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Oklahoma and Iowa Move Up
[Posted Wed. a.m.]
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Detroit Lions Quiz: It being Thanksgiving and all...here’s your quiz for while watching Lions-Eagles on Turkey Day. Name the seven quarterbacks to throw for 10,000 yards in their Detroit career. All are post-1968, except one. Answer below.
New CFP Rankings....
1. Clemson 11-0
2. Alabama 10-1
3. Oklahoma 10-1...?
4. Iowa 11-0
5. Michigan State 10-1
6. Notre Dame 10-1
7. Baylor 9-1
8. Ohio State 10-1
9. Stanford 9-2
10. Michigan 9-2
11. Oklahoma State 10-1
12. Florida 10-1
13. Florida State 9-2
14. North Carolina 10-1
15. Navy 9-1
16. Northwestern 9-2
17. Oregon 8-3
18. Ole Miss 8-3
19. TCU 9-2
20. Washington State 8-3
21. Miss. State 8-3
22. UCLA 8-3
23. Utah 8-3
24. Toledo 9-1
25. Temple 9-2
Boy, I would not have put Oklahoma third, but I like that Iowa is fourth. They deserve to be rewarded for winning, even if their schedule has been light.
But this is far from over. Oklahoma could lose to Oklahoma State, Iowa could lose on Friday at Nebraska, Michigan State could lose to Penn State, Notre Dame obviously to Stanford....
At least one of these guys are bound to stumble. I’ll say Iowa does, Nebraska having an incentive to even their record at 6-6 and get bowl eligible.
--Ohio State running back Ezekial Elliott issued an apology on Twitter for his comments after the Buckeyes’ 17-14 loss on Saturday to Michigan State.
“My intentions were not to point fingers at anyone for OUR failure. I was caught up in emotions. I hope everyone can understand how strongly I love this team and this university and how much I wanted to win that game but I do not regret anything I said.”
Coach Urban Meyer said that Elliott had apologized to him on Sunday. Meyer then said that while Elliott was wrong to make his comments publicly, he blamed himself for poor play-calling, adding the issue had been “squashed.” Elliott will not be disciplined.
Ohio State can still make the Big Ten championship game by defeating Michigan this weekend, coupled with a Michigan State loss to Penn State.
The Buckeyes, by the way, have won 10 of their last 11 games against Michigan.
--Three-loss UCLA plays at four-loss USC on Saturday with the winner advancing to the Pac-12 title game against Stanford.
But first Stanford must play Notre Dame in a critical game for both. The Cardinal still thinks they have a shot at the playoffs despite two losses, while Notre Dame needs a convincing win to maintain a shot of its own.
--John Feinstein in the Washington Post recently had a piece on Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo and after Saturday’s win, he has a 66-36 record at Navy, which is truly outstanding.
Yes, Niumatalolo is underrated and for this year deserves to be right there in the coach of the year conversation with Dabo Swinney and Jim Harbaugh.
Heck, this is his eighth full season and Navy is headed towards its seventh bowl game, maybe a major one, in that time. Contrast that with Army....oops, don’t mean to get the West Pointers all riled up.
[In the same 8-year stretch, Army has one winning record, one bowl game. It has been to just two bowl games since an appearance at the Sun Bowl in 1988. Actually, it has just one winning season since going 10-2 in 1996.]
Navy has a huge game Friday at Houston. A must win to keep their New Year’s Day bowl game hopes alive.
--What a mess...but certainly not unusual for the NFL...
Dallas 3-7...only shown because they are 3-0 with Tony Romo and you never know.
Green Bay 7-3
Tampa Bay 5-5
Here, you can quickly say it’s obvious Arizona, Carolina and Green Bay/Minnesota are in with the NFC East winner, while Green Bay/Minnesota, Atlanta or Seattle get the wildcards. OK, maybe Tampa Bay.
New England 10-0
Kansas City 5-5
Here, it’s New England, Cincinnati, Denver and who the heck knows who the other three will be.
--All three games on Thanksgiving are very meaningful....
Philadelphia at Detroit 12:30 ET
Carolina at Dallas 4:30
Chicago at Green Bay 8:30
--The story of the concussion sustained by St. Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum is a big one and, for the archives, I want to get the facts down properly, especially since like most of you I only saw the replays.
Ken Belson / New York Times
“With a little more than a minute remaining in regulation and the score tied at 13 against the Baltimore Ravens, Keenum dropped back to pass and was thrown to the ground after releasing the ball. The back of Keenum’s head slammed against the turf. He immediately put both of his hands on his helmet. Then he tried to get up, wobbled and fell back down. Dazed, Keenum was helped to his feet by a teammate.
