Friday’s List of 13: NFL knowledge with the season here…….

13) Dallas Cowboys haven’t played in a Super Bowl since the 1995 season; Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger both won a Super Bowl in their second season- Dallas is hoping Dak Prescott gets a championship in his second season.

12) Roethlisberger has played all 16 games in only three of his 13 NFL seasons; he missed one game in four other seasons.

11) Teams who have rebuilt/are rebuilding their offensive lines:
— Vikings have four new starters on the offensive line.
— Broncos, Ravens, Chargers, Lions, Rams all have three new starters.

10) Indianapolis Colts have eight new starters on defense; their QB and center are both out to start this season.

9) Lot of people are touting the Buccaneers to be a playoff team this year; after watching Hard Knocks this summer, I wasn’t overly impressed by anything about them, other than coach Dirk Koetter is a very calm person. Even when he curses someone out, it is done quietly.

Koetter got the head coaching job because of how he’s helped Jameis Winston develop as a QB; would’ve liked to have seen some of that behind-the-scenes teaching on Hard Knocks.

8) Carolina Panthers lost six games by 3 or less points last year; teams like that often make a quantum leap forward if they get some breaks the next season, but Carolina was also 15-1 the year before, so maybe last year was the correction.

In any event. Cam Newton’s shoulder is the Panthers’ most important variable.

7) Do you think Bill Belichick will retire when Tom Brady does?

6) Oakland Raiders have five new starters on defense; Derek Carr has been terrific at QB as a Raider, but he is 1-5 against the Chiefs.

5) Minnesota QB Sam Bradford’s passes traveled an average of 6.24 yards in the air LY, the shortest average pass of any starting QB, which helps explain why he completed 70% of them.

Bradford’s best WR is Michael Floyd, who is suspended for the first four games this year.

4) Baltimore Ravens were 8-8 LY, losing three games they led with 2:30 to play; since June 1, Ravens have lost four starters for the season with injuries. Joe Flacco didn’t take a snap in the preseason games and they have three new starters on the OL. I’m a skeptic.

3) Arizona Cardinals have only five outdoor games this season; three of their road games are in domes. Cardinals also have six new starters on defense this season.

2) New Orleans Saints have been 7-9 the last three seasons; they’ve got six new starters on defense this year. Will they run the ball more this season to protect that defense, and aging QB Drew Brees?  They’ve added Adrian Peterson, so it is a popular theory.

1) Last two years, Chargers are 7-17 in games decided by 8 or less points; they’ve got 10 starters back on defense and a rookie coach who hired two former head coaches as coordinators, which seems like a smart move.

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

13) Mets’ game Tuesday night was so terrible that their three TV guys spent the last half of the game going thru a bunch of 40-year old baseball cards they had in the booth. Seriously.

Names like John Wockenfuss, Frank Tanana, Paul Casanova came up and then Keith Hernandez or Ron Darling would tell a story about playing against them. It was oddly entertaining.

12) If I had to pick a random person I’d like to meet/talk to someday, it would be Bill James, the Sabermetrics guy. 35 years ago I found one of his books in a bookstore and was hooked; we share a love for statistics and his writing is terrific. It is amazing that a guy who was once a night watchman in a pork and beans factory has had so much influence on the sports world.

11) Baseball is cool because odd stuff happens; Boston reliever Carson Smith made his first appearance after missing 16 months (Tommy John surgery) Tuesday— he came in the game in the 18th inning. His first pitch was a close pitch to Josh Donaldson, called a strike.

Donaldson flips out on the umpire, gets tossed, so after Smith has thrown his first pitch in 16 months, he is facing his second hitter in the same at-bat. Unusual.

10) Cleveland Indians are on fire, winning 14 games in a row, which begs the question: Why did the Red Sox ever fire Terry Francona?

Francona managed the Red Sox for eight glorious years, all winning seasons, two of them world championship seasons— only once did his Sox win less than 89 games (86-76 in ’06). He ended the Curse of the Bambino, then won another title three years later.

He is 434-350 in Cleveland, with five winning seasons; he came within one inning of a world title with the Indians last season. A Hall of Fame manager, for sure.

9) Red Sox, by the way, are 12-3 in extra inning games this season.

8) Angels have gotten a save from six different pitchers in their last 24 games, which has to be some kind of a record.

7) Marlins Park in Miami is five years old; there was interesting stuff posted on the Interweb today about how with Hurricane Irma approaching, Marlins Park was designed to survive a hurricane, partially by leaving the roof open in three different areas, to allow air pressure to enter and then leave the stadium.

Hopefully the storm will lose a lot of its steam and everyone in the storm’s path will be safe.

6) NHL’s Florida Panthers are taking 90 players/employees and their families to Boston for the weekend to wait out Hurricane Irma.

5) Couple of Cincinnati Reds’-related notes:
a) Billy Hamiiton broke his hand Wednesday, is out for the year.
b) Rookie pitcher Luis Castillo beat the Brewers Wednesday, then was shut down for the season because in today’s baseball, prospects aren’t supposed to throw 20% more innings than they did the year before.

Castillo threw 131.2 innings last year, has 169.2 this year, a 28.9% increase, so he is done for this year with a 3-7, 3.12 mark in 15 major league starts that was way better than it looks.

