Wednesday’s List of 13: Happy New Year!!!!

13) This season’s bowl records:
AAC: 2-3
ACC: 4-5
Big 14: 3-2
Big X: 1-4
C-USA: 3-4
MAC: 2-3
MW: 4-2
Pac-12: 3-3
SEC: 4-1
Sun Belt: 2-2

12) From Darren Rovell:
Bettor who bet $74,430 on Patriots to beat Dolphins straight up would have won $4,651, but New England lost.

At the same sportsbook, a bettor wagered $744.55 on the Dolphins to win straight up. He won $6,329. 

11) Cleveland Browns fired GM John Dorsey Tuesday, fortifying their position as the worst-run franchise in the NFL. They have zero continuity from year to year, are now replacing their coach and GM, and if the new people aren’t big Baker Mayfield fans, they’ll change QB’s again. 

Baylor coach Matt Rhule declined an interview with the Browns; smart guy. 

10) Next year, the Browns will have their 8th head coach in 12 years; the Steelers have had three head coaches in the last 50 years.

9) 37-year old QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ran the ball for 215 yards this year; that led the Dolphins in rushing for the season. 

Marlon Mack of the Colts ran the ball for 225 yards in one game this season. 

8) Chicago Bears fired four assistants, including OC Mark Helfrich, and re-committed to QB Mitch Trubisky for next year.

7) Arizona State 20, Florida State 14— From 2012-16, Seminoles went 59-9; the last three years, they’re 18-20, and will have their third coach in four years next season. 

6) I’m still trying to process that Seattle had 21 first downs in the 2nd half Sunday; they’ve had seven games this season where they had less than 21 first downs for the whole game. 

5) Solid bit of trivia: Howard Schultz is the guy who used to be the CEO of Starbucks; he grew up in Brooklyn, but went to college at Northern Michigan, where he tried out for the football team, as a QB. But Northern Michigan already had a good QB, a guy named Steve Mariucci, who went on to coach the 49ers and Lions in the NFL.

Starbucks is overpriced, but they do have excellent lemon pound cake. 

4) Baylor coach Matt Rhule is one of the ten highest paid coaches in the country? Wow. Word is the Giants are interested in hiring Rhule as their next coach. 

3) Detroit Lions fired six assistant coaches, which raises the question: Why did they keep the head coach? What has he done to justify his continued employment? 

2) Minnesota Twins signed pitchers Rich Hill ($3M), Homer Bailey ($7M) to one-year deals; Hill isn’t expected to pitch until June after having his arm operated on recently. 

1) Happy New Year, everyone. Hope 2020 is a great year for all of us. 

Tuesday’s List of 13: Our last home page of 2019……

13) If you’re an NFL head coach and your GM drafts a quarterback, you’d best have some job security, because these days, rookie QB’s play sooner than later, and they usually don’t play well, so the team loses and the coach gets fired. They don’t fire players very much.

2013– Mike Shanahan, Redskins (fired after RGIII’s 2nd year)
2014– Dennis Allen, Raiders (Carr)
2015– Ken Whisenhunt, Titans (Mariota)
2016– Jeff Fisher, Rams (Goff)
2017— John Fox, Bears (Trubisky)
2018— Steve Wilks, Cardinals (Rosen)
2018— Hue Jackson, Browns (Mayfield)
2018— Todd Bowles, Jets (Darnold)
2019— Jay Gruden, Redskins (Haskins)
2019— Pat Shurmur, Giants (Jones)

12) Doug Peterson (Wentz), Mike Smith (Ryan) did it right; they got hired as head coach the same year their team drafted a QB, which gives you time to grow together.

11) California 35, Illinois 20— Garbers threw for 272 yards, four TD’s, as Pac-12 evens its bowl record this month at 2-2. 

10) Western Kentucky 23, Western Michigan 20— True freshman kicker nailed a 52-yard FG at the gun for the win; he missed a 29-yard FG at end of first half. 