“The Rams sent their trainer onto the field to look at Keenum, who stayed in the game. Two plays later, Keenum was sacked, and he fumbled. The Ravens then moved downfield and kicked a winning field goal.
“Only after the game did the Rams give Keenum a test to see if he had sustained a concussion, which he had. But by then, commentators on television and social media were aghast that medical personnel and team officials had let Keenum play on.
“In a league that has struggled to erase the perception that it does not take head injuries seriously, the episode set off alarm bells at NFL headquarters and beyond....
“Rams Coach Jeff Fisher said in a news conference on Monday that the episode had exposed flaws in the system of identifying concussions and protecting players, and changes might have to be made in the off-season.
“Fisher said he had seen Keenum go down but had not seen him hit his head on the turf or struggle to get up.... But Nick Foles, the backup quarterback, apparently suspected something was wrong, as he quickly began warming up.”
As for why the independent spotter who sits in the press box during the game and has the power to call down and get a player removed didn’t do anything, that’s the big story (or at least ask for a medical timeout to be called). The Rams’ trainer, Reggie Scott, did run onto the field after Keenum was hit, whereupon Keenum told him he was OK and with one of the officials telling Scott he needed to leave the field or the Rams would be charged a timeout, “the spotter had no reason to call down to the field, Fisher said.” [Belson]
When I first saw the play, I thought it was the spotter’s fault, but it seems it really wasn’t given the existing guidelines.
Nonetheless, immediately after the hit, Keenum was clearly struggling and should have been removed for at least a play for evaluation.
Those who saw it live were in agreement. It was disgraceful.
--As if Coach Fisher didn’t already have his hands full, including pressure from fans for the team’s lackluster performance this year, now he has the situation with third-year receiver Steadman Bailey, who was shot twice in the head while sitting in a car down in Miami Gardens, Florida, where Bailey grew up.
The driver of the vehicle was shot multiple times while attempting to shield children in the car from bullets. Bailey is apparently in stable condition. The driver is in more serious condition.
Bailey had been suspended earlier in the month by the NFL for violation of its policy on substance abuse. He was allowed to work out with the team during the suspension and was eligible to return Dec. 7.
--Yes, the officiating in the NFL has been absolutely atrocious, including an inexplicable inadvertent whistle by an official in Monday night’s Pats-Bills game, won by New England 20-13.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady rolled right to avoid the rush and connected with receiver Danny Amendola, who spun free of a tackle and had 45 yards of clear sailing to the end zone, but line judge Gary Arthur suddenly blew the whistle and the players stopped. Had Amendola kept running for the touchdown, New England would have been up 17-3.
But what was just as bad is that after the officials conferred, the Pats were awarded the 14 yards Amendola gained on the catch, but no yards after the catch. Another 15 yards was tacked on for a sideline interference penalty called on Bills coach Rex Ryan, who was standing on the white chalk near Arthur.
The Patriots ended up stalling on that particular drive, with Stephen Gostkowski missing on a 52-yard field goal attempt, his first miss of the year, but went on for the win any way.
ESPN’s Mike Tirico said after the game, “Wow. What a screwed up night of plays and officiating this was. Wow.”
--Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch could be out for the season with a sports hernia, which would require surgery, unless the Seahawks make a lengthy playoff run.
--Jets fans are very depressed. We need a freakin’ win Sunday against Miami or the season is essentially over. If the team doesn’t play well, the booing will be merciless and rookie Coach Todd Bowles will catch most of it.
As of this morning, no word on the availability of cornerback Darrelle Revis (concussion) or center Nick Mangold (mangled hand). Revis, who has had a solid season until Sunday, played like he had a concussion before he actually received one.
Hey, Johnny Mac. Did you ever find my sword? Send it parcel post, please.
--Talk about depression, such is the feeling around Baltimore. I mean Sports Illustrated had them winning the Super Bowl (over Seattle), for crying out loud, and they are 3-7.
They’re also now without Joe Flacco, who had never missed a game in over 7 ½ seasons, but is out with a torn ACL that because of the timing of it, could keep him sidelined well into the 2016 campaign. Matt Schaub will take over at QB.
Scintillating game next Monday night...Browns vs. Ravens. And yet people will still watch.
