Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday

13) Starting today with a recommendation of a fun place to go in the Albany area:

— Do you like to play golf?
The Bunker in Guilderland is a golf simulator, where you can play lot of famous courses around the country.
— Hit a shot and it gives you club head speed, distance, lot of stats.
— There is even a mulligan button, if you hit a bad shot.
— There is a bar, you can order out food, comfortable places to sit/hang out.
— Was there Friday night with group of friends; excellent place to have fun.
2390 Western Avenue, just east of Western Turnpike golf course. 

12) Braves 5, Marlins 4— Very costly win; Ronald Acuna tore his ACL, is out for year.

11) New York 1, Houston 0:
— Gerrit Cole threw 129-pitch complete game, most pitches thrown in a game this year. 

— Aaron Boone came to mound to take him out with one out to go and Jordan Alvarez uo, but you could see Cole vehemently refusing to come out.
— Houston lost its last three games, scoring one run.

10) Nigeria 90, USA 87:
— 9 years ago, the Americans beat Nigeria by 83 points in the Olympics.
— In this game, Nigeria never trailed in the 4th quarter.
— Americans were favored by 28.5 points; yes, people bet on this stuff.

9) Lot of guys are dropping out of next week’s All-Star Game:
— All four Astros (read into that what you like)
— Mookie Betts
— Yadier Molina

There will be at least 40 first-time All-Stars in next week’s game.

8) There are only two divisional games in Week 1 of NFL in September:

Jaguars-Texans and Dolphins-Patriots.

7) San Diego Padres are rolling along at 53-38, in line for a Wild Card slot, but much of their success has happened late in games.

If games were only five innings long, San Diego’s record would be 35-41-15, so they’ve improved by 10.5 games after the 5th inning. Clutch hitting, good bullpen.

6) Biggest point spread in NFL history? In 1976, Steelers were -27 over the expansion Buccaneers- they whacked them 42-0. Tampa Bay went 0-14 that first season, then started the next season 0-12 before winning their last two games.

Only two years after that, Tampa Bay played in the NFC Championship game, and would’ve played those same Steelers in the Super Bowl had they won that game.

5) Joey Votto is 37 years old, on the tail end of an excellent career, but the Reds owe him $45M over the next two seasons. If MLB gets smart and puts the universal DH in next year, then he will still be useful, but if not, that contract could be an albatross.

Would the Reds trade Votto this month, to get rid of that $45M commitment?

4) Obscure NBA record; most points scored off the bench in an NBA Finals game is 31,
scored by Sam Cassell for the ’95 Rockets against Orlando.

3) Since 2001, longest streaks of consecutive games reaching base:
63— Orlando Cabrera
57— Barry Bonds
56— Ryan Klesko

All-time record is 84, set by Ted Williams in 1949. Very underrated record.

2) Guys who own the Dodgers now also own 27% of the Lakers. Must be fun to be really, really rich.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Mets, Brewers, Giants. Wild Card: San Diego @ Los Angeles
AL: Red Sox, White Sox, Astros. Wild Card: Oakland @ Tampa Bay

Saturday’s Den: Mountain West football trends…….

Air Force:
— HC Calhoun is 44-52-1 ATS as favorite, 34-26-2 as underdog.
— Last four years, Air Force is 7-3-1 ATS as road underdog.
— Since 2014, Falcons are 21-8-1 ATS out of conference.
— Since 2013, Air Force is 13-29-1 ATS coming off a loss.

Boise State:
— Last 3 years, Boise is 16-8 ATS in conference games.
— Over last decade, Broncos are 6-3 ATS as road underdogs.
— Last five years, Boise is 3-6 ATS coming off a loss.
— 2017-18, Boise was +24 in turnovers; last two years, they were minus-4.

Colorado State:
— Rams’ last bowl was 2017; last bowl win, 2013.
— Rams haven’t been better than 7-6 since McElwain left after 2014 season.
— HC Addazio is 38-25-2 ATS as an underdog.
— State is 3-7 ATS in last ten games as a road underdog.

Fresno State:
— 2017-18, Fresno was 22-6; last two years, they were 7-11.
— Since 2013, Bulldogs are 13-7-3 ATS as road favorites.
— Last four years, Bulldogs are +24 in turnovers.
— QB Haener transferred to Fresno from Washington.

Hawai’i:
— Todd Graham went 5-4 in his first year here LY, won a bowl.
— Since 2014, Rainbows are 6-20-1 ATS as home favorites.
— Over last decade, Hawaii is 2-6 ATS as a road favorite.
— Underdogs covered their last five bowl games.

Nevada:
— Under Norvell, Nevada is 15-7 ATS at home, 8-12 on road.
— Wolf Pack won 3 of last 4 bowls; they weren’t favored in any of them.
— Last five years, Nevada is 8-12 ATS as a road underdog.
— Last four years, Wolf Pack is 19-13 ATS in conference tilts.

UNLV:
— Last ten years, UNLV is 33-84 SU- they were 0-6 LY.
— Rebels’ last bowl was 2013; their last bowl win, 2000.
— Last five years, UNLV is 5-10 ATS as a home favorite.
— This year’s over/under win total is 1.5; not lot of optimism there.

New Mexico:
— Last four years, Lobos are minus-31 in turnovers (10-33).
— Last six years, New Mexico is 3-14 ATS as a home favorite.
— Lobos’ last bowl outside of New Mexico was in 2004.
— Veteran HC Rocky Long is in his 2nd year as Lobos’ DC.

San Diego State:
— They’re playing home games 113 miles from their campus.
— Aztecs are 6-13 ATS in last 19 games as a home favorite.
— Last six years, San Diego State is +61 in turnovers.
— 65 returning starts on OL and a new QB; they’ll run ball more this year.

San Jose State:
— Spartans went 7-1 LY; previous six years, they were 21-53.
— Under Brennan, San Jose is 27-17-1 ATS.
— In 2017, Spartans were minus-26 in turnovers; since then, they’re +13.
— QB Starkel played previously at Texas A&M/Arkansas.

Utah State:
— New HC Anderson made 6 bowls (2-4) in 7 years at Arkansas State.
— Since 2013, Aggies are 3-10 ATS as a home underdog.
— Utah State lost 3 of last 4 bowls; they were favored in all four.
— Junior QB Bonner (15 starts) transferred to Utah State from Arkansas State.

Wyoming:
— Last five years, Wyoming is 10-4 ATS as home favorites.
— Last three years, Cowboys are 3-6 ATS as road underdogs.
— Wyoming won its last two bowls, covered four of last five.
— Cowboys have 21 of 22 starters back this season. 

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

13) Suns 118, Bucks 108:
— Phoenix made 20 of 40 three-point shots.
— Suns grab 2-0 series lead.
— Antetokounmpo scored 42 points; Bucks were minus-11 in 8:00 he sat out. 

12) I’m guessing that lot of people will jump on the bandwagon for betting over the total at the All-Star Game next week, but keep in mind that first pitch will be roughly 6:00 in Denver, so there will be shadows on the field for the first 60-90 minutes of the game, which could make hitting/scoring more difficult. Assuming it is sunny in Denver Tuesday.

11) 9th no-hitter of the season happened the other night, but it was a double asterisk; 7-inning game, with five Tampa Bay pitchers combining to get the 21 Cleveland outs. 

There have been seven 9-inning no-hitters this year, one of them combined, plus Madison Bumgarner’s 7-inning no-hitter and now this one by Tampa Bay.

