|Articles||Go Fund Me||All-Species List||Hot Spots||Go Fund Me|
|Web Epoch NJ Web Design | (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.|
Urban Meyer beats the Wolverines Again
[Posted Sunday p.m.]
Heisman Trophy Quiz: Name the last five non-quarterbacks to win the award. [Hint: Goes back to 1998] Answer below.
College Football Review
[Comments written prior to release of the new AP poll...the College Football Rankings released Tuesday evening.]
Well, now we have some controversy...which is good.
While there is little doubt that Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame are going to be in the final four, the last slot is totally up for grabs with the shockingly easy Ohio State win over No. 4 Michigan, and, earlier, 8 Washington State’s loss to 16 Washington. .
So let’s start with The Game, in Columbus, Ohio, Jim Harbaugh vs. Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes led by 24-19 at the half, though this was only because of a horrid muffed punt by OSU that allowed Michigan to score with 0:41 left to make it 21-19.
But you had a clue of what was to happen in the second half when Ohio State immediately drove the ball 74 yards for a short field goal in those final seconds to get it to 24-19 at the intermission. That was inexcusable by the ‘vaunted’ Michigan defense.
OSU then blitzed Michigan 17-0 in the third for a 41-19 lead and while the Wolverines cut it to 16 twice in a wild fourth quarter, the Buckeyes pulled away, 62-39, as quarterback Dwayne Haskins solidified a top three finish in the Heisman Trophy voting with five touchdown passes, giving him a Big Ten record 41 on the season.
So Jim Harbaugh is now 0-4 against Ohio State, and Urban Meyer is 7-0 against Michigan, the Buckeyes having now won 14 of the last 15 meetings between the two.
Does Ohio State, 11-1, now deserve to be in the CFP conversation, even though they were blitzed 49-20 by Purdue, barely beat Nebraska, and would have lost to Maryland last week if the Terrapins QB had completed a two-point conversation in overtime? Yeah, given everything else that has occurred, I guess. But we need to see just how much respect the AP and CFP voters give them, and then see if they can demolish Northwestern in the Big Ten title game, the Wildcats finishing the regular season at 8-4 with a 24-16 win over Illinois.
Meanwhile, No. 1 Alabama rolled over Auburn (7-5) 52-21 as Tua Tagovailoa had another five touchdown passes, giving him 36 on the season, vs. just two interceptions, plus he rushed for a score.
Tagovailoa has long been your Heisman Trophy winner, with Haskins and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray taking the next two spots, and West Virginia’s Will Grier and Washington State’s Gardner Minshew receiving the other two invites to New York.
But ‘Bama now faces 5 Georgia (who will move up to No. 4 with the Michigan loss) in the SEC title game...much more on this during the week...the Bulldogs with a convincing 45-21 win (38-7 at the half) over Georgia Tech (7-5), Jake Fromm with a rather tidy 13/16, 175, 4-0 performance.
No. 2 Clemson handled intrastate rival South Carolina (6-5) 56-35, Clemson rolling up 744 yards of offense, though Dabo Swinney can’t be pleased the secondary yielded 510 yards passing to Gamecock QB Jake Bentley.
Clemson now faces Pitt (7-5) in a pathetic ACC title tilt, the Panthers with a highly-disappointing 24-3 loss at Miami (7-5). Thankfully for Clemson, they’ve more than done enough to warrant a CFP berth and didn’t need a strong opponent to further convince the selection committee.
Out in Los Angeles Saturday night, 3 Notre Dame wrapped up its spot in the playoffs with a hard-fought 24-17 win against USC (5-7).
So Friday night we had another interested participant in the CFP chase, No. 6 Oklahoma, taking on 13 West Virginia in Morgantown, and the Sooners prevailed in another wild one, 59-56; OU getting outstanding performances from quarterback Kyler Murray (20/27, 364, 3-1, plus 114 yards rushing on just nine carries and another TD), receiver Marquise Brown, 11-243-2, and running back Kennedy Brooks, 21-182-1.
West Virginia’s Will Grier threw for 539 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions, but, he fumbled twice, both recovered by the Sooners for touchdowns. So instead of these two teams matching up again in the Big 12 title game, Oklahoma will now square off against 14 Texas (9-3), the Longhorns having handed the 11-1 Sooners their only loss earlier in the year, 48-45.
Texas beat a scrappy Kansas 24-17 also on Friday.
