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

13) Whats the point of having the Packers play home games at night on December 23? Do they want someone to freeze to death in the stands?

The answer is that if they stumble across a snow game, they’ll get huge TV ratings, because snow games, it has been proven, get better ratings on TV than games in ordinary weather.

12) Wake Forest has three coaches on its staff who scored 1,240+ points in their playing days in college; Danny Manning (Kansas), Randolph Childress (Wake) and Steve Woodberry (Kansas).

11) Major league ballplayers who play 8+ years in the majors get a lifetime pass to games (with a guest). Not a bad perk.

10) Good to see former Ohio State/NBA center Greg Oden finding his way as a student assistant coach with the Buckeyes. Oden earned over $24M in his NBA days, but played only 105 games, scoring 14.9 ppg in a injury-shortened career. He turns 30 next month- time flies.

9) UCLA 83, Kentucky 75— Hopefully these teams will continue to play every year; their games are always fun to watch. Bruins are 9-3; they don’t have great depth because of the shoplifting mess in China, but they play hard- this is a sold win for them.

8) Florida Gulf Coast has a 6-10 junior named Michael Gilmore, who is a great-nephew of Artis Gilmore, who played in the ’71 Final Four for Jacksonville and then played 17 years in the ABA, NBA and scored 24,941 points.

Gilmore played in the ABA for the Kentucky Colonels, one of the great forgotten teams of all time. Coached by Hubie Brown (yes, the guy on ESPN) the Colonels won the ’75 ABA title- they had Maurice Lucas, Louie Dampier, Caldwell Jones- they had Johnnie Neumann and Travis Grant on the same team- two of the worst gunners in basketball history!!!

7) Think about it; Kentucky owner John Y Brown shuttered the Colonels as part of the ABA-NBA merger, with a promise that he could later buy the Celtics, which he did. Had he not done that, then Maurice Lucas doesn’t go to Portland and the Trailblazers don’t win the ’77 NBA title.

6) Wyoming 37, Central Michigan 14— Wyoming QB Josh Allen will be much-discussed when the NFL Draft comes around in April; he has a strong arm, can run, but hasn’t played against the same competition as Sam Darnold/Josh Rosen.

I like Allen, but he damn sure better learn how to slide, because NFL defenders will put him on the IR pretty quickly otherwise. He likes to run and challenge defenders— can’t do that much in the NFL.

5) Poor Alabama A&M; they’re 0-13 with 11 road games- they lost 89-49 to Georgetown, the last of a ridiculous pre-conference schedule that pays a lot of the program’s bills. Bulldogs played at Michigan, Georgetown, Alabama, Minnesota, DePaul. Losing isn’t fun.

4) St Bonaventure 60, Syracuse 57 OT— Solid win for the Bonnies, who are located in middle of nowhere. If you’re not from NY or Pennsylvania, I defy you to find their campus on a map- they have to recruit like hell and they play in a very tough league. Mark Schmidt is a very good coach.

3) USC 89, Middle Tennessee 84— Semi-final in the Diamond Head tourney in Hawaii, this was an excellent game.

2) South Florida 38, Texas Tech 34— Bulls scored a TD with 0:16 left to win this game. After a few cruddy bowls during the week, the bowl games Saturday were actually competitive games.

Army 42, San Diego State 35— Cadets scored TD with 0:18 left to win game. Rashaad Penny ran 14 times for 221 yards, but Aztecs couldn’t stop Army’s offense.

1) One of the odd things about college basketball is that after you play a team, especially these non-conference games, you root like hell for your opponents to do well down the road, since it enhances your resume if they do.

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

13) One of the odd things about college basketball is that November is a much better month for games than December. I mean, we have two mid-major teams here where I live, Albany and Siena- they both played Memphis AND Louisville this season.

College basketball gets real next week, when conference games start in earnest and everyone get back to playing their own kind. Can’t wait.

12) Worst offenders for scheduling cupcakes this year in pre-conference games:
#350 Georgetown— Played Richmond, Syracuse and a lot of sub-300 teams
#344 Mississippi State— Played Cincinnati, Dayton and nine other stiffs.
#340 NC State— Played Penn State and in Atlantis tournament; have new coach.
#336 Virginia Tech— Hokies are 10-2; NC schedule #336 could hurt on Selection Sunday

11) Mets’ owner Fred Wilpon “……is pissed every time the Yankees make a move”, referring to Giancarlo Stanton’s acquisition.