10) Detroit Tigers started the season 9-24, but they’re 31-24 since, which is 55 games, 1/3 of a season. AJ Hinch is a very good manager.

9) Arizona 4, Colorado 3— This win Tuesday ended Arizona’s 45-game losing streak in games where they scored 4 or fewer runs.

Rockies won 9-3 in Arizona Thursday; they’re 31-17 at home, 7-33 on the road.

8) Kid worked out for the Indiana Pacers this week, in advance of the NBA Draft; he didn’t get a D-I scholarship, didn’t even get a D-II scholarship, but he went to an NAIA school and scored 3,453 points. Lot of points, even if you’re playing in the California Penal League.

In 137 games at NAIA Indiana Wesleyan, Mangas shot 39.3% on the arc, scoring 25.2 ppg. His team went 30-3 last year; will be interesting to see if he gets an invite to training camp.

7) Wednesday was Brett Anderson’s 211th major league game over 13 years, but it was the first time he pitched against the Mets. He’s pitched for four different National League teams, too.

6) Domino’s pizza place closest to my house now has a $6 delivery fee tacked onto the bill. Ummmm, no thanks on that.

5) Had the Angels’ game on TV the other night; left the room for a minute and when I came back, play-by-play guy Matt Vasgersian was talking about Yakov Smirnoff, the old Russian comedian. No idea why his name would come up during a baseball game, but for a couple of minutes, it did. What a country!!

4) December 11th in Atlanta, pretty good 4-game card of college basketball:
— Auburn-Nebraska
— LSU-Georgia Tech
— Ole Miss-Western Kentucky
— Clemson-Drake

3) Bruce Springsteen’s daughter Jessica made the American equestrian jumping team for the Olympics in Tokyo later this month. 

2) Miami Marlins picked up manager Don Mattingly’s option for 2022; Marlins are 38-48 this year, 345-447 in six years under Mattingly, but the team is no good because they’ve got owners who are cheapskates. Mattingly seems like a pretty good manager.

Few years ago, Marlins had Stanton-Ozuna-Yelich-Realmuto as a nucleus, but traded them all away. Players they got in return haven’t done much, except for Sandy Alcantara.

1) Bryce Harper’s first 14 home runs this season came with the bases empty; his first homer with someone on base came on July 6th.

Thursday’s Den: Big X football knowledge

Baylor:
— From 2013-15, they were 32-7; since then, they’re 28-33.
— Their 4-year starting QB bolted to Utah.
— LY was Aranda’s first year as a HC; he went 2-7.
— Underdogs covered 4 of their last five bowls (3-2 SU)

Iowa State
— HC Campbell is 29-13-2 ATS as an underdog, 30-29-2 as a favorite.
— Last three years, Cyclones are 6-10 ATS as home favorites.
— Last six years, Iowa State is 22-10-1 ATS off a loss.
— Returning QB has 33 starts; offensive line has 93 returning starts.

Kansas
— Last 10 years, Jayhawks are 18-99 SU. 18 wins. 99 losses.
— New coach Leipold won six D-III national titles, was 37-33 at Buffalo.
— Since 2012, Kansas is 4-12 ATS as home favorites, 0-0 as road favorites.
— Last 10 years, Jayhawks are 40-56-3 ATS as underdogs, 20-32-2 on road.

Kansas State
— Since 2016, K-State is 24-9 ATS as an underdog.
— Since 2015, K-State is 7-14 ATS as a home favorite.
— In 2016-17, Wildcats went 17-9 SU, were +23 in turnovers.
— Last three years, Wildcats are 17-18 SU (even in turnovers)
— K-State has a senior QB (30 starts), all 5 starters back on OL.

Oklahoma
— Last 6 years, Sooners are 67-12 SU; their turnover ration last 5 years is even.
— Riley is 9-5 ATS in non-conference games.
— Sooners lost 3 of last 4 bowl games, giving up 45.5 ppg.
— Last year’s #2 QB bolted to SMU.

Oklahoma State
— Cowboys have played in a bowl each of last 15 years.
— Coach Gundy is 71-48-5 ATS as a favorite.
— OSU won four of last five bowls, covering all five games.
— Oklahoma State covered 16 of last 18 non-conference games.

Texas
— Sarkisian is Texas’ 4th HC in last nine years.
— Last four years, Longhorns were +31 in turnovers.
— Last four years, Texas is 7-12 ATS as a home favorite.
— Last five years, Longhorns are 12-5 ATS out of conference.

TCU
— Last 5 years, Horned Frogs are 6-11-1 ATS as home favorites.
— In 2014, TCU was +18 in turnovers; in 75 games since then, they’re minus-8.
— Since 2013, TCU is 14-21 ATS coming off a loss.
— Frogs won 3 of last 4 bowls, winning by 2-3-6(OT) points.

Texas Tech
— Last bowl game was 2017; last bowl win, 2013.
— HC Wells is 20-12-1 ATS as home favorite, 11-18 as road underdog.
— Since 2014, Red Raiders are 2-6 ATS as road favorite.
— New OC is Sonny Cumbie; he spent last 7 years at TCU.

West Virginia
— HC Brown is 14-19-1 ATS at home, 22-12 ATS on road.
— WVU is 0-5 ATS in last 5 bowls (2-3 SU, wins by 1-3 points)
— Since 2012, Mountaineers are 12-19 ATS out of conference.
— Last 2 years, WVU is 11-11 SU; previous 8 years, they were 61-39. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings……..

13) Suns 118, Bucks 105:
— Chris Paul scored 32 points for Phoenix.
— He has 73 points the last two games, most points he’s ever scored in consecutive games.
— Giannis Antetokounmpo played 35:00, scoring 20 points, with 17 rebounds.

Before the 1969 NBA Draft, a coin was flipped in New York City to determine who got the first pick in the draft. Milwaukee won the coin flip, got Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then won 332 games over the next six years, winning the 1971 NBA title, losing the Finals in ‘74. 

Phoenix lost that coin flip in ‘69; they drafted Neal Walk, a center from Florida. Not ideal.

Later that summer, the Suns had a coin flip with Seattle for rights to ABA star Connie Hawkins. The second flip was more better for Phoenix; the won that coin flip and the rights to Hawkins,  who became one of the greatest players in Suns’ history.

Suns went 136-110 the next three years, with Hawkins lasting 4.5 years in the desert. 

12) With all the talk about Shohei Ohtani, I decided to look into Babe Ruth’s career, since he also was a great hitter who did some pitching. Here is what I found:

Babe Ruth played five years for Boston, but played in 100+ games only in the last two seasons. He went 89-46 as a pitcher for Boston, winning 47 games in 1916-17. He threw 35 complete games in 1917. His last year in Boston was the only time he batted 400+ times for them. 

When he was traded to New York, he became a full-time hitter, and pitched only five games. Ruth hit 659 home runs for New York, and had a candy bar named after him.

(A person who is smarter than me informed me that the candy bar was probably named after President Grover Cleveland’s daughter Ruth)

Obviously there was no DH back then, or he probably would’ve hit more for Boston.

11) In 1975, there was a TV show called When Things Were Rotten, a comedy set in Sherwood Forest, where Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and Robin’s band of Merry Men. Pretty good cast: Dick Van Patten, Bernie Kopell, Dick Gautier, Ron Rifkin. 

