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

We have basketball info every day……..
NFL playoff info is now posted on NFL page 

Monday’s 6-pack
New England in the Super Bowl under Brady/Belichick:
2001: W20-17 (+14) vs St Louis
2003: W32-29 (-7) vs Carolina
2004: W24-21 (-7) vs Philadelphia
2007: L14-17 (-12) vs NY Giants
2011: L17-21 (-3) vs NY Giants
2014: W28-24 (-1) vs Seattle
2016: W34-28 OT (-3) vs Atlanta
2017: L33-41 (-4.5) vs Philadelphia

Tweet of the Day
“Shoot, I don’t even know what day it is. All I know is we’re NFC champs, baby!”
Sean McVay, coach of the NFC champion LA Rams

Monday’s quiz
Rams have played in three Super Bowls under three different head coaches; who were they? 

Sunday’s quiz
Dennis Quaid played science teacher-turned-pitcher Jim Morris in the baseball movie, The Rookie. 

Saturday’s quiz
Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich is a graduate of the Air Force Academy. 

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a frigid weekend…….

13) My opinion is that I write better when I’m annoyed, so today’s article might be pretty terrible, because this was a great freakin’ weekend. 

— The weather here was awful all weekend, we had a foot of snow, but DirecTV never went out, except for a couple of the movie channels late Saturday night.
— My car started in 0 degree weather Sunday night, because I got a new battery Thursday.
— Watched a ton of basketball Saturday; seems like it was a week ago.
— Oh yeah, the Rams are going to the Super Bowl!!! Tremendous!!! 

12) Rams 26, Saints 23 OT— Not many games where the winning team led for 0:00 the whole game, except after the last play. This game turned on a fake punt by the Rams when they trailed 13-0 with 14:23 left in 2nd quarter- they looked like a dead team until then. 

Scouting is important in football; I had never heard of Missouri Western University until the Rams drafted a kicker from Missouri Western in the 6th round of the 2012 draft. Rams were in St Louis at the time; not sure if that helped them find Greg Zuerlein, but they did, and boy did that pay off Sunday night in the Superdome. 

Greg the Leg booted a 48-yard FG to tie the game, a 57-yard FG to win it as the Rams, who did not lead at any point in regulation, won their 4th NFC title, 26-23. 

11) I mention this every so often, but the NFL is awesome because the difference between the winning and losing teams is so often EXTREMELY thin. 

Go back to 2016, the Rams were 4-5 when they decided to give Jared Goff his first NFL start; they were playing Miami at home, and led 10-0 with 5:00 left. If they win the game, they’re 5-5, everyone is happy, and they probably finish 7-9 at worst- they have said since then if they had wound up 7-9 that year, they wouldn’t have fired Jeff Fisher. 

Miami won that game 13-10, the Rams didn’t win another game that season and a coaching change was made. And what a change it has been!!!

They wouldn’t have hired Sean McVay if they finished 7-9, so thank the good Lord they blew that 10-0 lead against the Dolphins. Or else today’s fun wouldn’t have happened. 

11) Patriots 37, Chiefs 31 OT— What a day for the NFL; two overtimes in conference title games when the weather in lot of the country was terrible. TV ratings have to be huge. Patriots head to their 11th Super Bowl. 

Tony Romo is amazingly good on TV, the best NFL TV analyst ever; he calls out plays before they happen, the way Hank Stram used to do working Monday night games on the radio. 

Tough night for the replay center; awful lot of close replay decisions in this game. 

10) SUNY-Morrisville plans to roll out a program next fall that will teach their students how to grow marijuana. Anticipation of a Cannabis Industry Minor is a result of the expectation that New York is expected to legalize recreational marijuana soon. 

9) Nick Foles came up four snaps short of a $1M bonus for playing in 33% of Philly’s snaps, but the Eagles did the right thing and gave Foles the $1M anyway. 

8) Only four of the first 29 Mountain West basketball games were decided by fewer than ten points. League has slipped a decent amount the last couple years. 

7) Providence 79, Marquette 68— Marquette retired Dwyane Wade’s #3 jersey at halftime of this game. Not sure what took them so long, but better late than never. 

6) Boston College 87, Florida State 82— Sometimes you lose a game and it comes with a hangover; Seminoles lost at home to Duke by a hoop, then went on road and lost at both Pitt and Boston College. FSU was 12-1 vs non-conference schedule #113, but is 1-4 in the ACC. 

Speaking of which……..

5) Monmouth 83, Iona 81— Hawks are 5-2 in the MAAC, after going 1-12 in pre-conference games; Iona is 4-2 in the MAAC, after going 2-9 in pre-conference games. 

In other words, the MAAC sucks this year. 

4) Very interesting conversation during the Kansas-West Virginia game Saturday, with Fran Fraschilla giving two solid reasons why Canada is producing more and more top college hoop prospects.

a) Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors inspired a lot of Canadians to enjoy basketball more, hoops has become a bigger part of the culture north of the border.

b) Canada’s more liberal immigration laws have resulted in more people from the Caribbean and Africa winding up in Canada.

3) Timberwolves 116, Suns 114— Minnesota wins on a fadeaway jumper by Derrick Rose with 0:00.6 left; Wolves are being coached by Flip Saunders’ 32-year old son now- they’ve played lot of high-scoring games since he took over from Tom Thibodeau. 

2) Basketball player named Isaiah Stewart from Rochester chose Washington over Duke, as Mike Hopkins’ connections to central New York pay off again. 

1) Rams opened as a 1-point favorite in the Super Bowl, but professional bettors dumped a lot of money on New England, so now the Patriots are -2 as I type this late Sunday night. The total is 59. Lets hope those pros are wrong with their bets 🙂

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

13) Kentucky 82, Auburn 80— Wildcats led this game 58-41 with 17:00 left; Auburn took the lead 80-79 with 0:32 left, but Kentucky scored with 0:24 left, then Auburn never got the ball to their best player on their last possession and that was that. 

Auburn alum Charles Barkley was on ESPN for a segment of this game and he ripped the current NBA product, which I’m sure didn’t thrill his bosses at Turner Broadcasting very much. Barkley complained about the amount of 3-pointers being taken by NBA teams.

It is getting harder to listen to Dick Vitale on the air; he launched into a rant every time the refs went for a replay review. Sounded like he had a plane to catch after the game. 

12) Duke 72, Virginia 70— Cavaliers hit a jumper at the buzzer for the back-door cover, but they lose to a Duke team playing without their point guard. 

Mike Krzyzewski is only college basketball coach that doesn’t do halftime interviews, yet his son-in-law (Chris Spatola) works for ESPN. Whats up with that? Is it that hard to answer two softball ?’s on way to locker room? 

11) Are ESPN’s announcers required to mention Zion Williamson EVERY TIME they promo a Duke game, because they do mention his name EVERY TIME they read a Duke promo. You would think if it wasn’t mandated someone wouldn’t do it. 

