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

13) Cam Newton was whining about late hits again Sunday, after Carolina beat the Cardinals. Guess he did it then so people could not call him a sore loser, since they had won.

Best part of this is that Carolina goes to LA this week to play the Rams, usually thought of as a dirty team. Refs might start throwing flags during warmups, just to get loosened up. Great.

12) Coco Crisp was going to get $13M from the A’s in 2017 if he played in 140 games this year, something like that. Since his skills are in decline, they were making sure he wasn’t going to reach 140 games, and he voiced his displeasure with that.

Note: It would’ve been incredibly stupid to pay him $13M next year. Fair or unfair, it was good business.

So to quiet the storm and I guess reward a player who had helped the A’s over the last few years, Oakland dealt him to the Indians on August 31 for an obscure lefty reliever named Colt Hynes. Weird circumstances can help a team win a championship.

11) Phoenix Suns have a young player named Alan Williams who was a good very player at Cal-Santa Barbara. If any of the Suns have trouble with the law, they can call Alan up— his mom just got named police chief for the city of Phoenix.

10) Jacksonville Jaguars just fired their OC in large part because the QB had regressed. Who did they replace the OC with? the QB coach, who is in charge of making sure the QB didn’t regress. Oy.

9) Now that the Cleveland Cavaliers are champs, ever wonder what their former coach David Blatt is doing? Guy got fired last year; you have to wonder what he is doing now. Is he coaching somewhere? Did he go back overseas?

Would be interesting if Blatt went on TV, to hear what he had to say. Former coaches are usually better than former players on TV.

8) Who was the first DH in MLB history? Ron Blomberg walked with the bases loaded against Luis Tiant in Fenway Park, in April of 1973, in the first big league AB by a designated hitter.

7) Russell Westbrook is the first NBA player since at least 1983 with 40+ field goal attempts, 20+ free throws and 10+ assists in the same game. He is also the first guy since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975 to get a triple double with 50+ points.

6) Former Bills’ coach Mark Levy is 91; he looks great. Coach Levy was at Wrigley Field Friday night and was also there for the 1945 World Series, the last time the Cubs played in the Series, before this year.

5) Texas Longhorns haven’t had an offensive player taken in the first round of the NFL Draft since QB Vince Young, in 2006.

4) CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders closed out Taylor Field this week; lot of history there. Toronto Blue Jays actually played exhibition games in Regina in 1989 and 1993.

3) If you’ve never experienced Halloween in Las Vegas, I highly recommend it; few years ago, think it was 2012, i spent a weekend at the South Point Casino, which is a really good place, has a bowling alley, movie theater and 24-hour coffee shop as well as an excellent sports book. South Point also has an equestrian arena, so when the pro rodeo is in town, the cowboys stay there.

I had no idea there was such a thing as pro rodeo, so the first night I am there, I walk down into the casino and 95% of the people there are dressed like the cast of Blazing Saddles.

I ask the security guard if it is cowboy Halloween party and he says “No, the pro rodeo is in town.” I tell him I never heard of the pro rodeo. He looks at me and says “Where are you from?”

OK, so we don’t have rodeo in New York…….

2) So couple nights later, the rodeo is out of town and it is Saturday night and I notice a red carpet with TV cameras near the entrance. Ask the same security guard whats up.

“Oh, the fetish and fantasy ball is tonight.” he says. I give him a knowing look, not wanting to be a fool again, since I know we have fetish and fantasy here in New York but I had no idea what I was about to see.

An astounding parade of people in all kinds of costumes that were, um……revealing to say the least. I’m leaning up against a slot machine watching this in total amazement.

1) So I watch the parade for a little while then go watch the late college football games; after that I’m going up to my room for something and I get on the elevator with this couple from the fetish and fantasy ball.

He is dressed as a prison guard, handcuffs, night stick and all; she is in shackles and a neck collar, with an outfit that is torn in very strategic places. She had to be a model or a porn star, totally gorgeous and it is just the three of us on the elevator. I have zero idea what to do or say.

So I say nothing until we get to my floor and I wish them a Happy Halloween as I get off the elevator. I’m guessing they did.

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

Raiders 30, Buccaneers 24 OT— Oakland is 5-0 on road for first time since 1977; all five of their wins are east of Mississippi- they outgained Tampa Bay 626-270 in a game that went OT, but Raiders set an NFL record with 23 penalties for 200 yards. Jameis Winston has regressed; he was not an accurate passer in this game.

Redskins 27, Bengals 27 OT— Second tie in two weeks; Washington was awful in red zone (4 trips, 10 points), missed a 34-yard walk-off FG in OT. Cousins threw for 458 yards, but Redskins had 106 penalty yards in game where teams combined to convert 16 of 32 on third down. Cincy had 35 first downs, Washington 30.

Titans 36, Jaguars 22— I’m not sure how Jax coach Bradley still has a job after this debacle on Thursday, but he does. Jaguars fired the OC instead. When the sideline reporter asks you at halftime, “Do you think your team has quit on you?” it is a pretty good indication you should lose your job, but Bradley is still employed. What a country.

Texans 20, Lions 13— Sometimes life is simple; Houston is 5-0 at home, 0-3 on the road. Texans had a 17-yard edge in field position in this game- teams like that very seldom lose. In a domed stadium, neither team gained 300 yards, which is odd. All eight tDetroit games have been decided by 7 or less points.

Saints 25, Seahawks 20— Seattle’s offense is banged-up; when you score only one offensive TD against the Saints, thats a huge red flag. New Orleans won three of last four games, is 5-1 vs spread in last six. Russell Wilson ran ball three times for 11 yards; until those numbers get better, Seattle is off-limits for me. Wilson’s mobility makes him great.

Patriots 41, Bills 25— Brady’s four games this year: W33-13, W35-17, W27-16, W41-25. Yards per pass in those games: 9.6, 9.4, 8.5, 7.5.

There were 129 offensive plays in this game and 22 accepted penalties for 200 yards, In the TCU-Texas Tech game Saturday, there were 175 offensive plays, with 5 accepted penalties for 35 yards. NFL is terribly over-officiated; no one pays to watch men in striped shirts throw flags.

Jets 31, Browns 28— Cleveland led 20-7 at the half, but they’ve now been outscored 131-51 in second half of games. Browns hired a “genius” from Harvard to run their front office, same guy who was Billy Beane’s right-hand guy for a while with the Oakland A’s (Jonah Hill’s character in Moneyball). Browns are 0-8; wonder what Hue Jackson thinks of his boss, the genius, the guy who gets him players?

