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Great Day for New York Sports Fans!
Add-on posted early Wed. a.m.
Lots of travel (long drives) coming up…no further Bar Chats until Sun., Oct. 2.
--The Mets game started 30 minutes after the Yankees contest in the Bronx last night, so I watched Aaron Judge’s first at-bat and then followed his next plate appearances online, while catching the Metropolitans’contest. Judge started out 0-for-3 and a walk in his quest for No. 60 and beyond.
Then I saw he was coming up in the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees trailing the Pirates 8-4. Nestor Cortes was fine, five innings, one run, but then the Yankee pen sucked wind and the Pirates appeared to be on the verge of a nice win in an otherwise crappy season.
But Judge crushed a pitch from Pittsburgh reliever Will Crowe 430-feet and that was it… No. 60, the family of Roger Maris in the stands. Crowe proceeded to yield two more hits and a walk and Giancarlo Stanton smashed a grand slam for the stunning 9-8 win.
--Meanwhile, the Mets had clinched their first playoff appearance since 2016 with a 7-2 win at Milwaukee Monday. It was a special night for another reason. Max Scherzer returned from the injured list and threw six perfect innings, 9 strikeouts, as he went to 10-4, 2.15 on the season.
For Mad Max it was also career win No. 200 (200-101) joining Justin Verlander (243) and Zack Greinke (223) as the only active pitchers to hit that mark.
But the Braves keep winning, 5-2 over Washington Monday, Kyle Wright with win No. 19.
Tuesday, the Mets fell behind 4-0, starter Carlos Carrasco ineffective, but the Mets two big bats, Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor, came through in royal fashion, Alonso with a 3-run homer in the sixth to make it 4-3, and then Lindor with a grand slam in the seventh, 7-4, and the bullpen finished it off, though it was a nailbiter, 7-5, Edwin Diaz with a 4-out save.
Alonso, 121, and Lindor, 99, have combined for 220 RBIs, which isn’t too shabby.
However, once again the Braves won as well, 3-2 over the Nats, and so the lead remained one game.
--The Astros clinched the division title Monday for the fifth time in the last six seasons (fifth straight full season they finish atop the AL West) with a 4-0 win over the Rays.
Houston enters play Tuesday also 8 games ahead of the Yankees for the home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which will be critical should the two teams face off in the ALCS.
--Freddie Freeman is on the verge of winning his first batting title, .329 thru Monday, and he’s rightfully defensive when it comes to those who don’t think batting average is that meaningful.
“I know people don’t put as much stock in batting average and RBIs, but if you go to a stadium, what numbers do they put on the scoreboard? It’s batting average, home runs and RBIs. If they don’t really care, then take them off the board.”
As of Monday, Freeman also led all major leaguers with a .390 batting average (55 for 141) with runners in scoring position.
In the Dodgers’ Monday night 5-2 win over the Diamondbacks, Clayton Kershaw continued to roll after his latest back issue…six innings, one run, no walks, 10 strikeouts…now 9-3, 2.39.
--We note the passing of Joan Hodges, widow of Hall of Famer Gil Hodges. Joan was 10 days shy of her 96th birthday.
Gil Hodges died of a heart attack at age 47 in 1973.
“We are so thankful that Joan was able to see Gil inducted into the Hall of Fame in July,” Mets president Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “That meant so much to her and the entire Mets and Hodges family.”
Irene Hodges, Gil and Joan’s daughter, spoke on her father’s behalf at the induction in Cooperstown on July 24.
Joan lived in the same Brooklyn home in which she and Gil lived and raised their children.
--And we learned Tuesday of the passing of Maury Wills, 89. All he did was win three World Series rings with the Dodgers (1959, ’63, ’65), NL MVP in 1962, 7X All-Star, 2X Gold Glover, 2,134 hits, and a .281 career batting average out of the shortstop and third base positions (10 straight seasons .273 or higher, when that was a big deal for a shortstop in particular).
Wills set the standard for base stealers when he stole 104 in 1962, scoring 130 runs. More often than not, Wills was driven in by Tommy Davis, who had his career year that season, .346 batting average, 153 RBIs. But the Dodgers finished a game behind the Giants, despite winning 102 games.
Wills’ 104 steals remained the single-season record until Lou Brock stole 118 in 1974.
--Monday night, the Bills showed for a second straight week they are on a mission for the
Super Bowl title as they put a hurt on the Titans (0-2) in Buffalo, 41-7, after whipping the defending Super Bowl champion Rams in Week One, 31-10.
Josh Allen threw four touchdown passes, three to Stefon Diggs (12 receptions for 148 yards), and the Bills’ defense held the Titans to just 187 yards while forcing four turnovers.
Come January and the playoffs, it’s the Bills ‘D’ that could be the real star, especially with a few home games in Buffalo and potentially poor weather.
I mean the team has no weakness.
--Philadelphia is looking strong, winning its second Monday, 24-7 over the Vikings (1-1), Jalen Hurts outstanding…26/31, 333, 1-1, 108.7, plus 57 yards rushing and two TDs on the ground.
I find this hard to believe, but Hurts was the first player in NFL history to throw for at least 300 yards, complete at least 80 percent of his passes and rush for multiple touchdowns in a game.