4) Will Middlebrooks had a pinch-hit triple in both games of a twin bill for Texas Wednesday; he is the only person in the last 100 years to do that.

3) Dodgers have lost 11 of their last 12 games; from June 7-August 19, they were 51-9.

2) Detroit’s Ian Kinsler hit his 15th homer last night; all 15 have been solo HR’s. He is the first player since 1987 whose first 15 homers in a season all came with the bases empty.

1) Sign of the times: Middle Tennessee State got a commitment from a basketball prospect this week, but the young man just graduated 8th grade. Whats up with that? Kid won’t start college until four years from now.

Notes from this week’s college football, outside top 13 games.

13) Central Michigan needed OT to beat I-AA Rhode Island last week, after CMU blew a 13-0 halftime lead. Since 2014, Chippewas are 7-2 as a road underdog.

12) Western Michigan is 13-3 in last 16 games as a road underdog; they were tied in 4th quarter last week at USC, before losing 49-31. Michigan State is 4-8 in last 12 games as a home favorite.

11) Rutgers is 7-10 vs spread in last 17 games as a home favorite. Eastern Michigan is 7-4 in last 11 games as a road underdog.

10) Old Dominion (-8) beat UMass 36-16 at home LY, outgunning Minutemen 522-406, running ball for 274 yards. UMass is 4-7 in last 11 games as a home underdog.

9) Northwestern is 8-1 in its last nine games with Duke, winning last three by 4-9-11 points. Underdogs covered five of last six series games. Wildcats won their last five visits to Duke.

8) Underdogs covered seven of last eight South Florida-UConn games; USF won 28-20/13-10 in last two visits to the Nutmeg State. Huskies are 5-15 vs spread in last 20 home games.

7) Short week for West Virginia, which lost 31-24 to Va Tech Sunday night. WVU is 11-19 as a home favorite under Holgersen. East Carolina lost to a I-AA team last week and they weren’t even favored at home against them. ECU is 11-19-1 in last 31 games as a road underdog.

6) Boston College is 7-3 in last ten games with Wake Forest; underdogs won last three SU. Average total in last four series games, 27.0. Deacons won two of last three visits to Boston.

5) Underdogs are 6-1-1 vs spread in last eight New Mexico State-New Mexico games; Aggies pulled a 32-31 upset (+12.5) over New Mexico LY, their first win in last five series games. Lobos are 4-7 in last 11 games as a home favorite.

4) Rice won nine of last 11 games with UTEP; favorites covered four of last six series games. Owls are 3-2 in last five visits to El Paso; they were in Australia two weeks ago, losing 62-7 to Stanford. Rice is located in Houston; their routines have obviously been disrupted by Hurricane Harvey.

3) Indiana led Ohio State in 3rd quarter last week but faded late; they’re 6-4 vs spread in last ten road games. Virginia covered nine of its last 12 non-conference games.

2) Since 2013, Navy is 12-7 vs spread as a home favorite; they won last two games with Tulane, 21-14 (-6), 31-14 (-23). Green Wave is 7-9 vs spread in last 16 games as a road underdog.

1) Western Kentucky is 10-14-1 vs spread in last 25 road games, 3-6-1 in last nine non-league games. Illinois snuck by Ball State LW 24-21; Illini is 8-13 vs spread in last 21 home games.

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

13) From the New York Times:

“Investigators for Major League Baseball have determined that the Boston Red Sox, who are in first place in the American League East and likely headed to the playoffs, executed a scheme to illicitly steal hand signals from opponents’ catchers in games against the second-place Yankees and other teams, according to several people briefed on the matter.”

So the Patriots and now the Red Sox are cheaters? Terrific…….

Red Sox, by the way, are claiming that their rivals from New York are doing the same thing as far as stealing signals go. The A’s? Our guys can’t afford Apple watches.

12) Tennessee 42, Georgia Tech 41 OT— Great ballgame; has a team ever rushed for 535 yards and lost? Tech went for 2 points and the win in the second OT— I HATE THIS STRATEGY. Here is why I hate this strategy:

— Tennessee was favored; all the pressure to win was on them.
— Georgia Tech has the better QB; the longer you play, the better off you are.
— It is free TV exposure (for recruiting purposes)!!!!! There was nothing else on TV.
— To me, there is no point in putting the whole game on your offense’s shoulders. Your team played a great game— now they feel like they screwed the game up.
— If you had Tennessee -4 (I did not), you also hate this strategy, because it cost you any chance to win your wager, but that really isn’t relevant, unless you gave the four points.

Terrific ballgame; great fun to watch. But the better team lost this game.

11) Georgia Tech ran the ball for 535 yards; they ran 96 plays, Tennessee 59. It’ll be a long time before another team runs the ball for 535 yards and loses.

10) Umpire Will Little guided the Bronx Bombers to victory again Monday; last 3 years, New York is now 7-0 with Little behind plate, allowing 17 runs in the seven games.

9) If you had Texas A&M on the moneyline Sunday night, you feel as if God hates you, since the Aggies led 44-10 in the third quarter- they lost 45-44 at UCLA.

8) Random stat: Since beginning of the 2015 season, ACC teams are 15-11 vs spread when playing an SEC opponent.

