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Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend........
13) Freshman QB Max Wittek makes his first college start in a game that will help decide who plays for the national title; first instinct is to dismiss him and his inexperience, but remember that Matt Cassel starts in the NFL, and he never started a game at USC, so there is talent sitting on the bench at the LA Coliseum, just not much experience.
12) How will the Colts bounce back from getting pasted in Foxboro? If they’re a playoff team, they need to beat the Bills at home.
11) There are 8-team basketball tournaments in Orlando-Anaheim-Atlantis, made-for-TV events. Good stuff. Results of these games will help decide who goes where when the brackets are announced in mid-March.
10) This might be the most meaningful Oregon-Oregon State game ever; both teams are very good. Curious to see how the Ducks bounce back from their first loss.
9) Knicks play the Brooklyn Nets for the first time Monday night, in a game rescheduled because of the hurricane. Both teams are off to hot starts; this figures to be a good rivalry.
8) Can Ohio State finish unbeaten in Urban Meyer’s first season in Columbus? Seems like OSU-Michigan has been a noon Saturday game in late November for as long as I can remember, going back 40+ years.
7) 37-year old 3rd-stringer Charlie Batch is starting at QB for the Steelers in Cleveland, backed up by a guy who was unemployed at noon on Tuesday. If Pittsburgh can’t run the ball, how will they score?
6) Michigan State is favored by 8.5 points in Minnesota; their last seven games have all been decided by 4 or less points, the longest such streak since 1971. Minnesota’s leading WR just quit the team and publicly ripped the coach on his way out the door.
5) 49ers-Saints, Packers-Giants are rematches from last season’s playoffs; both should be excellent games.
4) If USC beats Notre Dame and Florida State beats the Gators, Les Miles might be coaching in another national title game. FSU-Florida will be fun to watch.
3) Carson Palmer was going to retire rather than play for Cincinnati anymore; this week he plays against the Bengals, who’ve allowed only one TD in their last two games.
2) If Stanford beats UCLA, Oregon doesn’t even get to the Pac-12 title game, which seems odd. Cardinals and Bruins both had huge wins last week, tough wins to come down to earth from. Then again, if Stanford wins, these teams play again next weekend in the Pac-12 championship game.
1) Back in May, who thought Falcons-Bucs would be a big game this week? You’re right, no one did, but Tampa Bay has become a contender by finding different ways to win.
-- Knicks ran into old friend Jeremy Lin and got bamboozled by his new team, 131-103 in Houston. Harden/Parsons both had 30+ points.
-- Clippers, Lakers, Thunder also all lost on the road Friday night.
-- Oregon got a big win at UNLV, 83-79; that'll look good in March.
-- So will Creighton's 84-74 win over Wisconsin at Orleans Arena.
-- Michigan won the preseason NIT, 71-57 over Kansas State.
-- Mike Leach won his first Apple Cup as coach of Washington State; his Coogs upset Washington 31-28 in OT.
Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) If you’re making couple million bucks to coach an NFL team, would be nice if you knew the rules regarding replay challenges, even if they are stupid rules. Lions lost in OT Thursday because their coach got mad and threw a challenge flag, which nullified a potential review which would’ve easily negated a Houston TD. That’s called losing your poise. Fuck me.
12) That said, the stupid rule about not reviewing a play if a challenge flag is thrown illegally should be done away with soon. No way Houston’s long TD should’ve been allowed Thursday; would’ve been an easy overturn. It is a terrible rule that somehow got put in.
11) Since 1980, Lions have had only two starting kickers; Eddie Murray and Jason Hanson; during that same time, Cowboys have had 18.
10) Weird score of the week, so weird that I checked to see if it was a girls’ score: Columbia 75, Villanova 57.
Jay Wright could have a sinking ship on his hands.
9) If you’re a basketball coach in the Big West, and your team is playing in the Alaskan Shootout, and getting 4 points from host, Division II Alaska-Anchorage, your assistant coaches should be on the road recruiting, because you need better players, brother.
That’s Cal-Riverside I’m talking about, by the way; they lost by a point to Anchorage Friday night. Could be a long winter in Riverside.
8) Thought it was unusual that Houston Texans’ owner Bob McNair watches the first quarter of games down on the field, then goes upstairs to his box. Usually the owner comes down on the field late in the game if his team is going to win, so he can be seen on TV.
