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

13) Jared Goff gets his long-awaited first start for the Rams this week against the Dolphins. LA scored one TD on its last 32 drives, so the bar has been set low for improvement over his predecessor.

12) 30 years ago today was November 16, 1986, Jim Everett’s debut with the Rams. He didn’t start, but rallied the Rams back from down 13-0 to lead New England 28-16, but the day didn’t have a happy ending. Patriots scored on a Hail Mary on the last play of the game to win 30-28.

I hope this Sunday has a happier ending.

11) Trivia: Steve Dils started that ’86 game at QB for the Rams, one of only nine games he started for LA.

10) ESPN’s college basketball marathon was last couple nights; very difficult to keep a normal sleep schedule this week. The best games were oddly enough, the 4:15am/6:30am games, from Hawai’i and Hartford.

Long time ago, maybe 25 years ago, friend of mine and I used to joke that “….if ESPN wanted teams to play at 3am, they would”, then it turned out to be true, for at least one night a year.

9) Northeastern 64, UConn 61— Huskies are 0-2 for first time since 1968.

8) New Hampshire 57, Temple 52— Owls lost two players to injuries during the summer, are down this year, but losing to New Hampshire is especially ominous.

7) Gonzaga 69, San Diego State 48— Been long time since the Aztecs got spanked like this; they’ve got lot of injuries right now, and maybe Gonzaga is really good, but this was a bad game.

6) Underdogs were 9-3 vs spread in NFL Sunday, making it a very good day for Las Vegas sportsbooks. Public bets favorites and with eight underdogs winning SU, they had a rough day Sunday.

5) Seattle-New England game on NBC Sunday night was highest-rated Week 10 game since 1998.

4) Giants’ six wins are by a total of 21 points; they’re 3-1 this year in games decided by 3 or less points, after being 2-10 in such games from 2012-15.

3) Minnesota Vikings cut kicker Blair Walsh, who missed eight kicks this year and also a big kick in their playoff loss to the Seahawks last year. He is expected to be replaced by former Redskins’ kicker Kai Forbath.

2) Maryland 76, Georgetown 75— Epic gag job by Hoyas, who led by 5 with 0:20 left. Big win for Mark Turgeon; I saw their first game against American and they didn’t look that good. This was an intense game.

1) Bengals/Falcons are only NFL teams who’ve started the same five offensive linemen in every game this season.

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

13) OK, so I go get Chinese take-out for lunch the other day; get the same exact thing every time (chicken fried rice, Dr Pepper) and the same woman takes my order every time. While I wait for the food, she goes outside to her car and gets something out of it.

The woman owns a brand-new, fully loaded white Mercedes SUV, a beautiful car; she works the counter at a take-out place in a strip mall, and she drives a bleepin’ Mercedes. What a country.

12) There have been three NFL QB’s this year who threw 4+ INTs in the 4th quarter of a game:

— Carson Palmer against Buffalo
— Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Chiefs
— Philip Rivers vs Miami two days ago

From 2012-2015, this didn’t happen. Not once.

11) Credit to Pete Carroll for going for two points after Seahawks went up 24-17 with about 4:00 left in Sunday night’s game; if they make it (they didn’t), Seattle is up nine points and game is almost in the bag. If they don’t make it, he still has a 7-point lead to protect.

Only other coach I’ve seen do this is the guy who coaches the Minnesota Gophers in college; he didn’t make it either, but his team also protected the lead and won the game.

10) I looked at my TV around 2:00 Sunday and the screen says: Tennessee 35, Green Bay 10 in the second quarter and I’m like, that makes no sense. Packers’ pass defense was terrible. Not like Marcus Mariota is Dan Fouts or anything.

9) I quoted this stat at the beginning of the NFL season and I’m doing it again:

The Jets’ last five coaches, in the first year with the Jets: 48-32, all either 9-7 or 10-6.

The Jets’ last five coaches, after the first year: 82-104.

I have no explanation for this.

8) Yale (+13) 98, Washington 90— Yale’s best player is out for the year, but they won this game anyway. On the road- they took 34 foul shots in a road game.

College basketball in November is wild, crazy- last year Western Illinois won at Wisconsin- the Leathernecks wound up 10-17, Badgers won two games in the NCAAs.

7) A’s traded 3B Danny Valencia to Seattle over the weekend for a minor leaguer; Valencia hit 17 HRs with a .346 OB% LY but he is 32, arbitration-eligible. so the A’s told him to take a hike, which is bad news for A’s fans (like me) but good news for Ryon Healy’s fantasy owners (like me). Young Healy stood up well in his first major league action last summer.

6) Teams ranked #2, #3 and #4 in college football all lost Saturday, first time that happened on the same day since 1985.

5) There no ugly wins. Ever. None. Bupkus.

4) In their last three games, Carolina Panthers have been outscored 40-12 in the second half.

3) President of the United States makes $400,000 a year; the minimum salary in the major leagues is $507,500.

2) I’ve said this before in this space, going back a couple years, so this is in no way a reaction to last week’s elections, but I’m adamant about this: “The person who gets the most votes should win the election.” The Electoral College should be done away with.

All men were created equal, remember that? One person, one vote and all that…….

1) Speaking of which, Oceanside, CA voters re-elected City Treasurer Gary Ernst to his post last week, but there is one small problem.

Mr Ernst passed away in September; he won the election by 6% anyway. RIP, sir.

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

Texans 24, Jaguars 21— Jax is one of three teams (Cards, Giants) not to score on their first drive of a game: their offense has been outscored 7-0 by opponents’ defense on first drive of their nine games. Texans are now 1-3 on road, after losing first three road games by combined score of 84-22. Jaguars have zero takeaways in their last five games (-12).

Chiefs 20, Panthers 17— In their last two games, both wins, KC has one offensive TD, eight FGs, six 3/outs on 22 drives. Carolina led this game 17-6 in 4th quarter, but Newton threw a pick-6, then Panthers fumbled it away again in last minute when game was tied.

Carolina started second half with a 20-play drive that took 10:08 off the clock, but they wound up punting on the drive- they didn’t score in the second half.