--New AP Poll (Nov. 23...before Monday’s games)
3. Michigan State
4. Iowa State
9. North Carolina...bigger drop than I expected
13. Indiana...and then...see below
15. Miami...big wins over Butler and Utah
17. Notre Dame
20. Wichita State
25. SMU...for Paul P. He’s had a tough time w/his Mustangs
--Huge win for Wake Forest on Monday at the Maui Invitational as the Deacs upset No. 13 Indiana 82-78. But get this. Wake had 17 turnovers and just 6 assists, while Indiana had 17 assists and 14 turnovers.
Six assists! Wake has some exciting freshmen. John Collins had 10 points and 9 rebounds in just 13 minutes and fellow frosh Bryant Crawford has some Randolph Childress in him...seemingly a natural scorer (though he needs to protect the ball better).
But on Tuesday, Wake went ‘ker-plunk’ in losing to No. 19 Vanderbilt 86-64. Vandy center Damian Jones is smooth and I can see why he is a projected mid-first round draft pick next spring. [Jones is a junior but already announced his intentions.] Vandy overall is intriguing.
Also on Monday, Marquette upset No. 22 LSU and super frosh Ben Simmons, despite Simmons having a monster game; 21 points, 20 rebounds, 7 assists. But one of the other big freshmen in America, Marquette’s Henry Ellenson, had 16 points and 11 rebounds. He’s a projected lottery pick already as well.
And on Tuesday, Ellenson shined as the Golden Eagles won the championship game of the Legends Classic at Barclays Center, with 18 points and 11 rebounds in a 78-73 overtime win over Arizona State.
Ellenson chose Marquette, which is close (relatively) to where he grew up in tiny Rice Lake, Wis., over the likes of Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Michigan State.
So it’s cool both Simmons and Ellenson, the top two freshmen big men, didn’t go the traditional route.
Back to LSU, they lost their second straight, this one to N.C. State, 83-72, as Simmons was held to 4 points on 1 of 6 shooting. But he played all 40 minutes and chipped in with 14 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks.
--Bill Walton has been doing some of the games from Maui for ESPN and I just love the guy. I mean it’s not like he’s doing the Final Four and you want some important analysis. This is the first week of the season, essentially, and even the big matchups just really aren’t that important when looking at the long season ahead.
Ergo, it’s a good time to let just Bill be Bill. During the Wake-Indiana game, a Wake player totally muffed a layup, with the ball just slipping out of his hands on the way up, and Walton instantly brought up Charles Smith of the Knicks and his infamous critical muff in Game 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals against the Rockets, which Knicks fans still have nightmares over. But it was brilliant on Walton’s part.
And then Walton starts riffing about Wells Fargo acquiring Wachovia, and Peyton Manning “when he was young,” and, yeah, I know many aren’t into his act but it’s the holidays. Lighten up.
--Wichita State fans can’t help but be concerned with the status of senior point guard Fred VanVleet, who continues to be bothered with a hamstring injury. He simply shouldn’t play until he is fully healed, but VanVleet played 30 minutes in a loss to Tulsa and afterwards, coach Gregg Marshall said that was a mistake. “My love affair and belief in Fred, and his toughness were to blame.”
VanVleet played like crap...the guy couldn’t move or change direction. It seems Marshall learned his lesson.
--The other day I mentioned how Johnny Mac was looking at his alma mater’s hoops roster, that of St. Francis/Brooklyn, and couldn’t believe they had two players from Iceland (plus one from Serbia).
But then Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal had a piece by Andrew Beaton who noted that LIU Brooklyn also has two players from Iceland, plus players from the Central African Republic, Netherlands, Nigeria and Senegal, as well as “three players from the far off land of Texas.”
But why Iceland? Andy Johnston, a former assistant at both LIU and St. Francis, coached a semipro team in Iceland and has been funneling players from there to his old schools. For the players, New York City is an attraction, plus as Andrew Beaton points out, “New York’s airports have direct flights to most places across the globe. Playing almost anywhere else in the country would make going home, and having family come visit for games, far more difficult.”
--I just saw on NJ.com that an old friend of mine, Jose Rebimbas, has been fired as coach of D-III William Paterson’s basketball team “because of a misunderstanding over a facility rental fee for a camp,” according to Jose on his Facebook page.
Rebimbas has led the Pioneers to nine NCAA Tournament appearances in 20 years, including an appearance in the 2001 national title game, and he was the coach of my friend, the late Mubby Swain.
Jose and I haven’t been more than e-mail friends the last few years, as I’ve offered my encouragement from time to time during the hoops season, but this is a man of character.
