Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here….

13) Texans 20, Colts 17— Houston takes over first place in AFC South; they outgained the Colts by 100 yards (396-296). Indy threw ball for only 121 yards, even though Houston’s secondary is banged-up. Colts converted 9-15 3rd down plays, but fall to 6-5. 

12) Disappointing but hardly surprising that major league baseball may want to implement a plan to shrink minor league baseball, by as many as 100 teams. 

MLB enjoys an exemption from federal antitrust law that has lasted since the Supreme Court’s decision in the 1922 case Federal Baseball Club v. National League; that exemption could be used as leverage by Congress against shrinking the minor leagues. 

Minor league baseball is affordable fun in lot of smaller towns around the country, and also provides a decent amount of jobs; would be sad if the greed of major league owners eliminated those jobs, and eliminated fun for lot of people in smaller towns. 

11) Speaking of the minor leagues, the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes will be giving away a Cody Bellinger/Mike Trout “double MVP bobblehead” at a 2020 home game this summer; the Quakes are only team both Bellinger/Trout have played for. 

10) Chicago White Sox signed C Yasmani Grandal to a 4-year, $73M contract. 

9) Rough night for the Pac-12:
— Omaha 85, Washington State 77
— Coastal Carolina 79, Utah 57
— Duke 87, California 52
— Arizona 71, South Dakota State 64
— Stanford 80, William & Mary 50
— Hofstra 88, UCLA 78– Hofstra lost at home to San Jose State.

8) Bucks 137, Trailblazers 129— Portland is a disappointing 5-10. Antetokounmpo scored 24 points, had 19 rebounds, 15 assists for the Bucks. 

7) Notre Dame 64, Toledo 59 OT— Rockets were 7-point underdogs; they blew a 5-point lead in the last minute of regulation. Irish hit a 3-pointer at buzzer to force OT. 

Willie Jackson had 11 points, 20 rebounds for the Rockets. 

6) On November 21, 1976, the classic movie Rocky was released; it cost $1M to make, and grossed $225M worldwide. It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards- for better or worse, they’ve made seven sequels. 

5) The football field in the new dome the Rams/Chargers will play in starting next year will be 100 feet below ground level, and is at the center of a construction site three times the size of Disneyland. It will wind up costing over $5B; thats billion, with a B. 

4) Charlotte Hornets’ Devonte Graham is the 4th player in NBA history to make 50+ 3’s and dish out 100+ assists in his team’s first 15 games of the season. 

3) Georgetown 82, Texas 66— Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas play Duke tonight on the court where Ewing called home during his stellar NBA career. Texas led this game by 5 at the half. 

2) Western Carolina 96, Jacksonville 94 2OT— Catamounts were down 15 at the half, get their first road win in three tries. Tough loss for Artis Gilmore’s alma mater. 

1) RIP Fred Cox, 80, the Vikings’ all-time leading scorer and the inventor of the Nerf football. Cox finished his career with 1,365 points and led the Vikings in scoring 11 years in a row.

Cox became a chiropractor after his kicking days were done. 

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

13) In 1941, Franklin Roosevelt and Congress established Thanksgiving as a United States federal holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, which makes November 28th the latest it can be, which is when it is this year. 

12) For me, college basketball season starts when I watch the Maui Classic, which is always Monday-Wednesday of Thanksgiving week. With college ball starting November 5th this year, it has been a lackluster 16 nights of basketball so far, filled with buy games and not a lot of great matchups. 

That changes starting today, with holiday tournaments beginning, and that is a good thing. 

11) NFL underdogs are 89-68-6 ATS so far this season. 

10) Not sure how they came up with this decision, but Memphis Tigers’ freshman center James Wiseman is suspended for another 11 games; he will be eligible to play on January 12 against South Florida. Memphis is very young but very, very talented. 

9) Double digit underdogs are 22-8 ATS so far in the NBA this season, after splitting four games Wednesday.

8) Princeton Tigers’ basketball team has players from nine states and three countries. 

7) 76ers 109, Knicks 104— Ben Simmons made his first career 3-pointer in his 172nd NBA game; he had been 0-17 on the arc in his career. 

6) Mavericks 142, Warriors 94— ESPN/TNT should flex Golden State off its national games; when they don’t play well, they’re horrible. This game was 44-16 after the first quarter. 

5) Yale 100, Siena 89 3 OTs— Yale has played four D-I games; three of them went to overtime. 

4) An average of 6.2 goals/game are being scored in the NHL this season, the league’s 2nd-highest average in the last 23 years, behind the 2005-06 season. 

3) NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs fired coach Mike Babcock after a 9-10-4 start- they lost their last six games. Babcock won the Stanley Cup coaching the 2007-08 Red Wings; he’s won three conference titles, and has a career record of 67-56 in playoff games. 

2) Atlanta Braves signed reliever Chris Martin to a 2-year, $14M deal. 

1) Gerardo Parra signed to play baseball in Japan next year, marking the end of the Baby Shark era for the Washington Nationals. Parra has hit .276 in his 11-year major league career. 

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

13) Cincinnati Bengals when Marvin Lewis was coach: 131-122-3 (2003-18)

Cincinnati Bengals without Marvin Lewis as coach: 42-147 (1991-2002, 2019)

Bengals went 0-7 in playoff games under Lewis, so the natives got restless and they fired him, which now seems like a mistake. 

12) Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but Tom Brady IS NOT the best quarterback ever; he’s won the most Super Bowls, but thats not the argument:

If we were drafting football teams, with every player ever in their prime eligible, which QB would you take to start your team?

11) New England Patriots have started 23 drives in opponent territory, a big reason why they’re 9-1- their offense isn’t so great this year, but their defense/special teams are. 

10) Rhode Island 70, Nicholls State 65— Colonels lost three of first four D-I games, losing in OT at Illinois, by 10 at LSU- they won at Pittsburgh. 

Nicholls starts three seniors and a junior; they should be a contender in the Southland Conference this winter.

9) Virginia 61, Vermont 55— Catamounts beat St John’a LW, are pretty heavy favorite to win America East this winter.

8) Kansas 75, East Tennessee State 63—Jayhawks won despite going 1-14 on the arc, a number we’ll keep an eye on as conference play gets closer. 