--Last year’s Super Bowl quarterbacks, the Rams’ Matthew Stafford and the Bengals’ Joe Burrow are off to rather rough starts. Stafford has thrown 4 touchdown passes, but 5 interceptions, 80.7 PR, while Burrow is 3-4, 73.1, Cincinnati with two 3-point losses to open…23-20 to Pittsburgh, 20-17 to Dallas late Sunday.
Speaking of which, the Bengals lost to Cooper Rush, subbing for the injured Dak Prescott, Rush outplaying Burrow, 19/31, 1-0, 95.5.
Rush, in his fifth season, started just one other game, last season for Dallas, and he won that one with a fourth quarter drive.
Sunday, he led a final-minute drive that ended in a game-winning field goal. Prescott is out another few weeks after surgery for a fractured thumb.
Back to the Rams, Cooper Kupp already has 24 receptions and four touchdowns for the Rams, after catching 145 last season. Michael Thomas has the single-season record with 149 in 2019, which was a 16-game schedule. But should he stay healthy, no reason to believe Kupp won’t get 150+ this year, though it would be in 17 games.
--I can’t believe a stat I saw that Joe Flacco is the first to throw for 300 yards in back-to-back games for the Jets since Chad Pennington in 2006. I knew we were pathetic, but this is kind of startling.
So even though physically, Zach Wilson may be ready to return, for now it’s Flacco’s team. And this week the Jets host the struggling Bengals.
Jets head coach Robert Salah was asked after the Jets’ miracle finish in Cleveland, scoring two touchdowns in the final 1:50 for the 31-30 win, if he would begin “taking receipts,” which is what he said he would do when fans, and experts, mocked the team after Week One’s lousy performance against the Ravens.
All week after the Baltimore game, and after he made the comment that he “couldn’t wait to shove it down everyone’s throats when it (the Jets) comes around,” Saleh’s words were heavily criticized on social media and sports radio. And they weren’t thrilled he was sticking with Flacco.
So after the game, Saleh said he wasn’t looking to send a message of vindication.
“No,” he said. “We have to win a hell of a lot more than one game to cash in on those.”
A good response. You won a crazy game requiring a lot of luck.
--The 49ers committed to Trey Lance to be their quarterback for 2022, and were trying to unload Jimmy Garoppolo, and all San Fran fans can say today is, ‘thank God we didn’t!’
Lance’s season is already over, having broken his ankle and having surgery, but the Niners signed Garoppolo in training camp to a one-year deal, $6.5 million guaranteed (though with significant incentives that could up it to $16 million), to keep him around and when Lance went out with 2:20 to go in the first quarter against Seattle, Jimmy G. came in and led the team to a 27-7 win.
--The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Tom Brady and wife Gisele may have worked out an arrangement to save their marriage.
The Buccaneers QB took last Wednesday off, with it listed as a rest day, and it seems this will be the plan the rest of the season…Wednesday’s off to spend time with the supermodel and their kids.
This apparently was her ultimatum when he decided to unretire for another season and she then went off to Costa Rica for six weeks.
A source told PEOPLE: “She doesn’t hate that he’s playing football, but she sure hates the way he handled the retirement and coming back. He knows that, and he’s doing what he can do to smooth things over. He does know that this is his last season if he wants to stay married.”
I’m biting my tongue.
--There are three obvious big ones on paper this coming weekend.
10 Arkansas at 23 Texas A&M; 20 Florida at 11 Tennessee; and 5 Clemson at 21 Wake Forest.
There are others that will show if a team is for real, like the 3-0 Oregon State Ducks taking on 7 USC, and 15 Oregon at 3-0 Washington State. And, no, I don’t think 3 Ohio State is going to have any problem at all with Wisconsin.
So we’ll find out if Arkansas and Tennessee can truly be factors in the SEC all season, and whether Wake Forest can finally beat the Tigers.
But wait…there’s more! 3-0 Duke is at 3-0 Kansas.
Yours truly will be at the Wake game….my first time down in Winston-Salem in quite a while. It’s the first time since 1950, the Tigers and Deacs will meet as ranked teams.
--Arizona State fired head coach Herm Edwards. Edwards, 68, was in his fifth season with the Sun Devils and was 26-20, three bowl games, but ASU inexplicably lost to Eastern Michigan 30-21 last Saturday, and there are all manner of NCAA investigations into the program and so it was sayonara.
--The Presidents Cup is being conducted this week at Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, NC. This event has nowhere near the juice of the Ryder Cup and the U.S. has won it 11 of 13, 11-1-1.
But one of the U.S. team members, Max Homa, still finds it hard to believe he won Sunday’s first event of the fall season, the Fortinet Championship, when one stroke down on the 18th, he chipped in for birdie, and Danny Willett 3-putted from 3’ 7” for bogey, as I wrote last time.
Golf Channel announcer Terry Gannon said: “I don’t believe what I just saw.”
Homa said: “I still don’t really know what happened. The last three minutes are kind of a blur.”
Willett could only say: “Just a shame how I finished but that’s golf. Yeah, we’ll live to fight another day,” as he remains winless on the PGA Tour since the 2016 Masters.