7) Cowboys have floundered under Jason Garrett, but at least he’s good (8 of 11) with replay challenges.
6) Red Sox are stressing clubhouse chemistry by signing free agents David Ross/Jonny Gomes. If they continue that trend, Nick Swisher should be their next signee. Gomes was an excellent leader with the A’s, set a tone of selflessness and team play.
5) Apparently the Jets don’t think much of 3rd string QB Greg McElroy; Tim Tebow was active Thursday, despite having two broken ribs. Doesn’t bode well for McElroy’s future in the Swamp.
4) Going into Friday’s games, Jamal Crawford led the NBA in 4th quarter scoring average, with 7.8 ppg; Kobe Bryant was next, at 7.3.
3) Kent State’s ranked in top 25 in football? Wow. Their most famous sports alumnus in last 25 years is Chargers’ TE Antonio Gates, who played basketball, not football at Kent. Have to go back to Jack Lambert/Nick Saban to find prominent football alums.
2) You could make a convincing argument that this is the best sports weekend of the year; so much stuff going on, lot of keep track of.
1) Hey, the genius Mets sold 4% of their team to a guy who has had seven employees implicated for insider trading, three of whom have been arrested; sound familiar? When is former used car salesman Alan R. Selig going to get rid of these hideous people the way he got rid of Frank McCourt? The Wilpons are rotten apples, simple as that. Kick ‘em to the curb, Bud.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a very busy day.........
13) Basic football strategy; you're down nine points with 2:45 left, you've got a rookie QB playing, its 4th-and-goal on the 2-yard line against a defense that is solid. You kick the FG 99 times out of 100, unless you're USC coach Lane Kiffin, then you throw a pass to a fullback and you lose. Brilliant!!! Fucking idiot!!
12) D-2 Alaska-Anchorage won two games in its own tournament, and that doesn't happen much. Seawolves made 15-27 from arc in their upset of Loyola Marymount Saturday. Its 7th time in 35 years UAA won twice in the Great Alaskan Shootout. Great stuff and I so remember being there on my trip to Alaska this summer wondering how these guys compete against everyone. And here they are doing it again.
11) Eric Musselman has been head coach of the Warriors/Kings in NBA; isn't he a little overqualified to be an assistant coach at Arizona State? ASU fans have to be very happy with what they saw this weekend from new PG Jahii Carson, who appears to be everything Herb Sendek said he was.
10) SEC 4, ACC 0, if you were keeping track Saturday; guess playing those stiff I-AA teams last week paid off. SEC defenses are lot faster than most.
9) Urban Meyer is 116-23 as a college head coach, 75-48 (60.9%) against the spread; he just hasn't had many teams that were made up entirely of his own recruits. Very unusual career he's had.
8) Auburn is an impossible job until Nick Saban leaves Alabama; they won a national title two years ago, so expectations are stupid-high, but probation could be on the way, and another Cam Newton isn't. Auburn is going to have a real problem attracting quality candidates who aren't retreads.
7) Oklahoma had 44 first downs in its OT win over Oklahoma State; don't think I've ever seen a team have 44 first downs in a game before
6) Creighton, Cincinnati won 4-team tournaments in Las Vegas, and both looked good doing it. Bluejays beat Wisconsin/Arizona State, while Bearcats beat Iowa State/Oregon for its two wins.
5) Charlotte beat Northeastern to win Alaskan Shootout; 49ers caught a break when Northeastern upset tourney favorite Belmont in the semis.
4) Under-the-radar score that will matter Selection Sunday: down in South Padre Island, TX, Northwestern 72, Illinois State 69 in OT.
3) Duke outscored Louisville 23-9 on foul line (surprise!!!) and held off the Cardinals 76-71 in the Bahamas. Wouldn't mind seeing these two teams play again in March. This was first Pitino-Coach K meeting in 20 years.
2) It bugs me when TV announcers say a lousy team should go for it "well, they're 3-6, what difference does it make?" Dammit, you improve as a team by creating good habits and always playing the right way. You don't make decisions differently because your record is crummy? Whats up with that?
1) According to Gold Sheet, if Alabama had played Notre Dame Saturday, the spread would've been Crimson Tide, minus 11. I'm just sayin'.........