Hilltoppers outgained WMU 481-307, but threw a pick-6 in last minute of first half that tied score at 10-all. WKU finishes the season 9-4.

9) Louisville 38, Mississippi State 28— Sometimes life is simple; when you hear that one of Miss State’s QB’s couldn’t play in this game, because one of his teammates broke the orbital bone near his eye in a post-practice fracas, then you pick against that team. 

8) College basketball upsets:
— Stetson (+21) 63, South Carolina 56
— South Carolina State (+11) 58, Jacksonville 52
— Green Bay (+5.5) 73, Northern Kentucky 59

7) Michigan State’s basketball team is 2-0 early on in the Big 14 standings; Northwestern is 0-2; the other 12 teams are all 1-1. 

Northwestern lost to Hartford the other day, not a good sign for the Wildcats. 

6) Cal State- Fullerton won 77-74 at UCLA Saturday, which isn’t good for Mick Cronin; losing to North Carolina or Michigan State is one thing, but losing to Big West teams, especially one with a 3-10 record and #275 ranking, is a huge red flag. 

One of Cronin’s apologists tried to blame the talent former coach Steve Alford left behind, but Alford went to Nevada, inherited a total of two players (TWO!!!) from Eric Musselman and the Wolf Pack is 8-5. Maybe Alford is as good a coach as Cronin is.

This is the first UCLA roster without at least one McDonald’s All-American since the award was started in 1977, but plenty of solid D-I players weren’t McDonald’s All-Americans.

5) By the way, over the last 19 years, UCLA had never lost to a team ranked lower than #210 in the KenPom rankings; Fullerton was #284 before they upset the Bruins.

4) USC fired their defensive coordinator and special teams coach after its dismal performance in the Holiday Bowl Friday night. 

3) In the NBA, Knicks have won one playoff series since 2001; they ain’t going to make it there this year, either. Too bad they can’t fire owners for gross incompetence.

2) Zion Williamson has a 5-year sneaker contract worth $15M a year but he still hasn’t played a game yet for the Pelicans.

1) From Zach Berman:
At Caesars sportsbook this summer, the over/under on passing yards for Carson Wentz this season was 4,040.5. You could wager whether Wentz would pass for more or less than 4,040.5 yards.  

He finished with 4,039 yards; Sunday’s finale was played in a steady rain. Very bad beat. 

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

Dolphins 27, Patriots 24:
— Miami drove 75 yards in 3:29 for the winning TD with 0:25 left.
— Dolphins went 5-4 in last nine games, after an 0-7 start.
— Ryan Fitzpatrick should play in the Pro Bowl; seriously.

— Patriots will be hosting a playoff game next weekend.
— In their last eight games, NE was outscored 97-75 in first half.
— Four of last five Patriot games went over the total. 

Chiefs 31, Chargers 21:
— Chargers lost six of their last seven games.
— In last eight games, LA was minus-13 in turnovers (4-17).
— Four of Chargers’ last five games went over the total.

— Chiefs get a first round bye, thanks to New England’s loss.
— Down 14-10, KC ran a kickoff back 104 yards for the go-ahead TD.
— Next time they had the ball, Williams ran 84 yards for a TD on first play. 

Packers 23, Lions 20:
— Green Bay gets a bye next week.
— Packers drove 68 yards in eight plays, kicked GW FG at gun.
— Green Bay won its last five games, allowing 14.2 ppg

— Detroit led this game 17-3 at halftime.
— Lions in 2nd half: 24 plays, 89 yards, 4 first downs, 3 points.
— Detroit lost its last nine games (2-6-1 ATS); they’re 9-17-1 ATS in last 27 games as a home underdog, 4-3 TY.

Bengals 33, Browns 23:
— Browns lost four of last four games, giving up 38-31-33 points in last three.
— Cleveland lost its last six road games; since ’13, they’re 1-7 ATS as a road favorite, 1-4 TY.
— Browns lost nine t of their last 11 visits to Cincinnati.