Denver 25, Saints 23— One of weirdest endings in NFL history; Saints tied game on a 32-yard TD with 1:22 left, but Broncos blocked PAT, ran it back for the game-winning two points. New Orleans averaged 9.8 yds/pass attempt but turned ball over 4 times (-2) which is most always fatal. Broncos converted 11 of 19 third down plays, had 9-yard edge in field position.

Rams 9, Jets 6— On Hard Knocks this summer, rookie WR Cooper was having issues catching punts, so coach Jeff Fisher stepped in and gave him some tips— Fisher ran punts back when he played. With this game tied 6-6 in 4th and Cooper returning punts for banged-up Austin (leg), Cooper made an excellent catch on a short punt that gave Rams good field position on their own 48. If he lets it bounce, Rams could’ve lost 15-20 yards of field position. From there, LA drove for the game-winning FG. Good coaching helps.

That said, on their last 32 drives, Rams have scored one touchdown, tried six FGs; how much worse could rookie QB Goff really be? LA has four wins; they didn’t score a TD in two of them. The defense could use some help.

Eagles 24, Falcons 15— Philly is 4-0 at home, allowing 38 points, giving up three offensive TDs on 42 drives. Atlanta had scored 106 points in its last three games; holding them to 15 is really impressive. Falcons were 2-11 on 3rd down in this game, ran ball only 13 times for 48 yards.

Redskins 26, Vikings 20— Atlanta started 5-0 last season and missed playoffs; is Minnesota headed in same direction? Vikings have lost four games in a row, their OC quit- they missed PAT after their third TD and then got shut out in second half. Vikings have only two takeaways in last three games. Over is 5-0 in Washington home games.

Titans 47, Packers 25— Tennessee tried onside kick to start game, which didn’t work; still, they are first team since 1986 (Giants) to lead Green Bay by 21 points in first quarter. On their first three drives, Tennessee’s offense ran 17 plays for 236 yards and three TDs- their TE’s ran amok, with over 100 receiving yards and two TDs in first half alone.

Bucs 36, Bears 10— This seems like a good time to point out that NFL’s TV ratings have gone down in every Presidential election year, not just this year, and by as much as 10% in 2000, so things should get back to normal from here on in, at least as far as TV ratings go.

This is an awful loss for the Bears, who didn’t get a first down in the second half- they ran 12 plays for -13 yards in the whole second half. No bueno.

CFL playoffs— Edmonton 24, Hamilton 21 and BC Lions 32, Winnipeg 31.

Dolphins 31, Chargers 24— On his last five drives, Philip Rivers threw four INTs and a TD pass; the 3rd INT was run back for the game-winning Miami TD by Kiko Alonso. San Diego held Ajayi to 79 rushing yards,  Over is now 8-2 in Charger games this year; those of us who have NFL Sunday Ticket will miss them next week, their bye week. Miami has won four games in a row.

Cardinals 23, 49ers 20– Kaepernick played well in leading 49ers back to tie game with 1:55 left, but Palmer drove Arizona 69 yards for the winning FG at the gun. Penalty yardage in this game: SF 100, Arizona 10. Cardinals turned ball over four times (-3) but won, which rarely happens.

Cowboys 35, Steelers 30— Pittsburgh went for two points four times and went 0-4. What is the reason for doing it after your first two TDs of the game? Dallas has won eight in row for first time since 1977; there were seven lead changes in this game. Pittsburgh/Green Bay both have Hall of Fame QBs and are both 4-5; go figure.

Seahawks 31, Patriots 24– How sweet was this for Pete Carroll? Lost to New England in the Super Bowl couple years ago, fired by the Patriots so they could hire Belichick. Small consolation but also a great game. Wilson looked little more mobile, which generates their offense.

Rough day for the favorites: 3-9 against the spread.

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up the first part of the weekend

Wrapping up the first part of the sports weekend……..
13) Pitt  43, Clemson 42— Watson was 52-70/580 passing, but threw three INTs and Clemson didn’t score in 4th quarter. Panthers kicked 48-yard FG with 0:06 left to send everyone in Death Valley home unhappy.

12) UNLV 69, Wyoming 66 OT— Weird game. Rebels ran for 401 yards, totally dominated with their running game but still needed OT to beat lackluster Wyoming team that turned ball over four times. UNLV’s basketball team lost 76-68 Friday nite; the football team outscored them.

11) USC 26, Washington 13— Trojans are now 7-3 after a 1-3 start and Clay Helton has fought off the critics to lead his team to a decent season. Total upheaval in the top five this week, with Clemson, Washington, Michigan all losing Saturday. As for the Huskies, if your school color is purple, then wear purple jerseys (not black) for the biggest game of your season.

10) Miami Oh 35, Buffalo 24— Red Hawks started out this season 0-6, after being 5-19 the last two years, but have righted ship, won five games in a row and if they win their last game, they’ll be 6-6 and bowl eligible. Won’t be a great bowl, but when you were 0-6, any bowl will do. Three of their five wins came on the road; impressive turnaround.

9) Iowa 14, Michigan 13— Wolverines have now lost their last four visits to Iowa City, hadn’t won at Iowa since 2005. True freshman made a 33-yard FG at the gun to win it, in a game where neither side had 250 total yards. Kirk Ferentz had five state troopers around him after the game; I bet Iowa’s governor isn’t protected that well.

8) Albany 87, Penn State 81— Great Danes were supposed to open the season at Duke, but due to NY State not allowing anyone in state employ to do business in North Carolina because of the LGBT/bathroom issue, that game was cancelled and Albany scheduled Penn State instead, and they scored a solid road win.

7) Penn State 45, Indiana 31— Hoosiers (+7) led 31-28 with 5:00 left; Penn State scored a TD with 3:58 left, kicked a FG with 1:07 left that pushed the spread, but then, with 0:29 left, Penn State ran a fumble in from nine yards out for the covering TD, in a very brutal beat for Indiana backers.

6) South Florida 49, Memphis 42— After watching this game, I’m half-thinking that USF doesn’t have an actual offense; they just line up in spread, snap the ball and junior QB Flowers runs amok and makes something happen out of the chaos. Bulls have a lot of fast guys, but no wonder Florida State beat ‘em by three TD’s- they can match USF’s speed.

