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

— NFL’s Sunday Ticket is going to YouTube TV starting next year, which means that I’ll dump DirecTV after college basketball ends in March. I’ve had DirecTV for a long time, but primarily so I can watch the Rams every week, without going out to bars to watch.

Have to do my research on the best TV plan going forward; lot of options out there. I know almost nothing about YouTube TV, but I have until August to figure it out.

— Mets’ fans are excited about signing Justin Verlander, Carlos Correa as free agents; they’re going to have the biggest payroll in MLB history. Good for them. 

But hey, the A’s signed Drew Rucinski this week. The 33-year old Rucinski gets $3M for this year, roughly what the Mets’ batboys earn (kidding). $3M is big money in Oakland. So what if Verlander will make $1,343,750 PER START this year, and that’s if he starts 32 games.

Rucinski pitched for the NC Dinos in Korea the last four years, going 53-36, 3.06 in 121 KBO starts. He is 4-4, 5.33 in 41 major league games from 2014-18, with the Angels/Marlins.

— An unusual thing about college basketball is that once you play a team out of conference, you root like hell for that team to win games, since their success helps your strength of schedule, which factors in to if/where you land on Selection Sunday. 

Let’s look at UNLV, which is 11-1, but against schedule #227. Rebels beat Dayton/Washington State, two top 100 teams, lost by a hoop to #89 San Francisco. None of those three teams are in the top 50, so it will really help the Rebels if those three teams win a lot of conference games. 

Jaguars 19, Jets 3
Jacksonville is 5-2 SU in last seven games after a 2-6 start.
QB Lawrence threw for 229 yards, ran 7 times for 51 more yards.
Jaguars were 7-16 on third down, Jets 2-13.
Last six games, Jaguars are +7 in turnovers (13-6)

 Jets’ only score was FG on 1st drive; they recovered fumble on Jags’ 16-yard line.
#4 QB Streveler ran ball 9 times for 54 yards; rest of team had 11 rushes, 12 yards. 
Jets are 2-6 SU in their last eight games, after a 5-2 start.
Jets are 6-1 scoring 20+ points, 1-7 scoring less than 20.

— Eagles’ QB Jalen Hurts (shoulder) is out for Saturday’s game in Dallas; Gardner Minshew (8-14 as an NFL starter) will start under center for Philly.

— Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson is out again this week, third game in a row he’ll miss. He is trying to get a huge contract from the Ravens, but the best ability is availability— Jackson got hurt in Week 13 LY, never played again, and now he’s missed Weeks 14-16 this year. Not good.

Adding to the intrigue is that Jackson has been acting as his own agent, which makes things in negotiations a lot more personal.

— Eastern Illinois 92, Iowa 83— How does a 31-point underdog win on the road?
Favored Hawkeyes led 22-8 early on.
Iowa was down two starters (Murray, Connor McCaffery)
Eastern Illinois shot 66.7% inside the arc.
Iowa was only 7-33 on the arc.

Eastern Illinois is a bad team, 2-9 vs D-I teams; their other D-I win was over IUPUI, the worst of all the 363 D-I teams in the country. Just a hideous loss for Iowa, the biggest favorite to lose in the last 30 years. 

— Wednesday was Early Signing Day in college football; lot of games that will be played 3-4 years from now were decided Wednesday, as teams re-stock their rosters. But don’t just assume what you hear on TV in true. Recruiting ratings aren’t gospel.

When he came out of high school, Aaron Donald was the #22 recruit in his class; he’s going to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. You think there were really 21 players who were better than him that year?

Some teams develop talent better than others; Kansas State is 10-3 this year, with three (3!!!!) players who were 4 or 5-star recruits. They recruit athletes, develop them into players.

— New York Knicks got nailed for tampering with free agent Jalen Brunson; as a result they’ll lose a 2nd-round draft pick in 2025. 

— Golden State Warriors are 15-18, #11-seed in the west right now, and Steph Curry is out for the next couple months. Warriors are 3-16 on the road; looks like they’ll miss the playoffs.

Law and Order is one of my favorite TV shows; 21 years, 472 episodes, a great launching point for lot of acting careers, not to mention the spinoff shows that branched off this original show. 

Take Billions on Showtime; there are 32 actors who have appeared in 12+ episodes of Billons. 14 of those 32 actors appeared in at least one episode of Law and Order, and two others were in Law and Order SVU, and that doesn’t count Eric Bogosian, who was in Law and Order: Criminal Intent for 61 episodes, but was only in 11 episodes of Billions (so far).

— Cincinnati Reds signed OF/1B Wil Myers to one-year, $6M deal; Myers had an injury-plagued 2022, then went 3-29 in the playoffs for San Diego. 

— Saints-Browns total Saturday is going to be the lowest NFL total since 2009, due to frigid weather in Ohio this weekend. 

— Billy Eppler is the New York Mets’ GM; when he first graduated from college at UConn, he interned with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, then scouted in the Bronx, became assistant GM there, and later moved on to become GM of the Angels. Must also be nice to be GM of a team where the owner writes blank checks.

— SMU 85, Iona 81— Mustangs trailed by 12 with 10:36 left in game, but rallied to beat Rick Pitino’s Iona squad, overcoming 21 turnovers. Iona lost despite making 13-22 on the arc. SMU shot 64.3% inside the arc.

This game is part of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawai’i. Christmas in Hawai’i must be fun.

— Detroit-Ottawa NHL game this week was postponed because of cruddy weather in Canada; it will be played February 27 instead.

— Missouri 93, Illinois 71— Tigers led 51-26 at half-time; putrid effort by the Illini, which is 2-3 in its last five games, after a 6-1 start. 

— Western Kentucky 44, South Alabama 23
Hilltoppers led 31-3 at halftime.
WKU’s first three TD’s came on plays of 44-27-25 yards.
Hilltoppers threw for 522 yards (9.3 yards/attempt)

— Air Force 30, Baylor 15
Falcons outgained Baylor 379-230.
Bears ran ball 26 times for 42 yards, completed only 11-23 passes.
Baylor lost its last four games, after a 6-3 start.

— Major League Baseball reduced Trevor Bauer’s suspension from 324 games to 194, meaning he is good to go for spring training. Dodgers have until January 6 to release him or add him to the 40-man roster. Bauer is eligible now, but is being docked pay for the first 50 games of 2023

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.