down.
— Steelers have no turnovers (+10) in their wins, 14 (-8) in losses.

— Steelers converted 6-12 on third down, Atlanta 3-10.
— Last four games, Falcons converted 12-40 third down plays.
— Six of Falcons’ seven home games were decided by 3 or fewer points.
— Falcons lost four of last five games SU, are 0-7 ATS in last seven.
— Under is 7-3 in Atlanta’s last ten games.

Eagles 35, Titans 10
— Hurts threw for 380 yards; Eagles averaged 9.0 yards/pass attempt.
— Eagles: 67 plays, 453 yards. Titans 53 plays, 209 yards.
— Eagles have 43 touchdowns on 117 drives this season.
— Under Sirianni, Philly is 9-1 ATS as a home favorite (5-1 TY)
— NFC East home favorites are 12-1 ATS outside division (pending Dallas game).

— Last four weeks, Titans were held to 63-88-63-87 rushing yards.
— First eight games, they averaged 142.3 rushing yards/game.
— Titans have been outscored 134-62 in second half this year.
— Tennessee averaged only 3.8 yards/pass attempt.
— Tennessee is 2-3 SU last five games, after a 5-2 start.

Lions 40, Jaguars 14
— Detroit scored 15 TD’s on its last 43 drives. 
— Detroit won four of last five games, scoring 31-31-25-40 points last four
— Last five games, Detroit converted 35-71 (49.3%) third down plays.
— Lions covered their last five games.
— Under Campbell, Lions are 8-20-1 SU, 19-9-1 ATS.

— Lions had eight drives; four TD’s, four field goals.
— Jaguars converted only 3-12 on third down; they were 3-4 on 4th down.
— Lions outgained Jacksonville, 437-266.
— Jaguars are 5-16 ATS last 21 games with spread of 3 or less points.
— In his career, Pederson is 17-29 ATS in true road games.

Vikings 27, Jets 22
— Minnesota led this game 20-6 at halftime.
— Minnesota averaged only 4.3 yards/pass attempt.
— Vikings won nine of their last ten games SU.
— Vikings went 4-0 SU against the AFC East this season.
— Despite being 10-2, Vikings outscored foes by only 10 points (289-279).

— Jets ran 83 plays for 486 yards, Minnesota 66 plays for 287 yards.
— Jets were in red zone six times in 2nd half, scored only 16 points. 
— Jets were stopped on downs at 1-yard line with 1:43 left.
— Minnesota converted 9-18 on third down, Jets 3-16.
— QB White 31-57/369 passing, but threw to INT’s.

Seahawks 27, Rams 23
— Seattle drove 75 yards, scored game-winning TD with 0:36 left.
— Smith was 28-39/367 passing, with three TD’s.
— Seahawks are 6-10-1 ATS last 17 games as a road favorite.
— Seahawks are 6-9 ATS last 15 NFC West road games.
— Seattle is 6-1 when it allows less than 27 points.

— Rams lost six in row, eight of last nine games.
— Rams ran ball for 171 yards, their best day rushing this year.
— LA converted 4-12 on third down, Seattle 5-10.
— Last four games, Rams converted 21-65 (32.3%) on third down.
— In their losses, LA was outscored 121-46 in second half.

49ers 33, Dolphins 17
— San Francisco won its last five games (4-1 ATS)
— QB Garoppolo broke his foot, is out for the year.
— San Francisco had a 13-yard edge in field position.
— 49ers are 6-0 when they score 24+ points, 2-4 when they don’t.
— 49ers outscored last five opponents 73-7 in second half.

— Tagovailoa threw 75-yard TD pass on  first play of the game,
— Their next 7 drives: 28 plays, 101 yards, 2 INT’s, 3 points.
— 49ers converted 8-19 on third down, Miami 0-7.
— Dolphins ran ball eight times the whole game, for 33 yards.
— Four of last five Dolphin games went over the total.

Bengals 27, Chiefs 24
— Cincinnati won eight of its last ten games (9-1 ATS).
— Bengals got in red zone seven of their eight drives.
— Burrow averaged 8.7 yards/pass attempt.
— Cincy converted 57 of last 114 (50%) third down plays.
— Bengals won seven of last eight games vs Kansas City.

— Down 14-3 early, Chiefs railed to lead 24-20 early in 4th quarter.
— Both teams had only two plays each of 20+ yards.
— Last five games, Chiefs are minus-4 in turnovers (4-8)
— Last six weeks, Chiefs converted 60-100 third down plays.
— KC is 12-21-1 ATS last 34 games coming off a win.

