Thursday’s 6-pack, Quote, Quiz of the Day

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NBA, college hoop information is posted daily

Thursday’s 6-pack
— Purdue 69, Virginia 40— Cavaliers missing Braxton Key is a big deal.
— New Mexico 80, Boise State 78— Lobos win their conference opener.
— San Diego State 79, Colorado State 57— Aztecs, Utah State are best teams in Mountain West.
— Georgetown 81, Oklahoma State 74— Big road win for Patrick Ewing after a tough few days off the floor.
— Yale 61, Albany 52— James Jones wins a game at his alma mater.
— Villanova 80, Penn 69— Final is misleading; this was a pretty close game. 

Quote of the Day:
“A lot of times when you’re playing, you have a million different things you’re having to focus in on and you can lose some of the smaller stuff. When you’re out of that [starting] role, you can kind of step back and see the little details. Watching Nick (Foles) was a great opportunity to learn.”
Jaguars’ QB Gardner Minshew

Thursday’s quiz
Who was the Chicago Bears’ coach the last time they played in a Super Bowl? 

Wednesday’s quiz
14 Vice-Presidents later became President of the United States. 

Tuesday’s quiz
Baltimore Ravens were last Super Bowl champ that wasn’t either the #1 or #2 seed in their conference; they were the #4 seed in AFC when they won Super Bowl XLVII. 

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

13) If you’re a Mets’ fan, this could be like Christmas, New Year’s, your birthday and Hannukah, all wrapped into one. This, from ESPN:

“Steve Cohen, a billionaire who owns a small percentage of the Mets, is negotiating an agreement to increase his investment, a move that could signal that Fred/Jeff Wilpon’s longtime control of the franchise will be over within five years.

Bloomberg reported that Cohen is in talks to acquire up to 80% of the team, which would be valued at $2.6B.”

All of this is great news for Mets fans, if it turns out to be true. The Wilpons are horrendous owners; the sooner they’re gone, the better. 

12) New Jersey Giants’ QB Daniel Jones has a sprained ankle, is in a walking boot; sounds like Eli Manning will get the nod for Big Blue in their game at Philly Monday nite. 

11) DePaul 63, Texas Tech 60 OT— Blue Demons stay unbeaten, but they trailed for most of this game, and Tech played without Ramsey, one of their best guys. 

This is DePaul’s first 9-game win streak since the 1993-94 season.

10) Utah 102, BYU 95 OT— Utes outscored BYU 24-13 on foul line, offsetting BYU’s 12-24 shooting on the arc. BYU led this game by 16 with 13:25 left. 

9) San Francisco 49ers played in Baltimore LW, are playing in New Orleans this Sunday; they’re practicing this week at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL.

8) South Carolina QB Jake Bentley will transfer after missing almost all of this season with an injury; freshman Ryan Hilinski has played well, so Bentley, a 3-year starter, will finish his college career somewhere else.

7) USC will bring football coach Clay Helton back next year; the promising performance of freshman QB Slovis undoubtedly had a lot to do with that. New coach, new AD, and to be fair, Urban Meyer probably told USC he wasn’t interested in the job.

6) Colorado State fired football coach Mike Bobo, who went 28-35 as coach in Fort Collins. 

5) Philadelphia Phillies gave 29-year old P Zack Wheeler a 5-year, $118M deal; Wheeler was 11-8, 3.96 in 31 starts LY, is 44-38, 3.77 in 126 career starts- he’s been hurt a lot.

Wheeler apparently turned down a bigger offer from the White Sox; when guys turn down more money to play somewhere else, thats a pretty big kick in the teeth. 

4) Atlanta Braves signed soon-to-be 36-year old lefty P Cole Hamels to a 1-year, $18M deal; Hamels was 7-7, 3.81 in 27 starts for the Cubs last year.

3) Orioles traded 27-year old P Dylan Bundy to the Angels for four minor leaguers. Bundy was 7-14, 4.79 in 30 starts for a dreadful Baltimore team LY.

