Thursday’s Den: Pac-12 football knowledge………

— last three years, Arizona is 6-23 SU (minus-32 in turnovers)
— 8 starters back on offense, 3 on defense
— 63 starts back on offensive line.
— junior QB has 27 starts, 15 of them at Washington State.
— since 2015, Arizona is 10-22 ATS as a road underdog.
— last four years, Arizona is 1-7 ATS as a favorite.
— Arizona hasn’t played in a bowl game since 2017.

Arizona State
— 32-year old first-year HC was OC at Oregon last year.
— 8 starters back on offense, 5 on defense
— 151 starts back on offensive line— added 6 transfers on OL
— who will new QB be? They added several transfers
— last four years, Sun Devils are 7-15 ATS as an underdog.
— last 10 years, ASU is 26-37 ATS coming off a win
— ASU lost four of their last five bowls (won ’19 Sun Bowl, 20-14)

— Last three years, California is 10-18 SU.
— 8 starters back on offense, 9 on defense
— 92 starts back on offensive line
— new QB’s; one was backup at TCU, another at NC State. 
— since 2014, Golden Bears are 23-12 ATS as a road underdog.
— last four years, Cal is 15-5 ATS overall as an underdog.
— Cal is 2-3 SU in last five bowls; their last bowl was 2019.

— Last 3 years, Deion Sanders was 27-6 SU at I-AA Jackson State.
— 6 starters back on offense, 3 on defense
— 44 starts back on offensive line
— junior QB (Deion’s son) started 26 games at I-AA Jackson State.
— last four years, Colorado was 4-13 ATS as a road underdog. 
— since 2017, Buffs are 12-23-1 ATS coming off a loss.
— Colorado lost its last four bowls; their last bowl win was in 2004.

— 8 starters back on offense, 8 on defense
— 96 starts back on offensive line.
— Senior QB Nix QB has 47 career starts, 34 of them at Auburn.
— Last five years, Ducks are 45-16 SU.
— Oregon was 8-3 ATS as a favorite in Lanning’s first season LY.
— Since 2014, Oregon is 11-20-2 ATS outside Pac-12.
— Ducks are 3-2 in last five bowl games; all three wins were by one point.

Oregon State
— 8 starters back on offense, 5 on defense
— 109 starts back on offensive line
— junior QB started 28 games at Clemson.
— Under Smith, OSU is 10-1 ATS as a home favorite.
— Last three years, Beavers are 15-3 ATS coming off a win.
— Under Smith, underdogs are 18-7 ATS in OSU road games.
— Beavers are 2-3 SU in last five bowls (were favored in all five).

— 8 starters back on offense, 9 on defense
— 95 starts back on offensive line
— junior QB has started 21 games, is favored to win Heisman Trophy.
— In his career, Riley is 23-15 ATS as a home favorite, 5-2 at USC.
— In his career, underdog is 17-8-1 ATS in Riley’s road games.
— USC is 1-4 SU in last five bowls (favored in 3 of 5 games)
— Their last bowl win was 52-49 over Penn State in 2016 Rose Bowl

— New HC Taylor was 30-8 SU as HC at I-AA Sacramento State
— 3 starters back on offense, 3 on defense
— 15 starts back on OL; added 2 OL transfers from Ivy League
— whoever new QB is will be inexperienced
— Cardinal went 3-9/3-9 SU the last two years.
— Last two years, Stanford was 6-18 SU/5-19 ATS.
— Stanford won four of its last five bowls; last one was in 2018.

— 7 starters back on offense, 9 on defense
— 126 starts back on offensive line; high expectations.
— new QB this year; Schlee was starter LY for 5-7 Kent State.
— Under Kelly, Bruins are 6-12 ATS as a home favorite.
— Since 2014, UCLA is 7-20-1 ATS outside the Pac-12.
— UCLA lost its last three bowls, giving up 37-35-37 points.
— Bruins’ last bowl win was 40-35 over K-State in 2014 Alamo Bowl.