Chiefs 30, Colts 14— Nick Foles came on in relief of a banged-up Alex Smith, was 16-22/223 in his first significant action as a Chief. As a Ram fan, I’m happy for Foles, who got a raw deal from the Rams- when protected, he is pretty good. KC was +2 in turnovers in this game; since Week 2, NFL teams that are +2 or better in turnovers are 36-3.

Panthers 30, Cardinals 20— Eight sacks for Carolina in this game; have to be worried for the Arizona offense- they outgained Seattle 443-257 last week, but tied 6-6. Cardinals ran ball only 10 times for 24 yards- no balance. This game was 24-7 at the half. NFC West teams are 5-11 vs spread in non-divisional games this season.

Falcons 33, Packers 32— Dan Quinn has coached 24 games for Atlanta; underdogs are 20-3 vs spread in those games (one game at Tampa LY was pick ‘em). Over is 7-1 in Falcon games this year, because a) their defense sucks and b) they’ve got a good passing game and they play home games in a dome. For three of four Packers who caught a TD pass in this game, it was their first career TD catch.

Broncos 27, Chargers 19— This has been a weird week; in first 10 games of the week other than this one, there were a total of 15 turnovers in 10 games- not many. In this game, both teams turned ball over three times, with each team scoring on a pick-6. Denver DC Wade Phillips (age 69) was taken to hospital after a sideline collision in second quarter- looked like his head hit the ground after the collision. Obviously, we hope he is feeling better.

Cowboys 29, Eagles 23 OT– Second year in row these divisional rivals played OT in Dallas; this time Cowboys won in battle of rookie QB’s. One thing that stands out from stats; Dallas had six plays of 20+ yards, Eagles had none. Philly has now lost three of last four games after a 3-0 start, with five offensive TDs in last four games.

Cubs 3, Indians 2– FOX and ticket scalpers in Cleveland are happy with this score- Game 6 is Tuesday in Cleveland. One thing puzzles me; why do so many famous people root for the Cubs? Eddie Vedder, Bill Murray, Jim Belushi, Joe Mantegna, Vince Vaughn, Bob Newhart. There don’t seem to be many famous Indian fans.

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

13) Wyoming 30, Boise State 28— Wyoming coach Craig Bohl won three consecutive I-AA national titles at North Dakota State; this is his third year in Laramie- he went 4-8/2-10 in his first two years, but behind the terrific soph QB Allen, Cowboys are 6-2 and on a serious roll. This is a great, great win for Wyoming, which trailed 21-7 early.

12) Clemson 37, Florida State 34— This was a great college football game.

Showtime will have tough time whittling highlights of this game into their Tuesday night reality show on the Seminoles. I said this once before this year and I’ll say it again; Dalvin Cook is the best college RB in the country. He is a beast and he plays every game.

Trivia: Rex Ryan’s son is Clemson’s long snapper.

Florida State QB Francois got pummeled in this game; he was like the QB in the movie Friday Night Lights in the climactic state championship game— he got crushed, but that was a movie and this was very real. Young Francois is a freshman and a damn tough kid.

11) Temple 34, Cincinnati 13— Why hasn’t Temple coach Matt Rhule gotten a better job? Guy is 21-13 in his last 34 games at Temple, where winning one game used to be a big deal. Owls outgained Cincy 474-186 in this one- they’ve won five of their last six games.

10) Auburn 40, Ole Miss 29— Brent Musburger is 77 years old; if I’m lucky enough to live that long, I pray to God that I have Brent’s enthusiasm and energy for what he does. He is still the best at his job. This wasn’t an easy game to call, with not many huddles and lot of scoring, but Brent and analyst Jesse Palmer are a great team and a pleasure to listen to.

9) Texas 35, Baylor 34— Bears lost a fumble inside the Texas 10 and kicked FGs of 24 and 27 years, meaning they failed in the red zone and that cost them this game.

8) Notre Dame 30, Miami 27— Hurricanes are now 4-4 after a 4-0 start; they stormed back from down 20-0 to lead 27-20, but couldn’t finish the job. There was a time when this was THE GAME of the regular season in college football; that seems like a long time ago, because it was.

7) Texas Tech 27, TCU 24 OT— Last year, Horned Frogs beat Tech 55-52; two years ago, it was 82-28, so you know Kliff Kingsbury has to be a happy man today.

6) South Carolina 24, Tennessee 21— I was at this game in 2008; what a great day. Sat all day in a folding chair in a field next to a Winnebago, watching a flatscreen TV that was in the luggage compartment of the Winnebago and attached to a satellite dish. Ate Church’s fried chicken, the best fried chicken ever and talked football for 6 or 7 hours before going across the street to the stadium. It was 75-80 degrees in late October; good stuff.

5) Houston 31, Central Florida 24— UCF led this game 21-3 at the half; Knights were winless last year, but are 4-4 and will be very good soon if they can keep coach Frost in Orlando. As for Houston, they’ve lost their confidence/swagger with two losses- maybe this will help them get it back.

4) Thursday night was Upset Night in the MAC this week; 16.5-point dog Ohio U won 31-26 at Toledo, 18-point underdog Buffalo won at home over the Akron Zips.

3) Michigan 32, Michigan State 23— Spartans had bedeviled Michigan for most of the last decade and gave them fits here, but Wolverines held on and State is 0-5 in the Big 14 for the first time since 1982.

2) Washington 31, Utah 24— Huskies are 8-0 but because they play in the northwest, no one in the media cares too much. Washington coach Chris Petersen was the Boise State coach who won that bowl game against Oklahoma with a trick play- he is building a powerhouse in the Pac-12. Their Apple Cup game with Washington State will be a huge game nationally.

1— Kent State 27, Central Michigan 24— Golden Flashes kicked a FG at the gun to win it; their kicker wears #57 but doesn’t look like a LB or a center. Didn’t have lot of faith in him to make the kick but he did, so tonight, he is big man on campus, which must be a happy campus with the nearby Indians leading the World Series 3-1.

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

13) I’d be curious to know the winning %age of fantasy football teams that own various star players; for example, on November 3, 2013, Nick Foles threw seven TDs in a game for Philly against the Raiders in Oakland. Seven TDs; it would be good to have Foles on your fantasy team, right?

Foles was on my team that year, but we lost that week; I’d be curious to know what %age of fantasy teams that owned Foles lost that week? Stuff like this interests me.