Only a jackass like Wilpon would be angry that a great player was traded OUT of his division; he should be angrier that the Phillies signed Carlos Santana, since the Philllies, you know, actually compete with the Mets, and seem to be trying to win, unlike Wilpon’s Mets.

10) Mets brought former GM Omar Minaya back as “special assistant to the GM”, joining former manager Terry Collins in that title. What exactly will these two be doing, other than stealing money? Roving minor league instructors? Scouting? Running the Mets’ Twitter account?

Maybe one of these “special assistants” should tell Fred Wilpon that he owns a baseball team that is located eight miles from the Bronx, where they spend a lot of money to try and win. it would be nice if the Mets spent some money, too.

9) How about the Jaguar commercial on TV where the guy gives his wife a Jaguar for Christmas and instead of thanking the guy, she complains because he put a few hundred miles on the car before she got it? Oy. He gave you a freakin’ Jaguar……say thanks!!!!!

8) NHL teams that play road games on consecutive nights this season are 34-44 on the second night this season; 17-26 if they won the first night, 17-18 if they lost the first night.

7) This is from sportsbusinessdaily.com, talking about what college football players get as “swag” for playing in bowl games:

“……..the reward provided more than any other by the bowl committees to the game’s participants will be a chance to shop in a gift suite. The suite is a portable store set up on campus or at a venue in the game’s host city, where players browse through a variety of items, then have up to $550 worth of those goodies shipped to the address of their choice.”

Take the Potato Bowl in Idaho; in addition to the $550 from the gift suite, players on Wyoming, Central Michigan will all get Oakley sunglasses, an Under Armour backpack and a beanie.

6) Texas A&M’s basketball team was without three starters for its win over Buffalo Thursday; leading scorer DJ Hogg is suspended for at least three games, meaning he’ll miss the Aggies’ first two SEC games, against Alabama/Florida.

5) NFL teams that have gone 3/out the most times this season: Colts (65), Browns/Giants (58), Seattle-Denver-Jets (57).

Fewest 3/outs this year: Patriots/Steelers (27), Falcons (31), Saints (32), Chargers (35).

4) Most 3/outs forced this year: Broncos-Cardinals-Jaguars (62), Eagles (59), Ravens (56).

Fewest 3/outs forced: Packers (32), Raiders/Patriots (33), Falcons-Bears-Bucs (34).

3) UCLA extended the suspensions for basketball players Jalen Hill and Cody Riley for this whole season, after they got busted for shoplifting in China along with another player, who has since left the school. Riley had been expected to start for the Bruins, who are 8-3 heading into their game with Kentucky today.

The two kids can practice starting Dec 26, which is a big help to them and also helps the team have better practices. I’m pretty sure this decision was made at the highest level of the school, lot of political ramifications involved.

2) Underrated accomplishment of the year: UAB went 8-5 in football this year, played in the Bahamas Bowl. No big deal, you say?

UAB didn’t field a football team the last two years; the school dropped football to save money, but after an outcry from alumni/public, it was brought back this season. So an expansion team goes 8-5 and gets a bowl invite. Thats very impressive to me.

1) Mentioned briefly yesterday about Dick Enberg passing away; he was at the forefront of the tremendous growth in interest in college basketball— he broadcast the Indiana St-Michigan St game in 1979, the Bird-Magic national championship game.

Working with Billy Packer/Al McGuire, Enberg was the point guard of a great 3-man announce team that taught me so much about college basketball. ESPN then came along and my winters have been filled with basketball ever since.

Mr Enberg called 28 Wimbledons, ten Super Bowls, nine no-hitters and eight Final Fours; he will surely be missed.

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

13) Why did the Giants trade for Evan Longoria? Their third basemen combined to hit .216 LY, with only nine homers, 51 RBI. Not good.

12) How was Tennessee’s basketball team picked to finish 13th in the SEC? Vols are 8-2, with their only two losses to Villanova/North Carolina- they’re good.

11) 82-year old Len Dawson, who led the Kansas City Chiefs as their QB in Super Bowls I and IV, is retiring from his job on Chiefs’ radio after this season.

I like to collect unique pictures off the Internet on my phone; one of the ones I have is of Dawson at halftime of Super Bowl I, sitting on a folding chair in the Chiefs’ locker room, taking a drag off a cigarette with an open bottle of Fresca at his feet. Somehow that wouldn’t fly today.