There was a wild one in College Station Saturday night, as 22 Texas A&M took on 7 LSU, and in seven overtimes, the Aggies prevailed 74-72, after tying up the game as time expired in regulation on a 19-yard TD pass from Kelly Mond.
The seven overtimes tied an FBS record.
In the big one in the state of Washington, the No. 16 Huskies defeated the No. 8 Cougars 28-15, eliminating Washington State from the CFP conversation, Washington’s Myles Gaskin with 170 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
What an amazingly consistent career the senior Gaskin has had. His first three years he had 1,300+ yards in each one, and he finished the regular season this year with 1,076, though he sat out two games with injury, or he likely would have had 1,300 again.
The only other school remotely still in the playoff hunt is 9 UCF, 38-10 winners Friday against South Florida (7-5), but Knights leader McKenzie Milton suffered a severe leg injury in the second quarter and I think the CFP selection committee definitely has to take this into account.
Meanwhile, UCF running back Greg McRae picked up the slack with Milton’s departure from the game, rushing for 181 yards and three touchdowns, McRae averaging 9.0 per carry this season.
Just a few others of note....
12 Penn State moved to 9-3 with a 38-3 over troubled Maryland, which finishes a depressing season at 5-7. [Aside from the problems with the football program, including the death of a player during spring training camp, a student recently died from what might have been a mold-related virus in her dorm room, which is rather disconcerting.]
15 Kentucky is now 9-3 after blasting Louisville (2-10), 56-10, meaning the Cardinals have now finished their disastrous campaign giving up 56, 77, 54, 52, and 56 points their last five games.
Rutgers finished with an 11-game losing streak, 1-11, with a 14-10 loss at Michigan State (7-5). Yes, the Scarlet Knights played a little better down the stretch...certainly they were more competitive than earlier in the season...but the losses kept mounting.
That said, the school announced that coach Chris Ash will be back despite going 7-29 his first three seasons at the helm. He is guaranteed $9.8 million for the remainder of the term of his contract, which ends after the 2022 season.
And little old Wake Forest is now bowl eligible a third straight season under coach Dave Clawson after destroying Duke, in Durham, 59-7! Deacon fans were left going, ‘Where the hell did this performance come from,’ Duke a decent team that fell to 7-5, Wake now 6-6.
The Demon Deacons outgained the Blue Devils 517-251, Duke with four turnovers. Plus Wake was an 11-point underdog. [It was coach David Cutcliffe’s worst loss in eleven seasons at Duke.]
Finally, in Division I-AA/FCS playoff action, Shu’s Elon lost to Wofford 19-7, while James Madison beat Delaware 20-6. 8-seed Colgate, which had received a bye, now faces off against JMU next Saturday; Pete M. slated to be in attendance for unpaid in-game analysis for Bar Chat.
--Today, North Carolina fired coach Larry Fedora after the Tar Heels completed a miserable 2-9 campaign with a 34-28 overtime loss to North Carolina State. This followed a 3-9 season in 2017, amid the scandals impacting the program (and others at the school).
Fedora overall in seven seasons was 45-43, with the best being 2015, when they finished 11-3, played Clemson in the ACC title game, and finished AP 15.
Fedora has a $12 million buyout of a contract that was slated to pay him through 2022.
--And now...your new AP Poll! [This certainly provides clues as to how the CFP selection committee may react come Tuesday.]
1. Alabama 12-0 (61)
2. Clemson 12-0
3. Notre Dame 12-0
4. Georgia 11-1
5. Oklahoma 11-1
6. Ohio State 11-1
7. UCF 11-0
8. Michigan 10-2
9. Texas 9-3
10. Washington 9-3
21. Northwestern 8-4
23. Army 9-2
Hmmm...IF ‘Bama beats Georgia, and Oklahoma beats Texas, and Ohio State whips Northwestern, who’s in...Oklahoma or Ohio State?
If Georgia wins, then I think it’s clear...you’re looking at the final four up top.
We’ll see if the CFP places Ohio State ahead of Oklahoma.
Clemson is not losing to Pitt, by the way. I’ve changed my mind on how competitive this game might be after watching Pitt-Miami.
UCF fans, on the other hand, are praying Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State all lose (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility). UCF plays Memphis in the AAC final.