10) James Nunnally is a sub for the Houston Rockets; he is 28 years old, played four years at Cal-Santa Barbara. Here are the professional teams he’s played for: 

2012: Kavala, in Greece
2012-14: Bakersfield Jam in the D-League
2014: Texas Legends in the D-League
2014: Hawks, 76ers in the NBA
2014: Santurce in Puerto Rico
2014: Estudiantes in Spain
2014-15: Maccabi Ashdod in Israel
2015-16: Sidigas Avellino in Italy
2016-18: Fenerbahce in Turkey
2018-19: Timberwolves, Rockets in the NBA

Imagine the book this guy could write???? 

9) Rockets 138, Lakers 134 OT— ESPN had quite a day; big college games at Auburn, Duke were both decided by a hoop, then this game on ABC went OT. James Harden scored 48 points for the Rockets, which these days seems commonplace. 

8) Drexel 73, James Madison 68— Dukes led this game 22-4 early, but went 3-12 on foul line and were behind by halftime. Drexel outscored JMU 18-3 on the foul line. 

7) Upsets of the Day:
— Elon (+12.5) 76, Wm & Mary 71
— DePaul (+9) 97, Seton Hall 93
— Penn (+9) 77, Temple 70
— Charlotte (+7.5) 55, Louisiana Tech 40— Tech was 1-23 on the arc.
— Towson State (+7) 64, Delaware 63— Towson was down 15 at the half.
— Eastern Illinois (+6.5) 85, Austin Peay 83
— West Virginia (+5.5) 65, Kansas 64
— Niagara (+5.5) 75, Quinnipiac 72
— Missouri (+5.5) 66, Texas A&M 43

6) One college that lost out big-time with all the conference changes a few years ago was UConn, whose sports program has a $40M shortfall this year. Huskies’ terrible football team lost $8.7M, their basketball team $5M and women’s basketball team lost $3M. 

Big 14 screwed up (in my opinion) when they took Rutgers over UConn, but they care more about football than hoops. Would the Huskies be better off as an independent in football, and a Big East member in basketball? 

5) Cal-Irvine 74, Cal State-Northridge 68— Anteaters were down 47-31 at the half, but rallied to avoid this road upset. Mark Gottfried is doing a nice job rebuilding the Northridge program. 

4) Nets 145, Rockets 142 OT— This game was Wednesday but it was odd; here is a breakdown of Houston’s shot selection in that game: 

3-point shots: 23-70, 32.9%, 69 points
2-point shots: 22-35, 62.9%, 44 points
foul shots: 29-34, 85.3%, 29 points. 

Rockets took twice as many 3-point shots as 2-point shots, but they also lost. Gerald Green played 41:00 in this game, was 5-15 from floor, all 3-point shots. 

3) When James Harden scored 115 points in consecutive games during the week, none of the 33 baskets he scored in those games were assisted. Lot of holding the ball, 1-on-1 play. Last time Harden scored less than 30 points in a game was December 11, vs Portland. Rockets are 14-5 in 19 games since that night. 

2) This made me feel old; there is a high school game on ESPNU Monday, with Sierra Canyon HS in the LA area; Kenyon Martin Jr is a senior on that team. It seems like 2 or 3 years ago that Martin was playing ball at Cincinnati, and then in the NBA. Good luck to the young man. 

1) ESPN’s Joe Lunardi does his Bracketology thing for the NCAA tournament every day; he came up with teams from these conferences: Big 14 (10), ACC (8), Big X (7), SEC (6), Big East (5), American (4), A-14 (2), Pac-12 (2).

All the other leagues, the conference tournament will be the deciding factor, unless Nevada loses in the Mountain West, then they would get two teams. 

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

13) A quick story from my college days: 

At U of Albany, or whatever it was called back then, we would make our own class schedule, but as an English major, I had to have an English professor sign off on the schedule, so off I went to get my last semester of college approved. This was November, 1981. 

Not being a good student, doing the exact minimum to get by, the professor was unimpressed as she looked over my transcript. “You’ve never taken any olde English classes. No Shakespeare, what do you think of Dryden?,” referring to John Dryden, the English poet/playwright. 

I was a big hockey fan back then, so for some unknown reason, I say, “I’m glad he retired; the Bruins could never beat him,” referring to Ken Dryden, the retired goalie from the Montreal Canadiens. Timing wasn’t my forte. 

The professor glared at me a little, reluctantly signed off on my schedule, and I was outta there. On my down the hall, I pass an office door that said “Dr Anne Weinberg, Head of English Dept”

Whoops, but I still somehow got my diploma. Later on I found out they changed the requirements for future English majors, to include olde English classes. Glad I could help!!!! 

12) If I had to do it all over again, would’ve gone to college at Cal-Santa Barbara or Pepperdine, a a place where I’d never be cold. UNLV would’ve been a complete disaster, would’ve been back home within a year 🙂

Hell, I was lucky to graduate from a school in the frozen northeast. 

11) This, from an excellent article on Alabama football by Bruce Feldman in The Athletic:

“The reality is there is more of a grind coaching at the college level than in the NFL, which does not tie its coaches to recruiting 52 weeks of the year.”

10) Mel Kiper Jr’s latest mock draft on had the Miami Dolphins taking QB Kyler Murray with the 13th pick in the first round.

9) Dallas Cowboys told offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to take a hike Friday; they fired their offensive line coach during the season, now this. From the statement Jason Garrett put out that praised Linehan, I’m guessing this was the front office’s decision, not Garrett’s. 

8) My three favorite Susan Sarandon movies:
a) Bull Durham b) White Palace c) The Client

7) When Washington Huskies swept their Utah/Colorado road trip last week, it was first time in six years the Huskies swept a 2-game Pac-12 road swing. Mike Hopkins is building a solid program in the Pacific northwest.

6) Trent Dilfer played in the NFL for 14 years in the NFL, winning Super Bowl XXXV with the Ravens; he was on ESPN for nine years after that, but got laid off two years ago. Now Dilfer is the new football coach at Lipscomb Academy in Nashville. Not too many high schools have a former NFL quarterback as their football coach. 

5) Pat Sajak was a TV weatherman in Los Angeles for five years before becoming the host of Wheel of Fortune, where I’m guessing he makes a little more money than he did while doing the weather.

4) Surprising stat: Miami Hurricanes are 7-6 in their last 13 games against North Carolina.

3) Non-basketball thing I learned from listening to Bill Walton call the Oregon-Arizona game Thursday: the Nile River flows through 11 different countries in northeast Africa. 

By the way, at halftime of this game, there was a guy on the court, balancing a large ladder on his chin. 

Why does someone start doing that?
How many times did the ladder fall and hit him on the face, before he mastered his craft?
Is balancing a ladder on your chin a craft? 

2) Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald shot a hole-in-one Friday while playing golf with former president Obama at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, FL. He hit an 8-iron from 162 yards on the 13th hole; the ace was witnessed by Tim Rosaforte of the Golf Channel. 

1) The Bodyguard is an old Kevin Costner movie where he is a retired Secret Service agent who protects a singer (Whitney Houston) who has received death threats; the movie is 2 hours, 9 minutes long, but when it showed up on channel 330 on DirecTV this week, it was put into a 3 hour, 30 minute window. That adds up to 129 minutes of movie, 81 minutes of commercials. 

No bueno.

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

13) Not that I’m paranoid or anything, but since 2012, Rams are 0-8 (0-2 this year) when Bill Vinovich’s crew referees their games (Saints are 5-3). 

Vinovich is a good official (he’s also done the Final Four in college hoop) but would it kill the NFL to send him to the AFC game?

 12) Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it: FOX signed Urban Meyer to be a college football analyst next season. 

Meyer was an analyst on ESPN for a year before he went to Ohio State, and he was incapable of humor or laughter- I actually felt bad for the guy. We’ll see next fall if he’s lightened up at all. 

11) Thursday night’s college hoop upsets:
— FIU (+12.5) 77, Western Kentucky 76
— Manhattan (+6) 58, St Peter’s 56
— Oregon (+4.5) 59, Arizona 54

10) Bill Belichick’s first NFL coaching job (assistant special teams coach) was with the Detroit Lions, in 1976; Also on that staff? Jerry Glanville, who went on to coach the Oilers/Falcons, one of the all-time great characters. Hard to imagine both of those guys in the same meeting. 

Belichick was a special assistant with the ’75 Colts, but technically was not a member of the coaching staff. 

9) For some reason, I became curious about this yesterday, so I looked it up. Last year, the average WNBA salary was $71,635, and this year will be closer to $75,000. The maximum veteran salary is $113,500.

8) Reason why VCU is a better college basketball job than most mid-majors: Rams have had 126 consecutive sellouts at home. Basketball is sports priority #1 at VCU, by far. 

7) Sounds like Cam Newton has a chance to miss all of 2019 with shoulder issues, much like Andrew Luck missed all of 2017. If so, where do the Panthers turn for a new QB?

6) Former Alabama QB Jalen Hurts is taking his 26-2 record as a starting QB to Oklahoma, which should prove to be very interesting. 

5) Once Oklahoma signed up Hurts, they released backup QB Austin Kendall, who quickly bolted to West Virginia, where he will play against the Sooners next year.

4) Speaking of Alabama’s football team, five of their assistant coaches from this past season have already found new jobs; was reading an article during bowl season- pro scouts were saying that this was Saban’s worst coaching staff in his many years with the Crimson Tide, so you wonder if guys jumped ship or got pushed overboard? 

3) Jets’ DC Gregg Williams is now working for his ninth NFL team; he could write one hell of a book someday.

2) Michigan Wolverines offered a college scholarship to a 7th grade QB in Michigan, which is highly unusual and even a little weird. What are the odds that Jim Harbaugh is still coaching there when the kid graduates from high school, five years from now? 

1) Cincinnati basketball coach Mick Cronin got tossed from a game Tuesday when his team was winning; not sure I’ve ever seen that before. AAC had a rough week with its refs; Tulsa/UConn game the next night saw both head coaches get tossed at the same time, even stranger. 

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

13) Tulsa 88, UConn 80— Both head coaches got tossed at the same time in this game, which doesn’t happen a whole lot. Don’t think I’ve ever heard of it before. 

Tulsa led 61-47 with 11:19 left in the game when the refs lost control of things; the delay wound up being 6-7 minutes, with both coaches pleading their cases to stay on the bench, but the refs clearly had enough of listening to them. 

Tulsa was 26-36 on foul line in this game, Huskies 12-15. 

12) Iowa State 68, Texas Tech 64— Kansas’ top two challengers in the Big X hooked up here; these are two really good teams. This easily could’ve been an Elite 8 or Final Four game. 

Cyclones led 41-33 at halftime; they didn’t turn ball over once the whole half. 

11) St John’s 81, Creighton 66— Bluejays are in top 5 in country in 3-point shooting, but were just 11-35 in this game, and they lost their 4th game in a row. Ponds scored 22 for St John’s after he missed the Red Storm’s last game 

10) South Carolina 74, Vanderbilt 71— Commodores led 68-63 with 1:38 left before a technical foul for taunting on Vandy helped swing this foul-filled game, where both teams took 35+ foul shots. 

Gamecocks are a surprising 4-0 in SEC, after a 5-7 pre-conference record; their bench outscored Vandy’s subs 28-12. 

9) Illinois State 59, Southern Illinois 58— Redbirds blew a 16-point second half lead, then outscored SIU 8-5 over final 4:55 for the win. State’s last three games were decided by a total of five points. 

8) Drake 69, Bradley 52— Homestanding Braves went 5-33 in first half of this game; they’re now 0-5 in MVC, despite being one of most experienced teams in league. 

7) Upsets of the Week:
— Wake Forest (+9.5) 71, NC State 67
— Central Michigan (+7) 78, Northern Illinois 69
— St Joe’s (+5) 61, Davidson 60
— Kent State (+5) 66, Ohio U 52
— LSU (+5) 83, Ole Miss 69

— Long Beach State (+10) 80, Cal-Irvine 70
— Kansas State (+6.5) 74, Oklahoma 61
— George Washington (+6) 59, LaSalle 56
— Iowa State (+5) 68, Texas Tech 64
— South Carolina (+5) 74, Vanderbilt 71

6) Warriors 142, Nuggets 111— Golden State scored 51 points in the first QUARTER. 

5) Nevada 72, Boise State 71— Red flag for the Wolf Pack, who were life/death here after losing at New Mexico earlier this month. Nevada isn’t playing that well away from Reno- they take bad shots.

4) Iowa 89, Penn State 82— Iowa ended this game on an 8-0 run. Nittany Lions are 0-7 in conference; their coach got suspended for a game for shoving a player during a timeout. Sounds like they’re not having much fun. 

3) Campbell 70, NC-Asheville 53— Camels get a win on a Wednesday (Hump Day). 

2) Temple 85, East Carolina 74— Owls are quietly 14-3 this season, 4-1 in AAC. 

1) Nets 145, Rockets 142 OT— James Harden scored 57-58 points in his last two games. 

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

13) Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray declared for the NFL Draft, which is just a procedural thing to keep his options open; the pivotal moment in his career path will be whether or not he goes to the NFL Combine in February, 11 days after the start of spring training. 

Four guys on ESPN’s NFL show Monday said they thought Murray would be a first-round draft pick in the NFL; those four guys are rarely unanimous in agreeing on anything. If he gets taken in the first round, Murray would be a damn fool to play baseball- he’ll make a lot more money as a QB than working his way up thru the minor leagues. 