— 7 starters back on offense, 9 on defense
— 84 starts back on offensive line; high expectations
— senior QB has started 24 games.
— Last four years, Utes are 34-13 SU.
— In his career, Whittingham is 34-22 ATS as an underdog.
— Since 2018, Utah is 5-10-1 ATS outside the Pac-12. 
— Utah lost last four bowls, after Whittingham started out 11-1 in bowls.

— 7 starters back on offense, 8 on defense
— 36 starts back on offensive line.
— senior QB has 30 starts, 17 of them at Indiana.
— since 2017, Washington is 7-13 ATS as a road favorite.
— since 2018, Washington is 14-27 ATS in Pac-12 games.
— last ten years, Huskies are 7-13 ATS as an underdog
— Huskies won their last two bowls, 38-7/27-20.

Washington State
— 7 starters back on offense, 5 on defense
— 55 starts back on offensive line.
— junior QB started 13 games LY; he previously played at I-AA Incarnate Word, came to Wazzu with the new OC.
— last two years, Wazzu is 13-4-1 ATS in Pac-12 games
— since 2017, Coogs are 7-12-1 ATS outside Pac-12.
— since 2018, Wazzu is 6-1 ATS as a road favorite.
— Coogs lost last three bowls; last bowl win was 2018 Alamo Bowl.

Tuesday’s Den: Quick notes on American League teams

Orioles— Baltimore hasn’t made the playoffs since 2016, but after going 178-368 (.326) from 2018-21, Orioles went 83-79 last year, are 48-29 this season. Baltimore is 18-8 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on.

Boston— Red Sox are in last place in AL East, despite a 40-39 record; first place in AL Central is 40-40. Boston is 13-8 vs lefty starters, 27-31 vs righties. Red Sox are 10-14 in one-run tilts. Under is 7-2 in their last nine home games. 

Chi Sox— Last three years, White Sox were 209-175, making playoffs twice, but this year, they are 15-11 vs division rivals, 19-35 against everyone else. Under is 8-2 in their last ten games. Pale Hose are 14-26 in road games.

Cleveland— Guardians have made playoffs in five of last seven seasons; they’re only 37-40 this year, but because the division is so weak, they’re only 2 games out of first place. They’ve played a lot of one-run games (17-19). Cleveland is 5-8 in first game of a home series.

Detroit— Tigers haven’t made playoffs since 2014; since 2017, they’re 375-569 (.397), 34-43 this year. Detroit is 28-10 this year when they score 4+ runs, 6-33 when they don’t. Tigers are 6-10 vs lefty starters, 15-11 vs division foes. 12-9 in one-run games.

Houston— Astros are 6-9 since Yordan Alvarez got hurt; they’re 13-6 vs division rivals. Over last five weeks, Houston is 2-8 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on. Altuve has missed 52 games this season after getting hurt in the WBC; Abreu is hitting only .232.

Royals— KC is 10-9 in one-run games, 12-47 in all other games. Royals are 10-47 when they score less than 5 runs. Kansas City is 5-20 in series openers, 2-10 at home. Over is 5-2 in their last seven games.

Angels— Halos are 35-23 vs righty starters, 8-14 vs lefties. Overall, Angels are 43-37, half-game out of the last Wild Card slot. Ohtani can walk as free agent after the season; would they dare trade him? Still weird that Anthony Rendon makes more $$$ than Trout or Ohtani. Angels haven’t made the playoffs since 2014.

Twins— Minnesota made playoffs 3 times in 4 years from 2017-20, then went 73-89/78-84 last two years; they’re 40-40 right now, leading a lousy AL Central by 1.5 games. Twins are 8-14 in one-run games but are 8-3 in extra innings. Trading Luis Arraez for Pablo Lopez seems like a mistake, with Arraez hitting .399.

