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

13) All major league baseball games Sunday start at 3pm, to maximize drama if any of the games factor into the playoff race.

12) Last Sunday in Miami, the Browns’ Terrelle Pryor was the first NFL player since the 49ers’ Billy Kilmer in 1962 to throw 4+ passes, catch 4+ passes and carry ball 4+ times in the same game.

If you’re an older human like me, you remember Kilmer as a gimpy QB for the Redskins team that lost a Super Bowl to Miami. But before a car accident in the mid-60’s, Kilmer was actually a pretty good runner.

11) Colorado’s Tyler Chatwood finishes the season with a 1.69 ERA in 13 road starts (80 IP). Very impressive, but unfortunately for him, he also has a 6.12 ERA in 14 home starts in the thin air of Denver’s Coors Field.

10) Umps appeared to have fouled up the end of the Reds-Cardinals game Thursday night; Yadier Molina hit a ball that should’ve been a ground rule double, keeping the game-winning runner on third with two out, but umps didn’t realize it was an issue and the Reds didn’t challenge quickly enough, so the Cardinals win 4-3 with a controversial ending.

Umpires need to stick around for an extra couple minutes at the end of close games like this, to make sure nothing gets screwed up– this looked really, really bad, it being a critical game in the Wild Card race.

9) Bad news for the Oklahoma City Thunder; backup guard Cameron Payne broke his foot and will be out for a while, maybe a long while.

8) When Dodgers lost Wednesday, it was first time in 19 games this season LA hit 3+ homers in a game and lost.

7) Marvin Lewis has been the Bengals’ coach since 2003; Adam Gase in the Dolphins’ 9th head coach since Lewis has been in Cincinnati.

6) Not only is JJ Watt out for the Texans, now coach Bill O’Brien has taken the play calling away from his OC and will do it himself. Alrighty then.

5) If you like to bet first five innings results in baseball, you may know that Milwaukee is 69-71 in first five innings, Texas is 67-70— pretty similar team???

Upon further review, the Brewers are 71-88 and waiting for the season to end, while Texas jogged into the playoffs, thanks to its 36-11 record in one-run games. Bullpens are important.

4) More bad news for the Philadelphia 76ers, as if they needed any more; prized rookie Ben Simmons broke a bone in his foot, an injury that typically takes eight weeks to heal. NBA season starts in 3.5 weeks.

3) Cleveland Browns are not getting star WR Josh Gordon back next week; he will enter a substance treatment program— there was no timeframe announced for his return, but it is being suggested that the Browns don’t want him around anymore. We wish him well in his recovery.

2) Turns out that Les Miles turned down the Michigan head coaching job back in 2011 to stay at LSU, which wound up firing him last week despite a 114-34 record. Miles is a Michigan alum.

1— There is a lot of speculation that if freshman QB Blake Barnett (just transferred out of Alabama) can enroll in a college that is on the quarter-system (five of 12 Pac-12 schools are), then he could be eligible to play at this time next fall, instead of sitting out an entire season. Stay tuned on this one.

CBS Sports’/former college coach Rick Neuheisel had this to say: “Lot of parents these days believe that if he ain’t starting, then he’ll be departing”, regarding their kids and playing time.

Not a lot of patience in today’s world.

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

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

13) Stanford-Washington is big game in Pac-12 North; Huskies needed OT to win at Arizona last week. Cardinal beat USC/UCLA last two weeks; they’re due for a letdown.

12) How healthy is Russell Wilson? Seattle has its bye next week; Wilson has already hurt an ankle and a knee in three games. If Wilson can’t go, TCU rookie Boykin would get his first NFL start in unfriendly Swamp Stadium, against a Jet squad that is 15-10 vs spread at home the last 3+ seasons. Jets had eight turnovers in an awful loss at Arrowhead last week.

11) Memphis-Ole Miss is regional rivalry, of sorts; they do some recruiting against one another. Tigers have been unable to get into a Power 5 league; games like this against an SEC opponent are important to them.

10) Falcons are averaging 7.0 yards per play, best in NFL; they can go up two games on defending NFC champ Carolina in NFC South with win here.

9) USC is 1-3 but is a 10-point home favorite over an Arizona State team that plays wild games- they’ve been lousy on defense but are still 4-0. Trojan Nation is not used to being 1-3.

8) Whats the deal with 9:30am ET NFL games from England? Colts-Jaguars is not something I’m anxious to set my alarm for. Rams play the Giants in three weeks, also a 9:30 kickoff, so it can be a day game in England. When is a person supposed to sleep?

7) Field for the baseball playoffs should be set by Sunday night; will they need playoff game(s) to figure out who the Wild Cards are?

6) Ed Orgeron is the interim coach for LSU, which is a 13-point favorite over Missouri. Curious to see if he has changed their offense in the six days since Les Miles was fired- he said he wants them to run the spread. Oregon was once the interim coach at USC and the head coach at Ole Miss. How much can you change in six days?

5) How good are the 3-0 Ravens? They’ve played Bills-Browns-Jaguars, none of whom bear any resemblance to the ’72 Dolphins, but you are what you are and they’re 3-0. Oakland comes to town with a high scoring offense— this is an interesting game.

4) Oklahoma-TCU should be a good game; Horned Frogs have one of the youngest teams in country, but they’re still very talented. Sooners are 1-2, play Texas next week. Tense times in Norman.

3) Drew Brees plays his first game as a visitor in San Diego, 11 years after his last season for the Chargers. New Orleans is traveling on a short week; their defense is terrible, but Chargers have had a hard time holding leads in their two losses so far.

