Friday’s Den: Random stuff with the weekend here………

Ravens 34, Bengals 20
Bengals led 10-7 when Burrow left with an injured right hand/wrist.
Bengals rest of game: 6 drives- 32 plays, 162 yards, 10 points.
Backup QB Browning was 8-14/68 passing; he also ran for 40 yards.
Last six games, Cincy scored 45 points on their first drive of game.

Ravens won five of their last six games (4-2 ATS).
Baltimore is 7-1 when it scores 20+ points, 0-2 if they do not.
Ravens have led all 11 games after the 3rd quarter this year.
Ravens’ team total: over 8-3

— This year, NFL teams are 1-6 SU, 0-7 ATS the week after playing the Cowboys.

— So far this season, the NFL team that was bet the most each week at BetMGM is 3-6-1 against the spread in that game.

— Carolina Panthers’ coach Frank Reich will resume his play-calling duties this week, with the Panthers wallowing at 1-8. Reich had given play-calling duties to OC Thomas Brown for four weeks, with Carolina going 1-3 in those games.

Panthers have a rookie QB, and two rookie coordinators, not a recipe for success.

— Pitt 24, Boston College 16- Pitt QB Yarnell threw for 207 yards and a TD, ran for another score in his second career start. Panthers ran ball 33 times for 197 yards.

— When NBA teams play 2nd game of back/back nights this year:

home first night, on road 2nd night- 2-8 ATS
on road both nights- 9-4 ATS
at home both nights- 3-8-1 ATS
road first night, at home 2nd night- 4-7 ATS

— Thunder 128, Warriors 109
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 points, dished out seven assists.
Isaiah Joe scored 23 points in 25:00 off the bench.
Golden State lost five of its six home games.

Draymond Green’s 5-game suspension is going to cost him $769,970 in salary; in his career, he’s been fined a total of roughly $1.4M by the NBA.

— Heat 122, Nets 115
Jimmy Butler scored 36 points, was +9 in 35:00.
Miami was +16 in the 16:00 Kevin Love played off the bench.
Brooklyn’s five subs were a combined minus-46.

— Word of the Day: Consensus- general agreement among a group of people.

— Quarterbacks/wide receivers should get stat credit for pass interference penalties- it amounts to the same as a completed pass, doesn’t it?

— Average starting field position has been a telling stat in the NFC West this year:
6-3 49ers, 6-3 Seahawks have both won field position in every game but one.
3-6 Rams have lost field position in every game but one.
2-8 Cardinals have lost field position every game this season.

— Atlanta was awarded the 2025 major league All-Star Game, four years after MLB moved the event from Truist Park to Denver’s Coors Field over objections to changes in Georgia’s voting rights laws.

— Dayton 70, LSU 67— Bayou Bengals led 60-45 with 9:07 left to play; bad loss for a team that started out 12-1 last year, but wound up 14-19.

— St Bonaventure 66, Oklahoma State 64
Bonnies only played seven guys; all of them played 20:00+.
Oklahoma State led by 10 with 12:58 left in game.
Cowboys shot 55% inside the arc, but still lost.

— Utah 77, Wake Forest 70
Deacons led by 10 at halftime.
Utah shot 55% inside arc, scored 1.17 points/possession.
7-foot senior Carlson scored 31 points, blocked five shots.

— Missouri 70, Minnesota 68
Gophers led 59-39 with 11:25 left in game.
Minnesota was +14 on boards (44-38), minus-8 in turnovers (16-8)

— Nicholls State 102, South Alabama 97, 3OT’s
Favored Jaguars led 48-31 with 17:03 left in game.
As a team, South Alabama was 17-21 on the foul line.
6-6 West scored 31 points, was 15-22 on foul line.

— St John’s 53, North Texas 52
Rick Pitino’s Red Storm led by 14 early, led 30-20 at halftime, then hung on. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…….

— Browns’ QB Deshaun Watson is having shoulder surgery, is out for the year; Cleveland is starting rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson this week against the Steelers, instead of PJ Walker, which is kind of a surprise. Walker played better than DTR when Watson was hurt before.

Watson has now missed 39 games the last three years, for on/off field reasons; Cleveland owes him $138M on his deal from 2024-26, with Watson moving forward with a surgically repaired shoulder. Not ideal.

— Chicago Bears are starting QB Justin Fields this week against Detroit:
Fields has been sacked on 12.9% of his drop-backs (32nd)
Tyson Bagent has been sacked on only 3.4% of his drop-backs (1st)

— QB Justin Herbert has started 59 games for the Chargers; in those games……..
Chargers scored 1,502 points
Chargers gave up 1,502 points

— Blake Snell became the 7th pitcher to win a Cy Young Award in both leagues.

— 76ers traded James Harden to the Clippers November 1st; since then, Philadelphia is 6-2, while the Clippers are 0-6, which doesn’t make much sense, but it is what it is.

— Milwaukee Bucks are off to a 7-4 start this season; they’re only 1-9-1 against the spread.

— Word of the Day: Consultant- a person who provides expert advice professionally.

— Princeton 70, Duquesne 67- Tigers shot 67% inside the arc; they’re 3-0, with two road wins and two top 100 wins.

— Boston College 68, Richmond 61- Spiders led 28-14 early on, 34-30 at the half, but BC out-rebounded Richmond 44-31, outscored them 17-8 on foul line.

— Toledo 32, Bowling Green 31
Underdog Falcons led 28-10 at halftime.
Toledo threw a 59-yard TD pass with 1:45 left for the win.
Rockets are 10-1 this year, 7-0 in the MAC.

— Northern Illinois 24, Western Michigan 0
NIU scored on a 66-yard run, a 55-yard punt return.
Huskies were 11-16 on third down, WMU 4-13.
NIU ran ball 50 times for 287 yards.

— Eastern Michigan 30, Akron 27 OT
EMU drove 66 yards, tied game on FG with 0:10 left in regulation.
Akron was 12-19 on third down, EMU 6-14.
Eagles are 5-6; need win next week to be bowl eligible.

— Ohio 34, Central Michigan 20
Ohio took 10-0 lead on a 21-yard pick-6.
Chippewas threw TD passes of 50, 62 yards.
Bobcats averaged 9.5 yards/pass attempt.

— Miami OH 23, Buffalo 10
Miami is 9-2, 6-1 in MAC.
Buffalo completed only 7-17 passes.
Miami outrushed the Bulls, 180-131.

— Found out this week that Showtime Anytime is shutting down December 14; this isn’t good, I watched lot of shows/movies on there, shows like Billions, Ray Donovan, The Circus. Will have to do some research and find a better alternative to Showtime. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings……..

— Kansas 89, Kentucky 84
Kentucky led 48-41 at halftime, by 14 with 16:21 left to play.
Dickinson had 27 points, 21 rebounds for Kansas.
Kentucky was 12-38 on the arc, 13-38 inside the arc.
Kentucky played only eight guys; five of them are freshmen.

— Marquette 71, Illinois 64
Marquette was +7 in turnovers (15-8)
Kolek scored 24 points, grabbed six rebounds, had 4 assists.
Illinois starts four seniors; they were 11-33 on the arc.

— Duke 74, Michigan State 65
Duke was 24-30 on foul line, Spartans 7-12.
Blue Devils led by 11 at half; they shot 59% inside the arc.

— Oregon State 81, Appalachian State 71 OT
Oregon State was 13-34 on the arc, 13-30 inside arc.
Beavers are 3-0, with two of the wins in overtime.

— Western Kentucky 86, Murray State 81
WKU shot 53.7% inside arc, 8-16 on arc, scored 1.16 ppp.
Racers led by 5 with 11:23 left to play.

— Toledo 78, Wright State 77
Wright State shot 66.7% inside arc, still got beat.
Toledo played 10 guys; five freshmen, five juniors.
Good night for Toledo; their football team also won by a point.

— Cal-Irvine 70, USC 60
Impressive win for Russell Turner’s Anteaters and the Big West.
Trojans shot 26.3% from the floor; hard to win that way.

— Upsets of the Night:
Cal-Irvine (+14) 70, USC 60
Ill-Chicago (+11.5) 72, Loyola Chi 67
Santa Clara (+9.5) 89, Stanford 77
Temple (+4.5) 66, Drexel 64

— Word of the Day: continuity- the unbroken, consistent existence or operation of something over a period of time.