— Bengals ran ball for 179 yards, converted 9-14 on third down.
— Was this Andy Dalton’s last game as Cincinnati’s QB?
— Bengals’ last four games went over the total. 

Bears 21, Vikings 19:
— Chicago won its fourth game in a ow over the Vikings.
— Pineiro kicked GW 22-yard FG with 0:10 left.
— Spread opened Vikings -7, wound up Vikings +4.

— Minnesota went 0-4-1 ATS in last five home games.
— Both teams scored only one TD, kicked four FG’s.
— Boone ran ball 17 times for 148 yards and a TD.

Falcons 28, Buccaneers 22 OT:
— Falcons tied game with FG at gun, won it on a pick-6 on first play of OT.
— Atlanta won six of its last eight games after a 1-7 start.
— Falcons scored 9 points on five trips to red zone; no bueno.

— Tampa Bay didn’t score in 2nd half or OT.
— Winston is first QB ever with 30+ TD’s, 30+ INT’s.
— Bucs were 0-3 on FG’s, Atlanta was 5-5. 

Saints 42, Panthers 10:
— New Orleans won six of its last seven games overall, scoring 20 TD’s on their last 42 drives
— Saints won six of last seven series games, winning last three visits to Charlotte by 3-21-32 points
—  Saints will host Minnesota in the early game Sunday afternoon. 

— Carolina lost its last eight games (2-6 ATS).
— Panthers’ first seven drives: 19 plays, 41 yards, one first down.
— In their last eight games, Panthers had a minus-20 turnover ratio, turning ball over 22 times.

Jets 13, Bills 6:
— Jets won six of last eight games after a 1-7 start.
— Five of the Jets’ last six games went under the total.
— Jets scored only 10 points on three red zine drives.

— Josh Allen played for a while at the start; no idea why.
— Buffalo heads to Houston for a playoff game next week.
— Under is 7-2 in Buffalo’s last nine games.

Eagles 34, Giants 17:
— Philly wins NFC East; they host Seattle in Wild Card round.
— Eagles won 12 of their last 13 games with the Giants.
— Philly won its last four games overall, scoring 13 TD’s on 47 drives

— Giants are 1-10 ATS in last 11 games as a home underdog.
— Seven of their last nine games went over the total.
— Giants are likely to fire coach Pat Shurmur Monday. 

Cowboys 47, Redskins 16:
— Redskins lost eight of their last nine games with Dallas.
— Washington converted 1-12 on third down, Cowboys 8-15.
— Starting tomorrow, Redskins’ president Bruce Allen will no longer run football operations, which is good news for Redskins’ fans.

— Gallup caught five footballs for 98 yards, three TD’s.
— Dallas had seven plays of 20+ yards, five of them on third down.
— Cowboys will probably fire Jason Garrett this week.  

Ravens 28, Steelers 10:
— In 2nd half, Steelers’ offense was outscored 9-3 by Ravens’ defense.
— Pitt misses playoffs for 2nd year in row, after making it 12 of previous 17 years.
— Steelers lost their last three games, scoring 10 points in all three games.

— Ravens ran ball for 223 yards on a rainy day were neither team threw for 100 yards.
— Heading into playoffs, Ravens are clearly best team in NFL.
— Baltimore was 2-2 at one point, then won its last 12 games. 

Jaguars 38, Colts 20:
— Colts in first half: 37 plays, 236 yards, 13 first downs, 20 points.
— Colts in second half: 20 plays, 46 yards, 4 first downs, no points.
— Indy lost its last five visits here, by 6-20-3-35-18 points.

— Jaguars outscored Indy 22-0 in second half.
— Jax broke game open with defensive TD which made it 31-20 with 9:28 left.
— Minshew threw for 295 yards; Jags converted 9-14 on third down.