Raiders 27, Chargers 20
— Chargers led 13-10 at halftime.
— Raiders’ first two drives of 2nd half: 3 plays, 89 yards, 14 points.
— Raiders had touchdown plays of 20-31-45 yards.
— Las Vegas won its last three games, after a 2-7 start.
— Raiders are 12-5 ATS in last 16 AFC West home games.

— LA got first score of game on pick-6 with 5:07 left in first quarter.
— Last five games, Chargers allowed 178.3 rushing yards/game.
— Chargers have been outscored 141-86 in second half.
— Chargers are 5-1 giving up less than 27 points, 1-5 if they give up 27+.
— Bolts are 6-10-1 ATS last 17 games as a road favorite.

Cowboys 54, Colts 19
— Dallas led this game 21-19 after three quarters.
— Dallas in 4th quarter: 21 plays, 229 yards, 27 points.
— Cowboys also scored a defensive TD in 4th quarter.
— Colts in 4th quarter: 21 plays, 91 yards, 4 turnovers.
— Cowboys won nine of their last 11 games (8-3 ATS).

— Colts lost six of their last seven games SU.
— Colts are 3-0-1 scoring 20+ points, 1-8 if they score less.
— Dallas ran for 220 yards, converted 7-13 on third down.
— Last eight games, Cowboys outscored foes 163-51 in second half.
— Last six games, Dallas scored 28 TD’s on 62 drives.

If the NFL playoffs started today (they don’t):
AFC: Bills, Chiefs, Ravens, Titans.
Wild Cards: Bengals, Dolphins, Jets

NFC: Eagles, Vikings, 49ers, Buccaneers
Wild Cards: Cowboys, Giants, Seahawks

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday

Kansas State 31, TCU 28 OT
K-State led 28-17 with 8:00 left in regulation.
TCU outgained the Wildcats, 469-404
Horned Frogs were 2-15 on 3rd down, K-State 5-16
First loss of season for TCU

Georgia 50, LSU 30
Game was 35-10 at halftime.
LSU’s backup QB Nussmeier threw for 294 yards in 2nd half.
Georgia ran for 255 yards (5.8 yards/carry)
Georgia ran.a blocked field goal back 96 yards for a TD. 

Michigan 43, Purdue 22
Michigan led 14-13 at halftime.
Purdue outgained Michigan 456-386
Wolverines ran ball for 225 yards (5.8 yards/carry)

Clemson 39, North Carolina 10
Backup QB Klubnik was 20-24/279 passing, with a TD.
Tar Heels lost their last three games, after a 9-1 start.

Fresno State 28, Boise State 16
Fresno ran a punt back 70 yards for a TD for their first score.
Boise State outgained the Bulldogs, 321-245
Jeff Tedford is Fresno’s coach; he was Aaron Rodgers’ college coach at Cal.

Tulane 45, Central Florida 28
Tulane had TD plays of 43-60-60-73 yards.
Green Wave is 11-2; great year for them.
Tulane ran ball for 254 yards, threw for 394.

Troy 45, Coastal Carolina 26
Trojans led 31-0 at halftime.
Troy had TD plays of 65-67-36 yards.
Troy averaged 18.7 yards per pass attempt.

— Deion Sanders accepted the head coaching job at Colorado.

College basketball upsets:
Northern Colorado (+15) 88, Colorado State 83
South Dakota (+12) 69, BYU 68
Fordham (+10.5) 95, Tulane 90
Wm & Mary (+8) 58, Richmond 57
Syracuse (+6.5) 62, Notre Dame 61
LaSalle (+5) 84, Penn 81 OT
South Carolina (+5) 74, Georgetown 71 OT
Wisconsin (+5) 80, Marquette 77 OT
Boise State (+5) 86, Texas A&M 71

Jackson State 69, SMU 68
Fairleigh Dickinson 97, St Joe’s 80— Bad losses for Mustangs, Hawks.

Xavier 84, West Virginia 74
West Virginia led 43-36 at halftime.
Musketeers were 23-30 on foul line, WVU was 11-15

Rutgers 63, Indiana 48
Hoosiers shot 30.4% from the floor.
Rutgers outrebounded Indiana, 47-33.

Wisconsin 80, Marquette 77 OT
Badgers led by 16 early in 2nd half.
Hepburn scored 19 points, was 5-6 on the arc.

Fort Wayne 79, Oakland 73 OT
Fort Wayne led by 13 late in first half.
Mastodons were 11-40 on arc, 17-31 inside arc.

 South Dakota 69, BYU 68
Coyotes led by 21 with 9:59 left in game; they held on.
South Dakota made 12-23 on the arc.