12) Jimmer Fredette made a comment in an article this week that he wasn’t highly recruited coming out of Glens Falls HS in upstate NY. I live 45 miles south of Glens Falls; I’m not sure why he said that, because I remember watching Jimmer play down in Florida in AAU Nationals and I was talking with a St John’s assistant and they loved Jimmer.

There was a school of thought amongst some coaches that because Fredette’s family is Mormon, he was signed and sealed for BYU. Maybe fewer teams offered him a scholarship because of that, but everyone wanted him, believe me. Jimmer is playing in the Chinese pro league this year, by the way.

11) In Game 2 of the 1980 World Series, Steve Carlton threw 159 pitches in a 6-4 loss to the Royals. 159 freakin’ pitches; in eight innings, Carlton allowed 10 hits, walked six, struck out 10.

If that happened today, how long before the manager/pitching coach were either fired by the owner or sued by the player’s agent (or both)?

10) If you’ve been to Las Vegas, there is a strip-mall like gift shop on the corner of Sahara and Las Vegas Blvd; you’ve seen shots of it on TV. The two acres that shop sits on recently sold for $50M; it is very close to the Stratosphere, across the Strip from the SLS Hotel.

$50M for that area; makes you wonder if another hotel will be built there soon. A new hotel is opening in that area in early December; totally Asian-themed and geared towards attracting the 200,000+ people who fly from China to Las Vegas each year.

9) ESPNU was doing ACC Media Day while I typed this up; in one segment they had Miami coach Jim Larranaga on, asking him what restaurants he goes to in Miami, silly stuff.

Then they had Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski on in separate segments and they are diagramming offenses on a telestrator like they’re too good to be asked the silly stuff. Why can’t they can’t ask those two where they eat in Chapel Hill/Durham?

The lower tier ACC coaches (BC, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest) were lucky to even get on air.

8) Eagles’ coach Doug Pederson played 10 years in the NFL, but started only 17 games, all in 1999-2000. First four years he was in the NFL? No starts. Last four years? No starts. He was 2-7 as a starter for the ’99 Eagles, 1-7 for the ’00 Browns.

Best coaches weren’t always the best players. Playing? Coaching? Two different skills.

7) Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA championship rings are really, really big. They look like you’d get carpal tunnel if you wore one for too long.

6) Speaking of the Cavs, JR Smith looks like the happiest person in America, like he put one over on the authorities and he and everyone else knows it. He is making $12.8M to stand on the wing and jack jumpers whenever Lebron gets him the ball. It is good to be trusted by the King.

5) Tampa Bay Bucs’ OC Todd Monken was head coach at Southern Miss the last three years; he did a good job building up the USM program, but jumped to the NFL this year. I’d love to know if he is enjoying himself, if not having to recruit anymore is worth not being the boss.

4) 36-year old Steve Blake still hopes to make it back to the NBA to continue his long career, but for now, he is playing pro ball in Australia.

3) Singer Tim McGraw has a white Mercedes convertible with license plate “NYMTS69”. His dad was Tug McGraw, the terrific relief pitcher who pitched for both the Mets and Phillies.

2) Los Angeles Rams are 3-0 this season when they have 2+ takeaways, 0-4 when they do not.

1— I mention this now and then, but lot of football coaches are gypsies; here is where Giant coach Ben McAdoo’s journey took him, before he landed in the NFL:

2001- Michigan State, 2002- Fairfield, 2003- Pitt, 2004- Akron, 2005- Stanford

Five years, five jobs, five different states. Tough way to make a living.

A Bonus List of 13: Because it is your lucky day……

13) Was disappointed to hear that Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr is still in near-constant pain because of the back problems he’s had for the last year or so, dealing with his spinal column surgery and leaking spinal fluid. We wish him well; back pain is torutrous.

12) Must-watch teams on NBA League Pass: Rockets, Lakers, Nuggets. Don’t think Golden State will play enough close games to be must-watch. Any team Mike D’Antoni coaches will be so entertaining to watch that it makes the $200 we spend for League Pass well worth it.

11) ESPN’s SportsCenter had a great feature this week on how for the last five years, Golden State’s front office has brought a team, made up solely of front office personnel, to San Quentin prison to play basketball against San Quentin’s prison team. Seriously.

This year, Kevin Durant-Draymond Green went with the front office staff to the game, which the Warriors’ front office won, 77-68. Durant/Green played dominos with prisoners, watched the game and chatted up prisoners, making a dreary existence a little brighter, at least for a day.

I’m not judging this one way or the other, other than to say it is a very interesting story and worth finding on the Interweb.

10) Since 2010, football teams coached by Mark Richt are 1-7-1 vs spread as an underdog, whether at Georgia or Miami.

9) Dallas Mavericks’ 3-point shooting in their first two games: 18-48 in an OT loss at Indiana Wednesday night, then 8-29 at home against Houston Friday, when Dirk Nowitzki missed the game with a stomach virus. The 48 tries in Indiana were one short of an NBA record.

8) Former UNLV head coach Bill Bayno is now an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers; he’s been bouncing around the NBA as an assistant since leaving Las Vegas, mostly with Portland, but he’s with Nate McMillan and the Pacers now.

7) Hawai’i’s basketball team has only two road games between now and January 28; it is good to live in “paradise”, as Magnum PI used to call Hawai’i. Everyone wants to visit you.

6) In case you were wondering and I’m guessing you weren’t, the lowest cost of living in America belongs to Fort Wayne, Indiana.

5) North Dakota State’s basketball team moves into a new arena/basketball facility this season; for the past couple years, the Bison have been practicing in an old warehouse and lifting weights in a vacant supermarket. This $50M facility is obviously a huge upgrade.

4) How big is an average NBA player? 6-7 1/4, 221.44 pounds.

3) Tennessee Titans’ TE Delante Walker has now had at least one catch of 20+ yards in his last ten games, the longest such active streak in the NFL.

2) University of San Diego’s basketball team has two freshman guards this season, one from Newark, NJ, the other from Connecticut; the kids musn’t like cold weather much. If you’re a mid-major team in California, why are you recruiting kids who live 3,000 miles away?

1— I’ll finish today with some ramblings from my past.

Not sure why I was thinking about this today, but I was. When I was in 9th grade, just before Richard Nixon resigned as President, after getting cut from the basketball team (what were they thinking?), I decided that I would join the wrestling team and become a grappler, much like Chief Jay Strongbow or the Samoans.

Not a great idea.

(Before I tell you about my two weeks as a high school wrestler, I will complain that when my group went out to scrimmage at the basketball tryouts, the coach actually left the gym to do something else. Seriously, there were no adults in the gym when we tried out. I could’ve been a combination of Bill Walton and David Thompson (I wasn’t), and no one would’ve known about it.)