I was reminded of that this week, thinking about the catchers on my fantasy baseball team; over the last 23 days, the catchers on my fantasy team have been a combined 2 for 44.

2 hits. 44 at-bats. 2 more hits than a dead person. 

In the big picture of life, this isn’t important, but it is driving me nuts; there are very few big league catchers who can hit. I’ve had six different catchers on my team in only 14 weeks. Next step is to leave the spot blank, then at least they won’t kill me in on-base %age.

As I was typing all this, one of my team’s pitchers, Luis Castillo, left a game in Kansas City with a 6-1 lead after 7 innings; of course the Cincinnati bullpen blew the lead for him.

Thats what happens when things are rotten.

10) Braves, Marlins, Rangers are only three major league teams who haven’t been over .500 at any time this season.

9) Angels’ 3B David Fletcher has a 20-game hitting streak, longest in the AL this season.

8) Top under teams in the majors:
— Washington under 52-29-1
— Cubs 50-33-2
— Marlins 45-31-6
— Bronx 46-36

Top over teams in the majors:
— Twins 53-28-2
— Angels 51-33
— Astros 48-35-3
— Rays 46-36-3

7) Jacob deGrom was supposed to pitch for the Mets on Tuesday, then again on Sunday, the last day before the All-Star break, but the weather didn’t cooperate and last night’s game got rained out, so deGrom won’t pitch on Sunday.

The Mets really, really wanted him to pitch last night night, then on Sunday; last night’s game wasn’t postponed until 9:40 or so. It was a scheduled 7:10 start.

6) Baseball players signed by big league clubs at age 18 or younger have to be added to the team’s 40-man roster within five years, or that player becomes subject to the Rule 5 Draft, where other teams can draft them away from the original team.

Players signed by big league clubs at age 19 or older have to be put on the 40-man roster within four seasons, or else they risk losing that player for nothing.

5) Cities where the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest got the best TV ratings:
Cincinnati, New York, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Columbus.

4) In 440 games played in empty arenas during the NBA regular season, the home team won by an average of 0.39 points.

In 507 games played with fans, the home team won by an average of 2.13 points.

3) Jaguars’ rookie QB Trevor Lawrence signed his first pro contract, for $36.8M, with $24.1M of that guaranteed. By way of contrast, when Sam Bradford signed his rookie contract in 2010, it was worth $78M. NFL has done a good job of toning down the rookie deals since then.

2) Phillies 15, Cubs 10
— Cubs lose their 11th straight game
— Chicago’s last 67 home runs have all come with either the bases empty or only one man on base, the longest stretch in franchise history.

1) When umpire Joe West first umped in the major leagues in the mid-70’s, there were five current major league managers who weren’t even born yet. 

Tuesday’s Den: Week 1-2 trends for NFC teams

Cardinals:
— 1-3-1 in last five Week 1 games.
— 0-4-1 in last five home openers.
— Under 7-2 last nine home openers.
— 10-3 ATS last 13 road openers.
— 1-4 SU last five road openers.
— Under 10-5 last 15 road openers.

Falcons:
— 1-4 in last five Week 1 games.
— 17-5 ATS in last 22 home openers.
— Since 2004, 8-1 ATS as a favorite in HO’s.
— Over 4-1 last five home openers.
— Lost last three road openers.
— 5-12 ATS last 17 road openers (under 13-4).

Panthers:
— Host Sam Darnold’s old team (Jets) in Week 1.
— Last 2 years, lost 30-27/34-30 at home in Week 1.
— 6-11-1 ATS last 18 home openers.
— Under 16-6-1 last 23 home openers.
— 4-8 ATS last dozen road openers.
— Over 4-1 last five road openers.

Bears:
— 1-6 in last seven Week 1 games.
— 2-5 SU/ATS last seven home openers.
— Under 4-0 last four home openers.
— 4-6 last ten road openers.
— 2-4 ATS last six road openers.
— Under 16-5 last 21 road openers.

Cowboys:
— Under 5-2 last seven Week 1 games.
— Won last four home openers, scoring 35-40 points in last two.
— Over 8-6 last 14 home openers.
— Lost three of last four road openers.
— 10-4 ATS last 14 games as an underdog in road openers.
— Under 6-3 last nine road openers. 

Lions:
— Last ten season openers went over the total.
— 0-2-1 SU last three season openers (favored in all 3)
— Lost four of last six home openers.
— Over 8-3 last 11 home openers.
— 3-6 ATS last nine road openers.
— Five of last six road openers went over.

Packers:
— Won last six season openers (5-1 ATS)
— Over 7-3 last ten season openers.
— Won 8 in row, 13 of last 14 home openers (11-3 ATS)
— Under 3-1 last four home openers.
— Won/covered last four Week 1 road games.
— Over 12-3 last 15 road openers.

Rams:
— Under McVay, Rams are 4-0 SU in Week 1.
— Won/covered last six home openers.
— Under is 4-1 in last five home openers.
— Under McVay, Rams are 4-0 in road openers, covering last three
— Last four road openers, Rams scored 41-33-30-37 points.
— Over is 3-1 in last four road openers.

Vikings:
— This is first time in 5 years they open on road.
— Won/covered four of last five Week 1 games.
— Won/covered five of last six home openers.
— Under is 6-1 in last seven home openers.
— 0-3-1 SU, 0-4 ATS last four road openers.
— Under 12-5 last 17 road openers.

Giants:
— Started nine of last ten seasons 0-1.
— 1-8 SU, 0-9 ATS last nine home openers.
— Scored 14.2 ppg in last five home openers.
— Under 7-0 last seven home openers.
— Lost 9 of last 11 road openers (3-7-1 ATS)
— Under 4-1 last five road openers.

Saints:
— Lost five of last seven season openers.
— 1-5 ATS in last six home openers.
— Last 3 years, scored 40-30-34 points in home opener.
— Last five home openers went over total.
— 3-12 ATS in last 15 road openers.
— Over 9-4 last 13 road openers.

Eagles:
— Won four of last five season openers.
— Won four of last five home openers.
— Won 5 of last 7 Week 1 games on road.
— Despite that, are 3-9 ATS in last 12 home openers.
— Lost last 3 road openers, giving up 27-24-27 points.
— Over 7-4-1 last dozen road openers. 

49ers:
— Won 8 of last 10 season openers.
— Under 6-1 last seven season openers.
— Won 7 of last 10 home openers (0-4 ATS last four)
— Under 6-1 last seven home openers.
— Last 2 years, won road opener 31-17/31-13.
— Under 7-4-1 last dozen road openers.

Seahawks:
— Split last six season openers SU.
— Won 17 of last 18 home openers (14-4 ATS)
— Under 16-3-1 last 20 home openers.
— Won last 2 road openers 28-26/38-25, after losing 11 of previous 12.
— 3-12-1 ATS in last 16 road openers.
— Over 5-2 last seven road openers.

Buccaneers:
— Won three of last four Week 1 games.
— Four of last five Week 1 games went over.
— Won/covered three of last four home openers.
— Scored 27+ points in four of last five home openers.
— 7-4 ATS in last 11 road openers.
— Over 4-1 in last five road openers.

Washington:
— Covered last three Week 1 games.
— 1-4 ATS in last five home openers as a dog.
— 2-7 SU in last nine home openers.
— Over 7-3 last ten home openers.
— Covered four of last five road openers.
— Over is 8-4 in last dozen road openers. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports weekend

13) What are the best/worst days to have birthdays? 