But this weekend at Quail Hollow, LIV Golf looms large, as LIV golfers like Cameron Smith, Louis Oosthuizen, Joaquin Niemann, Abraham Ancer and Branden Grace would likely have been part of the team.
But as Eamon Lynch of Golfweek commented:
“Even for the most patriotic of players, it’s not always easy to get motivated for the Presidents Cup, and for some it’s only ever been a necessary inconvenience. This edition will be unlike those that preceded it. It’s an opportunity for the U.S. team to prove that it is united behind its Tour. The team members will be intent on sending a message, not so much to the international team as to an unseen enemy.
“After almost 30 years of comparative apathy, the U.S. squad really does have something to prove at a Presidents Cup.”
--Kevin Cook, a former editor of Golf Magazine, in an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal:
“LIV Golf has given the sport a much-needed shakeup, but its impact is likely to end there. The best comparison is not to the old AFL but to the XFL of Vince McMahon. Founded in 2001, the XFL was loud, beery fun at first. It went under for the same reason that will sink LIV Golf in the long run: Nobody cared who won.”
--NCAA Men’s Division I Coaches Soccer Poll (records thru Sept. 18)
1. Wake Forest 7-0-0…and then Wake beat George Mason, Tuesday, 6-1.
2. Washington 5-0-1
3. Syracuse 6-0-1
4. Marshall 4-1-1
T5. Kentucky 4-0-2
T5. Stanford 4-0-3
7. Duke 4-0-1
8. Pitt 5-1-1
9. Maryland 4-1-1
10. Clemson 7-1-0
*No Bar Chat until Sunday p.m., Oct. 2.
Brief Add-on up top by noon, Wed.
[Posted early Sunday p.m., prior to finish of late NFL action]
NFL / College Football Quiz: The NFL announced Thursday the number of players on the opening week rosters from each college. Name the ten schools with 30 or more. Answer below.
--The Mets hosted the Pirates for a 4-game series at Citi Field this weekend, and after going 5-7 against the dregs of the league (Washington, Pittsburgh, Miami and Chicago), the Metsies won their first three against the Buccos, 7-1 on Thursday, 4-3 Friday (surviving a ninth-inning scare with Edwin Diaz on the mound) and 5-1 yesterday.
Atlanta won 3 of 4 to stay a game back.
The Mets completed the sweep in a rather bizarre game this afternoon, Jacob deGrom with a startling 13 strikeouts in five innings, but his pitch count was in the 80s, and Mets fans have learned that he has had problems in the sixth inning since coming back from his year-long absence, and sure enough, with a 3-0 lead (the Mets having missed a ton of opportunities to put the game away early), deGrom gave up a 3-run homer to the Pirates’ spectacular rookie Oneil Cruz (whose outward attitude I can’t stand…a real jerk…so we hope he matures).
DeGrom would get a no-decision, but the Mets scored four in the bottom of the eighth for a 7-3 win.
The Braves completed their sweep of the Phillies 5-2 today, Spencer Strider improving to 11-5, 2.67, with another 10 strikeouts in six innings.
--We note the passing of former Met and four-time All-Star catcher John Stearns, “Bad Dude,” who died after a long bout with cancer at the age of 71. Just a few weeks ago, Stearns heroically made it to the team’s Old Timers’ Day.
Stearns was a star defensive back at Colorado in the 1970s and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1973. No one was better at blocking the plate than Bad Dude.
--The Yankees had a brutal collapse Friday night in Milwaukee, 7-6, the bullpen failing miserably, and then the Brewers won 4-1 Saturday, Brandon Woodruff with eight strong for Milwaukee.
Yankees reliever, former star closer, Aroldis Chapman, returned last night to throw a scoreless inning after missing a month for an infection in his leg caused by getting a tattoo. A freakin’ idiot.
Aaron Judge remained on 57 home runs.
So entering today’s play the Yanks had a 4 ½-game lead over Toronto in the AL East. The Blue Jays, Rays and Mariners have pretty well locked up the three wild card slots.
Milwaukee was 1 ½ games out of the final wild card position in the NL, trailing San Diego and Philadelphia (2 games), while the Mets-Braves loser for the division is the third WC team.
But then we had another outbreak from Judge, two home runs, Nos. 58 and 59, four hits, four RBIs (now 127), as the Yanks won 12-8, surviving another crappy performance from Gerrit Cole, 5 innings, 4 runs, though getting the win, 12-7, 3.41.
And as Ken P. just pointed out, we are not just on Roger Maris watch when it comes to Judge, but also Triple Crown watch!
Minnesota’s Luis Arraez is at .317 after a 2-for-5 performance today, Judge at .316.
--The Dodgers won their 100th game (100-44) against the Giants last night, 7-2, as Cy Young Award contender Julio Urias threw six innings of one-run ball to move to 17-7, 2.27. It’s L.A.’s fourth 100-win season in the last six years (though one of those was the Covid year). Fourteen of the wins have come against the Giants (69-76), the Dodgers’ most in a single season of the rivalry since 1979.