10) Wyoming QB Josh Allen will play for the Cowboys in the Potato Bowl Friday; he hurt his throwing shoulder against Air Force, sat out the Cowboys’ last two games, so if he wants to make a statement to NFL scouts for next April’s draft, he needs to show he is healthy in this game.

9) Lakers’ rookie Kyle Kuzma scored 38 points off the bench Wednesday; he is only the 3rd rookie since 1983 to do that, joining Walt Williams (1993) and Rodrique Beaubois (2010) on that list.

Rodrique played only four years in the NBA, for Dallas (182 games). Williams played 12 years in the NBA for six different teams, scoring 8,200+ points.

8) John Schnatter, the guy on all those Papa John’s pizza commercials, is out as the company’s CEO— Papa John’s is the best pizza I’ve ever had, but six of the seven places in the Albany area closed a few years ago, and the one that stayed open doesn’t deliver to my suburb.

7) Want to win a bar bet? Oprah Winfrey and Anthony Mason are the two most famous alumni of………Tennessee State.

6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t led a game at halftime since Week 4 against the Giants, back on October 1st. They were tied 3-3 against the Jets in Week 10.

5) Before he was a big time college basketball coach, South Carolina’s Frank Martin was a busboy, a bouncer, a short-order cook and a math teacher. Bouncer is easy to see; high school math teacher seems like a bit of a reach. Coach Martin walked by me at an AAU tournament in Florida few years ago— the man has immense shoulders, just a large, tough-looking guy.

4) Temple 28, Florida International 3— Why is a bowl game that is sponsored by a company that makes lawn mowers played in a domed stadium with FieldTurf?

FIU’s senior QB Alex McGough was hurt on first series of this game; the kid is from the Tampa area- this was his last college game- he stayed in for two plays after his shoulder injury, but you could tell he was in agony. Just felt really bad for the kid.

3) Knicks 102, Celtics 93— Kristaps Porzingis was 0-11 from floor but the Knicks won. Go figure.

2) Thing I learned listening to Bill Walton last night on the UConn-Arizona game; The earth rotates around the sun at an angle of 23.5 degrees, which is why we have different seasons.

You thought it was going to be something about basketball?

1) Mike Sando of ESPN did some research; Jaguars had 19 Week 1 starters still in the lineup in Week 15, most in the NFL- they’ve stayed pretty healthy. Arizona had only 10 starters still in the lineup, least in the league- they played several games with their #3 QB.

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

13) Sad day for baseball fans in Tampa Bay/St Pete; Rays traded 3B Evan Longoria to the Giants Wednesday, for Denard Span, Christian Arroyo and two minor leaguers.

Longoria is one of the two best players in Rays’ history (Carl Crawford being the other); he helped lead the underdog Rays to the 2008 World Series.

Wouldn’t be stunned if the Rays wound up moving to Montreal and becoming the Expos.

12) Tampa Bay’s final 2017 payroll was $81,346,870; only three MLB teams had a payroll lower than that. Of the other four AL East teams, the next lowest payroll was $165,179,831.

11) Also in the AL East, Orioles’ closer Zach Britton ruptured his achilles tendon and will miss the next 6-8 months, and possibly the whole 2018 season.

10) Los Angeles Rams average 4.73 points/red zone drive, which ranks 18th in NFL in ppp, but the thing is, Rams have been in the red zone 64 times this year, six more times than anyone else in the NFL. Patriots are second, with 58 red zone drives. Bears are last, with only 28. (Red zone drives are when you get inside the other team’s 20-yard line)

9) Why are Rams’ punter Johnny Hekker and PR Pharoh Cooper in the Pro Bowl? Because field position is important, and these two guys have helped the Rams win field position most every week.

This season, Rams have started 85 drives 75+ yards from goal line; their opponents have started 123 drives on their own 25 or worse. Thats a difference of almost three drives per game.

8) One more piece of Rams’ news and it isn’t good news; kicker Greg Zuerlein has a herniated disc in his back, is done for the season. Zuerlein had a great year, is the NFC’s Pro Bowl kicker, but he is having back surgery today. Rams signed Sam Ficken, who kicked in college at Penn State.

7) If ESPN insists on showing so many of Duke’s pre-conference games, could they at least play good teams? As I’m typing this, they’re beating banged-up Evansville 53-18. Play a true road game now and then; it won’t kill you. Might even help you play better in March.

