Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings……..

— Long time ago, 1986 to be exact, a guy gave me a chance to write a preview of the NCAA Tournament in my local newspaper, the Albany Times Union. Friend of mine worked for the paper and recommended me. The preview was about one-third of a page; it went well, and I wound up writing a daily tips section for four years in the paper, just above the odds for that day’s games, a miniature version of what I post here these days.

The man’s name was Al Vieira; I just heard that he recently passed away. 

Writing that stuff was great fun, and it led to me to writing this space for the last 21 years; I appreciate Mr Vieira’s faith in my friend’s word and in me. He was a good newspaperman, our sports section was better because he was here.

RIP Al Vieira. Thanks again.

— Pet Peeve of the Day: When people refer to QB-WR-RB’s as “skill positions”, as if being a offensive lineman doesn’t take any skills.

If your offensive line isn’t good, your offense will be in the ashcan; witness this year’s Rams, who haven’t started the same five guys on the offensive line in any two games this season. As a result, their offense has struggled, the QB/star WR got hurt. It has been a cruddy year.

Blocking takes enormous skill, it is just harder to measure.

— Speaking of which, Rams claimed free agent QB Baker Mayfield off waivers from Carolina Tuesday; he figures to start most of the rest of the season. He would be an excellent backup to Matthew Stafford in 2023; if he bolted as a free agent (no one else claimed him on waivers) the Rams would get a compensatory draft pick. 

Mayfield is 31-36 as an NFL starter, splitting two playoff games for Cleveland in 2020.

— This month marks the 8th anniversary of my retirement from working for New York State; one of the very few disappointing parts of being retired is this: Weekday daytime television sucks. Seriously. 

There are some exceptions; March is a great daytime TV month, with college basketball and spring training games going on. This week is also an exception, with the winter meetings in baseball happening (this year in San Diego).

MLB Network has people on talking about baseball all day long, a good thing. Works better when teams make transactions; not whole lot of those so far, but……….

— Cleveland Guardians gave 1B Josh Bell a 2-year, $33M deal.
Texas Rangers gave P Andrew Heaney a 2-year, $25M deal.
Chicago Cubs signed OF Cody Bellinger for one year, $17.5M

San Francisco Giants gave OF Mitch Haniger $43.5M for three years.
Philadelphia Phillies gave P Taijuan Walker $72M for four years.

— Baseball had their draft lottery Tuesday; first three picks in July’s draft will be:
1) Pirates
2) Nationals
3) Tigers

— Busy day for a Tuesday in December; Tennessee Titans fired their general manager Jon Robinson, even though the Titans are 7-5 this year, leading AFC South by three games.

Couple weeks ago, the Titans’ offensive coordinator got a DUI late at night, after the Titans returned home after a big win in Green Bay. It is unclear if that played any role in all this, but the OC still has his job- Tennessee is 0-2 since the DUI.

Titans were over .500 every year Robinson was GM; they got whacked by the Eagles 35-10 in Philadelphia last week, with former Titan AJ Brown catching 8 passes for 119 yards and two TD’s against his old team.

— West Virginia QB JT Daniels is going back into the transfer portal, which is becoming an annual event: Daniels threw for 2,107 yards this year, his third college stop. Next year he will be playing for his fourth college team.

2018-19 USC— 12 games, 2,887 passing yards; 15 TD’s, 11 INT’s
2020-21 Georgia— 9 games, 1,953 passing yards; 17 TD’s, 5 INTs.
2022 West Virginia— 10 games, 2,107 passing yards; 13 TD’s, 9 INTs.

If nothing else, he can write a hell of a book someday.

— ACC quarterbacks on the move— These ACC QB’s are in the transfer portal:
Kevin Slovis, Pitt
Devin Leary, NC State
Phil Jurkovec, Boston College
DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson
Jeff Sims, Georgia Tech
Brennan Armstrong, Virginia

Six of 14 ACC QB’s are transferring this season.

— Some of the quarterbacks taken in the 2016 NFL Draft:
1st round— Jared Goff, Rams
Carson Wentz, Eagles
Paxton Lynch, Denver

2nd round— Christian Hackenberg, Jets
3rd round— Jacoby Brissett, Patriots
Cody Kessler, Browns

4th round— Connor Cook, Raiders
Dak Prescott, Cowboys— 135th player taken in the draft.

NFL Draft continues to be a fascinating subject.

— Kent State football coach Sean Lewis, the head coach, quit to become offensive coordinator at Colorado under new head coach Deion Sanders. Lewis was 24-31 coaching Kent, 1-1 in bowls- that was Kent’s first-ever win (1-3) in a bowl game.

Lewis’ offenses are known for playing with fast tempo, quick snaps; they had the 4th-fastest offense in the country this season. Playing in altitude in Boulder, a fast-paced offense will be designed to exhaust visiting defenses.

Colorado had to pay Kent State a $750,000 buyout to get Lewis to Boulder.

— Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei got benched early in the ACC championship game, now he’s in the transfer portal. Uiagalelei completed 59.9% of his passes for Clemson, throwing for 5,681 yards, with 36 TD’s, 17 INT’s, but he was 8-29 passing in the Tigers’ 31-30 loss to South Carolina, which led to his benching the next week.

— Georgia Bulldogs have been so good this season, QB Stetson Bennett hasn’t played in the 4th quarter in six of their 13 games.

— Chicago Bears’ last five games, they’ve been outscored 38-0 in last 2:00 of each half.

— There are 42 guys in the NBA this season earning $30M+; $30M for 82 games works out to $365,853.65 per game.

— UNLV hired Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom as its next football coach; Odom went 25-25 coaching Missouri from 2016-19, going 13-19 in SEC games.

— New Hampshire 74, Boston College 71 OT
UNH led by 9 with 11:21 left in game.
ACC’s Eagles led by 5 in the overtime.
This is a horrendous loss for BC; the bottom of the ACC is awful.

— Illinois 85, Texas 78 OT
Longhorns led by 10 with 8:04 left to play.
Illinois made 10-23 shots behind the arc. 

— Georgia Tech 79, Georgia 77
Yellow Jackets shot 57% inside the arc
Georgia was only 9-16 on the foul line. 

— Virginia 55, James Madison 50
Game was tied with 7:51 left to play.
7-3 Dukes could make some noise in their first year in the Sun Belt.

— Arkansas 65, NC-Greensboro 58
SoCon’s Spartans led by 12 early, 26-21 at halftime.
Arkansas outscored UNCG 19-9 over final 5:51 of game. 

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.