7) Now that Deondre Francois is out of this season, it will be interesting to see if Florida State has any WR’s/RB’s who were high school QB’s who could run a Wildcat-type offense in the red zone. With a totally inexperienced freshman QB at the helm now, a more mobile QB near the goal line could be a big help for the Seminoles. We’ll see how creative Jimbo Fisher gets.

6) More than 20,000 acres of Oregon’s landscape is currently on fire; it is also unseasonably warm in Oregon— those two things have poisoned the air around Eugene, forcing the Oregon Ducks to move their practices closer to the Pacific Coast. Ducks play Nebraska Saturday.

5) Only 18 players have hit four home runs in a major league game, making JD Martinez’ feat against the Dodgers Monday even more impressive.

4) JJ Watt has now raised over $20 million to help the people in Texas. His original goal was $200,000. Amazing.

3) I have to laugh when Dodger fans or Red Sox fans go into a panic when their team loses 2 or 3 games in a row; I root for the Oakland A’s, who were eliminated from the pennant race the day after I got my income tax return, and I file my return early.

2) Former New Mexico coach Mike Locksley’s 25-year old son Meiko died Sunday night after he was shot in Columbia, MD. Mike Locksley is now WR coach/co-offensive coordinator at Alabama. Very sad thing; our thoughts/prayers go out to the family.

1) What happens if some of these 800,000 “dreamers” are carrying a gun in Iraq or driving a tank in Afghanistan? Will they be kicked out of the military in six months? These people are protecting American interests, if not America itself.

At some point, hopefully common sense and common decency will win out here.

Random NFL thoughts………

Random NFL thoughts with the season starting Thursday…….
13) Dallas only has one divisional game during Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension, Week 1 against the Giants. How different will the Cowboys’ offense be without Elliott?

Giants lost three of their last four visits to Dallas.

12) How is Cam Newton’s shoulder? He didn’t play in preseason; Panthers obviously need him. Their records the last four years:
2013: 12-4
2014: 7-8-1
2015: 15-1
2016: 6-10

11) How bad are the Jets going to be? If they can keep 37-year old QB Josh McCown healthy, he’ll keep their offense respectable, but if he goes down, their QB situation becomes a dumpster fire. They better hope USC QB Sam Darnold has a big year— he figures to be the first QB taken in the draft next April.

Jets swept Buffalo last year but lost four of last five visits to western New York.

10) Denver’s QB’s are Siemian-Lynch-Osweiler; they’ve got a new coach, new coordinators. Broncos are 59-21 the last five years; they making the playoffs this year?

Denver won six of its last seven games with San Diego, with all six wins by 7+ points (5-2 vs spread).

9) Jacoby Brissett started one game last year; the Patriots lost 16-0 to Buffalo. Despite that, the Colts traded for Brissett over the weekend, giving up a WR who was a first round pick in 2015. Unless they have real doubts about Andrew Luck’s health, this is a weird, weird move.

8) Why is Marty Mornhinweg an offensive coordinator in the NFL? Baltimore couldn’t come up with a better OC than him? For instance, Mike Martz doesn’t have a job.

With Joe Flacco hurting, look at their backup QB— Ryan Mallett. Two years ago, when Mallett didn’t win the starter’s job in Houston, he called in sick the next day. He called in sick!!! Not exactly the kind of guy you might need to lead the franchise.

Bengals won five of last six games with Baltimore; underdogs covered five of those six games.

7) Will the Saints run the ball more now that they have Adrian Peterson?

New Orleans won its last four games with Minnesota; their last loss to Minnesota was in 2008.

6) Home teams won last five Green Bay-Seattle games; last three were all decided by 10+ points. Packers were +6 in turnovers in last year’s 38-10 win over Seattle.

5) John Fox is on the hot seat in Chicago, with a high draft pick at QB waiting to take the place of a journeyman QB (Mike Glennon), much like the Rams’ situation last year. It didn’t end well for the Rams’ coach last year; can Fox win enough games this year to keep his job?

4) Tennessee Titans have high expectations for the first time in a while; can Marcus Mariota lead them to the playoffs? Last time the Titans were in the playoffs was 2008; last time they won a playoff game was 2003.

Favorites covered nine of last 10 Raider-Titan games; Oakland beat the Titans in Nashville 17-10/24-21 the last two seasons.

3) Eagles play four of their first six games on the road, then go 38 days before their next road game. Carson Wentz got high grades for his rookie season. Philly hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008. NFC East is looking tough this season.

Redskins won their last four games with Philly, holding Eagles to 75 rushing yards/game in last five meetings. Iggles lost their last three visits to Landover, MD

2) Cleveland is starting rookie DeShone Kizer at QB; his college coach Brian Kelly said last winter that Kizer wasn’t ready for the NFL, so we’ll find out about pretty quickly. Expectations couldn’t be any lower for the Browns, who cut CB Joe Haden last week, only to have Pittsburgh sign him for $27M about five minutes later.

Browns have actually won twice in their last five home games with Pittsburgh, but they’re 1-17 in season openers.

1) Atlanta Falcons were 0-4 in preseason, which means almost nothing, but then you realize they have two new coordinators and are coming off that Super Bowl. Teams that lose the Super Bowl generally have a hangover the next season. Tough job for Dan Quinn this season.

Last 14 years, the Super Bowl loser is 5-9 in its first game the next year (2-12 vs spread).