5) Georgia 13, Auburn 7— Hard to cover a 10.5-point spread if you score 7. Auburn gained a total of 164 yards on 54 plays- they had zero first downs in the second half. Some of these teams in the AAC, Big 12 get that in the first quarter of games. The SEC title game is going to be awful, probably a 20+ pointspread with Alabama ready to crush whoever shows up.

4) West Virginia 24, Texas 20— Mountaineers have four road games this year: Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Texas and Iowa State— why are they in the Big X? It makes no sense for them not to play Va Tech, Pitt, Penn State, Maryland, Virginia- the teams close to them. Texas is 5-5 and people have to be wondering why they fired Mack Brown.

3) Louisville 44, Wake Forest 12— Deacons led this game 12-3 at the half, 12-10 after three quarters, so what we have here is a misleading final score.

2) Oklahoma 45, Baylor 24— Bears were 6-0 but have now lost three games in row, giving up 914 rushing yards and 142 points. Wonder if they’ll go to a bowl game. given the off-field issues the program has.

1) Ole Miss 29, Texas A&M 28— Freshman QB Shea Patterson, in his first college start, was 25-42/338 passing, as he rallied Rebels from down 21-6 for the unlikely win. You win on the road with a freshman making his first college start in November, that is solid coaching, especially since the kid drove the bus with his passing, he just didn’t hand off and manage the game.

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

13) Once they get rolling later on this season and they will if they stay healthy, Golden State games will be unwatchable on League Pass, because they’re going to kill a lot of teams. If a game is 70-42 at the half, I ain’t watching the second half

On the other hand, the Lakers have become fun to watch with Luke Walton coaching in the post-Kobe era. Players seem to be enjoying the freedom to play that Walton has given them.

12) Steph Curry went 0-10 behind the arc against the Lakers last week, then 13-17 in his next game, setting the NBA record for most 3’s in a game. In next two games since then, Curry is 11-21 so a 3-game stretch of 24-38 on 3-pointers isn’t too bad.

11) There is a commercial on TV where the football coach at Dartmouth has these motorized dummies that move around the field- the team uses them to practice tackling, rather than tackling teammates and risking injuries.

Utah 49, Arizona State 26– Someone at Arizona State needs to buy about ten of those dummies, because they’re a horrible defensive team. Awful.

10) There was a conversation during the T’wolves-Nets game Tuesday night, where Nets announcers were talking about how coach Kenny Atkinson has to tell players what is a good shot for them and what isn’t. It varies, obviously, from player to player.

You would think by the time a guy gets to the NBA he would know what a good shot is, but kids are so young now when they become pros that they haven’t been coached enough to know.

9) Minnesota star Karl-Anthony Towns doesn’t turn 21 until next week; he is really good. Timberwolves have several good, young players and are lot of fun to watch.

8) Election Day is a dry day in Kentucky; can’t buy alcohol.

7) Theo Epstein’s first job in baseball was as an intern with the Orioles; the man who hired him? Calvin Hill, a fellow Yale alum and a great running back in the NFL- he is also Grant Hill’s dad and back then had a job in the Orioles’ front office.

6) In case you were wondering, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country.

5) No offense to anyone, but if I want to go out to eat for pancakes, I ain’t going to Burger King. Simple as that.

4) From 2012-15, Eastern Michigan’s football team was 7-41, and some connected to the school wanted to drop football. This year, the Eagles are 6-4 and bowl eligible- their only other appearance in a bowl game was back in 1987. Good for them.

3) What do the Cleveland Browns’ defensive coaches do during halftime? Over their last six games, in opponents’ first drive of the second half, they’ve run 45 plays for 437 yards and six TDs. No bueno.

2) Red flag for the Seahawks; they haven’t scored a second half TD in their last three games.

1) Sacramento Kings’ new arena is totally solar-powered, the first one ever, but shouldn’t the first solar-powered arena have been the ones the (Phoenix) Suns play in? I’m asking for a friend.

Friday’s List of 13: Bottom 5, Top 8 in the NFL

32) Browns— Cleveland is 0-10, but not the only team that has trailed all its games in 4th quarter. 5-4 Lions have trailed all nine of their games in 4th quarter- they easily could be 0-9, or 8-1.

31) 49ers— Allowed a 100-yard rusher in each of their last seven games, which doesn’t happen very often.

30) Jaguars— Ran ball better last week than they have all season but teams that turn ball over four times almost never win. Host a Houston team this week that is 0-3 on the road.

29) Bears— They should start playing better with Cutler back at QB and Bucs-Titans-49ers on schedule in next month. For what it is worth, Jay Cutler grew up in a town called Santa Claus, IN; wonder what the high school’s mascot is?

28) Rams— I let this slide Monday because there were so many other things to be annoyed about, but Rams’ only TD against the Panthers came on a 4th-and-goal play from the 10 in last 0:40 when LA trailed 13-3. Going for it on 4th-and-goal from the 10, when you had an easy FG and you needed 10 points, was coaching malpractice.

Just because the play worked doesn’t make it a good decision; in a lot of ways, this ticked me off more than losing the damn game.

8) Broncos— Wade Phillips feels better, may be back on sidelines for this week’s game; if his defense doesn’t create opportunities for the Denver offense, it’ll be a long second half of the season— Broncos’ offense isn’t very good.

7) Giants— One of three teams (Cards, Jags) that haven’t scored a point yet on their first drive of the game. Wentz threw INTs on Eagles’ first two drives, so Giants got TDs on drives of 31-30 yards on their 2nd/3rd drives of the game, but when the coach is also the playcaller, shouldn’t they do better on their first drive?

6) Seahawks— Long trip east to Foxboro on a short week Sunday nite; they play Patriots for first time since their Super Bowl loss to New England. Seahawks’ rushing attempts in last three games: 19-17-12- they need more balance on offense. They also need a more mobile Wilson.

5) Chiefs— Have NFL’s best record (17-3) in their last 20 games, but only one of those wins was a playoff game. Alex Smith is back at QB this week, which should improve their play in red zone.