Titans 35, Texans 14:
— Titans ran ball for 245 yards, averaged 10.6 yards/pass attempt.
— Tennessee ended a 7-game losing skid in Houston.
— Titans visit New England in the Wild Card round next week.

— AJ McCarron was 21-36/225 passing for Houston.
Wild Card spreads:
— Houston -3, 41.5 vs Buffalo; New England -5.5, 43.5 vs Tennessee
— New Orleans -8, 47 vs Minnesota; Seattle -1, 45.5 @ Philadelphia. 

Rams 31, Cardinals 24:
— Arizona lost last seven series games, losing last five by combined score of 163-56.
— Cardinals gained 268 yards on five drives in 2nd half: two TD’s, three turnovers.
— When you’re minus-5 in turnovers, you ain’t winning.

— Rams faked a punt from their own 17 in first quarter; it didn’t work.
— LA converted 11-18 third down plays.
— Under McVay, Rams’ record in games decided by 6 or fewer points:
2017: 3-1……2018: 5-0……2019: 1-3

Broncos 16, Raiders 15:
— Oakland scored TD with 0:07 left, went for two points and the win.
— Raiders scored 15 points on five red zone drives. Not good.
— Home side won last eight series games.

— Broncos won four of five games with rookie Lock at QB.
— Teams combined for two TD’s, eight field goal attempts.
— Denver won its last four home games (3-1 ATS). 

49ers 26, Seahawks 21:
— SF tackled a Seattle TE on 1-yard line as game ended.
— 49ers win NFC West, are #1 seed in NFC.
— This was only Niners’ 2nd win in last 12 games vs Seattle.

— Seahawks in 1st half: 24 plays, 79 yards, 6 first downs, zero points.
— Seahawks in 2nd half: 47 plays, 269 yards, 21 first downs, 21 points.
— Seattle visits Philadelphia in Wild Card game Sunday. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Going thru the first group of bowl games…….

13) Clemson 29, Ohio State 23:
— Ohio State led 16-0 with 3:00 left in the first half.
— Lawrence threw for 259 yards, ran for 107 more; he took a lot of hits in this game.

— If you had a choice between Joe Burrow/Trevor Lawrence to QB your NFL team, who would you choose?
— Early line on the national title game: LSU -4 vs Clemson. 

12) LSU 63, Oklahoma 28:
— At one point, Burrow had 7 TD passes; Oklahoma had 8 first downs.
— How was this kid the 3rd-string QB at Ohio State?

— LSU’s kicker is 18 years old; their holder is 29.
— Horrible news before the game; the daughter-in-law of LSU OC Steve Ensminger was one of five people killed in a plane crash in Lafayette, LA Saturday. Very sad.

11) From 2012-15, Eastern Michigan’s football team went 7-41; the last four years, they’re 25-26, losing their three bowl games by total of 10 points, covering all three games as an underdog. Eagles are 21-6-1 ATS in last 28 games as an underdog.

10) Mike Leach’s teams score lot of points, but his success doesn’t translate to bowls; Wazzu scored an average of only 21.6 ppg in their last five bowls. 

Coogs were 3-0 this year, led UCLA 49-17 at home, then blew that game 67-63, their defensive coordinator either quit/got fired, and the team fell apart, losing seven of last ten games.

Air Force ran the ball for 371 yards in their 31-21 Cheez-It Bowl win over the Coogs; Air Force ran 81 plays, Wazzu only 50.

9) Washington Huskies were 32-9 the last three years, but were a disappointing 8-5 TY; they pounded coach Chris Petersen’s old team Boise State 34-7 in Petersen’s last game as Huskies’ coach. Washington was 0-5 TY in games decided by 10 or fewer points.

8) Big 14 teams won the last five Holiday Bowls; Iowa thrashed USC 49-24. Have to think the boosters who wanted coach Clay Helton fired aren’t nay happier now.

7) MAC teams are 3-1 ATS in bowls; last three years combined, they were 5-12.