--Albert Pujols continued his amazing streak, belting No. 698, two shy of 700, and No. 19 on the year in the Cardinals’ 6-5 win over the Reds Friday night. Pujols, with the two-run jack, now has 2,203 RBIs, within 11 of Babe Ruth for second, behind Hank Aaron’s 2,297.
Thru Friday Albert has his 19 home runs this season in 265 at-bats, and get this, his .865 OPS is his best since 2011, his final season the first go-round in St. Louis.
Oh, and he’s 42.
Pujols then went hitless Saturday.
--The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani had another outstanding night Saturday, throwing seven shutout innings in a 2-1 win over the Mariners, while doubling in a run (RBI No. 89) and scoring the other.
Ohtani is 13-8, 2.43.
How is he not AL MVP again? Because of Aaron Judge, but if you’re really honest, does a guy doing something never done before, and two years in a row, not deserve to be MVP? This vote will be interesting.
--In an extensive interview with the Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty, Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg strongly hinted his career may be over.
He has not thrown a ball in more than three months.
“I feel like every time I’ve had an injury, I felt like I was going to be the best there is coming back,” Strasburg, 34, told the Post. “I realize the clock is ticking. It’s been almost three years since I’ve been able to pitch competitively, and it’s not like I’m getting younger.”
Last summer, he had a full rib and two neck muscles removed in a surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome that threatens his career.
Strasburg was 18-6, 3.32 ERA, in 33 starts, 209 innings in 2019, and then heroically went 5-0 in the postseason, including MVP of the World Series as he led the Nats to the title.
But in the three seasons since, he’s pitched a total of 31 1/3 innings, being paid $35 million per, and he will receive $35 million each season going forward through 2026.
[The following comments were written before release of the latest AP Poll.]
Saturday’s action started off with nothing but blowouts involving the top four, but then things got interesting, and a bit chaotic…as is this sport’s wont.
But from the top….
No. 1 Georgia (3-0) whipped South Carolina (1-2) 48-7 in Columbia.
No. 2 Alabama (3-0) rolled over UL Monroe (1-2) 63-7.
3 Ohio State (3-0) blasted Toledo (2-1) 77-21, C.J. Stroud a cool 22/27, 367, 5-0.
4 Michigan (3-0) annihilated UConn (0-3) 59-0. The line was 46.5 on this one and I was thinking, ‘for sure the Huskies can score a TD in garbage time.’ Alas, that wouldn’t have been enough.
5 Clemson (3-0) ran over Louisiana Tech (1-2), as Will Shipley was impressive, rushing for 139 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries. But the line was 34, so the Bulldogs beat the spread, and you know what they say, boys and girls. At the end of the day….
I caught the beginning of 6 Oklahoma at Nebraska in Lincoln, a fired up Cornhusker faithful hoping interim coach, and former QB, Mickey Joseph could work some magic. The Cornhuskers scored first. The crowd was in a frenzy. I went to take a quick nap (I need naps), and when I got back up, it was 21-7 Sooners and they rolled from there, 49-14. OU 3-0, Nebraska 1-3.
You have to feel sorry for Cornhusker fans. They’re as good as any in the nation. I’ve been there. It’s a great setting. But with Urban Meyer among those broadcasting the game, will Nebraska bite? The school contacted him, but AD Trev Alberts hastened to add that didn’t mean they were talking to Meyer about the job.
[One emerging prospect could be Kansas head coach Lance Leipold, who in his second year has the Jayhawks 3-0, including Saturday’s 48-30 win over Houston.]
No. 7 USC had a nice test against Fresno State (1-2) and passed it with flying colors, 45-17 to move to 3-0.
8 Oklahoma State is 3-0 after beating Arkansas Pine-Bluff (2-1) 63-7. What is APB’s nickname? The Golden Lions.
9. Kentucky (3-0) shutout Youngstown State (2-1) 31-0.
And No. 10 Arkansas (3-0) was clearly caught looking ahead to the next two weeks, Texas A&M and Alabama, as they trailed Missouri State (2-1) 24-17 at the half, needing to score 21 fourth quarter points for the 38-27 victory. The Razorbacks were favored by 26 over the Bears.
So then No. 11 Michigan State lost its first, now 2-1, as a resurgent Washington upset the Spartans in Seattle, 39-28, to go to 3-0 and no doubt a top 25 ranking.
Former Indiana QB Michael Penix Jr. threw for 397 yards and four touchdowns. Kalen DeBoer, formerly the head coach at Fresno State, is working some magic in his first year with the Huskies.
12 BYU, hot off an upset of then-9 Baylor, stumbled badly in Eugene as the 25 Oregon Ducks beat the Cougars 41-20, quarterback Bo Nix with 2 TDs passing, 3 rushing for OU; both teams now 2-1.
13 Miami also lost, 17-9 to 24 Texas A&M, both teams also now 2-1.
In other games of note, 16 North Carolina State (3-0) had an important out-of-conference win over Texas Tech (2-1) down in Raleigh, 27-14. But it wasn’t Devin Leary doing the damage for the Wolfpack, it was the NC State defense, which picked off Tech quarterbacks 3 times, including a pick-six, as the Red Raiders turned it over four times in all.