6) A legislative election in Virginia wound up being a tie, and that election could’ve swung which party holds the majority in the state. If you’re unhappy with how the government is doing, register and vote every November. You never know how much of a difference you might make.

5) Former Cowboys’ RB Darren McFadden sued his former agent for screwing up a Bitcoin deal that cost McFadden $3M, amongst other shenanigans that cost the RB another $12M.

Someone came out this week and said that if McFadden’s $3M Bitcoin investment had gone thru back in 2008, it would be worth $237M now. Whoops.

4) Louisiana Tech 51, SMU 10— SMU’s play-caller in this game is a grad assistant; you NEVER see that in big time college football, but Sonny Dykes just got hired by the Mustangs and he isn’t 100% up to speed on the team’s playbook yet. Two nights in a row, though, terrible bowl games.

Louisiana Tech alum Terry Bradshaw was an honorary captain for this game, which was played at a soccer stadium in Frisco, TX that seats around 20,000 people.

3) Wofford 79, North Carolina 75— Terriers were a 24.5-point underdog, but held Tar Heels to 36.4% from floor, and survived being outscored 28-16 on foul line. .

2) When the Miami Marlins were crying poor so they could get their new domed stadium 10 years ago, they actually made $35.6M profit in 2007, 2nd-most in the major leagues that season. Going to be a lot of bitter people in south Florida next summer, with that beautiful stadium hosting the worst team in the major leagues, because new owners are dumping all the good players to save $$$

1) DirecTV calls me the other day and tries to get me to buy even more premium channels; the problem is, the person on the phone? I can’t understand what she is saying- she talks really fast and well.…I just couldn’t understand her.

I’ve hit my ceiling on how much I’m spending for TV anyway, but you’d think they’d put people on the phone who you can understand when they speak.

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

13) OK, I’m asking for your input here— e-mail me at ffib13@gmail.com

Who, in your opinion, is the greatest Los Angeles Laker ever?

Kareem, Magic, Wilt, Kobe, Jerry West, Shaq, Happy Hairston, Nick Young?

Let me know what you think.

12) Why are the Baltimore Ravens rolling right now? In their last five games, Ravens have been playing on a shorter field, winning field position by 17-13-14-5-17 yards. Thats a combination of defense/special teams. John Harbaugh was a special teams coach before he was a head coach.

11) Arizona Cardinals didn’t score a touchdown in their last two games, are switching to Drew Stanton at QB this week for their home game against the Giants.

10) Last June, Golden State Warriors sent $3.5M to the Chicago Bulls for the 38th pick in the draft and then took Jordan Bell from Oregon.

Bell is playing 12.3 mpg for the powerhouse Warriors; he couldn’t have helped the 9-20 Bulls?

9) Stephen Curry’s father Dell played 16 years in the NBA for five teams, scored 12,670 points; he made 40.2% of 3-pointers in his career. Why did he go to Davidson? Why didn’t Dell’s alma mater, Virginia Tech, offer him a scholarship?

8) ESPN President John Skipper resigned Monday, citing a substance addiction problem. Guy in that job had to be making a freakin’ fortune; I hope he exorcises whatever demons he has.

ESPN fired a lot of people recently; couple of them weren’t very happy on Twitter Monday night, unhappy that they got fired by a guy who apparently was often drunk/stoned on the job.

7) Packers put Aaron Rodgers on IR, so he is done for the last two games. Probably a smart move, to avoid risking Rodgers getting re-injured in meaningless games the next two weeks.

6) NHL’s Islanders are moving from Brooklyn back to Long Island, to a new arena that will be built around Belmont Park. Barclays Center doesn’t have great sight lines for hockey, so this is a good move for Islander fans.

5) There won’t be any baseball moves announced next week; MLB offices are closed between Christmas and New Year’s, so while stuff may actually happen, it won’t get officially announced.

4) So far this season. Chicago, Minnesota, Las Vegas are your NHL attendance leaders.

3) If your fantasy football team is still alive in the playoffs and you need a WR to replace an injured guy, try Kendall Wright of the Bears.

In his last two games, Wright was targeted 24 times, caught 17 balls for 188 yards.

2) Kudos to Chick-fil-A, the fast food giant that is never open on Sundays.