12) Murray has a very interesting decision to make. Joe Mauer earned $218M in his baseball career, just in salary; Matt Holliday earned just under $160M in his. Both guys were HS quarterbacks who turned down college scholarships to become baseball players, but there also guys who tried to juggle both sports and never achieved stardom in either. 

11) Then there is Chase Daniel, who has earned $28M in his nine NFL seasons, while starting a total of four games. Playing QB in the NFL is really, really lucrative if you’re great at it. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and the Manning brothers have all earned $200M+ in their careers. 

Lamar Jackson got a signing bonus of more than $4.9M as the last pick of the first round last year; Murray’s signing bonus with the A’s is $4.66M, most of which he has to return if he signs with an NFL team (he’s already gotten $1.5M of it, would get to keep $200K or so). 

10) posted a mock draft Tuesday, which means bupkis but it is interesting to look at, and they had the Giants taking Murray with the 6th pick. 

Oakland A’s Class A farm teams are in Beloit and Stockton; not a tough choice whether to suit up for the New Jersey Giants or the Beloit Snappers. 

9) Not sure why the Jets would want to hire a new coach, but not let the guy hire his own assistants? Apparently Baylor’s Matt Rhule and Mike McCarthy both turned the Jets down because they wanted to decide who their assistants would be, rather than be told.

8) Not much better comedy on TV than listening to ESPN”s Jay Bilas whine about Duke’s star Zion Williamson “being officiated differently”, because he is bigger/stronger than most guys. Nothing like a TV analyst/alum toting the party line for his alma mater.

7) Sad sign of the times: Prison guards in federal prisons are being mocked by prisoners because the guards are working, but not getting paid. Sounds like a fantastic job. 

6) Modern football: James White is a running back for the Patriots, but on Sunday against the Chargers he didn’t run the ball once— he did catch 15 passes for 97 yards.  

5) Difference between high majors and mid-majors:
Southern Illinois-Illinois State game Tuesday: one soph, 2 juniors, 7 seniors started. 

Syracuse-Duke Monday night: 3 freshmen, 2 sophs, 4 juniors, one senior started. 

If you play for a top 20 team now and you’re a senior, its almost like you’re a suspect.

4) TCU is 12-3, having a pretty good season, but they’ve had three players transfer out this season, which led them to giving one of their walk-ons a scholarship, and they got creative in how they told the kid. 

Players are in a meeting room, and a sheriff walks in, holding a piece of paper and looking stern. He says he is looking for someone: “Is Owen Ashieris here?” The kid gets up, walks over to the sheriff, and finds out he’s been given a college scholarship. Kind of cool. 

3) Indianapolis Colts jumped from 4-12 to 10-6 this year, and much of credit for that went to their offensive line, which protected Andrew Luck very well. 

But on Tuesday, the Colts fired OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo, who was the only offensive coach that Josh McDaniel hired during his brief dalliance with Indianapolis last winter. Apparently, head coach Frank Reich wants his own guy, so he must have someone in mind, or why not keep DeGuglielmo? 

2) Former Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush will play his last year of college football at Central Florida; he went 12-3 as a starting QB for the Fighting Irish.

1) New York Governor Andrew Cuomo got off his butt this week, wants 2019 to be the year legalized sports betting comes to New York.

“Let’s authorize sports betting in the upstate casinos. It’s here. It’s a reality, and it will generate activity in those casinos.”

Its about time.

Tuesday’s List of 13: College hoop knowledge…….

13) Missouri Valley:
— Valparaiso is 4-1 in games decided by 5 or fewer points, or in OT.
— Illinois State is 52-24 in this league the last five years, but hasn’t made NCAA’s since 1998- they’re 2-2 in Valley so far this year.
— #95 Loyola is only team ranked above #136 in country, so Arch Madness will determine the only bid from this league.

12) Ivy League:
— Have only been three conference games so much, so hard to tell a lot so far.
— #90 Yale is highest-ranked team; they beat Cal, Miami, lost to Memphis in double OT.
— Brown is 11-4, but vs schedule #318. Still, 11-4 is 11-4. 

11) Mountain West:
— Boise State/UNLV are both 3-0, but Nevada/Fresno are two best teams.
— San Diego State is in decline; they’re 9-7, 1-2 in MW, losing 62-48 at Air Force Saturday.
— Utah State is 12-5 under new coach Smith, who came in from South Dakota.
— This is a one-bid league unless Nevada gets upset in conference tourney. 

10) Atlantic 14:
— This league has only two teams in top 200 in country in experience.
— Dayton, Davidson, Saint Louis all started out 3-0 in conference.
— Saint Louis forced turnovers on 25.3% of possessions in first three A-14 games.
— This looks like another one-bid conference. 

9) Mid American:
— League ranking is up to #9, its highest spot since at least 2002.
— Buffalo is 15-1, by far best team in MAC; they’ve won at West Virginia, Syracuse.
— Bulls start three seniors and a junior; they beat Arizona in NCAA’s LY.
— Northern Illinois is #37 in experience; they won first three MAC games. 

8) West Coast:
— Have nine teams in top 200; only had six last two years, four the year before that.
— San Francisco is 14-3 and played Gonzaga tough; are they 2nd-best team in WCC?
— Gonzaga won 96-83 at USF Saturday; in six games before that, Zags had allowed average of only 46 ppg.
— Not sure this is a multi-bid league, but #8 ranking is its highest in four years.  

7) American:
— Houston is 16-1 for Kelvin Sampson, but vs schedule #262.
— Temple is 13-3, 3-1 in last season of Fran Dunphy’s terrific coaching career.
— Memphis is 11-6, 3-1 in Penny Hardaway’s first season as a college coach.
— There will definitely be bubble teams from this league on March 17. 

6) Pac-12:
— Ugly season for Pac-12; there are no top 40 teams right now.
— UCLA already fired its coach; they’re 10-7 and very, very young.
— Washington is most experienced team in league and is off to a 3-0 start.
— Oregon State is 3-0 in Pac-12; they haven’t had winning season in league since at least 2002. 

5) Big East:
— Villanova is 4-0, but Wildcats aren’t nearly as good as they’ve been.
— Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown teams play lot of high-scoring, fun games to watch.
— Butler lost four of last five games, last two by one point each.
— Marquette/Villanova look good for NCAA’s; lot of bubble teams elsewhere. 

4) SEC:
— League has four teams in top 25, seven in top 50.
— Ole Miss is off to surprising 13-2 start for new coach Kermit Davis.
— Auburn is 12-3 but lost both its true road games so far.
— Kentucky lost its opener by 34 to Duke, but won four of its last five games as they gradually improve- they’re 12-3, despite being experience team #350. 

3) ACC:
— Duke, Virginia and Virginia Tech are all 3-0 in conference.
— Syracuse split its last six home games, losing to Old Dominion, Buffalo. Ga Tech.
— League has seven teams in top 30.
— Virginia plays slowest tempo in country; they’re shooting 43.1% on arc in ACC games. 