That said, I have no idea as to the facts but on Tuesday night, his team walked off the court before its game against Ramapo, thus forfeiting it. The players took off their warmups after the starting lineup was announced and left the shirts on the floor. That action speaks volumes.
Hang in there, Coach.
--Tuesday night, the Golden State Warriors set the NBA record for best start to a season, 16-0, as they defeated the pathetic Lakers (2-12) 111-77.
It’s really amazing Golden State has done this with assistant coach Luke Walton directing matters, what with head coach Steve Kerr recovering from his second back operation. It’s just not that easy.
But as Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported, Walton, 35, “has led an enchanting life.”
“He won championships in 2009 and 2010 as a role player for the Lakers and earned $34 million in an 11-year playing career, nine with the team that drafted him 32nd overall in 2003.”
The Lakers offered him a job on the player-development side after he played sparingly for Cleveland in 2012-13, but he declined and later Steve Kerr called about becoming an assistant with the Warriors. Walton quickly accepted.
Now look at him.
--Tuesday, Indiana whipped Washington 123-106, which bears noting because the Pacers hit a stupendous 19 of 26 from 3-point range, including seven by Paul George, who had 40 points.
--The Dodgers hired former L.A. outfielder Dave Roberts to be their new manager, replacing Don Mattingly. Roberts becomes the first minority manager in the team’s history.
Roberts is probably best known for a stolen base in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS that helped spark Boston’s big comeback against the Yankees and led to the franchise’s first World Series championship in 86 years.
He has no managerial experience, but has been a coach with the Padres the last five seasons.
In his 10-year playing career for various teams, Roberts hit .266 with 243 stolen bases, including six seasons of at least 30.
--Randy Miller of NJ.com had a piece yesterday on minor league hurler Ray Black, the real-life Sidd Finch, as he put it. [Finch being George Plimpton’s creation in a Sports Illustrated article 30 years ago, April 1, 1985.]
Black recently threw a record-tying 104-mph fastball in an Arizona Fall League Game, tying Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman for the highest speed pitch.
Black is 6-foot-5, 225 pounds and to say he’s a late bloomer is an understatement.
30 teams passed on the Wilkes-Barre, Pa., high schooler in 2011, including the Yankees who have a AAA team there, as Black missed his senior year of baseball at Coughlin High recovering from Tommy John surgery, then was picked in the seventh round of the 2011 draft after his redshirt sophomore season at Pitt, though he didn't pitch for three seasons due to various injuries, including a torn labrum.
But now he is healthy and in nine relief appearances in the AFL he has 16 strikeouts in nine innings.
The property of the San Francisco Giants, Black, now 25, spent last season in high-A ball in the California League and in 20 games, five as a starter, he was 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 25 innings.
Giants farm director Shane Turner told the San Jose Mercury News, “It’s the angle and the finish on the ball. When he’s right, he makes 100 look like 115.
“He’s on the mound and he throws one at 98 mph, and our pitching coordinator, Bert Bradley, said, ‘Oh, that’s his changeup.’”
--Bud Black, no relation to Ray Black, was hired by the Angels as special assistant to new general manager Billy Eppler. Black had been expected to be named manager of the Nationals, but Washington gave him an insulting contract offer and when Black turned it down, the Nats went with Dusty Baker instead.
--We note the passing of former pitcher Ken Johnson, 82. Johnson holds a unique distinction in baseball history. He is the only pitcher to complete a nine-inning game without yielding a hit and still managed to lose the game.
On April 23, 1964, while pitching for what was then the Houston Colt .45s against the Reds, Johnson went to the ninth with his no-hitter but with one out, “he fielded a bunt by (Pete) Rose and threw wildly to first, allowing Rose to reach second. Rose scored two batters later on an error by second baseman Nellie Fox.” [Bruce Weber / New York Times]
Joe Nuxhall threw a five-hit shutout for Cincinnati that game.
Johnson was 91-106, 3.46 ERA, in a 13-year career that included stints with seven teams. He had a nice stretch from 1965-67, pitching for the Astros and Braves, going 43-27.
NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship
Round of 16...Nov. 28/29
1 Wake v. 16 Indiana; 9 Ohio State v. 8 Stanford; 3 Georgetown v. Boston College; 11 Seattle v. 6 Syracuse; 5 North Carolina v. 12 Creighton; SMU v. 4 Akron; 7 Notre Dame v. 10 Maryland; 15 UC Santa Barbara v. 2 Clemson.
