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A Final Look at the Nationals' Amazing Run
[Posted Sunday P.M.]
NCAA Football Quiz: Pitt’s Tony Dorsett was the first to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. 1) Whose record did he surpass? 2) Who were the first two to surpass Dorsett? [Hint: All three are from the same school.] Answers below.
College Football Review
[Comments written prior to release of the new AP Poll.]
With Nos. 1, 2, and 3 (LSU, Alabama and Ohio State) idle, plus No. 5 Penn State, the focus was on No. 8 Georgia and 6 Florida squaring off in Jacksonville at the world’s largest cocktail party, Georgia (7-1) prevailing 24-17, the Gators (7-2) making it look closer than the final square with a late touchdown. Jake Fromm came up big for the Bulldogs, 20/30, 279, 2-0, Lawrence Cager with seven receptions for 132 yards and a TD.
So Georgia has control of the SEC East and has its eyes set on playing the winner of Alabama-LSU in the SEC title game, still very much in the CFP conversation.
4 Clemson is 9-0 after a 59-14 thrashing of FCS opponent Wofford (5-3); Trevor Lawrence 12/16, 218, 3-0, plus a touchdown rushing, while Travis Etienne gained 212 yards with two scores on just nine carries, the Tigers outgaining the Terriers 702-256.
7 Oregon stayed very much in the conversation with a 56-24 win at USC in the Coliseum, the Ducks getting both an interception return for a touchdown as well as a kickoff return for a score, while Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis committed four turnovers. USC coach Clay Helton needed this one to save his job, but at 5-4, after 5-7 last season, he’s a goner.
Oregon (8-1) is now headed towards a Pac-12 championship game showdown with 9 Utah (8-1), 33-28 winners Saturday on the road at Washington (5-4). This was a biggie for the Utes, and if they run the table, ditto Oregon, then the title tilt winner will have a very good case for the CFP, though needing a lot of help.
Meanwhile, this was a weekend that eliminated some teams from the Group of Five, New Year’s Six bowl game competition.
Thursday, 20 Appalachian State (7-1) suffered a terrible loss at home to Georgia Southern (5-3) as the Apps were clearly caught looking ahead to what was to be a titanic game at South Carolina next weekend, in terms of proving it deserves to be included among the big boys. Yes, it was a classic trap game and the Mountaineers blew it.
I do have to add Georgia Southern threw just four passes, completing one, while controlling the clock, 56 rushes for 335 yards and three touchdowns.
Another Group of Five / New Year’s Six contender was undefeated and No. 15 SMU, but the Mustangs faced a tall task, on the road at 24 Memphis (8-1), the Tigers prevailing 54-48, behind a phenomenal effort from Antonio Gibson; 97 yards rushing on three carries, including a 78-yard TD run, 130 yards on six receptions, with a score, and a 97-yard kickoff return for a TD. Gibson ended with a school-record 386 all-purpose yards. SMU falls to 8-1.
But the AAC has another Group of Five contender, 17 Cincinnati (7-1), which squeaked out a 46-43 win at East Carolina (3-6) on a 32-yard field goal as time expired, after driving 50 yards to set it up in the final 1:10. [ECU’s Holton Ahlers passed for 535 yards and four touchdowns in defeat.]
Cincinnati plays Memphis Nov. 29 in a massive game. But the AAC is a real scramble all around, which I’ll cover more next time.
In other games, Thursday night, 12 Baylor remained undefeated at 8-0 after a 17-14 win over West Virginia (3-5). What a coaching job by Matt Rhule.
But there are still questions as to how good the Bears really are? That will be answered in two weeks against Oklahoma.
14 Michigan improved to 7-2, 38-7 winners at Maryland (3-6). Jim Harbaugh’s boys stay relevant.
16 Notre Dame is 6-2, 21-20 winners over Virginia Tech (5-3), the Hokies coming oh so close to pulling off the upset, but Ian Book drove the Fighting Irish 87 yards in the final minutes, taking it over himself from the seven for the clinching score with 0:29 left.