Actually, I’ll give you one more...a real sleeper. If UCF loses to Memphis (8-4), definitely possible given the loss of McKenzie Milton, then the winner of the Mountain West championship, No. 19 AP Boise State (10-2) vs. 25 Fresno State (10-2), a neat game, should be your Group of Five, New Year’s Six bowl entrant, not UCF. [Though I admit that’s almost cruel to UCF after their great two-season run.]
--Thanksgiving, I have to admit that I watched very little of the action, involved with family and such, but for the record, the Saints moved to 10-1, 31-17 winners over the disappointing Falcons (4-7), as the Saints’ defense held Atlanta to just 26 yards rushing, while Drew Brees had four touchdown passes.
The Bears are now 8-3 after a 23-16 win in Detroit’s annual contest, with 32-year-old journeyman, Chase Daniels, in place of the injured Mitchell Trubisky, throwing for 230 yards and two touchdowns in just his third start in the league. Great stuff.
Meanwhile, Detroit gave Matthew Stafford a five-year, $135 million extension back in Aug. 2017, and you have to kind of think, ‘Eh,’ as the Lions fall to 4-7, Stafford throwing two interceptions Thursday, a rating of 67.4, and he’s hardly playing like a franchise quarterback.
Also Thursday, in another traditional affair, the Cowboys played to the Redskins, and suddenly the NFC East has tightened, Dallas now tied with Washington at 6-5 following a 31-23 win, Dak Prescott with a solid 22/31, 289, 2-0, 121.6 effort at QB for the ‘Boys, who have now won three straight. Ezekiel Elliott chipped in with 121 yards rushing and a score (Prescott with a TD running as well). And newly-acquired Amari Cooper busted out with 8 receptions for 180 yards and the two TDs from Prescott.
--So....with today’s Eagles win over the Giants (3-8), 25-22, we now have:
The Giants blew a perfect opportunity to improve to 4-7 and very much give themselves life, but there was some inexplicable play-calling, and questionable throws, as the Giants blew a 19-3 lead, Eli Manning throwing an awful interception at the end of the first half when they had at least three points in the bag.
And then, after the dynamic Saquon Barkley had rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown, and caught another for a score in the first half, until there were ten seconds left in the game, he touched the ball just four times, finishing with 101 on the ground, 41 receiving. Eleven yards from scrimmage in the second half. #WTF
--My Jets fell to 3-8 with their fifth straight loss, 27-13 to the 8-3 Patriots. Both New York teams were on at the same time today (incredibly irritating), so I mostly watched the Jets in a 10-10 first half, and then switched to the Giants when it became readily apparent there was no Miracle in the Meadowlands for Gang Green.
Rob Gronkowski made his return and had a touchdown reception, while rookie Sony Michel had 133 yards rushing and a score.
The Jets haven’t scored more than 17 points in any of their eight losses.
--Seattle improved to 6-5, and dropped Carolina to same, with a 30-27 win on the road behind Russell Wilson’s 339 yards and two touchdowns, one each to Tyler Lockett and David Moore, who both had 100 yards receiving.
The Panthers wasted a terrific effort by Christian McCaffrey, who had 125 yards rushing and a touchdown, plus 11 receptions for 112 and another score.
Yes, back when he was in college, somewhere in my archives I said he wouldn’t make it. I fully admit being an idiot on this one. [But I told you of Kawhi Leonard’s future greatness, long before anyone else did! ....as I scramble for something positive...]
--Speaking of which, I can’t believe Jacksonville, your Bar Chat “Pick to Click” for the Super Bowl, started 3-1 and is now 3-8, after falling to Buffalo (4-7) 24-21, Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen with 99 yards on the ground and a score (as well as one through the air).
--If you’re a Browns fan, you have to be psyched over the play of Baker Mayfield today, on the road at Cincinnati, Mayfield 19/26, 258, 4-0, 143.9, as the Brownies won 35-20 to improve to 4-6-1, the Bungles now 5-6, quarterback Andy Dalton having to leave in the third with a thumb injury.
I was kind of shocked to see, however, that Cleveland’s 28 first-half points were their most since 1991.
--I always liked Lamar Jackson, and remarked Baltimore made a good move selecting him in the draft, and he got his first start today, a 34-17 win over Oakland (2-9), Jackson having a rough day passing, 14/25, 178, 1-2, 58.4, but 71 yards rushing and a touchdown.