Just a bad weekend all around after a nice start to the week. Sometimes you are the bug and sometimes you are the windshield. Lets regroup and look forward to bowl season after this weeks express thread.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a busy sports weekend.........
13) Someday soon ESPNews will show the press conference when the Chargers fire Norv Turner, they'll need to show Ray Rice's magnificent run to get a first down on 4th-and-29 when it looked like the Ravens were dead in San Diego Sunday. Great run, abysmal tackling. Time for the coach to go.
12) Auburn fired Gene Chizik, two years after he won the national title; it would be at least a little funny if the Carolina Panthers fired Ron Rivera and replaced him with Chizik, reuniting him with Cam Newton.
11) NC State fired Tom O'Brien after 7-5 season, which doesn't happen a lot in hoop country; O'Brien sealed his own fate when he ran QB Russell Wilson out of Raleigh before his senior season, because the kid was playing minor league baseball in the summers. Wilson's success at Wisconsin and with the Seahawks made O'Brien look foolish.
10) Speaking of Wilson, sprinklers went on during the third quarter of Seattle-Miami game in Florida. Seahawks/Steelers both lost despite scoring a return TD, that doesn't happen much. In Pittsburgh's case.........
9) ...........Steelers turned ball over eight times in a hideous 20-14 to the Browns in Cleveland. Last NFL team to turn ball over eight times in a game was 2001, when the Rams lost to the Saints; St Louis won the NFC that year. Steelers' backup QBs are not NFL-caliber, at least not anymore.
Cleveland scored two TDs in this game, on drives of 31-10 yards. If defenses force turnovers or 3/outs, it makes the offense's job a lot easier.
8) Rams went five straight games with no takeaways; they picked off four Arizona passes Sunday, with Janoris Jenkins taking back two INTs for TDs in the Rams' 31-17 win, their first road win of the season.
7) Six teams were -2 or worse in turnovers this week; Atlanta was only one of the six to win, sneaking past the Bucs 24-23 in Tampa. Falcons gained 10.1 yards/pass attempt, converted 8-13 on 3rd down but somehow still had to sweat it out til the end-- two missed Bryant FGs didn't help.
6) Watching all the NFL games every Sunday, the one thing that strikes me is how teams' performances vary wildly from week to week, even this late in the season.
5) Chiefs went another game without a touchdown; hard to imagine next year coming around with a major housecleaning in Kansas City; thats coach, GM, starting QB.
4) Gonzaga won the Orlando hoop tournament 81-67 over Davidson; Cal Bears beat Pacific to win the event in Anaheim. Gonzaga is really good. Not sure about Cal's big guys yet- their guards are very good.
3) Four weeks ago, Toronto Argonauts were 7-9 and floundering; tonight, they're Grey Cup champs, after upsetting Calgary 35-22 in the 100th Grey Cup game, luckily for them played in the Rogers Centre. Former Jet backup QB Ricky Ray led the Argonauts to their unlikely title. 23rd Grey Cup title for the city of Toronto, most of any city.
2) Bryant beat Boston College, Cal Poly beat UCLA, and LaSalle beat Villanova in OT, as some of the big-name schools continue to take their lumps in early season hoops. UCLA loses to Cal Poly? Yikes.
1) Baltimore ran 91 plays for 443 yards in San Diego; they converted 12-24 on third down- not sure I've ever seen a team have 24 third down plays. It was only game this week with no turnovers; Chargers went 3/out seven times in 12 drives. Hard to win that way; hard to keep your job that way.
It seems like we have been cursed with terrible Thanksgiving Day football games over the past decade but this year was absolutely terrific in many different ways. You had potentially the game of the year first (with hilarious controversy!). A rookie stud becoming a legend in game two. And a monumental shit-kicking late that was chock full of LOL-worthy moments. Let's get to the breakdown of the week.
Ndamukong Suh - What are we going to do with this guy? I mean, You can understand Lions fans including me defending him here and maybe we have a point. But it getting hard to defend him. I can't remember Justin Tuck (or anyone else for that matter) "accidentally" punting a QB in the python ever. And he doesn't have a track record of being an on-field cocksucker. Suh is a very good player but he is being overshadowed by Fairly and is not really making himself a marketing icon. These are facts. I don't think that you can fine or suspend Suh for behaving like a middle school bully, but he's pushing his luck.