Angels also made a deal this week to stay in Anaheim thru 2050; the team will buy Angel Stadium and the 133 acres of surrounding land for $325M

2) Miami Marlins acquired IF Jonathan Villar from the Orioles for minor league P Easton Lucas; they also claimed 1B Jesus Aguilar off waivers from Tampa Bay.

1) NC State 69, Wisconsin 54— Badgers lost their last three games, are struggling at 4-4. 

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

13) Carolina Panthers fired coach Ron Rivera Tuesday; Rivera was 76-63-1 as Carolina’s coach, 3-4 in playoff games, making playoffs four times in nine years, but going 12-16 the last two years, which happens to be coincide with Carolina changing owners.

Carolina owner David Tepper is a really rich hedge fund guy, worth $11.6B. Really rich people aren’t very patient. Because of that, the Panthers will have a new coach next year. 

Tepper Trivia (from Wikipedia): “Tepper keeps a pair of brass testicles in a prominent spot on his desk, a present from former employees. He rubs them for luck during the trading day to get a laugh out of colleagues.”

12) Big snowstorm here this week; snowed for roughly 38 straight hours, which is unusual, and left quite a mess behind. Just about everything was closed here Monday, even the mall. 

Frustrating part for me is, because I still have a gas bubble in my eye as my detached retina heals, can’t do any snow shoveling, so was stuck in the house here. Things got worse when my DirecTV went out because of the snow with 7:00 left in the Monday night game- caught the end of the game on my laptop. 

Finally, Tuesday morning, the plow guy did a great job on my driveway, the sun melted the slush off my satellite dish, but I had to brush two feet of snow off my Nissan Rogue. The driveway is a mess but driveable, my TV works, the car is running and things got back to normal, kind of. 

11) Tuesday was the 6-week anniversary of my retina operation; they originally told me the gas bubble in my eye would be gone in six weeks; while it has gotten a lot smaller, the bubble is still there. I appreciate all the work the people at Retina Care Centers have done for me, but it’ll be an excellent day when the bubble goes away. 

Woman on the Today Show, think her name is Savannah Guthrie, she tore her retina when she got drilled in the eye with a toy train that her 2-year old son hit her with. 

“Torn retina” sounds worse than “detached retina”, but apparently it isn’t, since she avoided the surgery that I had. Was interesting to listen to her doctor talk about retina surgery on TV the other day. Learned a lot.

10) Louisville 58, Michigan 43- Wolverines shot 25.9% from floor as they lose for first time in eight games. Ugly game. 

9) Duke 87, Michigan State 75- Spartans don’t often give up 80+ points at home; Tom Izzo is 2-12 SU in his career against Duke. 

Michigan State retired Draymond Green’s number at halftime of this game; lot of the Golden State Warriors were there to support Green- they play in Charlotte tonite. 

8) In their last five games, Baltimore Ravens scored 22 TD’s on 40 drives, with four of the five opponents having winning records. 

7) Surprising stat: Cincinnati Bengals are 10-3 ATS in last 13 games as a road underdog,

6) Great dialogue from the movie Oceans Eleven:
Julia Roberts: “You’re a liar and a thief.”

George Clooney: “I only lied about being a thief.”

I’ve seen Oceans Thirteen a few times, but saw Oceans Eleven for the first time last night. Excellent movie. 

5) New England cut K Kai Forbath after one game where he missed a PAT; the guy who replaces him will be the Patriots’ fifth kicker this year.

4) Eagles’ backup QB Josh McCown is QB coach for Myers Park HS in Charlotte, where his sons Owen and Aiden play; he had retired from the NFL when he took the coaching job, but when the Eagles called this summer, McCown un-retired. 

With the Eagles’ blessing, McCown flies back to Charlotte on Mondays, to be there as the quarterbacks coach for high school practice when the game plan is installed for the week, and then again on Fridays for games.