New York— Aaron Judge is out until at least early August; Bronx is 43-35, in the Wild Card hunt but 9.5 games out of first place in AL East. Stanton is hitting .191, LeMahieu is hitting .230, might be a good time to fire the hitting coach.

New York last won a World Series in 2009; since then, they’ve spent the much $$$$:
2010— $206,333,389
2011— $201,689,030
2012— $197,962,289
2013— $228,835,490
2014— $203,812,506
2015— $219,282,196
2016— $213,472,857

2017— $201,539,699
2018— $173.540,000
2019— $206,084,884
2020— $110,852,878 (short season)
2021— $191,205,631
2022— $240,290,714
2023— $279,741,178

That amounts to a total of $2,874,647,741 spent on payrolls since they last won a World Series. ……that’s billion, with a B. Somehow, the general manager still has his job.

Tampa Bay— Rays made the playoffs the last four years, are 54-27 this year, with these payrolls:
2019— $53,444,931

2020— $28,735,222 (short season)
2021— $60,388,600
2022— $75,347,813
2023— $64,652,911

Seems like the Rays are making better use of their $$$.

Oakland— If the owner wasn’t a cheap bastard, A’s could field this team:
C— Murphy
1B— Olson
2B— Semien
SS— Andrus
3B— Chapman
OF— Marte, Canha, Laureano
SP’s— Bassitt, Luzardo, Kaprielien, Irvin
Closer— Hendriks

Would be a pretty good team. Hopefully the owner will sell the team soon.

Seattle— Mariners made playoffs last year for first time since 2001- they won 90 games in both of last two seasons, but they’re only 38-39 this year, 8-15 in one-run games, after they went a combined 67-41 in one-run games in 2021-22. Seattle is 0-6 in Luis Castillo’s road starts this year.

Rangers— Texas is 47-31, despite being 5-11 in one-run games, and despite Seager missing 31 games with a hamstring injury. Rangers are 15-8 vs AL West rivals; they haven’t made it to the playoffs since 2016, but Bochy has won three World Series— he is a great freakin’ manager.

Toronto— Blue Jays made playoffs two of last three years and went 91-71 the other year; they’re 43-36 this year, right in middle of Wild Card chase. Toronto is 7-17 against its division rivals this year, they’re 12-7 in one-run games. 

Monday’s Den: A quick note on every National League team……..

Arizona— Last three years, Arizona was a combined 151-233 (.393); this year, they’re 47-32 and lead the NL West by 2.5 games. Last time Diamondbacks made the playoffs? 2017.

Atlanta— Braves lead the NL East by six games; they’re 19-6 vs divisional rivals. Atlanta has won 10 of its last 11 games overall. Braves have won 11 of their 13 series on the road.

Cubs— Cubs are 13-10 vs lefty starters, 24-29 vs righties, 7-11 in one-run games. Chicago has won 8 of its last 10 games; they’re only NL Central team with a positive run differential (+32).

Reds— Cincinnati leads NL Central thanks to a 12-game win streak; they lost last two days, 7-6/7-6. Over is 6-2 in their last eight games. Will Reds be a buyer at the trade deadline?

Rockies— Kris Bryant makes $27,333,333 a year, and will thru 2028. He played in only 42 games last year, and has already missed 30 more games this year. His OPS this year is .719, which is bad for a guy making $27M. Personnel decisions like this are why the Rockies suck.

Dodgers— Dodgers have been in the playoffs ten years in a row; if the playoffs started today, LA would be the last team in, but they’ve won four of their last five games. Hard to believe the Dodgers won’t be buyers at the trade deadline, trying to fortify an injury-plagued roster.

Marlins— Miami has been in the playoffs once in the last 19 seasons, but they’re 44-34 now and Skip Schumaker is front-runner for Manager of the Year. 20-year Eury Perez is 4-1, 1.54 in his first eight major league starts.

Brewers— Milwaukee went 86-76 LY, but missed playoffs for first time in five years. This year, Brewers are 40-37, half-game out of first in NL Central. Christian Yelich is having a comeback season, having scored 51 runs with a .790 OPS so far in 2023.