4) Falcons— 6-3 with bye week in Week 11, so they should be well-rested for stretch run, with little bit of a soft schedule, other than the KC game. Will Kyle Shanahan be a head coach elsewhere in ’17?

3) Raiders— Last time they were in the playoffs was 2002, when they lost Super Bowl to Tampa Bay. They’ll be there this year. First game after their bye is against the Texans on a Monday night in Mexico City.

2) Cowboys— If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; at 7-1, no reason for Dallas to change QBs; they seem to be set there for the next 10-12 years. Interesting game in Pittsburgh this week, against the banged-up Steelers.

1— Patriots— After playing Seattle this week, their next three games are against 49ers-Jets-Rams; they’ll have to guard against boredom, playing those three stiffs in a row.

I’m not kidding; closest game they’ve had since Brady came back is 11 points- you need to play in close games during season to tighten up for the playoffs, when games will be close.

Thursday’s List of 13: College basketball thoughts……..

Vacation is over; time for me to get back to work, with college basketball tipping off Friday night– ton of games. Here are some random preseason thoughts:

13) Blue Ribbon Magazine’s top 4 teams: Duke-Oregon-Kansas-Kentucky.  They have defending champ Villanova at #5, Louisville at #8, Saint Mary’s all the way up at #17.

12) Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s have dominated the WCC so much that four of the other eight teams changed coaches last spring. Former NBA players Damon Stoudamire/Terry Porter are at Pacific/Portland, but Herb Sendek at Santa Clara is the best of the new WCC hires.

11) UNLV has almost a whole new team; they’ve had four head coaches in the last 10 months, but Marvin Menzies will do well there, eventually. Problem is, Rebels only had 3 or 4 players left by time he got the job- the work he did to re-stock the roster in the spring was impressive. Menzies can recruit, so as long as he avoids one/done-type kids, UNLV will be back soon.

10) Johnny Dawkins went from Stanford to Central Florida; his son transferred from Michigan to join him at UCF, Jerod Haase left behind a solid team at UAB to replace Dawkins at Stanford.

9) Mike Dunleavy Sr has coached 1,400 NBA games, but zero college games; he is the new coach at Tulane. Wonder if it’ll help his recruiting that his son is Lebron James’ teammate with the Cavaliers? Dunleavy Sr will do just fine on his own, but the AAC is pretty tough.

8) Jamie Dixon wasn’t feeling appreciated at Pitt, so he went back to his alma mater TCU, which has new facilities but has an uphill climb in the brutal Big X. Dixon has recruited his butt off so far and the Horned Frogs may be on the rise.

Kevin Stallings went 66-54 in SEC games the last few years at Vanderbilt, but the natives at Vandy got restless for more, so Stallings replaced Dixon at Pitt and Bryce Drew bolted Valparaiso and a likely Horizon League champ to become Vandy’s new coach.

7) Yale won the Ivy league LY for the first time since 1962, but their best returning player Makai Mason is already out for the year (foot). Mason had 31 against Baylor in the NCAAs.

Ivy League joined the 21st century and will have a 4-team conference tournament this year, so the upper half of the league in the regular season gets to play in the conference tournament.

6) UConn-Cincinnati-SMU are expected to be the best teams in the AAC. Tim Jankovich takes over at SMU for Larry Brown, who skipped town early, as usual. Jankovich is a very good coach so the Mustangs are OK.

5) NC State had a great recruiting year; their new 7-footer Omer Yurtseven from Europe isn’t eligible until Dec 15 but the Wolfpack will hold their own in the 15-team ACC. Josh Pastner has a total rebuild at Georgia Tech after leaving a toxic situation at Memphis. ACC is really tough; Pitino-Williams-Krzyzewski-Boeheim-Bennett, all in the same league and thats leaving out Larranaga and Mike Brey, who are also really good coaches.

4) It still bothers me that half the Big East is in western Ohio or further west, but Xavier is supposed to be really good this year, right behind defending national champ Villanova. I was in Las Vegas for the national title game LY; what a fun night that was, with the two 3-pointers hit in the last 0:10 changing the fortunes of various investors in the room. Good stuff. Curious to see how St John’s is in Chris Mullin’s second year at his alma mater.

3) Five different teams have won the Big Sky title in the last decade; 20 of the league’s top 30 scorers are back from LY. This is as good as the league has been in years, with so many really good returning players. North Dakota is supposed to challenge perennial kingpins Weber State and Montana for the conference championship.

2) For some bizarre reason, the Big 14 is having its conference tournament in Washington DC this year (I know, Maryland is in the league, but still….); the ACC is having its tournament in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn- there are no ACC teams in the NY/NJ area. The A-14 will have its tournament in Pittsburgh, which seems like a bad idea.

1— For me, there are three great Opening Days: baseball, NFL, college hoop. Good twinbill from Hawai’i on Friday; ESPN’s 24-hour marathon starts Monday night. Lot of games to watch, boxscores to look over, things to learn.

Order some pizzas and enjoy the games!!!

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

One personal note before I start today; two people who I thought were friends of mine stopped talking to me during the last few months because of the Presidential election— I wouldn’t vote for the person they support.

I didn’t and still don’t understand that: I dislike both candidates, so I lost two “friends” for being impartial. Guess they weren’t friends after all. So be it. Life is too short for such BS.

On to mid-week musings……..

13) NFL teams are 17-9 vs spread this year in the game before their bye week; they’re 9-5-2 vs spread coming off a bye.

12) Cincinnati Bengals are 1-12 in their last 13 visits to New Jersey, 0-3 against the Giants, 1-9 against Jets. They started this season in the Garden State with a 23-22 against the Jets.

11) Replay official in the San Jose State-Boise State game Saturday night was an actual rocket scientist, much like Carrot Top’s dad— the madcap comedian’s dad worked for NASA.

10) Yoenis Cespedes opted out of the last two years of his, 2-year, $47.5M deal with the Mets, so he thinks he can do better than that.

How much money do you really need? Unless he does not like playing for the Mets, I’d take their $47.5M and be happy. By renegotiating, he is helming his agents more than he his helping himself.