Duquesne 78, Ball State 77
7-1 Dukes win on a walk-off 3-pointer at buzzer.
Duquesne’s coach is Keith Dambrot, who was Lebron James’ high school coach. 

Saturday’s Den: Wrapping up an active Friday…….

— Chris Andrews of South Point Casino posted this on Twitter Friday: from 1950-2019 there were 78 rematches during a season in college football. The team that won the first game also won the second game 44 times, 56.4%.

Utah, Texas-San Antonio won Friday night, both beating teams they beat in the regular season.

— Jacob deGrom signed a 5-year contract with the Texas Rangers, for $37M a year. Here are deGrom’s stats the last three seasons: 

2020: 68 IP, 2.38 ERA, 13 strikeouts/9 IP— it was a shorter season in 2020
2021: 92 IP, 1.08 ERA, 14.3 strikeouts/9 IP
2022: 64.1 IP, 3.08 ERA, 14.3 strikeouts/9 IP

deGrom will be 35 in June; he’s thrown a total of 224 innings the last three years. You pay a guy $37M a year to pitch, you need 200+ innings in ONE YEAR, for five years. This will be very interesting to follow.

— Rangers are now paying deGrom, Corey Seager and Marcus Semien a combined $94M a year. $94M for three guys.

— Mariners/Brewers made a trade Friday. Milwaukee dealt 2B Kolten Wong and $1.75M to Seattle, in exchange for OF Jesse Winker and utility guy Abraham Toro.

Wong is a lefty-hitting 2B who will likely platoon with Dylan Moore. Winker hit .219 (.688 OPS) in a cruddy year for Seattle LY, after he had a .949 OPS for the Reds in 2021. Toro hit .185 in 109 games for Seattle LY; he is a career .206 hitter.

— Baseball’s winter meetings start Sunday; should be an interesting week.

— Utah 47, USC 24
Game was 17-17 at halftime.
Utah had touchdown plays of 57-60-53 yards. 
USC ran ball 27 times for 56 yards, converted 1-12 on third down.

— Texas-San Antonio 48, North Texas 27
Roadrunners win Conference USA for second year in a row.
UTSA outgained North Texas 571-366.
UTSA QB Harris was 32-37/341 passing, with four TD’s.

— Baylor 64, Gonzaga 63
Bears outscored Gonzaga 8-0 over final 1:41 of game.
Baylor led by 12 in first half. 

Gonzaga was only 13-21 on foul line.

— Clemson 77, Wake Forest 57
Clemson outscored Deacons 51-24 in second half.
Tigers were 24-25 on foul line, Wake 9-14.

— Pitt 68, NC State 60
Panthers shot 59.4% inside arc.
Pitt won its last five games, after a 1-3 start.

— Maryland 71, Illinois 66
Game was 62-62 with 4:06 left to play.
Terrapins improve to 8-0; they start four seniors.
Illinois shot 5-20 on the arc.

— We talked earlier this week about QB Cade McNamara going into the transfer portal and bolting Michigan; well, he quickly transferred to Iowa, which totally sucked on offense this year.

Hawkeyes are 7-5, but they beat a I-AA team 7-3, beat Minnesota 13-10, and scored 17 or less points in all five of their losses.

— Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec entered the NCAA transfer portal Friday; he played parts of three seasons with the Eagles but was hampered by injuries. Jurkovec completed 61% of his passes this year, with 17 TD’s, five INT’s.

— There is a senior basketball player at Lafayette Leo O’Boyle, who is scoring 13.5 ppg this year; he is going to finish this season at Lafayette, but he also put his name in the transfer portal and he will get interest this spring, seeing how he is shooting 21-45 on the arc this season.

O’Boyle has shot at least 36.1% on the arc all four years at Lafayette; shooting is marketable. We’ll be seeing Mr O’Boyle on TV playing somewhere else next season. Lafayette is 0-7 this year against D-I teams, by the way. 

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

Bills 24, Patriots 10
— Bills’ first three drives: 32 plays, 175 yards, 17 points.
— Buffalo converted 9-15 on third down, Patriots 3-12.
— Bills outgained New England 355-242.
— 10 of 12 Buffalo games stayed under the total.
— Buffalo has now won five of last six games.vs New England.

— Patriots ran ball 14 times for only 60 yards.
— Last three games, Patriots converted 10-37 third down plays.
— Patriots’ last 5 games: 5 TD’s, 18 FGA’s, 20 3/outs on 55 drives.
— New England is 6-0 giving up 17 or less points, 0-6 giving up 20+.
— Buffalo had a 7-yard advantage in field position.