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

13) Think I say this every summer, but every NFL team should carry three QB’s for every game, even if the league mandates a 3rd QB roster spot that is apart from the normal 53-man roster. It should be done for the quality of the product.

Couple years ago, Houston Texans lost their QB to an injury on the first series of the game; for the rest of the afternoon, they had to be ultra-cautious with their backup QB, since he had no backup, so if he got hurt, Houston would’ve had to use a WR at QB and run Wildcat offense. What resulted was a terrible game to watch and a Houston loss.

For the good of the viewing audience, all teams should carry three QB’s for every game.

12) I’ll keep this short: Aaron Donald has two years left on his contract, so I have no sympathy for him in his holdout. Come in, be the great player you are and eventually you’ll get paid. His agent is screwing him over if he allows Donald to miss games.

11) Gus Johnson was calling UCLA’s 45-44 comeback win over Texas A&M on FOX Sunday night; Johnson is good at calling games until they get dramatic at the end, then he gets full of himself and starts screaming, so everyone knows HE is calling the action.

Let the game speak for itself, please?!?!?!

10) Speaking of that game, a Texas A&M regent went on a Facebook rant after the game, saying Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin should be fired. I’m thinking this where if you’re this regent, you type the rant, count to 10, read it again, count to 10 again, then hit the “delete” key, so you don’t make yourself look like a fool. But thats just me.

9) When a football official throws a flag in the defensive backfield, it is funny how often one of his fellow officials also throws a flag, to “sell the call”, as in “if two refs threw the flag it MUST HAVE BEEN a penalty.” Actually, it is fairly annoying, like we’re not smart enough to notice that BS.

8) Sun Belt teams were 5-1 against the spread this weekend; Big 14 teams were 8-4. Conference-USA teams were 2-6, ACC teams 2-5 against the spread.

7) Odd baseball game in Seattle Sunday; Oakland A’s lost 10-2 to lefty Andrew Albers, who isn’t exactly Sandy Koufax. A’s swung at 71 of Albers’ 101 pitches, but got only one hit- they fouled off 41 of his pitches!!! Thats a major league high for the last three years.

Albers induced only five swings/misses; 13 balls were put in play. Very unusual stat line for him.

6) I mentioned recently that the Reds should bat Joey Votto leadoff, because of his .448 OB%. Turns out his on-base % leading off an inning this year is “only” .373— he’s led off 86 innings. From 2014-16, his on-base %age leading off an inning was .419.

5) The last 23 times umpire Doug Eddings worked the plate, the underdog is 19-4.

4) When the Dodgers lost five games in a row last week, it was their first 5-game skid since April 25-30, 2016. In between those two losing streaks, the other 29 big league teams had a combined 131 five+-game losing streaks.

3) Giancarlo Stanton has had 45 games this year when he didn’t get a hit; the Marlins are 10-35 in those games, 57-34 in all their other games.

2) Andrew Luck has been declared out for the Colts’ opener in Los Angeles Sunday, meaning Scott Tolzien (0-2-1 as an NFL starter) gets the nod at QB for Indianapolis.

1) You read about this Dreamers program, where children of illegal immigrants might get deported, as many as 800,000 of them. At least 250 of those people work at Apple— do we really want 250 smart people deported? Deport criminals, not productive people.

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

13) If you have season tickets for an NFL team, you buy 10 games at regular season prices; the obvious problem is this: 2 of those 10 games are exhibition games.

NFL should reduce the price of those two unwatchable preseason games to $25, which would allow people who don’t normally go to exhibition games to go. At some point, the owners have to stop sucking every last dollar from the consumer. Its not good business. Greed isn’t good.

12) 37 Buccaneers sat out their exhibition game Thursday night; assuming all of those guys are making the squad, that means only 16 players who will be Bucs in Week 1 played vs Washington.

11) NFL owners get stadiums built for them; they’re rich people with a sense of entitlement that is out of control. At some point, NFL owners need to give something back to their communities.

10) Seahawks acquired defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson from the Jets on Friday. In return, Seattle sent WR Jermaine Kearse and a 2018 2nd-round draft pick to New Jersey.

9) A professional golfer named Kelly Kraft (#64 in FedEx Cup standings) made a 12 on the par-5 second hole Friday, shot a 44 on the front nine, then withdrew with a foot injury. Oy.

8) Nigel Williams-Goss transferred from Washington to Gonzaga, sat out 2015-16, then helped the Zags make the Final Four last year. He skipped his senior year at Gonzaga, was drafted in the second round by Utah, but instead of getting a two-way contract with Utah, he is off to Serbia to play ball for $130,000 this season. Curious decision.

7) 49ers cut QB Matt Barkley, who figures to get picked up by someone (Buffalo??). Browns cut Brock Osweiler, who still banks $16M from Cleveland— Osweiler is headed back to Denver with a hefty bank account, but with very little success on the field.

6) Baseball players who are September 1st call-ups making minimum MLB salary ($535,000 a year) will earn $90,628 for the rest of the season.

5) Was reading where Justin Verlander approved his trade to Houston one minute before the trade deadline. Supposedly there was a chance he would be traded to the Cubs, but that fell thru.

4) UL-Lafayette 51, SE Louisiana 48— Ragin’ Cajuns ran two kicks back for TD’s; Lions ran a punt back for a score. With 0:42 left, SE Louisiana scored a TD to make score 49-48- they went for two points and the win, but their QB fumbled and ULL ran it back for two points of their own. Game was 35-35 at halftime.