When the Atlanta airport got shut down by a power outage Sunday, people from Chick-fil-A went in to the airport and GAVE OUT FREE FOOD to people stranded in the airport.

Good for them.

1) Can you imagine the personal injury lawyers busting their butts to get to Tacoma Monday in wake of the horrible train accident there? Hundreds of injured people just waiting for a lawyer to hand them his card, so they can sue Amtrak and everyone else within sight.

As Lloyd of Lubbock said on the The Odd Couple, “Shake my hand. You’re insured.”

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

13) In the great TV show Billions, hedge fund trader Bobby Axelrod, who is really rich, likes to say, “Whats the point of having (bleep) you money if you never say (bleep) you?”

Boosters at the U of Oregon must have bleep-you money, since they just gave Jim Leavitt $1.7M a year to stay at Oregon, to be the Ducks’ defensive coordinator. $1.7M a year for a guy who isn’t the head coach!!!! Why?

Apparently the boosters were more than a little annoyed that former coach Willie Taggart took a job interview at Florida State while using a Oregon’s booster’s private plane on a recruiting trip, so they overpaid Leavitt to keep him from joining Taggart at FSU. Spite can be expensive.

12) Atlanta’s airport is the biggest one in the country and it was shut down Sunday after a fire in an electrical box. 1,200 flights were canceled Sunday. Imagine the chaos? Monday morning the airport was jammed with travelers who were still stuck there, and the electronic boarding pass system wasn’t working, multiplying the backlog of customers.

11) Baseball agent Scott Boras still has 13 unsigned free agents for next season; when does this guy sleep?

10) Phillies gave 1B Carlos Santana $60M for three years, which moves Rhys Hoskins to LF, but also creates a logjam at the other two OF positions. Nick Williams figures to play in center, but will Odubel Herrera or Aaron Altherr play right? Or will they make another trade?

9) Some people are comparing Oklahoma freshman Trae Young to Steph Curry, which is really unfair. Curry was mostly under the radar until he led Davidson to the Elite 8 as a sophomore, and his dad played in the NBA.

Young is a terrific player, but let him be a kid and progress at his own rate.

8) Illinois State 101, Ole Miss 97 OT— Last spring, ISU coach Dan Muller posted a sarcastic note on Twitter, essentially daring Power 5 teams to schedule his Redbirds. Ole Miss took him up on it, and I wonder now if Andy Kennedy regrets it.

Ole Miss lost four of its last five games, with three of the losses in OT. Rebels just got some new facilities couple years ago; the boosters who paid for those facilities probably ain’t real happy with the losing.

7) Herm Edwards is the new football coach at Arizona State; ASU fired Todd Graham, the last head coach but kept both coordinators, but since Edwards got hired, both coordinators already quit. One took a head coaching job at UL-Lafayette; the other one left for health reasons.

6) Billy Joel has had 46 concerts in Madison Square Garden, the most of any performer.

5) NFL coaches must get sick of talking to the media; I mean, how many times can you say the same thing? It is part of why they make a ton of money; they’re the voice of the franchise, talking to all their fans, but for a coach on a losing team whose job may be on thin ice, it can’t be a lot of fun.

Bill Belichick is so boring in his pressers- he just fulfills his obligations and moves on, but players need to look at that and imitate it— keep them from getting fined by the league.

4) Purdue basketball coach Matt Painter once worked as a fork lift operator, before he began his coaching career. Painter also appeared in the 1994 movie Blue Chips; lot of college basketball players back then were in the movie, playing ball in the game scenes.

3) Why did the Lakers retire two numbers for Kobe Bryant?, So they can keep selling two of his t-shirts in their gift shop? I know he wore both 8 and 24; pick one of them and retire it.

2) Fort Wayne 92, Indiana 72— Mastodons made 17-30 3-pointers, beat Indiana for second year in a row; their coach Jon Coffman makes $135,000 a year. Indiana coach Archie Miller makes $2M a year.

1) Falcons 24, Buccaneers 21— Atlanta is 9-5 and controls its own destiny in NFC South; they play Saints, Panthers to finish season.

Friday’s Den: Ranking the months of the year…….

12) January— Keep in mind that I live in upstate New York, where the weather sucks from Thanksgiving to St Patrick’s Day. January is a long, cold month; conference games in college basketball are the thing that makes it tolerable; that and the NFL playoffs.