I’m thinking July 5th is on the worst list, along with December 24 and 26, maybe January 2.

July 4th would be on the good list, along with December 31st.

What do you think? Let me know………ffib13@gmail.com

12) These are facts; do with them what you will:

— Madison Bumgarner threw a no-hitter April 25; Arizona then lost its next 24 road games.
— John Means threw a no-hitter May 5; Orioles lost their next 20 road games.
— Cubs threw a combined no-hitter June 24; Cubs are 0-9 since that game.

Bumgarner/Means are both hurt now, by the way. 

11) Cubs had 11 hits in their 3-2 loss to Cincinnati Sunday, ending a streak of 20 games in a row with 8 or fewer hits. Cubs are just third team in last 100 years to go 20 consecutive games with 8 or fewer hits (’72 Mets, ’68 Bronx).

10) Nevada sportsbooks banked a profit of $27.1M in May, their all-time record for May.

9) I cannot imagine eating 76 hot dogs (and buns) in 10:00, but Joey Chestnut did that Sunday and won the Nathan’s contest for the 14th time. I can’t watch those guys eat anymore; it makes me want to puke, seriously. No way is it healthy.

I do remember the movie Meatballs, when Larry Fink beats “The Stomach” in a hot dog eating contest, or as Bill Murray put it, “weenie war.” The actor who played “The Stomach” wound up being a high school football coach about 30 miles from here.

8) Has to be a little awkward when umpires are constantly checking pitchers’ hats for foreign substances right after an inning.

Miami’s Sandy Alcantara was getting squeezed by the home plate ump Saturday, then after the inning the guy was checking his hat/belt. Alcantara had to be biting his tongue.

7) Sunday night was 22nd time this season the Diamondbacks had 2 or fewer hits thru six innings; they’re 1-21 in those games. Arizona has lost 45 games in a row when they score 4 or fewer runs, an ignominious record.

6) Braves 8, Marlins 7 (10):
— Atlanta tied game with four runs in 9th inning.
— Pitcher Max Fried got the walk-off hit as a pinch-hitter in 10th inning.

5) Colorado Rockies have nine walk-off hits, most in the majors this season.

4) NFL Network had the 1999 Rams’ highlight film on Sunday night; damn right I watched it. Was pretty cool that Martin Sheen narrates it; I watch a lot of West Wing re-runs on my laptop as I write this space (am listening to one right now) so it is excellent that President Bartlet narrated the Greatest Show on Turf’s highlight film.

3) Speaking of my Rams’ fandom, 40 years ago this week, Vince Ferragamo made his debut playing QB for Montreal in the CFL. It didn’t go well in Canada for Ferragamo, who had led the Rams to the Super Bowl in 1979- he was 15-5 as QB of the Rams before going to Canada, 11-13 when he came back. He later played for Buffalo and the Packers. 

Ferragamo got a raw deal from the Rams, who were very dysfunctional back then; they should’ve made sure he never freakin’ went to Canada, but that’s water under the bridge now.

2) If you care about such things, over is 606-597-42 in baseball totals this season. Under was 11-5 Sunday; teams play more of their bench players on Sunday. May have to check that angle out as we go along.

1) RIP to football coach Terry Donahue, who passed away this weekend at age 77. Coach Donahue coached UCLA from 1976-95, going 151-74-8, 98-51-5 in Pac-12 games, 8-4-1 in bowl games. Coach Donahue replaced the great Dick Vermeil at UCLA; he later worked as an analyst for CBS, then worked in the 49ers’ front office.

Coach Donahue was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000. RIP, sir.

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday

13) Last night in Atlanta, Milwaukee beat the Hawks, advancing to the NBA Finals for first time since 1974, when they lost to the Celtics in 7 games. Bucks had a pretty good center back then, guy named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. 

Last night was also Marv Albert’s last TV broadcast, ending a tremendous 55-year career that saw him do NBA, NHL, NFL, college basketball. One of the greatest announcers ever.

I’m from upstate New York, so I heard Marv Albert a lot as a kid; his calls of Knick games in the 70’s still resonate in my memory. He created a great word picture.

12) Friday night in Atlanta, Marlins’ pitcher Pablo Lopez hit Ronald Acuna with the first pitch of the game; the umpires ruled it was intentional, and ejected Lopez. After one pitch.

This enraged Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly and set up what has to be a unique game in MLB history. Acuna scored later that inning and it was the only run of the game, charged against the record of a pitcher who threw only one pitch, the first pitch for his team. 

11) I’ve been trying to find ways to get smarter, gain knowledge; listening to podcasts seems to be popular these days, so I’ve been looking for podcasts associated with things I like.

Have to be careful which ones you choose; podcasts are kind of like reading, except you can do something else while you listen. Not all podcasts are great, you can waste time listening to some imbecile rattle on, but I’ve found a couple that I try to listen to every week, and that is good.

One podcast I listen to deals with fantasy baseball; all the guys on it are half my age, and they talk a lot about stuff like pitchers’ spin rates, which doesn’t interest me, but they do give out interesting opinions on various players, which gives me stuff to think about.

10) Mets have drawn 12 walks with the bases loaded this year; 11 different players have drawn them, with Francisco Lindor the only guy to draw two.

9) Cincinnati Reds’ TV guys were saying the other night that stars should get preferential treatment from umpires on marginal calls. I don’t think anyone should get preferential treatment from umpires, though I’m not naive enough to think that stars don’t get some calls.

8) Tampa Bay Rays’ radio crew started traveling with the ballclub this week, another good sign that things are slowly getting back to normal.

7) Dodgers’ pitcher Trevor Bauer is on “administrative leave” for 7 days; he has some off-field issues with a female accuser, which may/may not be serious.

6) Dallas Cowboys will be on Hard Knocks this summer, third time they’ve been on. Things are always interesting with the Cowboys, from Dak Prescott to Jerry Jones to the coaches.

5) Washington Nationals’ OF Kyle Schwarber has been hotter than hell, but he strained his hamstring this week, and will be out for a while, longer than just ten days.

4) Was listening to the Cubs the other night; one of their TV guys is ex-big leaguer Jim Deshaies, who is from Massena, NY, up by the Canadian border.

Apparently, an actor named Hal Smith was also from Massena; he played Otis the Drunk on the old Andy Griffith Show that was pretty famous back in the 60’s. Mr Smith also did a lot of voice over work on animated TV shows.

3) A’s 7, Red Sox 6 (12):
— Oakland has been struggling; they’re 4-8 in their last dozen games.
— A’s were 5-21 in this game, with runners in scoring position; when you’re 3-8 in your last 11 games, then go 5-21 with RISP in the 12th game, the frustration level raises quickly. They were all very happy when Tony Kemp knocked in the winning run.

2) 80-year old Larry Brown has signed on as an assistant coach to Penny Hardaway at Memphis; Brown has had a storied coaching career, but he’s also moved around a lot. Will be interesting to see any features they’ll run on TV about coach Brown’s role in Memphis.

1) One of the cool things about the old TV show Law and Order is that it was a springboard for a lot of acting careers. Law and Order went off the air in 2010, but there are 32 actors who have appeared in 12+ episodes of the Showtime series Billions. 14 of those 32 actors also appeared in at least one episode of Law and Order. Billions didn’t come on the air until 2016, six years after Law and Order went off the air (its re-runs never will). 

