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

13) Hard to believe that Sunday night’s Packer-Patriot game will be only second time that Aaron Rodgers-Tom Brady have faced each other in a regular season game. Green Bay won the first meeting, 26-21 at home four years ago. 

12) Giants’ backup QB Kyle Lauletta was arrested in New Jersey Tuesday morning for a third-degree offense of eluding police as well as obstructing justice and resisting arrest. Lauletta has a history of dangerous driving, according to the Weehawken PD in New Jersey. 

The kid hasn’t taken an NFL snap, but drives a Jaguar and apparently not very well; he wasn’t at practice Tuesday, so doubtful he replaces Eli Manning anytime soon. 

11) Ben Roethlisberger is playing thru a broken LEFT index finger; non-throwing hand makes it whole lot better, but I’m sure that taking snaps from center still hurts like hell. 

10) NFL trades at the deadline Tuesday:

— Broncos traded WR DeMaryus Thomas to the Texans, who they play Sunday.
— Rams acquired pass rusher Dante Fowler from Jacksonville.
— Eagles acquired WR Golden Tate from Detroit.
— Packers traded RB Ty Montgomery to Baltimore . 

9) Buffalo Bills’ QB Derek Anderson (concussion) is out Sunday, meaning that Nathan Peterman gets another start. Line opened at 8.5, is up to 9.5 as I type this (10 at the Wynn), By kickoff on Sunday, line could get to 11 or 12— not lot of support for Peterman out there. 

Matt Barkley was signed to be Buffalo’s backup QB; Terrelle Pryor was also signed; he could be a wildcat QB, seeing how he once played QB for the Raiders, before moving to WR. Going to be a long couple months for Bills coaches/fans. 

8) Denver QB Case Keenum was with the Texans in 2014; apparently that year coach Bill O’Brien told Keenum that he “would never be more than a 3rd string NFL QB.”

Now that Keenum is making $18M a year playing for the Broncos, wonder what he’ll say to O’Brien Sunday when the Texans visit Denver? 

7) A college football player at Maryland passed away during off-season workouts; the coach was suspended, but Tuesday DJ Durkin got his job back, and not everyone is happy about it. 

When Durkin addressed the players for the first time, several players walked out, including some starters. Saturday’s home game with Michigan State should be interesting. 

6) Marlins’ catcher JT Realmuto has let it be known that he wants to be traded, and will not sign a long-term deal with Miami. He is by far their best player, should bring back a pretty good haul. Good catchers are hard to find. 

5) Chicago White Sox turned down P James Shields’ 2019 option, paid him $2M to go away; same thing for Milwaukee with Mike Moustakas, Joakim Soria ($1M each). 

4) This isn’t a criticism or a complaint, just a statement of fact: 41.9% of runs scored this in postseason scored on home runs; during the season, 40.3% of runs scored via taters.

3) I don’t think Stephen Curry is getting enough credit for how much he has helped basketball, as a whole; kids see how great a shooter he is and they work more on their games, and now shooting has become so much better. Skilled basketball players are way more fun to watch. 

Curry isn’t a dunker; he isn’t huge (6-3, 190), but he is incredibly skilled because he works his butt off on those skills, and that has caught on all over the country. Good for him.

2) Klay Thompson was 14-24 from the arc Monday night in Golden State’s 149-124 win over the Bulls, who are not good. 14 treys is one game is an all-time NBA record. Coming into the game, Thompson was 5-36 from the arc for the season. 

Golden State led the Bulls 92-50 at halftime… HALFTIME!!!!!

How about competing? Chicago has an awful team…..embarrassing.

1) On NBA.TV, Isiah Thomas was killing the Bulls at halftime; Chicago’s own PR people put out a tweet mocking the team’s first half. No bueno.

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

13) Rough week to be a coach in Cleveland; Browns fired Hue Jackson Monday, as well as OC Todd Haley. DC Gregg Williams is now the interim coach.  

Freddie Kitchens is the new OC; saw an NFL Films segment on Kitchens Monday, on how beloved he is by players he has coached. In these turbulent times, it was great to see. 

12) Cleveland Cavaliers started 0-6, then quickly fired coach Tyronn Lue, like it was Lue’s fault that Lebron James skipped town. What did they think was going to happen? Lue gets $13M to take a hike, so at least he walks away with a championship ring and a smile on his face.

11) Terry Francona, John Farrell and Alex Cora all won the World Series in their first year managing the Red Sox. 

10) Mets hired agent Brodie Van Wagenen to run their franchise; not sure if that is a good idea or not, but Van Wagenen’s wife’s stepfather is Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, so he has that going for him.

I’m guessing that behind closed doors, the Mets’ front office would make a great reality show, and that isn’t a compliment. 

9) Dallas Cowboys fired offensive line coach Paul Alexander less than halfway into his first season with the team, the first time HC Jason Garrett fired an assistant coach during a season.  

Former Cowboys OL Marc Colombo, who had served as assistant OL coach since 2016, will take over as OL coach. A former Cowboys’ OL coach, 75-year old Hudson Houck is back to work with Colombo and the offensive staff in an advisory role.

USC also fired their offensive line coach Monday; HC Clay Helton is taking over play calling duties, too. 

8) Buccaneers named Ryan Fitzpatrick as its starting QB for Sunday’s game at Carolina. 

7) On Sunday, Los Angeles became the first city ever to host an MLB (Dodgers), NFL (Rams), NBA (Clippers), and NHL (Kings) game, all on the same day. Those games all happened within five miles of each other.

6) Syracuse football team is ranked in the Top 25 for the first time since 2001.

5) Klay Thompson made an NBA record 14 3-pointers for Golden State Monday in a game they led 92-50 at halftime in Chicago.

4) Game 3 of the World Series lasted 7:20; in 1939, New York swept the Reds 4-0 in the Series- the four games COMBINED lasted 7:04. Seriously. 

Boston’s 1-4 batters Friday went a combined 0-28 at the plate; the most hitless AB in any baseball game – regular or postseason, since 1920 by a team’s 1-4 hitters was 0-24 by the 1963 Milwaukee Braves against the Houston Colt 45’s (now the Astros).

3) It surprised me that no team down 3-0 in a World Series has ever even forced a Game 6, much less won the Series. You’d think by this time, just about everything has happened.

2) Red Sox won the World Series, won 119 games; their GM west to Western Michigan, a state school. Just thought I’d mention that. 

1) Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts is a free agent; his contract is up. If you owned the Dodgers, would you give him a new deal? Guy just won the NL pennant two years in a row-I’d re-sign him,  but the longer he goes without a deal, the more you wonder.

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

Eagles 24, Jaguars 18— 4th straight loss for Jaguars, who had four players involved late Friday night in an incident in a London club- something about an unpaid $45,000 bar tab. Yikes. 

Jaguars have on-field problems, too; they’ve scored only five TD’s on their last 42 drives. 

Eagles lost T Lane Johnson with a torn MCL; the severity of the injury is still unclear. 

Have I mentioned how much I dislike 9:30am kickoffs for these London games? 

Steelers 33, Browns 18— Forbes Magazine lists the Browns as worth $1.95B; if you owned a ball club worth roughly $2B, and the coach of that team was 3-36-1 in 2.5 years of coaching that team, would he still have a job? He sure as hell wouldn’t if I owned the team. 