— Buffalo Bills fired OC Ken Dorsey Tuesday; they’ve lost three of last four games- in their last five games, they’re minus-9 in turnovers. Josh Allen has regressed at QB since the last OC left to become a head coach (Brian Daboll).

Buffalo has trailed after the first quarter in five of their last six games.

— There are 42 bowl games coming up, starting next month; lot of games on TV. As recently as 1981, there were only 15 bowl games.

— Saw a list of the six highest pointspreads in NFL history; in those six games, the underdog went 5-1 against the spread.

— So far this season, Cleveland Browns have run 166 more plays than their opponents, an average of 18.4/game. Takes a lot of strain off their defense.

— Washington Nationals DFA’d 1B Dom Smith; he hit .254 in 153 games this past season, with only 46 RBI, not a lot for a 1B. 

— Milwaukee Brewers are going to name bench coach Pat Murphy their new manager; he’s been the Brewers’ bench coach since 2016. Before that, Murphy worked for the Padres for six years, and before that, he was baseball coach at Notre Dame, Arizona State.

— RIP to Padres’ owner Peter Seidler, who passed away this week at age 63. Seidler was the grandson of the late Walter O’Malley, who owned the Dodgers when they moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Seidler was a two-time cancer survivor who was well-liked in San Diego. 

San Diego had the 3rd-highest payroll in baseball this year, but went 82-80 and missed the playoffs; they’re expected to cut payroll next year and right now, they’re the only MLB team without a manager for next year. 

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but……..

— Texas A&M’s football team is 6-4 this year, 4-3 in SEC; in 5+ years under Jimbo Fisher, they went 45-25, 27-21 in SEC games, winning their last game 51-10 over Mississippi State. That wasn’t good enough for whoever calls the shots in College Station- over the weekend, they told Fisher to take a hike, but Fisher has to be laughing all the way to the bank. 

In the next 60 days, A&M has to pay Fisher $19.3M; in the 60 days after that, A&M owes Fisher another $7.2M. Thats million, with an M. 

From 2025-31, Texas A&M will pay Fisher another $7.2M a year- from this point on, they have to pay him a total of $77M. Whoever is writing those checks must really hate being 6-4.

— By the way, Mississippi State also fired their coach Monday; Zach Arnett had a 4-6 record in his first full year as head coach, replacing the late Mike Leach, who died suddenly last year. Arnett’s buyout is around $4M; he figures to land somewhere as a defensive coordinator in ’24.

— San Diego State football coach Brady Hoke will retire at the end of the season; Aztecs are 3-7 this season, their first losing season since 2009. San Diego State is 26-19 since Hoke returned as head coach in 2020.

Overall, he is 104-90 as a head coach.

— Penn State lost 24-15 to Michigan Saturday; the next day, they fired offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. In their losses to Ohio State/Michigan this year, Nittany Lions gained 240-238 total yards.

Broncos 24, Bills 22
Denver kicked a 36-yard FG at the gun for the win.
Denver missed a 41-yard FG on prior play; Bills had 12 guys on the field.
Broncos win despite missing two extra points.
Third straight win for the Broncos.

Bills ran ball 26 times for 192 yards (7.4 yards/carry).
Buffalo turned ball over four times, including their first two drives.
Bills are 5-0 giving up 20 or less points, 0-5 giving up more than 20.
Buffalo lost four of its last six games (0-6 ATS) SU.

— College football conference trends:
Favorites are 31-16 ATS in SEC games.
Underdogs are 24-19 ATS in Sun Belt games.
Pac-12 home underdogs are 12-4 ATS
Mountain West home underdogs are 6-10 ATS
Favorites are 25-15 ATS in MAC games.

AAC home favorites are 7-16 ATS
ACC home underdogs are 13-6 ATS
Big X home underdogs are 13-5 ATS
Big 14 home underdogs are 6-15 ATS
Conference USA favorites are 18-11 ATS

— NFL divisional trends:
NFC East teams are 9-14 ATS outside the division
NFC North home favorites are 10-2-1 ATS outside the division
NFC South home underdogs are 6-2 ATS outside the division
NFC West underdogs are 1-6 ATS outside the division

AFC East home favorites are 5-3-1 ATS
AFC North road underdogs are 3-8-1 ATS outside the division
AFC South home teams are 4-10-1 ATS outside the division
AFC West home teams are 7-4 ATS outside the division

— Word of the Day: assume- to take for granted that something is true, without proof.

— Arizona Wildcats alum, former big league manager Terry Francona was behind the Arizona bench when the Wildcats beat Duke in basketball the other day in Durham.

— Over the last four seasons, LA Chargers are 10-13 in games decided by 3 or less points, 0-4 this season.

— College football QB’s with most plays of 20+ yards this season:
76- Jayden Daniels, LSU
57- Michael Penix, Washington
55- Caleb Williams, USC

— Dallas Cowboys won/covered all four home games this year; they’ve won 12 home games in a row overall, the longest home winning streak in franchise history.

— This stat is from NFL Research:
Over the last 40 years, these teams spent the least time trailing in a game, over the first 10 games of their season:
14:46- 1984 Dolphins (started season 10-0, lost Super Bowl)
27:07- 1998 Broncos (started season 10-0, won Super Bowl)
28:46- 2023 Ravens (started season 7-3)
43:42- 1990 Giants (started season 10-0, won Super Bowl)
51:03- 2007 Patriots (started season 10-0, lost Super Bowl)

— Penn 76, Villanova 72
Quakers shot 56.7% inside arc, made only 21-34 on foul line.
Villanova was 9-33 on the arc.
Bad loss for Villanova team starting four seniors.

— Michigan 89, St John’s 73
Michigan led 48-38 at half, shot 58% inside arc, scored 1.24 ppp.
St John’s shot 37.5% inside the arc.

— Raptors 111, Wizards 107
Washington led 106-90 with 7:20 left in game.
Siakam scored 39 points; Raptors were +18 with him on court. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday……..Happy Felix Unger Day!!!!

“On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to leave his place of residence; that request came from his wife……..”

So began one of the funniest TV shows ever, The Odd Couple, which ran on TV from 1970-75, then for many, many years on re-runs.

Spent many an hour watching re-runs of Felix and Oscar when I was a teenager; my dad would come home from work and would roll his eyes at how much I enjoyed The Odd Couple and M*A*S*H re-runs, but he would laugh at those shows, too.

So happy Felix Unger Day and remember, there’s no such thing as a sure thing, that’s why they call it gambling. 

Lions 41, Chargers 38
— Lions drove 53 yards, kicked 41-yard FG to win game with 0:02 left.
— Under Campbell, Lions are 30-12-1 ATS overall.
— Lions won/covered six of its last seven games.
— Goff is 63-50-1 as an NFL starter, 19-19-1 with the Lions. 

— Chargers’ first four drives: 16 plays, 60 yards, 3 points.
— Chargers’ last five drives: 53 plays, 385 yards, 35 points.
— Detroit outgained the Chargers, 533-445.
— This year, Bolts are 0-4 in games decided by 3 or fewer points.

Cardinals 25, Falcons 23
— Falcons lost four of their last five games (underdogs 5-0 ATS)
— Falcons were 7-14 on third down, Arizona 3-12.
— since 2017, Atlanta is 5-10 ATS as a road favorite
— Last two games, Atlanta was 17-32 on third down.

— Cardinals drove 70 yards, kicked game-winning FG with 0:02 left.
— QB Murray was 19-32/249 passing in his first start in 11 months.
— Arizona is 4-1 ATS as a home underdog this year.
— Murray is now 26-32-1 as an NFL starter; Arizona was 1-13 in his absence.