3) Cleveland Browns’ three QB’s (Kizer-Kessler-Hogan) have a total of zero NFL wins to their credit. Browns are paying Brock Osweiler $15M+ to be a backup in Denver.

Dolphins signed K Cody Parkey, which means RPI alum Andrew Franks is out of a job, at least for now.

2) Indians 11, Tigers 1— Cleveland has won 11 games in a row.

1) Jets, Jaguars, Browns picked up five guys each off the waiver wire; Ram picked up three, the Colts four. Most of the better teams didn’t add anyone— you can get a little bit of a feel of who the better teams are by seeing which teams add which players.

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday

13) Alabama 24, Florida State 7— Horrific night for the Seminoles; QB Francois looks like he suffered a serious knee injury late in the game- they have no experience behind him.

FSU’s special teams imploded late in the third quarter, allowing a blocked punt, then fumbling the ensuing kickoff after an Alabama FG.

12) Maryland 51, Texas 41— Longhorns scored TD’s on defense, on a blocked FG and on a punt return, but STILL LOST BY 10 POINTS!!!! Texas was favored by 18.5. Oy.

Maryland also scored a TD on a blocked FG; they ran ball for 263 yards, threw it for 219 and their backup QB played the whole 4th quarter. Great win for the Terrapins.

11) USC 49, Western Michigan 31— Amazingly misleading final score; game was tied 14-14 at the half, was 28-28 with 7:30 left in 4th quarter. It was 35-31 with 4:00 left, but Trojans scored two TD’s in last 3:49 and won their opener, gaining 521 total yards.

USC has a backup long snapper named Jake Olsen who has been blind since he was 12 years old. He came in and made a perfect snap on a USC PAT late in the game. Good for him.

10) Oklahoma State 59, Tulsa 24— Cowboys averaged over 10 yards a play, but Tulsa converted 16-26 on third down, ran 98 plays, which is a huge red flag for an OSU defense that has to try and stop Big X offenses down the road.

9) Michigan 33, Florida 17— Gators’ defense had two pick-6’s in a 1:29 span early in 2nd quarter, but those were Gators’ only two TD’s of the game. Young Wolverines made two FG’s of 50+ yards and added a defensive TD late in the game. Florida had ten kids suspended for this game; for their sake, hope those ten kids are mostly on offense.

8) James Madison 34, East Carolina 14— Not only did the Pirates lose at home to a I-AA team, JMU was a 2.5-point road favorite. Not often a I-AA team is a road favorite at a I-A opponent.

7) There have already been 45 games this year where a I-A team played a I-AA team. Lot of schools treat these I-AA games are dress rehearsals for their conference games, an “exhibition” game with regular season prices, where you can work some of the kinks out. Not sure how much they help, especially if you lose, like ECU, Georgia State, UNLV and Baylor did.

6) Liberty 48, Baylor 45— Speaking of which, Matt Rhule’s debut in Waco didn’t go very well.

Howard 43, UNLV 40– Caylin Newton is Cam Newton’s brother; he threw for 140 yards, ran for 190 more, as Howard upset the Runnin’ Rebels.

Missouri 72, Missouri State 43— This game was 48-35 at the half. when you give up 35 points in a half to any team, especially a I-AA team, you have defensive issues.

Mizzou gained 815 yards, threw for 521, but they’re an SEC team and if you’re going to win SEC games, you damn sure better have a solid defense.

5) California 35, North Carolina 30— Golden Bears (+12.5) come east and post the upset, with soph QB Bowers throwing for 363 yards and four TD’s, including passes of 54, 67 yards.

4) Illinois 24, Ball State 21— Cardinals outgained the Illini 375-216 but couldn’t give the MAC an upset win. Illinois scored the winning TD with 2:06 left, then Ball State missed a 54-yard FG at the end. Cardinals were 12-21 on third down.

3) Nebraska 43, Arkansas State 36— Red Wolves have only 2 returning starts on their offensive line this year- that almost never happens!!! Despite being so young up front, junior QB named Hansen threw for 415 yards and three TD’s. Cornhuskers led 41-26 with 10:00 left, but when the game ended, Arkansas State had the ball on the Nebraska 10-yard line.

2) Louisville 35, Purdue 28— Lot tougher than expected. Cardinals committed 16 penalties for 110 yards, offsetting the 524  yards they gained from scrimmage.

1) Iowa 24, Wyoming 3— Hawkeyes held Cowboys’ QB Josh Allen without a TD, in a game where total offense was only 263-233 in good weather. Iowa’s offense has lot of work to do.

Flashback to 2003: Iowa (-10) beat Miami OH 21-3 in both team’s opener. Miami came to Iowa City with a highly-touted veteran QB, but also failed to score a touchdown that day.

Before you write off Josh Allen, remember that Miami’s QB that day was Ben Roethlisberger.

Saturday’s List of 13: Trends for the first college football Saturday

13) In 2013-15, Michigan State was +14/+19/+13 in turnovers, for an amazing total of +46. Spartans went 36-5 in those three seasons.

Last year, MSU was -5 in turnovers and slumped to an abysmal 3-9 record, with 14 senior starters. This year with only 8 returning starters, they’re one of youngest teams in country.