7) Very good commercial on the Memphis Grizzlies’ local telecast;, with NBA star Lou Williams, who has played for six teams in his 15-year NBA career, saying how whenever he has to move (they show a couple of his old houses) he uses 

Williams has earned over $74M in salary in his career, so he can afford nice houses. 

6) Radford 67, Northwestern 56— Going to be a long winter for the Wildcats; if you lose at home to Merrimack/Redford, playing in the Big 14 figures to be a big problem. 

5) Houston 97, Rice 89— Owls led their crosstown rivals 39-32 at the half, but lost to Houston for 6th time in a row. 

Cougars scored 65 points in the second half. 

4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8 ATS) are the worst NFL team against the pointspread so far this season. 

3) Montana Tech 74, Montana 72— Griz were in the NCAA’s the last two years, but lost their first two D-I games this month, then lose here to the Orediggers, who play in the Frontier League. This was Montana’s first loss to a non-D-I team since they lost to Alaska-Anchorage in 2002- their last losing season was in 2008. 

2) Boston U 78, South Carolina 70— Gamecocks were in Final Four three years ago, but are 36-33 since then, 18-18 in SEC games. SEC teams shouldn’t lose to Patriot League teams. 

1) A student manager for South Carolina’s football team got fired after he was arrested for public disorderly conduct when he got into a fight with a guy on Halloween night who dressed up as South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp. 

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

13) Quarterbacks taken in first round of 2017 NFL Draft:
pick #2— Mitch Trubisky, Bears
#10— Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
#12— Deshaun Watson, Texans

12) Not to beat a dead horse, but Chicago traded up to get from the 3rd pick to the 2nd pick; here is what they gave San Francisco to get the #2 pick:
— #3 pick in 1st round of 2017 draft.
— 3rd and 4th round picks in 2017 draft.
— 3rd round pick in 2018 draft. 

11) Chiefs 24, Chargers 17:
— Chargers outgained KC 312-109 in first half, but trailed 10-9 at halftime.
— Chargers scored only 13 points on four red zone trips.
— Rivers threw seven INT’s in last two games; maybe it wasn’t Ken Whisenhunt’s fault. 

10) In their last four games, New England has won field position by 13-11-15-14 yards; because they win the turnover battle and have better special teams, they play on a shorter field than their opponents do. 

In their last six games, Patriots outscored opponents 69-26 in the 2nd half, giving up 20 of those 26 points in their 37-20 loss at Baltimore. 

9) Kentucky 82, Utah Valley 74— Wildcats are struggling with their defense early on. Luckily in this game, they outscored Utah Valley 31-11 on foul line- they made only 1-12 on the arc.

8) SMU 59, Evansville 57— Last week the Purple Aces beat Kentucky as a 25-point underdog; they lost this game at home to SMU.

7) Dallas 117, San Antonio 110— Spurs are 5-9; they lost their last six games, and 8 of last 9. 

6) Houston 132, Portland 108— Rockets won/covered their last eight games. 

5) Clippers 90, Thunder 88— Kawhi Leonard missed his 3rd straight game, his fifth game this season; he played in 69 of 182 games the last two seasons, but led Toronto to an NBA title LY. 

Clippers owe Leonard $103,147,300 over the next three seasons. 

Paul George scored 18 points in 29:00 against his old team.

4) The Disney+ app had over 10 million signups in its first week; I’m not big on animated movies, so doubtful I’ll get it, but they’re making a lot of money with it. 

3) A Maryland high school teacher is facing assault charges following a fight with a 17-year-old student that was caught on camera; both combatants are females.

2) When Cleveland Cavaliers played the Knicks  last nite, they were the last team NBA this year to play on consecutive nights; Nashville Predators are only NHL team that hasn’t played games on back/back nights yet this season.

1) In case you were wondering, the last NFL team that didn’t punt in consecutive games were the 2004 Steelers, who did it in Weeks 15-16 that year, in wins the Giants/Ravens. ’04 Steelers went 15-1, but lost the AFC title game. 

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

Cowboys 35, Lions 27:
— Cowboys are 6-0 when they score 31+ points, 0-4 when they don’t.
— Dallas is 8-4-1 ATS in last 13 games as road favorites, 3-2 TY.
— Prescott threw for 444 yards and three TD’s, averaging 9.4 ypa. 

— Detroit lost six of its last seven games.
— WR Galladay didn’t catch a pass until there was 3:01 left in game.
— Six of Detroit’s last eight games went over.

Vikings 27, Broncos 23:
— Denver led this game 20-0 at halftime.
— Broncos had ball on Vikings’ 8-yard line when game ended, couldn’t score.
— Denver is 23-7 ATS in last 30 post-bye games, 8-2 in last ten.

— Vikings in 1st half: 6 series, 23 plays, 37 yards, zero points.
— Vikings in 2nd half: 4 series, 35 plays, 279 yards, 27 points.
— Minnesota won for 6th time in last seven games. 

Falcons 29, Panthers 3:
— Atlanta was 1-7 before its bye; they’re 2-0 since, not allowing an offensive TD.
— Falcons’ first TD came on a 78-yard punt return.
— This was Atlanta’s first game outdoors this season.

— Carolina lost three of last four games after a 4-2 start.
— In their first eight games, Panthers were +8 in turnovers; last two weeks, minus-6.
— Carolina lost to Atlanta for 7th time in last eight series games.

Saints 34, Buccaneers 17:
— Saints won seven of their last eight games.
— NO converted 8-15 on 3rd down, outgained Bucs 457-252- they gained 9.6 yards/pass attempt.
— Saints are 9-3 ATS in last dozen games as a road favorite.

— Buccaneers lost five of their last six games.
— In its last five games, Tampa Bay has a minus-14 turnover ratio.
— Seven of Tampa Bay’s last eight games went over the total.

Colts 33, Jaguars 13:
— Jaguars ran ball only 9 times, dropped back to pass 50 times.
— Jacksonville didn’t have a snap inside the Colts’ 20-yard line.
— Jags are 3-6-1 ATS in last ten games as a road underdog

— Colts ran ball for 264 yards, outgained Jaguars 389-310.
— Four of Indy’s six home games went over the total.
— Home side won eight of last nine series games. 