22 Penn State (3-) had a biggie, 41-12 at Auburn (2-1), so the Nittany Lions should move up 4 or 5 notches.
Notre Dame’s Marcus Freeman finally picked up his first win, the Fighting Irish (1-2) after beating Cal (2-1), 24-17, but the ND offense remains less than impressive.
Minnesota is 3-0 after a 49-7 pasting of Colorado (0-3), as Mohamed Ibrahim, perhaps the best running back in the land, rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries.
In a highly entertaining early contest, Syracuse is 3-0 for the first time since 2018 with a 32-29 win over Purdue (1-2) as Garrett Shrader threw a touchdown pass with seven seconds remaining, after Purdue had taken the lead on an Aidan O’Connell TD pass at the 0:51 mark to make it 29-25, O’Connell throwing for 424 yards and three touchdowns, receiver Charlie Jones with 11 receptions for 188, but it wasn’t enough.
I just have to say, Cuse coach Dino Babers has had one of the more fascinating careers.
4-8, 4-8, 10-3 (2018), 5-7, 1-10, 5-7…now 3-0. How has he survived? The issue has been, can Syracuse really do better? Babers is likeable, his players like him, I mean, it’s not the easiest place to recruit.
Like is a kid from Florida or California going to want to freeze their ass off there? [No offense to my Syracuse friends.]
Johnny Mac’s Coastal Carolina is 3-0 after a 38-26 win over Buffalo (0-3). The Chanticleers haven’t been particularly impressive thus far…but a win is a win.
Rutgers had a very unimpressive victory at Temple (1-2) 16-14, but they are 3-0. That said, the offense sucks and now it’s nine games in the Big Ten.
Florida State, which has been in the muck for years, is off to a 3-0 start following Friday night’s 35-31 win at Louisville (1-2).
But starting quarterback Jordan Travis appeared to suffer a serious leg injury, after completing his first 11 passes, and was on the sidelines after the half on crutches and with his left leg in a boot.
That said, Tate Rodemaker came in to replace Travis and threw two touchdown passes, while Treshaun Ward rushed for 126 yards on 10 carries.
For Louisville, Malik Cunningham had 370 yards of total offense, throwing for 243 and rushing for 127. He’s a force, but it doesn’t look like he has a supporting cast this season.
So that leaves two games. Appalachian State has had quite an opening to the season, losing 63-61 to North Carolina, beating then-6 Texas A&M down in College Station, 17-14, and yesterday, on a Hail Mary pass for the ages from quarterback Chase Brice, beat Troy (1-2) 32-28 in Boone.
Brice’s pass came after the Apps cut Troy’s lead to 28-26 on a safety with 0:20 remaining, and on the ensuing kick, got the ball at their 47 with 13 seconds left. Three incomplete passes followed, and then Brice hooked up with Christian Horn on a play that will be long remembered, a ricochet off the defender at the five that Horn then took in.
As in you knock a last-second pass like that down.
Such was the case at Wake Forest, which had struggled mightily to put away Liberty (2-1). The No. 19 Deacs were up 20-5, in unimpressive fashion, late in the second quarter, but Liberty roared back to take a 23-20 in the third.
Wake then scored 17 in the fourth quarter, Sam Hartman with 325 yards passing and three touchdowns, but two interceptions, and the Deacs led 37-30 with 3:39 to play.
Liberty then marched down the field 70 yards with quarterback Kaidon Salter throwing it from the 18-yard line into the endzone on 4th-and-4, where it appeared the Wake defender picked it off…only he didn’t. Instead of knocking it down, which would have effectively ended the game, the ball was knocked into the hands of Liberty’s Demario Douglas. 37-36.
The Flames went for two and the win, but the Wake defenders sniffed out the reverse and the Deacs stayed unbeaten at 3-0.
So next week is the biggie in Winston-Salem, Wake vs. Clemson, a team Wake coach Dave Clawson has never beaten (Wake losing 13 straight to the Tigers overall). It’s the early-season ACC Game of the Year. At least some of us hope it will be.
The thing is, our veteran offensive line, highly touted before the season started, was horrendous yesterday and has basically sucked the first three games. We aren’t going anywhere unless they step up. And with teams on the schedule like Florida State and Syracuse suddenly looking solid, let alone North Carolina and N.C. State, what Wake fans hoped would be a dream season could fall apart quickly. For starters, Wake should fall to about No. 22 in the next poll.
And now the new AP Top 25!
The top seven are unchanged…Kentucky flipped with OK State, but major changes in the next ten.
1. Georgia (59) 3-0
2. Alabama (3) 3-0
3. Ohio State (1) 3-0
4. Michigan 3-0
5. Clemson 3-0
6. Oklahoma 3-0
7. USC 3-0
8. Kentucky 3-0
9. Oklahoma State 3-0
10. Arkansas 3-0
11. Tennessee 3-0
12. North Carolina State 3-0
13. Utah 2-1
14. Penn State 3-0 …up 8
15. Oregon 2-1 …up 10
16. Ole Miss 3-0
17. Baylor 2-1
18. Washington 3-0
19. BYU 2-1 …down 7
20. Florida 2-1
21. Wake Forest 3-0 …down 2, appropriate
22. Texas 2-1
23. Texas A&M 2-1
24. Pitt 2-1
25. Miami 2-1 …down 12
Michigan State is out of there.