So I go to wrestling practice, which has no cuts, you just wrestle against kids in your weight class and whoever wins gets to wrestle in the matches, very democratic, very fair.

For two weeks I go thru practices and I get my ass kicked for 10 consecutive practices. I am a meek 13-year old without a mean bone in his scrawny body, a very bad trait for a wrestler. I never get pinned, because I am taller/thinner than everyone in my weight class, but I also never win a match, it is just me getting my butt kicked by tougher, stronger kids.

So one day a kid hits me in the mouth with a cross-face, which hurts my face but cuts my opponent’s wrist, since I have braces on my teeth. Ha!!!

While they tend to the kid’s wrist, I’m thinking to myself, why the hell am I doing this? It isn’t fun, I’m never going to beat these guys and get in a match, so at the end of that day I retired as a wrestler, and stopped being a pinata for the other kids in the 142-pound weight class.

Who knows? If I had stayed with it, maybe I could’ve been Ric Flair’s tag team partner someday.

Or not.

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

13) Average total in Falcons’ games this year is 61.1; Packers were held to 14-16 in their two losses, scored 23+ in their wins. You do the math.

12) Don’t sleep on Navy-South Florida Friday night; Middies run the ball down your throat but USF has really good speed, so we’ll see. Tough to prepare for the Navy option game. Navy is also 24-10 as a road underdog.

11) Houston is 4-0 at home, 0-3 on the road; Texans have a short week after losing in Denver Monday night. Every Detroit game is close; they’re fun to watch. All seven Lion games were decided by 7 or less points.

10) TCU beat Texas Tech 55-52/82-28 last two years; not like the Red Raiders are any better on defense now, but Horned Frogs are lot younger- they struggled to beat Kansas 24-23 two weeks ago.

9) Jimmy Graham was a great player for the Saints, but in Seattle? Not so much. Seahawks are in the Superdome this week. Interesting game.

8) World Series visits Wrigley Field for first time since 1945. Teams split first two games in Cleveland. Schwarber sits; no DH in NL parks.

7) New England actually has a revenge motive this week in Buffalo. Bills blanked Patriots 16-0 in Week 4, the last game of the Jacoby Brissett era in Foxboro.

6) Baylor-Texas are not friendly rivals; lot of chirping goes back/forth on the recruiting trail. Unbeaten Bears might send Charlie Strong packing with a win in Austin.

5) Cleveland Browns signed QB Joe Callahan this week, who played college ball at D-III Wesley College in Delaware; he had been with Packers/Saints this year and if McCarthy/Payton have an interest in a QB, this kid may be pretty good. Browns have used six QBs in seven weeks, so not like the kid could be any worse.

4) Nebraska is unbeaten and a 9-point underdog in Madison, where they were smoked in last two visits. Badgers have played a very tough schedule so far.

3) Eagles-Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, with two rookie QB’s. Teams that were hot going into their bye week have stumbled a little coming out of the bye. This should be a good game.

2) Clemson-Florida State in Tallahassee is an ACC classic; Seminoles are thin on defense, but coming off a bye (which they badly needed) am curious to see how FSU does. Last time Clemson went to Tallahassee as the higher-rated team? 1989.

1) Huge trap game for the Vikings in Chicago Monday night, with Jay Cutler expected back for the Bears. Minnesota was sloppy (four turnovers) in Philly last week; need to right the ship.

Thursday’s List of 13: NFL knowledge and our top 7

Some notes about how NFL teams have done on the first drive of each half this season: in my mind, the first drive of each game goes to how coaches prepare for their opponent each week.

First drive of the second half goes to halftime adjustments, as much as can be done in 10-12 minutes. Through seven weeks, here is some information:

13) Dallas Cowboys, in six games, have three TDs, two FGs and a missed FG on their first drive of the game, averaging 66.7 yards/drive, by far the best in the NFL thru seven weeks.

12) Three teams have yet to score on their first drive of a game: Arizona, Jacksonville and the Giants, who have only 79 yards on 27 plays on the first drive of their seven games.

11) Saints/Chargers both have four TDs on their first drive, though Saints did that in six games and Chargers seven; New Orleans averages 54.2 yards/first drive, San Diego 47.1.

10) Most surprising that I’ve found so far: Denver has allowed four TDs and a FG on opponents’ first drive of a game- their 31 points allowed on the first drive is 2nd-worst in the NFL.

9) Less surprising is Cleveland’s defense allowing five TDs on its seven game opening drives, with foes gaining an average of 55.9 yards/drive.

8) Giants have been outscored 30-3 on each team’s first drive of each half; Jets have been outscored 35-16. For the Giants, 66 plays, 210 yards (3.2 yards/play) on the first drive of their 14 halves is very poor.

On to the NFL’s top 7 for this week:

7) Chiefs— Andy Reid is this generation’s Chuck Knox— very good coach, wins a lot of games, just not any Super Bowls. Nothing wrong with winning a lot of games.

6) Raiders— 4-0 on the road and all four games were east of Mississippi; this week is #5.

5) Seahawks— Lost 9-3 in LA, tied 6-6 at Arizona, their two games on grass. Won the other four games. Not sure how bad Wilson’s leg injuries are, but if he doesn’t start running around soon, I’ll lose faith in Seattle.

Related point; NBC’s Cris Collinsworth actually grouped Wilson with Brady and Roethlisberger as a pocket passer during Sunday night’s game. Um, no. Not even close.

4) Cowboys— Is it easier for a rookie QB to be without Dez Bryant and not have him calling for the ball all the time? What Jason Garrett has done in the first six games is tremendous- their offensive line is just super.

3) Broncos— Little queasy about having them at #3, but they’re the defending champs and they’re 5-2. I wouldn’t bet your money on them on win the Super Bowl this year.

2) Vikings— Sam Bradford began his NFL career with the Rams, so pardon me if I’m skeptical he can lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl. He just doesn’t stay healthy.

1) Patriots— They head into heir bye week with an actual revenge game this week; Bills beat them in Foxboro in Week 4, the last week of Brady’s suspension and also in all probability, the last NFL action Jacoby Brissett will ever see.

Wednesday’s List of 13: Sports Illustrated ranks NBA players……

Before starting today, I have something that needs to be said.

New Jersey Giants are taking some heat for how they handled the Josh Brown situation; they may have made a mistake giving the guy a 2-year contract after his domestic violence issues, but they corrected that mistake and sent Brown on his way. No one is perfect; when mistakes are made, they need to be corrected and this one was.

