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Down to Four
[Posted Sun. p.m.]
NCAA Football AP Poll Quiz: There have been 1167 AP Polls since 1936 thru Dec. 8, 2019. Name the top ten schools in appearances. [No trick answers...No. 1 has appeared in the AP poll 918 times.] Answer below.
Tennessee at Kansas City...early weather forecast is blah...
Green Bay at San Francisco...heavy merde warning on the streets Karl Malden made famous.
--As terrific as last week’s wild card games were, Saturday’s two divisional round contests were awful, though at the same time, Tennessee’s upset of Baltimore was fascinating in the Titans’ total domination of the best team in the NFL.
The Titans, who started the season 2-4 and needed to defeat Houston in Week 17 just to make the playoffs, have now beaten New England and Baltimore, taking down an NFL legend and this year’s MVP in the process.
Derrick Henry has had the best three-game stretch running the ball in NFL history when it mattered most.
For the Ravens, Lamar Jackson racked up the most meaningless 507 yards of offense in the history of the sport as well, Jackson 31/59, 365, 1-2, 63.2; 20-143 rushing.
[Jackson is 19-3, 104.7 PR his first 22 starts in the regular season, but he is 0-2, 68.3 in two playoff starts.]
Just a shocking result, and now there are a lot of us that want to see if Henry can single-handedly take the Titans all the way, coach Mike Vrabel’s defense and motivational abilities having something to do with any further success as well.
Steve Serby / New York Post
“All of Baltimore waited for the lightning.
“All of Baltimore waited for Lamar Jackson to light up the sky and electrocute the Titans.
“What they got was more thunder from Big Bad Derrick Henry (195 yards rushing and a trick play touchdown pass) and it rained despair after Titans 28, Ravens 12.
“Titanic upset against the star quarterback who looked as if he was steering the Titanic.
“Baltimore had been awed all season by Jackson’s MVP brilliance and couldn’t help but believe that 8 Is Enough.
“Once upon a time this city worshipped a crew-cut Hall of Fame quarterback who wore high tops and No. 19 for their NFL Colts, and 61 years after Johnny U it is a 23-year-old Raven who has made everyone’s jaw drop and took their breath away and honored a Yankees marketing slogan of yesteryear: AT ANY MOMENT A GREAT MOMENT.
“They kept waiting for the MVP to give them a great moment.
“Damn near prayed.
“Alas, their Superman could not fly. A Raven clipped of his wings. Lamar Jackon looked flummoxed, rattled, out of sorts and out of this league.
“8 was not enough, and blame it on rust all you want.
“8 ran for 143 yards and they were mostly insignificant.
“ ‘We just beat ourselves,’ Jackson said.
“Quoth the Titans: Nevermore.
“They defended every blade of grass at M&T Bank Stadium and turned Jackson into a mere mortal who cannot win The Big One with his second playoff no-show in two tries.
“ ‘I think this team’s identity right now is get in the playoffs and choke,’ Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey said.
“King Henry bloodied the Ravens’ collective nose, killed the body and the head died.”
In the other divisional round playoff contest Saturday, we had one of the dullest games in years, San Francisco manhandling Minnesota 27-10, the 49ers’ defense holding the Vikings to just seven first downs, 147 yards of total offense, Minny QB Kirk Cousins sacked six times, running back Dalvin Cook held to 18 yards on nine carries. Yuck.
For San Francisco, their offense hardly set the world on fire but they received 105 yards and two touchdowns from running back Tevin Coleman.
And quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo picked up a win in his first postseason start and that’s important.
--So then we go to Sunday and the first game, Houston and Deshaun Watson at Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes. I watched the whole contest and there is no way I can do it justice, so I’ll rely on the archives to capture it better when I post my next chat and the opinions of some far wiser than me when it comes to the sport.
But I just have to start with a note to a fellow Wake alum who for the purposes of this column, because I am playing the role of bookie for the lad, I need to keep anonymous. Yes, “Mr. X.,” I held to my ‘wait 24 hours’ rule in not saying anything at 24-0...and you seemed to be doing the same.
As Johnny Mac said later to me, just imagine being a Vegas type and the emotions you were going through. The line at game time was K.C. -10 (my friend had it at –9.5), and when it was 24-0 you were ready to commit hari-kari if you had the Chiefs.