Seahawks 29, Commanders 26 OT
— Washington tied game on 35-yard TD pass with 0:52 left. 
— Seattle drove 50 yards, kicked GW 43-yard FG with 0:03 left.
— Commanders are 5-0 ATS as a road underdog this year.
— Washington team total: 7-3 over; opponents’ team total: over 7-3

— Seattle is 6-0 if it scores 20+ points, 0-3 if it doesn’t.
— Seahawks’ first seven drives: 46 plays, 216 yards, 9 points.
— Seahawks’ last five drives: 33 plays, 258 yards, 20 points.
— Seattle is 17-23-3 ATS in last 43 games as a home favorite (2-2-1 TY)

Browns 33, Ravens 31
— Ravens led 31-17 with 10:00 left in game.
— Browns’ last three drives: 35 plays, 199 yards, 16 points.
— Browns’ team total: over 7-1-1.
— Browns are 4-1 SU since their bye week.

— Cleveland was 8-16 on third down, Ravens 2-8.
— Both QB’s threw a pick-6; Watson’s was on 3rd play of game.
— Baltimore is 1-6 ATS in last seven AFC North home games.
— Last seven games, Ravens outscored foes 125-28 in first half.

Texans 30, Bengals 27
— Texans kicked 38-yard FG with 0:05 left for the win.
— Rookie QB Stroud threw for 356 yards (8.9 yards/attempt)
— Houston won five of its last seven games (5-2 ATS)
— Texans are 8-4-1 ATS in last 13 games as a road underdog. 

— Houston outgained the Bengals, 544-380.
— Cincy trailed 27-17, tied game 27-27 on FG with 1:37 left.
— Loss snaps Cincinnati’s 4-game winning streak.
— Last five games, Bengals are +8 in turnovers. (13-5)

Colts 10, Patriots 6
— Colts drove 75 yards for TD on their opening drive, game’s only TD.
— Indy is 11-6 ATS last 17 games as an underdog away from home.
— Colts won/covered four of their five road games TY.  
— Colts allowed 20 or less points in wins, 29+ in losses.

— 3rd game this year New England didn’t score a TD on offense.
— Patriots lost six of their last seven games (1-6 ATS). 
— NE is 1-11 ATS in its last 12 games as an underdog.
— In his career, Belichick is 82-98 without Brady.

34, Jaguars 3
— 49ers scored 30+ points in all six of their wins.
— 49ers outgained Jacksonville, 437-221.
— 2nd-year QB Purdy is 13-4 as NFL starter.
— Under is 4-1 in their last five games.
— Jaguars’ first four drives: 16 plays, 33 yards, 3 punts, one fumble
— San Francisco led 13-3 at halftime.
— Jags’ first 3 drives in 2nd half: 19 plays, 101 yards, 3 turnovers.
— Jaguars are 0-3 when they score less than 20 points. 

Vikings 27, Saints 19
— Minnesota outgained the Saints, 388-280.
— New Orleans averaged only 4.7 yards/pass attempt.
— Last six weeks, Saints outscored foes 77-30 in second half.
— New Orleans is 4-1 scoring 20+ points, 1-4 scoring less than 20.

— Vikings led 24-3 at halftime.
— Vikings’ first six drives: 45 plays, 331 yards, 27 points.
— Minnesota has 11 takeaways in last five games (+6)
— Minnesota won/covered last five games, scoring 19-22-24-31-27 points.

Steelers 23, Packers 19
— Green Bay’s first three drives: 20 plays, 151 yards, 13 points.
— Last six games, Packers were outscored 93-29 in first half.
— Green Bay is 1-7 ATS TY in games with spread of 3 or less points.
— Green Bay has 12 giveaways in last six games (minus-7).

— Steelers have been outgained in every game, but they’re 6-3.
— Steelers won/covered four of their last five games.
— Pittsburgh is 6-0 when it scores 17+ points.
— Pitt is 31-16-1 ATS in last 48 games when spread was 3 or fewer points.

Buccaneers 20, Titans 6
— Titans lost four of their last five games.
— Tennessee is 0-5 SU/1-4 ATS in true road games.
— Titans are 0-6 scoring less than 27 points.
— Tampa Bay outgained the Titans, 340-209.

— Bucs’ first three drives: 12 plays, 39 yards, no points.
— Bucs’ next five drives: 44 plays, 304 yards, 20 points.
— Tampa’s two TD’s were on TD passes of 43-22 yards.
— Under is 7-2 in Tampa Bay’s games this season.

Cowboys 49, Giants 17
— Dallas beat the Giants twice this year, 40-0/49-17.
— Cowboys are 14-5 ATS in last 19 games as a home favorite (4-0 TY)
— Prescott was 26-35/404 passing, with 4 TD passes.
— Six Dallas wins are by a combined score of 171-50 (37-11 average).

— Giants’ first seven drives: 24 plays, 20 yards, no points.
— Giants were 0-12 on third down, Dallas 6-12.
— Giants are averaging only 259.1 yards/game this season.
— Giants are 1-7 SU/2-5-1 ATS in last eight games, scoring 10.8 ppg.

Raiders 16, Jets 12
— Jets’ first three drives: 25 plays, 103 yards, three field goals.
— Jets rest of game: 38 plays, 262 yards, one field goal.
— Jets’ 6.1 yards/pass attempt was their best this season.
— Jets are 5-10-1 ATS in last 16 games with spread of 3 or less points.

— Las Vegas won last four home games, giving up 13-17-6-12 points.
— Raiders’ team total: under 9-1; opponents’ team total: under 7-3
— Last four games, Las Vegas is 14-47 on third down.
— Under is 8-2 in Raider games this season.

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday……..

— LSU 52, Florida 35
LSU QB Daniels had a pretty good day:
17-26/372 passing, with three TD passes
12 rushes, 234 yards, two more TD’s
Total: 606 yards, five TD’s. Not bad.

— Central Florida 45, Oklahoma State 3
Iowa State 45, BYU 13

This year, UCF, BYU, Houston, Cincinnati joined the Big X. Here is how they’re doing in Big X teams against the pre-existing members of the league:

BYU: 1-5 SU/ATS, outscored by combined 168-78 
UCF: 1-5 SU/2-4 ATS, outscored by combined 206-190
Cincinnati: 0-4 SU/ATS, outscored by combined 127-58
Houston: 2-4 SU/3-3 ATS, outscored by combined 220-129.

Total: 4-18 SU/6-16 ATS, outscored by combined 721-455 (average score 40-25)

— Michigan 24, Penn State 15
Wolverines ran ball 46 times for 227 yards.
Michigan threw one pass in 2nd half; that play was nullified by a penalty.
Penn State lost its last six games vs Ohio State/Michigan; during that same time, they’re 21-3 against everyone else.

— Oregon 36, USC 27
Ducks led 22-14 at halftime.
USC lost four of its last five games, after a 6-0 start.
Trojans allowed 301 points in their last seven games (43.0 ppg).

— Missouri 36, Tennessee 7
Tigers are a very quiet 8-2 team.
Mizzou ran ball 51 times for 255 yards.
Tigers converted 11-17 third down plays.

— Washington 35, Utah 28
Utes led 28-24 at the half, didn’t score in second half.
Huskies’ QB Penix was 24-42/332 passing, with two TD’s.
Washington is 10-0, 7-0 in the last season for the Pac-12.

Genius alert— Washington was a 9.5-point favorite; they were leading 33-28 late in the third quarter when they appeared to score on a pick-6, but the DB who picked off the pass had to celebrate early- he dropped the ball on the 2-yard line, and a Utah player fell on the ball.


Washington scored on a safety on the next play; there was no scoring in the 4th quarter.

— Florida State 27, Miami 20
Florida State improves to 10-0, 8-0 in the ACC.
Game was 10-10 at halftime.
Seminoles get their third straight win in this rivalry.
Miami completed only 10-30 passes; they did have an 85-yard TD pass.

— North Carolina 47, Duke 45 OT
Tar Heels led 26-14 with 10:00 left in regulation.
UNC needed a 43-yard FG at the gun to force overtime.
Carolina was 11-19 on third down, Duke 5-15.

Upsets of the Week:
Arizona State (+17) 17, UCLA 7
Northwestern (+11) 24, Wisconsin 10
Arizona (+10.5) 34, Colorado 31
Southern Miss (+10) 34, Louisiana 31, OT
Ball State (+9.5) 20, Northern Illinois 17
East Carolina (+7.5) 22, Florida Atlantic 7
Sam Houston State (+7.5) 42, Louisiana Tech 27

Word of the Day: Chicanery— use of trickery to achieve a financial, political, or legal purpose.