12) Kent State football coach Paul Haynes has taken a medical leave of absence for a few weeks and will not be on the sidelines when the Golden Flashes visit Clemson Saturday.

11) Wyoming is 25-12 vs spread in its last 37 games as a road underdog.

10) Cal Golden Bears covered only twice in their last 10 games as a road underdog.

9) Underdogs are 21-9-2 vs spread in Florida Atlantic’s last 32 games.

8) Penn State coach James Franklin is 18-11 vs spread in his last 29 non-league games.

7) Joe Flacco’s brother Tom is a quarterback at Western Michigan.

6) Arkansas State is 1-8 vs spread in last nine games as a non-league road underdog.

5) Ball State covered nine of its last 11 games when visiting a Big 14 team.

4) South Alabama is 3-10 vs spread in its last 13 games as a road underdog.

3) Boise State is 12-27 vs spread in last 39 games as a home favorite.

2) Georgia Tech is 10-5 vs spread in last 15 games as an underdog.

1) UCLA covered only three of its last thirteen home games.

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

13) JJ Watt is a great American; his fundraising efforts for the people in Houston have gone over the $13M mark. He is setting an example for other public figures on how to deal with a tragedy.

12) There are many images from Texas that are very sad, but the clip on the Interweb of the man playing the piano in his flooded home is just unspeakably sad. It is on CNN’s website and other places. You wonder how long it’ll take for these people’s lives to return to some kind of normalcy.

11) Astros acquired Justin Verlander from Detroit last night for three minor leaguers. Houston desperately needed a top-flight starting pitcher.

10) Ohio State 49, Indiana 21- Hoosiers led 21-20 in third quarter, before reality set in.

Indiana fired Lee Corso as its football coach after the 1982 season; last night was the first time since then that coach Corso saw the Hoosiers play in person.

9) Milwaukee’s Keon Broxton made a game-ending, HR-robbing catch over the CF fence to end the Brewers’ 6-5 win over St Louis Wednesday. If Milwaukee makes the playoffs, that catch is going to be a big reason why.

7) Joey Votto recently walked eight times in two games, making him only the second player since 1984 to do that— Bryce Harper is the other.

6) San Jose State basketball transfer Brandon Clarke (17 pts, 8 reb/game LY) bolts to Gonzaga, because nowaways, thats where all the transfers on the west coast go. Gonzaga or Nevada.

5) White Sox traded P Miguel Gonzalez to Texas last night.

4) Blue Jays 11, Orioles 8— Kendrys Morales hit three homers for Toronto.

3) I’m surprised/disappointed that Jeff Fisher hasn’t surfaced as a TV analyst. He doesn’t need the money but would be curious to hear what he has to say.

2) There are already 1,855 entries to this year’s SuperContest at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas; the previous record for entries was 1,854, set last year. Deadline is September 9, so  it is likely that first place this season will be over $1M.

1) RIP to coach Rollie Massimino 82, who won the last college basketball game played without a shot clock, Villanova’s upset of Georgetown in the 1985 national title game.

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

13) All-time record for consecutive scoreless innings:
48— Chicago Cubs, 1968
45— Cincinnati Reds, 1931
45— Kansas City Royals, 2017

12) As of Tuesday night’s results, Joey Votto had 27 walks in his last 18 games; time for the Reds to at least consider batting him leadoff.

Votto’s on-base %age: .449
Billy Hamilton’s on-base %age: .298

11) In 2015, the state of California collected $258.1M in taxes from pro athletes.

10) The major league record for home runs in a season by someone who wasn’t in the majors before August 1? 13, by Ted Williams in 1953.

Phillies’ rookie Rhys Hoskins has 11 homers; his first big league game was August 10.

9) To win $100 at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, all a bettor has to do is put up $100,000 on the Golden State Warriors making the NBA playoffs this coming season. A $100 bet on Golden State to miss the playoffs pays $10,100.

I could be wrong, but I would advise against putting up $100,000 to win $100.

8) Cedar Bayou, TX had 51.88 inches of rain from Hurricane Harvey, the most rainfall ever on the continental United States. Thats over four feet of rain!!!!

7) Dolphins’ DT Ndamukong Suh played youth soccer as a kid in Oregon— one of his teammates was Klay Thompson. Apparently Suh is now the Miami Dolphins’ backup kicker, should anything happen to starting kicker Andrew Franks, who went to D-III RPI, which is across the river from me in beautiful downtown Troy, NY.

RPI is better known for its Division I hockey program. And its engineering program.

6) How come no one bats the pitcher 8th this year? Because it was never a good idea, just something Tony Larussa/Joe Maddon did, so other teams blindly copied it.

5) Former LSU coach Les Miles, one of my favorites, will be a game analyst for FOX Sports this fall. Miles live-tweeted the Floyd Mayweather fight Saturday night- he could be television gold.

4) Major league record for most games started by a pitcher without ever appearing in relief:
682, Tom Glavine
379, Justin Verlander
372, Felix Hernandez
240, Juan Guzman

3) According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle last week, the book Moneyball is required reading at most business schools across the country. 

Wonder if they’ll study the part where the A’s trade their best pitcher (who has an affordable contract) for three players, two of whom are currently incapacitated, and a third guy who is in AA. (he is hitting .269 in the Texas League right now).