Jets 34, Redskins 17:
— Darnold threw for 293 yards, a career-high four TD’s.
— Jets outgained Washington 394-225 in this game.
— Jets’ last four games went over the total. 

— Redskins lost their last four games, outscored 52-18
— Washington scored two TD’s on its last 35 drives.
— Redskins are 2-10 ATS in last dozen post-bye games. 

Bills 37, Dolphins 20:
— Buffalo outrushed the Dolphins 168-23. outgained them 424-303
— Bills’ first four drives: 30 plays, 212 yards, one TD, three FG’s.
— Hauschka made a 51-yard fG, snapping an 0-5 skid on 50+-yard FG’s. 

— Dolphins have been outscored 159-37 in second half of games.
— This was first time in last five games that Miami trailed at halftime.
— Dolphins ran a kickoff back 101 yards for a TD just before halftime.

Ravens 41, Texans 7:
— Watson was sacked seven times, averaged only 3.7 ypa.
— Houston trailed at halftime in six of last eight games.
— Texans are now 0-6 all-time in Baltimore. 

— Baltimore won its last six games, covered last four.
— Ravens ran ball for 263 yards; only 9 of their 64 plays were on 3rd down.
— Baltimore in 2nd half: 5 series, 30 plays, 298 yards, three TD’s, two FG’s. 

49ers 36, Cardinals 26:
— Arizona led this game 16-0 in second quarter.
— Cardinals were outgained 442-266, but led 26-23 with 1:00 to play.
— Arizona covered five of its last six games as a road underdog. 

— Garoppolo was 34-45/424 passing with four TD’s.
— 49ers’ last four games went over the total.
— Under Shanahan, 49ers are 4-6 ATS as a home favorites, 2-3 TY

Patriots 17, Eagles 10:
— Both teams scored one touchdown, combined to convert 8-28 on 3rd down.
— Once Patriots got the lead, they had six drives: 26 plays, 83 yards, six punts.
— New England is 18-11 ATS in last 29 games as a road favorite. 

— Eagles’ 3rd drive was a 16-play, 95-yard TD drive; took 9:33.
— After that drive, on 9 drives, Philly ran 44 plays for 165 yards, zero points.
— New England had a 14-yard advantage in field position.

Raiders 17, Bengals 10:
— Cincy’s last nine drives: 44 plays, 158 yards, three points.
— Bengals are 10-3 ATS in last 13 games as a road underdog, 4-1 TY.
— Rookie QB Finley was 13-31/115 yards; not good. 

— Oakland (6-4) is tied atop AFC West with the Chiefs.
— None of Raiders’ six wins are by more than 8 points.
— Oakland had nine plays of 20+ yards, most in the league the week. 

Rams 17, Bears 7:
— The guy who drafted Trubisky over Mahomes/Jackson should be fired. Today.
— Chicago lost five of its last six games.
— Bears are 4-1 when they allow 15 or fewer points, 0-5 when they allow more.

— Rams were down three starters on OL and their two best WR’s. It showed.
— LA’s last five games stayed under the total.
— Rams’ OL coach and punter Hekker were great; the rookie OL played well enough.

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

13) Oklahoma 34, Baylor 31:
— Bears led 28-3 in first half, 31-10 at the half.
— Oklahoma ran 95 plays in this game, Baylor 52.
— Baylor ran only 16 plays in the whole 2nd half, were outgained 368-58 after halftime.
— Oklahoma QB Hurts ran for 114 yards, threw for 297 yards and four TD’s. 

12) Georgia 21, Auburn 14— Dawgs led 21-0 after 3rd quarter, hung on for the win that gives them their 3rd straight SEC East title. Auburn outgained Georgia, 321-259. 

11) TCU 33, Texas Tech 31— Red Raiders missed a PAT, then went for two points after two other times and didn’t convert either one; those three points were the difference in this game. 

TCU gained 549 yards, converting 15-24 third down plays. 

Horned Frogs are 5-5; this was their first win this year (1-4) in games decided by 7 or less points. They need to beat either Oklahoma or West Virginia to become bowl eligible. 

10) Alabama 38, Mississippi State 7— Bama QB Tagovailoa dislocated his hip when Tide led 35-7 near end of the first half; he was helicoptered out of Starkville and Alabama scored only three points in the 2nd half. Tagovailoa is obviously out for the year.

9) Central Michigan 45, Ball State 44— Chippewas trailed 41-24 with 2:00 left in 3rd quarter; they scored game-winning TD with 1:01 left. 

8) Penn State 34, Indiana 27— Indiana QB Peyton Ramsey threw 652 passes for the Hoosiers the last two years, but lost his starting job this year to redshirt freshman Michael Penix Jr; instead of pouting/transferring, like so many college QB’s do these days when they don’t start anymore, Ramsey stuck around and got the starting job back when Penix got hurt. 

Hard not to root for the kid; he played for his dad in HS, is named after Peyton Manning and said he loves the team too much to transfer somewhere else. He was 31-41/371 passing in this game, ran for two TD’s, threw for one in a losing cause. Indiana is 7-3 and headed to a bowl. 

7) Upsets:
— Rice (+14.5) 31, Middle Tennessee 28— Great day for the Owls.
— West Virginia (+14) 24, Kansas State 20
— Syracuse (+10.5) 49, Duke 6
— Temple (+6.5) 29, Tulane 21
— Kent State (+6) 30, Buffalo 27

6) Iowa 23, Minnesota 19— Golden Gophers outgained Iowa 431-290, but lost their 9th straight game in Iowa City. 

5) Michigan 44, Michigan State 10— From 2013-15, Michigan State went 36-5, thanks in large part to a +46 turnover ratio. Thats +46 in 41 games. 

Since then, MSU is 24-24, with a turnover ratio of minus-4. 

4) College basketball upsets:
— Montana State (+15) 67, NC-Greensboro 66- Kid drained 50-footer at buzzer.
— Rice (+9.5) 82, UCSB 81— Gauchos were up 20 at the half.
— Eastern Michigan (+9) 56, North Texas 51
— St Bonaventure (+8.5) 80, Rutgers 74
— Morgan State (+8.5) 68, George Washington 64
— Liberty (+7) 77, East Carolina 57
— Vermont (+2) 70, St John’s 68— Upset in name only. 

