13) This is the first NFL season ever where no team finished 8-8; NFL went to the 16-game schedule in 1978, with two seasons since then shortened by work stoppages.
12) Eight NFL head coaches were fired Sunday/Monday, 25% of the league’s coaches.
11) Steelers’ star WR Antonio Brown missed Sunday’s game with the Bengals, but apparently he wasn’t hurt, he was being disciplined after an incident in practice with a teammate, who was Ben Rothlisberger. Witnesses say it was a fairly ugly incident.
Sounds like it was an unhappy year in Pittsburgh, with Le’Veon Bell’s holdout and the coach screwing up game management situations and now Brown at odds with teammates. Throw in the defensive coordinator not knowing that Bengals’ TE Tyler Eifurt was hurt back in October, and it wouldn’t be surprising if whole lot of people were let go Monday, but they weren’t.
10) Oakland Raiders hired NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock as its GM; Mayock has been contributing to NFL Network and NFL.com since 2004, mostly in scouting, but he’s never worked in an NFL front office before.
Raiders have three first round draft picks in April and $100M in cap room to work with.
9) UCLA’s basketball team is 7-6 and has lost its last four games, which cost Steve Alford his job Monday. Bruins lost at home to Belmont, Liberty- those teams are both ranked in the top 80, but the coaching change was made, even before conference play begins. Our society isn’t terribly patient. Alford is a good guy; not sure why a move had to be made right now.
Alford/UCLA never seemed like a great match; will be fascinating to see where Bruins set their sights for a new coach. Murry Bartow is the interim coach; his father Gene was the coach who replaced John Wooden at UCLA, and who later started UAB’s basketball program.
Would Billy Donovan have any interest in the UCLA job? I’d have to ask, if I’m UCLA.
8) Mark Richt was fired as football coach at Miami; official word was “retired”, but guys don’t quit jobs like that. Richt is 58, would be curious to hear him on TV, hopefully learn from him.
Houston fired coach Major Applewhite; Dana Holgorsen has been mentioned as a potential target for the Cougars, but how is Houston a better job than West Virginia? Kliff Kingsbury has apparently turned down “a lucrative offer” from Houston to stay on as an assistant at USC.
7) Manny Diaz left as DC at Miami to become head coach at Temple, but when Richt retired (or was fired), Diaz quickly bolted Temple and is now the head coach at Miami. Oy.
6) Ole Miss signed former Michigan/Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez as its new OC, joining former Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre as its new DC, giving the Rebels an impressive staff around relatively inexperienced head coach Matt Luke.
6) This from the Grand Forks Herald:
Dan Shrader is a 38-year old full-time sanitation worker in the Minneapolis/St Paul area, who spends 50 hours a week driving a daily garbage route, dumping trash at the landfill and helping manage a 32-truck fleet.
He never played in the NHL, he never played college or pro hockey, he never played organized hockey growing up, period, but he is an amateur scout for the Winnipeg Jets, in charge of watching the Minnesota region for prospects. Pretty good second job for a garbageman.
If you like something a lot and work hard enough at it, all things are possible.
5) Hartford 79, Boston College 78 OT— ACC teams shouldn’t lose to America East teams.
4) City of Toronto had free bus/subway service from 7pm-7am New Year’s Eve, which is really good. More cities should do that; the less people who drive on New Year’s Eve, the better.
3) Stanford 14, Pittsburgh 13— Condoleeza Rice was on the Stanford sidelines for this game; not sure if she was auditioning for a coaching job or not. Pitt finishes year 7-7; always wondered if kids like enjoy going to El Paso for a bowl- seems like an unusual place for a bowl.
2) Oregon 7, Michigan State 6— In its last four games, Michigan State scored 6-6-14-6 points. That not good. Before Monday, last time they completed more than half their passes was October 27.
Mario Cristobal gets a bowl win in his first year at Oregon; it was Ducks’ first bowl wins since 2014, in a season when they had their third HC in last three years.
1) Hope you guys out there all have a Happy New Year; thanks for reading. I’m hoping that 2019 will be a year when we all get along better and tolerate each other’s opinions more. Our diversity is part of what makes this country unique, in a good way.