New York— With a payroll of $359,204,730, you’d expect more than a 35-42 record, 9-18 vs lefty starting pitchers. Over last five weeks, Mets are 10-19, 2-8 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on.

Phillies— Phils are 15-5 in their last 20 games; they scored four runs in the bottom of the 8th Sunday to beat the Mets, 7-6. Here is what happened in that inning:
Walk-single-walk-E5 scored a run.
Walk-strikeout-hit by pitch-hit by pitch

Four runs scored on one hit; they’re finding ways to win.

Pirates— On April 29, Pirates were 20-8, the talk of baseball; since then, they’re 15-34 and have scored a total of 21 runs in their last 11 games. Under is 7-2 in their last nine games.

St Louis— Cardinals are a disappointing 32-45, in last place in NL Central, 8-16 in one-run games. St Louis is only 14-22 at home; they’re 2-8 in last ten series openers. Free agent C Contreras is hitting .216, but he went 4-for-4 in London Sunday- maybe that’ll wake him up.

San Diego— Payroll is $250,086,874, record is 37-41, not good. Padres are 30-4 when they score 5+ runs, 7-37 when they don’t.

Coming into this weekend, Padres were hitting .197 with runners in scoring position, which would be the worst such average in the last 80 years:
.197– 2023 Padres
.200– 1969 Padres (they were an expansion team)
.202– 1942 Phillies 
.204– 1968 Mets (they won World Series the next year)
.207– 1963 Senators

Giants— San Francisco is 12-2 in its last 14 games; they’d be the #2 Wild Card team right now, even though that in their last 15 games, Giants’ starting pitcher has lasted less than 5 innings 10 times. They’re pasting together games by taxing their bullpen heavily; is that sustainable?

Nationals— Washington won the 2019 World Series; since then, they’re 175-295 (.372). This year, Nationals are 13-27 at home, 8-14 in one-run games. They lost their last seven series openers.   

Wednesday’s Den: Knowledge on SEC football teams……

— 5 starters back on offense, 5 on defense
— 41 starts back on offensive line.
— unclear who QB will be, but he’ll be inexperienced.
— Alabama was even in turnovers LY (+76 from 2015-21)
— Last three years, Alabama is 13-5-1 ATS as a home favorite.
— Crimson Tide won six of its last eight bowls.
— Since 2018, Alabama is 0-1 ATS as an underdog.

— 4 starters back on offense, 6 on defense
— 78 starts back on offensive line
— junior QB has 24 starts
— Under Pittman, Arkansas is 15-10-2 ATS in SEC games.
— Under Pittman, Hogs are 12-6 ATS as an underdog.
— Razorbacks won three of their last four bowls, scoring 37 ppg.

— Last three years, Auburn is 17-19 SU.
— 8 starters back on offense, 9 on defense
— 92 starts back on offensive line
— sophomore QB started 9 games last year.
— In his career, Freeze is 25-10 ATS as an underdog.
— Auburn is 1-4 SU in last five bowls (favored in 4 of 5)
— Freeze is 6-1 SU in bowl games; he is Auburn’s 3rd coach in 4 years.

— 6 starters back on offense, 5 on defense
— 74 starts back on offensive line
— junior QB started 32 games at Wisconsin
— Last two years, Gators went 6-7/6-7.
— Last three years, Florida is 1-9 ATS as a road favorite.
— Florida lost its last three bowls, outscored 114-40.

— Since 2017, Georgia is 73-10 SU
— 6 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 62 starts back on offensive line.
— New QB for Georgia; they’ll miss Stetson Bennett.
— Under Smart, Dawgs are 19-8 ATS as a road favorite.
— Since 2018, Georgia is 0-1 ATS as an underdog.
— Dawgs won their last six bowl games (4-2 ATS)

— 10 starters back on offense, 5 on defense
— 125 starts back on offensive line (four starters back)
— senior QB started 26 games at NC State.
— Under Stoops, Kentucky is 22-12 ATS as a home favorite.
— Kentucky is 11-5 ATS in last 16 non-conference games.
— Wildcats won four of their last five bowls (lost 21-0 LY).