3) Wisconsin 37, Nebraska 21— Cornhuskers gave coach Scott Frost a 2-year contract extension, despite his 8-14 record in a year and a half with Nebraska. 

— Florida State fired Willie Taggart in his 2nd year, when he had a 9-12 record (0-5 vs Florida, Miami and Clemson)

— Arkansas fired coach Chad Morris in his 2nd year; he had a 4-18 record. 

2) Temple 29, Tulane 21— Since 2010, Owls are 71-53 overall, 43-33 in conference games, under FIVE different head coaches. Its quietly become a pretty good job, albeit a stepping stone job. 

1) LSU 58, Ole Miss 37— Burrow was 32-42 passing for 489 yards, five TD’s as he continues to make his case to the the first QB taken in next April’s NFL Draft. 

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

13) Browns’ DE Myles Garrett was suspended indefinitely (minimum of 6 games) by the NFL after the fracas at the end of the Browns’ game with Pittsburgh Thursday night. 

Cleveland DT Larry Ogunjobi was also suspended for a game; Pittsburgh’s center Maurkice Pouncey was suspended for three games. 

12) Shaky programming move by ESPN, putting the UNC-Pitt game on Thursday night, same time the Steelers were playing. Wednesday or Friday would’ve worked better.

11) Pittsburgh Pirates hired former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington as their new GM, then fired assistant GM Kyle Stark. Cherington was GM in Boston when they won the 2013 World Series, but got the boot two years later- they’re not real patient in Boston. 

Cherington’s first job is probably to hire a manager, seeing how the Pirates don’t have one yet after they fired Clint Hurdle. 

10) West Virginia 68, Pittsburgh 53— ESPNU’s analyst for this game was Chris Spatola, who is Mike Krzyzewski’s son-in-law. Pitt is coached by former Dukie Jeff Capel; they did couple of segments during the game where they showed Pitt’s new locker room, it was like a Pitt Panther infomercial, geared towards recruits. 

Meanwhile, West Virginia has a big kid named Oscar Tshiebwe who dominated the game inside, with 20 points, 17 rebounds in his second college game. Mountaineers have won four in a row over Pitt for first time since 1977. 

9) Rhode Island 93, Alabama 79— Solid win for the A-14, with URI forcing 22 turnovers (+10). 

8) Gonzaga 79, Texas A&M 49— Zags are this generation’s version of the Jerry Tarkanian UNLV teams; a national power that dominates a mid-major league in January-February, and uses pre-conference play to test itself in games like this. Aggies shot 30.4% from floor in this game. 

7) NFL stuff:
— Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford (back) is out again this week.
— Vikings’ WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) is out again this week.
— Eagles put RB Darren Sproles on IR, ending his season.

6) NBA stuff:
— Nets’ F Caris LeVert (thumb) will likely miss 4-6 weeks.
— Hawks’ F Kevin Huerter (shoulder) is out two weeks. 

5) A few over/under numbers for CONFERENCE wins in college hoop:
— Colorado 11.5
— Duke 15
— Gonzaga 14
— UNLV 9
— Utah State 14
— Villanova 11.5

4) California Golden Bears QB Chase Garbers has been cleared to return and will start in Saturday’s home game vs. USC.

3) James Holzhauer, who won $2.46M during a 32-game winning streak on Jeopardy! last spring, won the show’s Tournament of Champions during Friday’s episode, taking the $250,000 first prize.

2) Duquesne 58, Lipscomb 36— These teams combined to make 1 of 40 3-pointers. 

Let me repeat that; these teams took 40 3-pointers, and made ONE!!! No bueno. 

1) Celtics 105, Warriors 100— Golden State played its heart out, but lost their 6th game in a row and is now 2-11 in this lost season. 

Friday’s List 13: Random stuff with weekend here……

13) So far this  season, NBA road teams who played the night before are 17-9-1 ATS. 

NBA teams playing the first of back/back nights are 19-24 ATS, the second night 22-17-3. 

If the Clippers are playing back/back, find out which night Kawhi Leonard is playing, then go against them in the other game. 

12) Browns 21, Steelers 7— Pittsburgh has had two games this year with no takeaways; they lost those games 33-3/21-7. They forced 25 turnovers in their other eight games.

An actual brawl broke out in this game with 0:08 left; Cleveland’s DE Myles Garrett hit Mason Rudolph with his own helmet, after he ripped it off the Pitt QB’s head. Then Steeler C Pouncey was punching/kicking Garrett in retaliation. Suspensions will result. 

These teams play again in Week 13; that should be fun. 

11) Michigan State 76, Seton Hall 73— This seemed like a March game; Myles Powell scored 37 for the Pirates. Unusual game; only two players on each team scored in double figures. 

10) Penn State 81, Georgetown 66— Nittany Lions ran out to a 25-7 lead, made 13-29 on arc, and had an easy win here. Penn State shot better outside the arc than inside it. 

9) LA Chargers are practicing in Colorado Springs for a few days, to help get them ready for the high altitude they’re going to experience Monday night in Mexico City.

Charger players didn’t seem too excited about it; Rams did this LY, but then that game was pulled out of Mexico and moved to the LA Coliseum because the field in Mexico was deemed unsafe to play on. 

8) Baseball stuff:
— Atlanta Braves signed closer Will Smith to a 3-year deal worth $39M.
— Jake Odorizzi accepted a $17.8M qualifying offer from the Twins.
— Jose Abreu accepted a $17.8M qualifying offer from the White Sox. 

7) Memphis Tigers’ freshman C James Wiseman has been ruled ineligible, probably won’t be playing in college anymore. He is expected to go very high in next June’s NBA Draft.

6) Ohio U has an interesting basketball team; they played eight guys in wins at St Bonaventure, Iona; six freshmen, two seniors. That only happens when you have a new coach. 

Bobcats are the #335 experience team right now; their bench is playing minutes #347, but they’ve made 44.7% of their 3’s and they have two road wins. Good for them. 

5) Only 2 of 12 Pac-12 teams (Oregon State/Wazzu) have lost out of conference- Colorado beat Arizona State over in China; the league is 23-2 SU out of conference. Still too early to tell, but is the Pac-12 having a resurgence? 