6) Skip Holtz is 6-0 at Louisiana Tech in bowl games; Miami lost nine of its last ten bowls.

5) Oklahoma State lost the Texas Bowl 24-21 to Texas A&M, but they covered the spread, are now 11-4 ATS in last 15 games as an underdog. 

A&M coach Jimbo Fisher improved to 7-2 in bowl games.

4) Temple coach Rod Carey is 60-35 as a head coach, but 0-7 in bowl games; 0-6 at Northern Illinois, 0-1 at Temple after North Carolinas thrashed his Owls 55-13 Friday.

3) Florida Atlantic played at home in the last two Boca Raton Bowls, and cruised in both, 50-3/52-28. SMU lost its last two bowls, 51-10/52-28.

2) In six years at the I-A level, Appalachian State is already 5-0 in bowls, scoring 31+ points in all five games- they’re also going to have their third coach in three years next year, as big money teams scooped up their coach the last two years.

1) Arkansas State had a very emotional year; their coach lost his wife to cancer in August- he missed their season opener, then coached the rest of the season. Red Wolves won five of their last six games to finish the season 8-5, with a 34-26 bowl win over FIU, only their 2nd bowl win in last six tries. Good for them. 

Friday’s Den: In a perfect world, where I made all the decisions……..

13) I’d like everyone to be nicer to each other; life is short, lets enjoy it. 

Lets tolerate our differences; I like the A’s, you like someone else. you like beer, I like Cherry Coke, our differences are what make life interesting. 

12) A friend of mine wouldn’t talk to me for a year because I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 (I voted for the 3rd party candidate). Why take life that seriously? Especially the way Presidential elections are, the Democrat almost always wins New York anyway. 

11) Would a date with Gina Gershon be too much to ask for? (probably, yes…..)

10) Sounds like one of the things I’ve been posting in this space for years will finally happen; both leagues should have the DH in 2022. Both leagues should have the same rules. 

9) Lets do away with Daylight Savings Time; who needs sunlight at 5:30am? Keep the clocks the way they are in the summer. Let it stay light as late in the day as possible.

8) Can we get rid of the Electoral College? Whoever gets the most votes should win, yes?

7) Every kid would learn basic life skills in high school: cooking, laundry, how to write a check, how to do a budget, the divorce laws. 

When it comes to cooking, I can make one thing……reservations. 

6) No Thursday NFL games, except for Week 1 and Thanksgiving Day. Instead, why not have Monday night doubleheaders every week? 7:00/10:30 games; that would be fun. 

5) NBA playoff series would be two out of three until the Finals, which would be best-of-5. 

4) College football teams shouldn’t be playing I-AA opponents; I mean, Alabama played Western Carolina this year, and Florida played UT-Martin AND Towson State- how does this happen? Why would anyone pay to see mismatches like this?

3) I’d be in favor of college basketball adopting the NBA’s 8-second rule for getting the ball over half court; most anything that encourages pressing and a faster-paced game is a good thing.

2) I’d make cigarettes illegal; they’re known to cause cancer. What is good about them?

1) I’d make sure DirecTV picked up the Pac-12 Network. Its not too much to ask. This is my list after all.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas. 

Wednesday’s List of 13: Merry Christmas, everyone…….

13) Lamar Jackson isn’t playing for the Ravens Sunday; they’ve already clinched the #1 seed in the AFC, so Jackson and some of his friends will take Sunday off when the Steelers come calling. 

Robert Griffin III will get the start at QB for Baltimore; if that doesn’t send you running to the casino to wager on Pittsburgh, I’m not sure what would. Griffin is 15-25 as an NFL starter, 6-19 in his last 25 games. His last NFL start was three years ago. 

12) Other NFL stuff:
— Case Keenum will start at QB for injured Dwayne Haskins (ankle) for Washington Sunday.