In case you were wondering, Atlantic Aviation offers light jets for about $13,000-$14,000 per round trip from Philadelphia to Charlotte, though there are discounts for regular customers. McCown pays for all the plane trips. has an interesting story today on McCown’s coaching. 

3) Miami 81, Illinois 79— This game, played Monday night, had Illinois coach Underwood so annoyed that he used all four of his timeouts in the first half. At one point, Miami led 45-18 with 4:33 left in the first half- it was 50-31 at the half. 

lllinois stormed back in the 2nd half, but fell short. 

2) Mountain West has a full schedule of conference games tonight, something different for December 4th. San Diego State at New Mexico is probably the best of the five games. 

1) There is the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, and then there is the relatively-new College Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, which has credibility issues. 

Norm Stewart went 634-333 in 32 years as Missouri’s coach; he went 12-16 in NCAA tournament games, going 0-2 in regional final games. Nice resume; he was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame n 2007, the second year the Hall of Fame existed. 

Jerry Tarkanian went 761-202 in 30 years as a coach at UNLV, Long Beach State, Fresno State; he went 38-18 in NCAA tournament games, making four Final Fours, winning the 1990 national title. Tarkanian is in the Naismith HOF, but not the Collegiate Hall of Fame; why? How? 

If you bring up Tarkanian’s issues with the NCAA and its rules, I’ll point out that Eddie Sutton was a 2011 inductee, which eliminates that issue.

If you tell me that Norm Stewart was a better coach than Tarkanian, well, you would leave me speechless, because you’re smarter than that. 

Tuesday’s 6-pack, Quote, Quiz of the Day

NFL stuff will be posted soon on NFL page
NBA, college hoop information is posted daily

Tuesday’s 6-pack
Spreads for conference title games this weekend:
— Pac-12: Utah (-6.5, 48.5) vs Oregon
— Big X: Oklahoma (-8.5, 62.5) vs Oklahoma
— Memphis (-9.5, 57.5) vs Cincinnati
— SEC: LSU (-7, 55) vs Georgia
— Ohio State (-16, 56) vs Wisconsin
— Clemson (-29, 54) vs Virginia

Quote of the Day
“I’ve been drunk for a month.”
Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo, who got married in Jamaica after the World Series

Tuesday’s quiz
What team was last Super Bowl champ that wasn’t either the #1 or #2 seed in their conference?

Monday’s quiz
Arizona Cardinals called St Louis home, before they moved to Arizona- they played in Chicago a long time ago, before moving to St Louis. 

Sunday’s quiz
Arizona State football coach Herm Edwards played nine of his ten years in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but……

13) Seahawks 34, Vikings 30:
— Seattle outscored Vikings 24-0 during a 10:32 span of 2nd half.
— Seahawks ran ball for 218 yards, getting 29 on a fake punt to extend one drive.
— Kirk Cousins is now 0-8 on Monday Night Football.
— Only four penalties were called; should be more games like that. 

12) 55-year old Chris Petersen is stepping down as Washington’s football coach, citing the need to “re-charge”.

Coaching a big time program like that takes its toll, and with guys making so much money, guys are retiring earlier- Bob Stoops, Urban Meyer and now Petersen have all walked away in the last few years.
11) Michigan plays Louisville tonight in the Yum! Center; Wolverines went from unranked to #4 in country in this week’s top 25. Louisville is the 4th team to be ranked #1 this season.

10) Bad news for Georgetown basketball; their 2nd and 5th-leading scorers are both going to transfer.James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc. Akinjo was the Hoyas’ point guard; LaPhonso Ellis said in the ESPN studio Monday night that Georgetown now “has no chance to make NCAAs”

9) Other news on college football coaching carousel:
— Boston College fired coach Steve Addazio.
— Rutgers re-hired Greg Schiano as coach; he was their coach from 2001-11.
— Ole Miss fired coach Matt Luke; the players aren’t happy.
— South Florida fired Charlie Strong.
— Old Dominion coach Bobby Wilder left ODU after a 1-11 season.
— Texas Longhorns fired both their coordinators.