— Over the last three years, 19,217 college football players entered the transfer portal; of those players, 7,695 (40%) found their way to a different school.

— Kansas State-TCU play in the Big X title game Saturday at noon here in the east, but 11am in Texas, where the game is being played. Why play a game at 11am? Because TV wants them too; would make more sense for the ACC game to be on at noon, but the powers-that-be must think they’ll get better TV ratings with Clemson-North Carolina in primetime.

Can’t be much fun for the K-State/TCU kids to have their pregame meal at 7am, then play four hours later.

Remember, if you don’t know the reason for something, the reason is usually money.

— Lot of money in college football and in 2024, that $$$ will get bigger; the college playoff will expand from four teams to 12, which will make for fewer useless bowl games and more fun for fans/bettors/players. Maybe less fun for coaches, whose jobs will be scrutinized more now when they miss that expanded playoff.

— By the way, the guy West Virginia just hired as its new athletic director will be making $1.1M a year. Athletic directors are mostly big-time fund raisers, cowering to the big-$$$ boosters.

— In his career, LSU football coach Brian Kelly is 35-17-2 ATS as an underdog.

— Sunday afternoon, Kentucky-Michigan are playing a basketball game in London.

— Buffalo Bills put LB Von Miller on the IL; he is out for at least the next four games.

— Seattle 9, Los Angeles 8 OT— 12 Kings recorded a point, seven of them 2+ points. It was the 12th NHL game in the last 35 years with 17+ goals. It was the first 9-8 game in the NHL since Winnipeg beat the Flyers back in 2011.

— Random trivia: Sidney Crosby holds the all-time record with 14 goals scored in the first minute of a game. Mark Messier had 13. 

— Former Dodgers/Marlins manager Don Mattingly surfaced as the new bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays.

— Tampa Bay Rays gave P Zach Eflin a 3-year, $40M deal. Eflin was 3-5, 4.04 in 20 games (13 starts) for the Phillies LY- they used him as a reliever in the playoffs.

— Texas 72, Creighton 67— Bluejays were 4-27 on arc, still lost by only five. High-level game.

— Northern Kentucky 77, Youngstown State 73, 2OT
Visiting Penguins led by 5 with 1:15 left.
Youngstown was minus-10 in turnovers (24-14).

— Robert Morris 80, Wright State 59
RMC was a 12-point underdog; they made 9-17 on the arc.
Robert Morris was also +10 on boards.

— Oregon State 66, Washington 65— Beavers scored layup/FT with 0:08 left to win its Pac-12 opener. Oregon State led 27-9 early, but had to outscore Washington 5-1 over last 0:41 to pull the game out. 

— Utah 81, Arizona 66— Upset out west; Arizona was 4-28 on arc. Carlson made 5-9 on arc, scored 22 points for 6-2 Utah.

— Arizona State 60, Colorado 59
Buffs led 38-23 at half, 56-44 with 6:07 left in game.
Colorado was 9-17 on the foul line. 

 

Thursday’s Den: How NFL offenses do on long drives

Points per possession, on drives starting 75 yards from the goal line:

Chiefs 191 points on 72 drives— 2.65 ppp
Browns 2.51
Bills 2.38
Bengals 2.37
Cowboys 2.36
Ravens 2.30
Seahawks 2.28
Vikings 2.26
Eagles 2.19

Dolphins 1.99
Raiders 1.94
49ers 1.88
Falcons 1.84
Packers 1.79
Saints 1.68
Giants 1.67
Jaguars/Chargers 1.64
Buccaneers 1.62

Lions 1.59
Patriots 1.58
Bears 1.51
Cardinals 1.49
Titans 1.46
Commanders 1.45
Texans 1.34
Jets 1.27

Broncos 1.23
Panthers 1.19
Steelers 1.10
Rams 1.03
Colts 0.81

If a team gives up a defensive/special teams TD on one of these drives, they lose 7 points, which hurt the Rams’/Colts’ ppp.

Why is this important? Sometimes, teams score lot of points because takeaways/special teams create short fields for the offense. This metric measures an offense’s ability to drive the length of the field, and score on its own. 

New England has only 57 of these drives, seven less than any other team; they generally win the field position battle, and have good special teams, not necessarily good offense. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings……..

— If you’re running the Green Bay Packers, what do you do with your 4-8 team? 

Do you still play 38-year old Aaron Rodgers, who hurt his oblique Sunday night and is also playing with a broken bone in his hand?

Or do you do play 3rd-year QB Jordan Love, their first round pick in 2020? At some point, they need to decide whether to sign Love to a new contract; this is his third year. The decision has to be made after the 2023 season; the way Love played Sunday night in Philly, his services will be in demand when the time comes.

