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College Football, the Deacs, Sooners, and more....
Add-On posted early Wed. a.m.
College Football…new CFP Rankings…first seven unchanged…
1. Georgia 10-0
2. Alabama 9-1
3. Oregon 9-1
4. Ohio State 9-1
5. Cincinnati 10-0
6. Michigan 9-1
7. Michigan State 9-1
8. Notre Dame 9-1
9. Oklahoma State 9-1
10. Wake Forest 9-1…huh, up 2
11. Baylor 8-2
12 Ole Miss 8-2…we want them in New Year’s Six, guys…trust me…
13. Oklahoma 9-1…bye-bye…
14. BYU 8-2…eh….
15. Wisconsin 7-3…ESPN acknowledged the importance of Braelon Allen, as I highlighted last chat…it’s a different team with him in the lineup for sure…could be New Year’s Six bound…
16. Texas A&M 7-3
17. Iowa 8-2
18. Pitt 8-2…this could get interesting…we want a Pitt-Wake Forest ACC title game matchup…
19. San Diego State 9-1…they are not out of the Group of Five, New Year’s Six conversation, though it’s all about Houston, assuming they beat Cincy in the American Conference championship….
20. N.C. State 7-3
21. Arkansas 7-3
22. UTSA 10-0
23. Utah 7-3
24. Houston 9-1
25. Mississippi State 6-4
--Three games stand out this weekend, two of them at noon ET.
Wake Forest at Clemson (7-3), and Michigan State at Ohio State. The Spartans need a monster game from Kenneth Walker III and a strong defensive effort to have a chance at beating the explosive Buckeyes.
At 3:30, Oregon at Utah is huge for the Ducks.
You could add another. Cincinnati needs a big win over a solid SMU (8-2) squad to stay in the CFP hunt.
--Justin Fuente was fired at Virginia Tech after going 43-31 over six seasons. Defensive line coach J.C. Price will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season while the school starts a national search to fill the position.
Fuente’s teams were 10-4 and 9-4 his first two seasons at the helm, final AP Top 25, but the last four seasons haven’t met the standards that his predecessor, Frank Beamer, set.
--The University of Washington fired head coach Jimmy Lake after less than two full seasons.
Lake, who was hand-picked by former coach Chris Petersen to be his successor, finished up just 7-6 (having coached just four games last season due to Covid).
But the discontent started in the first week this season when the Huskies lost to Montana, 13-7. And there ended up being all kinds of reasons to dump the guy.
The thing is, in terms of “dead money,” Lake is being fired without cause, meaning he would be owed about $10.5 million in buyout money.
So on learning this I went to the local library and took out “Sports Illustrated’s Guide to Coaching College Football,” in the hopes of getting me some of that dead money down the road.
--Monday night, the Rams lost to the 49ers in Santa Clara, the second straight loss for L.A. (7-3), 31-10, as Matthew Stafford was picked off twice for the second straight contest as well, after throwing just four INTs in the Rams’ first eight games. Both passes Monday were intercepted by San Francisco safety Jimmie Ward and turned into touchdowns, including one that Ward returned for a TD.
But the 49ers had a distinct strategy…try to keep the ball out of the high-powered Rams’ hands and towards that end, they ran the ball 44 times for 156 yards, while consuming 39 of the 60 minutes. Jimmy Garoppolo was also solid at QB for San Fran (4-5), 15/19, 182, 2-0, 141.7.
So suddenly, big questions in Los Angeles. Odell Beckham Jr. debuted for the Rams and it was a dud…two receptions for 18 yards, Jimmie Ward picking off Stafford’s third pass of the game intended for OBJ.
--Sunday night, the real Patrick Mahomes showed up after a 5-game stretch of rather putrid play, leading Kansas City to a 41-14 win over the Vegas Raiders (5-4).
Mahomes, who is garnering basically 100% of the State Farm spots these days after Aaron Rodgers’ misstep, was a superb 35/50, 406, 5-0, 127.6, the Chiefs now 6-4 and back to being playoff bound.
--The Washington Football Team, hot off their upset of Tampa Bay, received bad news as it was announced Chase Young will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury suffered Sunday…a torn ACL.
Young was not having a great season, but he is the reigning defensive rookie of the year. He could be ready for the start of 2022.
--The Jets, 2-7, have been historically bad, playing a stretch of football that is really remarkable when it comes to their defense.
I mean we’re talking the Jets’ D has allowed 1,890 yards in the past four games, the most allowed over four consecutive games in franchise history.
They’ve also allowed 175 points during that stretch, the second-most allowed over four straight games since 1970.
And the Jets are the first team since the 1966 Giants to allow 45 points or more in three out of four games.