Thankfully we had Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and some terrific CBS Sports graphics to sum up the essence of the game.
As Houston astoundingly raced off to the 24-0 lead, we learned the Texans had outgained the Chiefs 158-46, but it was about far more than that....like three dropped passes by K.C., a blocked punt, and a Tyreek Hill fumble on a punt return that gave the ball at the 1- or 2-yard line for an easy score. It was just surreal how many mistakes K.C. was making.
Let’s face it, guys and girls. If you watched the pre-game show and Bill Cowher’s loving interview with Chiefs coach Andy Reid, at 24-0 you were thinking, oh boy, that interview looked really stupid.
And then the game got crazy....suddenly 28-24 Chiefs...and then 41-24. Houston scored the end of the third to make it 41-31 and you thought we might still have a game, but noooo....final score 51-31.
The final yardage? 442 for Houston, 434 for Kansas City...as in totally meaningless.
The Texans’ Deshaun Watson wasn’t a goat, far from it...31/52, 388, 2-0, 95.7, plus another TD rushing. [Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdown passes.]
It’s just in trying to describe this historic contest, “It happened.”
But Houston fans will also look back on the moment when at 24-7, coach Bill O’Brien went for a fake punt on fourth down that was stuffed at the Houston 33 and Mahomes and Co. took it in from there, 24-14. And then before you could say Bart Starr, it was 41-24, game over.
Kansas City ended up scoring a touchdown on seven consecutive possessions, which, yes, has never been done before since the Renaissance, or at least in the NFL playoffs.
As for the nightcap, I have to admit, I had the game on but was not as interested as the first one. Plus I was rather tired.
But after jumping to a 21-3 halftime lead, Green Bay dominating Seattle, the Seahawks rallied to cut it to 28-17 Packers (Aaron Jones and Davante Adams with two touchdowns apiece for the Pack) at the end of the third.
Seattle then cut it to 28-23 with 9:33 to play, but they missed on the 2-point conversion.
And with 2:19 left, Aaron Rodgers completed a huge 32-yard pass to Davante Adams on 3rd and 8, game over, especially after another Rodgers 3rd down pass to Jimmy Graham went for another first down.
--The Cleveland Browns have filled the final coaching vacancy in the NFL, the team planning to hire Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, according to ESPN.
Stefanski, 37, was in line to be the Browns coach last season, but Cleveland instead promoted Freddie Kitchens, which was a disastrous move. So back to Stefanski they go.
The Browns interviewed eight candidates in all, including New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, so he is shut out again.
Cleveland is still looking for a general manager so if you have any applicable experience, like if you were GM of a movie theater or a bowling alley, send in your resume. It’s always good to attach a handwritten note, something like, “With my background, I feel I warrant consideration.” Then after signing your name, go, “P.S., I love the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
--Saturday, former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in a surprise announcement before the Titans-Ravens game.
Hall President and CEO David Baker delivered the news live in studio to Cowher during the now-analyst's appearance on “The NFL Today” pregame show.
Cowher was the Steelers’ coach for 15 seasons from 1992 to 2006, leading them to 10 playoff appearances including two Super Bowls and winning one – beating Seattle in 2006. His Pittsburgh teams won nine division titles.
Cowher had an overall career record of 161-99-1 with a .619 winning percentage.
A special panel met at the Hall in Canton, Ohio, on Wednesday to elect the centennial slate for this year’s class of inductees, marking the first time any members were elected during a selection meeting held at the Hall.
The centennial slate includes 10 “seniors” (players who last played more than 25 seasons ago), three “contributors” (an individual other than a player or coach) and two “coaches” (who last coached more than five seasons ago) and were voted on from a list of 38 finalists. The remainder of the 15-person centennial slate will be revealed on Wednesday morning.
The Hall’s overall class will consist of 20 members, including an additional five who will be added the day before the Super Bowl, when the modern-era player finalists are voted on by the selection committee.
[Tonight, David Baker paid a visit to the Fox studios and gave Jimmy Johnson a big hug. He’s in Canton too...and another good selection.]
--Seattle’s Jadeveon Clowney was not fined, according to reports, for his hit that knocked out Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz in the first quarter of the Seahawks’ 17-9 win in the NFC wild-card game.