9) Showtime’s supposed documentary on Ben Simmons was a major disappointment; it was more of an infomercial than a documentary.

How do you do a 90-minute movie about a basketball player and not talk to his high school or college coach? I don’t care what his parents or his hangers-on think; none of them will ever utter a discouraging word, lest they offend the meal ticket.

Ben Simmons made becoming a multi-millionaire sound like quite a pain in the butt— lot of people wouldn’t mind changing places with him.

8) SEC West is 9-1 vs SEC East this year, with only loss Kentucky’s win over Mississippi State.

7) Colorado Rockies hired Bud Black as manager, Arizona hired Torey Lovullo. Glad to see the Rockies hire a former pitcher as their manager- they’ve got decent young talent.

6) Miami Dolphins haven’t turned ball in their last three games, first that has happened in 19 years- those three games were all at home- their next two games are in southern California. Dolphins are 0-3 on the road this year.

5) Queens College 75, VCU 73— College hoop teams play these exhibitions against teams they’re not supposed to lose to; this is the only one I’ve seen so far this fall where the D-I team lost.

4) NFL favorites of 7+ points this year are 17-10-1 vs spread.

3) Ironic that the Buffalo Bills played this Monday night, the night before Election Day. The Pagula family bought the Bills a few years ago, keeping the franchise in western New York.

Their main competition for buying the Bills back then?

Donald Trump.

2) Comedian Don Rickles turned 90 years old this week, so congrats to him on that: I never thought insulting people was all that  funny, but people seem to like him.

1— I’m convinced that running a marathon isn’t healthy; no way is running 26 miles at one time good for you. Remember, the person in ancient mythology who made the marathon famous ran 26 miles to deliver an important message- as soon as he delivered the message, he collapsed and died.

If he had stopped on the way and had a burger and fries, he would have survived. Maybe had a milkshake, too.

Tuesday’s List of 13: Happy Election Day, people…….

I had originally set today aside for some thoughts on our Presidential election, but then it dawned on me that no one gives a rat’s ass what I think about politics, so instead……some baseball knowledge to ponder, as we head into the offseason………

(Quick reminder that college basketball starts Friday and WE LOVE college hoop here at armadillosports. So keep logging in every day)

This information is courtesy of the great Bill James Baseball Handbook, which came in the mail last week:

13) Amount of defensive shifts in 2014: 13,299. In 2016: 28,074.

Curious to see what next year brings, as far as shifting goes. More? Less? The same? Will hitters bunt more to beat the shift?

Orioles, Blue Jays were only teams who shifted less this year than they did in 2015.

12) Most hits lost to the shift in 2016: Granderson 24, Kendrys Morales 21, Ortiz 17, Ryan Howard 16

11) Lead-changing RBI’s: Abreu/Yelich 42 each, Longoria/Pujols 41

10) Highest swing/miss %age (minimum 1,500 pitches): Chris Carter 37.3%, Nieuwenhuis 36.6, Chris Davis 35.7, Stanton 34.7

9) Highest swing at first pitch %age: Tomas 49.0%, Adam Jones 44.5, Corey Seager 42.5, Schoop 41.0.

8) Lowest swing at first pitch %age: Mauer 7.0%, Blackmon/Prado 7.9, Granderson 8.3.

7) Opponents’ batting average: Arrieta .194, Scherzer .199, Estrada .203, Verlander/Hendricks .207.

6) No-decisions: Odorizzi 17, Pineda 14, Sanchez-Stroman-Tanaka-Volquez-Teheran, all 13.

5)  Home runs allowed: Weaver 37, Tomlin 36, Kennedy/Santiago 33.

4) Pitches per start: Verlander 107.9, Sale 107.7, Bumgarner 105.0, Scherzer 104.8.

3) Pitches per batter: Garcia 3.48, Leake 3.51, Iwakuma 3.57, Perez-Tomlin-Graveman 3.60.

2) Run support (min 162 IP): Porcello 7.63, Happ 6.88, Arrieta 6.84, Price 6.61

1— Stolen bases allowed: Syndergaard 48, Nelson 31, Lester 28, Jimenez 26.

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

Falcons 43, Buccaneers 28— Tampa Bay is now 17-43 in its last 60 home games; they fired Lovie Smith because they didn’t want QB guru Dirk Koetter to leave, but Winston isn’t playing as well now. This was halfway point of season and Tampa hasn’t won a home game. Atlanta is in good shape at 6-3- they haven’t had their bye yet, either. Over is 8-1 in Falcon games.

Chiefs 19, Jaguars 14— Kansas City had 16-yard edge in field position; they started four drives in Jax territory, kicking three FGs, scoring only one TD, and that was on a 23-yard drive, so if you gave the points, thats why you lost. With 8:23 left and KC up 19-7, Jaguars fumbled on 6-inch line as runner was crossing goal line; they scored on their next drive, but fell just short of pulling the upset. Under is 6-1 in Chiefs’ last seven games.

Lions 22, Vikings 16 OT— Three weeks ago, Vikings were 5-0 and on an 18-2 run against the spread, which rarely happens. Now they’re 5-3, their OC quit and both their OT’s are hurt. In this game, Minnesota scored with 0:23 left in regulation to take lead, then Stafford got Lions into position for game-tying 58-yard FG at gun. Vikings’ PK Blair Walsh missed a PAT and had FG blocked- he might not be employed much longer. Every Detroit game has been decided by 7 or less points. Success in the NFL is extremely fragile.

Giants 28, Eagles 23— Wentz threw picks on first two possessions, Giants grabbed 14-0 lead 5:07 into game; in second quarter, after a Philly FG, Pederson passed up FG tries of 40, 23 yards to try and get a first down, failing both times- they also had a FG blocked, then came up empty in the red zone on their last drive. You get ball in red zone six times and score only 20 points, you deserve to lose. If Eagles kick those 2nd quarter FGs, this might’ve been a different ending.

Cowboys 35, Browns 10— Not much to say here; a complete ass-kicking. During Rams’ game, FOX’s Kevin Burkhardt said “Right now, Dallas is best team in the NFC.” His partner John Lynch responded very quickly/skeptically, “Thats what the records say.” Cleveland is horrible.