— Illinois 48, Indiana 45 OT
Backup QB Paddock was 24-36/507 passing, with 4 TD’s.
Chances are he isn’t the backup anymore.
Indiana tied game on a 26-yard TD pass with 0:28 left.
Illini overcame 14 penalties for 139 yards.
Total yardage: 662-451, Illinois

— Arizona 34, Colorado 31
Wildcats outscored Colorado 10-0 in 4th quarter.
Arizona ran ball 27 times for 207 yards.
Colorado has lost six of last seven games, after a 3-0 start.

— Iowa 22, Rutgers 0
Yet another Iowa game stays under the total.
Hawkeyes are 8-2, lead Big 14 West by two games.
Total yardage was 223-93, Iowa.
Hawkeyes didn’t have a penalty the whole game.

— Texas Tech 16, Kansas 13
Tech led 13-0 after three quarters.
Kansas tied game 13-13 with 0:25 left.
Red Raiders drove 63 yards in four plays, kicked 30-yard FG at the gun.
Kansas QB Bean got hurt; 3rd-string QB Ballard played most of game.

— New Mexico State 38, Western Kentucky 29
From 2018-21, Aggies were 8-30.
In 1.5 years under coach Jerry Kill, Aggies are 15-9; they’ve won six in a row.
Hilltoppers led this game 21-17 at halftime.
Aggies ran ball for 220 yards, 6.1 yards/carry.

— James Madison 44, UConn 6— JMU is 10-0 this season, but they can’t play in a bowl, which is too bad- they’re 18-3 the last two years.

NCAA has a rule that says any school reclassifying to the I-A level cannot play in a bowl for two years; this is JMU’s second year in I-A, so unless someone in charge comes to their senses and let the Dukes go bowling, they’ll be home for the holidays.

— Memphis 44, Charlotte 38, OT
Charlotte led 38-28 with 6:00 left in the game.
Memphis forced OT on a 41-yard FG with 0:35 left in regulation.
Tigers were 7-13 on third down, Charlotte was 4-12.
Both teams turned ball over four times.

— Former Georgia QB Stetson Bennett was a 4th round pick of the LA Rams this year; he is on the non-football injury list, has been among the missing since the summer, but he showed up in Athens Saturday night for the Ole Miss-Georgia game.

— Speaking of Stetson, UNLV’s basketball team beat the Stetson Hatters 71-55; Rebels retired the #12 of Anderson Hunt, a really good guard on their 1990 national championship team. 

Saturday’s Den: Clearing out a cluttered mind…….

— Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh has been suspended for three games, as a result of the sign-stealing shenanigans involving the Wolverines. Michigan responded with a temporary restraining order request against the Big 14; by the time you read this, the lawyers will have billed a few more hours and the judge will have made a decision.

Michigan’s next three games are Penn State, Maryland, Ohio State, big games.

— Arizona 78, Duke 73
All five Arizona starters scored scored between 11-14 points.
Wildcats out-rebounded Duke, 45-33.
High-level game; these teams play in Tucson next year.

— Memphis 70, Missouri 55
Mizzou led this game 33-26 at half, got outscored 44-22 in second half.
Mizzou shot 32.1% from floor, 6-28 on arc.
Memphis out-rebounded Mizzou, 47-33.

— Missouri has a guard named Caleb Grill, who has had an interesting career:
2020— Iowa State- Cyclones were 12-20 that year.
2021— UNLV— Rebels went 12-15, the coach quit and bolted to Iowa State, where he used to be an assistant.
2022— Iowa State— back to the Cyclones with the coach- they went 22-13, made Sweet 16.
2023— Iowa State— Cyclones went 19-14, after a 13-2 start.
2024— Missouri— he’s scored 21 points in the Tigers’ first two games.

— Texas A&M 73, Ohio State 66
SEC is supposed to be loaded this year; this game is a good example of this.

— Tennessee 80, Wisconsin 70
Another good game for the SEC, a solid road win.

— Uh-oh scores— games that could signal a long year for the losers:
Chattanooga 81, Louisville 71
Nicholls State 68, LSU 66
Monmouth 73, West Virginia 65

— Word of the Day: Litigation— the process of taking legal action.

— SMU 45, North Texas 21
Mustangs led 17-14 at halftime.
8-0 Mustangs ran ball 58 times for 318 yards, threw for 234 more.

— Princeton 74, Hofstra 67— Good start for Tigers, beating Rutgers/Hofstra this week, as they look to build on their Sweet 16 appearance last year.

— Oregon State 81, Troy 80, 2OT
Trojans had 23 turnovers, OSU had 21.
Beavers were 26-39 on foul line, Troy was 22-29.

— Surprising Item of the Day: Baseball announcer Jason Benetti, who grew up in Chicago as a big White Sox fan, is jumping from the White Sox to the Detroit Tigers. Very surprising, and disappointing for White Sox fans, because Benetti/Steve Stone were a great team.

There are rumors that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf isn’t a fan of Benetti’s, which fueled his departure, but Benetti is an awesome announcer. Born with cerebral palsy, he graduated from Syracuse, then he got a law degree from Wake Forest while broadcasting minor-league ball.

He also works on a national stage for football/basketball, hard to believe someone wouldn’t want him to be their announcer. Friday was a good day for Detroit Tiger fans.

— QB Kyler Murray is starting for the Cardinals, his first action since tearing up his knee last year. Arizona went 1-13 in the fourteen games since Murray got hurt.

— Oakland A’s claimed 3B/OF Miguel Andujar off waivers from Pittsburgh, a good move. Andujar had a .776 OPS in 30 games with the Pirates last year.

— If you like to bet NBA first half props, the Lakers are now 0-9 ATS in the first half of their games this season.

— 76era G Tyrese Maxey is the only NBA player this season who has two games with 10+ assists and no turnovers.

— Random trivia; on the great old TV show M*A*S*H, the actors wore dog tags, because their characters were in the Army. Some of the characters wore their own dog tags, from when they were in the service, but the star of the show, Alan Alda, wore two dog tags from real soldiers who served in wars.

Years later, those dog tags and the boots Alda wore on the show sold at an auction for $125,000, with the proceeds going to charity. 

Friday’s Den: Random stuff with the weekend here……..

Bears 16, Panthers 13
Former Bear Ihmir Smith-Marsette ran a punt back 79 yards for a TD.
Carolina led 10-9 at halftime- they didn’t score a TD on offense.
Carolina in 2nd half: 35 plays, 91 yards, 3 points.
Panthers ran ball 16 times for only 43 yards.

Chicago’s only TD drive was 38 yards; they took lead for good in third quarter.
Total yardage was 295-213, Chicago
Bears were 6-15 on third down, Carolina 3-15.
Four of last five Chicago games stayed under the total.

— Bears, by the way, have Carolina’s first round pick next spring, plus their own, so there is a decent chance they could get the first two picks in the 2024 Draft. Would they move on from Justin Fields and draft Caleb Williams, or trade one/both of the picks for a boatload of picks/players, to rebuild their roster around Fields?

— James Madison 113, Kent State 108, 2 OT’s
JMU scored five points in last 0:02 of regulation to force overtime.
Dukes made 17-35 on the arc, Kent State 11-28
Golden Flashes were 35-48 on foul line, JMU 24-36. 

James Madison upset Michigan State in their opener; great start for the Dukes.

— Cal-Davis 79, Pepperdine 78
Ty Johnson scored 28 points, scoring the game-winning hoop with 0:00.8 left.
Pepperdine led this game 50-31 early in second half.

If you like college basketball, you need to get ESPN+; there are a ton of games on there, from all over the country. This was a fun game to watch, fast-paced action.

— While we’re on college hoop, it is really, really tough to wager on early season games; lot of teams have totally rebuilt their rosters. Their coaches don’t even know what they have; how are we supposed to know?

Plus, NCAA is still deciding on whether some transfers are eligible; Cal Bears just got one of their players declared eligible this week, which is a big help to them. 

Was watching Western Kentucky-Wichita State game; two new head coaches, the game was like a rock fight, everyone getting used to each other. Very difficult game to handicap.