This was a big game for us Wake Forest fans. You see, the No. 23 Demon Deacons played their most complete game of the season, 44-10 over North Carolina State (4-4) in Winston-Salem. Wake QB Jamie Newman showed the nation he’s for real, as in a real NFL prospect, passing for 287 yards and three touchdowns, all three scores to tight end Jack Freudenthal, who had an interesting line...4-16-3. Kicker Nick Sciba also extended his consecutive field goal streak to 26 with three more.
So here we are with Wake, 7-1. Yes, we now have the potential for a dream season, but first we have to beat Virginia Tech on the road next Saturday, before a showdown at Clemson. It’s not a trap game. Wake knows it will be tough winning in Blacksburg, but now I’m hoping the Hokies are totally deflated from their tough loss at Notre Dame.
One game at a time, Wake....one game at a time. [Hopefully our receiver Scotty Washington isn’t seriously hurt. We need him.]
A few more....
21 Boise State (7-1) stayed in the Group of Five conversation, barely, with a 52-42 win at San Jose State (4-5).
Boston College (5-4) ran all over Syracuse (3-6) 58-27. Two weeks after a huge effort from running backs AJ Dillon and David Bailey (404 yards, five touchdowns combined against North Carolina State), the two put up 414 and five scores against the Orange (a huge disappointment this season); Dillon going 35-242-3, Bailey 16-172-2. Remarkable. B.C. had 336 yards rushing in the first half alone (496 for the game).
Lastly, Illinois is 5-4 after beating Rutgers (2-7) 38-10.
Well, it’s all about the first CFP rankings on Tuesday, and whether the committee has the same ranking among the top four as the AP does. And where do the likes of Georgia, Oregon and Utah fall.
Speaking of the AP...the new poll....
1. LSU (17) 8-0
2. Alabama (21) 8-0
3. Ohio State (17) 8-0
4. Clemson (7) 9-0
5. Penn State 8-0
6. Georgia 7-1
7. Oregon 8-1
8. Utah 8-1
9. Oklahoma 7-1
10. Florida 7-2
11. Baylor 8-0
13. Minnesota 8-0
14. Michigan 7-2
15. Notre Dame 6-2
17. Cincinnati 7-1
19. Memphis 8-1
21. Boise State 7-1
22. Wake Forest 7-1
23. SMU 8-1...sorry, Paul P.
24. San Diego State 7-1...still in Group of Five conversation
25. Navy 7-1...not in conversation because of loss to Memphis, but, heck of a year
One more on USC. They are going to be naming a new athletic director, Mike Bohn, which further spells the end for Clay Helton. And as Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times noted, Bohn is just what the doctor ordered.
“You ever heard of Mike Bohn?
“Me neither, and that’s a good thing....
“He’s a complete stranger. He never played football at USC. He never coached football at USC. He never attended USC. He’s surely never even cheered for USC.
“He comes from Cincinnati, a cozy Midwestern school that thrives in the shadows He spent the last five years building excellence in those shadows. He has done a lot with little, and has done so while following the rules.
“He is everything that recent former USC athletic directors were not. This job is not his hobby, it’s his business. This is not his first gig, it will be his fifth post. He cares little about being a star, as he is a 58-year-old administration lifer whose name was virtually unknown on the sports landscape until it surfaced Friday.
“He won’t be signing autographs for money while the department is in turmoil. He won’t be enabling a coach’s addiction problem while the team crumbles underneath him. Chances are, he won’t foster the arrogance that leads to rules violations that result in a historic NCAA probation.
“No offense to Lynn Swann, Pat Haden or Mike Garrett, but it’s refreshing that Bohn doesn’t have their pedigree, and thus perhaps will not have their problems.”
And you can be sure Mike Bohn won’t be replacing Clay Helton with the toxic Urban Meyer, as some Trojans boosters have been clamoring for.
--And this late one...FSU fired Willie Taggart! Wow. Not that it wasn’t deserved, but slightly surprised on the timing. The Seminoles had a pathetic loss to Miami 27-10, dropping them to 4-5, 9-12 in Taggart’s 1 ½ seasons, but 0-5 against his biggest rivals.
As for who replaces him, I agree with those saying Bob Stoops is a layup, if he wants to go back to the 24/7 lifestyle. He accepted a job in the XFL, which means he still wants to be involved in the game.