Saturday’s Den: ACC football knowledge

Boston College:
— BC is 24-9-1 ATS in last 34 games as an underdog.
— Last four years, Eagles are 9-2-1 ATS as home underdogs.
— Last four years, BC is 24-9-1 ATS in ACC games.
— Eagles lost three of last four bowls (beat Maryland 36-30 in ’16).

Clemson
— Since 2012, Clemson is 111-14 SU.
— Offensive coordinator is in 6th year there; DC is in his 9th year.
— Tigers lost last two bowl games, 42-25/49-28.
— Clemson is 27-17-1 ATS in last 45 games as a favorite.

Duke
— Last 2 years, Blue Devils are 7-16 SU, with minus-30 turnover ratio.
— Under Cutcliffe, Duke is 8-3-1 ATS as a road favorite.
— Blue Devils scored 43 ppg in last five bowls, winning last three.
— Last three years, Duke is 4-9 ATS coming off a win.

Florida State
— Last three years, Seminoles are 14-20 SU.
— This is first time in five years they’ve had same OC two years in row.
— FSU covered once in its last ten non-conference games.
— Since 2016, Seminoles are 10-15 ATS as home favorites.

Georgia Tech
— Last 2 years, Tech was 6-16 SU, transitioning from option to spread attack.
— HC Collins is 3-8-1 ATS as a home favorite, 4-1-1 as road favorite.
— Last three years, Yellow Jackets are 5-12-1 ATS at home.
— Last three years, Tech is 4-9 ATS coming off a win.

Louisville
— Last three years, Louisville is 14-22 SU, with minus-25 turnover ratio
— Last three years, Cardinals are 2-9-1 ATS as road underdogs.
— Last four years, Louisville is 6-14 ATS coming off a win.
— As head coach, Satterfield is 31-24-1 ATS when favored, 9-14-3 as a dog.

Miami
— As head coach, Diaz is 6-9 ATS when favored, 4-1 as an underdog.
— Last four years, Miami is 12-17 ATS coming off a win.
— Miami lost its last four bowls, scoring only 15.3 ppg.
— From 2015-17, Hurricanes were +34 in turnovers; last three years, +6.

North Carolina
— Tar Heels are 15-10 last two years, after going 5-18 in 2017-18.
— Last three years, Carolina is 5-2 ATS as a home underdog.
— UNC lost four of last five bowl games, giving up 33.6 ppg.
— QB has 25 career starts, offensive line has 116 career starts.

NC State
— Under Doeren, State is 14-23-2 ATS as an underdog.
— Last three years, Wolfpack is 8-13 ATS coming off a win.
— Last three years, State is 9-6 ATS as a home favorite.
— Favorites covered four of their last five bowls.

Pittsburgh
— Last six years, Pitt is 8-15-2 ATS as home favorite, 22-11 ATS on road.
— Last four years, Panthers are 14-9 ATS off a loss.
— Pitt lost four of last five bowls (underdogs 4-1 ATS)
— Pitt has a senior QB with 36 career starts.

Syracuse
— Syracuse was outgained by 199 yards/game last year.
— Orange OL has 120 career starts returning.
— Syracuse won its last four bowls; last loss was in 2004.
— Syracuse has played in only one bowl since 2013.

Virginia
— Last years, Cavaliers are 13-6 ATS at home.
— Virginia is 8-3 ATS in last 11 non-conference games.
— Cavaliers lost four of last five bowls, were underdog in all five.
— Virginia’s OL has 132 returning starts this season.

Virginia Tech
— Last year was first time in 28 years Hokies didn’t go to a bowl.
— Last three years, Virginia Tech is only 19-18 SU.
— Last five years, Hokies are 5-12 ATS as home favorites.
— Tech lost its last three bowls, giving up 34 ppg.

Wake Forest
— Last 5 years, Wake is 3-2 in bowls; first time ever they played in 5 straight bowls.
— Since 2015, Deacons are 2-6 ATS as road favorites, 15-7 as road dogs.
— Over their last 22 games, Wake Forest is +18 in turnovers.
— Wake has 11 starters back on offense, 9 on defense; their QB has 19 career starts. 

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

13) Hopefully every had a good day Thursday. It was:
a) Canada Day— Our neighbors to the north celebrated the anniversary of Canadian Confederation which occurred on July 1, 1867. Unfortunately the Blue Jays are still playing home games in Buffalo, but hopefully soon they’ll be back in Toronto.

b) Bobby Bonilla Day— Every July 1, Bobby Bonilla gets a check for $1,193,248.20 from the New York Mets, as he will every July 1 until 2035.

Back in 2011, instead of paying Bonilla a $5.9M buyout right there and then, the Mets agreed to make annual payments of nearly $1.2M for 25 years starting July 1, 2011, including a negotiated 8% interest. Hopefully Bonilla buys his agent a nice gift every year. 

12) Orioles-Astros game Wednesday night, CB Bucknor behind the plate and Brent Strom, the Astros’ pitching coach, gets tossed after the second batter of the game. Not good.

Bucknor is widely known to be one of the worst umpires, but you don’t see a guy get tossed after two batters very often.

11) Reds’ 1B Joey Votto got his 1,000th career RBI Wednesday, and he did it the right way, by hitting a home run against San Diego. Votto should get his 2,000th career hit later this summer.

10) Seattle Mariners won 12 of their last 16 games; their 9-1 in extra innings this year.

9) In their last 21 games, Baltimore Orioles have zero wins from starting pitchers, as in, none.

Orioles are 5-16 in those 21 games, but relievers got all five of the wins.

8) Miami’s Adam Duvall has homered in consecutive games six times this season, more than any other player in the big leagues.

7) Congrats to Mississippi State on winning the College World Series, their first national title in any team sport. Bulldogs lost Game 1 of the finals to Vanderbilt, but then swept the last two.

6) White Sox’ rookie Gavin Sheets hit his first big league homer Wednesday night; can’t imagine how great a feeling that must be. Young man couldn’t stop grinning.

5) Hallmark Channel is running Christmas movies 24/7 this week and next; people must watch this stuff or else they wouldn’t do it, but why watch a Christmas movie in July?

4) Chris Paul has played in the NBA for 16 years, played in 123 playoff games, but this is the year he finally made it to the NBA Finals for the first time, scoring 41 points in the decisive Game 6 win over the Clippers. Congrats to him.

3) Fernando Tatis Jr will be the first position player from the Padres to start an All-Star Game since Tony Gwynn, in 1998.

2) Wednesday, Cubs scored 7 runs in the first inning, but lost 15-7 in Milwaukee; they were the first team since 1976 to score 7+ runs in the first inning, then lose by 7+ runs- the Giants also did that April 26, 1976. Those are the only two times that has happened in the last 100 years.

1) Thursday was also the first day rules allowing college athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness went into effect. We’ll see how this works out; there are usually unintended consequences that pop up when stuff like this happens, but I’m guessing lot of college QB’s are going to be driving really nice cars this fall. 

Tuesday’s Den: Some thoughts about movies…….

It is 3am, I don’t feel like going to bed, so I’m going to rattle on about movies for a while.

These are my opinions, so they’re neither right/wrong, just what I think. Make your own lists, it was fun to clear out the cobwebs in my mind and think of some old stuff.