Seems like Cleveland has a good GM, decent talent on defense, a young QB it can build around, but do they have a head coach who can do the building? Browns have lost 25 straight road games; they’re 8-18-1 AGAINST THE SPREAD in last 26 road games. No bueno. 

Steelers are heating up; they’ve scored 41-38-33 points in winning their last three games. 

Chiefs 30, Broncos 23— Before the season, Patrick Mahomes’ over/under for TD passes this season was 23.5; he threw his 24th TD pass in the first half of this game, his 8th this year, so if you bet the under, you can toss your ticket. 

Broncos lost five of last six games overall; they’ve lost seven in a row vs the Chiefs; they haven’t had consecutive losing seasons since the early 70’s, but they’re 3-5 now and under Joseph, the Broncos are 2-9 vs spread in true road games, 1-6 as road underdogs, which shows that they’re not competitive on the road. 

Bears 24, Jets 10— Jets scored 34+ points in their three wins, 17 or fewer in five losses; they went 3/out 29-60 (48.3%) times in their losses, 9-35 (25.7%) times in their wins- they went 3/out six times in 10 drives in this game. 

Yardage was 395-207 Bears, who held Gang Green to 12 first downs, 3-14 on third down. Even though this was a methodical Chicago win, seems like something is lacking with young QB Trubisky, who isn’t as accurate a passer as you might like. 

Redskins 20, Giants 13— For a team with Saquon Barkley to have a total of only 14 rushes for 37 yards, that not good; Barkley caught nine passes for 73 yards, Beckham caught eight balls for 136 yards but a 1-7 team with two guys like Barkley/Beckham is unthinkable. 

In their five wins, Redskins ran for 130+ yards in all five games; they were held to 65-39 in their losses. Considering that the Giants traded off two defensive starters LW, including run-stopping Harrison, you had to figure Redskins would have their way running the ball.

Seahawks 28, Lions 14— Seattle has quietly won four of its last five games after an 0-2 start; they were punting from their own EZ with about 2:30 left- punter Dickson was told to take an intentional safety, but when he saw that Detroit had no defenders on the right side, he took matters into his own hands and ran for a first down instead- game over. 

Seahawks ran ball for 176 yards, averaged 12.5 yards/pass attempt on only 17 throws and they were +3 in turnovers. That combination of numbers doesn’t lose very often. 

Bengals 37, Buccaneers 34— Cincinnati led 21-0 early, 34-16 after 3rd quarter, but found itself tied 34-all after Bucs benched QB Winston and backup Fitzpatrick rallied Tampa on 78, 88-yard TD drives. Bucs gained a franchise-record 576 yards, but still lost and now they probably have to bench their franchise QB, who was also suspended for Weeks 1-3 this season. 

Tampa Bay fired DC Mike Smith couple weeks ago, so they can’t blame him for this mess, which was 27-9 at halftime. Bucs allowed an average of 39.8 ppg in their four road games- they’re 3-6-1 in last ten games as road underdogs. This is a team with talent but a messed-up QB situation; will Dirk Koetter get to clean it up? 

The two head coaches in this game both went to college at Idaho State; Marvin Lewis worked for Koetter’s dad for a while when he was at ISU. Small world. 

Panthers 36, Ravens 21— There is a reason that when Troy Aikman got inducted into the Hall of Fame, the guy who introduced him was Norv Turner; he’s that good an offensive coordinator, and now Cam Newton is benefitting from Turner’s expertise. 

Carolina won four of its last five games; they’re 4-0 at home- they’re 17-8-1 in last 26 games where spread was 3 or fewer points. Ron Rivera is a very good coach. 

Ravens are 0-3 when they allow more than 14 points. 

Colts 42, Raiders 28— Oakland lost its last four games; in their six losses, they were outscored 112-41 in 2nd half- just like the Giants, when you trade off starters for draft picks, it sends the message that the coaches/front office quit on this season. 

In their last three games, Raiders allowed opponents to convert 25-39 third down plays; they lost field position by 14-22-10 yards in those games. 

Colts scored 34-37-42 points in their last three games; Andrew Luck looks sharp. 

Cardinals 18, 49ers 15— Niners led 15-3 with 12:00 left, but Rosen led TD drives of 62-78 yards as Arizona scored winning TD with 0:34 left. Cardinals have two wins this season, both against the 49ers. In its last three games, Arizona lost field position by 11-14-10 yards. 

This was Arizona’s 8th win in a row against the 49ers, who didn’t turn the ball over here after being -12 in turnovers their previous three games. 

Rams 29, Packers 27—
— How in God’s name did the 49ers score 30 against Green Bay?
— Packers were very aggressive with blitzes and disrupted the Rams’ offense; LA didn’t score a TD on its first five drives (29 plays, 89 yards)- that doesn’t happen much.
— Rams were 8-18 on third down, Green Bay only 2-8.
— It is zero fun rooting against Aaron Rodgers for 3.5 hours.
— Rams took a 29-27 in last minute, but when they kicked off, the Packers’ returner ran the ball out of the EZ and fumbled when he was hit, depriving Rodgers of a chance for a last drive.
— That is on the Green Bay coaches; Rodgers has to get a chance to win the game.
— This game ended with Todd Gurley refusing to score a TD to make the score 36-27 in the last minute; he simply took a knee once he had the first down, and that was that. it affected both the point spread and the total, not to mention a ton of fantasy leagues. Oh well. 

Saints 30, Vikings 20— Minnesota led 13-10 in last 2:00 before halftime, and had ball in red zone, but they fumbled and Saints scored TD before the half- they pulled away in second half, scoring four of last six times they had the ball. 

NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978; since then, Vikings have NEVER had the same QB start all 16 games in consecutive seasons- thats hard to believe. 

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

Eight ranked teams lost to unranked teams this week.

13) Kentucky 15, Missouri 14— Mizzou got called for pass interference in the end zone on the last play of the game, so Kentucky got another play, threw a 2-yard TD pass, and now Wildcats are 7-1. 

Missouri had zero first downs in the second half- none. 

12) Cincinnati 26, SMU 20 OT— Bearcats kicked 41-yard FG at the gun to force OT, then ran back an INT 86 yards for the game-winning TD in overtime. That hasn’t happened much, where a defensive score decided a game in overtime. 

11) Kansas 27, TCU 26— Horned Frogs fumbled on the Kansas 10-yard line in last 2:00, screwing up what would at least have been the game-tying FG. 

From 2015-17, Jayhawks were 3-33; this year, they’re 3-5, so big improvement for them. 

In their last six games, TCU is -14 in turnovers (2-16). 

10) Iowa State 40, Texas Tech 31— Cyclone fans better enjoy this, because their coach Matt Campbell ain’t going to be in Ames much longer— the big-$$$ people will come calling for him, and soon, then the Iowa State revival will be in jeopardy. 

This game was 31-all with under 5:00 left when Tech got called for intentional grounding in their own end zone, which out ISU up 33-31. On the ensuing series, Cyclones had 3rd-and-9 but threw a 48-yard TD pass, putting the game out of reach. 

Lot of points for a game with two freshman QB’s playing. 