But attention Rutgers fans. Once again, the program totally blows, but somehow they keep cranking out solid NFL players (which, yes, makes no sense), and this time it’s running back Gus Edwards, who I barely remember. The rookie had his second straight 100-yard game, 118 on 23 carries, after a 17-115 effort the week before.
[Just looked him up. He had 713 yards last year for the Scarlet Knights, but just a 4.3 yard average. There are a million guys like him...it’s called great scouting.]
--The Chargers fell behind the Cardinals 10-0 after one, but then Los Angeles scored 28 unanswered in the second quarter, and went on to win 45-10, a nice comeback from their bad loss to Denver, 23-22, the week before, after six straight wins.
Philip Rivers opened the game with 25 straight completions, besting the record of Mark Brunell (22), and tying the record of Ryan Tannehill for consecutive completions, Tannehill doing it over two games. Rivers ended up 28/29, 259, 3-0, 138.4.
Summit’s Michael Badgley, after his first NFL miss last week, a critical extra point, was 1/1 on field goals, 6/6 on XPAs.
--Andrew Luck and the Colts started out 1-5, season over, Luck returning from his shoulder issues.
But now the Colts have reeled off five-in-a-row, beating the Dolphins (5-6) 27-24, after Indy was down 24-14 in the fourth quarter.
--Lastly, in terms of today’s action (not saying anything about Tampa Bay-San Francisco, though we congratulate Dr. W. for a great betting call), when it comes to the late game on Sundays, I need to catch some local and national news, unless my Jets are involved in the 4:00 game.
So it was that I watched the first half of Pittsburgh at Denver, then caught a little news, and just happened to flip back right as Ben Roethlisberger was backpedaling in his end zone, flicking a pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster who then took it 97 yards for a touchdown. As Tony Romo put it, that was a “high, high-level play.” I’ll say. Romo added: “When you get a franchise quarterback, that’s what he can do.”
But Denver ended up prevailing, 24-17, Roethlisberger intercepted late.
So the Steelers’ six game winning streak is over, Pittsburgh now 7-3-1, while Denver stayed relevant at 5-6.
--We note the passing of Robert McNair, founder of the Houston Texans and one of the NFL’s most influential owners. He was 81.
McNair was the Texans’ original owner when Houston was awarded an expansion franchise in 1999 to replace the Oilers, who had relocated to Tennessee and were renamed the Titans. [I have to admit...I have a mental block when it comes to differentiating between the Titans and Texans going back to this time.]
The Texans began play in 2002 and won division titles in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
James Rootes, team president, said of McNair: “He was the reason professional football returned to Houston, and he stewarded our franchise with a laser focus on honesty, integrity and high character. He was an amazing champion for Houston and worked hard to make sure our city received maximum value from the presence of the Texans and the NFL.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell said: “During his nearly two decades as an NFL owner, Bob McNair left a lasting mark on his city and our league. His leadership and determination brought the NFL back to Houston, built a magnificent stadium that hosted two Super Bowls, and his beloved Texans are in the midst of another successful season.”
But McNair became a rather polarizing figure in recent years after taking a series of controversial stands and for some of his comments. In October 2017, with the NFL at the center of a heated public debate about player protests during the national anthem, McNair was reported to have said during an owners’ meeting that “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”
McNair and the Texans attempted to calm the ensuing uproar, saying the remarks were about the owners and the league office, not the players, but the players were outraged. And McNair was a firm believer that players should stand during the national anthem before games.
--Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post had a piece on the top-ranked high school running back in the land, Quavaris Crouch, out of Harding High School in Charlotte, NC.
“Crouch, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound ‘big old freak’ – his words – could have played running back at any college in the country. After peering into the years ahead, the 18-year-old decided he would play running back nowhere: He switched to linebacker. Crouch wants to rush the passer, because in the NFL, running backs get used up and sack artists get paid.
“ ‘I want to be smart about it,’ Crouch said Monday afternoon in a phone conversation. ‘My passion is running back. I love to play running back. I love to score touchdowns. Realistically, I feel like linebacker is the best for me.’
“Crouch has supporters in high places. Standing at his locker inside Washington Redskins headquarters last Friday, Adrian Peterson listened to a reporter explain Crouch’s outlook. Peterson nodded along and raised an eyebrow.
“ ‘Smart guy,’ Peterson said. ‘It’s smart. If you’re able to play a different position and be good at it and be as dominant, then me as a running back, I would definitely go that route.’