If FSU had waited until the end of the season, Wake’s Dave Clawson could ring the register, not that he’s looking to, and I can’t see Clawson staying in the same conference.
--I wrote last time that Jets safety Jamal Adams had become a “real jerk” in his handling of the trade deadline, and that was before Adams had a chance to address the press for the first time after. He turned out to be even more of a jerk than I thought.
Brian Costello / New York Post
“Just 10 months ago Jamal Adams was the jets’ biggest pitchman, recruiting free agents to come to New York and begging management to find him some ‘dawgs’ to play with.
“Now, it feels as if his relationship with Gang Green is irretrievably broken.
“The man who wears the captain’s ‘C’ on his jersey has behaved nothing like a leader this week after finding out the Jets talked to teams about trading him. Instead, he has pouted and tweeted a shot at the general manager and then blasted the team Wednesday for daring to consider trading him.
“ ‘When I heard that, my agent called me and told me what was going on. It definitely hurt me,’ Adams said. ‘I hold myself at a high level. The Rams don’t take calls on Aaron Donald. The Patriots don’t take calls on Tom Brady. That’s where I hold myself.’”
All of New York then reminded Jamal he is no Aaron Donald or Tom Brady. And the Jets were only doing what any team should...find out the trade value of their stars, especially when you’re 1-6 and going nowhere fast. Clearly, no one offered a big enough package to move Adams. Good, they tried. That’s football. Everyone gets it...except Jamal.
By Friday, he had yet to speak to either coach Adam Gase or GM Joe Douglas. That, sports fans, is a real jerk...and worthy of inclusion in the December file.
So what did my Jets do today? They lost to the Dolphins...yes, Flipper... he he he he he...he he he he.....Good gawd.
Miami, furiously trying to tank for the No. 1 pick in the draft and Tua, or Justin Herbert, beat the Jets (1-7) 26-18 for their first win (1-7), as former Jet, Ryan Fitzmagic, threw for three touchdowns and a 118.8 PR (passer rating), while Sam Darnold once again largely sucked...his third straight awful effort, with another Pop Warner INT thrown in, his eighth pick in three games.
And the aforementioned Jamal Adams suffered a head injury late, condition unknown, which none of us wish on anyone.
Poor Le’Veon Bell, who I respect more and more with each game, finally got some touches, but the offensive line is so pathetic he doesn’t have a chance...17 carries, 66 yards; 8 receptions for 55.
--The Chiefs are 6-3 after a 26-23 win over the Vikings (6-3), a huge game as Patrick Mahomes again sat out. Football fans are pissed though at how K.C. seems to be rushing the return of Mahomes. As I’ve written, we all know he’s critical to the league for the next 10+ years. Let him heal. Send him to Bermuda.
Anyway, big effort by backup Matt Moore, 25/35, 275, 1-0, 103.9, while Harrison Butker kicked four field goals...including a 54-yarder to tie it with 2:30 left in the fourth, and then the decider from 44 as time expired.
--Dwayne Haskins got his first start for Washington as they visited Buffalo, so the 15th overall pick in the NFL draft was 15/22, 144, 0-0, 86.2, as the Redskins (1-8) lost to the Bills (6-2) 24-9, though Adrian Peterson rushed for 108 yards, to improve his position on the top ten rushing list all time. No. 5, Curtis Martin, is in reach this year, while No. 4, Frank Gore, had just 15 yards for the Bills.
--The Eagles remained in the hunt, now 5-4, with a 22-14 win over the Bears (3-5), holding Chicago to just 164 yards, and let me tell ya, the weather was not a factor, right Mark R.? The calls for Mitch Trubisky’s head (not to go “Game of Thrones” on you) are rampant in the Windy City, Mitchell 10/21, 125, 0-0, 66.6.
--Jeff B.’s Steelers are suddenly still relevant, 4-4, after a 26-24 win over the Colts (5-3); Minkah Fitzpatrick with a 96-yard interception return for a touchdown, Chris Boswell with four field goals, he being no relation to James Boswell, the biographer of Samuel Johnson and a reviewer of Shakespeare’s Jubilee. [Let alone Ken Boswell, the former Met.]