2) Big X:
— This is Shaka Smart’s 4th year at Texas; he is 25-34 in league games, 2-3 this year.
— West Virginia is 0-4 in league, turning ball over 22.3% of time in Big X games.
— League has four teams in top 20.
— Six of 10 teams in league are outside top 200 in country in experience. 

1) Big 14:
— Michigan/Michigan State are both 6-0 in conference; they meet Feb 24/March 9.
— Nebraska is an experienced team, but they lost three of first four Big 14 road games, with losses by 7-2-9 points.
— Wisconsin shot only 54.4% from foul line in first five conference games.
— League has eight teams in top 30. 

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend…….

13) If you had your choice of any QB ever in his prime to play for your team; a real team, not a fantasy team, who would you choose? 

12) If the Cardinals decide to trade QB Josh Rosen and take Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray with the first pick in April’s NFL draft, which teams would be open to trading for Rosen? 

My guesses: Miami and Oakland, maybe Jacksonville.

11) It must suck living in Los Angeles, never anything to do (sarcasm alert). Saturday, the Clippers played Detroit at home, the NHL’s Kings hosted Pittsburgh and the Rams played Dallas in an NFL playoff game. 

Sunday, the Lakers hosted Cleveland, and I’m leaving out all the college sports taking place in the area (Long Beach St, Fullerton and LMU were all home Saturday). 

10) Movie trivia: Do you remember the 1977 movie One on One, where Robby Benson plays a hotshot college basketball player? The actor who played Coach Smith in that movie was GD Spradlin, who also played the Tom Landry-like character in North Dallas Forty. 

Turns out that in real life, Spradlin was an oil man who managed John F Kennedy’s Presidential campaign in Oklahoma in 1960. Go figure. 

9) Stanford RB Bryce Love tore his ACL in their regular season finale, which helps explain why he sat out the Sun Bowl— the knee was operated on December 18. 

The current bowl system has a growing problem; star players who are already projected to go to the NFL will sit these games out, for this very reason. 

8) Baseball doings:
— Mets gave 2B Jed Lowrie $20M for two years.
— Bronx gave 2B DJ LeMahieu $24M for two years. 

7) From Josh Applebaum of Action Network:

“Parlays provide a 30% hold for sportsbooks. Every other major sport averages a hold of 5%. They’re a massive moneymaker for the house. Nothing wrong with the occasional parlay, but individual bets are a much smarter long-term strategy”

6) Jets are expected to hire Gregg Williams as their new DC, which is an excellent hire. 

Steve Sarkisian turned down the Arizona Cardinals and went back to Alabama to be their OC, which tells me that his ultimate goal is be a college head coach again.

5) The CEO of Disney made $65.7M last year; that seems excessive. 

NBC told Megan Kelly to take a hike, but she gets all of her $69M contract, which has about $30M left on it. Ms Kelly’s exit was ignited last fall after she defended Halloween costumes that incorporate blackface. What a country.

4) Thursday night, the Spurs beat Oklahoma City 154-147 in double OT:
— It was the first 300-point NBA game since December 7, 2006
— Spurs made 16-19 (84.2%) from the arc, an NBA record (with 15+ attempts)
— Russell Westbrook was first player with 24+ points, 24+ assists in a game since Magic Johnson on January 9, 1990.

3) Patriots 41, Chargers 28— Kansas City opened as a 3-point favorite in AFC title game. New England lost last three times they played AFC title game on road. Last time Patriots won an NFC title game on road was in 2004, last time they won any road playoff game was 2006. 

This will be the first time in 70 games that a Tom Brady-led team is an underdog. 

Sunday’s game was 38-7 at one point, so final score is misleading; Nantz/Romo emptied their bag of filler material, talking about everything except the PGA Tour, which might’ve been more interesting than some of the stuff they did talk about. 

2) Saints 20, Eagles 14— Philly led 14-0 early, but Saints scored on a drive extended by a fake punt, and they controlled the game from that point on. New Orleans outgained the Eagles 420-250; Philly has a very interesting offseason ahead of it. What to do about Nick Foles? 

Saints’ WR Michael Thomas is really good; he was the 6th WR taken (47th player overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft, which is why the draft is so damn interesting. Inexact science. 

1) Somewhere in this great country, there is a gambler who had Seton Hall (-4) Thursday and Maryland (-5) Friday. Both sides lost vs the spread on last-second 3-pointers; gambling is difficult, and in cases like these two games, it can be cruel.

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

13) Rams 30, Dallas 22— First playoff win in 14 years; it was a happy night in Armadillo World HQ. Rams ran ball for 273 yards behind an offensive line led by 13-year vet Andrew Whitworth, who won the first playoff game of his outstanding career. 

Gurley/Anderson both ran ball for 100+ yards, first RB’s/teammates to run for 100+ in the same playoff game since the 1997 Broncos (Terrell Davis/Derek Loville)

12) Chiefs 31, Colts 13— Terrible game; Indy went 3/out on its first four drives, running dozen plays for 21 yards on a snowy day at Arrowhead, which will now host its first AFC title game in its 47-year history. Who do you think they would rather play, Chargers or Patriots? 

Colts won 10 of their last 12 games after a 1-5 start; this was a rough end to a good season. 

11) Duke 80, Florida State 78
— Zion Williamson got poked in the eye, sat out the entire second half.
— If you’re FSU and can’t beat Duke at home with Williamson missing half the game, thats not a good omen for the rest of the season, especially March.
— Reddish made game-winning 3-pointer; no one guarded him on the OB under. I mean, NO ONE guarded him. 

10) Louisville 83, North Carolina 62— Someone asked Roy Williams after this game if there was one glaring concern for his team. Williams answered, “Basketball” 

Alrighty then. 

9) Georgetown 96, Providence 90 2OT— Hoyas banked in a 3-pointer to tie game at end of regulation, then hit another 3-pointer to tie game with 0:03.4 left in OT. 

Just a thought, but maybe Providence should practice fouling in last 0:10 when they’re up by three points. Very difficult loss for the Friars, and for those who had Providence, +2. 

8) Oklahoma State’s 6-10 freshman Yor Anei has only eight fingers; he lost two fingers on his right hand in an accident with a blender when he was a little kid. TV guys were saying that it doesn’t really hamper his basketball very much. 

7) Upsets of the Day:
— Louisville (+12) 83, North Carolina 62
— Ohio U (+11.5) 70, Ball State 52
— Kansas State (+10) 58, Iowa State 57
— Youngstown St (+10) 82, IUPUI 76
— Georgia Tech (+10) 73, Syracuse 59
— Western Carolina (+9) 94, Citadel 82
— Troy (+7.5) 87, Georgia Southern 85

6) Virginia 63, Clemson 43— Cavaliers won their last 12 ACC road games, and that includes a win at Duke last season. 