2) Disappointed that Oregon-Washington State is on Pac-12 Network, since DirecTV doesn’t carry it. Just got my DirecTV bill a few minutes ago; for what I’m paying, they should throw in the Pac-12 Network for free. But thats not how rich people get rich.

1) I really like Jameis Winston as a prospect but he panicked on the last play against the Rams LW, losing track of where the line of scrimmage was. Very interested in how he does against this strong Denver defense.

Thursday’s List of 13: NFL knowledge to ponder

13) Minnesota Vikings are 3-0, despite scoring only three offensive TDs, tied with Houston for fewest in NFL. Vikings’ defense scored two TDs in the Tennessee game and ran a punt back for a score last week- you look at their offensive stats and wonder how the hell they’re 3-0, but they are.

12) Giants’ first three games were decided by total of six points; they were minus in turnovers all three games (-6) but the defense has forced 12 field goal tries, while allowing only four TDs, so they’ve been tough in the red zone.

11) Eagles had a great first three weeks, but have their bye this week, much like the Bengals two years ago, when they started the season 3-0, had their bye week……..then went 0-2-1 in their next three games. Momentum is a funny thing; you want to keep playing when things are going well.

10) 49ers have gone 3/out 17 times on 35 drives, most in NFL; Rams are next (15 of 34). Oakland/Atlanta have gone 3/out fewest times (three each).

Carolina has forced opponents to go 3/out 17 times on 34 drives, most in NFL; Texans are next, with 15 on 37 drives. Strangely, Patriots/Steelers have forced the fewest 3/outs (four each).

9) Falcons (7.0), Raiders (6.7) Redskins (6.5) are averaging the most yards per play. Rams/49ers (4.4 each) are last in yards/play, followed by Texans/Vikings (4.6).

8) Colts/Jets have allowed three TDs by defense/special teams, most in NFL. Saints, Bucs and Titans allowed two each. Minnesota scored three on defense/special teams, most in the league.

7) Colts play in London this week; usually the teams that play in London have their bye week the next week, but Indy requested that not happen this year, so I’ll be curious to see how they do next week, after so much travelling this week.

6) Buffalo Bills are only team in league two TD plays of 50+ yards this season. Jets have allowed three TDs of 50+ yards, most in NFL.

5) Colts have nine TDs thru three games, all on drives of 75+ yards, most in NFL. Chiefs have only one TD drive of 75+ yards in their first three games. Atlanta has allowed 12 TDs, all on drives of 75+ yards. Not good.

2) Cowboys (21 of 40), Lions (20 of 39) are only two teams converting more than half their 3rd down plays. Bills (10 of 36), Jaguars (12 of 42) have converted the lowest percentage on 3rd down.

1) Panthers/Bucs (218 each) have run the most plays this month, with Texans 3rd at 211. Bills (159), Bears (168) and Vikings (172) have run the fewest plays from scrimmage.

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

13) Tremendously obscure baseball trivia: In the history of baseball, only one player has homered in his first AND last major league at-bat.

John Miller played in six games in 1966, 26 in 1969, that’s it; he went 10-61 in those 32 games with two homers, three RBI, three walks. His homers came in his first and last major league at-bats.

The only major leaguer EVER to do that.

12) Detroit Lions got called for a 66-yard pass interference penalty in Green Bay Sunday, the longest PI penalty in at least 15 years.

11) Carolina Panthers have run the ball for 100+ yards in each of their last 30 games; the next-highest streak in the NFL is Dallas, with 7.

10) I like to track how the six most popular picks in the Westgate Super Contest fare each week; so far after three weeks, they’re 4-14 vs spread, including 0-6 in Week 3. Not good.

9) If your favorite NFL team is 0-3 (Saints-Jags-Browns-Bears), keep in mind that from 2002-15, 69 NFL teams were 0-3. None of them made the playoffs. San Diego did get to the Super Bowl once after an 0-4 start, but that was a long time ago.

8) Rams are 2-1 for the first time since 2006. Ten long years.

7) Florida International fired football coach Ron Turner, who is Norv Turner’s brother. FIU is 0-4 with three losses by 21+ points.

6) Mets were losing 10-8 in ninth inning the other day; TV analyst Keith Hernandez is adamant that hitters have to take a strike, since the closer for the Phillies has trouble throwing strikes. You could almost hear him biting his tongue when the leadoff hitter hit a fly ball to center on the first pitch, then the next hitter fouled off the first pitch.

Would’ve been interesting if Hernandez said what he was thinking after the first-pitch swings- he just grunted after the second one.

5) In their first three games, Indianapolis Colts were down 21-10, 13-6 and tied 13-13 at halftime. On their first drive of the third quarter, Indy has driven 85-79-75 yards for three touchdowns.

4) ESPN college football analyst Ed Cunningham had the Cal-Arizona State game in Tempe Saturday; he told a story of when he played offensive line for the Cardinals, he lost 14 pounds during an exhibition game in Sun Devil Stadium. That couldn’t have been a lot of fun.

3) Ivy League finally relented and will have a four-team basketball conference tournament in March. Only eight teams in the league; will be fun to see teams compete to get into the NCAA tournament.

2) Parents of Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter do a commercial for a sporting goods store on a St Louis TV station. Not sure how they came up with that idea, but it is a pretty cool commercial.

1– You think about how hard Jose Fernandez (and others) worked to get to this country from Cuba and how happy they appear to be here, getting paid to play a game they love.

Some of us have lost sight of how lucky we are to live in this country, not that it is a perfect place- there are no perfect places, but we’re free to do what we want and say what we think here and that isn’t true everywhere.

We need to tolerate each other more and enjoy our time here. We’re not guaranteed anything, that much we learned this past weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not good.

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

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

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

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

This is shaping up as the Year of the Inexperienced QB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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