9) Clemson 59, Florida State 10— Oy. This is the worst Florida State team since Bobby Bowden got to Tallahassee over 40 years ago. Willie Taggart needs to have a seriously positive run of good recruiting; this game tied a 49-0 loss to Florida in 1973 as the worst loss in FSU history. 

8) Penn State 30, Iowa 24— Iowa had the ball on Penn State’s 3-yard line with 3:17 left, but threw a hideous INT where instead of calling a timeout to get organized, Iowa’s QB ran a play and QB/WR weren’t on the same page, and Penn State got the clinching INT. 

Hawkeyes had two safeties in first 16:39 of this game; don’t see that a lot; Iowa’s punter also threw a TD on a fake FG. Rough day for Iowa’s QB; in the first half, they ran a play action fake and had a TE wide-open (by 20 yards) for an easy TD, but the QB overthrew the pass. 

7) Upsets of the Week:
— Oregon State (+23.5) 41, Colorado 34
— Kansas (+13.5) 27, TCU 26
— California (+10.5) 12, Washington 10
— Georgia Southern (+8) 34, Appalachian State 14
— Northern Illinois (+7.5) 7, BYU 6
— Arizona (+7.5) 44, Oregon 15
— Kentucky (+7) 15, Missouri 14
— Charlotte (+6.5) 20, Southern Miss 17
— Northwestern (+6) 31, Wisconsin 17

6) Georgia Tech 49, Virginia Tech 28— We mentioned how Yellow Jackets didn’t complete a pass in this game Thursday; last college team to score 40+ points in a road game without completing a pass? Ohio Bobcats, in 2002, in a 50-0 win at Kent State.

5) Oregon State 41, Colorado 34 OT— Horrific loss for Colorado; Buffs led this game 31-3 with 9:00 left in third quarter, but lose as a 23-point favorite. 

4) Wake Forest 56, Louisville 35— Few years ago, Louisville coach Petrino pulled a scholarship from a RB named Matt Colburn right before Signing Day, leaving the kid without a place to play ball. Wake Forest wound up signing him; Saturday, Colburn ran for 202 yards and three TD’s……against Louisville. 

3) Arizona State 38, USC 35— Go-ahead TD was a 92-yard punt return for a TD by N’Keal Harry late in 3rd quarter where USC appeared to have lot of big guys covering the punt— lot of numbers in the 70’s chasing a very fast guy, which seldom ends well for the team that kicked. 

Harry also made a great one-handed catch earlier in the game; you’ll see it on highlight shows the rest of the season.

Trojans are 4-4; the natives are restless. coach Helton’s seat is very hot- they scored 35 points with their 3rd-string QB playing, but one TD was a punt return, another a trick play. 

2) Georgia 36, Florida 17— Dawgs outgained Florida 429-275, and the Gators had won five in a row coming in. All seven of Georgia’s wins are by 14+ points. Top of the SEC is a meat grinder. 

1) Red Sox 9, Dodgers 6- LA led 4-0 after six innings, but the Dodger bullpen imploded and now Boston leads the World Series 3-1, with Game 5 tonight. 

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

13) If you haven’t seen it, go on the Interweb and find DeAndre Hopkins’ great catch that was nullified by a penalty Thursday night. Pretty sure it was the best catch I’ve ever seen; if Hopkins played for a New York team, he’d be a lot better known that he is now— great hands.

12) Texans lost WR Will Fuller (torn ACL) for the season in Thursday’s game.

11) People complain (and rightfully so) about athletes’ salaries, but how about Megyn Kelly making $23M a year from NBC? Really? 23 freakin’ million a year? Now she gets paid $69M to go away; it must be nice. 

Athletes have very short careers; a TV person can work until they’re a senior citizen. 

10) Georgia Tech scored 49 points in a win at Virginia Tech Thursday and they didn’t complete a pass- Yellow Jackets were 0-1 thru the air. 

9) I normally try to ignore individual baseball awards, but how the bleep is Trevor Story not a finalist for Gold Glove at shortstop in the NL? 

Story is on my fantasy team, so I watch just about every Colorado game; he had a super year at the plate, but he is a damn good fielder, too. Huge oversight by whoever decides these things. 

8) They’re charging $19.95 for the Woods-Mickelson golf event the day after Thanksgiving; I wouldn’t watch it if it was on free TV. Will be interesting to see how many people pay to watch. 

7) Would be curious how Billy Donovan/Brad Stevens feel about coaching in the NBA. as opposed to college ball— I’m guessing they don’t miss recruiting, but the NBA is also more of a player’s game. Can do lot more teaching in college; many more practices. 

6) There is ugliness in Denver; Broncos’ owner Pat Bowlen has Alzheimer’s and hasn’t run the team for a while. Now there will be a legal squabble over which one of Bowlen’s children will wind up in charge of the Broncos- there are three trustees running the team now. 

Forbes values the Broncos’ worth as $2.65B; as usual, there will be lawyers.

5) Quote of the Day, part 2, from Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler:

“For two years, I was a deer in the headlights. It’s like the story of a poker game when you’re looking around, and you wonder who the fish is. If you don’t know the answer, it’s probably you. I don’t want to blame somebody else because I was the schmuck, and I didn’t have to do it. I realized the mistake the minute after I did it.”

Ressler bought the Hawks in 2015; 

4) Ressler is married to actress Jami Gertz, who was in the movie Less than Zero and the TV series Square Pegs. She represented the Hawks at the draft lottery last spring. 

3) Mets’ search for a new general manager has apparently boiled down to two candidates: agent Brodie Van Wagenen and Rays executive Chaim Bloom. Working for the Wilpons took a lot of candidates out of the running- they’re not the best owners. 

Former Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin was also in the running, but apparently isn’t now. 

2) NFL fired an official this week, after that official missed an obvious false start in the Chargers-Browns game— Chargers scored a TD on that play. 

Chargers’ left tackle started early; it wasn’t hard to see; the official on that sideline was fired, the first in-season firing of an NFL official in at least fifty years. Chances are he had other mistakes if he got fired; they wouldn’t axe the guy over one mistake.

1) Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm is a rising star in coaching with a 41-19 record at Western Kentucky, Purdue; his playing career didn’t go as smoothly. 

Brohm led Louisville to 5-6/9-3 records his junior/senior seasons, after breaking his ankle as a sophomore; he later bounced around the NFL, throwing 37 passes for the 49ers in 1996-7. 

Brohm also played in the XFL’s only season, playing seven games for Orlando before an injury ended that season. Brohm had earlier played two years of minor league baseball, hitting .214 in A ball for Cleveland Indians’ farm clubs- he was a head coach in the Arena League for a year, before beginning his college coaching career. 

He could write a hell of a book someday.

Friday’s List of 13: Random facts on a fall Friday

13) Thru seven weeks, NFL teams are 35-59 (59.3%) on 2-point conversions. 

12) Kerryon Johnson ran for 158 yards Sunday for the Lions, the best day for a Detroit RB in seven years; Lions drafted Johnson with a pick they got from New England on draft day- the pick was originally the 49ers’ pick, but San Francisco traded that pick to New England in the Jimmy Garoppolo deal. 

Funny how the Patriots trading Garoppolo wound up benefitting Detroit. 

11) Ravens have allowed only one TD on the opening drive of a half this year, and that came on a 6-yard drive by Denver after a blocked punt. In their last four games, Baltimore has forced three turnovers on their opponents’ first drive of the game. 