--The Giants introduced their new coach, Joe Judge, who said when talking about how Big Blue is going to play under his leadership, “We’ll punch you in the nose for 60 minutes.”
“I’m about old school physical football,” the former Patriots special teams’ coordinator said. “We will play fast, in your face, downhill, aggressive. We will play with a relentless, competitive attitude.”
Well, we’ll see, won’t we? Talk be cheap, as we say in the ‘burbs.
For now it’s about the draft.
--OK, bring on Clemson-LSU. It’s been too long a layoff since the semis, but that’s just the way the calendar worked out. Football fans just want it to be close, and it has to be. The two best quarterbacks in the game with two solid defenses.
--But there continues to be news off the field...Mississippi State hired Washington State coach, and legend in his own mind, Mike Leach. Leach immediately took Starkville by storm.
No doubt the guy is a big-time personality and one of the more creative minds offensively the sport has seen, but in his 18 seasons at Texas Tech and WSU, while he’s a solid 139-90 overall, his teams have just one AP final top 10.
Maybe I’m being too harsh on the guy, but if you follow the sport, you know his teams always seem to come up short in critical moments (he’s also only 7-8 in bowl games).
--And then there are the transfers. After this season, where Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields all transferred and took their teams to the CFP semifinals, we should have some similar stories for 2020.
Wake Forest’s Jamie Newman, eschewing a final campaign in Winston-Salem, announced he is going to Georgia, not Oregon as rumored. The Bulldogs lost their starter when Jake Fromm announced he was heading out for the draft.
Fromm, by the way, is ranked as the fifth-best quarterback eligible for the 2020 draft, behind Joe Burrow, Tua, Justin Herbert and Washington’s Jacob Eason, according to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.
--We also had an under-the-radar transfer that could prove to be big. Notre Dame’s Phil Jurkovec, once touted as one of the top recruits in the country, but playing behind quarterback Ian Book the past two seasons, is transferring to Boston College.
Notre Dame alum Mark R. was ticked off that Book announced he was returning for his senior season because he felt Jurkovec was the better alternative going forward.
B.C. alum Steve D. is thrilled.
The 6-4, 227-pound Pittsburgh, Pa., native Jurkovec was 12 of 15 with two touchdown passes in limited action this past season, after essentially zero play as a freshman. He’s applying for a waiver to be able to play in 2020 and could conceivably have three years of eligibility left if he uses his redshirt from his freshman year.
B.C. also recently hired Ohio State co-defensive coordinator to be its new head coach.
But if Notre Dame struggles next season, as is very possible, Mark R. will be going ballistic. I won’t blame him.
--Lastly, North Dakota State completed a 16-0 season with its eighth Division I-AA title in the last nine seasons, defeating James Madison (14-2) in the championship down in Frisco, Texas, 28-20.
Freshman Bison quarterback Trey Lance thus went 16 games without throwing a single interception, though Saturday, he won the game with his legs, 30 carries for 166 and a score.
I love NDSU...how can you not? As passionate a fan base as there is in the country and a community all-in on the program (yes, I know, what else is there to do in Fargo?).
What’s amazing is that the eight titles in nine years were under three different coaches, this year’s rookie edition, Matt Entz. It’s just not that easy, boys and girls.
I had a funny DraftKings SportsBook episode in this one. Days ago, I thought I’d get cute knowing what the weather forecast for Frisco, Texas, was going to be for Saturday, cold and blustery, after 70 degrees and stormy the 24 hours before. So at the time the over/under was 49 and I bet a whopping $5 on the under, still shellshocked from my other SportsBook bets, where I’ve sucked. I’m much better, though, in my golf and NASCAR DK lineups.
Well, the line moved down from 49 to 48 by game time and so I was on pins and needles at the end as JMU got stopped at the goal line. I thus netted a whopping $4.55...but as I told Dr. W., it’s a confidence builder. [I didn’t bet on any of the NFL games this weekend.]
College Basketball Review
Since my last chat...a few upsets:
Friday, Iowa (11-5, 2-3) took out 12 Maryland (13-3, 3-2) 67-49.