--Not for nothing, but the Washington Wizards are 10-3 under new coach Wes Unseld Jr. after a 105-100 win Monday night against the Pelicans (2-13, and still without Zion Williamson).
For the Wizards, it is their second-best start in franchise history, with only the 1974-75 Washington Bullets, who advanced to the NBA Finals, having done better. They made it to 11-2 with Wes Unself leading the way on the court – 47 years before his son, Wes Jr., took over as head coach.
--The Knicks (8-6) had a crucial win at home Monday against the Pacers (6-9), 92-84, outscoring Indiana 23-10 in the fourth quarter.
It was crucial because the Knicks have had a tough time at the Garden (now 3-4) early in the season, and despite the win the starting five continues to play lackluster, while the second unit kicks butt.
--Last night the shocking Warriors improved to 12-2 with a big win over the Nets (10-5) in Brooklyn, 117-99, and it was once again the Steph Curry show…37 points, 9 of 14 from three, while Kevin Durant was held to just 19 points.
AP Poll, released prior to Monday night games….
[I’ll start giving records in a few weeks…doesn’t mean much now]
1. Gonzaga (55)
2. UCLA (6)
18. North Carolina
22. St. Bonaventure
The ACC has just two teams in the top 25. Eegads.
And as happens so often with the CBB poll, right after it’s released we have some upsets.
Monday, Marquette took out Illinois 67-66, and last night, Seton Hall shocked the hoops world with a 67-65 win over Michigan in Ann Arbor.
It was the Hall’s first win on the road over a nonconference team ranked among the top five, and its first victory against a top-five team since knocking off Temple in the second round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament.
Good for Coach Kevin Willard and the boys.
--So the last time I talked of St. Bonaventure and how they could be my ‘second / feature team’ this year. In 22 years, I’ve only done it twice…San Diego State multiple seasons and Murray State. Being a Bar Chat feature team (aside from Wake Forest, obviously) means I have to take in a game at the school.
When I went to SDSU in their heyday, I had a delightful chat with Verne Lundqvist in the airport, but not a lot of nightlife as my hotel wasn’t near a bar district (actually, it was kind of a crappy neighborhood), while at little Murray State, there was an Applebees next to my hotel and I met some delightful people, post-game, one of whom I think still reads this column.
And so Monday night, I made the commitment. I have a ticket to a Feb. 1 game, Davidson at the Bonnies, Allegany, New York, and I have my hotel room, supposedly a short walk from campus, but I see no bars in the area for after, which would suck.
Bottom line, however, I am on the Bonnie Train.
They actually have some key early games in terms of a national profile…Virginia Tech and UConn in 3-4 weeks…as in, real early, the Bonnie Train could go off the rails and I’m stuck with the ticket (though I can cancel the hotel).
Or…seeing as the school is in the snow belt, I could easily have weather issues.
But for now, come along for the ride. It’s Boise State on Thursday, at a tournament in Charleston, S.C.
All I want out of this is for the Bonnies to make the NCAAs, hopefully with a decent seed, and maybe make some noise.
--Randy Arozarena of the Rays and Jonathan India of the Reds were easy winners of the A.L. and N.L. Rookie of the Year Awards on Monday.
Arozarena led A.L. rookies in hits (145), runs (94), doubles (32), stolen bases (20) and on-base plus slugging percentage (.815).
India, who torched my Mets, led N.L. rookies in runs (98), doubles (34), RBIs (69) and OPS (.835), while slamming 21 home runs.
--As expected, Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash and the Giants’ Gabe Kapler were named Managers of the Year in their respective leagues. For Cash it’s back-to-back, the first to do so since Atlanta’s Bobby Cox.
--I was very disappointed to see Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard sign a one-year deal with the Angels for $21 million, declining the Mets’ $18.4 million qualifying offer that all of us thought he would take.
Noah was coming off Tommy John surgery and threw all of two innings at yearend to show folks his recovery was on track.
But he was telling us fans how much he wanted to stay in New York, so $18.4 million isn’t chopped liver and you thought he’d go out and prove himself and the Mets would then give him an extension.
So he ditches us for $2.6 million and he’s just a big phony in my mind. Good riddance.
Of course the Mets are going to totally suck next season, 63-99…book it.
--Former Mets manager Luis Rojas signed with the Yankees to be their new third base coach.
The Mets still don’t have a replacement for Rojas, but at least they now have a GM, Billy Eppler, formerly of the Yankees and Angels.
--We note the passing of former shortstop Julio Lugo, 45, of an apparent heart attack.
Lugo had a 12-year major league career, with many quality seasons for Houston, Tampa Bay, and Boston, including as the regular shortstop for the 2007 World Champion Red Sox. Lugo batted .237, but with 73 RBIs, that season. And then he hit .385 in Boston’s four-game sweep of the Rockies for the title.