“Those words, coming from Peterson, form a staggering appraisal of the state of the NFL running back. In 11 seasons, he’s earned $99 million, which is $30 million more than the next-highest-earning back....(But) even Peterson believes if he was a high school senior today, his best career path would be...something else?
“ ‘Yeah, definitely,’ Peterson said.”
As for the situation with Le’Veon Bell, who opted to sit out the entire season rather than play for $14.5 million and risk injury before he became a free agent, Peterson said he and other running backs “without a doubt” appreciated him holding out rather than signing the franchise tag.
But the majority of running backs don’t last long enough to sign a second deal, and those that do are often squeezed.
Adam Kilgore: “Todd Gurley, whom the Rams signed to a four-year, $57.5 million extension before this season, stands as an outlier. But even he can look around his own locker room for an idea of what the NFL thinks of his position. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks signed a deal worth $81 million over five years, and defensive tackle Aaron Donald signed for $135 million over six.”
Meanwhile, Crouch, who has yet to select a school for next fall, has asked college recruiters if he could still play running back in goal-line packages and coaches such as Jim Harbaugh and Dabo Swinney approved. But his full-time role will be defense
--We’ve had a few important early-season contests since last chat and there will be a little shakeup in the next AP poll, released Monday.
Wednesday, after I last posted, No. 1 Duke fell to 3 Gonzaga 89-87 in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, as the young Blue Devils learned an important lesson...you can have all the talent in the world, such as three lottery picks in the next draft, but you still have to play defense.
Thursday, Texas defeated No. 7 North Carolina 92-89 in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.
And Friday, No. 2 Kansas defeated 5 Tennessee 87-81 in the NIT season tip-off.
Otherwise, that’s it....oh, except for one other.
Let’s just say Wake Forest fans are mighty happy that we whipped Duke in football on Saturday, because 24 hours earlier, Friday in Winston-Salem, the Demon Deacons fell on the hardwood to Houston Baptist of the Southland Conference (Lamar, Stephen F. Austin) 93-91 in overtime.
I knew when this game was being played, and as I worked on that other column I do Fridays, I just checked online and saw we were up 71-57 with about 9 minutes to play. ‘OK, no problem,’ I mused. Then I saw it was 83-80, Wake, with seconds left. So I put the game on my desktop and what a s---show.
Yes, we have a young team (we always seem to be making that excuse), but it was our leader, junior guard Brandon Childress, who had 27 points and shot well, who imploded in the final minute of overtime with three godawful plays that cost us the game. With ‘leaders’ like that, it is going to be one long, long season.
This comes after an 11-20, 4-14 ACC Conference mark, 2017-18, and just an awful four+ years now under coach Danny Manning, who has shown zero personal growth on the bench.
Fellow Deac Phil W. passed along a piece from the Winston-Salem Journal’s Dan Collins.
“In the fifth game of Danny Manning’s fifth season as Wake’s head basketball coach, the Deacons committed 22 turnovers while forcing 10, yielded 16 offensive rebounds, didn’t make a field goal in the final 8:58 of regulation, blew a 14-point lead in the final eight minutes of regulation and lost at home to Houston Baptist in overtime, 93-91.
“Yes, that Houston Baptist, the one picked to finish 10th in the vaunted 13-team Southland Conference – ahead of such juggernauts as Nicholls, Northwestern State and Incarnate Word.
“Yes, that Houston Baptist, the one that was 1-2, having lost to Arizona by 30 and to Wisconsin by 37.
“Yes, that Houston Baptist, the program coming off a 6-25 season in which it won all of two games in the Southland Conference....
“The Houston Baptist that shouldn’t even be on the same court as an ACC team, much less beating one.
“There are bad losses in basketball, and there are worse losses in basketball. Given when it came – in the fifth season under a coach that has already lost to Delaware State, Georgia Southern and Liberty – this one has to be at least in the conversation for worst loss in Wake basketball history....
“Today’s loss came in Manning’s 131st game in charge of the Deacons’ basketball fortunes. And of those 131 games, the Deacons have won 57. In Manning’s 131st game in charge of the Deacons’ basketball fortunes, he calls timeout for the climatic play and the Deacons end up with a long, contested 3-pointer from Brandon Childress that clanked hard off the rim....
“I can recall when Wake was good in basketball, which means only that I’m old. [Ed. I can recall the same, because I too am old.]
“And I’m beginning to wonder if I’m too old to ever again see a day when Wake is again a respected member of the ACC.