4) Saint Mary’s gets a quality win on a neutral court over Wisconsin, then loses at home to Winthrop, negating the quality win. Not good. 

3) Few years down the road, when Pete Alonso strikes it rich with his first huge contract, hope the Mets remember how they’re using his name to squeeze every last dollar out of their fanbase. In 2020, Alonso’s 2nd season, they’re having two Alonso bobblehead days:

March 28th – Rookie of Year bobblehead
June 20th – Custom Marvel Superhero bobblehead

2) San Francisco Giants hired Gabe Kapler as manager, a sign that they’re becoming more analytics-based. Thank the Lord I don’t have any Giants on my fantasy team; I had five Phillies on my team when Kapler took over there. 

Lets just say it didn’t go well for those five guys, or me.

1) Golden State Warriors are 2-10 and headed towards the lottery; next year they’ll have Steph Curry and Klay Thompson back, plus a lottery pick, and they’ll be contenders again. Going to be a long winter for Steve Kerr, but it’ll pay off down the road. 

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

13) VCU 84, LSU 82— VCU’s coaches have it in their contracts that if they bolt for greener pa$ture$, their new team has to play a home/home series with VCU; this was Will Wade’s visit back home— he was not warmly received. Guys wearing fake FBI uniforms wee sitting by the LSU bench. 

VCU led this game by 15 late in first half, but LSU fought back- they were outscored 23-13 on the foul line. Quality game between two teams I expect to see in March.

12) Ohio State 76, Villanova 51— Buckeyes led this game 40-22 at halftime. 

It is very, very early in the season; some teams are way ahead of others. It is easy to overreact to unusual scores, once we get to Thanksgiving, we can begin to do some evaluating.

11) NFL finalized its Week 16 schedule by putting three games on Saturday, Dec 21; Texans-Bucs, Bills-Patriots and Rams-49ers.

10) Rams’ injury troubles on the offensive line have contributed to their offense being less explosive; hard to throw longer passes if you’re struggling to protect the QB. 

Last year, the Rams had 15 TD plays of 18+ yards; this year, they have three. 

9) 46-year old Adam Vinatieri has missed 11 PAT’s/FG’s this year; the Colts have brought in other kickers to try out. 

8) Field position is important in football; turnover margin and 3/outs go a long way towards determining field position, especially now that kickoff returns have been greatly reduced. 

These teams have forced the most 3/outs this season:

New England 44, San Francisco 41, Philadelphia 34

7) These teams have forced the fewest 3/outs this season:

Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Oakland, all 17. 

6) These teams have gone 3/out on offense the most this year:

Bears 46, Jets 44, Redskins 36, Giants 33

5) These teams have gone 3/out on offense the least this year:

Texans 13, Cowboys 14, Ravens/Saints 17, Chiefs 18

4) When Arkansas fired football coach Chad Morris last week, they also lost out on a 4-star QB recruit who happens to be…….Chad Morris’ son. 

Chandler Morris is rated as the #13 dual-threat QB in the country, in the 2020 class.

3) Mike Piazza is going to coach the Italian team in the 2021 World Baseball Classic.

2) From ESPN Stats: Last week, the Browns had a drive where they ran six plays from the Buffalo 1 or 2-yard line but didn’t score on that drive; that is the first time that has happened in the NFL since December 18, 1993, when the Jets couldn’t score in that situation against Dallas. 

1) Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander both won Cy Young awards Wednesday night; only two players homered off of both of them this season, Adam Eaton and Juan Soto, both of whom homered against Verlander in the World Series. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings, and NFL knowledge

13) Evansville 67, Kentucky 64— Purple Aces, coached by Kentucky alum Walter McCarty, were a 25-point underdog here; Evansville plays only one senior- they beat Ball State by 4 in their opener. Aces made only 9-30 on the arc, but outrebounded Kentucky.

12) Phil Knight Invitational, Portland OR:
Oregon 82, Memphis 74: Ducks got 17 points from UNLV transfer Juiston, survived 15-27 shooting on foul line and got themselves a quality win. Memphis is really young, and they’re going to improve, so this win will likely look better in March than it does now.

Oklahoma 77, Oregon State 69: Sooners outscored Oregon State 44-37 in 2nd hall; Beavers missed a bunch of layups, as Pac-12 teams split this twinbill in Portland.

11) Seattle Seahawks are 8-2, look like a playoff team, but there is such a fine line between winning and losing in the NFL. Here are some of Seattle’s wins:
Week 1: beat Cincinnati 21-20— Bengals are 0-9.
Week 2: beat Steelers 28-26— Pittsburgh’s backup QB played 2nd half.
Week 5: beat Rams 30-29— Rams missed 41-yard FG on the last play.
Week 6: beat Browns 32-28— Seattle trailed 20-6 in 2nd quarter.
Week 9: beat Buccaneers 40-34 (OT)— Seattle trailed 21-7 in 2nd quarter.
Week 10: beat 49ers 27-24 (OT)— 49ers missed a 47-yard FG in OT. 

This is evidence that right now, Russell Wilson is the MVP.

10) Coppin State 76, Loyola Chi 72— This is the Eagles’ first non-league win against a D-I team in six years, or 74 non-league games ago. Loyola was only 22-34 on foul line. 

9) Sunday is November 17 and is the Atlanta Falcons’ first outdoor game this season. 

8) Xavier 63, Missouri 58 OT— Teams combined to make 9-46 on the arc, as evidence mounts that moving the arc back 16 inches from where it was LY is going to be a big deal. Both teams shot 33.3% or worse from floor. 

7) Chiefs lead NFL, with 16 TD plays of 20+ yards; Dallas is next, with 11. 

Giants have allowed 13 TD’s of 20+ yards; Oakland is next, allowing 11. 

6) Weird stat of the day; Detroit Pistons have lost their last 14 playoff games, the longest-such streak in NBA history.

5) NBA injuries:
— Celtics’ star Gordon Hayward (hand) is out six weeks .
— Rockets’ G Eric Gordon (knee) is out for six weeks.
— Kings’ G De’Aaron Fox (ankle) is out 3-4 weeks. 