The Giants used to have training camp here in Albany; I got to know some of their PR people and they couldn’t have been nicer to me. First class people all the way. My dad (a huge Giants fan) got sick one summer and the Giants gave him a football signed by the whole team. It meant a lot to him. It is still here in my living room, next to my football signed by Vince Ferragamo (ha!!!).

Last year, when my dad passed away, the Giants sent a bouquet of flowers to the wake. It was so kind, so unexpected, just a very nice/thoughtful thing to do. Nice people get scoffed at in today’s society; it is too damn bad.

Lot of people like to report negative things for whatever reason; the positive things that are done by people/teams get glossed over, because that is corny. Kicking people when they’re down is in vogue, but truth is, a hell of a lot more good is done than bad.

You can take this to the bank: the New Jersey Giants are good people. Top-shelf.

— Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney ranked the NBA’s top 100 players in SI’s NBA Preview issue, with random comments on various players……..here are some of those comments:
(last season’s rank is in parentheses)

100) Devin Booker, Suns (NR)— “Superstar ceiling, but was still a teenager when preseason opened!”

97) Manu Ginobili, Spurs (NR)— “Still a magician at 39. The oldest player on the list.”

91) Bismack Biyombo, Magic (NR)— “Magic paid him $72 million; 71 for his defense, one for his offense.”

78) Nikola Jokic, Nuggets (NR)— “The best young player you’ve (probably) never heard of.”

68) Kristaps Porzingis, Knicks (NR)— “The Big Apple’s most beloved is a lock to make a big jump next year.”

60) Luol Deng, Lakers (56)— “The only Laker to make the list, now that Kobe is retired.”

42) Serge Ibaka, Magic (25)— “Took a hit after a rough season that led to trade.”

25) Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers (23)— “This one incited fan outrage, but his defense was damaging.”

19) Klay Thompson, Warriors (26)— “That’s right; four Warriors in the top 20.”

12) DeMarcus Cousins, Kings (14)— “Top 10 talent; HR nightmare.”

4) Chris Paul, Clippers (6)— “Barely edged out Westbrook, thanks to defense shot selection, control.”

3) Stephen Curry, Warriors (4)— “Is the unanimous MVP underrated?”

1— Lebron James, Cavaliers (1)— “The King for the fourth straight year.”

Tuesday’s List of 13: Random NBA knowledge

With NBA starting the week, some notes you might find interesting……….
13) Brooklyn Nets are terrible and do not have control of their first round draft pick until 2019. Hard to get better that way.

New GM of the Nets is Sean Marks, who was a throw-in in the Knicks-Toronto Oakley-Camby trade in 1998. Marks comes from the San Antonio front office. We wish him good luck; he’ll need it.

12) Portland Trailblazers had the #29 payroll in the NBA last year; they paid to keep their core players this spring and now have a top five payroll.

11) It was 948 days in between Joel Embiid’s last game at Kansas and his first preseason game for the 76ers. He did play well in preseason though.

10) Kyrie Irving scored 19.6 pts/game in regular season LY, 25.2 in playoffs. How much will he score this regular season?

9) Andre Drummond of the Pistons just signed a contract worth $130M for five years. He shot 35.5% from the foul line last year. This bothers me.

8) When Oklahoma City Thunder players have dinner together on the road, they all put their cellphones in the middle of the dinner table, to eliminate distractions.

7) According to a survey released last week, the average NBA player spends $42,500 a month.

6) This quote on the Milwaukee Bucks from an anonymous NBA scout: “Jason Kidd’s had a lot of influence in personnel moves and I don’t think that’s been a good thing.”

5) Minnesota Timberwolves’ top three scorers last year were all 21 years old or younger. Minnesota was the #28 defensive team LY; in Tom Thibodeau’s five years as coach of the Bulls, they were a top 6 defense four times. Thibodeau is Minnesota’s new coach.

4) In three years under Doc Rivers, Clippers are 166-80 in regular season, 15-18 in playoffs.

3) Memphis Grizzlies used 28 players last year, most in NBA history.

2) Now-retired Tim Duncan averaged 25.2 minutes/game for the Spurs LY; looks like 36-year old Pau Gasol will be his primary replacement. Better on offense, not nearly as good on defense.

1) NBA regular season is 1,229 games long; we’ll have knowledge on every one of them on the Hoops page, starting tonight. Plus we’ll do college hoop every night too. Enjoy!!

Bonus List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud

13) Since 1990, NFL teams that were 4-3 made the playoffs 47.9% of the time; teams that were 3-4 made it 19% of the time.

12) Before baseball season started, the Cubs-Indians World Series matchup was 74-1 in Las Vegas. Last year’s World Series (Mets-Royals) was 250-1 before the season.

11) Actor Marc Blucas has 57 credits to his name, including regular roles in TV shows Necessary Roughness and Underground; he went to college at Wake Forest, where he was a basketball teammate of Tim Duncan.

10) People are frontrunners: Golden State Warriors have a season ticket waiting list of 33,000. Across the parking lot, the A’s are lucky to draw half that unless they give stuff away or have firework shows.

9) Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan has thrown for 200+ yards 46 games in a row, which is an NFL record; now he plays at least nine games a year in a dome and two others in Charlotte/Tampa, so he hasn’t had to deal with much bad weather, but a record is a record.

8) Edmonton Oilers/Winnipeg Jets played an outdoor hockey game in Winnipeg Sunday; the ref wore a camera on his helmet and it provided some interesting angles of the game. It is worth finding on the Interweb.

7) Kentucky 40, Mississippi State 38- Kicker for Kentucky nailed a 51-yard FG at the gun to win this game for the Wildcats. After watching the kicking debacle in Arizona just now, this seemed more impressive than when I left it out of the college wrap up Saturday night.

6) Alabama has scored a TD on defense or special teams in 10 straight games, which is an amazing streak.

5) Oakland Raiders won in Jacksonville Sunday, will stay in Bradenton all this week before playing the Buccaneers in Tampa Sunday. Five of Oakland’s first eight games are east of the Mississippi, but they don’t have a road game in November and after this week, only have their three AFC West road trips remaining, as far as travel goes.

4) Penn State is in the top 25 for the first time in five years, so credit to coach James Franklin for that. You win at Vanderbilt, you can coach and he won there.

3) Sunday Night Football next week: Eagles at Cowboys with two rookie QB’s starting. Big game in the NFC East.