5) Baylor loses 6-9 sophomore Tristan Clark for the season with an injury; he was scoring 14.6 ppg, big blow for the Bears. 

4) Texas A&M 81, Alabama 80— Rough week in Tuscaloosa ends with the Aggies’ TJ Starks  going length of the court and hitting a running 3-pointer at the buzzer. 

3) Detroit 93, Milwaukee 84— Titans went 10-26 in Horizon League last two years, so they hired Mike Davis, the old Indiana coach, who brought his son Antoine with him. Detroit is 5-1 in Horizon this year, and Antoine is shooting 42.1% on the arc— he had 48 points in a game earlier this month, had 32 points in this game. 

2) Gonzaga 96, San Francisco 83— Very misleading final score; this was a close game until the last TV timeout. USF has a very good team; they’re second-best team in WCC. 

1) Tennessee 78, Florida 67— Vols had lost last three visits to Gainesville, by 26-17-13 points, so this is a very solid win for them. 

Saturday’s Den: Notes on Las Vegas hotels where I’ve stayed……..

Places where I’ve stayed the most:
— Westgate— Best sportsbook in Las Vegas, by far; on NFL Sundays they open the theater to watch all the games, with food/betting right there. Sid’s Cafe is solid dining option and they have fancier eating options also. Rooms are pretty good but not great, but this is a good place. 

International Bar in front of the casino is very good, and the snack bar has superior cherry danish.

— SouthPoint— Rooms are bigger, pretty nice. Outstanding 24-hour cafe. Also a very good sportsbook, with a hot dog stand right near it during the day and a good bar, snack bar nearby. There is a radio studio in middle of casino, where Brent Musburger has a daily radio show. Bowling alley, movie theater upstairs; away from the Strip, but a very good place. 

— Elara— Behind Planet Hollywood, Elara used to be my go-to place until Hilton bought it and doubled the room prices. Attached to Miracle Mile shops, so in summer can do just about anything you like as far as eating/shopping and never go outside. Excellent place, but out of my price range now, and their rates don’t go down Christmas week. 

Places I like to stay Christmas week, when room rates are lower:
— Vdara— No casino, but a short walk from the Aria. Great rooms, good bar by the front door, decent Market Cafe with pretty good light food (open till midnight). You can walk to Bellagio without going outside. 

— Aria— Really good sportsbook, and I changed my mind about the pizza place right near there, it is solid pizza. There is a Starbucks upstairs near the buffet. Problem is, Aria is way too nice for me. You play video poker at the bar, has to be at least $1.25 a hand, which can be expensive if you go on an extended cold streak. Just like Vdara, great rooms; their gift shop is much better, with a wider assortment of junk food available.

— Mandalay Bay— Great room, with good layout for desk and an odd-shaped couch to relax on. Hot tub in the bathroom never hurts. Pretty good snack bar right near the sportsbook, but the book could use bigger TV screens. 

— Luxor— Room I stayed in was so spacious you could’ve played floor hockey in kitchen area; there was an excellent 24-hour deli in the casino, and the bar area was……how can I say this, full of friendly people. Sportsbook was small but good enough. 

Places I’ve only stayed once or twice…….
— Planet Hollywood— Smallish rooms, good sportsbook, excellent coffee shops (Planet Dailies); the Dueces Wild game at the machines right near Planet Dailies can be generous. Easy access to Miracle Mile shops, which are good to walk around.

— Golden Nugget— My only downtown visit; room was kind of average, but rest of hotel was top-flight, with 24-hour coffee shop that is excellent. Pool is tremendous, sports book is small but must be great in summer to watch baseball. 

Downtown Las Vegas has to be seen to be believed; lot of unique sights, just stay on the beaten path after dark. Enjoyed my ten days here. 

— Bally’s— If you go in spring or fall, Bally’s has a great pool area, trust me on this. I didn’t like the layout of their sportsbook that much, but lot of food areas close by, and it is across the street from Battista’s, one of my favorite restaurants. Didn’t spend much time in the casino while I was there, since the sportsbook is off by itself. 

— Mirage— I am almost 60 years old, but was on the young side of guests there— think it was my 4th day there before I was in an elevator without someone else using a cane or a walker.

I am told the pool there is excellent, but didn’t see it myself; I can attest to fact that The Mirage has great food options— Carnegie Deli (HUGE sandwiches, Dr Brown’s soda), a really good hamburger place and a California Pizza Kitchen. Sportsbook is also pretty good. 

— MGM— Sportsbook area is small but good; very big hotel. My walk from the elevator to my room was pretty long. Food options are solid; my room was smallish, and about 25% of the TV channels were Asian channels. Very close to the adidas outlet store, which cost me more $$$ than video poker. Nice place, just not my thing that much. Not sure the West Wing bar is there anymore, but I liked the West Wing bar. 

— SLS— The old Sahara has the smallest rooms ever; there was a mirror on the ceiling in my room, and mirrors on shower door and bathroom door, to make room look bigger. Last thing I want to see while I’m laying in bed is…….me. 

Room did have a good seating area at foot of the bed; I enjoyed my stay there, but there is only a counter to place sports bets, no real sportsbook. Hamburger place was pretty good, but I’m still waiting to win one hand of video poker— got completely crushed there, to point where I’m not sure those machines ever pay out. 

— Sun Coast— Quietest casino ever; located up in Summerlin, pretty close to where Snoop Dawg lived in the reality show he was in a few years ago. Most of time there were more security guys than customers in Sun Coast. Was told they had an incident just before my stay, which is why the security was enhanced. 

I remember there was group of Toronto Maple Leaf fans there gloating about a playoff win over the Bruins, only Toronto blew the lead late in game and those people wound up drowning their sorrows while I played video poker. 

This place looks just like South Point, just no 24-hour coffee shop; there is a good bar near the sportsbook, and the movie theater serves Orville Redenbacher popcorn, which is important if you’re watching games in the sportsbook. 

— Excalibur— Been long time since I stayed there, am assuming it is lot different now than way back then. If you like watching guys dressed up in medieval outfits juggling or playing a bugle, this is your place. Great spot on the Strip, close to MGM, Luxor and T-Mobile Arena. 

— Rio— Stayed there one night in July 2010, but their Internet wouldn’t support posting my website stuff so I left, which is how I wound up staying at the Elara. This was during the World Series of Poker, which was great fun to walk thru for 20-30 minutes, until I realized that I didn’t come 2,300 miles to watch other people play cards. 

— Stratosphere— Never stayed there, but have to recommend the Italian restaurant downstairs in the casino, Fellini’s; really good place. Old school Italian restaurant. 

Friday’s List of 13: Basketball notes from this week……

13) Marquette 106, Creighton 104 OT— Bluejays totally butchered game management at end of regulation; they had ball out of bounds with 0:00.8 left, up 3 points- they throw the ball the length of the court, but it goes out of bounds without being touched, then Marquette drains a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer to force OT. 