--Wake Forest’s Greg Dortch saw his first NFL action with the Panthers (5-3), who defeated Tennessee (4-5) 30-20, as quarterback Kyle Allen, still in place of Cam Newton, engineered another win, Christian McCaffrey again contributing mightily, 24 carries for 146 yards and two touchdowns, with another receiving. Boy, did I totally screw up on McCaffrey’s potential.
--Joe Flacco’s first year in Denver ended prematurely, Flacco placed on the IR with a neck injury. So it was up to Brandon Allen to fill the void, and he did quite ably.
Literally, Allen’s first throws in the NFL were today, and he made no mistakes, 12/20, 193, 2-0, 125.6, as Denver (3-6) beat the Browns 24-19, Baker Mayfield and Co. losing their fourth straight, now 2-6; Odell Beckham Jr. not happy, which is never good for the team he’s on.
--The Chargers (4-5) beat the Packers (7-2) in L.A., 26-11, and I swear; a big key was the kicking of Michael Badgley, the Summit High School grad. Badgley is loved by his teammates because he’s an athlete, not just a kicker.
But he was out all year until today with a groin injury. Badgley then hit his first four field goal attempts, and two extra points, but I didn’t like his attitude on his fifth FG attempt, wide left. A little cocky.
Stay humble, Michael. And I wish you hadn’t trademarked ‘Money Badger.’
[I worked with Badgley’s uncle at PIMCO (I hired him), who was himself an awesome athlete, and good guy.]
--In London today (I never remember these games are on, plus I’m watching the Sunday talk shows, or the Premier League), Houston (6-3) defeated Jacksonville (4-5) 26-3, as Deshaun Watson was a cool 22/28, 201, 2-0, 120.4, and Carlos Hyde rushed for 160 yards on just 19 carries.
The Jags’ Gardner Minshew XVIII sucked; 2 picks and a 59.6 PR, which translates to a 2.12 GPA...my final average at Wake.
--Finally, Thursday, San Francisco stayed undefeated, 8-0, 28-25 winners over Arizona (3-5-1) as Jimmy Garoppolo was a super 28/37, 317, 4-0, 136.9 (3.9 GPA...old grading scale...I don’t understand all the [stuff] today with new SAT scores and 4.4 GPAs. But I’m old, indigent, and with no reason to care.)
One other note, though, on this game. Andy Isabella, the best receiver in college football last season, but who played at UMass, thus he didn’t garner a lot of attention, had an 88-yard TD reception off a short pass from Kyler Murray. Very cool. It was only his third reception of the season, Isabella having recently been activated. Go Andy! #NewEnglandBound
MLB...a final look back....and a look ahead
Thomas Boswell / Washington Post
“Often, the morning after a big sports event, you wake up and think, ‘Oh, no.’ You don’t like what you wrote. Or, sometimes, you even figure out – while you were sleeping – what you should have written, as if the central kernel of the subject floats up from your unconscious, then sticks its tongue out at you as you drink your first cup of coffee.
“But Halloween morning, everything in me awoke and said, ‘Oh, YES!’
“Many players say, ‘I haven’t digested it yet,’ after they win a World Series, as the Washington Nationals did in Game 7 on Wednesday night. Well, I think I’ve digested it. The Nationals just pulled off the greatest postseason upset run in the history of baseball. And I doubt it’s even a close call.”
The wild-card win over the Brewers, the Nats trailing 3-1 in the eighth against one of the best relievers in the game, Josh Hader, when Juan Soto tied the score with a rocket to right field, only for the right fielder to misplay the ball, allowing the third and winning run to score.
The Nats then beating the Dodgers in the NLDS in a deciding Game 5 in L.A., after trailing in the series 2-1, Anthony Rendon and Soto homering off Clayton Kershaw in the eighth, Howie Kendrick then with his dramatic grand slam in the 10th inning to win it.
The four-game sweep of the Cardinals.
Then the World Series matchup against the mighty Astros, losing three straight at home to fall behind 3-2, heading back to Houston for an inevitable Astros win.