Saturday, Indiana (13-3, 3-2) defeated a No. 11 Ohio State team in freefall, 66-55, the Buckeyes now 11-5, 1-4, and certainly out of the top 20 if not the entire top 25 come Monday’s new poll.
Syracuse (9-7, 2-3) upset 18 Virginia (11-4, 3-2) on the road 63-55.
20 Penn State (12-4, 2-3) will be out of the top 25 after another loss, 58-49 at home to Wisconsin (10-6, 3-2). [Recall the Nittany Lions also lost at Rutgers on Tuesday.]
5 Auburn remained undefeated at 15-0, 3-0, with an 82-60 win over Georgia (10-5, 0-2).
The only other undefeated team, 7 San Diego State, seems to be getting better and better. The Aztecs romped over Boise State (11-7, 3-3) at home, 83-65, SDSU now 17-0, 6-0. The college hoops world is rather shocked over the emergence of this team, at this time. Believe me, there is no star on it. Clearly just superb coaching getting everyone to buy into their roles and play tough ‘D’.
In an important contest in the Big 12, 4 Baylor had a nice 67-55 win on the road at 3 Kansas (12-3, 2-1), the Bears now 13-1, 3-0, and taking the Jayhawks’ place in the next poll.
One team that should be making a reappearance in the top 25 this week is my “Pick to Click” Seton Hall Pirates, who won their sixth in a row, 69-55 over Marquette (11-5, 1-3), the Hall now 12-4, 4-0 in the Big East. Myles Powell hasn’t been playing great but his teammates have picked up the slack in a huge way and their second-best player, junior forward (and NBA prospect) Sandro Mamukelashvili, will be returning from his fractured wrist hopefully by the end of the month. The goal was just to stay in the Big East race until his return and Seton Hall has thus far more than accomplished that.
A few others. 2 Duke (15-1, 5-0) beat Wake Forest (8-7, 1-4) 90-59. Our ‘star,’ Brandon Childress, was held scoreless. Finishing 7-13 in the conference seems like too tall an order for my Deacs. I'm ready for Wake baseball (we’ll be good this year).
Today, Purdue (10-7, 3-3) totally dismantled 8 Michigan State (13-4, 5-1) 71-42, Tom Izzo’s boys with 18 turnovers to just six for the Boilermakers.
And ‘your’ Colorado Buffaloes, my ‘Pick to Surprise’ come March, read Elite Eight, freakin’ steamrollered Utah (10-5, 1-2) 91-52, CU (13-3, 2-1) shooting 38 of 64 from the field, 59.4%! They’ll move up a spot or two tomorrow.
Back to Saturday, we had this...North Carolina lost to Clemson at home. Repeat....North Carolina lost to Clemson at home, 79-76 in overtime, a stunning collapse in regulation cementing what coach Roy Williams called the lowest moment of his coaching career.
Understand that until Saturday, the Tar Heels had defeated the Tigers in all 59 previous meetings in Chapel Hill.
Williams took the blame for forgetting to order his team to foul with a three-point lead in the waning seconds of regulation after the game’s course had changed in dizzying fashion.
Clemson was down 10 points with two minutes remaining.
North Carolina is now 8-8, 1-4!!! Clemson is 8-7, 2-3.
Williams later said, “I’d tell (UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham) he should probably fire me, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. The coach is supposed to help his kids. I didn’t help them very much.”
Remember when North Carolina was ranked 5th and 6th in weeks 3 and 4?
One more...and I meant to do this last time...but I am hereby giving you a March Madness upset special, early. The Colgate Red Raiders will get a 15-seed and upset whoever their 2-seed opponent is. [They won’t go any further.]
Colgate, 13-4, 4-0, after defeating Navy on Saturday 70-63 in Annapolis, has a very experienced team, with some size you don’t normally see at a program like this, and good shooters, and they will run the table in the Patriot League. It’s the Bar Chat Guarantee!
Uh oh...just got a note from the International Web Site Association (IWSA). I’ve been fined $95,000 for using a nickname, “Red Raiders,” that hasn’t been in use since 2001. I apologize.