NFL statistics, thru 10 weeks:
4) Best red zone offenses:
— Ravens 5.69 pts/possession
— Texans 5.64
— Bills 5.61

Worst red zone offenses:
— Bengals 3.58
— Redskins 3.88
— Browns 3.90

3) Best offenses on drives that start 75+ yards from goal line:
— Ravens 3.39 pts/possession
— Chiefs 2.66
— Cowboys 2.63
Worst offenses on drives that start 75+ yards from goal line:
— Dolphins 0.53
— Jets 0.56
— Redskins 0.71

2) Best red zone defenses:
— 49ers 3.56 pts/possession
— Patriots 3.64
— Broncos 3.81
Worst red zone defenses:
— Cardinals 5.79
— Panthers 5.72
— Colts 5.71

1) Best defenses on drives that start 75+ yards from goal line:
— Patriots 0.52 pts/possession
— 49ers 0.71
— Bills 1.13

Worst defenses on drives that start 75+ yards from goal line: 

— Cardinals 3.03
— Raiders 2.48
— Buccaneers 2.45

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

13) Whenever I see the commercials where the guy buys his wife a Lexus or a big truck for Christmas, I laugh at myself for the gifts I bought my ex-wife when we were married; guess I was a slacker, but then I think of this question:

Say you buy your wife a Lexus for Christmas this year; what do you buy her next year? Can’t be setting the bar too high, ya know?  

12) If I was the school president or AD at a school in a big time football league, and my team was a 43-point underdog to a team in our same league, I’d be asking some tough questions about our coaching staff or our school’s commitment to the sport.

Then when our team lost that game 73-14, I’d be looking for a new bleeping coach.

11) Arkansas fired football coach Chad Morris after he lost 18 of his first 22 games, including a 45-19 loss to Western Kentucky Saturday, and they were favored in that game. 

10) Seton Hall’s star G Myles Powell will be sidelined indefinitely with an ankle injury; he began the season as the Big East Preseason Player of the Year. 

9) Indiana Hoosiers’ football team is ranked in the top 25 for the first time in 25 years. 

8) University of Maine’s basketball team has 13 international players; LMU has seven. More and more, low/mid-majors are recruiting international kids.

7) NBA stuff:
— Toronto Raptors’ PG Kyle Lowry broke his thumb, is out for a couple weeks.
— Celtics’ F Gordon Hayward broke his left hand. 

6) I’m curious how much cash Allstate ponies up to sponsor the nets behind the goal posts at the college football games. They’ve been doing it for long time now. 

5) Pro golfer Eddie Pepperell was disqualified from the Turkish Airlines Open on Saturday when he ran out of golf balls; seriously.

Pepperell hit as many as five balls — his playing partners were unsure — into the water on the par-5 4th hole. He had putted with a wedge on the previous hole; sounds little bit like he wanted to get the hell out of Turkey. 

4) USC 31, Arizona State 26— Trojans’ freshman QB Kevin Slovis threw for 432 yards and four TD’s in his homecoming game to the Phoenix area; 297 of those yards and all four TD’s came in the first quarter.

3) San Diego Padres are going back to brown/white uniforms next season, their original colors, and that is a good thing. 

2) Seahawks 27, 49ers 24 OT:
— Unusually intense game, had the feel of a playoff game.
— Seahawks had two offensive TD drives; they were only 16-24 yards.
— This was first of four consecutive primetime games for Seattle.

— Each team had five sacks and scored a defensive TD.
— Teams combined for seven turnovers.
— 49ers missed a 47-yard FG in OT that would’ve won game. 

1) Redskins named Dwayne Haskins starting QB for the rest of the season.

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

Titans 35, Chiefs 32:
— Mahomes threw for 446 yards in his return from injury.
— Chiefs lost four of their last six games.
— Tennessee ran ball 26 times for 225 yards; Henry had a 68-yard TD run. 

— Titans are 5-0 when they score 23+ points, 0-5 when they do not.
— Tennessee won its last three home games by total of 10 points.
— All four Tannehill starts went over the total. 

Browns 19, Bills 16:
— Buffalo missed 52-yard FG that would’ve tied game; they also missed a 34-yarder.
— Bills are 5-0 when they score 17+ points, 0-3 when they don’t.
— Seven of nine Buffalo games stayed under the total.

— Browns drove 82 yards on 10 plays for winning TD with 1:44 left.
— Cleveland won for first time in four home games.
— Browns outrushed Bills 147-84; they’re 5-11-1 ATS last 17 games as a home favorite. 

Buccaneers 30, Cardinals 27:
— Cardinals covered five of their last six games.
— Seven of 10 Arizona games were decided by 6 or fewer points.
— NFC West road underdogs are 8-1 ATS outside their division.

— Tampa Bay drove 64 yards in six plays for winning TD with 1:44 left.
— Bucs converted 7-15 third down plays, Arizona 1-10.
— Tampa Bay is 4-16-1 ATS in its last 21 games as a home favorite

Jets 34, Giants 27:
— In their last four games, Giants allowed four TD’s on defense/special teams.
— Four of Giants’ last five games went over the total.
— NFC East non-divisional favorites are 3-9 ATS. 

— Jets’ safety Adams scored defensive TD, taking ball out of QB Jones’ hands and running it in for a score.
— Total yardage was 294-267 Jets; lot of points for so few yards.
— Jets’ first two drives: 22 plays, 121 yards, two touchdowns. 

Falcons 26, Saints 9:
— Atlanta snaps their six-game losing skid, gets first road win.
— Falcons are 2-9 ATS now in last 11 games a road underdog, 1-3 TY
— Atlanta covered seven of last nine post-bye games. 

— Loss ends Saints’ 6-game winning streak.
— Brees was sacked 6 times; Falcons came into game with only 7 sacks.
— New Orleans committed 12 penalties for 90 yards, 6 of which gave Atlanta a first down. 

Ravens 49, Bengals 13:
— Baltimore had two defensive TD’s, has five in their last three games.
— Ravens won their last five games, scoring 30.0 ppg.
— Baltimore’s first three drives: 24 plays, 230 yards, three TD’s. 

— Ravens’ defense outscored Bengals’ offense, 14-13.
— In their last two games, Cincy allowed 12.0/11.0 yards/ pass attempt.
— Bengals covered once in their last six post-bye games. 