10) Last year, the Eagles converted 51.4% of 3rd down plays in the red zone, which was the 3rd best %age in the NFL. This year they are at 21.1%, ranking second-last in the NFL. 

9) Dallas traded for WR Omari Cooper because their offense needs a jolt; in their seven games this season, Cowboys have gone 3/out on their first drive five times. Maybe Cooper can make their offense more explosive, allow them to get off to better starts. 

8) In Buffalo Bills’ last four games: they were outscored 56-7 in first half. Bills had the ball 42 times in those games; they scored two TD’s, turned ball over 12 times. 

7) Atlanta Falcons converted 32 of their last 55 third down plays. 

6) 54 teams have led a World Series 2-0; 43 of them went on to win that World Series. 

5) Best ppp in red zone this season:
Seattle 5.73 (15 drives), Baltimore 5.65 (26 drives), Kansas City 5.61 (33 drives)

4) Best ppp on drives that started 75+ yards from end zone:
Kansas City 3.05, New Orleans 2.86, Atlanta 2.72

3) Thru first nine days of the NBA season, home favorites were 24-20 vs spread, home underdogs 14-5. 

Teams playing 2nd consecutive night are 9-5 vs spread; 3-3 when favored, 6-2 as dogs. 10 of those 14 games went over the total.  

2) Cleveland Browns have played four OT games already this season; only one of their seven games was decided by more than four points. How many games does Hue Jackson have to win to keep his job? 

NFL teams with a +2 or better turnover margin are 36-3-1 this season; Cleveland is 1-1-1, and everyone else is 35-2. 

1) Since 2012, Denver Broncos have drafted five quarterbacks; none of those five guys is still on the Broncos. 

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

13) Cam Newton’s Sunday in Philadelphia:
Quarters 1-3: 9-of-17, 68 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, not much of anything
4th quarter: 16-22, 201 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs— He looked like Dan Fouts

Once he got hot, the Panthers were unstoppable, but it was like someone flipped the on-switch and he started playing better.

12) Denver Broncos released backup QB Chad Kelly after he was arrested on trespassing charges Monday night. He was forcibly removed from the players’ Halloween party before he entered another person’s home where he didn’t belong. 

11) There are whispers coming out of Ohio that at this time next year, Urban Meyer could be coaching the Cleveland Browns. We’ll see about that; not sure how Meyer would do dealing with the losing NFL coaches do, much more than college coaches. 

10) College basketball starts November 6; on Opening Night, 52 D-I teams play a non-D-I opponent, which is embarrassing. Last year, D-I teams went 453-11 against non-D-I teams. 

9) Darius Bazley is a young man who signed to play basketball at Syracuse this winter, but he won’t do that or play in the G-League, instead he is going to train on his own— he has signed an endorsement contract with New Balance, which will play him at least $1M. 

Bazley will also intern at the company’s marketing, digital, footwear and apparel departments from January to March. Chances are he will go from April 2018 to July 2019 without playing in a competitive basketball game. Not sure how that is a good idea for his development as a player, but good luck to him. 

8) Raiders supposedly turned down a 2nd round pick from the Eagles for Amari Cooper, before dealing him to the Cowboys Monday; Jon Gruden talked to the team Wednesday about the trade, but that seems kind of late, no? The trade was Monday. 

7) Los Angeles Angels hired former Tiger skipper Brad Ausmus as their next manager.

6) This is just the third World Series where all four starting pitchers in Games 1-2 were lefty: 

1963 – Koufax vs Ford, Podres vs Downing
1973 – Matlack vs Holtzman, Koosman vs Blue
2018 – Kershaw vs Sale, Ryu vs Price

5) James Harden left Houston’s 100-89 loss in Utah Wednesday with a hamstring issue that he says “isn’t serious). Harden missed seven games LY with a similar injury. 

4) Nets 102, Cavaliers 86— Cleveland coach Tyrone Lue coached in the NBA Finals the last two years, but the Cavs are 0-4 already and Lue might get fired before Christmas. Losing to the Nets by 16 at home isn’t a good sign. 

3) Red Sox 4, Dodgers 2— None of LA’s top four home run hitters have started a game in this WS yet, because they’re all lefty and God forbid a lefty hitter face a lefty pitcher. 

2) Rams signed WR Austin Proehl to the practice squad, which sounds like an obscure note, except if you’re a Ram fan, the Phoehl name is royalty— Austin’s dad Ricky Proehl caught the game-winning TD pass in the 2000 NFC title game the year the Rams won the Super Bowl, and he also caught a TD pass in the Super Bowl two years later. 

1) According to Psychology Living magazine, being sarcastic on a regular basis can add up to three years to your life, which means you’re stuck with me for three more years than you thought you were. Sarcasm is extremely healthy for the mind. Ha!!!

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

13) According to‘s Darren Rovell, at William Hill sportsbooks in Nevada, 73% of the money on Monday night’s NFL game was on the Falcons, so the swing on the Giants’ 2-point conversion with 0:05 left was large in favor of the house.

Would be fun to know nation-wide, how much $$$ changed hands with Giants covering the spread like that. Had to be a huge chunk of change, right???

12) The greatest compliment any coach can give to a player is to have him on the court/field at the end of a close game; actions speak a hell of a lot louder than words. 

Wizards-Trailblazers were 108-108 in last minute Monday night; Portland had Nick Stauskus on the court— Stauskus didn’t start, but he played 30:00 and he finished, tying the game with a 3 late in 4th quarter. Stauskus scored 15 points and had 8 rebounds. When a coach lets you finish, that shows true belief in your ability. 

11) While we’re somewhere near the subject, I think assists on 3-point shots should count as 1.5 assists, since they’re 3-point assists, not 2-point assists. Same goes for passes that lead to made foul shots. 

10) Since 2001, New England is 38-37 (.507) when losing the turnover battle. 

During that time, the rest of NFL is 713-2,765-8 (.206) when losing the turnover battle.

9) From Ralph Michaels: Jacksonville Jaguars are only the 11th team since 1989 to lose back-to-back games as a favorite while scoring 7 or fewer points in both games. 

In their next game after that, those other 10 teams went 5-5 SU, 6-4 ATS, with over 7-2-1.  

8) The ESPN documentaries are basketball are great history lessons for anyone who likes basketball; its like watching highlights of my childhood on TV. Good stuff. 

7) NC State 103, Maryland 100 in OT— 1974 ACC title game was one of the greatest college basketball games ever played, just a fantastic game that helped change the future of college hoops. I was 14 years old and remember lying on my bed listening to the game on radio— 103-100 with no shot clock or 3’s. 

People don’t realize; back then, only one team from each conference made the NCAA’s, so the loser of the ACC tournament didn’t even make the NCAA tournament. NC State was #2 in the country, Maryland was #3 in the country, so the ’74 ACC title game was an elimination game just to get in the tournament!!!! 

In 2002, Maryland won the national title in basketball after losing in the ACC tournament, so the bigger tournament has obviously proven to be a much better thing. 

6) Former NFL special teams star Steve Tasker is a sideline reporter for CBS now; when he broke into the NFL in 1987, Jerry Glanville was the Houston Oilers’ defensive coordinator. 