Credit to Jason Garrett for this: Cowboys are 7-1 vs spread in last eight games as a road favorite- they win games they’re expected to win.

Dolphins 27, Jets 23— Jets scored in last 6:00 to take lead, but Miami ran kick back 96 yards for game-winning TD. This was Miami’s 4th straight home game, with a bye in between; their next two games are in southern California. Greg Gumbel/Trent Green had this game; they are a better crew than Nantz/Simms, and not because of Nantz.

Ravens 21, Steelers 14— This was Baltimore’s first win since September 25 and they’re in first place in AFC North, which is terrible this year. Ravens scored one offensive TD, a 95-yard pass in first quarter- their other TD was on a blocked punt. Bengals are 3-4-1, only half-game out of first place. Roethlisberger was obviously rusty as he returned too soon from his injury. Ravens are 12-3 off their last 15 bye weeks.

Saints 41, 49ers 23— In their last three games, Saints have run 62 more plays than their opponents. NO is now 4-4 after an 0-3 start. Chip Kelly should take Phil Knight’s $10M and go back to Oregon; 49ers are horrendous. Six of last seven SF games went over the total. Niners were outscored 91-23 in second half of their last five games.

Panthers 13, Rams 10— I could go on for a while about the Rams, but right now, I only want to know one thing; has Jeff Fisher’s contract been extended past this year? No one knows.

If it has been, then what he’s doing with Jared Goff is the proper course of action, let the kid learn on the sidelines and they’ll grow together.

If Fisher’s contract hasn’t been extended, then this is unacceptable, holding the franchise hostage so he can get a new deal, because this Case Keenum-led offense is putrid. Fisher makes $7M a year and right now, his team isn’t good. He really doesn’t deserve the extension.

The last 22 times the Rams have had the ball, their offense has outscored the other team’s defense, 10-7. How much bleeping worse could Goff be?

Colts 31, Packers 26— Misleading score; Indy kicked their butts in this game, running opening kick back for a TD, then running another kick back 61 yards later in first half. Over is 7-2 in Colt games this year. If you had Aaron Rodgers at QB, wouldn’t you get him a couple of really fast WRs? Green Bay scored 58 points in its last two games and lost both of them- they’re not athletic enough.

I’m mad because the Rams are 3-5; hell, the Packers have Rodgers and they’re 4-4.

Chargers 43, Titans 35— Ken Whishenhunt almost hung half a hundred on the team that fired him as HC last year, though they did score two defensive TDs. There is a proposition on the ballot in San Diego Tuesday to raise the hotel tax to pay for a new stadium for the Chargers; it needs 66.7% to pass, but if it gets over 50%, then the stadium is in limbo. Over is 7-2 in Charger games, 6-0 in last six Titan tilts.

Raiders 30, Broncos 20— Oakland ran ball for 218 yards, had 18-yard edge in field position; before this game, most rushing yards Denver had allowed was 157. In their first eight games, Denver’s defense scored three TDs, created field position for 10 TDs where scoring drive was less than 60 yards. Broncos’ average starting position here was their own 19-yard line, worst in NFL this week. Oakland is 7-2 and atop AFC West, with second-best record in AFC.

In baseball news, Colorado Rockies will name Bud Black their new manager Monday morning. Interesting that a former manager willl manage the Rockies, given the problems pitches have had pitching in high altitude.

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

13) Alabama 10, LSU 0— Old-time football. Can’t blame Les Miles for this one. Two QBs were badly overmatched by speedy defenses in this game. This was first time in nine years (Florida State, ’07) that Crimson Tide didn’t score in first half.

Since Nick Saban has been at Alabama (2007) every other SEC team has changed coaches. I’m totally baffled as to what LSU will do for a head coach.

12) Florida State 24, NC State 20— Gutty road win for the Seminoles, making Tuesday night’s Showtime episode another good one. I have a feeling FSU is going to win their bowl game by a lot- it’ll be a lesser bowl and they’ll be lot healthier, especially on defense. NC State had 31 first downs in this game, but lost.

11) Wisconsin 21, Northwestern 7— Evanston is a suburb of Chicago; no way was this a normal week in the Windy City, with the Cubs winning the World Series late Wednesday night, then the parade with five million people Friday afternoon. Did the World Series mess up Northwestern’s prep for this game, or is it a simple case of the better team winning?

10) Mississippi State 35, Texas A&M 28— People get all bent out of shape about the rankings for the playoffs, but these things tend to play themselves out in November. Now Aggies are out of the top 4 so people can stop complaining about A&M and start complaining again Tuesday night, when they’re replaced in the top 4 by someone else.

9) Minnesota 44, Purdue 31— Coaching 101— Gophers led 37-31 with under 2:00 left, score TD with 1:30 left to go up 43-31. It didn’t matter in this game, but you have to to go for 2 points in this spot. Being up 43-31 is the same as 44-31, but 45-31 means if you do give up two TDs, you still get OT to win the game. Minnesota kicked the PAT, which was a mistake.

8) Upset of the Day: Tex-San Antonio 45, Middle Tennessee 25— Roadrunners were a 20-point underdog- they ran ball for 270 yards and only need one more win to become bowl eligible.

Upset of the Day, #2— Charlotte 38, Southern Miss 27— 49ers were a 19.5-point underdog and got a big win for their young program.

7) Illinois 31, Michigan State 27— Spartans were 36-5 the last three years; they’re 2-7 this year and now have lost seven games in a row.

6) Navy 28, Notre Dame 27— Fighting Irish are now 3-6 as they head to San Antonio to play Army next week; they still have to play Virginia Tech and USC. If I was a college football coach, I’d never schedule Navy- they’re too good and no one is impressed if you beat them.

5) TCU 62, Baylor 22— Two straight losses for the Bears; TCU ran 90 plays for 688 yards in an easy win (was 38-14 at the half). Curious to see how the coaching situation at Baylor plays out; doubtful Kendall Briles can stay there, with his dad having been fired. Could be wholesale changes, but they have lot of talented kids who could transfer out, so tough decisions need to be made. they need to keep as many of those players as possible.