2) Carson Wentz’ emergence in the NFL is going to help make Wyoming’s soph QB Josh Allen really rich someday. Allen plays for Craig Bohl, who coached Wentz at North Dakota State. Allen is big and he can move a little and he has a rifle arm. When he comes out of college, either in the 2018 or 2019 NFL Draft, he will be a very high pick and Wentz’ success in the NFL ain’t going to hurt his standing any.

1— Rams QB Case Keenum gets his number retired at U of Houston Saturday; he is taking a lot of grief now in LA as the Rams have lost three games in a row. QBs get too much credit, too much blame. Jeff Fisher seemed to blame the WRs for some of the miscues in London but you cannot turn the ball over in the NFL and win and that is the QB’s #1 responsibility.

Anyway, congratulations on getting the number retired. Keenum was a great player in college, throwing for more yardage than anyone in I-A history.

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

Giants 17, Rams 10— Lackluster game for both sides; both TD drives were 35 yards long, after turnovers. Giants also scored on a pick-6 and had two INTs in end zone. Time for Los Angeles to play rookie QB Goff; they’re not making the playoffs this year, let him get his feet wet so that next year he can hit the ground running.

Eagles 21, Vikings 10— First game in NFL history with an 11-3 halftime score. There were turnovers on five consecutive possessions in this game- very sloppy— first time since 2005 that happened. Both teams coughed ball up four times in the game. Vikings were last unbeaten team in NFL; they had turned ball over only once all season (+11). Eagles ran a kick back for a TD for the second week in a row, but they’ve scored only one offensive TD in last two games.

Chiefs 27, Saints 21— Just second game in NFL this year (Atl-Oak, Wk 2) where neither team went 3-and-out. Saints were 9-14 on 3rd down, outgained KC 463-326 but were -2 in turnovers, including a pick-6. New Orleans covered four of last five games. Chiefs are +9 in turnovers in their last four games.

Lions 20, Redskins 17— Every Detroit game has been decided by 7 or less points; their four home games were decided by total of 9 points. Washington scored with 1:05 left to take lead, before Stafford drove Lions 75 yards in six plays to win game with 0:16 left. Detroit won its last three games (all at home); Redskins had their 4-game win streak snapped here.

Bengals 31, Browns 17— Cleveland (0-7) has played seven games, used six different QBs, first NFL team to do that since 1976 Buccaneers, who were an 0-16 expansion team (Steve Spurrier was one of the QBs). Bengals ran ball for 271 yards, outgained Browns 559-352; not often an NFL team gains 559 yards.

Dolphins 28, Bills 25— Miami ran ball for 256 yards here, after running it for 222 yards in win over the Steelers last week- they had averaged 72.4 yards/game on ground in five games before that. Buffalo plays New England/Seattle the next two weeks, so their 4-2 start could be a distant memory unless they can at least split that pair.

Raiders 33, Jaguars 16— Decisive win for Oakland team that was +3 in turnovers, 8-18 on third down and ran ball for 144 yards in flagfest where both sides had 115+ penalty yards. Raiders are east of Mississippi for 5th time in eight games next week (@ Tampa); at 5-2, they’re a legit threat to make playoffs for first time since 2002, when they lost the Super Bowl.

Colts 34, Titans 26— Indy pulled off a surprise onside kick when they led 14-6; that doesn’t count as a turnover but it should. Colts have now beaten the Titans 10 games in a row, five in a row here. If Houston loses in Denver tonight, they’ll be in first place at 4-3, with these two a game behind and Jaguars 2-4. Luck threw for 353 yards as Indy bounced back from loss to the Texans last week.

Jets 24, Ravens 16— Baltimore started season 3-0, have now lost four games in row; all seven of their games were decided by 8 or less points. Geno Smith got hurt, so Fitzpatrick wound up back on field, was 9-14 for 120 yards, leading three scoring drives. If you’re the Ravens and you fire your offensive coordinator, replacing him with Marty Mornhinweg is the best you can do?

Chargers 33, Falcons 30 OT— San Diego fights like hell every week; they were down 27-10 on road here, rallied to win in OT, when Falcons went for it on 4th-and-2 from their own 43 or so in OT. Chargers are 5-2 vs spread this year, 4-1 as an underdog- they scored 31+ points in four of last six games. Addition of rookie DL Bosa has bolstered their defense.

Buccaneers 33, 49ers 17— Niners had 14-0 leads in three of their seven games, but have not won since their season opener. Tampa Bay ran for 249 yards here, outgained SF 513-273 in what turned into a severe beating. Bucs were +2 in turnovers; teams that were +2 or better in turnovers are 37-6 this season, 36-3 since Week 2.

Patriots 27, Steelers 16— Bye comes at right time for Pittsburgh- they play Ravens/Browns in two of first three games after the bye, so Big Ben’s injury shouldn’t hurt them too much. New England actually has a revenge game next week, when they visit the Bills in Orchard Park, in the first rematch of the NFL season.

Seahawks 6, Cardinals 6– Epic gag job by both kickers in OT; both kicks were less than 30 yards, either would’ve won the game. Seattle leads in NFC West, so doesn’t hurt them as much. Until Russell Wilson starts running around again, Seahawks are ordinary- two divisional road games, no TDs- they lost 9-3 in Los Angeles in Week 2

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

13) Cleveland Indians haven’t been to the World Series since 1997, haven’t won one since 1948. Chicago Cubs are in World Series for first time since 1945; they last won one in 1908.

Two very happy fanbases; congrats to both. Should be a very good World Series.

12) Penn State 24, Ohio State 21— 19.5-point home dog Nittany Lions blocked FG for a TD, also blocked a punt that set up a FG, as they rallied back from down 21-7 in 4th quarter to post a big upset, ending Buckeyes’ 20-game road win streak.

11) Other big upsets Saturday: Hawai’i (+17) won in OT at Air Force. North Texas (+18) won at West Point. SMU (+21.5) stunned Houston 38-16 in Dallas. Been a rough couple weeks for the Cougars, who lost 46-40 to Navy two weeks ago.

10) Oklahoma 66, Texas Tech 59— Both teams gained exactly 854 yards in this outdoor tribute to the Arena League. Next February on Signing Day, I’m going to report here as to how many defensive players Texas Tech signs, because their defense sucks- they lost 68-55 at Arizona State last month. If you score 55 or 59 points, you should win.

Tech deserves mention for converting 20-25 third down plays. Unheard of numbers.

9) Wisconsin 17, Iowa 9— Hawkeyes’ coach Kirk Ferentz took a ton of heat on social media for kicking FG when Iowa trailed 17-6 with 0:43 left. Maybe it was gamblers who took Iowa plus the 4 points, but the Hawkeyes were outgained 423-236; he passed up a 4th-and-2 to kick the FG. I’m guessing he was skeptical Iowa could get the first down so they kicked a FG.

