Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but………

13) Steelers 26, Browns 14:
— Harris carried ball 28 times for 188 yards.
— Boswell kicked four FG’s, two of them 48-50 yards.
— Steelers need win next week, plus help to make playoffs.
— Mayfield is first QB this year to throw 10 straight incompletions.
— Tomlin clinches another non-losing season. 

12) Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams, who started seven games as a freshman this season, entered the transfer portal Monday. He said that returning to Oklahoma was still an option.

Williams completed 62.5% of his passes this season, throwing 18 TD passes, four INT’s. He also ran the ball for 442 yards.

Spencer Rattler already transferred from Oklahoma to South Carolina; the Sooners’ QB recruit for this year followed Lincoln Riley to USC instead. If Williams leaves Oklahoma, the Sooners are down to one scholarship QB; they would then go and poach someone else’s QB.

Welcome to today’s college football.

Late Update: Oklahoma poached QB Dillon Gabriel who was supposed to transfer from Central Florida to UCLA. Williams is rumored to be headed to UCLA, where his arch-rival would be Lincoln Riley’s Trojans. 

11) In another move, Oklahoma hired Clemson’s recruiting coordinator; new Sooners coach Brent Venables was Clemson’s defensive coordinator- he brings in Todd Bates and also added Ted Roof from Clemson as the Sooners’ new defensive coordinator.

So far this offseason, Clemson lost its offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator. Dabo Swinney is going to have coach his coaches this offseason. 

10) Then there is the contrast of QB prospects playing/not playing in bowl games.

Pitt’s Kenny Pickett threw for 4,319 yards this season, with 42 TD’s, 7 INT’s as the Panthers were 11-2 and won the ACC title. But Pickett opted out of the Panthers’ bowl game, so he wouldn’t get injured and hurt his NFL Draft prospects.

Ole Miss QB Matt Corral threw for 3,328 yards, with 20 TD’s, four INT’s as the Rebels enjoyed a 10-2 regular season; he was adamant that he wanted to play in the bowl game, one last game with his teammates.

Corral hurt his ankle in the first quarter of the bowl game and never returned, just the kind of thing Pickett was avoiding by skipping the game.

Here’s the thing: how did these events help/hurt either guy’s draft prospects? Did it even change their prospects?

Varying opinions on this topic; remains to be seen how serious Corral’s ankle injury is, but it is January 3rd, so chances are he’ll be good to go next summer.

I’ve already stated my opinion on this topic; quarterbacks are different than other players, they lead the offense, they can’t jump ship before the cruise is over, but I’m guessing opinions on this subject are mixed. 

We’ll see during the draft in April where these two guys get chosen. Both will be high picks. 

9) Switching quickly to NFL QB’s, if I own a team worth $3B and the most important person on that team (the QB) is making $20M+, he damn sure better be vaccinated against COVID.

There was a doctor on CNN who said that eventually, all unvaccinated people will get COVID, so if you’re Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz or whoever else is an anti-vaxxer, then you’re screwing your team over- witness the Vikings Sunday night without Cousins- they lost 37-10.

This is a free country, we can do as we please, but choices have consequences, at least they should have. 

8) 3-4 years down the road, what will college sports look like? Texas/Oklahoma are jumping to the SEC, but no one seems to know when- 2025 seems likely. Losing those two heavyweights is damaging to the Big X.

Big X was then down to eight teams, but they poached BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston from other leagues, so they’ll be up to 12 teams. Far-flung league though; a road trip from West Virginia to Provo for a conference game? 

AAC will be hurt badly by losing those three teams; who will they poach to replace them?

School like UNLV was hurt by not moving up; they have a beautiful new dome (where the Raiders play); their football program should be better than it is, but now it is unlikely that they’re going anywhere anytime soon. 

7) NFL tweaked its Week 18 schedule for maximum drama:

Chiefs at Broncos, Cowboys at Eagles are the Saturday games, Chargers at Raiders is the Sunday night game.

Would’ve made interesting reality TV, showing the meeting/Zoom call where those changes were discussed. Little surprised the New England-Miami game wasn’t one of the night games. 

6) NFL coaches often say that their business is “…..the most competitive business in the world” and this year’s Baltimore Ravens are a good example of that.

— Lost Week 1 in OT at Las Vegas
— Won Weeks 2-3, by a combined three points. 

— beat Colts 31-25 in Week 5, after trailing at halftime.
— beat Vikings 34-31 in OT in Week 9
— Were 8-3 after 16-13/16-10 wins in Weeks 11-12.

Then things took a turn for the worse:
— Lost 20-19 in Pittsburgh in Week 13
— Lost 24-22 in Cleveland the next week.
— Lost 31-30 to the Packers the week after that.
— Gave up 545 yards in a 41-21 Week 16 loss in Cincinnati.
— Lost 20-19 at home to the Rams Sunday.

Now Baltimore is 8-8 and barely alive in the playoff race: they could just as easily be 12-4 (or 4-12). Narrow margins are part of what makes football so interesting. 

5) Last eight weeks, teams are 8-0 SU/ATS the week after playing the Broncos, who lost to the Chargers 34-13 Sunday. Chargers finish the regular season in Las Vegas Sunday night.

4) I’m looking forward to baseball season starting; one of the big things the players’ union wants is for young players getting paid more and paid sooner- Vladimir Guerrero made $605,400 this past season- he can’t break the bank until after his third season, when he becomes eligible for arbitration, even though he almost won the MVP last year.

Union either wants that 3-year pre-arbitration window lowered to 2 years, or the minimum salary raised by a lot.

3) If you’re wondering the minimum salary in major league baseball was $570,500 last year; I’m guessing that it’ll be closer to $800,000 this year, once they finally agree to a new labor deal. 

2) Good news: the PGA Tour resumes Thursday, so at least we can turn the TV on and see warm weather somewhere, even it is in freakin’ Hawai’i. 

1) We end today with good news: earlier this NHL season, there was a medical student sitting behind the Vancouver Canucks’ bench during a game in Seattle.

The medical student noticed that the Canucks’ equipment manager had an odd-looking mole on the back of his neck, a mole she recognized to likely be cancerous. After the game, she banged on the glass to get the guy’s attention and let him he know the mole needed medical attention.

The equipment manager got it looked at, had it removed, and sure enough, it was cancerous, but it was noticed early enough that it hadn’t spread at all, so that woman saved the guy from maybe losing his life.

When the Canucks came back to Seattle this past weekend, the medical student was rewarded with a $10,000 check towards her continuing education. Good for them; good for her. 

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.