13) Movies I think I’ve seen the most (wish I had an official count)

— Moneyball- Hey, I’m an A’s fam
— Rounders- Great movie.
— A Star is Born- First hour is great, second hour very sad.
— Last Vegas- An epic cast.
— Blue Chips- My all-time favorite basketball movie.

Guys who played basketball in Blue Chips who later became coaches:
— Anfernee Hardaway
— Bobby Hurley
— Rex Walters
— Matt Painter

I am unusual (you call it odd, I say unusual) in that I see movies I like dozens of times, maybe more, but I’ve never seen Star Wars and I only saw the Godfather for first time couple years ago.

12) Other movies I’ve seen an awful lot
— Major League- Bob Uecker should’ve won an Oscar for his role.
— Molly’s Game- True story about a woman who ran underground poker games.
— Begin Again- If you like music, this is a good one to see.
— Dave- Kevin Kline becomes a stand-in for the US President.
— For Love of the Game- A 40-year pitcher makes his last game his best one.

As soon as these lists get posted, I’m going to think of 3-4 movies I forgot, and I’m going to be so annoyed at myself.

11) This all started when someone on Twitter posted a thing: “Name the five movies you’ve seen the most” which started my mind running and also a lot of other people. The thread is fun to go through; people like so many different things, it is what makes our country so interesting, we live in the same place but like totally different things.

10) When I was a teenager, I was a big fan of stand-up comics and my favorite was Steve Martin. I have one of his comedy albums (Let’s Get Small) but he also became a really good actor. My three favorite Steve Martin movies:
— Leap of Faith
— Shopgirl
— Roxanne

The scene in Roxanne where he makes up 20 jokes about his nose (actually 26, count them!!!) makes my list of favorite movie scenes ever.

9) The first time I saw Caddyshack was with friends from college; it was the first time I realized that some people watch the same movies over and over, and drink when certain key words are spoken. My friends were avid golfers; they freakin’ loved Caddyshack.

8) Good movies that wound up being pretty sad:
— Less than Zero- Three high school friends have very different experiences after they graduate from high school.
— A Star is Born- Movie has been made four different times, dating back to the 1930’s.
— Beaches- When I saw this movie in the theater with my future ex-wife, when it ended, you could hear dozens and dozens of people openly sobbing. The right sleeve of my short sleeve shirt was soaked from her crying and wiping her eyes with my shirt. Oy.

7) My favorite basketball movies:
— Blue Chips— The scene with Bob Cousy/Nick Nolte shooting foul shots in an empty gym is my all-time favorite movie scene.
— The Way Back— Relatively new movie has Ben Affleck playing a high school coach with a drinking problem. The basketball scenes are really well done.
— Fast Break— Gabe Kaplan quits his job running a deli in New York City to become a college basketball coach in Nevada.
— Hoosiers— Gene Hackman was a terrible coach, but Jimmy Chitwood played, so they always won. I mean, even the drunk assistant coach knew Jimmy should shoot just about all the time.
— He Got Game— Underrated movie about a hot-shot high school recruit and what people will do to get the kid to play for their college. Jim Brown, Denzel Washington, Ned Beatty, a really good cast, plus Ray Allen/Rick Fox have big rules.
— One on One— Robby Benson is a hotshot basketball recruit who falls out of favor with his new coach.

Guy who was only in one scene was John Turturro, who played Joey Knish in Rounders; he plays the coach at Big State, a college recruiting Ray Allen’s character (Jesus Shuttlesworth)

6) On my bucket list of life is to watch the movie Let It Ride with my cousin KL Wheat, who likes to wager on the ponies. Richard Dreyfuss plays a degenerate gambler who has one really great day at the racetrack. Very funny movie.

Jennifer Tilly is in this movie; she wound up being a big-time poker player; her boyfriend is/was Phil Laak, a pro poker player known as the Unabomber.

5) My favorite football movies:
— Any Given Sunday— Al Pacino delivers two great speeches
—The Replacements— Daniel Snyder should rename his NFL team the Sentinels.
— Brian’s Song— True story about two friends who played for the Bears.
— Necessary Roughness— Movie about the Texas State Armadillos; tremendous!!!
— Heaven Can Wait— Not really a football film, but the Rams win the Super Bowl in the movie, and it is possible I still have a movie poster from the theater here in my house.

4) I’ve spent way too much time trying to decide which movie I like better; Major League or Bull Durham? Both really good, but for different reasons. Ask me on Monday, I’ll give you an answer, but ask me three days later, and I’ve probably changed my mind.

3) If you like music……..
— Begin Again— A down on his luck music exec finds a young talent in a Manhattan bar.
— A Star Is Born— The new version with Lady Gaga is lot different than the 1976 one with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.
— The Bodyguard— Whitney Houston was a great talent; didn’t realize she was only 48 when she passed away.

2) Gambling related movies:
— Rounders— Matt Damon has to decide between law school and playing poker.
— Lucky You— Lot of real-life poker stars in this one, which is set in Las Vegas. Robert Duvall plays the Doyle Brunson-type character.
— Let It Ride— We’ve already talked about this one.
— Molly’s Game— This movie is actually a continuation of the book Molly Bloom wrote.

1) Favorite baseball movies:
— Moneyball— I’m an A’s fan, what did you expect?
— The Rookie— Dennis Quaid was in this and Any Given Sunday
— Major League/Bull Durham
— For Love of the Game
— Bad News Bears— Walter Matthau as a Little League coach was classic.
— Little Big League— The mom in this movie? In real life, her son was the Mets’ first round draft pick last summer.
— The Natural— When a guy on the Texas Rangers hits a home run, they play the song from the end of this movie, when Roy Hobbs sends everyone home happy.

Make your own list of movies, see what you come up with. 

Saturday’s Den: SEC football knowledge

Alabama:
— Crimson Tide hasn’t been underdog in a game since 2015
— Last six years, covering 85 games, Alabama is +68 in turnovers.
— Alabama is 54-35-1 ATS in last 90 SEC games, 23-25-1 in last 49 non-league tilts.

Arkansas
— Last six years, Arkansas is 8-12 ATS as a home favorite.
— Since 2012, Razorbacks are 13-24 ATS in game coming off a win.
— Arkansas is 11-35 SU last four years; their last bowl was 2016.

Auburn
— Since 2014, Auburn is 19-33-1 ATS in game coming off a SU win.
— Since 2015, Tigers are 9-5-1 ATS as a road underdog.
— Auburn lost four of last five bowls, giving up 31+ points in all four losses.

Florida
— Dan Mullen is 32-22-1 ATS as a home favorite, 7-3 SU in bowls
— At Florida, Mullen is 15-10-1 ATS as a home favorite.
— Gators have a freshman QB Jalen Kitna, son of former NFL QB Jon Kitna.

Georgia
— Last four years, Dawgs are 44-9 SU; they won 4 of last 6 bowls.
— Last ten years, Georgia is 23-14 ATS as a road favorite.
— Last four years, Dawgs are 26-16 ATS in game coming off a win.

Kentucky
— Favorites are 27-15-2 ATS in Kentucky home games in the Stoops era.
— Wildcats are 15-8 in last 23 games as a home favorite, 7-12-2 as a home dog.
— Since 2012, Kentucky is 19-31-3 ATS in game coming off a loss.

LSU
— Under Orgeron, LSU is 7-0 ATS as a road underdog.
— Last 10 years, LSU is 17-9 ATS in games coming off a loss.
— LSU won its last three bowls, scoring 40-63-42 points.