To paraphrase Rick Pitino, Brad Pitt isn’t walking thru that door anytime soon. Moneyball 2 ain’t gonna happen, not while the A’s flounder year after year.

2) First-round matchups for the Puerto Rico tip-off tournament this fall:
South Carolina-Illinois State, Boise State-UTEP, Iowa State-Appalachian State, Tulsa-Western Michigan. Pretty good tournament.

1) Astros are coming home to Houston this weekend; Friday’s game with the Mets was postponed to a day/night doubleheader on Saturday, with a day game on Sunday.

How current managers do on replay challenges

Major League managers on replay challenges:

Joe Girardi, NYY 76-104, 73.1%
Ned Yost, KC 76-113, 67.3%
Pete Mackanin, Phil 52-79, 65.8%
Bruce Bochy, SF 81-126, 64.3%
Dave Roberts, LA 37-60, 61.7%

Paul Molitor, Minn 50-83, 60.2%
Mike Scioscia, LAA 70-117, 59.8%
Terry Collins, NYM 61-105, 58.1%
Buck Showalter, Balt 60-105, 57.1%
Clint Hurdle, Pitt 81-146, 55.5%

Joe Maddon, Cubs 85-157, 54.1%
Terry Francona, Clev 64-119, 53.8%
Mike Matheny, StL 70-132, 53.0%
Rich Renteria, CWS 37-70, 52.9%
Bob Melvin, A’s 54-105, 51.4%

Craig Counsell, Milw 45-88, 51.1%
Brian Price, Cinc 58-115, 50.4%
Tory Lovullo, Ariz 18-36, 50.0%
Don Mattingly, Mia 71-143, 49.7%
Andy Green, SD 37-76, 48.7%

Brian Snitker, All 32-67, 47.8%
AJ Hinch Hst, 51-107, 47.7%
Kevin Cash, TB 66-139, 47.5%
John Farrell, Bos 64-135, 47.4%
Brad Ausmus, Det 53-113, 46.9%

Jeff Banister, Tex 61-137, 44.5%
Bud Black, Colo 32-72, 44.4%
Scott Servais, Sea 33-81, 40.7%
Dusty Baker, Wash 26-65, 40.0%
John Gibbons, Tor 49-141, 34.8%

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

13) Matthew Stafford is the highest paid player in NFL history? A 5-year contract extension worth $135M??? Wow.

If he is that valuable, how in the name of Wayne Fontes is their left tackle Greg Robinson? Stafford is going to get pummeled this season with Robinson playing LT.

This note from Paul Howard: Stafford is 4-43 in his career against teams that finished the season with a winning record- 1-21 on the road.

12) Rangers wanted the Astros to play their series in Arlington this week, but they didn’t want to flip-flop home series, giving Houston three home games later on this season, which is why the series is being played in Florida. I’m guessing there is now some tension between front offices, if there wasn’t before.

11) Dale Sveum is the Royals’ batting coach; Brian Buchanan is his assistant. Has to be a very long week for them, with Kansas City not scoring a run for 45 consecutive innings.

1992 Cubs are the last team to get blanked four games in a row; no team with a DH had ever been shut out in four straight games.

10) If you see Chad Whitson umping home plate, know that you have a hitter’s umpire that night. Every game he works may not go over, but he squeezes pitchers, for sure.

Jordan Baker is also a hitters’ umpire, but his strike zone usually widens some as the game goes on. Whitson squeezes pitchers for all nine innings.

9) Politics intruded into the CFL this week; the league stepped in and basically vetoed former Baylor coach Art Briles being hired as an assistant coach by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Briles’ players at Baylor got into a lot of off-field trouble and it cost him his job. Briles himself did not commit a crime, but he is being treated as if he did.

8) TV evangelist Joel Osteen has a church in Houston that seats 16,000 people? Damn, thats a big church; must take forever to pass the collection baskets there.

7) A guy went to Hooters’ Casino in Las Vegas, bet $1.21M on Floyd Mayweather, and netted himself $242,000. Hooters is an unlikely sportsbook for such a large bet to be made.

6) Weird moment Sunday; Phillies pitcher Nick Pivetta tossed a pickoff throw to first base, but the runner (Anthony Rizzo) was still standing on first base. Never saw that before; he looked at Pivetta like, “What are you doing?”

5) Last four years, the four AFC South teams are a combined 15-28-1 vs spread as a home underdog in non-divisional games.

Last two years, the four AFC West teams are 13-3-1 vs spread when they’re road favorites in non-divisional games.

4) Denver’s backup QB Paxton Lynch has an injured throwing shoulder and will miss some games; will the Broncos sign Colin Kaepernick?

As of right now, Denver has starter Trevor Siemian, who is backed up by Kyle Sloter, who played WR, then QB at Southern Miss, then at Northern Colorado. They also have Chad Kelly as a developmental QB, but he is still hurt from his college days and won’t play this year. Denver has to sign another QB for their opener, you would think.

3) Tickets for the Texans-Cowboys exhibition game in Dallas Thursday are $25. Proceeds will go to the United Way’s relief fund. Excellent idea.

2) Scooter Gennett and Babe Ruth are only two major leaguers ever who hit their 20th homer of the season and also pitched on that same day.

1) RIP Jud Heathcote 90, the former Michigan State coach passed away Monday. Spartans have had only two basketball coaches the last 42 years, Heathcote and Tom Izzo.