8) Random thought: Why is Creighton in the Big East? The school is in freakin’ Omaha, which is in Nebraska, which is pretty much in the middle of the country. I mean, Omaha is in eastern Nebraska, but Nebraska is directly below South Dakota- Creighton shouldn’t be in the Big East. 

7) Virginia Commonwealth has had three basketball coaches in six years; they’ve sold out 140 consecutive home games. It is a very good job, it pays $1.2M a year, but they have trouble keeping guys there. Mark Few makes $1.78M a year at Gonzaga; at some point, you’d think someone would settle down there. I wonder if Shaka Smart regrets leaving?

6) So far this college basketball season, Ivy League underdogs are 13-6 ATS; league is getting better. 

5) Disney/Apple hit home runs with the Christmas commercials they’re running during football games; the Apple commercial shows a couple of young girls using a tablet computer to make a video, featuring their grandfather and their late grandmother, using old photographs. 

The Disney commercial shows a father and his daughter, as she prepares to leave for college; he relives their trips to Disney, back when she was a little girl. Two very good commercials. 

4) Weird scheduling: these division rivals haven’t played each other yet this season, will play twice in last four weeks of season:

Titans-Texans, Eagles-Giants, Browns-Bengals. 

3) Cincinnati Reds gave 3B Mike Moustakas a 4-year, $64M contract. 

2) Memphis Tigers beat Cincinnati 34-24 in their regular season finale Saturday; the teams meet again this Saturday in the Conference USA title game, also in Memphis. Unusual. 

1) We had around 18 inches of snow here in beautiful upstate New York the last couple days, depending on which town you live in, so here is a warm thought:

Baseball’s winter meetings start Monday in San Diego. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday……

Ravens 20, 49ers 17:
— 49ers will tied for 1st in NFC West if Seattle wins Monday.
— Ravens won field position by ten yards in this game.
— Both teams ran ball for 170+ yards on a very rainy day. 

— Tucker kicked GW 49-yard FG at the gun, for the win.
— Baltimore won its 8th game in a row (5-1 ATS in last six).
— Ravens are only 4-9 ATS in last 13 games as a home favorite. 

Broncos 23, Chargers 20:
— Chargers lost despite outgaining Denver, 359-218.
— Chargers are 1-4 TY in games decided by 3 or fewer points.
— In its last three games, LA has a minus-6 turnover ratio. 

— McManus hit a 53-yard FG at gun, after Chargers committed a 34-yard PI penalty on the previous play to put Denver into FG range.
— Chargers scored in last minute of each half, but it wasn’t enough.
— Drew Lock is 11th QB to make his NFL debut TY; they’re 4-6-1 SU, 9-2 ATS.

Dolphins 37, Eagles 31:
— Dolphins’ first three drives: 7 plays, 6 yards, 1 first down, no points.
— Dolphins’ last seven drives: 56 plays, 403 yards, 25 first downs, 37 points.
— Eagles lost their last three games, by 7-8-6 points. 

— DeVante Parker caught seven passes for 159 yards, two TD’s.
— Miami scored TD on a fake FG; punter passed to the kicker.
— Last NFL kicker to score a TD: Denver’s Jim Turner, back in 1977. 

Packers 31, Giants 13:
— Green Bay’s first two drives: 12 plays, 138 yards, two TD’s.
— Over last 11 years, GB is 29-22-1 ATS coming off a loss, 3-0 TY.
— Packers won field position by 13 yards in this game.

— Under Shurmur, Giants are 1-9 ATS as a home underdog, 0-4 TY.
— Giants lost last eight games, outscored 117-53 in second half.
— Perils of playing a rookie QB: Giants are minus-13 in turnovers this year. 

