13) Its never fun to lose your job, but losing it four days before Christmas as to be especially bad; Carolina Panthers fired GM Marty Hurney Monday- the teams wants someone who is more analytical and data-driven to be their GM.
12) Detroit Lions fired special teams coach Brayden Coombs Monday; apparently he called a fake punt Sunday without consulting any of the other coaches. When you do that, the play damn well better work, but it did not, and now Coombs is unemployed.
Lions trailed 32-18 when they faked the punt; game ended with Tennessee winning 46-25.
Coombs is son of Ohio State defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, who was the defensive backs coach for the Titans last year.
11) Kentucky Wildcats are 1-5 so far this basketball season, their worst start since 1927; the last time a team got an at-large bid to the NCAAs after starting a season 1-5 or worse was 1999, when the Texas Longhorns went 19-13 (13-3 in Big X) in Rick Barnes’ first year in Austin.
10) NHL will have a 56-game regular season, starting January 13.
NBA starts its regular season with two games Tuesday, a full slate of games Wednesday.
9) Was interesting to hear how some college teams have opted out of bowl games because their players just want to go home for the holidays. Kids have been in a routine since June/July where they have been tested for COVID three times a week, and isolated from their families.
8) Tennessee Vols’ senior QB Jarrett Guarantano will transfer away from Knoxville; he got benched in favor of younger guys recently. Guarantano winds up with 6,174 yards passing, 38 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 41 games played for the Vols.
Guarantano has another year to play due to this year being a free year for all the players, it doesn’t count against their eligibility.
Speaking of Tennessee, they opted out of the Liberty Bowl because of COVID issues; Army takes their place and will play West Virginia in Memphis Saturday.
7) RIP to Hall of Fame linebacker Kevin Greene, who passed away Monday at age 58. Greene was a great player for the Steelers/Rams/Panthers. RIP, sir.
6) 9 of the 32 current NFL head coaches grew up in Pennsylvania, which seems like a lot.
5) Eagles coach Doug Pederson baffles me; he loves to go for two points when the Eagles score a TD, but trailing 16-0 in Arizona Sunday, Philly scores a TD and they kick the PAT instead of trying for a 2-point play that would’ve cut the lead in half. Go figure.
4) Anyone who tells you that Randy Moss was a better receiver than Jerry Rice is wrong, and this is coming from a Rams’ fan who has no love for anything 49er-related. Rice was the best wide receiver ever, and he did it quietly. Nothing wrong with that.
3) Washington is only NFL team this season that hasn’t scored a point on their first drive of a game, but with two weeks left in the season, they lead the NFC East.
2) Appalachian State 56, North Texas 28:
— App State ran ball for 502 yards (12.9 yards/carry)
— Cameron Peoples ran ball 22 times for 319 yards.
— Both teams had 100+ yards in penalties.
— App State won its last six bowls, scoring 31+ points in all five.
— North Texas lost last four bowls, giving up 49.0 ppg.
1) Cincinnati 27, Steelers 17:
— Steelers were 11-0 at one point; now they’re 11-3.
— Last four games, Steelers scored 17 ppg.
— Pittsburgh in first half: 30 plays, 119 yards, 2 first downs, 0 points.
— Steelers are now only game ahead of Cleveland in AFC North.
— Cincinnati gets its first win over Steelers in last dozen tries.
— Bengals had lost previous five games overall by combined 124-50.
— Bengals’ first two TD drives were 38-26 yards.
— Cincinnati is 4-1-1 ATS this season as a home underdog.