Heathcote’s 1979 Michigan State team, led by Magic Johnson/Greg Kelser, won a national title, sparking the increased popularity of college basketball, thanks to Magic’s rivalry with Larry Bird.

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

13) Hurricane happenings:
— Astros-Rangers series this week moves to the Trop in St Petersburg.
— Texans-Cowboys exhibition game Thursday moves to Dallas.
— BYU-LSU football Saturday moves to the Superdome in New Orleans.

12) This storm in Texas might be the worst storm ever; another 15-25 inches of rain is expected between now and Thursday. We pray for everyone down there; stay safe!!!!

11) Only two New York Mets have been active for all their games this season; Jerry Blevins and Jacob deGrom.

10) Mets’ 1B prospect Dominic Smith is batting .161 in his first 59 major league AB’s; it is too early to worry about him (Rhys Hoskins started 0-12 and look how he’s doing) but I saw Smith play in Las Vegas in July and wasn’t all that impressed by him then. Time will tell.

9) June Jones is now the coach of the Hamilton TigerCats of the CFL after the TiCats got off to an awful start this season; he’s brought in former Baylor coach Art Briles as an assistant.

8) Rice University’s football team came back from its game in Australia and has relocated at TCU in Fort Worth, as they wait out the storm/flooding near their campus.

7) Indianapolis Colts traded long snapper Thomas Hennessy to Jets in exchange for safety Ronald Martin. Unusual trade.

6) Miami Marlins have new owners, a team that is rolling right now and the best outfield in all of baseball, but I keep seeing articles on how the the team might trade Giancarlo Stanton at the end of the season. Is that a good idea?

Stanton has a HUGE contract that has a long way to go on it; trading him is a bold move, since he is having a great season and is hugely popular in Miami. What could they get back for him? Tough early decision for the new ownership.

5) The profile of Ivy League basketball is getting bigger; Yale-St Bonaventure game on December 9 is going to be shown on ESPNU.

4) Jets named Josh McCown their starting QB, which if he is healthy, is the only possible choice they could’ve made. Bryce Petty played well Saturday but hurt his knee; the other options were not good at all.

3) Clayton Kershaw is going to be activated later this week and will start either Friday/Saturday against the Padres in San Diego. He threw five innings in a AAA rehab start Saturday.

2) If you want to replace those statues that have been taken down recently, how about a statue of a first responder carrying two little kids out of a flooded house? Those guys are heroes, for sure.

1) DeShone Kizer will be the Cleveland Browns’ 27th different starting QB since 1999.

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend

13) Houston is the 4th-largest city in America; they got 24.3 inches of rain in a 24-hour period this weekend. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

LSU-BYU are scheduled to play in Houston next weekend, which seems highly unlikely, with a switch to Baton Rouge the most probably alternative.

Along same lines, Astros will fly to Dallas after today’s game; they’re supposed to host Texas at home Tuesday, but you’d think those games would be switched to Arlington.

12) In 2005, Houston became a second home to a lot of people when Hurricane Katrina pounded New Orleans; now a lot of Houstonians will probably migrate somewhere else. It is very sad that people’s lives get turned upside down by an act of Mother Nature.

11) Dodgers are now 19-1-3 in their last 23 series; before losing 2 of 3 at home to Milwaukee this weekend, the last one they lost was June 5-7 vs Washington.

10) Reds’ 2B Scooter Gennett has three grand slams in 10 AB’s with bases loaded this year.

9) Last year, Patriots WR Julian Edelman was targeted by Tom Brady 38 times on 3rd down, which was more than the next three Patriots combined- Hogan (11), Amendola (11) and Mitchell (10). Now Edelman is out for the season- who will step up and take his place?

8) Hawai’i 38, UMass 35— Rainbows trailed 28-14 in third quarter, scored TD with 0:48 left to make the very long trip home a happy one.

7) New York 10, Seattle 1— Mariners made five errors IN THE FIRST INNING!!! Saturday nights in New York City can be very draining.

Last time a major league team made five errors in one inning? 1977 Cubs.

6) Indians 12, Royals 0— Cleveland led this game 12-0 in the second inning. Oy.

Royals have gone 34 consecutive innings without scoring a run.

5) NFL injury stuff:
— Bears WR Cameron Meredith hurt his knee Sunday, big loss for Chicago— he looked like an up-and-coming star.
— Bears also lost long snapper Patrick Scales (knee).
— Jets’ QB Bryce Petty sprained his MCL, hopes to play in the last preseason game.

4) New Orleans Pelicans lose starting forward Solomon Hill to a torn hamstring- he could miss most of the coming NBA season.

3) Pirates 5, Reds 2— Joey Votto batted five times and walked all five times; his on-base % is .447. Billy Hamilton bats leadoff for the Reds; his on-base % is  .296. Why doesn’t Votto bat leadoff?

2) Marlins 6, Padres 2— Giancarlo Stanton’s 50th home run of the year put Miami ahead 4-2 in the bottom of the 8th inning. Marlins are very hot right now.

  1. DL happenings……..
    — Royals put P Danny Duffy (elbow) on the DL
    — Tigers put DH Victor Martinez (irregular heartbeat) on the DL.
    — Cardinals put IF Jedd Gyorko (hamstring) on the DL.