Packers 24, Panthers 16:
— Green Bay defense stopped McCaffrey at goal line on the last play.
— Carolina is 4-0 when they score 30+ points, 0-4 when they do not.
— NFC South road underdogs are 5-8 ATS outside the division. 

— Jones ran ball 13 times for 93 yards, three TD’s.
— Rodgers threw for 233 yards, no TD’s; Packers converted 4-9 on 3rd down.
— Next week is Green Bay’s bye week, latest one they’ve ever had. 

Bears 20, Lions 13:
— Lions’ QB Stafford (back) missed his first start in 136 games.
— Detroit is 3-5-1, with four losses by 7 or less points.
— Backup QB Driskel was 27-46/269 in his 6th career start (1-5). 

— Chicago’s first four drives: 15 plays, 25 yards, four punts.
— Bears converted only 2 of 12 third down plays, Lions 7-18.
— Win snaps Chicago’s four-game losing skid. 

Dolphins 16, Colts 12:
— Miami has now led their last four games at halftime, winning last two.
— Dolphins covered their last five games.
— Six of last eight Miami games stayed under the total. 

— Hoyer threw INT in end zone first series of game, setting tone for day.
— Hoyer completed only 18-39 passes, converted 5-13 third down plays.
— Both teams averaged under 5.0 yards/pass attempt, in a dome. 

Steelers 17, Rams 12:
— Rams scored a defensive TD 0:14 into the game, their only TD of the day.
— Rams on 3rd down: in wins, 35-73 (47.9%), losses 8-45 (17.8%)
— LA’s last four games stayed under the total. 

— Steelers won their last four games after a 1-4 start.
— Pitt is 10-4-1 ATS in last 15 games as a home underdog, 3-0 TY
— Defenses scored 16 of the 29 points in this game. 

Vikings 28, Cowboys 24:
— Minnesota won five of its last six games.
— Vikings ran ball for 153 yards, Dallas only 50 yards.
— Both teams converted more than 50% on 3rd down (Minn 8-14/Dallas 9-15)

— Cowboys scored 31+ points in all five of their wins, 10-24-22-24 in their losses.
— Four of last five Dallas games went over the total.
— NFC East teams are 9-16 ATS outside the division, 3-4 as HF.

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

13) LSU 46, Alabama 41:
— LSU scored a total of 10 points against Alabama the last three YEARS; they led this game 33-13 at halftime.
— This is LSU’s first win over the Crimson Tide since 2011.
— LSU’s offensive coordinator Joe Brady will be a head coach SOMEWHERE very soon, whether it be in college or the NFL. He has done an amazing job with the Tigers’ offense.

83-year old John Robinson, the highly successful USC/Rams’ coach, is a consultant with the LSU program; he knows Ed Orgeron from when Orgeron worked at USC- Robinson’s wife is from New Orleans. Was good to see coach Robinson smiling; was lucky enough to meet him for a few minutes at Rams’ training camp in 1986— good guy. 

12) Alabama QB Tagovailoa was 21-40/418 with four passing TD’s despite his mobility being hampered by an injured leg. 

Can a one-loss Alabama team that won’t be in the SEC title game make the 4-team national playoff? Gonna be lot of arguing about that one. 

11) Oklahoma 42, Iowa State 41— Sooners led 35-14 at halftime, but Cyclones stormed back, scored a TD with 0:24 left and went for 2 points and the lead instead of kicking a tying PAT, which re-ignites a pet peeve of mine. 

— Recruiting is the lifeblood of college sports.
— You’re the underdog and you’re playing well against a national power.
— The game is on national TV.
— Recruits are at home watching this game, because it is on national TV. 

— You keep this game going as long as you can, so recruits can learn to like you.
— The pressure to win this game was all on Oklahoma.
— Spunky underdogs are heroic, and Iowa State was spunky in this game.
— If your QB is a great runner, I’d be more open to going for the two points. 

10) Baylor 29, TCU 23 OT— There were no touchdowns scored in regulation time; Horned Frogs led 9-0 at halftime, but Baylor kicked a 51-yard FG with 0:36 left, then won the game in the third OT. 

Fun game to watch; tough game to lose. Baylor is 9-0; four of the Bears’ six Big X wins were by 3 or fewer points, or in OT. TCU is 0-4 in games decided by 7 or fewer points.

9) Minnesota 31, Penn State 26— Minnesota is 9-0 for the first time since 1904; they averaged 16.95 yards every time they threw the ball in this game. USC and Florida State jobs are open, and coach PJ Fleck signed a long-term contract extension with the Golden Gophers? Why? 

Fleck and his wife have four kids; do these kids not like warm weather? None of my business, but walking on the beach seems like a hell of a lot more fun than making snowmen, and it is a lot easier to recruit ballplayers in Florida/California than it is in Minnesota.

8) Western Kentucky 45, Arkansas 19— WKU’s QB Ty Storey started nine games for Arkansas LY, then transferred to WKU because he didn’t think he would start for the Razorbacks this year. Storey, a 6-2 senior from Charleston, Arkansas, was 22-32/219 passing, as the Hilltoppers improved to 6-4. 

7) Football upsets:
— Nevada (+17) 17, San Diego State 13
— Tulsa (+16.5) 34, Central Florida 31
— Illinois (+15) 37, Michigan State 34
— California (+7.5) 33, Washington State 20
— Appalachian State (+7) 20, South Carolina 15
— Miami OH (+7) 24, Ohio U 21
— Minnesota (+6.5) 31, Penn State 26
— LSU (+6.5) 46, Alabama 41

6) Florida State 38, Boston College 31— BC had 31 first downs, converted 14-20 third down plays and still lost; FSU scored four TD’s, three on plays of 60+ yards, the 4th one on a 26-yard run. Both teams need another win to go bowling. 

5) Illinois 37, Michigan State 34— Spartans led 31-10 in 4th quarter, but Illini stormed back with three TD’s, missing tying PAT with 4:53 left, then scoring winning TD with 0:05 left. Illinois is bowl eligible for first time under Lovie Smith.

4) Basketball upsets:
— Nicholls State 75, Pitt 70
— Texas (+8) 70, Purdue 66
— Southern Utah (+7.5) 79, Nebraska 78 OT

3) SMU 59, East Carolina 51— Not often you give up 51 points and win, but the Mustangs did and now they’re 9-1. 

