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Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but...........
13) Seven NHL coaches have already been fired this season, which is only half-old; that’s 23% of the league’s coaches.
12) Milwaukee Bucks won their only NBA championship because they won a coin flip with the Phoenix Suns for the draft pick that became Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar); they haven’t won much against Suns since. Bucks are now 0-24 in their last 24 visits to the Valley of the Sun.
11) Mets are bringing in the fences at CitiField for 2012, but will it help Jason Bay? Bay hasn’t hit a HR to rightfield since June 28, 2010, he’s in his 30’s, and there are those who believe he’s pretty much finished as a star player, except when it comes to cashing big paychecks.
10) Dallas Mavericks went to the White House Monday; all of them except for Delonte West, who ironically enough grew up near the White House. West didn’t pass the Secret Service’s background check, due to his numerous run-ins with the law.
9) Home teams went 4-0 in NFL this weekend, after being 13-15 in this round the previous four years, and 34-10 the 11 years before that.
8) Broncos—Ran for 251 yards against Patriots in Week 15’s 41-23 home loss, but lost three fumbles and had 24-yard disadvantage in starting field position. Still, running for 251 yards is an awful lot.
7) Texans—Lost 29-14 (+7.5) at Baltimore with Schaub at QB in Week 6, despite +2 turnover margin; Texans started nine of 12 drives 80+ yards from end zone. Winning in Baltimore with rookie Yates under center is going to be tall order.
6) Giants—Won at Lambeau in NFC title game four years ago; total yardage was 449-447 Packers in Green Bay’s 38-35 Week 13 win at Swamp Stadium.
5) 49ers—My notebook with spreads from this round goes back ten years; no home underdogs in this round during that time. Over last decade, home favorites of 3 or less points in this round are 3-5-1 vs spread.
4) Saints—Offense isn’t same well-oiled machine outdoors, but unless 49ers (+25 in turnovers) win turnover battle, can’t see them beating New Orleans here.
3) Ravens—Teams fight so hard to get bye and home field in this round, but over last eight years, home side is 18-14 SU, 14-18 vs spread in this round, where you think teams with bye would have a big advantage.
2) Patriots—This is 6th time Belichick has had 1st-round bye in playoffs; he was 4-1 in this round other five years, 0-3 vs spread as #1 seed, 1-0-1 vs spread as #2 seed. Loss came LY to Jets.
1) Packers—Been six years since defending Super Bowl champ won a playoff game (0-4 since last win); last team to repeat was ’03-’04 Pats.
-- Providence celebrated their 1987 Final Four team Monday night but sent coach Rick Pitino back to Kentucky unhappy, as the Friars waxed Pitino's Louisville team, 90-59. Cardinals are in a funk right now.
-- Bill Callahan is leaving the Jets to replace legendary Hudson Houck as offensive line coach of the Cowboys. Houck has retired.
-- Oakland Raiders will now have had seven head coaches in eight years, as Hue Jackson got the boot after just one season in Oakland.
-- There are five golfers with their PGA Tour card for 2012 that are 22 years old or younger.
-- Robert Griffin III is entering the NFL Draft; not sure where he'll be picked in the draft. I don't think he'll be able to play well right away; he is more of a developmental project, like Steve McNair was.
-- Speaking of Baylor, Bears' basketball team won a great game 75-73 at Kansas State. Baylor is a Final Four team, if they stay healthy.
12) Why its not easy being a network TV analyst: In the past 10 days, I’ve had three people I know, all avid sports fans, complain bitterly to me about Troy Aikman’s analysis on NFL games; weird thing is, two guys say he hates the Giants, third guy complains that he favors the Giants, especially Eli Manning. These three people are all listening to the same broadcast but hearing different things. And I actually like Aikman on TV, but I’m not a Dallas or a Giant fan. Other than that, we all agree.
11) College football is just plain weird; they have playoffs at every level but the top, making you believe that level is extremely corrupt, as far as who pockets what $$$ from all these BCS bowls and their TV money. Imagine how huge an 8-team playoff would be?
10) Former Saints’ QB Bobby Hebert is a talk show host in New Orleans; his son T-Bob is a lineman for LSU. The elder Hebert went off on Les Miles in the postgame press conference for not giving senior backup QB Jarrett Lee a chance to save the Tigers’ season. Pretty tough when you go 13-1 and the most prominent parent in your group rips you publicly.