Ole Miss
— Lane Kiffin is 1-8 ATS as a home underdog, 13-5-1 as a road dog.
— Last four years, Ole Miss is 2-8 ATS as a home underdog.
— Rebels won 4 of last 5 bowls (favorites 4-1 ATS)

Mississippi State
— Mike Leach is 90-72 ATS in league games, 31-38-2 out of conference.
— Underdogs covered Miss State’s last five bowls.
— Bulldogs are 3-8 ATS in last 11 home games.

Missouri
— Last three years, Mizzou is 9-5 ATS as a home favorite.
— Tigers have 88 returning starts on the offensive line; that’s good.
— Since 2015, Mizzou is 5-11 ATS as a road underdog.

South Carolina
— Last three years, Gamecocks are 3-8 ATS as a home underdog.
— Carolina has 4 starters back (84 starts) on the offensive line.
— Gamecocks have only 3 scholarship QB’s on the roster.

Tennessee
— Vols are 12-22 ATS in last 34 home games, since 2017, they’re 5-10 ATS as home favorites.
— Last 10 years, Tennessee is 19-34-1 ATS in games coming off a win.
— Good news; Vols won last four bowls; they have QB’s transferring in from Va Tech/Michigan.

Texas A&M
— Last three years, Aggies are 6-0 ATS as a road favorite.
— Jimbo Fisher is 8-2 SU in bowls, 33-18 ATS in non-conference games.
— Aggies covered 14 of last 21 games coming off a SU win.

Vanderbilt
— Last four years, Vandy is 3-12 ATS as a home underdog.
— Vandy gave up 41-45 points in last two bowls; their last bowl win was 2013.
— The new coach was a walk-on FB at Vandy; his last job was DC at Notre Dame. Both the coordinators come to Vandy from NFL jobs. 

Friday’s Den: College football coaching changes for this year

College football coaching changes for 2021:
Arizona
— First-time head coach Jedd Fisch is a longtime offensive coordinator.
— Arizona hired alums Ricky Hunley, Chuck Cecil as assistant coaches/defense.
— Wildcats went 0-5 LY, losing 70-7 to rival Arizona State; they gave up 39.8 ppg. .

Arkansas State
— Butch Jones went 50-27 at Central Michigan/Cincinnati, but went 14-24 in SEC games while at Tennessee. After three years working for Nick Saban, Jones is a head coach again.
— Previous coach bolted to Utah State, after Red Wolves had first losing season since 2010.
— ASU threw ball for 384.4 yards/game LY, #2 in country.

Auburn
— Previous coach Malzahn went 68-35 at Auburn, 39-27 in SEC, got told to take a hike.
— When you go 39-27 in SEC games and still get fired, expectations are high.
— Bryan Harsin comes from Boise State, where he was 69-19, 45-8 in Mountain West.
— Auburn opponents converted 50.3% of their 3rd down plays LY. Not good.

Boise State
— First-time head coach Andy Avalos was defensive coordinator at Oregon.
— Avalos is a Boise alum, like every Boise HC since 1998.
— Last four years, Boise is 27-2 in Mountain West
— Last three years, Broncos are only 7-6 outside Mountain West.

Buffalo
— Previous HC went 20-10 last three years, won two bowls, bolted to Kansas.
— First-time HC is 35 years old, was Dallas Cowboys’ cornerbacks’ coach LY
— Buffalo went 6-1 LY, scored 43.4 ppg, lost MAC title game, but won bowl.

Central Florida
— Previous coach bolted to Tennessee; UCF hired former Auburn coach Malzahn.
— Malzahn was 39-27 in SEC games at Auburn, but coaching Auburn during the Saban era at Alabama hasn’t been good for job security.
— Knights scored 42.2 ppg LY but went 6-4; the defense needs work.
— QB Gabriel has thrown for 7,223 yards in two seasons.

Illinois
— Illini hasn’t had a winning season since 2011.
— Bielema was 68-24 at Wisconsin, but was 11-29 in SEC games at Arkansas.
— QB Peters is 6th-year college player; he started here last two years. He figures to hand off a lot this season; Bielema prefers to run the ball a lot.

Kansas
— Leipold won six D-3 national titles, went 24-10 his last three years at Buffalo.
— Leipold was hired the day before Kansas’ spring game, which was awkward.
— Jayhawks haven’t been to a bowl game since 2008.
— Kansas will try to run ball well, to keep their defense off the field.

UL-Monroe
— 64-year old HC Terry Bowden spent last two years as a Clemson assistant.
— Former Arizona/Michigan HC Rich Rodriguez is the new OC- his son is the QB.
— Nine of their 10 losses LY were by double digits; this is a total rebuild.

Marshall
— Previous coach was 85-54 but got fired; the governor of West Virginia didn’t like him.
— When you go 55-30 in conference games and still get fired, expectations are high.
— New coach Huff has been NFL/college assistant for 16 years, last two at Alabama.
— Huff kept the same offensive coordinator, has 9 starters back on offense.

South Alabama
— New HC Wommack was an assistant at Indiana during their turnaround.
— QB Jake Bentley has 8,409 passing yards, playing for South Carolina/Utah.
— Major Applewhite is the new OC; they’ll throw more vertical passes.
— Jaguars haven’t been to a bowl since 2016.

South Carolina
— New HC Beamer is son of former Va Tech coach Frank Beamer.
— Gamecocks went 2-8 LY, giving up 41+ points in five of last six games.
— South Carolina has only 9 starters back; 5 on offense, 4 on defense.
— No returning WR had more than 11 catches last season.

Southern Mississippi
— Golden Eagles had three different head coaches, just last year.
— New HC Hall was OC at Tulane; he’ll be his own OC here.
— RB Frank Gore Jr ran for 708 yards LY; his dad is still active in the NFL.
— Southern Miss has 10 starters back on offense.

Tennessee
— New coach Heupel comes from UCF, with new AD White.
— NCAA is investigating, which usually screws up recruiting for a while.
— Tennessee hasn’t been to a bowl since 2016- last year was their worst record in 97 years.
— Heupel is an offensive guru, but this turnaround will take a while.

Texas
— Tom Herman went 32-18 in four years, 22-13 in Big X games, got the ax anyway.
— Rival Oklahoma has won six consecutive Big X titles; Texas boosters don’t like Oklahoma.
— Longhorns were 7-3 LY, will be breaking in a new QB this year.
— New coach Sarkisian was fired at USC for showing up drunk, but he knows Nick Saban, so he gets another head coaching job.

Utah State
— New HC Anderson led Arkansas State to 6 bowls in 7 years.
— Utah State has regressed since scoring 47.5 ppg in 2018.
— Aggies went 1-5 LY, scoring 10.4 ppg in the losses.
— Utah State has 9 starters back on offense, 7 on defense.

Vanderbilt
— New coach Clark Lee is a Vanderbilt alum.
— Commodores get three guys on OL back who opted out of last year.
— Vandy allowed 38+ points in seven of nine games LY.
— QB Seals completed 64.6% of his passes LY, so they’re good there. 

Monday’s Den: Random stuff, and Mountain West football knowledge

Hawks 103, 76ers 96:
— Atlanta won despite Trae Young going 5-23 from the floor.
— Kevin Huerter (from suburban Albany) scored 27 points.
— Embiid scored 31 points, had 11 rebounds on a bum leg; he was a warrior in this series.

