— Started reading this book this week about the USFL back in the 80’s, about how spring football was, and still is, a viable business.
In 1959, the NFL had 12 teams, then the AFL started in 1960, with eight new teams. Television and football became a great marriage; in the mid-60’s, some businessmen wanted to start a third pro league, with teams mostly in the south. It was going to be a fall league, not a spring league.
It was then that the NFL, which had added Dallas/Minnesota in the early 60’s, decided to add teams in Atlanta, New Orleans in mid 60’s, When they did that, the businessmen who wanted to start the third league went away. Go figure.
Competition makes things happen; there will be two spring football leagues in 2023. Curious to see how long they co-exist, before they wind up merging.
— Apparently ten major league umpires have retired; that’s roughly 15% of their whole crew, which seems like a lot in one year.
— Carlos Correa still hasn’t signed with anyone; he played in 136 games last year, 148 the year before, 58 of 60 games in the short 2020 season. What exactly is the problem?
Whatever the problem is, apparently the Giants’/Mets’ doctors agree that shelling out $300M+ isn’t a great idea. Spring training starts in mid-February, exhibition games start February 24. Something needs to happen fairly soon.
Cowboys 27, Titans 13
— Cowboys won 12 of their last 15 games (10-5 ATS).
— Dallas converted 8-13 third down plays.
— Last nine games, Dallas scored 39 TD’s on 96 drives.
— Cowboys are 8-4 ATS in last 12 games as a road favorite (2-2 TY).
— Dallas needs Eagles to lose Sunday, or else they’ll be #5-seed in NFC.
— Tennessee lost last six games, scoring 14.8 points/game.
— Titans are 0-6 SU since OC got DUI coming home from road trip.
— Titans have showdown with Jaguars next week for AFC South title.
— Dobbs was 20-39/232 passing in his first NFL start.
— Titans are 1-5-1 ATS coming off a loss this season.
Tennessee has used 84 players this year, most in the NFL; they used 91 players last year, also the most in the league.
— Washington 27, Texas 20
Washington converted 11-20 third down plays.
Huskies went 11-2 in Kalen DeBoer’s first year as coach.
Texas was 30-18 under Tom Herman; they’re 13-12 under Steve Sarkisian.
— Florida State 35, Oklahoma 32
Oklahoma led 25-18 with 12:00 left in game.
Seminoles scored 17 points in last 11:05, kicked GW field goal with 0:55 left.
This was Oklahoma’s first losing season (6-7) since 1998.
Florida State QB Travis threw for 418 yards, two TD’s.
— Minnesota 28, Syracuse 20
Syracuse started season 6-0; they finished it 7-6.
Orange outgained Minnesota, 477-215.
Gophers scored on a 70-yard pick-6 to make score 21-10.
Minnesota RB Ibrahim finished his college career with 4,668 rushing yards and 53 TD’s in 40 games; he was a 2-star recruit coming out of high school.
— Maryland 16, NC State 12
Wolfpack kicked four FG’s, none longer than 38 yards.
Maryland was 10-21 on third down, State 5-18.
Wolfpack completed only 22-48 passes; they’ve lost last three bowls.
— Pittsburgh 37, UCLA 35
UCLA led 28-14 after a pick-6 with 8:45 left in third quarter.
Pitt took 34-28 lead on field goal with 4:24 left.
Bruins scored TD with 0:34 left, to go ahead 35-34.
Pitt kicked 47-yard FG with 0:04 left for the win.
— Notre Dame 45, South Carolina 38
Gamecocks had two pick-6’s, scored TD on fake FG and still lost.
Notre Dame drove 80 yards, scored game-winning TD with 1:38 left.
Notre Dame was 11-19 on third down, Carolina 5-15.
— Ohio U 30, Wyoming 27 OT
Wyoming led 14-6 after first quarter.
Ohio kicked 46-yard FG with 0:04 left to force OT.
Bobcats outgained Wyoming, 385-291.
— Tennessee 31, Clemson 14
Vols finished 11-2 for first time since 2001
Clemson got into Tennessee territory on 9 of their first 10 drives, but could only manage two field goals.
Clemson ran 101 plays for 484 yards, but only scored 14 points.
— Las Vegas Raiders are 6-9; they just benched their QB, who started their last 91 games, and the QB is stepping away from the team for the last two games this season. They traded for the guy’s best friend from college, a star WR, yet the team floundered this year anyway.
Raiders went 10-7 last year, made the playoffs under interim coach Rich Bisaccia; maybe they should have kept him as the head coach this year.
— If you were a college football player, would you want to go to a bowl game in cruddy weather, like Boston, New York, Boise? Would seem like Florida/Arizona would be a more fun place to go for a mini-vacation/football game.
— Random NBA stat: Washington Wizards are 6-1 ATS on 2nd night of a back/back.
— Happy 87th birthday to the great pitcher Sandy Koufax, who in 1965 threw a 132-pitch shutout in Game 7 of the World Series, on two days’ rest.
— We end the year with good news: Thursday, Tampa Bay Bucs’ backup QB Blaine Gabbert helped rescue three people from Tampa Bay after a helicopter accident landed them in the water. All the people survived, with no injuries.