11)  Hawai’i 38, BYU 34—Hawai’i QB McDonald threw for 336 yards, three TD’s in first half, then got benched for series in third quarter. He came back in later and Rainbows scored winning TD with 1:17 left. Tremendous game, especially important with nothing else on TV. 

10) Tennessee Vols officially announced the addition of Santiago Vescovi, a point guard from Uruguay who most recently played for the NBA Global Academy in Australia.

18-year-old Vescovi signed with Tennessee November 22. He will join the team this weekend,  is awaiting standard NCAA, Southeastern Conference clearance protocols before becoming eligible to play in games, which probably won’t come until early January.

9) Kawhi Leonard’s agent is a guy named Mitch Frankel who doesn’t represent any other active NBA players. That is pretty unusual, an agent with one client. 

8) Miami Marlins have C/1B Francisco Cervelli a one-year deal worth $2M. 

7) 2B Cesar Hernandez signed a one-year deal with Cleveland worth $6M. 

6) Mets gave P Dellin Betances a one-year deal worth $10.5M, wth the chance to get up to $13M, with incentives. 

5) New Mexico Lobos suspended two starters, F Carlton Bragg, PG JJ Caldwell indefinitely, 

Bragg, a team captain, transferred from  Kansas in January 2018, is averaging 13.7 ppg, 10.8 rag and 1.4 blocks/game this season.Caldwell leads the Mountain West in assists at 5.7 per game, and averages 5.8 points per game.

4) NFL home favorites are 54-89-6 ATS this season.
Road favorites are 48-41-2 ATS. 

3) This is how the Oakland Raiders can still make the playoffs:
— Raiders win in Denver.
— Colts win in Jacksonville.
— Ravens beat Pittsburgh
— Texans beat Tennessee

If those four things happen, then one of these teams also has to win:
Chicago, Detroit, LA Chargers or New England. 

2) Merry Christmas to this guy: A customer at a William Hill sports book in Las Vegas turned a $5 bet into a $100,000 jackpot when he went a perfect 15-for-15 on the William Hill $100,000 Parlay Card this past weekend.

Guy had to sweat the Dolphins blowing a 34-12 lead in the last 6:21 of regulation, then waiting until the last play of OT to kick the winning FG. 

1) Hope you all have a great Christmas; if you don’t celebrate Christmas, have a great Wednesday. Nine basketball games on TV Wednesday, five NBA games, four college games from Hawai’i; thats a good day. 

Random bowl facts; Merry Christmas……

— Over the last three years, Pac-12 teams are 7-15 SU in bowl games, 3-18-1 ATS, which is hard to believe, so I checked it twice. 3-18-1 it is. 

— Last five tears, Pac-12 teams are 12-27-1 ATS in bowls, 9-20-1 when favored.

— Friday was a huge day for the MAC; they won two bowl games. Over the previous three years, MAC squads were 2-15 SU in bowls, 5-12 ATS.

— Over last three years, SEC teams are 17-19 SU in bowls, 9-12 ATS when favored.

— Underdogs won four of last five Pinstripe Bowls SU.

— Three years ago, big 14 teams were 3-7 SU in bowls; the last two years, they went 12-5 SU/ATS.

— In last five Cheez-It Bowls, Big X teams are 5-0 SU, beating four Pac-12 teams and Boise State.

— Over last five years, Big X teams 5-7 ATS when favored in bowls, 13-8 when the underdog; they’re 13-6 SU in bowls the last three years.

— Over last three years, Sun Belt teams are 9-5 SU in bowls. Go figure.

— Last four years, AAC teams are 10-20 SU in bowls; 6-11 ATS when favored, 4-9 when an underdog.

— Last three years, ACC teams are 20-12-1 ATS in bowls, 9-4 when favored, 11-8-1 when they’re getting points.

— Last five years, Conference USA teams are 11-5 ATS when favored, 7-11 when an underdog.
— Pac-12 teams beat an ACC team in four of last five Sun Bowls; four of the five games were decided by 6 or fewer points.