But speaking of the Red Raiders, while Adonal Foyle is the only Colgate hoops player you’d remember to make the NBA and have a lengthy career, Colgate produced four superb NFL players, all also “Red Raiders” in their time...defensive backs Mark Murphy (27 interceptions) and Eugene Robinson (57 INTs), along with Oakland Raiders fullbacks Marv Hubbard (4,544 career rushing yards, 4.8 average!) and Mark van Eeghan (6,651 yards rushing).
As Ronald Reagan would have told Nancy, while reading Bar Chat Monday, Nancy preparing ham and mushroom crepes, ‘Not bad, not bad at all.’
--Just two parochial notes from today.
After five straight losses, the Knicks (11-29) had a nice win at the Garden today, 124-121 over Miami (27-12), though Wake Forest’s James Johnson, who has hardly played this season for a variety of reasons (some mysterious), had 19 points in 21 minutes off the bench for the Heat, easily his best effort since last season.
And then totally out of nowhere, Kyree Irving, out since Nov. 14 with his shoulder impingement (and at the end of the day, aren’t we all impinged?), started and had 21 points on 10 of 11 from the field in just 20 minutes, the Nets defeating the lowly Hawks 108-86.
--Commissioner Rob Manfred says he and his office have reviewed 75,000 emails relating to the Houston Astros’ electronic sign-stealing scandal. They have interviewed at least three current major league managers, an untold number of players and dozens of major league personnel overall.
But it was on Sept. 15, 2017, that the commissioner, in the wake of a groundbreaking sign-stealing scandal involving the Red Sox, an Apple Watch, and the video room at Fenway, issued a statement:
“All 30 clubs have been notified that future violations of this type will be the subject to more serious sanctions.”
Manfred just slapped the Red Sox on the wrist, but with this warning to the others: “No such (electronic) equipment may be used for the purpose of stealing signs or conveying information designed to give a Club an advantage.”
But just a week after the memo was circulated, the Astros were “banging away” in a late-season game against the White Sox, their video camera-laptop-trash can system in midseason form. Houston went on to go 8-1 at Minute Maid Park that postseason and won the World Series.
As USA TODAY’s Gabe Lacques writes, “The bill for thumbing their nose at the commissioner is about to come due.”
It seems penalties will be announced perhaps next week, the Astros cooperating with the investigation.
Assistant GM Brandon Taubman is already gone, though for a misogynistic diatribe toward media members that the organization initially denied, not sign-stealing.
But GM Jeff Luhnow is in the crosshairs, the GMs having been targeted in the memo. They are the ones who should have an idea what’s taking place in the dugouts and video room.
So Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch face the severest penalties. As for A.J., as Gabe Lacques wrote: “He is, in fact, the ranking adult in the dugout, the tunnel leading away from it and the clubhouse. Knowing about the Trash Can Timbales and doing nothing, or not knowing about it – the latter seems particularly unlikely – both add up to managerial malfeasance.
“And that makes it a near certainty that a commissioner’s office rightfully loaded for bear and badly needing to send a message will suspend both for an extended period.”
--Friday was the arbitration deadline date for MLB and we had some rather hefty rewards, or teams rushing for one-year contracts beforehand to avoid potentially messy situations.
Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor avoided salary arbitration and agreed to a $17.5 million, one-year contract with the Indians; this being the second-largest one-year deal for a player in his second season of arbitration eligibility, behind only the $20 million Mookie Betts agreed to last year with Boston. On Friday, Betts agreed to a $27 million, one-year contract with the Red Sox for 2020.
Lindor is under team control for the Indians through the 2021 season, but with the prospects of signing him to a long-term deal unlikely, the team is, and will be, listening to trade offers through this coming season’s trade deadline, for starters. They should have more leverage today than they would over the course of 2021 if they waited.
The Cubs and third baseman Kris Bryant reached agreement on a one-year, $18.6 million deal, also avoiding arbitration.
Bryant has taken the matter of his service time to the MLB Players Association who filed a grievance on his behalf. The bottom line is Bryant believes he should become a free agent after the 2020 season, while the Cubs say he’s not an FA until after 2021.
The Dodgers and NL MVP Cody Bellinger reached agreement on a one-year contract for $11.5 million, 19 times larger than the $605,000 he made in 2019.