It turns out it was the first time the top ten teams all won since Week 2 of the 2019 season.
Frankly, I will never try to keep up with all the NFL action on Sundays, being focused on Jets and Giants. In the old days, until about four years ago, one team was always at 1:00 and the other at 4:00, which was great. While I hate the Yankees, it’s more fun around here if the New York football teams are both competitive.
But now, more often than not, they are playing at the same time if their games are in the Eastern or Central time zones.
Anyway, today I had a pennant race to watch…the Mets…so was in and out non-stop on the Jets-Browns game and didn’t watch a second of Giants-Panthers.
--And so what a freakin’ game in Cleveland. The Jets were down 30-17 with 1:55 to play after a 12-yard Nick Chubb touchdown run for the Browns.
And then the miracle happened. The Cleveland defense had a major brain cramp and left Jets receiver Corey Davis all alone for a 66-yard strike from Joe Flacco. Extra-point good, 30-24, 1:22 left.
Then the onsides kick was successful, brilliantly executed, and Flacco calmly took the team downfield, 9 plays, 53 yards, the final 15 to rookie receiver Garrett Wilson, Jets shock the Browns 31-30.
J-E-T-S….JETS JETS JETS!
Flacco was 26/44, 307, 4-0, 110.7, Wilson 8-102-2.
Stunning. Beers are flowing at the World HQ of Bar Chat.
--Meanwhile, the Giants are 2-0 under rookie coach Brian Daboll after a 19-16 against the Panthers, who are 0-2 with Baker Mayfield. This one was a yawner offensively, Carolina outgaining New Jersey, err Rutherford, N.J., err New York, 275-265, but they had two TOs.
--Tampa Bay is 2-0 after a boring 20-10 win over the Saints (1-1) in New Orleans, Tom Brady totally mediocre, 18/34, 190, 1-0, 79.3…Gisele hovering overhead going “Ra ra ra ra….”
--The Pats beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh, 17-14, in another that must have been painful to watch, Pittsburgh with just 243 yards of offense, both teams 1-1.
--But what a phenomenal game in Baltimore, the Dolphins down 35-14 after three, scored 28 points on Tua Tagovailoa’s four touchdown passes, Miami (2-0) winning a game for the ages for Dolphins fans, 42-38.
Tua had a franchise-tying six TD passes in all (Bob Griese and Dan Marino the others, as in ‘good company’), 469 yards, as Tyreek Hill caught 11 for 190 yards and 2 TDs, and Jaylen Waddle went 11-171-2.
As my late grandfather would have said, “Gee Willikers!” [He never swore…I didn’t follow his example.]
I do have to note that Lamar Jackson had a spectacular game himself…21/29, 318, 3-0, 142.6 through the air, and 119 rushing and another score on nine carries.
--One more…the Jaguars are 1-1 after shutting out the Colts 24-0, Trevor Lawrence with a solid game, 25/30, 235, 2-0, 121.5…the Jags’ defense with five sacks of Matt Ryan, who also threw three interceptions, Indy 0-1-1.
I’m a Lawrence fan…he’s a good guy…he’ll develop this season into a star.
--Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert suffered a fractured rib during Thursday night’s 27-24 loss to the Chiefs and is day-to-day, coach Brandon Staley said.
--In the first event of the PGA Tour Fall Season, the final year where these tournaments qualify for FedEx Cup points, Danny Willett picked up his first win since 2016 (the Masters)…defeating Max Homa by one at the Fortinet Championship in Napa, California.
So I wrote this as Willett stuck his approach less than four feet for birdie on 18, while Homa was struggling on the par-5 finishing hole.
But then Homa holed a chip for birdie…and Willett 3-putted for bogey! I was watching. Unf’n real.
And so Max Homa, who loves to play the social media game, and can back it up with his performance, is going to be raking in some major PIP money next year. A super likable guy headed for the Presidents Cup…speaking of Q ratings and PIP dollars.
Win No. 5 for him. Poor Willett must be on hari-kari watch.
[Nice to see rain in Napa.]
--The DP World (European) Tour held the Italian Open this weekend on the course in which they 2023 Ryder Cup will be held, Marco Simone GC outside Rome. It is said to be a most unimpressive layout for such a big event, but next year’s Euro Ryder Cup leaders, Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick were 1-2 heading into the final round.
But it was 26-year-old Scotsman Robert MacIntyre (whom Rory has said is part of the Euro team’s future) who stole the show with a 64 today, forcing a playoff with Fitzpatrick, and MacIntyre grabbed his second DP World title with a birdie on the first hole. Rory was fourth.
--In Chicago, Cam Smith beat Peter Uihlein and Dustin Johnson by three to win the LIV Golf event! More money for Cam and “his people.” Awesome.
This is a win that few will forget. [Your Editor typed this with dripping sarcasm.]
Phil Mickelson, with a final round 66, finished T8! Amazing stuff. Lefty is back!