11) February— Same as January, only three days shorter; there is something about watching golf on TV that makes you feel warmer. Super Bowl is in February and college hoop and baseball is starting in Florida and Arizona.

10) December— Today, the sun sets at 4:22; next week, the days start getting longer, but this is a long, cold, dark month. Most of the good pre-conference college basketball games are November games— Saturdays are the best basketball days in December. Christmas, bowl games and the NFL help December’s rating, but not a lot.

9) November— Steep drop-off after October; it snows sometime in November- I don’t like snow. This is a better college basketball month than December, since Thanksgiving Week is one of the best sports weeks of the year. When I was working for New York State, I had three days off in November— days off were a good thing. Now I have every day off.

8) May— 20 or so years ago, I coached Little League, which seems like a shaky decision now. Practice every weekday, couple of games a week. Kids were fine; the parents? Not so much. Nowadays, social media would make Little League easier. Could just have a Twitter page and post if practices/games were rained out. Back then? Every rainout was 12 phone calls.

7) June— I got married in June; despite that, it gets a middle-of-pack ranking because of the great weather and six hours of baseball every day.

When I was a kid, June was the best month, with school ending for the year. Little did I know back that the teachers were probably more anxious for the school year to end than we were.

6) July— If you really like the NBA, I would strongly recommend you go to Las Vegas one year and go to the NBA Summer League at UNLV. For $28 or $30 for a full day, you can watch 3-4 games, and rub elbows with NBA owners, coaches, players— lot of them are there.

Later in July, AAU basketball invades Las Vegas, with lot of tournaments— almost all the college coaches show up at events at either Cashman Center or Bishop Gorman HS or the convention center.

5) August— Here in the Albany area, August is the best social month of the year, with the horse racing in Saratoga and concerts at Saratoga Performing Arts Center and nice weather every day. Baseball’s pennant races are going on and the college football magazines are out.

4) April— Baseball season starts, the Final Four takes place and I almost always spend ten days in Las Vegas every April. Watching the Final Four in Vegas is something you should do; great fun.

Couple years ago, was sitting next to a guy who had lot of money on Villanova/under in the national title game. When Paige hits the jumper for North Carolina, the guy slumps; his under bet is a loser, but when Villanova wins at the buzzer, he was damn glad to get out of there with a split. Didn’t ask how much, but seemed like he had a lot of money riding on it.

3) October— Baseball playoffs, football is in full swing, college basketball magazines come out and I almost always spend some time in the desert.

Few years ago, I’m sitting in the theater at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas, watching the NFL; they have the best set-up, all the games up on a screen, with the audio up on one main game. There are betting windows in the back, food off to the left.

I’m talking to this guy who is wearing a Cardinals’ jersey; all of a sudden it dawns on me that this guy is betting thousands of dollars on the games. Serious money and he doesn’t seem like he is stressed out at all. Good guy, but I would’ve been having a nervous breakdown.

Las Vegas is the big leagues when it comes to that stuff; I forget that sometimes.

2) March— Best month of year for college basketball, spring training baseball on TV every day, the weather is getting better. Still snows sometimes, but March is usually excellent.

1) September— When I was a kid, there was September/January were by far the worst months of the year. Nothing worse than the first day of school every year, but now, September is still really a summer month, and football starts during the baseball pennant races.

I went to private grade school, but then to public high school, where 9th grade was in a building by itself. I was painfully shy, and had never ridden a school bus before; my 8th grade class had 24 kids, my 9th grade class had 730 kids. Will never forget how terrified I was those first few days of 9th grade changing classes and having a locker for the first time.

Everything turned out fine, but boy I hated September back then; it never would’ve made it above #11 on my ranking back then.

Wednesday’s List of 13: A quick scan thru the bowl schedule…….

A quick scan thru the bowl schedule……..

13) UCF is getting ten points from Auburn in the Peach Bowl, the same stadium where Auburn just lost the SEC title game. Auburn’s coach just signed a $49M contract to stay on the Plains.

Central Florida is 12-0; two years ago, they were 0-12. Great season, but then their coach took the Nebraska job about 45 seconds after they won the AAC title game. Scott Frost and his staff will still coach their bowl game, but only because he needs the three hours of national TV exposure to remind people he is now the highly-paid coach of Nebraska.

12) Iowa State-Memphis is a good bowl between two upstart teams who had excellent seasons, and surprise!!!— neither coach has bolted yet.