31 years later, Glanville is an assistant coach for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL, where one of the Ti-Cat players is Tasker’s son Luke.

5) When Wade Phillips started coaching in the NFL, neither Sean McVay or Kyle Shanahan had been born yet.

4) Only QB’s to beat all 32 NFL teams: Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.

3) The GEICO commercial with Vikings’ WR Stefan Diggs is tremendous; his neighbors notice that everything sticks to his hands, which makes it tough for him to take the garbage out.

2) World Series Game 1: Red Sox 8, Dodgers 4— Eduardo Nunez broke open a close game with a 3-run, pinch-hit homer in the 7th inning. Neither starting pitcher finished the fifth inning. 

1) Random political numbers; as of October 2017, Gallup polling found that 31% of Americans identified as Democrat, 24% identified as Republican, and 42% as Independent. I was curious about that at 5am one night, so I looked it up and now you know, too.

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

13) Oakland Raiders traded Khahil Mack to the Bears for two #1 picks before the season, then started season 1-5; Monday they traded WR Omari Cooper to Dallas, for another #1 pick, as they continue to plot for the future, when they’ll be playing home games in Las Vegas. 

Raiders now have three #1 picks in the 2019 Draft, which will be held in Nashville; too bad it isn’t in Las Vegas, because Raiders are going to be the center of attention. Raiders also have two #1 picks in the 2020 Draft. 

12) One of the values of Twitter is getting lot of diverse opinions; almost everyone said that the Raiders did very well getting a #1 pick for Cooper, but then on Monday Night Football, those guys are all saying the Cowboys made out on the deal. What gives? 

Ed Werder, who has covered the Cowboys for decades, pointed out that this is the third time Jerry Jones has traded draft picks for a star WR— the other two WR’s he got were Joey Galloway and Roy Williams. When your owner/GM is in his 70’s, draft picks tend to mean less. 

11) This from the legendary Gil Brandt on Twitter:
lowest %age of players still on team that picked them (in last six NFL Drafts):

16.0% Oakland Raiders
16.3% Buffalo Bills
20.5% New Jersey Giants
20.7% Cleveland Browns
24.6% San Francisco 49ers

10) Denver Broncos haven’t had consecutive losing seasons since 1971 (4-9-1) and ’72 (5-9); they were 5-11 LY, are 3-4 this year. I’m guessing they’ll be a coaching change if they don’t finish at least .500 this season.

9) Only three NFL teams haven’t played a regular season game outside this country; the Eagles, Packers, and Panthers. Philly plays Jacksonville in London this week.

8) Would Auburn really cough up $32M to tell football coach Gus Malzahn to take a hike? Malzahn is 28-19 in conference games; the guy was a high school coach not that long ago, but do people at Auburn really have $32M lying around to get rid of a fairly successful coach? Wow.

7) Oklahoma Sooners haven’t lost consecutive regular season games since 1999; they’re 39-0 SU in the games following their last 39 regular season losses.

6) According to Astros beat reporter Brian McTaggart, Houston 2B Jose Altuve had surgery Friday to repair a patella (kneecap) avulsion fracture in his right knee. According to the Mayo Clinic website, an avulsion fracture occurs when a small chunk of bone attached to a tendon or ligament gets pulled away from the main part of the bone.

Altuve played thru that injury since August 21, hitting .276; he is one tough dude.

5) Cincinnati Reds showed very little imagination and hired David Bell as their new manager. Bell is a Cincinnati native and the son of current Reds executive Buddy Bell, and grandson of Gus Bell, both of whom played for Cincinnati.

David Bell played for seven big league teams, but never for the Reds. 

Weird thing is that Bell doesn’t get to pick his own coaches; he will make recommendations, but the front office has the final say. Being a manager isn’t as big a deal as it used to be. 

4) If you read this space a lot, you know I love basketball, and I have the NBA package on DirecTV- its fun to watch the games, but it is becoming more difficult to actually follow the league. 

Everyone who plays/coaches in the league is pretty rich or really rich, but so few of them appear to be remotely happy— so much anger, and the season is a week old. 

I mean, Rondo/Paul got into a scuffle in their game Saturday night , and then Rondo’s girlfriend shoves Paul’s wife afterwards; seriously? Time for everyone to grow up some. 

Chris Paul got a two-game suspension for the fracas, that’ll cost him $491,962; the others, much less. Lakers’ Brandon Ingram ran into the scuffle and threw a punch; he got a longer suspension than either Paul or Rondo, but he doesn’t make as much $$$ as they do.

3) College basketball has these “closed/secret” scrimmages between teams; I don’t understand why they’re kept secret, when there is money to be made showing them on TV. 

This weekend, North Carolina/Villanova scrimmaged, as did Minnesota/Creighton. Teams all over the country do it, but it is information being hidden and that hurts the sport.

2) Weird doings at the U of Arizona; back in January, the Wildcats fired football coach Rich Rodriguez after six years after a sexual harassment allegation against the coach. 

Kevin Sumlin is the new coach; Arizona is 3-5 after a 31-30 loss at UCLA Saturday, when they used their backup QB in place of injured starter Khalil Tate- that backup is Rhett Rodriguez, son of the former coach. 

The kid played alright; 15-34 for 231 yards, with two TD’s, two INT’s, but it had to be so odd, a kid playing for the coach who replaced his fired father.

1) Before Rodriguez got the Arizona job, he worked a season in the CBS Sports studio doing college football Saturdays; as soon as the Wildcats hired him, he was off recruiting; the first day CBS Sports had a show after Rodriguez quit, the crew had RichRod on as a guest via remote from Tucson.

Here’s the thing; the whole one-hour show, they left the chair Rodriguez had sat in all season empty, thats the regard they held him in. After that I always rooted for his teams. Saturday night, I was rooting for his son.

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

13) Saints 24, Ravens 23— Justin Tucker was only NFL kicker who hadn’t missed a PAT since they moved it back 15 yards- he had made something like 222 in a row, but he missed a PAT with 0:24 left here that would’ve tied the game. 

Drew Brees threw his 500th career TD pass in this game; Saints are 5-1, and lead Carolina by a game in the NFC South. 

12) Panthers 21, Eagles 17— Carolina trailed this game 17-0 in fourth quarter:

Carolina’s first five drives: 29 plays, 106 yards, five punts, zero points.
Carolina’s last three drives: 28 plays, 236 yards, three TD’s, 21 points. 

Cam Newton looked like freakin’ John Elway in the 4th quarter. 

I’m guessing you’ll hear the word “finish” a lot around Philly the next few days; they blew a 17-3 lead in an earlier loss to Tennessee. 

11) Chargers 20, Titans 19— Fans in England haven’t had many chances to see a real tight NFL game, so this was good for them, and good for the league.

We went thru this with a MAC game yesterday, but Tennessee scored a TD with 0:31 left, then went for two points and the win- they didn’t get either. Titans did run the ball for 164 yards in this game and converted 9-15 third down plays, so i understand their confidence in being able to make it, but just kick the PAT and play overtime. 

 Chargers’ two TD’s in this game were on plays of 75, 55 yards.

10) Patriots 38, Bears 31— Chicago completed a Hail Mary to the 1-yard line on the last play of the game, but the WR couldn’t get in the end zone. 