“Hiring decisions, like elections, have consequences.
“When Athletics Director Ron Wellman decided that Dino Gaudio was not the face he wanted of the Wake basketball program, he hired (Jeff) Bzdelik.
“And when Bzdelik’s 51-76 record proved untenable, the same man, Wellman, hired Danny Manning fresh off his only two seasons as a head basketball coach at Tulsa.
“Whit Babcock, the director of Virginia Tech, found himself in a similar predicament as Wellman going into the 2014-15 season, having watched his basketball program lose 41 of 63 games under coach James Johnson.
“So Babcock’s solution was to hire Buzz Williams, and in the four-plus seasons since the Hokies have won 78 and lost 60, played in the post-season three-straight seasons and in the NCAA Tournament two-straight, are coming off a 21-12 campaign and are currently ranked No. 13 at 4-0 going into tomorrow’s game against St. Francis [Ed. VT won it 75-37].
“I defy anyone to name any historical advantage Virginia Tech has over Wake in basketball, but look at the gap between the two programs.
“Babcock cared enough about the brand of basketball played by his school to fire a coach after two seasons when it became evident that coach was not the right man for the job.
“If losing to Houston Baptist at home in the fifth game of your fifth season doesn’t prove you’re not the right man for the job, then I have to wonder what would. And I also have to wonder if Wake did at long last make a move, would the decision be left to the same man who hired Jeff Bzdelik and Danny Manning?
“What’s that definition of insanity again?”
--I have to note that LeBron James had 32 points and 14 rebounds in his return to Cleveland on Wednesday, a 109-105 Lakers win.
--And I can’t help but add, just watched the finish of the Knicks’ game at Memphis, the return of former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale, and New York won 103-98, the third straight for my Knickerbockers, now 7-14, while Memphis falls to 12-7.
However, Memphis fans have to be psyched over 19-year-old Jaren Jackson, the fourth overall pick out of Michigan State, who is going to be a true superstar. He looked great tonight, 6-of-6 from the field (4-of-4 from three), 7 blocks, and I totally forgot he was born where I was, Plainfield, N.J. [Home of Milt Campbell, too....you younger folk, Campbell was the first African-American to win Olympic gold in the decathlon.]
Interesting piece in the Washington Post by Jesse Dougherty that sums up today’s mindset, and the value of superstars like Bryce Harper, and his upcoming giant contract, vs. what, in this case, the Washington Nationals can replace him with.
“It may be hard to imagine the Nationals without Bryce Harper, without his power and presence in the middle of the lineup, without the edge, and relevancy, he’s provided since breaking into the league as a 19-year-old with no ceiling in sight.
“But it is not necessarily difficult to envision a Nationals outfield that does not include him. Not when the returning roster holds a 20-year-old phenom in left, a 21-year-old could-be star in center, a scrappy veteran in right and a fourth outfielder who, if he played enough innings, could contend again for a Gold Glove award.
“ ‘We have confidence in all the outfielders that we have on the roster, be it Adam Eaton or Victor Robles or Michael A. Taylor or Juan Soto...’ said Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo.... ‘We’re very lucky that we’re very deep at that position.’”
And, these four players will cost about $13 million combined in 2019, “a massive bargain that could allow the Nationals to use more money on a front-line starting pitcher, or maybe additional bullpen help, or even to further explore a long-term extension for third baseman Anthony Rendon.”
Harper, on the other hand, is going to receive a mega-contract paying him in excess of $30 million a year...one player. Granted, he’s Bryce Harper, but if I were a Nationals fan I’d be excited by the prospect of the other four.
I didn’t watch Phil and Tiger battle for $9 million, mainly because I was working, but I was leaning against it regardless. I just didn’t think it would go off that well, though Phil won it on the fourth playoff hole, under the floodlights for a manufactured 93-yard, par 3, that served as the primary playoff hole for just such a situation...darkness.
What no one envisioned were all the technical issues, as in many who shelled out $19.99 were then not able to view it on their televisions, which had Turner and Bleacher Report scrambling to send out links on social media allowing people to view it for free on their computers and mobile devices.
Of course this further infuriated those who had paid, and on Saturday, at least one provider, Comcast, announced it “will proactively issue a $19.99 credit to any Xfinity TV customer who purchased ‘The Match’ pay-per-view event,” the company said in a statement. “We hope Turner and Bleacher Report will do the same given that the event was made available by them for free on The Bleacher Report website.”