The Yankees agreed to terms with all nine of their arbitration eligible players, the biggest being Aaron Judge, who went from $684,000 to $8.5 million; catcher Gary Sanchez, $669,800 to $5 million; and pitcher James Paxton, in his final year of arbitration, jumped from $9.5 million to $12.5 million.
For the Mets, one-year contracts avoiding arbitration were handed out to Noah Syndergaard ($9.7 million), Michael Conforto ($8 million), Edwin Diaz ($5.1 million...why?) and Steven Matz ($5 million), among others.
Syndergaard’s bump from $6 million seems slightly outrageous to me after a 10-8, 4.28 campaign. The Mets need him to perform like the No. 2 starter he is supposed to be.
--Posted before conclusion of Sony Open...shockingly, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed were among those missing the cut this week.
--Speaking of Patrick Reed, an attorney for him asked Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee to stop calling his client a cheater, issuing a cease and desist letter.
Attorney Peter Ginsberg wrote that the purpose “is to obtain assurance that you will refrain from any further dissemination, publication or republication of false and defamatory statements concerning Mr. Reed, including any allegations that he ‘cheated’ at the Hero World Challenge in in the Bahamas.”
Chamblee, in acknowledging the letter, said, “My comments were weighed heavily before they came out of my mouth, and they were meant to address the larger issue of what I believe to be the decaying traditions of the game. This game has always had at its core the belief that self governing gives the game its appeal. Inasmuch as we play the game for camaraderie. The self-governing tradition is slowly being replaced by a catch-me-if-you-can attitude.
“I think the whole golf world was watching how the Reed incident was treated. Including the young men and women who will soon be on their respective tours. If the catch-me-if-you-can attitude pervades junior golf, 10 years later it pervades professional golf and that concerns me. And was the origin of my remarks.”
Ginsberg has previously sued the PGA Tour on behalf of Vijay Singh and Hank Haney and represented former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice in his dealings with the NFL over his suspension for domestic violence.
--We note the passing of golf course designer Pete Dye, who died Thursday at the age of 94. Dye designed more than 250 courses around the world, many of which have hosted majors and PGA Tour events.
Pete Dye wasn’t always the most popular among players, as he was known for making tough courses that also infuriated some of them. While perhaps most famous for his island green at No. 17 at the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, his contributions go way beyond that little pond.
Among his classics are Whistling Straits (Straits course); Kiawah Island Golf Resort (Ocean); Sea Pines (Harbour Town); and Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog) in the Dominican Republic.
As Ron Whitten wrote in Golf Digest:
“Pete was a disruptor 50 years before that became a corporate buzzword. We called his style of design ‘target golf,’ for it embraced abrupt change in its landforms, its sink-or-swim choices, its death-or-glory options, its my-way-or-the-highway reasoning.
“Pete Dye instilled emotion into a previously staid game. That was an inevitable byproduct of his formative years. He was a teenage paratrooper during the last years of World War II, so he wanted golfers to feel the same sweaty palms and pit in the stomach as they faced their personal moments of truth, off a tee or into a green. He sold life insurance for a living, so he made golfers risk everything for a decent return.”
In action this weekend, Liverpool continued to pull further away, a long-sought PL title more than locked up, 1-0 winners at Tottenham, while Leicester City suffered a bad loss at home to Southampton, 2-1.
Manchester United whipped last-place Norwich 4-0, the Wolves tied with Newcastle 1-1, and Chelsea defeated Burnley 3-0 to solidify their top four standing.
Today, Manchester City then blasted Aston Villa 6-1 on the road, Sergio Aguero with a hat trick.
Standings...after 21/22 of 38 (played...points...)
1. Liverpool 21 – 61 (20-1-0...W-D-L)
2. Man City 22 – 47
3. Leicester City 22 – 45
4. Chelsea 22 – 39 ...CL line
5. Man U 22 – 34
6. Sheffield 22 – 32
7. Wolves 22 – 31
8. Tottenham 22 – 30 ...ugh....
9. Crystal Palace 22 – 29
10. Arsenal 22 – 28
16. West Ham 21 – 22
17. Watford 22 – 22 ...relegation line...
18. Aston Villa 22 – 21
19. Bournemouth 22 – 20
20. Norwich 22 – 14
--I’ve been watching a little of the New York Rangers recently, following the callup of goalie Igor Shesterkin, and so the other day I also caught a performance for the ages by defenseman Tony DeAngelo, a Jersey boy, who had a hat trick plus two assists in a 6-3 win over the Devils, tying a team record for points by a defenseman.