— 8 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 102 starts back on offensive line
— Junior QB has started 43 games, most of them at Arizona State.
— Since 2016, Tigers are 16-8-1 ATS coming off a loss.
— In his career, Kelly is 35-16-2 ATS as an underdog.
— LSU won four of its last five bowls, scoring 45.6 ppg.

Ole Miss
— 9 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 131 starts back on offensive line; good offensive line
— junior QB started 12 games last year.
— they added transfer QB with 41 starts at Oklahoma State
— In his college career, Kiffin is 18-24 ATS at home, 29-24-1 on road.
— Under Kiffin, Rebels are 11-14 ATS in SEC games. 
— Ole Miss is 2-3 SU/ATS in its last five bowls.

Mississippi State
— New coach TY after Mike Leach passed away last year.
— Arnett is a first-time HC (won bowl game 19-10 LY)
— 8 starters back on offense, 4 on defense
— 113 starts back on offensive line.
— junior QB has started 32 games.
— Last three years, State is 7-3 ATS as a road underdog.
— Bulldogs are 2-3 SU/ATS in last five bowls.

— 7 starters back on offense, 8 on defense
— 136 starts back on offensive line; very experienced
— junior QB has started 14 games.
— Last four years, Tigers are 23-25 SU.
— In his career, Drinkwitz is 13-8 ATS as an underdog.
— Under Drinkwitz, Mizzou is 3-7 ATS as a home favorite.
— Mizzou lost its last four bowls; their last bowl win— 2015.

South Carolina
— 6 starters back on offense, 4 on defense
— 86 starts back on offensive line; they added two I-AA transfers, too.
— Junior QB has 30 starts, 13 of them at Oklahoma.
— Under Beamer, Gamecocks are 8-2 ATS outside the SEC.
— Under Beamer, Gamecocks are 7-2 ATS as a favorite.
— Under Beamer, Gamecocks are 7-3 ATS coming off a loss.
— Carolina is 2-3 SU/3-2 ATS in last five bowls.

— 5 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 93 starts back on offensive line.
— Senior QB has 9 starts; they added a 5-star freshman QB.
— Under Heupel, Tennessee is 8-2 ATS outside the SEC
— Under Heupel, Tennessee is 11-4 ATS as a favorite.
— In his career, Heupel is 3-6 ATS as an underdog.
— Vols are 4-1 SU/ATS in their last five bowls.

Texas A&M
— 10 starters back on offense, 10 on defense
— 91 starts back on offensive line.
— Soph QB Weigman started 4 games last year.
— Soph QB Johnson (Brad Johnson’s son) used to play at LSU
— Under Fisher, Aggies are 22-7 ATS as a favorite.
— Since 2017, A&M is 16-7-1 ATS outside the SEC.
— LSU won its last three bowls, scoring 52-24-41 points.

— Last four years, Vandy is 10-35 SU; last bowl was 2018.
— 7 starters back on offense, 8 on defense
— 81 starts back on offensive line
— soph QB started 6 games last year.
— since 2019, Commodores are 2-8 ATS coming off a win
— Under Lea, Vandy is 3-10 ATS at home, 8-3 ATS on road.
— Vandy lost last two bowls 41-17/45-38; their last bowl win was in 2013.

Sunday’s Den: 13 memorable TV game shows…….

13) Jeopardy!— I liked it better in the old days; Art Fleming was the host; he even appeared in Airplane 2- when the plane was in trouble, one of the passengers said “We’re in real jeopardy now!!!” and Fleming appears at the front of the plane with the Jeopardy! board behind him and one of the contestants says, “I’d like airplane disasters for $200, Art”

Jeopardy! Is low on this list because I never knew a lot of the answers.