All they had to do was flip the ball to a Marquette player inside the arc and the game was over, but thats not what happened. 

Marquette’s Markus Howard scored 53 points, most ever in a Big East game; he nailed 10-14 treys, 13-15 on foul line. Horrific home loss for Creighton.

12) Virginia Tech 52, Georgia Tech 49— Look at this score, then you remember that Markus Howard scored 53 by himself at Creighton. Different styles of play, for sure.

11) UCLA 87, Oregon 84 OT— Staggering collapse by the Ducks, who led 76-68 with 0:44 left in regulation- it was 72-59 with 2:30 left. Bruins are 3-0 under interim coach Murry Bartow. 

10) Villanova 76, St John’s 71— Red Storm led by 13 early, by 5 with 3:48 left, but faded badly down stretch and lost for second time in four Big East games. Villanova ended the game on a decisive 14-4 run. 

Sign of times; there were 67 3-pointers taken in this game, 48 2-pointers, 30 foul shots. Red Storm basically played only six guys (a 7th guy played 5:00). 67 possessions; slow tempo, lot of jump shots late in the shot clock.  

9) Hofstra 93, William & Mary 90, 3OT—Visiting Pride led by 10 at the half, survived in triple OT— four Hofstra kids played 42:00+, with Wright-Foreman playing whole 55:00. Four guys on W&M played 44:00. 

Bad beat of the night: Northeastern (-9) won/covered 81-70 at Elon, but in OT. If you have the underdog +9 and the game goes overtime, you’re supposed to win.

8) ESPN has obviously told his game analysts to hype up Zion Williamson at every chance, the way they did with Trey Young LY and Ben Simmons the year he was at LSU. 

Williamson doesn’t need the hype, he is really good, but ESPN has this new thing where they seem to choose one player a year and they hype him up so much that you wind up rooting against him. 

7) Warriors 122, Knicks 95— Klay Thompson scored 43 points for the Warriors Tuesday, on 29 shots. On the 29 touches where he shot, Thompson dribbled a total of four times. Four. 

6) Pitt 89, Louisville 86 OT— Panthers end a 23-game ACC regular season losing streak. Jeff Capel has Pitt heading in the right direction, and he’s done it quickly. 

5) Eastern Michigan 84, Ball State 82, 2OT— Ball’s Trey Moses had 16 points, 10 assists, but he was 4-15 on the foul line in a game the Cardinals led by 3 in the last minute of regulation. Tough way to lose; Ball State was 15-30 on foul line in a 2-point loss.  

4) Ole Miss 82, Auburn 67— Rebels outscored Auburn 27-9 on foul line, never trailed in moving to 12-2 under new coach Kermit Davis, who built a mid-major power at Middle Tennessee the last few years.

3) Quinnipiac 89, Monmouth 83, 2OT— Bobcats led 63-49 with 1:36 to play, blew the lead, as Monmouth somehow scored 34 points in last 11:36 of this game, but still lost. Quinnipiac was -8 (22-14) in turnovers, but still got the win. 

2) Kansas State 71, West Virginia 69— Wildcats trailed 20-3 early, by 21 with 17:46 left, but rallied to hand the Mountaineers their third straight Big X loss. West Virginia is 0-3 in its conference for first time since an 0-6 start in the ’02 Big East.

1) There were 32 games in the Las Vegas rotation Wednesday night; in 8 of the 32 games, the team that lost had a lead of 10+ points at some point in the game; five of those teams led by 14+ points at one point. Lot of runs/droughts in college games these days. 

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

13) USC’s AD Lynn Swann is taking grief in Los Angeles over the Kliff Kingsbury fiasco, where the Trojans hired Kingsbury as their new OC, then 34 days later, watched Kingsbury run off to be head coach of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. 

Had Swann waited until the eight NFL head coach openings were filled, he would’ve been spared the embarrassment of hiring a guy who didn’t want to be there. Now he has to hire another OC, and it is less than a month until Signing Day for recruits. Not good. 

12) Kliff Kingsbury said couple of months ago that he would take Kyler Murray with the first pick in the draft, if he could. Well…… he can, since Arizona has the first pick in the draft. 

Would another team trade for Josh Rosen and open the door for that to happen? 

11) Denver Broncos hired Bears’ DC Vic Fangio as their new head coach, beating out Steelers’ OL coach Mike Munchak- those two coaches were born about five miles apart near Scranton, PA. 

10) Jets signed Adam Gase as coach; Gase went 23-26 as the Dolphins’ coach, losing his only playoff game 30-12 at Pittsburgh in 2016. Gase went 5-1 against the Jets with Miami. 

Everyone except Denver is anxious to sign offense-geared head coaches. 

9) Tennessee Vols hired OC Jim Chaney away from Georgia; he will be Tennessee’s 4th OC the last four years- he was make $950,000 a year in Athens, so safe to say he got a hefty raise to move to Knoxville.

8) Cleveland Browns hired OC Freddie Kitchens as its new HC, based on his development of rookie QB Baker Mayfield. Most assistant coaches were fired, including DC Gregg Williams, who was interim coach when the Browns won five of their last seven games. 

This is similar reasoning that Tampa Bay used a few years ago when Buccaneers fired HC Lovie Smith and promoted Dirk Koetter to HC, figuring that Koetter was instrumental in the development of QB Jameis Winston— how did that turn out for them? 

Kitchens is the 6th former Alabama football player to become an NFL head coach, last one being Mike Riley with the Chargers.

7) Usually, sign-up for the Westgate SuperBook’s NFL handicapping contest starts in July; this year, they’re hoping to start signing people up on March 1. Over 3,000 people were in this year’s contest; the champ won over $1.4M.

6) New Mexico Lobos basketball player Corey Manigault is the nephew of playground legend Earl (the Goat) Manigault, a famous New York City ballplayer from a long time ago whose career was derailed by off-court issues.

5) Trivia you get from the movies: When Jesse Owens won the gold medal in the 200-meter sprint in the 1936 Olympics. he won by :00.4 seconds over a guy named Mack Robinson. 

You may have heard of Mack’s younger brother, Jackie Robinson. Pretty good baseball player. 

4) Saben Lee, who plays basketball for Vanderbilt, is the son of former Florida State/NFL running back Amp Lee, who played nine years in the NFL for four teams. 

Amp Lee caught the last TD pass Joe Montana threw for the 49ers; later on, he won a Super Bowl ring with the 1999 Rams. 

3) Milwaukee Brewers signed C Yasmani Grandal to a one-year contract for $18.25M. 

2) Tuesday, four armed guards entered the New Orleans Saints’ locker room, with Coach Sean Payton wheeling the Lombardi Trophy in, on top of $225k in cash. 

Payton asked the team: “Y’all want this??? Win 3 F’n games.”