Suns 120, Clippers 114:
— Devin Booker scored 40 for Phoenix.
— Clippers are down 1-0 for third series in a row.
— Suns were +18 in the 14:00 Torrey Craig played.
— Clippers have played every other day since June 2nd.

Nationals 5, Mets 2:
— Kyle Schwarber homered three times, has 5 homers in last two games.

Brewers 7, Rockies 6:
— Colorado hit four homers in the 6th inning, erasing a 6-0 deficit, but those were the only runs they scored. Daniel Vogelbach knocked in the winning run in the 9th inning.

New York 2, A’s 1:
— Game ended with Sean Murphy grounding into a triple play on a 2-0 pitch, after the first two batters of the inning had walked.

Mariners 6, Rays 2 (10):
— Shed Long hit a walk-off grand slam in 10th inning.
— Rays lost their last six games.
— Tampa Bay is calling up its #1 prospect Wander Franco Tuesday.

Why do teams shift against everyone? Reds shifted against San Diego C Victor Caratini Sunday, like he was Reggie Jackson or Dave Winfield— the guy is batting .219.

Caratini sticks his bat out, hits a soft ground ball to shortstop, but problem is, the shortstop isn’t there, because the Reds shift against everyone. Caratini is hitting .219; the over-educated imbeciles who run some of these front offices justify their existence by shifting way too much.

Mountain West football knowledge:
Air Force
— Five new offensive linemen and a new QB; lot of questions on offense.
— Falcons have a new special teams coach; last guy was there 10 years.
— 3 starters back on offense, 1 on defense.

Boise State
— LY’s coach bolted to Auburn; the new coach was a defensive coordinator.
— Boise was 115th in country LY in rushing yardage; no bueno.
— 8 starters back on offense, 8 on defense.

Colorado State
— Rams played only four games LY; they want to run the ball more.
— State had five punts/kicks returned for TD’s last season; not good.
— 9 starters back on offense, 10 on defense.

Fresno State
— Bulldogs scored 30+ ppg, for third year in a row.
— Fresno gave up 212 rushing yards, 30 points/game LY.
— 9 starters back on offense, 10 on defense.

Hawai’i
— Coach Graham’s son is the QB this season.
— Their kicker was only 2-7 on FG’s of 40+ yards LY.
— 7 starters back on offense, 9 on defense.

Nevada
— QB Strong threw 27 TD passes, only four INT’s last year.
— Wolf Pack brought in three D-I transfers for their secondary.
— 9 starters back on offense, 9 on defense.

UNLV
— Rebels recruited well last two years, also brought in some transfers.
— 8 starters back on offense, 10 on defense.
— When your season win total is 1.5 wins, expectations aren’t high.

New Mexico
— New QB Wilson started 25 games for Kentucky; he’s pretty good.
— Lobos couldn’t play at home LY, so getting back home should be fun.
— 7 starters back on offense, 6 on defense.

San Diego State
— Aztecs threw only six TD passes LY, were 115th in passing yardage.
— 8 starters back on offense, 9 on defense.
— San Diego State is temporarily playing home games 115 miles from campus.

San Jose State
— Spartans came out of nowhere to win league title LY, but lost their bowl game.
— San Jose’s QB Starkel will be protected by an OL with 91 returning starts.
— 8 starters back on offense, 10 on defense.

Utah State
— New coach Anderson’s Arkansas State team threw for 364.4 ypg LY.
— Aggies gave up 34+ points in five of six games LY.
— 9 starters back on offense, 7 on defense.

Wyoming
— Cowboys completed less than half their passes the last three years.
— Wyoming returns its top 10 tacklers from last season.
— 8 starters back on offense, 9 on defense.

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings and Big 14 football knowledge

Nets 114, Bucks 108:
— Milwaukee was up 16 points at the half.
— Durant scored 49 points, had 17 rebounds, 10 assists.
— James Harden wasn’t expected to play, but played 46:00.
— Brooklyn leads series 3-2.

— Bad news for the Tampa Bay Rays; ace P Tyler Glasnow has a partial tear in his right UCL; team isn’t sure if surgery will be needed.

— Oakland A’s announced that manager Bob Melvin will back next year, which will be his 12th year managing in Oakland. He’s a very, very good manager.

— Royals’ OF Jorge Soler has already reached base on catcher’s interference six times this year; the record is 12, set by Jacoby Ellsbury five years ago.

— CFL announced that their 14-game season will start August 5; the Grey Cup game will be played December 12, in Hamilton.

Mets 3, Cubs 2
— Mets threw tying run out at plate in 9th inning, on great relay from CF.
— Cubs’ 3B Kris Bryant left game after he was hit on hand by a pitch.

Giants 9, Diamondbacks 8:
— Arizona led this game 7-0 in 2nd inning, 8-3 after five.
— Mike Yastzremski hit a grand slam in the 8th inning.
— Arizona has lost 12 in row overall, 21 in row on the road.

Notes on Big 14 football teams:
Illinois
— Former Wisconsin/Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is new HC.
— 7 starters back on offense, 6 on defense.
— Illinois’ last winning season was in 2011.

Indiana
— Went 6-2 LY, gave the coach a raise to $4.9M a year.
— Last two years, Hoosiers are 15-5 against the spread.
— 8 starters back on offense, 9 on defense.

Iowa
— Lost first two games 24-20/21-20 LY, then won last six games.
— Hawkeyes will have 3 new starters on OL this fall.
— 6 starters back on offense, 7 on defense.

Maryland
— Locksley is 8-43 as a head coach, 6-17 at Maryland.
— 7 starters back on offense, 8 on defense.
— Former Florida HC Ron Zook will coach special teams.

Michigan
— Gave up 34.5 ppg LY, fired the DC.
— Wolverines will have another new starting QB this year.
— 7 starters back on offense, 9 on defense.

Michigan State
— Spartans brought in 20 transfers this season.
— QB Anthony Russo started 26 games at Temple.
— 6 starters back on offense, 7 on defense.

Minnesota
— 10 starters back on offense, 7 on defense.
— Gave up 207.1 rushing yards/game LY (#102)
— Gophers poached kicker from Kent State to help their special teams.

Nebraska
— Went 3-5 LY, with a minus-11 turnover ratio.

— Cornhuskers have five 6th-year seniors on their defense.
— 6 starters back on offense, 8 on defense.

Northwestern
— Played in Big 14 title game LY, beat Auburn in their bowl.
— only 4 starters back on offense, 5 on defense this year.
— Lost their QB and top four WR’s from last season.

Ohio State
— Ryan Day is 23-2 SU coaching the Buckeyes.
— OSU has 6 starters back on offense, 5 on defense.
— Buckeyes don’t have a QB who has a thrown a college pass.

Penn State
— Started 0-5 LY, won last four games; were minus-7 in turnovers.
— Gave up 27.7 ppg LY, most in school history. 
— 9 starters back on offense, 6 on defense.

Purdue
— Went 6-12 SU the last two seasons.
— ranked 124th in country in rushing LY (81.5 ypg)
— 7 starters back on offense, 7 on defense.

Rutgers
— Hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2014.
— K-State transfer Youngblood ran three kicks back for TD’s in 2019.
— 10 starters back on offense, 8 on defense.

Wisconsin
— 7 starters back on offense, 8 on defense.
— Ranked 103rd in country in yards/game LY.
— Last time Badgers didn’t go bowling; 2001.