8) Charlotte 27, Marshall 24— Thundering Herd opened at -18.5, wound up at -8 and lost SU. Marshall didn’t score in the second half after leading 24-17 at the half.

7) LSU 38, Ole Miss 21— At one point in this game, Leonard Fournette had seven carries for 241 yards; he wound up with 16 carries for 284 yards. LSU outscored the Rebels 17-0 in second half. The new OC has made LSU’s offense more balanced.

6) Utah 52, UCLA 45— Best part of this game was when UCLA was lining up to kick a 39-yard FG when they were down 10 points. Sideline mike caught UCLA coach Mora f-bombing one of his assistants for sending out the wrong kicker. Kid made the FG, gestured towards the bench (he had to have heard his coach), which was a little funny, but Bruins have lost four of last five games, are 3-5 and things are not real rosy in Westwood right now.

5) Cal 52, Oregon 49 OT— Late Friday night/early Saturday, this marathon took place, Golden Bears ran 118 plays (a record) for 636 yards, blew a 31-14 halftime lead, endured 14 penalties for 145 yards (Oregon had 14 for 134) in handing the Ducks their fifth loss in a row.

A note to the officials in this game: No one pays to watch you ref. Throw fewer flags.

4) Colorado 10, Stanford 5— Either Stanford or Oregon won last seven Pac-12 titles; those two teams are a combined 0-6 this season vs Colorado and the two Washington schools. Cardinal is 1-3 in its last four games, with the one win at Notre Dame. This has been a strange season.

3) Auburn 56, Arkansas 3— In 2010, when he was at Wisconsin, Bret Bielema’s Badgers beat Indiana 83-20, two weeks before they beat Northwestern 70-23. Was surprised when Bielema bolted to the SEC, because there are no Indianas/Rutgers in the SEC. Tigers ran ball 57 times for 543 yards here as they crushed Arkansas, outgaining the Hogs 632-215. Bielema is 8-20 in SEC games, 1-3 this year. The SEC is a hell of a lot more of a grind than the Big 14.

2) Texas-El Paso 52, Tex-San Antonio 49 (5 OTs)— There were 45 points scored in the OT’s, after a scoreless 4th quarter. Miners (+9.5) are now 1-7; bad loss for UTSA, which I’m sure was counting on this game to get to six wins and bowl eligibility.

1) Navy 42, Memphis 28— Midshipmen ran ball for 447 yards and their five passes averaged 21.2 yards/attempt, with two TDs. Navy has a senior QB who sat the bench for three years but boy does he run the option well. They have to be very difficult to prepare for.

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

Jaguars 30, Colts 27— College games end at like 2am Saturday night; having an NFL game on from England at 9:30am ET is a bit much. Jags are now 2-2 in London the last four years; all four of those games went over the total- they led this game 23-7 after three quarters, then held on. As for the Colts, they’re 1-3, allowing 30+ points in all three losses- they needed a 63-yard TD in last 1:30 for their only win last week. Pretty soon, the Nick Saban-to-Indy rumors should be popping up.

Bills 16, Patriots 0— New England is so sure they’re going to win the AFC East, they basically forfeited this game, playing a rookie QB (who already had an injured thumb) with a WR (Edelman) as his backup. No emergency backup QB, they just got this game over with, now Brady returns next week and things will return to normal and they can coast to yet another division title.

Redskins 31, Browns 20— Jerry Izenberg once wrote a book about Bill Parcells called, “No Medals for Trying”, which sums up the Browns’ first four games. Cleveland led 20-17 after third quarter; natives were drawing up impeachment papers for coach Gruden, but Redskins drove 91-39 yards for 4th quarter TDs to even their record at 2-2.

Seahawks 27, Jets 17— Sometimes teams don’t like an early bye too much, but for Seattle, their Week 5 bye couldn’t come at a better time; Russell Wilson needs to heal up. Seahawks had a 13-yard advantage in field position here. In their last two games, Jets have had 21 drives, 11 turnovers (-10); their offense scored one TD, allowed two TDs. I suppose they could bench QB Fitzpatrick, but then Geno Smith would have to play.

Texans 27, Titans 20— Only second half TD came on game-winning punt return by Houston; O’Brien’s play-calling produced TDs on Texans’ first two drives, but then only six points on last nine drives. Tennessee gave up the punt return TD and gave Houston a gift FG when they had 12 men on the field while Texans were trying to punt. Marcus Mariota was very unimpressive; he looks like a college-level passer and he only ran the ball four times for 20 yards.

Bears 17, Lions 14— Rumors are popping up that Detroit wants to hire Josh McDaniels as its next coach, with Jimmy Garoppolo as their new QB. Be careful what you wish for; Stafford is a pretty good QB (43-53 career record, with 0-2 playoff mark); he is still only 28, but you could probably get a good package for him in a trade. Lions’ only TD in this game came on a punt return. Hoyer passed for 302 yards as Bears got their first win this year.

Falcons 48, Panthers 33— Ryan passed for 504 yards, which is a lot harder when your team was winning the whole game- he averaged 12 yards per attempt. Atlanta’s last three TDs all came on plays of 35+ yards; they’re averaging over 7 yards per play, for the season. Cam Newton left with a concussion; Carolina is 1-3, after being 17-2 last year. Losing the Super Bowl does funny things to a team.

Raiders 28, Ravens 27— Baltimore rallied from down 21-12 with 7:00 left to take lead with 3:36 left, but Oakland drove 66 yards in six plays to win its third straight road game. Yardage was 412-261 Ravens; Oakland had 9-yard edge in field position in penalty-filled game. Two of Raiders’ four TDs came on drives of only 6-29 yards.

Saints 35, Chargers 34— Drew Brees wins his homecoming to San Diego. Horrific loss for Chargers, who’ve led by double digits in all four games, but are 1-3. Bolts led 24-14 at half, had ball up 34-21 with 6:50 left, but turned ball over three times on their last six offensive plays of the game. If you’re trying to get a new stadium and you need to win a vote on Election Day to get it, coughing up double digit leads every week is no bueno.

Cowboys 24, 49ers 17— Dallas rallies back from down 14-0 to win again as Dak Prescott is now 3-1 as an NFL starter. Good balance for Cowboys (194 running yards, 234 passing); Blaine Gabbert is now 9-30 as an NFL starter; Colin Kaepernick has a $60M guaranteed contract, but can’t beat him out.