Interesting decision, when to say goodbye to a legend.

— Virginia 70, Michigan 68
Michigan led by 11 early in second half.
Slow-paced game, only 62 possessions.
Virginia was 12-19 on foul line, Michigan 8-10. In Ann Arbor.

— Marquette 96, Baylor 70
Impressive performance by the 5.5-point home underdog.
Marquette led 51-25 at halftime. 51-25.
Marquette scored 1.39 points/possession, shooting 12-25 on the arc.

— Clemson 101, Penn State 94, 2OT
Penn State led by 10 late in first half.
Clemson led by 10 with 7:22 left in game.
Clemson was 11-21 on the arc, Penn State 11-36.

— Missouri 88, Wichita State 84, OT
Wichita led by 10 with 5:15 left; they were 6-14 on foul line.
Shockers turned ball over 20 times, Missouri 8.

— Illinois 73, Syracuse 44
Syracuse is 3-4, with losses to Colgate/Bryant. Not good. 

— Was going to post some notes about college quarterbacks transferring, but then I remembered that a lot of backup QB’s transfer. A twist of the old Garry Templeton line: “If I ain’t starting, then I’ll be departing”

Michigan has a shot at the national title this year, but backup QB Cade McNamara is gone to the transfer portal. He has two years of eligibility left; he is from Reno, would Nevada be an option?

— San Diego Toreros are 5-3 this year under new coach Steve Lavin, who went 226-133 in 12 years at UCLA/St John’s. He made the NCAA’s six times in seven years at UCLA, twice in five years at St John’s.

San Diego is a much tougher job; Toreros haven’t been in NCAA’s since 2008, but the weather is really nice. Lavin did a TV gig in between his coaching stops; I enjoyed his work- he seems like a genuinely nice person. Hope the Toreros win lot of games the next few years.

— Detroit Mercy guard Antoine Davis is in his fifth year of college ball; he’s scored 2,897 points in his career, is a lock to become the 11th player ever to score 3,000 points.

Odd fact: when he gets to #11 on the all-time list, it’ll mean that three of the top 11 scorers ever played for their father in college. Mike Davis coaches in Detroit; Pete Maravich and Doug McDermott also played for their dads in college, at LSU/Creighton.

— UAB is expected to hire former NFL QB Trent Dilfer as its new football coach; he spent the last four years coaching high school ball in Tennessee, going 38-8.

Dilfer played 14 years in the NFL for five different teams; he won a Super Bowl with the 2000 Ravens, later made a Pro Bowl with Tampa Bay. He worked as an analyst for ESPN and FOX before he took on the coaching gig in Nashville.

— San Francisco 49ers outscored their last four opponents 54-0 in the second half.

In their last eight games, Dallas Cowboys outscored opponents 130-45 in second half.

— Minnesota Timberwolves’ star Karl Anthony Towns is out 4-6 weeks with a calf injury.

— So far this season, there have been six times where a team played Lakers/Clippers back/back at the Crypto com Arena (Staples Center). Either back/back nights or two games in three nights. 

First game, the visiting team is 4-2 ATS; all six games stayed under the total. 

Second game, the visiting team is 1-5 ATS; five of the six games went over.

— Washington Nationals signed two free agents:
Jeimer Candelario, a 29-year old 3B who played seven years for Detroit.
Stone Garrett, a 27-year old OF who hit .276 in 27 games for Arizona LY.

— Hugh Freeze’s move to Auburn is vaguely similar to Ed Orgeron’s hiring by LSU.

Orgeron coached Ole Miss from 2005-07, going 10-25, 3-21 in SEC games.
Freeze coached Ole Miss from 2012-16, going 39-25, 19-21 SEC games.

Orgeron moved on to the Saints, Tennessee Vols, USC and finally to LSU; he went 6-2 as interim coach at USC, after Lane Kiffin was fired in 2013.
Freeze went off the grid for two years, then surfaced at Liberty, where he went 34-15 in four years, rehabilitating his career. His QB last year was Malik Willis, who is now a rookie with the Tennessee Titans.

Orgeron went 51-20 at LSU, 31-17 in SEC games; he won the national title in 2019, with Joe Burrow as his QB.
Will Freeze be able to match Orgeron’s success at his second SEC stop? 