4) South Carolina 31, Missouri 21— Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp put mousetraps all over the Carolina football facility this week, to remind players/coaches “not to take the cheese” and think the Gamecocks were bigger than life.

The ploy worked, Carolina won and is now 5-4- they need one more win to go bowling.

3) Oklahoma State 43, Kansas State 37— This was a fun game to watch; OSU ran 64 plays for 637 yards- only six of those 64 plays came on third down, thats how well they moved the ball, passing for 457 yards. K-State had the ball inside the 5-yard line in the last 0:30, before time ran out on them.

2) Georgia 27, Kentucky 24— SEC title game is going to be awful, Alabama favored by 20+ over Tennessee or Florida or some other mediocre team from the SEC East. Kentucky would have been atop East had they won this game. Dawgs kicked FG at the gun for the road win.

1— This is where I advise you to be careful taking big point spreads against teams who are trying to impress pollsters. Coaches won’t think twice about hanging huge scores up so they don’t get bypassed in this playoff system they have now. Consider yourself warned.

A bonus list of 13 for an autumn Sunday

13) Angels waited about 90 seconds after the World Series ended to announce they acquired OF Cameron Maybin from the Tigers.

Over the last three years, Angel LF’s have had the worst OPS of any LF’s in baseball (.602); next worse were Phillies’ LF’s, at .645 so Maybin is a major upgrade and if he hits ahead of Trout/Pujols, that will give those two a lot more RBI opportunities.

12) Also, Astros acquired Nori Aoki from on waivers Seattle; not sure if Aoki will start for Houston- he came on late to .283 for the Mariners LY, but will be 35 in January and will be playing for his fifth team in five years in 2017.

11) CBSSports.com ranked every college basketball team in the country, within their own states; I feel bad for Cal Poly of the Big West, which isn’t even in the top 20…….in the state of California. They’re #21 of 23.

10) There are 22 D-I basketball teams in New York; Syracuse is the only one of those 22 ranked higher than #90.

9) I dare you to name all 12 Division I hoop teams in Louisiana.

8) Wish our government would legalize online poker again, so it would make a comeback on ESPN; watching the final table of the World Series of Poker last week was pretty fun.

7) Alex Rodriguez turns out to be an excellent TV analyst; good for him. FOX hit the jackpot with ARod/Rose/Thomas on their pre and post-game shows, with Kevin Burkhardt.

6) Orlando Magic drafted Stephen Zimmerman from UNLV this year, a 6-11 kid who played one year for the Rebels. Thru six games. the young man played a total of 8 minutes and is apparently headed to the NDBL.

My question is this: Would he be better off if he were still in school? I know he is getting paid now, but he just needs to get older, more physically mature before he can be an effective NBA player. Would he have been drafted higher and paid more if he had stayed in college an extra year or two?

Curious to see how this turns out for him and other players like him.

5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now 17-43 in their last 60 home games; no bueno.

4) Colorado was 5-40 in Pac-12 games its first five years in the league; this year, they’re 5-1 in Pac-12 games. Good for them.

That said, Buffs’ 20-10 win over UCLA last week resembled the football scenes in the movie The Longest Yard, where there was a scuffle after every other play. There were 11 penalties after the whistle or for unnecessary roughness. Not good.

3) Phillies declined the 2017 option on Ryan Howard, which was totally expected, meaning that Howard will get $10M deposited in his bank account— that was the buyout of his contract.

Must be nice to be given $10M to take a hike. When I retired, I got a card and a Duck Dynasty lanyard for my keys, which I still use.

2) Sam Holbrook was plate umpire for Game 7 of the World Series, which means that MLB considers him the best ball/strike ump in the major leagues. Quite a compliment.

1— After their win in Tampa last week, Falcons play one game in 23 days; they have 10 days until their next game, then have their bye week, so at 6-3, Falcons are in decent shape.

DDLohaus handicaps the Breeders’ Cup………

The best racing day of the year is upon us and boy what a card.  The world’s best equine stars battling it out for big money.    For horse players, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Friday was a good teaser for what we are going to see today; let’s get to it!

Juvenile Fillies

1. Sweet Loretta
2. American Girls
3. Daddys Lil Darling

Bets:
$10WPS Daddys Lil Darling
$2EXBX  Sweet Loretta/American Girls/Daddys Lil Darling


Filly/Mare Turf

1. Lady Eli
2. Queen’s Trust
3. Avenge

$10WPS Avenge
$2EXBX Lady Eli/Queen’s Trust/Avenge


Sprint

1. Lord Nelson
2. Drefong
3. Joking

$5WPS Joking
$5EXBX Lord Nelson/Drefong/Joking


Turf Sprint

1. Mongolian Saturday
2. A Lot
3. Om

$5WPS Om
$2EXBX Mongolian Saturday/A Lot/Om


Juvenile

1. Classic Empire
2. Klimt
3. Gormley

$10WPS Klimt


Turf

1. Found
2. Flintshire
3. Ectot

$10WPS Ectot


Filly/Mare Sprint

1. Haveyougoneaway
2. Carina Mia
3. By the Moon

$10WPS Haveyougoneaway


Mile

1. Tepin
2. Ironicus
3. Photo Call

$10WPS Photo Call


Classic

1. California Chrome
2. Arrogate
3. Melatonin

$10EX Melatonin/California Chrome, Arrogate

Should be some great racing and solid value for the horses you like.
As always, watch the course conditions and how the races progress throughout the day.

Good luck!

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

13) Lot of eyes will be on Minnesota Sunday, with Vikings’ OC Norv Turner quitting during the week after two consecutive losses. Minnesota hosts the Lions, a game they’re expected to win.

12) Miami Hurricanes haven’t lost four games in a row very often over the last 30 years; they’ve lost four in a row after a 4-0 start, and are only a 3.5-point favorite over the Pitt Panthers Saturday.

11) Eagles’ offense has struggled since their bye, with five TDs in last four games; they visit Swamp Stadium with Giants coming off their bye. Winner stays close to Dallas in NFC East race.

