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

13) NFL Combine is this week; since the NFL is a well-run league, they manage to stay in the news 12 months a year. This week, prospects are running 40-yard dash, doing drills, throwing, catching passes, trying to catch the scouts’ eyes.

I’m told QB is an important position in football; I talked about this last fall, but here are two of the top QB prospects for this year’s draft:
a) Kenny Pickett, Pitt:
— Was in college for five years; he’ll be 24 before training camp starts
— Jared Goff has played five years in NFL, is only 27.
— Pickett had only one really productive college season.
— Average arm strength, smaller hands than any current NFL starting QB
— Opted out of Pitt’s bowl game.

b) Matt Corral, Ole Miss:
— Played in his team’s bowl game, but hurt his ankle and isn’t 100% yet.
— Played two years for Lane Kiffin, a former NFL head coach.
— Not a great long passer, but has good mobility. Accurate short passing game.
— Isn’t going to throw at the Combine.

Given my choice, I’ll take the QB who finished the season with his teammates, and didn’t bail out to protect himself from injury. It is the Al Pacino speech from Any Given Sunday:

“You’re a goddamn quarterback!!! You know what that means? It’s the top spot, kid. It’s the guy who takes the fall. It’s the guy everybody’s looking at first – the leader of a team – who will support you when they understand you. Who will break their ribs and their noses and their necks for you, because they believe. ‘Cause you make them believe. That’s a quarterback.”

12) New Orleans Saints have 16th pick in first round; they need a QB. Last time Saints drafted a QB in first round was 1971, Ole Miss QB named Archie Manning. You may have heard of him. 

11) 2022 NFL year starts on March 16; that’s when lot of personnel shuffling should begin, the day before the first round of the NCAA Tournament starts. Busy week.

10) NFL leaders in turnover ratio last year:
+14— Dallas, Indianapolis
+13— Green Bay
+12— Arizona
+11— Minnesota
+10— Tampa Bay

Hard to replicate a double-digit turnover profit; there are handicappers who target teams to regress after a great turnover season. It is even worse when you’re +14 or +11 and don’t make the playoffs that season, like the Colts/Vikings. 

9) NFL teams with worst turnover ratio last year:
-20— Jacksonville
-13— Chicago, Jets, Carolina
-11— Baltimore
-9— Las Vegas
-8— Giants
Four of those seven teams have a new head coach; another switched OC’s. 

8) Duke opened up at minus-12 for Saturday night’s home game vs North Carolina, the biggest spread in that rivalry since 2010. In this season’s first Duke-UNC game, Blue Devils ran out to a 31-8 lead, so oddsmakers are encouraging people to wager on the Tar Heels.

7) Sun Belt tournament:
— Little Rock 75, South Alabama 71— Trojans finished last in Sun Belt; they were a 12-point underdog here, but they made 14-24 on the arc, which is how upsets happen.
— All four games were decided by 6 or less points, with two upsets. 

6) Kansas 72, TCU 68— Horned Frogs have some work to do, but the way they rebound, you don’t want to see them in the first round of NCAA’s, should they get there. After upsetting Kansas earlier this week, they almost did it again here. 

5) Washington 78, Oregon 67— Ducks have lost five of last seven games, their bubble is probably burst- they’ll need a big week in Pac-12 tourney next week. 

4) Ohio State 80, Michigan State 69— Spartans lost seven of last nine games; they look like a dead team. Could be headed to Dayton in two weeks. 

3) Word of the Day: Quisling— a traitor who collaborates with an enemy force occupying their country.

2) If the baseball lockout eats up more than 15 days of the regular season, Mets’ 1B Pete Alonso would become a free agent in 2025, instead of 2024, which gives you an idea of how the dispute becomes more complicated, the longer it drags on.

1) I’m no fan of the players making so much money; I root for a team that doesn’t try to win, so all the A’s good players skip town sooner rather than later, but check this out:

— In 2002, Jeffrey Loria bought the Marlins for $158.8M; 15 years later, he sold them for $1.2B, making a freakin’ fortune in 15 short years.
— Also in 2002, John Henry bought the Red Sox for $660M; today. Red Sox are worth $3.465B, so Henry has made $2.8B in 20 years.

Owners are cleaning up, so are the players. Gordon Gekko once famously said in Wall Street, “Greed is good”, and the owners are being really greedy. Like I said before, we’ll see if both sides kill the golden goose.

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.