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

— If you care about such things, some quick NBA betting trends. Here are teams’ records when they play the second night of a back/back so far this season:

Road teams who were home last night: 6-6-1 ATS
Road teams who were also on road last night: 20-17 ATS
Home teams who were also  at home last night: 11-7-1 ATS
Home teams who were on road last night: 10-13-1 ATS

— Matt Rhule’s 8-year contract to coach football at Nebraska will pay him $74M, with 90% of it ($66.6M or so) guaranteed. Is this a great country or what?

Here are the highest paid NFL coaches:
$12M— Bill Belichick
$11M— Pete Carroll
$9M— John Harbaugh
$8.5M— Sean McVay
$8M— Andy Reid
$8M— Mike Tomlin

How on God’s green earth does Ruhle get paid more than all but three NFL head coaches?

Random fact: Carolina Panthers are 3-4 SU/5-2 ATS since they fired Rhule; they were 1-4 when they fired him.

— College football is wacky; here are some SEC coaches’ salaries:
$11.7M— Nick Saban
$11.25M— Kirby Smart
$9.5M— Jimbo Fisher
$9.5M— Brian Kelly
$9M— Lane Kiffin

Texas A&M had a lousy year this year, so Jimbo fired his offensive coordinator Monday— would be way too expensive for the school to fire Jimbo, so the OC became a scapegoat.

Steelers 24, Colts 17
— Steelers led 16-3 at halftime.
— Colts rallied to lead 17-16 after three quarters.
— Steelers drove 75 yards for game-winning TD early in 4th.
— Steelers ran ball for 172 yards (4.8 yards/carry).
— Steelers have no turnovers (+13) in their wins, 14 (-8) in losses.

— Colts drove to Pittsburgh 26 on last drive, were stopped on downs.
— Steelers converted 7-14 on third down, Colts 3-12.
— Trailing 16-10, Colts lost fumble on the Steelers’ 1-yard line.
— Colts lost five of their last six games SU.
— Underdogs covered nine of their 12 games.  

— Colts’ coach Jeff Saturday already holds one record; most NFL games played in by a guy who later became a head coach (211).

— Cleveland Browns visit Houston this week, with QB Deshaun Watson active for the first time this season, playing against his old team. Good theater by the NFL; you don’t see a lot of 11-game suspensions. 

Watson was 29-27 as the Texans’ QB, but his off-field issues sent him packing; Houston made the playoffs twice in Watson’s three years as the full-time starter, but he hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2020.

— Watson’s old team is terrible; last two games, Texans trailed 20-0/30-0 at halftime.

— Washington Commanders have an odd schedule: they visit the Giants Sunday, then have a bye week, then play the Giants again in Week 15.

— Eagles ran for 363 yards against Green Bay Sunday night, which made me wonder; what is the record for rushing yards in an NFL game?

Back in 1950, the Giants ran for 423 yards in a 55-20 win over the Colts; Bengals ran for 407 yards in a 2000 game against Denver.

— Minnesota Vikings are 9-2; only one of their wins was by more than 8 points- their two losses were 24-7/40-3.

— Baltimore Ravens’ kicker Justin Tucker is the best kicker ever. 

— David Shaw is out as Stanford’s football coach; he went 96-54 coaching Stanford, 65-40 in Pac-12 games. The last four years, Stanford was only 14-28.

Shaw didn’t get fired, he resigned; am guessing he pops up on TV next year, seeing how he was an analyst on the NFL Draft the last few years.

— Auburn signed High Freeze to a 6-year deal, worth $6.5M a year; Freeze was 39-25 as head coach at Ole Miss (19-21 in SEC games), then 34-15 at Liberty. 

— 32-year old Kenny Dillingham was named Arizona State’s new football coach; he is the first ASU alum to coach the Sun Devils. This season, he was offensive coordinator and QB coach for the Oregon Ducks.

— UNLV fired football coach Marcus Arroyo; Rebels went 5-7 this year, after going 2-10 last year. When a school has a new president and athletic director, the coach better win, or else they bring in their own people, to try and make a splash.

UNLV is a tough football job; they haven’t been to a bowl game since 2013, and before that, their last bowl was in 2000. Curious to see who they hire as their new coach.

— Former Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell signed a 7-year, $50M contract to be the new football coach at Wisconsin. Badgers just fired a guy who was 67-26, 43-18 in league games, so they have big expectations. 

Cincinnati is moving from the AAC to the Big X, which is a much deeper pond than the AAC.

— This year is the first time ever that Texas Tech beat Texas/Oklahoma in the same season.

— Houston Cougars are #1 in the college basketball poll, for the first time since 1983, the Phi Slamma Jamma era.

— Houston Astros signed 1B Jose Abreu to a 3-year deal; he will turn 36 in January, but is an upgrade at 1B over Yuli Gurriel.