10) Watching the Showtime reality series on Florida State this fall, can’t help but like the Seminoles, both players/coaches, but at 5-3, they are not having a typical FSU season. Seminoles are in Raleigh this weekend to face NC State Saturday- they’re 2-3 in last five visits there (0-5 vs spread).

9) Steelers-Ravens are both coming off a bye; seven of last ten series games were decided by 3 or less points. Will Big Ben be back from his injury? Ravens lost last four games, but win here gets them right back in AFC North race- division is down this year.

8) Notre Dame won its last five games with Navy- they’re 16-3 in last 19 series games. Middies can run ball but gave up 412 rushing yards to USF last week. This game is in Jacksonville, could be interesting if Irish struggle defending the option.

7) Titans fired Ken Whisenhunt as coach midway thru last year; now he is the Chargers’ OC and San Diego is scoring 31 pts/game at home. This is Chargers’ last game before the election, where the fate of their new stadium could be determined.

6) Oregon spent most of last five years crushing USC, scoring 49 pts/game, winning last two visits here, 62-51/53-32, but now Trojans are the better team. Favorites covered eight of last ten series games.

5) Road team won six of last seven Jet-Dolphin games, with Gang Green winning last three visits to Miami. Dolphins won their last two pre-bye games; did the bye cost them their momentum?

4) Memphis gave up 101 points in losing its last two games, and a Tiger WR’s car got shot up few hours he had an argument with a teammate in practice- no bueno. Memphis are at SMU this week, with 4-4 Mustangs coming off consecutive wins.

3) Cam Newton whined last week about taking late hits with no flags; Panthers are in LA this week, where Gregg Williams’ defense has a rep for being…..aggressive. Both teams need a win to get back into contention. Will Jared Goff play for LA?

2) Alabama-LSU in Baton Rouge will be quite an event Saturday night; Tide won last four series games. LSU’s interim coach Ed Orgeron needs to win to get the full-time gig.

If you ever read the book Meat Market, about recruiting which centers around the Orgeron era at Ole Miss, you realize they’d probably be crazy to hire him, but strange things happen all the time. Just ask Cub fans.

1— Seattle QB Russell Wilson has a sprained left knee, a sprained right ankle and a pectoral injury. Seahawks already had their bye week, so Wilson has to gut it out until the injuries heal, or until the season ends.

Buffalo lost its last two games, need win here to have winning record heading into their bye week.

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

13) Cubs 8, Indians 7 (10)– Baseball needed this; high drama, a rain delay in extra innings and a big market team (#6 payroll) ending a 108-year title drought. Hopefully they got great TV ratings.

As for Cleveland, well, the Cavaliers won the NBA title in June.

Think about the Miami Marlins, who won the World Series in their 5th year of existence (1997, against the Indians), then a second one six years later, the only two times they’ve made the playoffs.

Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948; life can be weird.

12) Minnesota Vikings are 5-2, having a good year in the first year in their new domed stadium, but OC Norv Turner suddenly quit on Wednesday, apparently shocking everyone in the organization.

Vikings lost their QB for the season with a knee injury in training camp; they traded a 1st-round pick for Sam Bradford, but scored only 11 offensive TD’s in their first seven games- it is hard to break in a new QB when he arrives after training camp.

New OC Pat Shurmur worked with Bradford in St Louis/Philly; until someone fixes Minnesota’s offensive line, it might not help.

11) Late Tuesday night (very late), I stumbled upon the live broadcast of the final table at the World Series of Poker from Las Vegas, with heads-up play going on for the $8M first prize.

Poker is good TV, in an odd way; I got a research project done in the four hours I had it on. Finally went to bed at 5:20am, as one of the analysts, pro poker player Antonio Esfandiari, was bemoaning how passive the player who was behind was playing.

10) First prize was $8,005,310; second place was $4,661,228, so they were playing heads-up for $3,344,082. Over 6,000 people started in the Main Event back in July. Quite an accomplishment to win it. Or finish 2nd.

9) Big 14 is going to televise six Friday night games next season, which is going to be controversial because major colleges have traditionally left Friday nights to high school games.

8) Was sitting in a bar having lunch the other day and a college golf tournament was on TV; college golfers carry their own golf bags and those bags are a lot smaller than ones PGA golfers use.

7) Redskins’ OT Trent Williams is suspended for four games; those games are against: Vikings-Packers-Cowboys-Cardinals.

Williams is Washington’s best lineman- this isn’t good for them.

6) There are “Make America Great Again” hats on EBay, signed by Donald Trump that are selling for anywhere from $500-800. What a country.

5) Sacramento Kings lost in OT at Miami Tuesday, their 15th loss in a row in south Florida. Sacramento is better this year but DeMarcus Cousins has trouble controlling his emotions, and as a result, he gets hosed on key calls. His sixth foul in this game was an offensive foul call that was just terrible.

4) CFL schedule gets weird sometimes; it is 20 weeks long, with each team getting two byes. Ottawa-Winnipeg play twice a year; this year’s meetings are in Weeks 19-20; who thought that was a good idea?

3) I’ll sound old saying this, but it is true; our society has gotten ridiculously soft. NBA teams now routinely rest players if team has games on consecutive nights.

Why? AAU teams play as many as three teams in a day; I don’t see any kids collapsing from exhaustion. But pros don’t want to play some guys two nights in a row. Oy.

Ron Boone is a broadcaster for the Utah Jazz; when he played, and he played damn well (16 pts/game in his career) he played in every one of his team’s 1,041 games and schedules in the 70’s were lot different than now; no charters, some 3 games/3 nights stretches.

People nowadays pay serious money to watch these guys play; they deserve a good show.

2) Quote of the Day #2:
“I’m a professional athlete. What professional athlete don’t have a gun? I have a wife and I have a son at home. My job is to protect them at all costs, and my job is to protect myself as well even though I know I have security here, but I have to protect myself as well.”
Eagles WR Josh Huff, with an ominous quote

1— More from Mr Huff:
“I’m from Houston. You can’t trust a lot of people in Houston. There’s always somebody out to get you. You’ve got to protect yourself. Even when I’m back in Houston, I always have a gun on me, because there’s been several instances in Houston where I’ve lost a friend to gun violence, and he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, so why would I let that happen to me?”