— Dayton Flyers lost a good player, Malachi Smith, for the season with a knee injury; Gonzaga also lost a good player for the season- Steele Venters, with a knee injury.

— Word of the Day: Pinnacle— the most successful point, the high point. 

Pinnacle is not to be confused with Pinochle, a card game for two or more players using a 48-card deck consisting of two of each card from nine to ace, the object being to score points for various combinations and to win tricks.

— Bryce Harper is going to be the Phillies 1B going forward, which means Rhys Hoskins will be playing elsewhere next season. Hoskins missed 2023 with an injury but he’ll be starting for someone in 2024- he hit 57 homers in 2021-22.

— From 1985-2015, Kentucky’s football team went to only eight bowl games; this year, Mark Stoops’ Wildcats are headed to their 8th straight bowl, which is impressive. 

Granted, there are more bowls now than there were in the 80’s, but winning consistently in a league as tough as the SEC is nothing to sneeze at.

— Texas Longhorns’ QB Quinn Ewers will return from injury this week and start against TCU.

— San Diego Padres are going to have assistant farm director Mike Daly manage their AAA farm team next year. Daly has never coached at the professional level; this is unusual.

San Diego still hasn’t chosen a replacement for manager Bob Melvin at the major league level.

— Relief pitcher Will Smith pitched for the Rangers, Astros, Braves the last three years; he is the first player in pro sports history (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) to play in at least one game for three different franchises in consecutive seasons who all won a championship.

— Atlanta 120, Orlando 119
Dejounte Murray hit the game-winning 3-pointer for Atlanta.
Trae Young scored 41 points for the Hawks.
Game was played in Mexico City.

— Indiana 126, Milwaukee 124— Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 50 points, had 12 rebounds, but Milwaukee was minus-8 in the 12:00 he was on the bench.
Indiana shot 20-48 on the arc, as they improve to 6-3.

— Louisville 31, Virginia 24
Louisville had TD plays of 52, 73 yards in last 6:20 of game.
Virginia had taken a 21-14 lead by virtue of two defensive TD’s.
Louisville is 9-1; 2-8 Virginia had 13 penalties for 100 yards.

— Southern Miss 34, Louisiana 31 OT
Southern Miss drove 75 yards, tied game on a TD with 1:26 left.
USM was 9-18 on third down, Louisiana was 4-15.
Golden Eagles were an 8.5-point underdog; they ran ball for 229 yards. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud……..

— Week 14, 1967 was a long time ago, but it pointed the NFL towards Wild Card teams making the playoffs.

Back then, before the NFL-AFL merger, the NFL had four divisions. Coastal Division had the Rams, 49ers, Baltimore Colts and the Falcons.

Going into Week 14, the last week of the season, Colts were 11-0-2, the Rams 10-1-2 (there was no overtime back then). The teams tied 24-24 in Week 5, so if the Rams could beat Baltimore, they would win the division, and since there were no Wild Card teams back then, Colts would miss the playoffs- the Rams would’ve been 1-0-1 head-to-head against them.

Game was played on December 17; my parents had to go out to a Christmas party, and they dragged their two kids along with them. Luckily for 7-year old me, the place had a bar, and for some reason, they let me sit at the bar and watch the game.

All the adults at the bar were rooting for Johnny Unitas and the Colts; 7-year old me was rooting for the team with the cool helmets.

Rams won 34-10; Jack Snow caught an 80-yard TD pass, and the Rams made the playoffs, while the Colts, who were unbeaten going into the last game of the season, did not. Three years later, in 1970, they started with Wild Card teams, so that would never happen again. 

— Cincinnati Bengals’ first drive in their last four games:

Week 6- 11 plays, 64 yards, TD
Week 7- 13 plays, 69 yards, TD
Week 8- 10 plays, 85 yards, TD
Week 9- 9 plays, 76 yards, TD

In other words, Joe Burrow is healthy again.

— Teams are 1-6 SU/0-7 ATS the week after playing the Cowboys.

— Tommy DeVito will start at QB for the Giants Sunday, the 10th rookie QB to start a game this season, setting an NFL record. 

Sunday, Giants/Vikings are both starting a different QB for the third week in a row, first time that has happened in the NFL since 2015.

— Last 11 times they were an underdog, New England is 1-10 against the spread.

— Texas Rangers’ SS Marcus Semien batted 835 times this year (regular season and playoffs), the most times a player has ever batted in one season.

— Los Angeles Angels named Ron Washington their new manager; Washington used to be the Texas Rangers’ manager- he went 664-611 in eight seasons with Texas, winning an AL pennant in both 2010, 2011.

— Word of the Day: Charlatan— a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill; a fraud.

— Presbyterian 68, Vanderbilt 62
Horrendous loss for SEC’s Vandy; they led by 10 late in first half.
Presbyterian was 5-27 last year, losing their last 18 games.
Vandy starts three seniors; they were 8-33 on the arc.

— Ball State 20, Northern Illinois 17
Cardinals scored 10 points in last 3:44 for the upset win.
Ball State kicked a 36-yard FG at the gun.
Cardinals were 10-18 on third down, NIU was 3-10

— Western Michigan 38, Central Michigan 28
WMU outscored the Chippewas 17-0 in 4th quarter.
Four of Broncos’ five TD’s were on plays of 22+ yards.
WMU averaged 9.3 yards/pass attempt.

— Ohio U 20, Buffalo 10
Buffalo led 3-0 at halftime.
Bobcats are 6-0 when they score 17+ points.
under Albin, Bobcats are 5-2 ATS as a road favorite.

— Miami OH 19, Akron 0
Miami outrushed the Zips, 186-36.
Red Hawks improve to 8-2 this season.
Akron is 0-7 when they score less than 24 points.

— Bowling Green 49, Kent State 19
6-4 Falcons won their fourth game in a row.
First time since 2017 that BG covered as a road favorite.
Kent State is 0-9 this year against I-A teams.

— Toledo 49, Eastern Michigan 23
9-1 Rockets led 35-3 at halftime.
Only 7 of Toledo’s 60 plays came on third down.
Toledo averaged 15.1 yards/pass attempt.

— Denver Nuggets’ star Jamal Murray (hamstring) is out 3-4 weeks.

— Auburn-Baylor basketball game Tuesday night was high level, the kind of game you see in the Final Four. Two very good teams, who both got better by not playing a stiff to start their season. 

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but……..

Chargers 27, Jets 6:
Chargers ran a punt back 87 yards for a TD, 1:25 into the game.
Chargers’ second offensive TD came on a 2-yard drive, after a turnover.
Under is 5-0-1 in last six Charger games.
Bolts are 6-3-3 ATS in last 11 games coming off a win.

Jets converted only 3-17 third down plays.
Jets are 5-10-1 ATS in last 16 games with spread of 3 or less points.
Jets still haven’t averaged more than 5.8 yards/pass attempt in any game.
Jets scored 22-31-20-13 points in wins, 10-10-20-6 in losses.

Jets have now won three of last four games, which is good, but in those four games:
they scored only 3 touchdowns on 48 drives.
they went 3/out 15 times on those 48 drives- their offense is dismal.

College basketball started Monday night……..
— James Madison (+16) 79, Michigan State 76 OT
Dukes were a freakin’ 16-point underdog; a great win for them.
MSU shot 1-20 on the arc, 23-37 on foul line, and lost by 3.
JMU jumped out to a 25-12 lead, but trailed by 6 with 8:35 left in the game.

— Princeton (+5.5) 68, Rutgers 61— Not often an Ivy League team beats a Big 14 team.

— Wake Forest 101, Elon 78
Elon led 36-15 early on.
Deacons shot 74.4% inside the arc.

— Abilene Christian (+10.5) 64, Oklahoma State 59
Visiting Wildcats shot 54% inside the arc, led by 18 with 13:25 left in game.

— Bradley 73, UAB 71, OT
Visiting Braves led by 20 in first half.
UAB stormed back, led by 11 with 6:42 left in game.
Blazers were 3-19 on arc, 18-29 on foul line.

— Belmont 89, Georgia State 87— This was a really good game between two good mid-majors, kind of a like a play-in game to the tournament in March.
Belmont was 17-22 on foul line, Georgia State 8-14.