As you can see no big upsets thus far. Go Deacs! [Wonder if Wake b-ball karma translates to the turf, seeing as we’re up against Indiana again.]
--I was just reviewing the Champions League standings after four of six matches in the Group Stage, which determines the Round of 16, and Manchester United and Man City are first in their group, Chelsea is second in theirs, while Arsenal is third and doesn’t appear to have a shot at moving on.
The top two in each group continue. Your editor wants some Premier League representation in the semifinals.
--The great light-heavyweight boxing champion, Bob Foster, died. He was 76.
Foster won the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association light-heavyweight titles in May 1968 with a fourth-round knockout of Dick Tiger of Nigeria, who had previously been the middleweight champion as well.
That bout took place at Madison Square Garden and I remember the build up for it. It was the first time Tiger had been knocked out.
Foster then was unbeaten in 14 title defenses before retiring for the first time in September 1974.
But Foster harbored dreams of winning the heavyweight title, too, and at 6-feet-3, with long arms, he thought he could make the leap in weight class.
But he was knocked out in the second round by Joe Frazier in November 1970, and by Muhammad Ali in the eighth round in November 1972.
In the Ali fight, which was for the vacant North American Boxing Federation title (this was the era of multiple boxing fiefdoms), Foster was outweighed by 221 to 180, but did bloody Ali’s face, which nobody had done in his career to that point. Ali’s jab, though, prevented Foster from unleashing his devastating left hook.
Afterwards, Foster said, “A man in the 220s is not supposed to have hands that fast. I’m a believer.”
After retiring in 1974, Foster came back in 1978 as a heavyweight and won five fights, before being stopped in his final two. He then became a sergeant in an Albuquerque area sheriff’s department. [Richard Goldstein / New York Times]
--We note the passing of Nola, one of just four endangered northern white rhinos left in the world. Nola died Sunday at the San Diego Zoo.
Nola, 41, had lived at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park since 1989 and was a huge attraction, a 4,000-pound gentle giant who allowed park staff to get close, and she loved having her back scratched.
So now there are just three left in the world – all at a conservancy in Kenya.
San Diego was able to mate Nola with one of two male northern white rhinos it had, but there never was a pregnancy, and the two males died in 2007 and last December.
San Diego Zoo Global has one of the world’s most successful rhino breeding programs, with a total of 94 southern white rhinos having been born at the Safari Park; as well as 68 greater one-horned rhinos and 14 black rhinos. A veritable rhino army. [Karla Peterson / San Diego Union Tribune]
--Adele’s “25” is breaking all sales records, selling 2.4m albums in three days in the United States. For the launch, Adele and her people took the strategy of withholding it from steaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music and it’s paid off. She’ll make it available later to them.
Spotify pays a whopping royalty of about a penny per stream, while to download Adele’s album from Apple’s iTunes is $10.99, of which rights holders receive about two-thirds. [Financial Times]
Good for her! [Blank ‘em.]
Adele sold more than 30m copies of her last album, “21.” No doubt she will wait to allow streaming until after Christmas because this will be a hugely popular gift.
Top 3 songs for the week 11/25/78: #1 “MacArthur Park” (Donna Summer...only slightly less worse than the Richard Harris version...) #2 “Double Vision” (Foreigner) #3 “How Much I Feel” (Ambrosia...sick to the stomach watching the Jets recently...)...and...#4 “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (Barbra & Neil...I thought you wanted beer...sorry!...) #5 “You Needed Me” (Anne Murray...no I didn’t...) #6 “Le Freak” (Chic) #7 “I Just Wanna Stop” (Gino Vennelli...big hair lad had a little run around this time...) #8 “I Love The Nightlife (Disco ‘Round)” (Alicia Bridges...not bad if you were strapped to a chair and the North Korean told you you had to listen to a disco song for 42 hours...) #9 “Time Passages” (Al Stewart....doo doo doo dooooo...) #10 “You Never Done It Like That” (Captain & Tennille)
Detroit Lions Quiz Answer: Seven to throw for 10,000 yards.
1. Matthew Stafford 24,321 (2009-15)
2. Bobby Layne 15,710 (1950-58)
3. Scott Mitchell 12,647 (1994-98)
4. Greg Landry 12,451 (1968-78)
5. Gary Danielson 11,885 (1977-84)
6. Eric Hipple 10,711 (1981-89)
7. Joey Harrington 10,242 (2002-05)
Next Bar Chat, Monday.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Enjoy the non-stop football action.