Until it was Washington, not Houston, holding the trophy after fantastic Games 6 and 7.
Game 7 occurred after I last posted and as we all agree, the key moment was in the 7th, the Astros' Zack Greinke pitching a masterful game, Houston up 2-0, the two runs off Nats starter Max Scherzer.
But in the top of the seventh, with one out, Anthony Rendon blasted a homer off Greinke to make it 2-1, and that brought up Juan Soto. The count was 2-1 when umpire Jim Wolf, who had been praised for his ball/strike calls, missed a clear strike two, Greinke incredulous, the rest of us even more so, and it was no surprise Soto would go on to walk.
I don’t have a problem with what manager A.J. Hinch then did, bringing in reliever Will Harris (and not Gerrit Cole). Yes, Greinke had only thrown 80 pitches, but I get it. And Harris not only had a terrific regular season, he was great in the postseason, until giving up a key home run in Game 6.
I can also see how Hinch thought the Astros would keep the lead and Cole would then close it out in the ninth.
But of course we know what happened, a dramatic two-run homer off the foul pole by Howie Kendrick, the Nats going on to win it 6-2. The Astros and their fans crushed. D.C. delirious after their first World Series triumph since 1924.
“In baseball, they always say, ‘Wait till next near.’
“This time, don’t say it. Freeze time – for now. Freeze time until Saturday’s parade. Freeze time all winter.
“Then, if you choose, lock 2019 in some special inviolate place and revisit it as long as you live. There will be other excellent Nationals teams and, sooner or later, new champions. But there will never a Nationals team like this.
“Let it all loose, D.C.
“Go shark raving mad.”
And what all baseball fans will remember is that this Nationals team started the season 19-31, manager Dave Martinez on the verge of being fired. It was indeed a truly remarkable story.
[By the way, the Korean family behind “Baby Shark” has made $10s of $millions off the phenomenon, which is global.]
--Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole will be the two biggest targets in free agency, but perhaps the most intriguing story is that of Stephen Strasburg.
Strasburg is coming off his best season, and healthiest since 2014, but he still had four years remaining on his deal, $100 million, though he could opt out. Yes, he would get more money from someone else, but I’d just ask Washington for a fifth year. Then again, I’m not Stephen Strasburg.
And Saturday night, Strasburg did opt out, becoming a free agent. He is represented by agent Scott Boras, like Rendon, and it was Boras who negotiated Max Scherzer’s seven-year, $210 million in January 2015. Scherzer was 30 and a Cy Young Award winner when he signed that deal. Strasburg is now 31 and a World Series MVP, so can he can get a similar deal? Boy, not with his durability issue, save for this past season.
--Aroldis Chapman is going to be back with the Yankees. The closer had until midnight Sunday to opt out of the final two years of a deal that would have paid him $30 million. Instead, Chapman and the team extended the contract by one year for an added $18 million, so essentially a new three-year contract worth $48 million. Smart move on the Yanks’ part. And smart move by Chapman, as there was zero guarantee he’d have received anything close to this kind of three-year deal on the open market, witness the three-year, $43 million Craig Kimbrel received from the Cubs in June.
--Meanwhile, us Mets fans were depressed when the team didn’t select Joe Girardi to be manager, Girardi taking the Phillies’ opening. The guy was a known quantity, a winner in New York already with the Yankees, and would just provide the steady hand the Mets need. There was basically zero risk in tabbing Girardi.
So the past week-plus we’ve been waiting to see which inexperienced guy we were going to end up with. Many of us liked the idea of Tim Bogar, given his resume, but then we were told he was out.
Then we learned Friday it would be Carlos Beltran. At first a vast majority of the fan base was, ‘WTF?’ [Phil W., fellow Wake Forest alum, said the pick had the “makings of being Danny Manning all over again.”]
I mean Carlos Beltran, a nice guy, great player, had zero experience in coaching, let alone managing, and before the interview process even began, Beltran made it known he would only accept the Mets job, as if eight other teams would be bidding for his services. He lives in New York and wants to be here. OK, we thought, but maybe three years from now, Carlos.