The locker room erupted. $225k is each player’s Super Bowl bonus. 

1) Last time Cowboys/Rams met in the playoffs was in January of ’86, when the Dieter Brock-led Rams shut Dallas out 20-0 in Anaheim. That was 20 days before current Rams’ coach Sean McVay was born. 

Dallas’ OC Scott Linehan used to be the Rams’ head coach.
Rams’ DC Wade Phillips used to be the Cowboys’ head coach.

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

13) Green Bay Packers hired Titans’ OC Matt LaFleur as their new head coach. In 2017, LaFleur served as OC under Sean McVay in Los Angeles in a season where the Rams finished the year ranked as the NFL’s 10th best offense. 

LaFleur also spent three seasons on the same coaching staff with McVay in Washington (2011-13) with LaFleur serving as QB coach and McVay serving as tight ends coach.

12) Atlanta Falcons fortified their coaching staff by adding two former head coaches as assistants; Dirk Koetter as OC, Mike Mularkey as tight ends’ coach. Koetter is an upgrade at OC over Steve Sarkisian. 

11) Since 1994, Kansas City Chiefs are 0-6 in home playoff games; last time they won a home playoff game, 27-24 over the Steelers in ‘94, their QB was Joe Montana. 

This year’s Chiefs are first-ever NFL team to score 26+ points in every game of a season. 

10) From Josh Dubow of AP: Last time Nick Saban lost a game by more than 14 points was December 17, 2006, when Buffalo beat Saban’s Miami Dolphins 21-0 behind three TD passes from JP Losman. 

Lot of water under the bridge since then. 

9) Arizona Cardinals parted ways wth coach Bruce Arians after LY, then drafted a young QB and hired a new coach who is defense-oriented, who they then fired after one year. 

Meanwhile, Arians is about to resurface as the coach in Tampa Bay, while young QB Rosen didn’t have a great year. I’m not sure what the Cardinals were thinking when they cut Arians loose, but hiring Kliff Kingsbury at least makes some sense for them- it should be good for Rosen’s career. 

8) On the flip side of that argument is this: Texas Tech fired Kingsbury Nov 26; 43 days later, he’s an NFL head coach? Thats a career move that hasn’t happened very often, if ever. 

7) In each of last ten years, Miami Dolphins’ record has ranged from 6-10 to 10-6; they’re only team in NFL that can say that. Dolphins have made the playoffs twice in last 17 years. Last time Miami won or lost more than 10 games in a season was their 11-5 season in 2008. 

6) Underrated coach: Kenny Atkinson of the Brooklyn Nets, who has led his team to a 20-22 record this season. Nets last finished over .500 five years ago; they won less than 30 games the last three years, so Atkinson is doing good work with a roster full of guys lot of other teams didn’t want. Nets right now hold the 8th and final playoff spot in the East. 

5) With Titans’ OC Matt LaFleur being hired as head coach in Green Bay, that means Marcus Mariota will have his 4th OC in five years with Tennessee next season. Not good. 

Meanwhile, Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins tweeted that he “didn’t want to go back to the crib.” Haskins is from New Jersey; he posted a pic of him in a Giants’ uniform, but then the tweet was quickly deleted. His agent probably had a heart attack when he saw the tweet. 

4) If you’re betting on the Sony Open golf tournament this weekend, keep in mind that the last five Sony Open champs also played in Kapalua the week before. 

3) Mike McKenna became the 7th different goalie to start for the Philadelphia Flyers this year, tying the 1989-90 Quebec Nordiques for the most goalies ever used in one season. 

2) In the last 27 years, Washington Redskins are only NFL  team that hasn’t had at least one season when they went 11-5 or better; even the Browns and Lions had one. New England has had 16 of them. 

1) Dueling trends: Patriots covered 12 of their last 15 home games; Chargers are 9-0 SU outside of Los Angeles this season. 

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

13) Philadelphia Eagles were -2 in turnovers at Chicago Sunday; over the last 40 years, NFL road playoff teams who were -2 or worse in turnovers went 4-112 in those games. 

But the Eagles won, so make that 5-112. Turnovers are still important. 

12) Turns out the Chargers used seven defensive backs on every snap but one against the Ravens Sunday, which neutralized Lamar Jackson’s speed when he scrambled. 

11) Underdogs covered the last ten NFL playoff games. 

10) How is it that Kliff Kingsbury gets the boot at freakin’ Texas Tech, but is a hot commodity with NFL teams? Mike Leach won at Texas Tech, but doesn’t get any NFL looks. Having coached Pat Mahomes elevates his resume; would Lincoln Riley be a hot commodity now if he showed interest in an NFL head coaching job? 

9) Ohio State hired Michigan DL coach Greg Mattison as its new co-defensive coordinator; he will team with former San Francisco 49ers DB’s coach Jeff Hafley, as new HC Ryan Day tells former Rutgers/Bucs’ HC Greg Schiano to take a hike.

8) Speaking of the Buckeyes, QB Dwayne Haskins declared for the NFL Draft, which figures since QB Justin Fields transferred from Georgia to Ohio State last week. If Haskins was staying in Columbus, Fields would’ve transferred somewhere else.

7) Is Haskins a first round draft pick? The last QB from a Big 14 school to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft was Kerry Collins, way back in 1995. Tom Brady/Drew Brees weren’t first round draft picks.

6) Things can change quickly. Three years ago, golfer Xander Schauffele started his season by missing nine of 12 cuts on the Tour; he wound up earning his PGA Tour card by only $11,687. Now he leads the race for the FedEx Cup (worth $10M). 

5) #1 seeds in this round of NFL playoffs are 5-1 vs spread the last three years, but there is a quirk in there; Eagles were actually a home underdog to Atlanta in this round LY, because of Carson Wentz being hurt and his backup (the now-famous Nick Foles) starting in his place. 

4) Major league baseball had a 4% drop in attendance last year, blamed in large part on bad weather in the spring and a change in how the Marlins and the Blue Jays accounted for sales (Marlins were lying about attendance before their sale). 

Overall, the major leagues topped the $10B mark last year in total revenue. 

3) Movie recommendation; Molly’s Game is playing on Showtime this month, a terrific movie (and a true story) about a woman who ran an underground poker game for celebrities and rich people in Los Angeles, and later New York. Tremendous movie.

2) Favorites covered eight of first nine ACC conference basketball games this season. 

1)Clemson 44, Alabama 16:
— Sixth straight year underdog covered the national title game.
— Alabama didn’t score in last 44:18 of this game.
— Clemson ran a pick-6 in for a TD 1:40 into this game
— Tigers converted 10-15 on third down, Alabama only 4-13.
— Clemson WR Justyn Boyd looked like freakin’ Fred Biletnikoff, catching six balls for 153 yards and two TD’s; kid has tremendous hands.
— Clemson won two of the last three national titles; Alabama is still damn good.