According to ESPN, Spectrum then said it would provide a credit for those purchasing it.
As for the match at Shadow Creek Golf Club in Vegas, I was reading a live blog from time to time that Golfweek had and it sure sounded like the drama was lacking, until near the end, when Tiger, one down, tied with a birdie from the fringe of the green on the par-3 17th. Both birdied the par-5 18th and then parred the first playoff hole before it went to the par-3 extra hole – which was a pitch shot off the practice putting green – that they kept playing until there was a winner.
Phil said to Tiger after the match: “Just know I will never let you live that down. It’s not the Masters or the U.S. Open, but it is nice to have a little something on you.”
I personally haven’t talked to anyone who watched it, but picking up some beer today, some who said they watched thought it was OK.
There are bigger things in the world to get upset over than this exhibition. But I do kind of like the idea, perhaps, of Tiger and Phil teaming against a duo such as Justin and Jordan. Drastically reduce the prize money, put it on free TV, and just nine holes.
Play resumed after a break for nations’ play and my Tottenham Spurs, who have a deserved reputation of falling short against the other five in the Big Six when it comes to head-to-head play, handed Chelsea its first loss of the season, at Wembley, 3-1, a stirring performance for the Spurs that elevates them into third.
Also Saturday, Manchester City continued to show it’s the class of the league, 4-0 winners over West Ham, with fellow undefeated, Liverpool, a notch below after a 3-0 defeat of Watford.
Manchester United, on the other hand, continues to struggle, a pathetic 0-0 draw at home against Crystal Palace.
Today, Arsenal beat Bournemouth on the road 2-1 to pull within a point of the top four.
So after 13 of 38...W-D-L...pts...
1. Man City 11-2-0...35
2. Liverpool 10-3-0...33
3. Tottenham 10-0-3...30
4. Chelsea 8-4-1...28
5. Arsenal 8-3-2...27
6. Everton 6-4-3...22
7. Man U 6-3-4...21
--Demon Deacon fans knew there was trouble brewing for Wake Forest, the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament, after Akron, which historically has a strong program in the sport (2010 national champs), defeated Syracuse 3-1 in the second round, Syracuse having handed Wake its only regular-season loss.
And so the Zips beat Wake today, 1-0, another embarrassment for our program, which is almost always ranked 1 or 2 in the nation during the regular season, but with two exceptions (2007 national champs, runners-up in 2016), has fallen woefully short come tournament time.
Akron now faces Stanford in the elite eight, the Cardinal NCAA champ the last three seasons.
--Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” tour grossed $277 million in North America – up 39 percent from her “1989” tour three years ago, according to Pollstar.
Even more impressive is the superstar achieved these results despite performing in 35 percent fewer shows – 40 for “Reputation” versus 62 for “1989.”
The big numbers came amid a lot of criticism for the ticketing strategies, the most common complaint being from Swift’s Verified Fan program, that had people registering weeks before a show to prove they were legitimate ticket buyers and not bots working on behalf of scalpers, only to find they were seated next to last-minute attendees with cheaper tickets because of dynamic pricing in the face of fading demand.
But the Verified Fan program did work from the standpoint that about half of the tour’s tickets were distributed through it – after which only 3 percent popped up on secondary Web sites like StubHub, according to Ticketmaster. Other high-demand artists, by comparison, can see up to 50 percent of their primary sales winding up on resale sites.
Top 3 songs for the week 11/24/73: #1 “Photograph” (Ringo Starr) #2 “Keep On Truckin’” (Eddie Kendricks) #3 “Top Of The World” (Carpenters)...and...#4 “Space Race” (Billy Preston) #5 “Heartbeat – It’s A Lovebeat” (The DeFranco Family) #6 “Midnight Train To Georgia” (Gladys Knight & The Pips) #7 “Just You ‘N’ Me” (Chicago) #8 “Paper Roses” (Marie Osmond) #9 “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (Elton John) #10 “The Love I Lost” (Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes...kind of crappy week...)
Heisman Trophy Quiz Answer: Last five non-quarterbacks....
2015 Derrick Henry (Alabama)
2009 Mark Ingram (Alabama)
2005 Reggie Bush (USC)
1999 Ron Dayne (Wisconsin)
1998 Ricky Williams (Texas)
Charles Woodson was the last primarily defensive player to win it, 1997, Michigan.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.