Matt Campbell actually re-upped with the Cyclones, though contracts don’t always mean that much in today’s world. Mike Norvell is in his second year at Memphis; he could still wind up being a candidate at Tennessee, since just about everyone else already has been, but he also signed a contract extension this week to stay at Memphis.

11) Florida State is -15 over Southern Miss in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport; they’re hiring Willie Taggart as coach, but likely he won’t coach the bowl game. Now Derwin James, FSU’s best defensive player, has declared for the NFL Draft and is skipping the bowl game. Lay 15 points here at your own risk.

10) Holiday Bowl has long been the bowl with a tradition of wild, high-scoring games, so fitting that Mike Leach coaches there. Washington State-Michigan State is quite a contrast as far as coaches’ personality, with the offbeat Leach and the gruff Mark D’Antonio matching wits.

When he was at Texas Tech, Leach won ’04 Holiday Bowl 45-31 as an 11-point dog over Cal.

9) Normally, UAB-Ohio U wouldn’t catch my attention, but what a job UAB coach Bill Clark has done. UAB dropped football- they didn’t field a team the last two years, but due to outcry from alumni, they brought the team back this year and now they’re bowling in the Bahamas.

Meanwhile, while Nebraska fired their coach and hired Scott Frost, one of their old coaches, Frank Solich, has gone 88-67 at Ohio U— he went 58-19 as Nebraska’s coach but that wasn’t good enough. Bobcats are only 2-6 in bowls under Solich.

8) Kansas State-UCLA could be Bill Snyder’s last game as coach at K-State. Snyder is 78 and had a cancer scare last year— the job he’s done at K-State (209-110-1) is impossible to overstate.

Before he got to the Little Apple (K-State is in Manhattan, KS), the Wildcats were a joke, going 26-82-3 the previous 11 seasons— they were the welcome mat of college football. Snyder fixed all that, made them respectable, won a lot of games. Their stadium has been named after him for over a decade now.

7) There is a bowl called the “Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl”; it is played in Houston. Problem is, the Sports & Outdoor Bowl is in a domed stadium, where the Texans play.

Missouri-Texas are playing in the indoor Outdoors Bowl; Mizzou started this season 1-5 but won its last six games. Tigers fired their defensive coordinator during the 1-5 start; their OC just left for another opportunity, which could complicate their bowl preparation.

6) Fresno State went 10-28 the last three years, so they hired former Cal coach Jeff Tedford, who was Aaron Rodgers’ college coach. Fresno is 9-4 this season; they get their second trip to Hawai’i in two months when they play Houston in the Hawai’i Bowl on Christmas Eve, after a full day of NFL games. There is no NFL game that night, so hopefully this will be a fun game.

5) New Mexico State is in a bowl game for the first time since 1960— good for them!!! Aggies are playing Utah State (also the Aggies) in the Arizona Bowl in Tucson.

New Mexico State was 11-49 the last five years; great year for coach Doug Martin.

4) SMU won’t have to go too far for their bowl game; Mustangs are playing Louisiana Tech in the Frisco Bowl, being played in a 20,000-seat soccer stadium, which is roughly 25 miles from the SMU campus.

Louisiana Tech won its last three bowls, scoring 35-47-48 points. SMU is in its first bowl in five years.

3) Since 1999, Utah is 13-1 in bowl games, 9-1 under Kyle Whittingham. Utes lost six of their last eight games this year after a 4-0 start- they head to Dallas to play West Virginia in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, played in the old Cotton Bowl stadium.

2) Boise State won six of its last eight bowl games, winning the Las Vegas Bowl three years in a row, from 2010-12; Broncos are back in Vegas this year, playing an Oregon team whose coach just jumped ship after one year, for the greener pa$ture$ of Florida $tate. Ducks lost the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl, 38-8 to BYU.

1) Marshall vs Colorado State in a bowl game in Albuquerque is a little weird; Thundering Herd won its last five bowl games- their last bowl loss was in 2004. Colorado State won 27-24 on this field October 20. Do kids get excited about going to a bowl in Albuquerque?

1a) Which raises the question I raise every year; what is the worst bowl game to go to?
— Pinstripe Bowl, played in the Bronx, where it is almost always damned cold.
— Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, where it often snows.
— Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit can’t be that much fun, but at least the game is indoors.
— Playing Navy in Annapolis probably isn’t that great a trip.