Jim Schwartz - More on my Lions. First of all, that rule is SO DUMB. Why is that even in place? The offense scores on a terrible non-call. The coach gets all red-faced and throws a flag. Now, apparently, the play has to stand because of a red bean bag? This makes sense? But then again, Schwartz is a dumbass. He should know better since it JUST HAPPENED to Mike Smiff. I'm officially off his bandwagon for now. Dude is pretty bad as a head coach having this team play lead after lead after lead this season. With the talent they have how can they not be a .500 team. I know this because he doesn't know the fucking rules and just ended his team's season with his fucktardery. What does Gunther Cunningham think of his boss.
Brandon Pettigrew - Can we officially label this loser a bust now? HE IS NOT GOOD.
Jason Hanson - One of the greatest kickers of all time just put a stake in my heart and I felt worse than the turkey did before he got the axe.
Miles Austin - He had two balls thrown to him early and he got killed on both passes. London Fletcher (JOHN CARROLL!) murdered him in the endzone so Smiles took the rest of the game off. PUSSY.
DeMarcus Ware - He usually locks up 5 sacks per game against the Redskins. He didn't do shit on Thursday. I support this.
Jerry Jones' realizing that the Skins have passed his team - That was the best part of all. OBVZ, RG3 was absolutely TRANSCENDENT and ELITE, but I enjoyed the postgame quotes from everyone with Dallas seeming resigned to the fact that the Skins are going to own them for awhile. Goddamn, Bobby Griff was so good. That TD pass to Moss at the end of the half was ELITE. The Redskins are in the playoff hunt after week 11. That has not happened in awhile. And they get the Giants at home next Monday night.
DeAngelo Hall - So you recover an onside kick and have a clear path to the endzone ahead of you. What do you do? Kneel at the one? That does not compute. RUN IT UP!
Mark Sanchez - How do they still let him be the starter? His ass-related fumble has to be the reverse play of the year and has to be the Jets-est play of all time. I can't think of a more fitting way to end their season. BUT WAIT!
Timmy Tenor - Why not? They're 4-7. They likely have to go 5-0 to have a shot at the playoffs. That sure as shit isn't happening with Mexi-cunt at QB. Let's give the rock to T-Double and see if he still has the magic. COME ON, REX, IT'S TENOR TIME!
Ben Roethlisberger - I don't care for people naming their son after themselves...especially when dad has been accused of rape twice. Someone should call social services.
The Steelers - LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLZZZZZZZZZ!!! WAY TO LOSE TO THE BROWNS! In the time that you read all of those L's and O's, the Steelers turned it over thrice more. Brandon Weeden has the most talented concussion in league history.
Carson Palmer - Nice return to Cincinnati. When the Raiders lose, they never leave it in doubt. They get CRUSHED. Nice weekend for Ohio Football Fans!
Doubters of the Falcons - It must get old to have the best record in the better conference and be constantly told that you suck. Winning in Tampa over the hottest team in the league is a pretty impressive way to re-stake your claim as football's best team.
The LOLphins - Sure, they had a nice win over Seattle and all that jazz but having your stadium's sprinkler system go off during the game was quite pathetic.
Joe Flacco - It's 4th and 29...I've got to make a play...we need a FG...oh wait, my boy Ray Rice is wide open 2 feet in front of me! I'll just throw a one yard pass and demand that he do all the work. It makes perfect sense. It is what an ELITE QB would do!!! Joe Flacco is ass. Never forget that. And why wouldn't the Chargers give up a 4th and 29 on a one yard completion? The Ravens are the luckiest team ever.
Drew Brees - He doesn't show up on these posts very often but launching two heinous pick sixes is awfully Ryan Lindley of him. But, you know, dude got killed all game. The Niners were just teeing off on Moleman.
So, please, show some patience today after my horrible weekend of selections or I will have no choice but to Suh-kick you in the nads.
Would love to jump back on and make up for the weekends Lane Kiffen play calling type of day, after not cashing the Over in last nights game. But honestly dont really like anything tonight. If forced to make a pick I would go with Carolina and Under but more of a game to go back and forth with and catch up on some Walking Dead.