12) Jokers’ Wild— Billed as “the game where knowledge is king and lady luck is queen” Jack Barry was the host. He’d get excited if a contestant spun and three jokers came up on the board: “joker, joker……..and a triple!!!”

Contestants answered questions based on categories determined randomly by a mechanism resembling a slot machine.

11) Deal or No Deal?— Howie Mandel hosted this show, and my dad loved watching it, not really sure why, but he did. He liked it so much that one year for Christmas I got him a Howie Mandel bobblehead; if you press the button, it asks “Deal, or No Deal?” The bobblehead is still sitting over there on the shelf.

10) $10,000 Pyramid— The game features two contestants, each paired with a celebrity; one teammate tries to guess a series of words or phrases based on descriptions given to them by their teammates. Whoever wins advanced to the big pyramid, where if the person got through all the categories in time, they’d win the $10,000 (or $50,000, in later versions of the show)

Dick Clark hosted this show for a long time; so did Bill Cullen. Some of the celebrities were a lot better than others at this game; pretty tough for the contestant to win any $$$ if their celebrity teammate was a nitwit.

9) Gambit— There were two teams of married couples competing; Wink Martindale was the host; there was a toss-up question, and if couple got it right, they could take the next card drawn, or give it to their opponent. If they got it wrong, the other couple controlled the card.

Each subsequent card was presented face-down and was turned up once the couple in control decided who should receive it. After a couple received any card (either by choice or by having it passed to them) and could potentially bust with another card, they could elect to freeze, preventing them from receiving any more cards.

Wink Martindale was excellent on this show; if a couple went over 21 and lost, he’d break out into his “…….too much, and the game goes to the Ostranders” bit. When I was 12, I loved this show.

8) Let’s Make a Deal— Monty Hall hosted this show, where the contestants would dress up in outrageous costumes and try to get Hall to pick them out. Once chosen, Monty Hall would give the person something of value, then ask if they wanted to trade it for whatever was behind one of three curtains on the stage; it might be a car, it might be canned squid.

There was no actual skill involved in the show, just the drama of seeing their reactions when they either won something big or got stiffed.

Remember the movie Last Vegas? The woman who played Kevin Kline’s wife in the movie is Joanna Gleason, who in real life is Monty Hall’s daughter.

7) Wheel of Fortune— Sad to hear this week that Pat Sajak is retiring as host after this season, his 41st year hosting Wheel of Fortune— the show has been on TV continuously since 1975.

Contestants solve word puzzles, similar to those in Hangman, to win cash and prizes determined by spinning a giant carnival wheel. Vanna White got famous simply by turning the letters on the board, and of course, because she seems nice and is beautiful.

Pat Sajak hosted a talk show in the early 80’s and left the daytime Wheel of Fortune; one of his replacements was Rolf Benirschke, who previously was a kicker for the San Diego Chargers.

6) The Price Is Right— When I was in high school, Price Is Right was on at 3:00, Match Game at 3:30. Spent lot of time watching those two shows.

Price Is Right is obviously still on, with Drew Carey having taken over for Bob Barker as host. Contestants compete by guessing the prices of merchandise to win cash and prizes; at the end there is a showcase, where the best prizes were won/lost.

In a 2007 article, TV Guide named it the “greatest game show of all time.”

5) Match Game— This show has had many different versions; the one I loved was on in the 70’s. Two contestants competed to match their answers with six celebrities on the panel, some of whom were there to provide comic relief.

Gene Rayburn was the host; Richard Dawson, Brett Somers and Charles Nelson-Reilly were the regular panelists (Brett Somers played Oscar Madison’s ex-wife in The Odd Couple).

I remember that two of the occasional celebrities were Joyce Bulifant and Elaine Joyce; their answers were usually terrible, hard to match.