Redskins 29, Panthers 21:
— Washington ran ball for 248 yards, outgained Carolina by 84 yards.
— Redskins had a 9-yard advantage in field position.
— Washington won its second game in a row after a 1-9 start. 

— Carolina is 1-6 TY when it scores less than 30 points; they’ve got a -10 TO ratio in their last six games.
— Panthers lost their last four games, allowing 29 ppg.
— Six of Carolina’s last eight games went over the total.

Titans 31, Colts 17:
— Titans ran blocked FG back for game-winning TD with 5:02 left.
— Tennessee scored 106 points in its last three games, scoring 13 TD’s on 32 drives.
— Titans scored 29.7 ppg in Tannehill’s six starts (5-1). 

—  Colts lost four of their last five games.
— Indy missed two of three FG’s; two of them were blocked.
— Only 4th win for Tennessee in last 23 games with Indy.

Chiefs 40, Raiders 9:
— Oakland lost its last two games by combined score of 74-12.
— Chiefs swept Raiders TY by combined score of 68-19.
— Raiders lost their last seven visits to Arrowhead (1-6 ATS)

— Chiefs converted 7-11 on third down, also scored a defensive TD.
— KC has seven takeaways in its last two games (+6); they had 12 takeaways in their first ten games.
— Chiefs won 12 of their last 14 games with Oakland. 

Buccaneers 28, Jaguars 11:
— Bucs’ first three drives: 25 plays, 186 yards, 14 points.
— Tampa Bay won four of seven true road games SU.
— Bucs average 32.4 ppg in seven games with 2 or fewer turnovers; they average 22.6 ppg in their five games with 3+ turnovers. . 

— Jaguars in first half: 6 drives: 27 plays, 91 yards, 5 first downs, 3 turnovers.
— Jaguars benched Nick Foles for Gardnew Minshew at halftime.
—  Jaguars are 11-23-1 ATS in last 35 games where spread was 3 or fewer points

Bengals 22, Jets 6:
— There were no plays longer than 20 yards by either team in this game.
— Jets are 9-18-2 ATS in last 29 road games
— Jets in 2nd half: 6 drives, 32 plays- 71 yards, outscored 5-0. 

— Cincy gets its first win; they’re still in position for #1 pick in draft.
— Dalton threw for 243 yards in his return to the starting lineup.
— Bengals won field position by 18 yards in this game. 

Rams 34, Cardinals 7:
— Goff threw for 323 yards… the first half.
— Total yardage: Rams 549, Cardinals 198
— LA is 10-54 on 3rd down in their losses, 46-98 in its wins.

— In their last five games, Cardinals converted only 10-53 third down plays.
— Arizona lost its last five games, but covered six of last eight games.
— Rams won last five trips to Arizona, last three by combined score of 101-7. 

Steelers 20, Browns 17:
— Cleveland in 2nd half: 5 drives, 26 plays, 96 yards, 2 turnovers, 3 points.
— Browns lost their last 16 visits to Heinz Field (6-7 ATS in last 13)
— Cleveland was favored in Pittsburgh for first time since 1989.

— Steelers are 9-1-1 SU in last 11 series games.
— Pitt won six of last seven games after a 1-4 start.
— Steelers are 6-0 when they allow less than 20 points, 1-5 when they allow more. 

Texans 28, Patriots 22:
— Baltimore is now the #1 seed in the AFC.
— Patriots gained 244 yards on last three drives, 204 on first seven drives.
— Prior to those three 2nd half TD’s, Patriots had scored only two TD’s on their previous 30 drives. 

— Texans won five of their six home games this year.
— Houston had 11-yard edge in field position, only 2nd time this year New England lost field position battle.
— Texans snapped a 6-game series skid against New England. 

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

13) Auburn 48, Alabama 45— There were five TD’s scored in a 5:03 span of this game, late in 2nd quarter. Score was 31-27 Alabama at halftime. Total in the game was 50.5. 