Only now that’s today, and with all the glowing reports coming in from the likes of Alex Cora, I’m like, ‘Oh, what the hell.’ You don’t know about any of these guys until the games are played, and there is a lot to like about the selection. Beltran immediately commands respect in the clubhouse as a potential Hall of Famer...nine All-Star Games, eight 100-RBI seasons, some huge performances in the postseason...he played successfully in New York, can handle the press, likes the area well enough to set up his home in Gotham...and everyone has always said he has an off-the-chart baseball IQ.
So bring it on. Good luck, Carlos. If you take us to the playoffs, we’ll forgive the called third strike in Game 7 of the 2006 NL Championship Series against St. Louis. Sort of.....
--I noted the other day that the Yankees had fired pitching coach Larry Rothschild and perhaps Joe Girardi, who had worked with Rothschild for years, would hire him to be Girardi’s new pitching coach in Philly. Well, for the record, the Phils hired former Reds manager Bryan Price for the role. Price, before managing the Reds for parts of five seasons, was pitching coach for Cincinnati, Arizona and Seattle.
--Kansas City hired former Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to be its new manager; Matheny taking the Cardinals to the World Series in 2013, where they lost to the Red Sox, but then having a three-year swoon before he was fired by St. Louis in 2018.
--Ugly story out of Texas concerning former All-Star Josh Hamilton, who was charged with injury to a child, his 14-year-old daughter telling his ex-wife he’d struck her. Hamilton turned himself in Wednesday in Fort Worth and was released on $35,000 bond.
Sadly, given his troubled past, this isn’t surprising.
--Finally, we note the passing of Ron Fairly, a reliable outfielder and first baseman who spent 21 seasons in the big leagues, 1958-79, with 1,913 hits, a .266 batting average, 215 home runs and 1,044 RBIs. He made the All-Star team twice, both late in his career.
Fairly was a mainstay on three Dodgers World Series champions, 1959, ’63 and ’65, with 11 hits and two home runs in the ’65 Series, a seven-game win over the Twins.
Ron Fairly was a graduate of Long Beach Jordan High School and a former USC standout, turning down a basketball scholarship from UCLA’s John Wooden and going to USC instead. He played only one season with the Trojans, hitting .348 to help USC win the College World series.
But on the advice of his father, Carl, who played 11 minor-league seasons, Fairly turned down a $100,000 offer to sign with the Chicago White Sox to accept a $75,000 signing bonus from the Dodgers in 1958. The reason: The Dodgers were close to home, and then-right fielder Carl Furillo was 36 and nearing retirement.
By the end of that summer, Fairly had advanced through two minor league levels and was promoted to the big club in September.
Fairly was hardly a star. He had some pop, but never hit 20 homers in a season, nor had more than 77 RBIs. What he did was make contact, with a solid .360 on-base percentage (especially good for that era), and he was reliable.
After 11 ½ seasons in Los Angeles he was traded to Montreal for Manny Mota and Maury Wills, making his first All-Star team with the Expos in 1973.
Fairly wrote in a 2018 memoir, “The worst day in a baseball uniform was better than the best day I could have had in any other career.”
After his playing days were over, he appeared in the broadcast booth for the Angels from 1980-86, and then called games for the Giants and Seattle Mariners.
--The Warriors entered the season without Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, one to free agency, the other to injury, and there was little reason for optimism.
And then Steph Curry broke his left hand in a home loss to the Phoenix Suns, Curry undergoing surgery Friday morning. He will miss at least three months.
I mean why the heck would you go to a Warriors game, and this as they’ve opened a new arena. It’s a nightmare for ownership. The Warriors could actually be the West’s worst team during Curry’s absence.
Ergo, it’s time to tank!
--Seton Hall is preseason No. 12 (AP) and folks in these parts are pretty fired up. As in season ticket sales are up 47 percent.
--Well, Seton Hall isn’t No. 12 in Sports Illustrated’s preseason poll....
1. Michigan State
6. North Carolina
10. Ohio State
15. Seton Hall
25. Colorado...might be my sleeper team of the year...not going crazy, but like Elite Eight potential
I’ll go with The Hall to win it all, Myles Powell with a phenomenal season.