New England’s special teams dominated this game; they scored TD’s on a kick return and a blocked punt- that doesn’t happen much, two special teams TD’s in the same game. 

9) Buccaneers 26, Browns 23 OT: Lot of interesting stuff about this game:
— Chandler Catanzaro won this game with a 59-yard FG with with 1:55 left in OT; he had missed a PAT and a 40-yard FG earlier in the game.
— Cleveland is 2-4-1; four of their seven games went to overtime.
— Tampa Bay led this game 16-2 at halftime.
— Bucs turned ball over four times (-3); Cleveland had a 17-yard advantage in field position.
— Browns’ TD drives were 26-75-16 yards.
— Cleveland has now lost 24 consecutive road games. 

8) Lions 32, Dolphins 21— Detroit evens its record at 3-3 after an 0-2 start; they ran ball for 248 yards. Defensive-oriented coaches like to run the ball more, to keep their defense off the field, and it seems like Matt Patricia did that very well in this game. When they did throw the ball, Detroit averaged 9.1 yards/attempt. 

7) Texans 20, Jaguars 7— QB Deshaun Watson couldn’t fly with the Texans to Jacksonville on Friday night because of concerns about his partially collapsed lung; instead, he took a 12-hour bus ride to Jacksonville. 

Bus? Really? Hopefully they at least rented him a limo or something he could sleep in, and he wasn’t riding on a Greyhound, wth stops all over the gulf coast.  

As for this game, Blake Bortles was benched in the 3rd quarter in favor of Cody Kessler, and the Jaguars head to England next week with some serious problems.

6) Vikings 37, Jets 17— Turnovers were a big story this week; Jets were -4 here (0-4), which is a big part of why Minnesota had a 14-yard edge in field position. Total yardage was only 316-263; three of the Vikings’ four TD’s came on plays longer than 30 yards. 

5) Colts 37, Bills 5— Read something this week that this was the first time EVER that a 1-6 NFL team was favored by 7+ points over a team with a better record. 

Colts were +5 in turnovers, ran ball for 220 yards. In their last four games, Buffalo has scored two offensive TD’s on 42 drives, with 12 turnovers. 

4) Rams 39, 49ers 10— Rams are first NFL team to win three consecutive weeks on road since the 2014 Bengals; things get tougher the next two weeks- LA hosts the Packers next week, and visit New Orleans the week after that. 

3) Redskins 20, Cowboys 17— Dallas’ 52-yard FG try hit the left upright as time expired to give Redskins their 4th win (4-2) of the year. Cowboys are 0-3 on road, 3-0 at home. Washington has a two-game lead in the loss column in the NFC East. 

2) Broncos 45, Cardinals 10— Arizona fired its offensive coordinator less than 12 hours after this game ended Thursday night; former NFL QB Byron Leftwich takes over- it’ll be his first stint as OC in the NFL. He is 38 years; he started 50 NFL games as a quarterback for four teams.

1) Chiefs 45, Bengals 10— Cincinnati is now 3-16 on Sunday Night Football, losing its last nine Sunday nite tilts. Patrick Mahomes threw for 358 yards and four touchdowns in an easy win. 


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

13) Purdue 49, Ohio State 20— Boilermakers led this game 14-3 at halftime; Ohio State threw 73 passes, ran ball only 25 times in an ugly loss. 

Ohio State threw 73 passes? Woody Hayes must be turning over in his grave.

Chances are there is lot going on behind the scenes in Columbus:
— Urban Meyer didn’t coach the first three games (suspended) this season.
— Star DE Joey Rosa bolted school this week to get ready for the NFL Draft
— Buckeyes have a freshman QB from Las Vegas sitting on the bench who is more of a runner; could it be they’re going to use him in packages, to balance out their offense? 

12) Michigan 21, Michigan State 7— Spartans ran 51 plays in this game, for only 94 yards- they were 0-12 on third down, completed only 7-28 passes, ran ball 23 times for 15 yards. Just total domination by Michigan’s defense. 

In their last two games, Michigan opponents completed 14-48 passes.

There was a 65-minute lightning delay in the first quarter; don’t think it had an effect on the outcome. 

11) Washington State 34, Oregon 20— ESPN’s Game Day was in Pullman Saturday morning; the crowd was estimated at “over 40,000 people” and the show started before the sun came out in the western time zone. These are the glory days for Wazzu football, and they had Drew Bledsoe play there in the 90’s. 

Mike Leach makes $2.95M a year; he went 84-43 at Texas Tech, is 43-39 at Washington State; ain’t easy to win at the big-time level in Lubbock and/or Pullman. Wazzu was 9-40 the four years before Leach arrived— keep that in mind. 

10) LSU 19, Mississippi State 3— Bayou Bengals have a kicker named Cole Tracy who is a grad transfer from Assumption, a small school in Worcester, MA. He may be the only person in the history of man to transfer from Assumption to LSU, especially to play football. 

9) Old Dominion 37, Western Kentucky 34— You won’t see a stranger end to a game. 

Hilltoppers scored a TD run to go ahead 34-27 with 1:37 left. 

Old Dominion came back and tied the game 34-34 on a TD pass with 0:10 left. 

WKU missed a long FG at the gun, but the Monarchs had 12 men on the field, so Hilltoppers got another try to win the game. 

WKU misses the next kick short; Old Dominion runs the ball all the way back to the Hilltopper 15-yard line, and there is a facemark penalty on the play against WKU, so they get to kick the game-winning FG. 

Damn, thats a brutal way to lose. 

8) Marshall 31, Florida Atlantic 7— Yardage was about even here, but Owls were -5 in turnovers; Marshall’s first three TD drives were only 43-27-13 yards. 

You go minus-5 in turnovers, you’re going to lose. 

7) Upsets of the Week:
— Purdue (+13.5) 49, Ohio State 20— Fun night in West Lafayette, ya think?
— Virginia (+7) 28, Duke 14
— SMU (+7) 27, Tulane 23
— Old Dominion (+5) 37, Western Kentucky 34

6) Syracuse 40, North Carolina 37 OT— Orangemen tied game on a 42-yard TD pass with 1:39 left in regulation, then won the game in OT to improve their record to 5-2. UNC is 1-5, losing its last two games by three points each. 

5) Army 31, Miami OH 30 OT— Miami scored TD in OT to make scored 31-30, then went for two points and the win instead of the tying PAT- they didn’t get it, so they lose. 

Not a fan of going for two there, especially since Miami was playing a service academy, so chances are Miami has a better kicker than Army. 

Akron 24, Kent State 23 OT— Golden Flashes tried to kick tying PAT in OT, but they botched snap and holder got crushed to end the game. Another tough way to lose.

4) Penn State 33, Indiana 28— Hoosiers passed up an easy FG with about 2:00 left in first half, but got ball back, then screwed up their clock management and never got a FG attempt off. They will be sick thinking about the chances they squandered in this game. 

Indiana had 32 first downs; they outgained Penn State 554-417. But they lost, turning ball over three times and going 9-21 on third down. 

3) Alabama 58, Tennessee 21— Why are Alabama games always on TV? They’re boring as hell; Alabama is so much better than everyone else, their games suck to watch. Total yardage in the first quarter of this game was 217-6. 