ECU’s WR Tyler Sneed caught 19 balls for 240 yards; ECU QB Holton Ahlers was 32-42/498 passing with six TD passes and his team lost. 

2) SEC likes to promote itself as the #1 college football league in the country; “….it just means more.” was their slogan for a while, and while they may be mostly right, check out these two scores before crowning the SEC this year’s King of the Hill:

— Western Kentucky 45, Arkansas 19
— Appalachian State 20, South Carolina 15

1) LSU goes to Ole Miss next week, Minnesota goes to Iowa. Those two teams were so happy wth their wins Saturday, but next week they’ve got huge trap games, especially the Golden Gophers. 

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

13) One of the unusual things about college basketball is that once you beat a team in a non-conference game, you root like hell for that team the rest of the year, since that team’s success makes your win even sweeter, worth more to the NCAA selection committee. 

Saint Mary’s just had an excellent neutral court win over Wisconsin; now the Gaels have to root for Wisconsin the rest of the year. Should the Badgers stumble and have a cruddy year, then that win would be devalued. WCC teams other than Gonzaga need as many quality wins as they can get if they want an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. 

12) One thing about these November college hoop games; NCAA is still doing transfer waivers, so kids are becoming eligible almost on the fly; Portland State/Cal-Riverside had kids get their waivers approved in the last couple of days. The right kid makes a big difference. 

Speaking of which…….

11) Memphis 92, UIC 46— Memphis freshman C James Wiseman, one of the nation’s best freshmen, was ruled ineligible by the NCAA late Friday afternoon, but was allowed to play Friday after a temporary restraining order issued by a Memphis court reinstated Wiseman.

The issue is apparently something about Memphis coach Penny Hardaway helping pay the family’s moving expenses (around $11,500) two years ago, when Hardaway was Wiseman’s high school coach.  

Ill-Chicago was missing three of its best players in this game, which was very ugly.

10) Get well soon to Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak, who had emergency intestinal surgery this week. Vanna White filled in as host for a few episodes. 

9) Hall of Fame RB Terrell Davis, who played his whole NFL career for the Denver Broncos, had his 8 year-old son removed from a youth football team and placed on a different team, because the original team’s name was the Raiders. Alrighty then. 

8) Auburn 76, Davidson 66— Takes onions to schedule Davidson; they’re very well-coached, and have enough talent to beat a Power 5 opponent, but Auburn did and gets a solid neutral court win in Annapolis. 

7) NFL stuff:
— QB’s Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan will both start on Sunday.
— WR’s AJ Green and Adam Thielen are both out Sunday. 

6) San Diego Padres hired Larry Rothschild as their new pitching coach. 

5) BetOnline posted odds as to whether Saints’ backup QB Teddy Bridgewater will be a starting QB in the NFL in Week 1 of the 2020 season:

yes: -$140, No: even.

4) New York Post ran a picture of Mets’ pitcher Steven Matz bowling; turns out the lefty hurler bowls righthanded, which is probably a good idea, given his injury history. 

3) On 9 of 30 NBA teams, the highest-paid player has never played in an All-Star Game. 

2) Rick Pitino is the new head coach of the Greece national team; he e is expected to begin coaching the team for the Olympic qualifying tournament that gets underway on June 23. Pitino spent the 2018-19 season coaching Panathinaikos in the EuroLeague and led the team to the Greek Basketball Cup. 

1) Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford says that the first things he looks at in a boxscore are points in paint and made 3-pointers. 

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here……

13) After watching two nights of college hoop, my #1 question is this; if the longer 3-point shot reduces the impact of outside shooting, will that result in fewer upsets? 

12) Virginia 48, Syracuse 34— Teams shot a combined 33-104 (9-54 on arc) from the floor in a Wednesday night game that probably had James Naismith rolling over in his grave. 

I’m thinking the ACC won’t be playing conference games in early November next year.

11) Raiders 26, Chargers 24:
— Rivers threw five INTs; two were negated by penalties.
— On their last drive, Rivers was 0-8 passing with an INT; a holding penalty gave them a 1st down.
— This was Chargers’ 5th game this year decided by 3 or fewer points, or in OT. 

10) If you have Kawhi Leonard on your NBA fantasy team, know that he won’t be playing back/back nights this season, which sucks for fans who pay serious money to watch games. 

9) Under is 69-66 in NFL games so far this season. 

Panthers, Buccaneers and Lions have been the best over teams (6-2). Chargers had been the best under team (2-7… 3-7).

8) Niagara Purple Eagles removed the interim tag: Greg Paulus is their new basketball coach

7) Washington Redskins put OT Trent Williams  on the non-football injury list, ending his 2019 season, and saving the Redskins the $6M Williams would’ve been paid the rest of the season. 

When the Redskins trade Williams this winter, the schedule-makers should take note and put that team against Washington on national TV next season. 

6) Best over teams in the NBA so far:
Dallas, New Orleans: 6-1 
Minnesota: 5-2 

5) Best under teams in the NBA so far:
Atlanta: 0-7 
Utah: 1-7 
Oklahoma City 1-6
Orlando: 1-6-1 

4) Colorado became the 19th state to legalize some form of sports betting. 

3) NBA fined the LA Clippers $50,000 after Doc Rivers said Kawhi Leonard was “healthy” on Wednesday, when he sat out. NBA originally must have believed that Leonard has a legit health issue, but then they looked bad when Rivers said Leonard is fine. 

Has to be frustrating for fans to pay serious money to watch games, then have healthy players skip the game. Leonard makes $399,292 per game; if you’re healthy, play.

2) From John Templon’s database of mid-major coaching salaries in college basketball:

Tenn-Martin coach Anthony Stewart receives an automatic 4-year contract extension if :
— he wins more than 50% of his games
— finishes in the top four of the OVC standings
— finishes in the top two in the OVC West standings, or
— makes the conference semifinals. 

1) 49ers’ kicker Robbie Gould has a strained quad, is doubtful for Monday night’s game with Seattle. San Francisco signed K Chase McLaughlin (recently cut by Chargers) to replace Gould if he can’t go Monday night.