9) Most surprising stat from early in the NBA season: Teams playing third night in row are 6-1 SU, 5-1-1 vs spread so far this season. Wolves losing to Chicago Tuesday was the first loss.
8) I don’t think the Knicks are all that great, but they’ve been favored in eight of their first nine games; maybe they’ve just had an easy schedule so far. If so, they could be in trouble, because they haven’t looked that good in these first nine games. 76ers are a good test tonight.
7) Teams that played the Lakers the night before are 1-6-1 against the spread this season.
6) I know very few people start out famous, but it seems odd that at one time in the early 80’s, Rick Pitino was an obscure assistant coach at Hawai’i; it just doesn’t seem to fit. But he was.
5) Brandon Paul hung 43 on Ohio State Tuesday nite, as Illinois upset the Buckeyes in Champaign, on a night when the Illini honored Lou Henson, their all-time winningest coach.
4) Drayton McLane bought the Astros in 1992 for $117M; he sold them last year for $680M. Must be fun to be rich.
3) Rams can walk from St Louis after the 2014 season, which has people in Missouri nervous, but owner Stan Kroenke is from Missouri, I don’t think he’ll move the Rams unless civic leaders stonewall him on getting improvements to Jones Dome. In a perfect world he’d get a new stadium, but the days of teams getting stadiums handed to them appear to be winding down. I’d like to see the Rams stay in St Louis, though, for sure.
2) Mark Jackson's Warriors beat the Miami Heat to OT without Steph Curry, whose ankle continues to be a problem; Warriors have beaten the Bulls and Miami, but are 1-6 against everyone else. Go figure. .
1) Two days after losing to the Giants and Atlanta has already lost both its coordinators; Brian Van Gorder went to Auburn to run their defense, and Mike Mularkey is Jacksonville's new head coach.
Thursday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) If you watch any golf this winter, you have to root for Erik Compton, a 32-year old Tour rookie. Why? Because the guy is on his third heart. You heard me right. His third freakin’ heart. He had his first transplant when he was 12, then another one as an adult. So root for him. I'm pretty sure he's earned it.
12) If you had to choose a quarterback to play one game this Sunday, who would you pick, Tim Tebow or Cam Newton?
11) College football coaches won’t be on TV for the next three weeks, but its their busiest three weeks of the whole year. Recruiting season. Signing Day is February 1; games from 2013-2016 will have outcomes determined by what acceptance letters come in on whose fax machines February 1. Its an industry all to itself.
If you’re interested in recruiting, go find Bruce Feldman’s excellent book, Meat Market. All about college football recruiting. Educational book.
10) You can bet on which two teams will meet in Super Bowl; longshot exacta is Giants-Broncos, at 175-1.
9) I always thought it would suck to have been born on February 29; you only get a birthday once every four years. Looked it up, the two most famous people I could find that were born on the 366th day are Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker and Henri Richard, the hockey player.
8) There are only three ACC teams in the college basketball top 50. That doesn’t happen very many years.
7) How weird is it to look at Pac-12 standings and see Colorado leading the way? Pac-12 has now slipped to 8th in conference ratings, behind the Atlantic 14.
6) Someone has to explain to me why Idaho and Louisiana Tech are in the same league; this baffles me. Get a map, find Idaho, then find Louisiana; they’re not close to each other.
5) Golfer Steve Stricker has won 12 PGA tournaments, nine of them since he turned 40. That’s a very unusual career arc.
4) Raiders’ owner Mark Davis is making noise about moving the Silver and Black to Los Angeles. Again. Maybe they could just find the geographic midpoint between Oakland and LA and build a stadium there.
3) So George Clooney is dating Stacy Keibler, the former WWE wrestler? I haven’t watched WWE in years, but I was watching when she broke in to pro wrestling 10-12 years ago. I don’t even have a comment or a joke here, it just struck me as weird. Good luck to them.
2) Pete Carroll makes $7M a year?!?!?!?! wtf? Belichick makes $7.5M and Shanahan $7M, but they’ve won five titles between them. What has Pete flippin’ Carroll done in the NFL to deserve a $7M salary? Yikes.
1) Someone once said that half of life is showing up. Not if you’re Eldrick Woods, who is cashing in on a 7-figure appearance fee to play in a tournament in Abu Dhabi. In other words, he’s making $1M+, just for showing up!!!! Guy hasn’t won an official tournament in two years and he makes a million bucks just to show up. What a world this is.