— Bad Beat of the Night; Tex-San Antonio 78, Western Illinois 68, OT— Very tough beat if you had the Leathernecks, +5.5.

— Word of the Day: Shill— someone who gets paid to talk about or describe someone or something in a favorable way.

— Managerial changes in baseball:
Cubs hired Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell, gave him $8M a year.
Mets hired Bronx bench coach Carlos Mendoza as their new manager.
Cleveland Guardians hired Stephen Vogt as their new manager.

Vogt played 10 years in the big leagues; he played 70 games in the majors as recently as 2022. He was a bullpen coach in Seattle last year.

Mendoza managed in the minor leagues for two years, has been a big league coach since 2018.

Counsell had a 9-year regular season record of 707-625 with Milwaukee; he was 7-12 in the five years he led Milwaukee in the playoffs.

— Nine weeks into the season, the entire AFC North is over .500.

— So far this season, under has been a profitable play in the NFL:
since Week 3, under is 67-35-1
since Week 5, under is 47-23-1
prime-time games, under is 21-7

overall for the whole season, under is 82-52-1

— Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson is leading the NFL in completion %age; last year, he finished 25th in that category. New offensive coordinator Todd Monken has worked wonders with the Ravens’ offense so far this season.

— Over their last four games, Buffalo Bills have a minus-6 turnover ratio; hard to win that way.

— ESPN”s Doc Rivers said this last week about the Dallas Mavericks, who have two stars on their team, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving:

“They have to want to play together” which sounds simple, but it doesn’t happen all the time.

— Kudos to Arizona Wildcats football coach Jedd Fisch, who has his Wildcats at 6-3 and eligible to go bowling in December. From 2018-22, Arizona was 15-38, so this is a huge leap forward for the Wildcats.

— I’d like to thank the support staff at YouTubeTV; had a problem with the set-up on my TV last Friday, wound up on the phone for a half-hour with a support person in the Phillipines and he fixed the problem for me. Appreciate your help. 

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

Texans 39, Buccaneers 37
— Texans drove 75 yards in 0:40, scored game-winning TD with 0:06 left.
— Rookie QB Stroud was 30-42/470 passing, with 5 TD passes.
— Houston in 2nd half: 32 plays, 365 yards, 31 points.
— Texans are 2-10 ATS last 12 games as a home favorite.

— Bucs scored a TD with 0:46 left to take a 37-33 lead.
— Texans outgained Tampa Bay, 496-332.
— Bucs lost four in row, five of last six games (3-3 ATS).
— Texans took a knee after game-winning TD, rather than kick PAT that would’ve covered the 2.5-point spread.

Vikings 31, Falcons 28
— Vikings drove 75 yards in 1:46, scored game-winning TD with 0:22 left.
— QB Dobbs, acquired on Tuesday, was 20-30/158 passing off the bench.
— Vikings converted 7-16 on third down, Falcons 10-18.
— Minnesota won/covered last four games, scoring 19-22-24-31 points. 
— Atlanta turned ball over on consecutive plays late in third quarter.
— Falcons drove 84 yards, scored TD to go ahead 28-24 with 2:08 left.
— Heinicke was 21-38/268 passing, in his first ’23 start.
— Falcons are 3-11-1 ATS last 15 games as a home favorite.

Chiefs 21, Dolphins 14
— Kansas City led 21-0 at half, scoring defensive TD 0:33 before the half.
— KC has outscored opponents 165-59 in first half.
— Chiefs are 10-5 ATS in last 15 games coming off a loss.
— Opponents’ team total: under 7-2.

— Dolphins in first half: 25 plays, 110 yards, no points.
— Under McDaniel, Miami is 4-6 ATS as an underdog.
— Favorites are 8-0 ATS in Miami’s games this season.
— Miami scored 31+ points in five of six wins; 20-17-14 in losses.

Ravens 37, Seahawks 3
— Ravens ran 75 plays for 515 yards, Seattle 47 plays for 151 yards.
— Baltimore ran ball 41 times for 298 yards.
— Last six games, Ravens outscored opponents 108-19 in first half.
— Baltimore won five of last six games (4-2 ATS)

— Seattle’s first five drives: 20 plays, 50 yards, 4 punts and an INT.
— Seattle was outscored 60-6 in second half of their losses, 20-0 in this game.
— Seahawks are 10-16-1 ATS in last 27 games after a win.
— Seahawks scored 37-37-24-20-24 points in wins, 13-13-3 in losses.

Browns 27, Cardinals 0
— Arizona is 0-6 SU/1-5 ATS last six games, losing by 19-14-17-10-7-27 points.
— Cardinals ran 48 plays for 58 yards, Browns ran 71 plays for 326 yards.
— Cardinals have been outscored 135-47 in 2nd half of games.
— Three NFC West teams Sunday: no TD’s, 2 FG’s/33 drives, outscored 84-6.

— Browns’ three TD’s were on drives of 49-11-56 yards.
— Opponents have converted only 27-104 third down plays (1-12 here).
— Cleveland won/covered four of its five home games.
— Cleveland is 8-2-1 ATS in last 11 games coming off a loss.

Packers 20, Rams 3
— Rams lost four of their last five games.
— QB Stafford didn’t play: Rypien was 13-28/130 passing, no bueno.
— Last three games, Cooper Kupp caught 8 passes for 98 yards…….total.
— Rams are 8-18 since they won Super Bowl two years ago.

— Green Bay outgained the Rams, 391-187.
— Packers ran ball for 184 yards (4.8 yards/carry).
— Green Bay has outscored opponents 41-17 on 1st drive of a half.
— Team total: under 6-2. Opponents’ team total: under 5-3

Commanders 20, Patriots 17
— New England led 14-10 at halftime.
— Washington’s first two drives of 2nd half: 15 plays, 140 yards, 10 points.
— Commanders outgained New England, 432-327.
— 2nd-year QB Howell is 5-5 as an NFL starter.

— Patriots lost five of their last six games (1-5 ATS). 
— In those games, Patriots were outgained by 102.2 yards/game.
— Since Brady left, NE is 27-32 SU in regular season, 0-1 in playoffs.
— In his career, Belichick is now 82-97 SU without Brady.

Saints 24, Bears 17
— Saints’ TD drives were 45-75-47 yards.
— Last five weeks, Saints outscored foes 61-27 in second half.
— Under is 7-2 in Saints’ games this season.
— New Orleans is 4-1 scoring 20+ points, 1-3 scoring less than 20.

— Chicago turned ball over five times on 11 drives (minus-5).
— Bears are +5 in turnovers in wins, minus-12 in losses.
— In Bagent’s three starts, Bears are 20-39 on third down.
— Chicago is 6-14-1 ATS in last 21 games as road underdogs (1-3 TY).

Colts 27, Panthers 13
— Kenny Moore had two pick-6’s for the 4-5 Colts.
— Indianapolis led 20-3 at halftime.
— Colts’ offense in 1st half: 38 plays, 184 yards, 13 points.
— Colts in second half: 18 plays, 50 yards, no points.

— Panthers averaged only 3.2 yards/pass attempt.
— Panthers outgained the Colts, 275-198.
— In Young’s seven starts. Carolina averaged 5+ yards/pass attempt once.
— Carolina is 1-6-1 against spread this season.

Raiders 30, Giants 6
— QB Jones hurt his knee; they fear he tore his ACL.
— Giants in first half: 29 plays, 104 yards, 2 INT’s, no points.
— Giants lost six of last seven games, scoring 10 ppg.
— Giants’ team total: under 7-2.

— Raiders in first half: 31 plays, 231 yards, 24 points.
— Rookie QB O’Connell was 16-25/209 passing, in his 2nd start.
— Under is 7-2 in Raider games this season.
— Raiders won three of their four home games TY.

Eagles 28, Cowboys 23
— Dallas led 17-14 at halftime.
— Eagles’ first two drives in 2nd half: 17 plays, 147 yards, 14 points.
— Under Sirianni, Philly is 11-4-1 ATS as a home favorite.
— Eagles won eight of their first nine games (5-2-2 ATS)

— Prescott was 29-44/374 passing, with three TD’s.
— Dallas outgained the Eagles, 406-292.
— Cowboys are 1-4 SU/ATS in last five visits to Philly.
— Cowboys are +9 in turnovers in wins, minus-5 in losses.