4) Concentration— This show was on daytime TV from 1958-91; the hosts I remember were Hugh Downs (before he went to the Today Show), Ed McMahon and Bob Clayton.

This game took actual skill; you had to remember what was behind each square of the puzzle. If you guessed that #6 and #8 were the same and they were, they were taken off the board and parts of the puzzle were exposed. If you removed enough squares, it would be easier to solve the puzzle that was behind the squares.

There were 30 squares on the board; this game should come back on TV. 

3) Password— Allen Ludden hosted this show; he was married to Betty White. There is a great episode of The Odd Couple, where Felix/Oscar go on Password and play against Betty White and her partner.

Two teams, each composed of a celebrity and a contestant, try to convey mystery words to each other using only single-word clues, in order to win cash prizes.

In the Odd Couple episode, Felix guesses “Aristophanes” as an answer, which was horribly wrong. Oscar tells him it was a ridiculous answer. The next word comes up “ridiculous” and Oscar’s hint was……. “Aristophanes” to which Felix answers “ridiculous!!!”  Great TV.

2) Hollywood Squares— Nine celebrities sit in a huge tic-tac-toe board; contestants win a square when a celebrity answers the question— the contestant has to agree/disagree with their answer.

Peter Marshall was the host; his son Pete LaCock played for the Cubs for a few years. Once in a while, a contestant would screw up and choose the wrong square to play. Marshall would say, “I might have gone with Wally Cox to block, but this might work out for you”

Paul Lynde was most always the center square; Wally Cox upper left, Charley Weaver lower left, Rose Marie upper middle.

This show was on at 11:30 weekdays for most of my childhood.

1) The Gong Show— Chuck Barris invented The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game; he was later the host of The Gong Show, which was American Idol 20 years before, except virtually no one on the show had any talent.

Contestants would come on the show and perform; three celebrities were on the left, and if one of thought the act sucked (most of them did) they would bang the gong and the contestant left. Someone would win each show (there were some good acts) but the prizes weren’t much.

Chuck Barris was the star; he would say to someone who got gonged “I liked your act, but then again, I like gas fumes” It was bizarre TV, but it was funny as hell.

There was a regular who would appear every so often before commercials; the Unknown Comic. He wore a bag over his head, and would tell off-color jokes to Chuck, who would then send the show into commercials. “Chucky, Chucky, let’s dress up as a horse for Halloween. I’ll be the front end, and you just be yourself”

I was in college then, never scheduled any classes between 12-2; that’s when the Gong Show was on. 

Tuesday’s Den: Random Lists of 4…….

Best Quarterbacks:
John Elway
Tom Brady
Joe Montana
Roger Staubach (Patrick Mahomes soon to replace him)

Favorite Quarterbacks:
Kurt Warner
Matthew Stafford
Vince Ferragamo
Jared Goff

Best basketball players:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
T2 Michael Jordan
T2 Lebron James
Bill Russell

Las Vegas sportsbooks:
MGM Grand
South Point

Favorite TV shows:
Magnum PI
Law and Order
Odd Couple

Favorite Batman villains:
Riddler (Frank Gorshin)
Egghead (Vincent Price)
Mad Hatter (David Wayne)
Catwoman (Julie Newmar)

Favorite Musicians:
Bob Seger
Billy Joel
Pat Benatar
Van Morrison

Favorite dinners:
Spaghetti and meatballs
Scrambled eggs with bacon
Fried chicken with waffles

Favorite non-sports movies:
A Star is Born (2018 version)
Leap of Faith
Begin Again
Fabulous Baker Boys

Favorite sports movies:
American Underdog
Blue Chips

Favorite gambling movies:
Let It Ride
Molly’s Game
Lucky You

Favorite Kevin Costner movies:
For Love of the Game
The Bodyguard
Message In a Bottle
Bull Durham

Favorite Susan Sarandon movies:
The Client
Bull Durham
Ping Pong Summer
White Palace