But then the Rangers, who face a tough fight to get into the playoffs, lost to St. Louis 5-2 Saturday, a bad one, with Henrik Lundqvist in goal. ‘Igor! Igor!’
--Mikaela Shiffrin didn’t finish her first run in the combined event at Altenmarkt in Austria, opting not to race in the downhill there earlier.
--The Bullitt Mustang has sold for $3.4 million - $3.74 million including buyers fees – at a Mecum Auction in Kissimmee, Fla. This was the most money ever spent on a Mustang at public auction.
The car is famous as the hero of one of Hollywood’s most celebrated chase scenes, in which Steve McQueen raced it through the streets of San Francisco in the 1968 thriller “Bullitt.”
--It’s now believed as many as a billion animals have been caught in Australia’s bush fires, with some species facing extinction with the elimination of their habitat.
That is one billion mammals, birds and reptiles. The toll is probably far greater if you include other animals. As one researcher put it, “We’re not just talking about koalas – we're talking mammals, birds, plants, fungi, insects, other invertebrates, amphibians, and bacteria and microorganisms that are critical to these systems,” said Manu Saunders of the University of New England in Armidale.
Individual animals might survive, but when their habitat is gone, “it doesn’t matter,” Saunders added. “They’ll die anyway.”
As Karin Brulliard and Darryl Fears wrote in the Washington Post:
“And then there are all the insects, the foundation of a living forest. They make up half of all animal biomass and are the major food source for virtually anything that moves. Bugs also break down organic matter and help pollinate plants. Inside branches, under leaves, within hollowed logs and in pockets on the ground, tens of millions of bugs are being burned alive. Some may vanish without ever being discovered.”
--I just put a note in the December file for “Jerk of the Year” for those kids in those AWS (Amazon Web Services) commercials who go, “How did you/they find that?” “How did you know where we are?” I mean these urchins are the most irritating kids I’ve ever seen.
And that’s a memo....
Top 3 songs for the week 1/13/79: #1 “Too Much Heaven” (Bee Gees) #2 “Le Freak” (Chic) #3 “My Life” (Billy Joel)...and...#4 “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (Barbra & Neil) #5 “Hold The Line” (Toto) #6 “Sharing The Night Together” (Dr. Hook) #7 “Y.M.C.A.” (Village People) #8 “Ooh Baby Baby” (Linda Ronstadt) #9 “(Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away” (Andy Gibb) #10 “Promises” (Eric Clapton & His Band...totally ‘eh’ week...back to the 60s...)
NCAA Football AP Poll Quiz: Out of 1167 total polls since 1936...top ten in appearances:
1. Ohio State 918
2. Michigan 865
3. Oklahoma 846
4. Notre Dame 815
5. Alabama 807
6. USC 772
7. Nebraska 730
7. Texas 730
9. Penn State 646
10. LSU 633
11. Florida 616
12. Georgia 595
13. Tennessee 582
13. Auburn 582
15. Florida State 560
51. Duke 172
77. Wake Forest 47...ughh
So this information is from a terrific site, College Poll Archive (use your imagination on the web address.). It also gives you the school’s highest ever AP ranking, and I doublechecked a few with footballreference.com and CPA is indeed accurate (as you’d expect a CPA to be, cough cough).
For example, Georgia Tech and West Virginia have been in 306 AP polls overall, tied for 25th with Oregon, but both have peaked at No. 2. All the other schools ahead of them, including obviously Oregon, have at least one No. 1 ranking.
So this is how pathetic Wake Forest has been over the years. Wake is tied for 77th with its 47 AP appearances (tied with South Florida and Cornell!), but Wake is the only school of the top 79 to not have a top ten ranking...the Deacs’ highest being 11th in 1947. Eegads.
Rutgers, by the way, only has 37 AP rankings, with a weekly high of No. 7.
Duke was No. 2 twice, in 1936 and 1941.
Shout-out to Paul P., whose SMU is tied with Minnesota for 52nd with 169 appearances, both having been No. 1.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.