With the time difference, I didn’t watch any of the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, but I was following it closely online (I had a winning DraftKings lineup...heh heh). Rory McIlroy continued his fine play, winning his third WGC event, fourth win of 2019, in a playoff with Xander Schauffele.
It was Rory’s 27th career title, 18th on the PGA Tour. He has now finished in the top 10 in 16 of his last 21 starts on Tour.
The Big Six continues to struggle, at least three of them, as Manchester United fell to Bournemouth 1-0, Arsenal managed only a draw at home with Wolverhampton, 1-1, and Tottenham gave up another ‘win’ late, Everton scoring an equalizer in the 97th minute for the 1-1 tie. Near the end, however, Everton’s Andre Gomes suffered what appeared to be a devastating leg injury when he was challenged by the Spurs’ Son Heung-Min, with Son then breaking down in tears.
The other three of the Big Six did prevail; Liverpool 2-1 over Aston Villa, Man City 2-1 over Southampton, and Chelsea 2-1 at Watford.
Leicester City continued their surprising play today with a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.
So after 11 of 38...W-D-L...points (ties broken by goal differential)
1. Liverpool 10-1-0...31
2. Man City 8-1-2...25
3. Leicester City 7-2-2...23
4. Chelsea 7-2-2...23...Champions League line
5. Arsenal 4-5-2...17
6. Sheffield 4-4-3...16...shocker for a newbie
7. Bournemouth 4-4-3...16
8. Brighton 4-3-4...15
9. Crystal Palace 4-3-4...15
10. Man U 3-4-4...13
11. Tottenham 3-4-4...13...ugh
More Champions League play midweek, which isn’t helping Tottenham.
Rugby World Cup
South Africa easily triumphed 32-12 over England to win the World Cup in Japan. It was a great moment for the nation, a rare time when South Africans were able to come together. The team’s captain is black, and as a Reuters report I read from Johannesburg put it:
“Black, white and some mixed-race fans donned springbok shirts and shared drinks as their team dominated the England side in the final to bring the cup back home. For many this was South Africa’s most unifying game of rugby since the 1995 World Cup final win against the All Blacks of New Zealand, when (Nelson) Mandela donned a springbok jersey to unite a nation trying to heal the scars left over from racist white minority rule. Mandela had become the country’s first black president the year before, after the first democratic elections brought apartheid to an end.”
The ’95 team was dominated by whites, and so the makeup of this year’s squad meant a lot, with six non-white players included in the starting lineup, including the captain, Siya Kolisi.
--I watched the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Friday night for a look at next spring’s Kentucky Derby favorite, presumably either Dennis’ Moment or Eight Rings, and talk about a letdown. Dennis’ Moment started out poorly and never got into the action, and Eight Rings faded badly in the stretch.
Then again, think back to when you were two-years-old. Things didn’t always go according to plan for you either.
So a 45-1 shot, Storm the Court, won it, with Anneau D’or a close second at 28-1. Wrecking Crew finished third at 39-1.
In other words, Storm the Court returned $93.80 to win, while a $1 exacta paid $488.20 and a 50-cent trifecta $1,965.25. Goodness gracious.
Storm the Court’s sire, Count Vision, took the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile as a 65-1 shot.
Saturday, I did not watch the Breeders’ Cup Classic, won by Vino Rosso (I watched the replay), but in the race, the last of the 14-race card over the two days, Mongolian Groom, a heavily raced 4-year-old, broke down in the stretch, the horse sustaining fractures to his left hind leg, and it was eventually decided to euthanize him.
Exactly what the sport did not need. It’s showcase weekend, we had a tragic reminder of just how awful this year has been. It was the 37th death at Santa Anita since Christmas and now the calls for the abolition of thoroughbred racing will intensify, at least in California. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said as much in a letter to the California Horse Racing Board on Wednesday.
“If horseracing cannot be conducted in a safe and humane manner that protects the life and safety of horses and jockeys,” she wrote, “it may be time to reexamine the future of this sport in our state and in our country.”
Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said after, “It’s something that we were all very concerned about coming in. We were anxious for, not only running in huge races like these, but also hoping that everything would go smoothly and safely.”