Remaining bucket list items:
Rams’ home game at SoFi Stadium
LSU Saturday night home football game
Week at spring training, preferably Arizona
New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas

John Grisham books:
Pelican Brief
The Client
Runaway Jury
A Time to Kill

Favorite TV characters:
Lenny Briscoe, Law and Order
Oscar Madison, Odd Couple
Henry Blake, M*A*S*H
Jack Malone, Without a Trace

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

— Long time ago, the early 70’s, the NBA held a 1-on-1 contest, and aired the games at halftime of regular season NBA telecasts. This was in the early 70’s; I think they had two tournaments, then some of the better players refused to play, and the idea died.

They need to bring back a 1-on-1 tournament; it would be wildly popular.

This should happen in the summer, with each player designating a charity he is playing for. They would make lot of money for various good causes.

64 players; games would be up to 20, have to win by 3 points.

Lot of wagering opportunities, bracket pools, it would be fun.

Each NBA team would have to be represented by one player; the other spots would be determined by fan voting on the Interweb.

— Kids could go right from high school to the NBA. Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, none of them went to college. They should put that rule back in.

— Major League Baseball should have a Hard Knocks-type program during spring training; it would give baseball more exposure, which it needs. Spring training has lot of dead time; would be ideal for a Hard Knocks-type show.

— NFL would have an 18-game regular season, only two preseason games; Super Bowl would be Sunday night of Presidents’ Day weekend.

— College football teams wouldn’t play I-AA opponents; SEC teams do this a lot. This year, Alabama is playing Chattanooga. Seriously? Go play a MAC team or a Sun Belt team, at least.

— Online poker would be made legal so the poker companies would advertise on TV and ESPN would start replaying the World Series of Poker again, like they used to. The stuff ESPN puts on in daytime on weekdays is mostly terrible. Mike Greenberg, Stephen A Smith both make around $6M a year, a tremendous waste of money.

Listening to talking heads in contrived arguments is a waste of electricity. Much rather watch people play cards, or replays of games, actual competition.

— I’d scrap Thursday night NFL games, except for Week 1 and Thanksgiving; I’d replace them with Monday night doubleheaders. Football wasn’t meant to be played on three days’ rest. 

— As far as college basketball transfers go, if you poach a transfer from a team, then you have to go play a game in that team’s gym. Most of the teams that poach transfers are way better than the teams they poach from anyway, but they often don’t have the onions to play road games.

VCU has that built into their coaches’ contracts; if the coach leaves for a bigger school, that team has to play a game at VCU. 

— I would take the radios out of NFL players’ helmets; coaches have six days to prepare their teams to play. Gameday should be the players’ day; let the QB’s call their own plays, which would make the game lot more exciting. QB’s calling the plays would make the game more fun.

— I’d eliminate the American/National Leagues and go to geographic realignment, which would reduce travel costs and invigorate regional rivalries. Going to 32 teams (which will happen soon) will make scheduling a lot easier.

— NBA playoff series would be best-of-3, with finals best-of-5. Less games, more drama; it is more interesting when the best team has a chance to lose. Would the NCAA tournament be at all interesting if a 16-seed played a #1-seed best-of-3?

Also, there have been 151 NBA best-of-7 playoff series where a team led 3-0; none of them have lost the series, only four of them played a Game 7. With that in mind, if a series gets to 3-0, it is over; it would make Game 3’s fascinating when one team led 2-0.

— I’d get rid of the Electoral College in our presidential election; whoever gets the most votes wins, just like in all the other elections.

— Would definitely move the NBA Draft Lottery back to a half hour before the actual draft; imagine the drama then? Lot of executives would have to think on their feet.

— You want to make baseball’s All-Star Game more interesting? Make it USA vs the World, and it’ll become a serious game fairly quickly. Probably too serious.

— Would like to make people happier; nowadays, there is so much anger in the world. There is a lot less tolerance of others than there used to be. You be you, and let others do what they do. Cheer the bleep up!!!!