--It’s really pathetic how the leaders, and golfers, of LIV Golf are bitching that they aren’t receiving Official World Golf Ranking points yet.
Bob Harig of SI.com wrote that LIV officials feel they are “being slow played” by the OWGR, a nonprofit entity that administers the program by which golfers around the world are ranked.
It’s just laughable. LIV, i.e., CEO Greg Norman, knew what the procedure was. It can take up to a year. Tough shit. You all knew this going in.
But now you’re like, ‘Oh crap, this is really happening. We are just an exhibition league.’
Yes, all of the majors, to a degree, use the OWGR to help determine their field. The Masters and the British Open, for example, have top-50 cutoffs; the U.S. Open has a top-60 cutoffs.
LIV acknowledged it does not check all of the boxes for the criteria, one of which is that it does not have 36-hole cuts. Norman, in a letter to the players, countered that “many leading, limited-field events on the eligible golf tours do not include cuts after 36 holes, including the Tour Championship, the DP World Tour Championship, the World Golf Championships and the Hero (World) Challenge. Players competing in these events are routinely awarded OWGR points.”
Phil Mickelson said: “Given how many great players are a part of LIV, for LIV events to not have world ranking points would totally undermine the world ranking system. And would force a new world ranking system to come about that was credible. I believe that the world golf rankings organization realizes that and will give world ranking points to LIV events.”
Whatever, Phil. How’s Amy?
--Roger Federer announced his retirement, like Serena’s, not a surprise, really.
“I’ve worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body’s capacities and limits, and its message to me lately has been clear,” Federer said in a video message on social media. “I am 41 years old. I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognize when it is time to end my competitive career. The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in Grand Slams or on the Tour.”
Federer won Wimbledon a record eight times, among his 20 Grand Slam titles.
“I would also like to thank my competitors on the court. I was lucky enough to play so many epic matches that I will never forget,” Federer said. “We battled fairly, with passion and intensity, and I always tried my best to respect the history of the game. I feel extremely grateful. We pushed each other, and together we took tennis to new levels.”
“I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, to everyone around the world who has helped make the dreams of a young Swiss ball kid come true. Finally, to the game of tennis, I love you and I will never leave you.”
A class sign-off from one of the classiest superstars in all of sports.
Victor Mather of the New York Times had a cool piece breaking down the Big Three, in an attempt to define who was best.
Nadal 22…2 Australian Open, 14 French Open, 2 Wimbledon, 4 U.S. Open
Djokovic 21…9 – 2 – 7 - 3
Federer 20…6 – 1 – 8 – 5
Pete Sampras is next at 14
Mather posits that if you came up with a simple point system…six points for a win, 3 for a runner-up, 1 for making a final…
Djokovic…170…21 Ws, 11 Finals, 11 Semis
Federer…168…20, 11, 15
Nadal…164…22, 8, 8
Won-Loss Record in Grand Slam events
Nadal 313-42, .882
Djokovic 334-47, .877
Federer 369-60, .860
Djokovic leads Nadal, 30-29, and Federer 27-23. Nadal leads Federer 24-16.
Thankfully, all three won on each of the four surfaces.
And the winner is? For now, it’s whoever you like best. But we might be saying something different in another two years.
Meanwhile, the Golden Age of Tennis is coming to an end. What an era.
--NASCAR’s first round of its 10-race playoffs ended Saturday night in bizarre fashion at Bristol Motor Speedway. Chris Buescher won it, meaning none of the title contenders won any of the first three races.
Buescher’s second career win came after Erik Jones won the opener and Bubba Wallace won last week.
The 16-driver playoff field was cut by four, and eliminated from the playoffs were Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick.
There have now been 19 different winners in the season, tying a NASCAR record.
The Round of 12 starts next Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway…three races to cut the field to 8…then three more in the Round of 8 to get to a final four, Nov. 6 in Phoenix.
--Canelo Alvarez vowed to knock out Gennadiy Golovkin in the final installment of their trilogy Saturday night in Las Vegas. The undisputed super middleweight champion of the world wasn’t able to but dominated in what was described as a brilliant performance in scoring a 12-round unanimous victory.
Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 knockouts), 32, dominated, landing repeatedly to the jaw and head on the way to retaining his WBC, IBF, WBA and WBO belts at 168 pounds.
Golovkin, the 40-year-old from Kazakhstan, falls to 42-2-2, 30 KOs), his career blemished only by the champion from Mexico.
The highly anticipated showdown between two of the top boxers of their generation came four years after they last met. Alvarez won that fight via majority decision. Their first bout one year earlier ended in a questionable split draw even though Golovkin outlanded Alvarez in 10 of the 12 rounds.
--It’s been a chaotic time in the Premier League, with most matches cancelled due to Queen Elizabeth’s passing and demands on security, but among the few that were played, Tottenham blasted lowly Leicester City 6-2. Spurs star Son Heung-min, goalless this season after being co-winner of the Golden Boot (for most goals in the PL) last season, was benched, then brought in in the second half and all the guy did was score 3 goals in 13 minutes! Rather extraordinary.