Well, the first 13 races went off without a hitch. Then disaster.
Bob Baffert said: “It’s a sport and things happen. Basketball players when they sprain their ankle badly, they tape ‘em up and they get time off and everything. (But) when a horse does it, nobody tells the story that sometimes you have to (euthanize) it. You have to humanely put ‘em down because you can’t repair them. If you try, they’re going to suffer more because the blood flow is not there. There’s a lot of issues. Nobody wants to tell that. It’s a sad stoy.”
By the way, Mongolian Groom was the first horse to die in the Classic since 2007, when the Breeders’ Cup races were held at Monmouth Park. But the last three deaths in the Breeders’ Cup overall have been at Santa Anita.
--They ran the New York City Marathon today, perfect running weather, cold but little wind, and all eyes were on...the shoes! The Nike Vaporfly shoes that are all the rage these days, what with the marathon records being set by athletes running in Vaporflys.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) established a working group months before Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna and Brigid Kosgei’s record-breaking run at the Chicago Marathon last month, and IAAF rules state “shoes must not be constructed so as to give athletes any unfair assistance or advantage” and that “any type of shoe used must be reasonably available to all.”
Retired marathoner Meb Keflezighi, who won the New York City Marathon 10 years ago, told Reuters credit still belonged to the athletes despite high-tech advances.
“You’ve got to have the lungs, you’ve got to put in the work and all that, (but) if there’s a lot of aid at the end I’m pretty sure it will make a difference.”
2018 Boston Marathon winner Des Linden told reporters this week, “It’s super frustrating that someone has an amazing race and we go, ‘what are they wearing?’ It’s not just the athlete anymore.”
So Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei upset four-time NYC Marathon champion Mary Keitany to win the women’s race in her marathon debut, just seven seconds off the course record, 2 hours, 22 minutes and 38 seconds. She’s only 25.
Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya won the men’s event for the second time in three years, 2:08:13.
Since Eliud Kipchoge is Kamworer’s training partner, and was there at the finish line, I’d be surprised if Kamworer wasn’t in Vaporflys, but I can’t find confirmation as yet, nor on Jepkosgei.
--The fast-moving wildfire that threatened the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library the other day had an unlikely hero that may have saved the day. Goats. It turns out the Ventura County Fire Department brings hundreds of goats every May to eat the brush around the perimeter of the library to create a fire break and the firefighters said it was critical that the goats had cleared all the brush.
So ‘Goat’ receives an honorable mention on the All-Species List.
We also note the video of the horse that had been led to safety out of one of the other fires in the state, but then was seen going back to lead his buddies to safety. Yes, Shu, ‘Horse’ will receive consideration next time the ASL is updated.
Top 3 songs for the week 11/3/79: #1 “Pop Muzik” (M...any researcher looking this tune up 200 years from now will immediately blow their brains out...) #2 “Heartache Tonight” (Eagles...far from their best...) #3 “Dim All The Lights” (Donna Summer)...and...#4 “Rise” (Herb Alpert...I liked “Lonely Bull” more...) #5 “Still” (Commodores) #6 “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” (Michael Jackson) #7 “Babe” (Styx) #8 “Tusk” (Fleetwood Mac) #9 “You Decorated My Life” (Kenny Rogers) #10 “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” (Barbra Streisand/Donna Summers... ‘C+’ week...)
NCAA Football Quiz Answers: Tony Dorsett was the first to rush for 2,000 yards, 2,150 in 1976 for Pitt, their national championship season. 1) T.D. broke Ricky Bell’s record of 1,957 in 1975 for USC. 2) Charles White, 2,050, 1979, USC, and Marcus Allen, 2,427, 1981, USC, were the first two to surpass T.D. [Mike Rozier, 2,148, 1983, Nebraska, was next.]
Barry Sanders then set the single-season rushing record of 2,628 for Oklahoma State in 1988, a record that is yet to be broken. And Sanders did it in only 11 games.
*Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard rushed for 223 yards Saturday in a win against TCU, the Cowboys now 6-3. Hubbard now has 1,604 yards, with four games left, OSU being bowl eligible.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.