Crimson Tide’s first TD came 4:02 into the game; that was the longest Alabama has gone all season before scoring their first TD of a game. 

That Alabama-Citadel game on November 17 should be awesome. 

2) Houston 49, Navy 36— Middies led this game 24-21 at halftime; didn’t even cover the 12.5-point spread. This is Navy’s worst team maybe since a 2-10 team in 2002.

1) Dodgers-Red Sox World Series; the TV moguls have to be pleased. 

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

13) G-League President Malcolm Turner announced that the league is implementing a “professional path” for would-be one and done college basketball players. The G-League will be offering $125,000 contracts, as well as access to NBA infrastructure and development tools.

Curious how many kids take this route, instead of playing college ball for a year? 

12) Random movie trivia; remember when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a co-pilot with Peter Graves in the classic comedy Airplane!? 

Kareem was on The Rich Eisen Show Wednesday; he said when the writers of Airplane! were casting the movie, they wanted Pete Rose to be the co-pilot, but they were filming during the summer and obviously, Rose was unavailable since that is also baseball season, so they chose Kareem to play the role. 

11) More trivia from the past; New Orleans Saints had the first pick in the 1981 Draft; Dallas Cowboys called the Saints and offered them a ton for the #1 pick, but the Saints kept the pick and took South Carolina RB George Rogers. 

Turns out the Cowboys wanted the guy who got picked #2; a linebacker named Lawrence Taylor. Wonder whatever happened to him? 

10) There are players from 43 countries in the NBA; for the 5th year in a row, every NBA team had at least one international player. 

9) NFL stuff:
— QB Brock Osweiler will start again for the Dolphins this week.
— Buffalo will start QB Derek Anderson at Indianapolis. Anderson has started only four times (2-2) since 2010- his career W-L record is 20-27.
— Arizona Cardinals fired OC Mike McCoy Friday.
— Browns traded RB Carlos Hyde to Jacksonville for a 5th-round draft pick. 

8) Tremendous catch by Andrew Benitendi to end Game 4 of the Red Sox-Astros series late Wednesday night; he misses that ball, and Houston ties the game, maybe wins it right there. 

It is also an example of how a ballpark with a very short LF fence occasionally takes hits away from the batter. No way is Benitendi that shallow if he’s playing in a ballpark other than Houston or Fenway. 

7) Wednesday, Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff became 8th reliever in postseason history to strike out 8+ batters in a game. Before him, Pedro Martinez, was the last to do that, in the ’99 ALDS, Game 5 at Cleveland. 

Of course, Woodruff wasn’t really a reliever, but Wade Miley walked the first hitter, a lefty, and was then lifted, so technically Woodruff relieved. 

6) Falcons’ WR Julio Jones has the 2nd-most receiving yards (707) in the NFL this season but hasn’t scored a touchdown yet; he’s now gone 11 straight regular-season games without a TD catch, which is really odd for someone with his ability.

5) My Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook came in the mail yesterday; time to get serious studying college basketball. 

In the last seven years, seven different teams have won the Big West conference tournament. 

4) Speaking of the Big West, Mark Gottfried is the new basketball coach at Cal State-Northridge; one of his assistants is 80-year old Jim Harrick, who won a national title with UCLA in 1995.

3) Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan dropped his attempt to buy Wembley Stadium in London, which means the Jaguars won’t be playing half their home games there anytime soon. 

2) Thru six games, Kansas City Chiefs have allowed 2,042 passing yards, the most PY any team has allowed thru six games, since 1940. 

1) Here’s the thing about stealing signs: if you steal signals in football/baseball with the naked eye, more power to you; if you steal signals via technology, then you’re a cheater. Those are the rules.

Friday’s List of 13: Trends on non-top 13 college football games

13) Kentucky beat Vanderbilt last two years, 44-21/20-13, but Wildcats failed to cover its last six games as a home favorite. Vandy is 2-5 in its last seven games as road underdogs. Under is 4-1 in Kentucky games this year. 

12) North Carolina is 0-3 on road this season, with losses by 7-22-37 points. Since 2013, UNC is 6-3-1 vs spread as road underdogs. Syracuse lost its last two games, 27-23/44-37; they’re 1-5 in last six gams as home favorites. This is teams’ first football meeting as ACC rivals. 

11) Home side won both Maryland-Iowa games as Big 14 rivals; Terrapins lost 31-15 in last visit here. Maryland is 3-6 in its last nine games as road underdogs. Iowa is 5-1, scoring 48-42 in winning its last two games; Hawkeyes are 4-2-1 in last seven games as home favorites. 

10) Marshall won four of last five games with Florida Atlantic, losing 30-25 (+7) at FAU last year; Owls lost 27-21/35-16 in last two visits here. Under Kiffin, FAU is 3-2 as road favorites. Since 2012, Marshall is 3-5 vs spread as a home underdog. 

9) Eastern Michigan beat Ball State last two years, 56-14/48-41; Eagles lost four of last five games- their last four games were all decided by 3 or fewer points. Over last 11 years, EMU is 1-1 as a road favorite. Ball State is 2-7 in its last nine games as home underdogs. 

8) Penn State won its last four games with Indiana, winning 45-31/13-7 in last two visits here; under Franklin, Nittany Lions are 7-3 vs spread as road favorites, 1-9 coming off a loss- they lost last weeks, both at home. Hoosiers are 2-6 in last eight games as home underdogs. 

7) Utah State scored 55.8 ppg in winning its last five games since a 38-31 loss at Michigan State in their opener; all six of their games went over total. Wyoming is 7-4 in last 11 games as a home underdog, but are 0-2 in that role this year. Aggies/Wyoming split their last six meetings.  

6) Fresno State won its last four games with New Mexico, winning 35-24/49-32 in their last two trips to Albuquerque. Bulldogs won/covered their last four games, giving up 3-3 points in last two weeks. Lobos are 6-2 in last eight games as a home underdog. 

5) Cal Bears won three of last four games with Oregon State; they lost two of last three visits to Corvallis. California lost its last three games; they’re 2-7-1 in last ten games as road favorites. Beavers is 0-5 vs I-A teams, with one loss by less than 19 points; they’re 1-4 vs spread this year. 

4) Florida State won its last six games with Wake Forest, winning last three, by 7-11-8 points; since 2014, Seminoles are 11-15  as home favorites- their last three games went over. Deacons lost 63-3 to Clemson LW; they’re 10-4 in last 14 games as road underdogs. 

3) Minnesota/Nebraska split their last six meetings; Gophers won LY’s game, 54-21. Minnesota lost its last three games, allowing 40 ppg; they’re 3-6-2 in last 11 games as road underdogs. Cornhuskers are 0-6 SU this year; their last four games went over the total. 

2) SMU won its last three games with Tulane, by 3-4-28 points; their last two visits here were decided by total of five points. SMU is 0-3 on road this year, losing by 23-25-28 points; they’re 2-4-1 in last seven games as road dogs. Tulane is 7-3 in last 10 games as home favorites.  

1) Home side won last three Nevada-Hawai’i games; Wolf Pack lost last visit here 38-17, after winning previous two trips to Paradise. Nevada is 5-9 in its last 14 games as road underdogs. Hawai’i is 3-12 vs spread in its last 15 games as a home favorite. 