--The Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving shared a video on his Instagram account titled “Alex Jones tried to warn us,” in which the disgraced Jones talks about the New World Order. Barely a month removed from being ordered to pay $49.3 million in damages for spreading lies about the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, it is outrageous that Kyrie would associate himself with Jones.
The New World Order is an umbrella term for a collection of conspiracy theories; vile, deeply anti-Semitic racist garbage.
But this is not the first time Irving has shown a preoccupation with such crap, and he was one of the only NBA players not to get the Covid-19 vaccine, Kyrie following and liking an Instagram account that claimed, among other things, that “the Covid-19 vaccine is fulfilling the prophecy of Satan’s ultimate plan to enslave the human soul.” The supposed Satanic plan involved implanting Black people with microchips so that they could be connected to a master computer and controlled by “secret societies.”
Irving is also the same guy who in 2017 said the Earth was flat, before he was forced to issue kind of an apology to science teachers, who then had a problem debunking Kyrie’s claim. As you can imagine, Irving has real influence among some youth in particular.
He will be confronted by the press on this s---. I can virtually guarantee after the first few press conferences, he will stop cooperating and do no interviews. The NBA will then levy a massive fine and there will be all kinds of legal fireworks between the commissioner’s office and the Players Association. Stay tuned.
--A basketball jersey worn by Michael Jordan during the 1998 NBA finals, the season known as the “Last Dance,” sold for a record $10.1 million, Sotheby’s said. This is amazing.
The jersey, which Jordan wore during his sixth NBA championship for the Bulls, is the most expensive piece of game-worn sports memorabilia ever sold, Sotheby’s said. Jordan wore the red jersey during Game 1 of the finals.
The prior record was set earlier this year for a jersey worn by Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona when he scored his “Hand of God” goal in the 1986 World Cup. That jersey sold in May for $9.3 million at a Sotheby’s auction.
Before the sale of the Jordan jersey, the record for a basketball jersey auctioned off was the $3.7 million sale of an autographed, game-worn Kobe Bryant jersey from the mid-90s, according to Sotheby’s.
I just don’t get the price on this, personally. A baseball card, yes. A jersey, when a Michael Jordan wore a zillion jerseys, including many in the finals? Really?
So two years ago, my friend Ken P. and I, looking to get away in that first summer of the pandemic, went to Shohola, Pa. to find the grave of baseball’s Smoky Joe Wood (he of the 34-5 season for Boston in 1912). Alas, it was an abysmal failure.
But we went to the Pike County Museum in nearby Milford and there is quite an artifact in it. The flag that was under Lincoln’s head after he was shot, Lincoln’s blood on it. You can look it up.
So I’m asking myself, how much is that worth?
And that’s a memo….
--Plastered all over the papers Saturday was the story that cheetahs are being reintroduced to India for the first time since being declared extinct in 1952 after a consignment of eight big cats boarded a Boeing 747 in Namibia on Friday and arrived in India Saturday. Then they were to be flown on a military aircraft to their new home, Kuno National Park, in a lush river valley in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
“It is the only large mammal that India has lost,” said S.P. Yadav, secretary of India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority. “It is our moral and ethical responsibility to bring them back,” he said.
The projects reflects the “muscular nationalism” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the cats’ entry was timed for his 72nd birthday, Saturday, which he planned to celebrate by witnessing their release into an enclosure at Kuno.
Conservationists are preparing to fly 12 more cheetahs, the world’s fastest land mammals, to India in October.
Hopefully, a few of them escape and wreak havoc on a little village, which as you know always makes for good Bar Chat filler (sympathies to the families, of course).
But I’m just wondering if anyone told Kuno’s impalas, hares, and other small- to medium-sized prey that the cheetahs are coming.
“What’s the prime minister doing here?” Joe Impala asked Vijay Hare yesterday. “What’s in those crates that are being unloaded?” Vijay asked in turn.
Top 3 songs for the week 9/24/77: #1 “Best Of My Love” (Emotions) #2 “Float On” (The Floaters…super tune…Libra and my name is Charles…) #3 “Don’t Stop” (Fleetwood Mac)…and…#4 “Keep It Comin’ Love” (KC & The Sunshine Band) #5 “Strawberry Letter 23” (The Brothers Johnson) #6 “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” (Andy Gibb) #7 “Telephone Line” (Electric Light Orchestra) #8 “Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band” (Meco…dreadful…) #9 “That’s Rock ‘N’ Roll” (Shaun Cassidy) #10 “Cold As Ice” (Foreigner…C week…I was a month into what would become the worst academic year in college history, my sophomore campaign…)
NFL / College Football Quiz Answer: NFL opening week rosters by college, ten with 30 or more….
Alabama 58, LSU 52, Ohio State 52, Georgia 44, Notre Dame 37, Penn State 35, Florida 33, Michigan 33, Oklahoma 32, Iowa 31.
[Clemson 29, Texas 26, Washington 26.]
The Crimson Tide also placed the most active NFL players on season-opening rosters in 2018 (44), 2019 (56), 2020 (53) and 2021 (54), and shared the league lead in 2017 (39).
Add-on posted Wed. by noon.
BUT…no Bar Chats afterwards until Oct. 2 due to travel.