Bengals 24, Bills 18
— Buffalo is 2-3 SU in its last five games (0-5 ATS). 
— Bills drove 85 yards for a TD on its first drive.
— next six drives: 37 plays, 160 yards, 2 turnovers, 3 points.
— Bills allowed 10-3-20-9-18 points in wins, 22-25-29-24 in losses.  

— Cincy’s first two drives: 20 plays, 145 yards, 14 points.
— Bengals won/covered last four games, giving up 20-13-17-18 points.
— Last two games, Cincy averaged 7.6/7.6 yards/pass attempt.
— Last four games, Bengals are +7 in turnovers. 

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a college football Saturday…….

In football, field position matters; could someone please explain to the over-educated geniuses who advocate going for it on 4th down all the time?

If you go for it on 4th down at midfield and fail, that’s pretty much a turnover, and turnovers are killers in football- they give the opponent’s offense a short field to work with.

Kicking field goals is OK; three points are better than none. Seven points are better than three, obviously, but I’m thinking that getting no points is more of a negative than seven points is a positive.

— Oklahoma State 27, Oklahoma 24
Cowboys win the last meeting in the Bedlam series.
Teams had been playing for 114 years, three years before Oklahoma was a state.
Sooners gained 492 yards, but turned ball over three times (minus-2).

Why can’t these teams keep playing? In this era where $$$ matters so much, you’d think a guaranteed sellout every year would be appealing. Go figure.

— Clemson 31, Notre Dame 23
Tigers led 24-9 at halftime.
Notre Dame completed only 13-30 passes; they turned ball over three times.
Clemson went the whole game without getting called for a penalty.

— Texas 33, Kansas State 30 OT
Texas led 27-7 with 2:00 left in third quarter.
Teams combined to convert 4-28 third down plays.
K-State went for it on 4th-and-goal from the 3-yard line in OT; they failed.

Pet Peeve of the Week: Recruiting is important in college sports; if you’re in a great game like this one, just kick the FG in OT and keep playing. TV exposure helps recruiting.

— Ole Miss 38, Texas A&M 35
Rebels drove 75 yards, scored game-winning TD with 1:42 left.
A&M trailed 14-0, scored first TD on 75-yard return of a blocked FG.
Aggies have lost nine road games in a row.
Rebels have trailed in second half in four of their eight wins.

— Arkansas 39, Florida 36, OT
Razorbacks end their six-game losing streak.
Arkansas gained 481 yards; they fired their OC last week, after a 7-3 loss.
Florida missed an extra point and a 44-yard FG.

— Alabama 42, LSU 28
LSU led 28-21 with 8:00 left in third quarter.
Alabama was 11-14 on third down, LSU 4-9
Alabama ran ball 46 times for 288 yards.

— Washington 52, USC 42
Huskies led 35-28 at halftime.
Washington ran ball 42 times for 316 yards.
USC lost three of its last four games, after a 6-0 start.

— Oregon State 26, Colorado 19
Colorado lost five of last six games, after a 3-0 start.
Beavers outgained Colorado, 418-238.
7-2 Oregon State ran ball 46 times for 195 yards.

— Upsets of the Week:
Army (+18.5) 23, Air Force 3
Stanford (+13) 10, Washington State 7
Indiana (+9.5) 20, Wisconsin 14
Temple (+6.5) 32, Navy 18
Arkansas State (+6.5) 37, Louisiana 17
Oklahoma State (+6) 27, Oklahoma 24
Arkansas (+6) 39, Florida 36, OT
Central Michigan (+5.5) 37, Northern Illinois 31

— Word of the Day: Irascible— describing someone who is easily angered.

— Temple 32, Navy 18
EJ Warner was 27-33/402 passing, with four TD’s.
Owls were 6-9 on third down; they survived four turnovers (minus-4).

— Illinois 27, Minnesota 26
Illini backup QB threw a 46-yard TD pass with 0:50 left for the win.
Illinois was 9-17 on third down, Gophers 3-12.
Illini WR Williams caught 13 passes for 131 yards, two TD’s. 

— UAB 45, Florida Atlantic 42
Blazers tied game on a 70-yard TD pass with 4:20 left.
Blazers won game on a 26-yard FG with 0:03 left.
UAB led 35-14 with 12:00 left in third quarter.
UAB QB Zeno was 29-35/484, with five TD passes.

— Charlotte 33, Tulsa 26 OT
Tulsa led 17-0 with 5:00 left in first half.
Both teams scored in last minute of regulation.
Tulsa ran ball for 273 yards, was 12-22 on third down.

— Memphis 59, South Florida 50
Both teams need to recruit defensive players.
Total yardage was 583-580, USF.
Memphis is the quietest 7-2 team in the country.

— Army 23, Air Force 3
Air Force was unbeaten (8-0) coming into this game.
Falcons turned ball over six times, losing four fumbles.
This matchup stayed under the total for the 10th year in a row.

— Ohio State 35, Rutgers 16
Rutgers led 9-7 at halftime; then Ohio State got a 93-yard pick-6.
Rutgers had ball in red zone four times: 3 FG’s and the pick-6. No bueno.
Rutgers outgained OSU 361-328, but didn’t cover as an 18-point underdog.

— Iowa 10, Northwestern 7
This game, with lowest total ever, was 0-0 at halftime.
Since 2019, under is 37-19-1 in Iowa games.
Hawkeyes kicked a 52-yard FG with 0:14 left for the win. 

Saturday’s Den: Shooting the breeze about a bunch of stuff……

— Brook Lopez plays for the Milwaukee Bucks; he is 35 years old, has been in the NBA for 16 years now. What makes him interesting is how he re-invented his skill set in the middle of his career.

In the first eight years of his career, the 7-foot tall Lopez stayed close to the basket- he was a combined 3 for 31 on 3-pointers.

I’ll repeat that: in years 1-8 of his career, he was 3-31 on the arc.

Then he decided to re-invent himself; since then, Lopez is 791-2,264 on the arc. This is truly remarkable, how an 8-year NBA veteran totally changed his game so he could stay in the NBA.

For his career, Lopez is averaging 16.3 ppg. Shooting is marketable; he is a 79.6% career shooter on the foul line, 34.6% on the arc, 53% inside the arc.

Lopez will earn $25M this year, $23M next year, which will put him over $221M in career earnings. He’s worked very hard to sharpen and increase his skill set. Good for him.

— Here’s a stat for you: NHL teams that have played consecutive nights on road:
6-5 the first night
3-8 the second night

— and another interesting stat: NBA road teams who played the night before are 2-8 ATS:
2-3 if they played on the road the previous night
0-5 if they played at home the previous night

— best NFL teams in the red zone:
5.50 points/drive- Ravens (34 drives)
5.46- Chargers (24 drives)
5.43- Rams (only 21 drives)
5.34- Bills (32 drives)
5.23- Bears (only 22 drives)

— worst NFL teams in the red zone:
2.81- Giants (gave up a TD on defense and a blocked FG TD)
3.78- Vikings (23 drives)
3.95- Jets (only 19 drives)
4.09- Titans (23 drives)
4.15- Jaguars (only 20 drives)

— most TD plays of 20+ yards:
13- Dolphins
10- Lions
8- Vikings, Jaguars
7- Colts
6- Eagles, Bears
5- Commanders

— fewest TD plays of 20+ yards:
0- Ravens, Falcons
1- Panthers, Bengals, Raiders, Giants, Seahawks
2- Browns, Packers, Patriots

— Word of the Day: gimmick— a trick or device intended to attract attention, business and/or publicity.

The NBA’s in-season tournament is most definitely a gimmick.

— Place I usually go to for lunch was closed Friday; they had fire in the kitchen or something like that, so I went somewhere else, a place I used to go to a lot 20 years ago, when I lived near there.

Walk in, and the waitress is arguing with a guy who was eating chicken wings with peanut butter on them. Turns out the guy also works there, but it was funny listening to them argue. She was actually yelling at him; it did look a little gross, but he said he liked it.

There was Harry Chapin music playing when I walked in, a pleasant surprise.

I passed on the chicken wings/peanut butter combo- not my thing.