— Maryland has mobile sports betting now; they had 16.5M wagers placed Thanksgiving weekend, compared to 8.5M in Virginia, 6.7M in Indiana, 6.6M in Tennessee, and 3.8M in Colorado. New Jersey had 17.1M wagers placed overt the weekend.

— Struck gold with late-night TV over the weekend; HLN, a station I didn’t even know about, ran a 4-day marathon of The West Wing, one of the best TV shows ever, so that was fun. I’m usually watching CSI or Law and Order re-runs late at night, or replays of ballgames. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

Browns 23, Buccaneers 17 OT
— Bucs’ last seven drives: 32 plays, 95 yards, no points.
— With Brady, Tampa Bay is 5-8 ATS as a road favorite.
— Nine of eleven Tampa Bay games stayed under the total.
— Buccaneers are 1-7-1 ATS in their last nine games.
— Tampa Bay is 5-1 allowing less than 20 points, 0-5 giving up 20+.

— Browns drove 46 yards, tied game on TD with 0:32 left in regulation.
— Browns drove 71 yards, scored TD to win game with 0:24 left in OT.
— Cleveland ran ball for 189 yards (5.6 yards/carry).
— Browns averaged only 4.3 yards/pass play.
— Cleveland has outgained nine of 11 opponents, but they’re 4-7.

Jaguars 28, Ravens 27
— Baltimore led 19-10 with 7:00 left in game.
— Ravens led by 9+ points in all four of their losses TY.
— Ravens kicked FG’s of 24-27-29 yards; poor in red zone.
— Jackson threw for 254 yards, ran for 89 more.
— Six of last eight Raven games were decided by 5 or fewer points.

— Down 27-20, Jaguars scored TD, got 2-point conversion with 0:14 left.
— Jaguars are 3-0 ATS as a home underdog this year.
— Jaguars averaged 7.2 yards/pass attempt, their 3rd-best average this year.
— Zay Jones caught 11 passes for 145 yards.
— Last three games, Jacksonville outscored foes 45-25 in 2nd half.

Panthers 23, Broncos 10
— Broncos averaged 3.3 yards/pass attempt.
— Denver lost seven of its last eight games SU.
— Broncos scored 16 or fewer points in nine of 11 games.
— Ten of eleven Denver games stayed under the total. 
— Last five games, Denver was outscored 69-33 in second half.  

— Panthers haven’t allowed a TD in first half of last three games.
— Carolina ran ball for 185 yards, averaged 8.6 yards/pass attempt.
— Panthers are 4-1 ATS as a home underdog this year.
— Carolina has converted only 39-144 (27.1%) third down plays.
— Panthers covered five of their last six games.

Commanders 19, Falcons 13
— Falcons had ball on 4-yard line in last minute, but threw INT in end zone.
— Atlanta is 5-11 ATS last 16 games coming off a win (2-3 TY).
— Last three games, Falcons converted 9-30 third down plays. 
— Commanders had 10-yard edge in field position.
— Falcons are 1-4 SU on the road, winning at Seattle in Week 3.

— Washington won six of last seven games (6-0-1 ATS).
— Heinicke is 5-1 as Commanders’ QB this season.
— Washington is 4-0 ATS as a favorite this season.
— Eight of their last ten games stayed under the total.
— Commanders are 14-6-1 ATS last 21 games coming off a win.

Bengals 20, Titans 16
— Bengals’ first three drives: 13 plays, 21 yards, 2 first downs.
— Bengals rest of game: 54 plays, 339 yards, 20 points.
— Bengals are 7-1 when they score 20+ points. 
— Cincinnati won seven of its last nine games (8-1 ATS).
— Cincy is 4-1 ATS this season coming off a win.

— Bengals held Derrick Henry to 38 yards on 17 carries.
— Titans’ three red zone drives: 2 FG’s, one missed FG (35 yards)
— Tennessee held last nine opponents under their team total.
— Seven of last eight Titan games stayed under the total.
— Titans have been outscored 120-62 in second half.

Dolphins 30, Texans 15
— Houston ran ball 14 times for 36 yards. Not good.
— Texans converted 2-13 on 3rd down (29.4% last five games)
— Texans are 7-12 ATS in last 19 games as a road underdog.
— Texans lost nine of their last ten games SU (2-7 ATS last nine).
— Texans are 0-6 SU/1-5 ATS since their bye week, giving up 27.1 ppg.

— Dolphins led this game 30-0 at halftime.
— Miami scored defensive TD, had a 3-yard TD drive set up by an INT.
— Dolphins in first half: 46 plays, 284 yards, 23 points.
— Dolphins in first half: 29 plays, 69 yards, no points.
— Dolphins are 7-0 if they score more than 17 points.