Kudos to CBS sideline reporter Jame Erdahl, who had the unenviable task of Interviewing Nick Saban at halftime, when he…….wasn’t happy after Auburn kicked a last second FG. When I say he wasn’t happy, thats a gross understatement.

— Auburn had two pick-6’s, one a 100-yarder that put Tigers up, 37-31.
— Alabama ran the kickoff after the first pick-6 back 100 yards for a TD.
— Alabama outgained Auburn 515-354.
— Penalties: Alabama 13-96; Auburn 9-60.
— Alabama missed the tying 30-yard FG off the left upright with 2:00 left. 

12) Indiana 44, Purdue 41 OT— Hoosiers’ QB Ramsey started for Indiana the last two years, then lost his starting job this offseason; instead of transferring, like so many college QB’s do when they lose their starting job, Ramsey stayed at Indiana because likes his teammates. The other QB got hurt, and Ramsey made the most out of getting his job back. 

Indiana winds up wth a winning record in conference play for first time since 1993. 

Purdue QB O’Connell is a walk-on who started this season as the 4th-stringer; he threw for 408 yards, three TD’s in a losing cause.

11) Ohio State 56, Michigan 27— Buckeyes win this rivalry game for 8th year in row (4-4 ATS); they’ve scored 118 points in last two meetings, 30+ points in last seven. 

10) Syracuse 39, Wake Forest 30 OT— From all we can tell, Orangemen are only 2nd team to score a defensive TD in OT while they were protecting a lead; Arizona State did it against USC 20 or so years ago. 

9) Duke 27, Miami 17/Florida 40, Florida State 17:

Miami and Florida State are both 6-6, which is both disappointing and surprising; they’ve got to recruit their home state better. Lot of good high school players in Florida, but everyone recruits the Sunshine State, and hard. 

8) Missouri fired football coach Barry Odom, who went 50-50 in four years in Columbia, but lost five of his last six games this season. Still not sure why Missouri left the Big X for the SEC— lack of playing longtime rivals like Kansas/Nebraska has hurt their attendance.

7) Football upsets:
— West Virginia (+13.5) 20, TCU 17
— South Alabama (+10.5) 34, Arkansas State 30
— Duke (+8.5) 27, Miami 17
— Boston College (+8) 26, Pittsburgh 19
— UNLV (+7) 33, Nevada 30 OT
— Northwestern (+7) 29, Illinois 10

6) Cincinnati 72, UNLV 65 OT— Bearcats played their 3rd straight OT game, rallying back from down 33-24 at the half. UNLV was 0-3 in OT games in November; they had four guys play 36:00+.

5) Ohio U 91, Detroit 81— Detroit G Brad Calipari sat out LY, after sitting on his dad’s bench at Kentucky the two years before that. He wanted to play, so he transferred to Detroit, where he is playing 22.2 mpg, scoring 6.2 ppg, making 40.7% of his 3’s. 

4) Florida State 63, Purdue 60 OT— Seminoles win Emerald Coast Classic, winning both games this weekend by 3 points. FSU has won seven games in a row since losing their opener at Pitt. 

3) Basketball upsets:
— North Dakota (+10.5) 80, Georgia Southern 68
— Prairie View (+8.5) 79, UTSA 72
— Cal-Northridge (+7.5) 73, Fresno State 72
— Navy (+7) 76, Brown 56
— Fort Wayne (+6.5) 71, Grand Canyon 60
— St Francis PA (+6.5) 79, St Joe’s 63
— Northern Arizona (+6) 76, South Dakota 72
— NC-Greensboro (+6) 65, Georgetown 61

2) Richmond 64, Boston College 44— Spiders won six of their first seven games after going 25-40 the last two years; they’ve got wins over Wisconsin, Vandy, BC, power-5 wins. 

1) They may have played schedule #350 so far (out of 353), but Liberty is one of only 20 unbeaten teams left in the country, and that is surprising. Flames are 9-0 already.