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

13) If you’re John Calipari, here is your recruiting pitch for next year:
— 31 former Kentucky Wildcats were on NBA rosters Opening Night.
— 19 teams have at least one former Wildcat; seven have more than one.
— Players coached by John Calipari have earned more than $1.9B in the NBA.
(Thats billion, with a B)
— In 2018-19 alone, Kentucky alums are scheduled to earn $190M in the NBA.
— Here is your Letter of Intent; please sign here ______

12) Wade Miley started Game 5 of the NLCS for Milwaukee, walked the leadoff hitter in bottom of first inning, and was taken out. Seriously. This is getting ridiculous, the level of over-managing that is going on with managers/front offices— it is starting to border on nonsense.

Miley is also going to start Game 6; how long he lasts then is open for debate. 

11) Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson has been hit by defenders 70 times in six games; no other NFL quarterback has been hit more than 49 times this year. 

According to Fox’s Jay Glazer, Watson suffered a cracked rib, a bruised lung, and a partially collapsed lung in the Texans’ game with Dallas two weeks ago.

10) Tampa Bay just fired their defensive coordinator, Mike Smith; Atlanta’s DC is Marquand Manuel, and he better be watching his back, too. 

In the Falcons’ last four games, on the opponents’ first drive of the game, they’ve run 27 plays for 295 yards and four TD’s. Atlanta has some injuries on defense, but also seems like they may not be as well prepared as some of the other teams. 

9) Jason Myers kicked seven field goals for the Jets Sunday in their 42-34 win over the Colts; the NFL record for most FG’s in a game is eight. Myers went to college at Marist in Poughkeepsie, which is D-I in basketball (Rik Smits’ alma mater) but not in football. 

8) If you’re a Celtics’ fan, you’re rooting against Sacramento all season; Boston owns the Kings’ 2019 first-round pick thru the Tatum-Fultz deal. Rooting against the Kings is generally fun; imagine getting Tatum and Sacramento’s #1 pick in the same trade? 

7) A guy in Las Vegas known as the “Duffel Bag bettor” wagered just over $100,000 on Army last weekend, when the Cadets were laying 15 points at San Jose State. 

Now Army won 52-3, so the guy didn’t have to sweat for his $100K, but it takes onions to risk six figures on a service academy team laying double digits on the road. 

6) Sports betting is up and running in New Mexico now; the political geniuses here in New York haven’t gotten around to it yet, but West Virginia, Mississippi and New Mexico have. 


5) AAF is a new spring football league with eight teams that will play a 10-game schedule that begins February 9; games will be televised mostly on NBC Sports Network. 

League has some big names coaching their teams: Mike Martz, Steve Spurrier, Dennis Erickson, Mike Singletary. It figures to develop into what the USFL used to be. 

4) Jordany Valdespin, who played four years in the majors as a utility guy for the Mets/Marlins, recently pitched four scoreless innings of relief in a 19-inning Dominican Winter League game in which Mets’ 1B prospect Dominic Smith went 0-8, with a bases loaded walk. 

3) UConn’s football team is giving up an average of 9.21 yards/play, worst in country; from what I can tell, UL-Monroe is next worst in country, giving up 7.18 yards/play.

2) Here is some good but scary news from the New York Post: No one got shot last weekend in New York City, the first time that has happened in at least 25 years. 

NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan has been with the NYPD since 1982, and he said he can’t remember a weekend without SOMEONE getting shot. 

Unfortunately, the city’s quiet streak ended Monday, when a man was shot at around 1:15pm on Aqueduct Avenue in the Bronx. Hopefully, he recovered.

1) Duke recruit Zion Williamson’s name has come up in the adidas/college hoop corruption trial, which puts Duke in a curious position. Blue Devils shouldn’t worry though; the NCAA doesn’t go after the blue blood teams.

Long time ago, then-UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian got under the NCAA’s skin when he famously wrote, “The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky, they’re putting Western Kentucky on probation.”

45-50 years later I’ve amended Tark’s quote: “The NCAA is so mad at Duke, they’re going to put Duquesne on probation” No way the Blue Devils ever meet an NCAA investigator. 

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

13) Buffalo Bills’ rookie QB Josh Allen has an injured elbow, may need Tommy John surgery, which would obviously finish him for this season; best-case scenario is that he’ll miss several weeks, which leaves newly-signed Derek Anderson or Nathan Peterman as the new starter. 

Word out of Buffalo is that the Bills’ players don’t want Peterman playing, probably because they prefer winning- he’s thrown 10 INT’s in 82 career passes. 

12) Ohio State’s star DE Nick Bosa has withdrawn from college and will prepare for next spring’s NFL Draft; Bosa was injured anyway and probably wouldn’t have returned until next month at the earliest, so the announcement wasn’t a big surprise. 

11) Tampa Bay Buccaneers told defensive coordinator Mike Smith to take a hike Monday, after Bucs allowed 40-21-30-48-34 points in their first five games. Only once in five games did the Bucs hold an opponent under 8.2 yards/pass attempt- they had zero takeaways in their last two games, just five for the season (-7 TO ratio). 

10) Not only are Titans-Chargers playing in England Sunday, they’re playing at 9:30am ET, which is 6:30am for Charger fans in California. Whats the point of that? 

Last week’s Colorado-USC game ended around 2:20am ET; if that happens again this week, not a lot of time to sleep before the 9:30 kickoff. Guess I’ll just have to sleep faster. 

9) David Price allowed four runs in less than five innings Sunday night, and got a standing ovation as he walked to the dugout; the bar isn’t real high for Price these days in Beantown.

8) This is the definition of a bad day:

Police in Bristol, TN say a 76-year old man was run over with a lawn mower while trying to kill his son with a chainsaw- the older man had to have his leg amputated.

Can’t we all just get along?

7) Teddy Valentine is out as a Big 14 basketball ref; he’ll still work AAC, ACC and SEC games, but a guy who has worked 28 NCAA tournaments and 10 Final Fours isn’t good enough anymore to work in the Big 14.

6) 20 years ago, when he was coaching the Lakers, Pat Riley trademarkedthe term “three-peat,” so if Golden State wins its third straight NBA title next spring, Riley will cash in on it, too. 

There have been three “3-peats” since Riley trademarked the term; the Jordan-Bulls did it twice, and the Shaq-Kobe Lakers did it, too. 

Random stats: Warriors led the NBA last year, making 39.1% of their 3’s and 81.5% of their foul shots. 

5) Derek Carr threw 31 passes for Oakland Sunday in their 27-3 loss to Seattle in London; only five of those 31 passes travelled more than five yards downfield, and he completed only two of those five passes. No bueno. 

4) Josh McCown and Julius Peppers are the only two players still active from the 2002 NFL Draft.

3) I don’t give a rat’s ass about the royal family, and I’m not sure why anyone does. The young lady who recently married the prince was on one of my favorite TV shows, Suits. Still don’t care about the royal family; what exactly do they even do? 

2) Interesting how crew chiefs are behind the plate for Games 3, 7 for divisional series, then World Series; Joe West doing the plate for Game 7 of the ALCS could be good theater. 

1) Patriots set an NFL record  Sunday night; they’re the first team in the Super Bowl era to not punt or commit a penalty in an entire game- they scored 43 points at home but still couldn’t cover the spread. Awesome.