Broncos 27, Buccaneers 7— Very rough day for Jameis Winston (17-35, 179 yards, two INTs). Another lightning delay in 4th quarter; wonder if Bucs will have more 1:00 home games early next season? Broncos were +3 in turnovers, had 14-yard edge in field position. Siemian hurt his left shoulder; rookie Lynch was 14-24/170 in relief. Denver hosts red-hot Atlanta next week in one of Week 5’s best matchups.

Rams 17, Cardinals 13— The difference between winning and losing teams in the NFL is very, very thin; last three weeks, Ram defense has been on field in last 2:00 of all three games, with other team driving to take the lead, but none of them did. LA is finding ways to win. This was also third time in last five games with Arizona that Rams KO’d Carson Palmer from the game.

Steelers 43, Chiefs 14— One of worst NFL games I’ve seen in long time; KC has scored three offensive TDs in their last three games. This seems like a good time to point out that Antonio Brown’s father Eddie once scored nine TD’s in an Arena Football League game for the Albany Firebirds, 1999 Arena Bowl champs. So far in Week 4, favorites are 5-9 vs spread, home teams 7-7, over 7-7.

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

Before I start here, I’ll state the obvious: college football is amazingly entertaining. Seems like every single week, too.

13) Tennessee 34, Georgia 31– Last 3:00 of this game was nuts; Dawgs led 24-20 with 3:00 left, they try to THROW THE BALL OUT OF THEIR OWN END ZONE WITH A FRESHMAN QB- he gets sacked, fumbles and Tennessee gets a gift TD to lead 27-24. Horrific offensive coaching. Why the bleep are you throwing the ball out of your end zone with 3:00 left?

But because Butch Jones coaches Tennessee, the Vols let a Georgia WR run basically uncovered down the left sideline; he catches a 47-yard TD pass with 0:10 left– there is much jubilation between the hedges. For a while.

Tennessee runs the kick back to around midfield, Dawgs were offsides on the kickoff, so Vols get one play from the Georgia 43 with 0:04 left. For some unknown reason, Georgia rushes only three guys, Tennessee throws the ball into the end zone- one of their guys catches it and they win!!!!

I’d like to be at the booster club luncheon in Athens next week when Kirby Smart tries to explain why only three guys rushed on the last play.

From 6:45 to 7:15 Saturday night, there were fireworks on several TV channels. Superior entertainment.

12) North Carolina 37, Florida State 35– I could write about this game for a week, but because the Tar Heels wound up winning, I’ll leave out the part about the 20 or so ways they almost bleeped this game up.

First of all, the kicker on UNC drained a 54-yarder to win it at the gun, so good for him; TV analyst Rod Gilmore didn’t think he had the leg to reach it, but adrenaline is a funny thing.

FSU’s Dalvin Cook had 35 touches for 240 yards; he is the best running back in the country. The freshman QB will be a great player a couple years from now; he’s pretty damn good now.

But the Seminoles’ defense is awful; Tuesday night on Showtime will be an interesting watch. How will the Florida State kids react now that most of their goals for the season are basically shot on October 1st?

11) Oklahoma State 49, Texas 31– Charlie Strong is 13-16 in 2+ seasons in Austin; the man he replaced, Mack Brown, was 158-48 at Texas with one national title. In four games this year, Longhorns have allowed 47+ points three times- only team they held under 47? Texas-El Paso.

Mack Brown went 158-48 and got told to take a hike. Les Miles just got fired at LSU with a 114-34 record- both guys won national titles, but Charlie Strong is 13-16 at Texas and still has a job. Longhorns play Oklahoma in their rivalry game in Dallas next week. Playing the over is recommended.

10) Oklahoma 52, TCU 46– Sooners led 49-24 after three quarters, but Horned Frogs scored 22 straight to raise the blood pressure of people in the Sooner Schooner. TCU is a very young team- QB Hill threw for 449 yards. Total in the Texas-Oklahoma game next week might be 78 or 80.

9) Miami 35, Georgia Tech 21– Game was 14-7 until Hurricanes ran two Tech fumbles back for TDs in a 0:46 span to break game open. ‘canes host Florida State next week, in a game FSU really, really needs to win.

8) One of the worst rules in all of sports: if your helmet comes off, you have to leave for a play. Non-sensical, as my high school chemistry teacher would’ve said. I can see a bunch of over-educated administrators sitting in a big conference room, sipping coffee, coming up with this one. Pure genius.

7) Washington 44, Stanford 6– Huskies totally bamboozled the Cardinal Friday night in Seattle; who made Stanford’s schedule? USC-UCLA and Washington on consecutive weekends in September? And next three weeks, they play Washington State-Notre Dame-Colorado. Not easy.

6) BYU 55, Toledo 53–Cougars are 2-3; their five games were decided by a total of 11 points (underdogs 3-1-1 vs spread).

Rockets threw for 505 yards, scored go-ahead two-point conversion with 1:11 left, but BYU drove 71 yards for the GW field goal at the gun. Toledo’s old coach was Matt Campbell (35-15 at Toledo) who is now at…….

5) Baylor 45, Iowa State 42– Campbell’s new team, the Cyclones fought like hell as a 17-point  home dog, leading 42-28 with 12:00 left, but didn’t score in 4th quarter and Baylor escaped with a conference road win. Very tough loss for Iowa State, but their offense looks good, which will upgrade their recruiting.

4) Penn State 29, Minnesota 26 OT– Gophers led 13-3 at half, kicked go-ahead FG with 0:54 left, but couldn’t seal the deal- they had 31 first downs in a game where total yardage was 471-469. PSU coach James Franklin’s seat would’ve gotten very warm if he had lost this game.

3) South Alabama 42, San Diego State 24– Aztecs were in top 20 until this disaster, losing to South Alabama for second year in row, as favorites of 17 and 19 points. USA also beat Mississippi State this year.

2) Clemson 42, Louisville 36– Eight turnovers, 17 accepted penalties in a wild game that Clemson led 28-10 at the half. Louisville stormed back to take the lead in 4th quarter, but Tigers scored with 3:14 left to stay unbeaten. Total yardage in game: 568-507, Louisville

1- As far as the baseball goes, Seattle got eliminated last night, Mets clinched a Wild Card spot. Giants lead St Louis by a game in the NL, Orioles/Toronto lead Detroit by 1.5 games in AL. If Orioles or Jays lose Sunday and Tigers win, Detroit-Cleveland have to play Monday, in a makeup game. A three-way tie is still possible in the AL.