Monday’s Den: Happy Labor Day, everyone……..

— I’m watching the HBO show on the 1980’s Laker teams— it is Winning Time, and this is the second season. Magic Johnson/Kareem- they had great teams, but they also had three head coaches in Magic Johnson’s first three seasons, before they struck gold by promoting Pat Riley to head coach.

Paul Westhead was the second of the three Laker coaches; he was the head coach when LA won the 1980 NBA title, but he was fired less than two years later. The last couple episodes dealt with all that. No one in the Laker front office seemed to know what to do at the time, but he and Magic Johnson couldn’t co-exist, and in the NBA, star players always win that battle.

Westhead is 84 now; he lives in Philadelphia. I’m wondering what he thinks of how he was shown in this series.

Four years after the Lakers fired him, Westhead was hired by Loyola Marymount, and he turned that program into a great national story in 1989-90, getting to the finals of the West Region in 1990, even after one of his best players collapsed/died on the court during a conference tournament game. That was an amazing team. 

If Winning Time lasts long enough to get to 1990, I wonder if Westhead will get a mention for the great work he did at LMU.

— Why do big-time college football teams play I-AA opponents? It is stealing money from their fans, charging them to watch glorified scrimmages against inferior opponents:

Georgia 48, UT-Martin 7
Ole Miss 73, Mercer 7
Arkansas 56, Western Carolina 13

Maryland 38, Towson State 6
Oklahoma State 27, Central Arkansas 13
Cincinnati 66, Eastern Kentucky 13

Notre Dame 56, Tennessee State 3
Syracuse 65, Colgate 0
Pittsburgh 45, Wofford 7

How does this help? It helps the I-AA teams; they get big paychecks for getting their butts kicked, but not sure how much it helps the home side.

— Florida State 45, LSU 24
LSU led 17-14 at halftime.
Florida State scored the next 31 points.
Seminoles were 9-14 on third down, LSU 3-10.

More early returns from college football:
— Pac-12 teams are 8-2 against the spread. This is the first time every team in the Pac-12 won its season opener since 1932.

— Big X teams are 2-6 ATS, 2-5 as favorites; Houston’s first game as a Big X member was a 17-14 win over Texas-San Antonio— not impressive.

— Big 14 teams are 2-5 ATS as a home favorites.

— Terry Bradshaw turned 75 years old this week; if a guy could win four Super Bowls and still be underrated, this was Bradshaw. He parlayed his act as a dumb guy into a long, lucrative career on TV. No one plays as well as Bradshaw did if he was dumb.

Random trivia; Bradshaw played QB in college at Louisiana Tech; the QB at Louisiana Tech just before Bradshaw was Phil Robertson, the father on Duck Dynasty.

— Westgate SuperBook listed some prop bets for this year’s NFL:
Will the NFL record for passing yards by a QB be broken? No -550, Yes +400

Will the NFL record for passing TD’s by a QB be broken? No -1400, Yes +800

Will the NFL record for rushing yards be broken? No -1220, Yes +700

Will the NFL record for receiving yards be broken? No -650, Yes +450

— If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Braves, Brewers, Dodgers. Wild Cards- Phillies, Cubs, SF/Az/Cin/Miami all tied
AL: Orioles, Twins, Mariners. Wild Cards- Rays, Astros, Rangers

— Under is 13-5 in games when Laz Diaz umpires behind the plate.

— Mookie Betts hit .455 in August, with 51 hits, 11 of them home runs. He’s the 3rd player since 1900 to have a .450 average with 50 hits and 10 HR in a month- Babe Ruth (July 1923-24) and Lou Gehrig (June 1930) are the others.

— Seattle Mariners 77-59 this year, but only 21-24 in one-run games. The last two years, Seattle was 34-22/33-19 in one-run games.

— Cubs 15, Reds 7
Game was 5-5 after seven innings; Cincinnati has serious pitching issues. They also have COVID related issues; four players are on that list right now.

— A’s 10, Angels 6
Oakland didn’t have any hits in the first five innings.
In innings 6-7, A’s scored 10 runs on 10 hits.

— Rangers 6, Twins 5
Mitch Garver homered twice for Texas.
Adolis Garcia hit a walk-off homer for the Rangers.

— There were 30 baseball games Saturday/Sunday; of the 60 starting pitchers, only 14 of them finished the sixth inning.

— Montenegro has a team in the FIBA basketball tournament; they were playing the American team last week and I felt like an idiot— if you had given me $100 to find Montenegro on a map, I would’ve had no idea where to look first. I was much smarter 45 years ago than I am now.

Turns out Montenegro is kind of in between Serbia and Albania, on the Adriatic Sea. 

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.