— Sounds like Deshaun Watson will start at QB for Cleveland Sunday, while rookie Clayton Tune gets his first NFL start for the Cardinals. 

Can’t remember an NFL season with this many unsettled QB situations; teams are playing young QB’s before they’re ready; several other QB’s have gotten hurt. Very difficult year for picking games; they’re all tough, but this season teams seem to be a lot more fragile than usual.

— Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw had shoulder surgery this week, hopes to pitch at some point in 2024, but he is a free agent. Will teams wait until next summer to pursue him? Kershaw is 35 years old; he signed one-year contracts the last two years.

— College basketball starts Monday; how will Purdue bounce back from being only the second #1-seed to lose a first round NCAA Tournament game?

In 2018, Virginia was 31-2, a #1-seed when they got upset 74-54 by UMBC in the first round; not only were they the first #1 seed to lose, they lost by 20. It was stunning, but the Cavaliers came back the next season and won the national title, also as a #1-seed.

Purdue big man Zach Edey is surprisingly still in college, so the Boilermakers should be really good again this year. Maybe this time, his teammates will give him the ball in March.

— From 2018-22, Sean Lewis was the football coach at Kent State; he inherited a 2-10 team, went 2-10 his first season, but then the next four years, he went 22-21— he did a really good job there, making the Golden Flashes competitive.

This season, Lewis resigned at Kent State to become the offensive coordinator at Colorado, an odd decision, but he probably makes a lot more $$$ now. 

Colorado was 1-11 last year, averaging 15.4 points/game; they made a splash in the off-season and hired Deion Sanders as head coach— he had been at I-AA Jackson State. Sanders hired Lewis as his OC, to mentor the Buffs’ quarterback, Sanders’ son Shedeur.

This season, Colorado is 4-4, scoring 32.1 ppg. They’ve lost four of their last five games, but Rome wasn’t built in a day; they’re vastly improved over last year.

Then word comes out this week that Colorado basically demoted Lewis, promoting former NFL head coach Pat Shurmur to co-offensive coordinator— he will work with the offensive line, and presumably, Colorado will run the ball more now. 

The previous OL coach came to Colorado from Kent State with Lewis. It’ll be interesting to see next month, when the regular season ends, if coach Lewis goes back to being a head coach, since his work at Colorado doesn’t seem to be appreciated very much. 

Friday’s Den: Random stuff with the weekend here………

Steelers 20, Titans 16
Titans in first half: 37 plays, 220 yards, 13 points.
Titans in second half: 34 plays, 152 yards, 3 points.
Tennessee is 0-4 SU in true road games, losing by 1-24-7-4 points (1-3 ATS)
Titans scored 27-27-28 points in wins; they scored 15-3-16-16-16 in losses. 

Steelers drove 92 yards, scored game-winning TD with 4:02 left.
Pitt is 30-16-1 ATS in last 47 games when spread was 3 or fewer points.
Seven of eight Steeler games stayed under the total.
Last seven games, Steelers have a +9 turnover margin.

Under is 20-7 in NFL primetime games this season.

On bright side for Tennessee, rookie QB Levis looks like a keeper. 

Texas Tech 35, TCU 28
Red Raiders led 20-7 at halftime.
TCU QB Hoover threw for 352 yards, but also two INTs.
Tech RB Brooks ran 31 times for 146 yards and a TD.
Both teams are 4-5 now.

Duke 24, Wake Forest 21
Duke kicked a 26-yard FG at the gun to win the game.
Deacons outgained Duke, 400-267.
Both teams turned ball over twice.
Duke is 6-3; they’re bowl eligible now.

Troy 28, South Alabama 10
Troy WR Lewis caught four passes for 120 yards, 3 TD’s.
South Alabama was 0-10 on third down conversions.
Trojans are 7-2 this season.

Spurs 132, Suns 121
San Antonio led 75-55 at halftime.
Rookie Wembanyama scored 38 points, was +21 for the Spurs.
San Antonio swept both games in their visit to Phoenix.

Canucks 10, Sharks 1
San Jose is 0-9-1; they’ve been outscored 45-10.

— Movie of the Day: Major League (1989)— The new owner of a major league team puts together a purposely horrible team so they’ll lose and she can move the team and make more money. But when the plot is uncovered, they start winning just to spite her.

Tom Berenger is the team’s catcher, Charlie Sheen a reliever, Corbin Bernsen the 3B and best of all, Bob Uecker is the radio announcer.

— Max Scherzer gets a World Series ring this year; he also got:
$15M from Washington
$36.6M from the Mets
$6.7M from the Rangers

$58.3M and a World Series ring; pretty good year.

— Padres’ DH Nelson Cruz retired this week, he finishes with 464 home runs, 2,053 hits. He was MVP of the ALCS in 2011, the last time Texas made the World Series before this year.

— Over is 7-0 in LSU’s football games this fall.

— When was the last time Clemson/USC were home underdogs on the same day?

— Oklahoma plays Oklahoma State this week; with the Sooners bolting to the SEC, is this the last time these inter-state rivals will meet?

They’ve been playing since 1904, 117 times in all. Too bad $$$ intruded and ended one of the better rivalries in college football.

— Memphis Grizzlies are 0-5 this season; last time they were 0-5 was 2002.

— Lakers 130, Clippers 125 OT
Great game Wednesday night, kind of like a playoff game.
Lebron James scored 35 points, had 12 rebounds, 7 assists in 42:00.
Anthony Davis played 48:00, Kawhi Leonard 41:00; it was like real basketball. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…….

— Rangers 5, Diamondbacks 0
Texas won despite not having a hit in the first six innings.
Eovaldi tossed six shutout innings for the Rangers.
Semien hit a two-run homer; Seager was Series MVP. .
Rangers get their first-ever World Series title.

— Fourth World Series ring as a manager for Bruce Bochy, who needs to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, like tomorrow. He has a career record of 20-10 in one-run games in the playoffs.

— Bowling Green 24, Ball State 21
Falcons kicked a 22-yard FG with 3:14 left for the win.
Bowling Green led 14-7 at halftime.
Ball State was 8-13 on 3rd down, Falcons were 4-13.
Bowling Green was +2 in turnovers.

— Akron 31, Kent State 27
1-8 Kent State led 26-10 after three quarters.
Zips drove 57 yards, scored 5-yard TD with 0:26 left for the win.
Kent State averaged 10 yards/pass attempt.
Akron QB Undercuffer was 23-39/298 passing, with 2 TD’s.

— Raiders are starting rookie QB Aiden O’Connell against the Giants Sunday, his 2nd NFL start. So, in the last 72 hours, Raiders have……….

Fired their coach
Fired their GM
Fired their offensive coordinator.
Benched their quarterback.

Somehow, they’re favored against the Giants this week.

— Since 2003, 35 NFL head coaches have been fired during the season; teams that fired the coach are 16-19 SU/19-16 ATS in their first game with the interim coach, but I’m guessing most of them were underdogs.

— Word of the Day: Integrity— being honest and having strong principles.

— Falcons have benched QB Desmond Ridder; Taylor Heinicke will start at home this week against the Vikings. Heinicke has a 12-12-1 record as an NFL starter.

— college football teams who have gone over the total the most this year:
8-0— LSU
8-1— USC, Vanderbilt
7-1— New Mexico
6-1-1— Boston College
7-2— UMass

— college football teams with best records ATS:
7-1— Arizona, UNLV
6-1-1— Oregon, Rutgers
4-2— Miami, OH

— Odds on the Clippers to win the NBA title dropped from 22-1 to 14-1 after they acquired James Harden this week.

— West Virginia’s new point guard, Kerr Kriisa, is suspended for the first nine games this season, after he admitted to accepting impermissible benefits at Arizona. Kriisa scored 9.9 ppg and dished out 5.1 assists/game for the Wildcats last year.

— I’m looking forward to voting next week, but not because of elections or politics or any of that nonsense; we have a new polling place this year, the grade school I graduated from 50 years ago, and it’ll fun to be in the old building again.

Plus, lot of times they have bake sales at polling places; bake sales are a good thing.

— From the “time flies” department: College basketball season starts Monday night, so things will get very busy at Armadillo World HQ. November is a fun time of year.