Jets 31, Bears 10
— Bears’ first two drives: 18 plays, 142 yards, 10 points.
— Bears rest of game: 38 plays, 212 yards, no points.
— Chicago is 4-10-1 ATS in last 15 games as a road underdog (1-5-1 TY).
— Last five games, Bears allowed 34.6 ppg.
— Chicago lost five in row, eight of its last nine games SU (2-6-1 ATS).
— With Fields hurt, backup QB Siemian played whole game.

— Mike White was 22-28/315 with 315 passing yards in first ’22 start.
— Jets outgained Chicago 466-292.
— Jets won/covered six of their last eight games.
— Jets held seven of last eight opponents under their team total.
— Jets are 6-0 scoring 20+ points, 1-4 scoring less than 20.

Raiders
40, Seahawks 34 OT
— Jacobs ran 86 yards for the game-winning TD in OT.
— Las Vegas drove 75 yards for game-tying TD with 1:54 left.
— Raiders outgained Seattle, 576-372.
— Last 10 games, Raiders’ opponent is 8-1-1 against its team total.
— Raiders are 14-7 ATS last 21 games as a road underdog.

— Geno Smith was 27-37/328 passing, with two TD’s.
— Seahawks had an 11-yard edge in field position.
— Las Vegas converted 8-14 on 3rd down, Seahawks 3-9.
— Last seven weeks, Seattle is 27-78 (34.6%) on 3rd down conversions.
— Seattle is 1-4 when it allows 27+ points, 5-1 when it allows less than 27.  

Chargers 25, Cardinals 24
— Down 24-17, Chargers scored TD, got 2-point conversion with 0:15 left.
— Chargers averaged only 4.8 yards/pass attempt.
— Bolts had an 11-yard edge in field position.
— Chargers are +7 in turnovers in their wins, minus-4 in losses. 
— Chargers are 5-1 giving up less than 27 points, 1-4 if they give up 27+.

— Arizona lost 10 of its last 11 home games SU.
— Cardinals lost six of their last eight games overall.
— Arizona’s last four drives: 11 plays, 16 yards, no first downs.
— Last six Arizona games went over the total.
— Arizona is 2-8 when it scores less than 29 points.

Chiefs 26, Rams 10
— Last two years, Rams are 0-7 SU in November.
— LA’s longest play of the game was 16 yards.
— Rams averaged 3.0 yards/pass attempt.
— Rams lost four in row, six of last seven games.
— Rams are 3-1 scoring 20+ points, 0-7 when they score less. 

— Score is misleading; Chiefs outgained LA, 437-198.
— Chiefs won five in row, seven of last eight games (5-3 ATS).
— Chiefs were in red zone on six drives, only scored 19 points.
— Under is 6-1 in their home games.
— Last six weeks, Chiefs converted 54-89 (60.7%) third down plays.

49ers 13, Saints 0
— Saints were shut out for first time since 2001.
— Saints in first half: 21 plays, 104 yards, 4 first downs, no points.
— Last 4 games, Saints have 5 plays of 20+ yards (opponents have 16).
— Saints are 4-3 scoring 24+ points, 0-5 when they score less.
— NO is 0-3 ATS as a road dog TY, after going 10-2 from 2018-21.

— Saints were in red zone on last two drives (lost fumble/stopped on downs)
— 49ers’ only TD came on a 57-yard drive in second quarter.
— San Francisco won its last four games (3-1 ATS).
— 49ers outscored last four opponents 57-0 in second half.
— Last four games, 49ers converted 33-64 on third down.

Eagles 40, Packers 33
— Eagles scored TD’s on three of first four drives.
— Philly ran ball 49 times for 363 yards. 363 freakin’ yards.
— Eagles have 38 touchdowns on 107 drives this season. 
— Eagles converted 8-15 on third down, Packers 1-7.
— Under Sirianni, Philly is 8-1 ATS as a home favorite (4-1 TY)

— Packers lost seven of their last eight games SU.
— Eagles led 27-20 at halftime.
— Last eight weeks, Green Bay gave up 171.3 rushing yards/game.
— Rodgers left in third quarter with an oblique injury.
— Jordan Love’s two drives: 11 plays, 113 yards, 10 points. Hmmmm…..

— Alabama 103, North Carolina 101, 4 OT’s
Crimson Tide shot 16-38 on the arc.
Tar Heels led by 8 with 8:56 left in regulation, also by 6 in third overtime.
Two subs played 40+ minutes for Alabama.