--The NHL postponed the Ottawa Senators’ next three games because of a Covid-19 outbreak, the first games this season that the league has had to postpone for Covid.
Ottawa had 10 players and assistant coach Jack Capuano test positive over the past 10 days.
--I haven’t been following the World Cup qualifying as I told you the other day, though obviously see how the U.S. men are doing. [After being Mexico, the USMNT played to a draw against Jamaica.]*
But I can’t help but note that Portugal, and one Cristiano Ronaldo, is in danger of not qualifying after Serbia stunned them at home 2-1 on Sunday.
It’s stunning that Ronaldo, 36, was suddenly in danger of missing out on what is sure to be his last World Cup.
Portugal has been to every World Cup since 2002.
So Serbia heads to the WC, while Portugal now goes into a playoff with the other nine group runners-up and two group winners from the UEFA Nations League.
*In Concacaf qualifying, Canada beat Mexico 2-1 and now sits atop the standings, a point ahead of the U.S.
--The great race driver turned high-performance driving school architect, Bob Bondurant, died the other day at his home in Phoenix. He was 88.
Bondurant taught stunt driving, competition driving, police pursuit driving, evasive driving for chauffeurs and bodyguards, plus other skills.
From his school in Orange County, Calif., Bondurant instructed numerous celebrities for their movie roles, including Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, James Garner, Nicolas Cage, Robert Wagner, Tim Allen and Christian Bale.
Born in Evanston, Ill., Bondurant and his family moved to California when he was 2.
He raced motorcycles on dirt tracks as a teenager before switching to cars in 1958 and racing for the Shelby American, Ferrari and Eagle teams.
Bondurant won 30 of 32 races in Corvettes from 1961 to 1963 and won the GT class at Le Mans in 1964, co-driving with fellow American Dan Gurney. He also competed in a few Formula One races, finishing fourth at Monaco in 1965.
In 1966, he served as a technical adviser to director John Frankenheimer for the classic movie, Grand Prix, training James Garner to drive Ferrari’s in the race sequences.
Then in 1967, Bondurant was badly injured in a crash at Watkins Glen, N.Y., and it was during his recovery that he drafted an idea for a high-performance driving school.
--I watched “Adele One Night Only” after posting last Sunday night…pretty good.
And it was very good for CBS – averaging 10.33 million viewers, according to Nielsen, just behind this year’s Oscars (10.4 million).
Next Bar Chat, Sun. p.m.
Add-On up top by Wed. noon
[Posted Sun. p.m.]
Baseball Quiz: With the release of the Gold Glove Awards the other day, it’s an easy quiz for me to do. With the first one awarded in 1957, name the nine in baseball history to receive 11 or more of them. Answer below. [Hint: 2 pitchers, 1 catcher, 4 infielders, 2 outfielders]
College Football Review
[Comments written prior to release of new AP Poll.]
Here’s what we know after Week 11. Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State are in for the CFP, and then a giant question mark. And it’s not as if Michigan might not have something to say about Ohio State’s participation. And Oregon is still there. And…you know what…suddenly, it’s not inconceivable that Wake Forest couldn’t be there.
Notice how I haven’t mentioned Cincinnati. No way they’re getting in. Indiana sure hasn’t helped them.
And so from the top….
1 Georgia (10-0) allowed host Tennessee (5-5) to take a 10-7 first-quarter lead before dismantling the Volunteers, 41-17, in front of 100,000 in Knoxville.
[Georgia played without star linebacker Adam Anderson, who voluntarily surrendered Wednesday as he faces a felony rape charge in connection to an alleged early morning incident that occurred in Athens on Oct. 29. Anderson was leading the team in sacks with 5, and he was considered a possible first-round NFL draft pick.]
2 Alabama (9-1) gave up an opening field goal to visiting New Mexico State (1-9), but before you could say “Roll Tide,” it was 49-3 ‘Bama at the half, Bryce Young 21/23, 270, 5-0, as Alabama cruised 59-3.
3 Oregon (9-1) continues to be right there, not necessarily in impressive fashion, this week a 38-24 winner over Washington State (5-5). Quarterback Anthony Brown let his legs do the talking, 123 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.
4 Ohio State (9-1) looked terrific in taking a 42-14 lead over 19 Purdue (6-4) midway through the second quarter, and it was over…the Buckeyes taking it 59-31, picking up 624 yards of offense, C.J. Stroud a cool 31/38, 361, 5-0.
Ohio State, no doubt, has the most weapons in college football.
5 Cincinnati (10-0) had another of those “eh” wins, 45-28 at South Florida (2-8) on Friday night. There were seven turnovers in this one…three by the Bearcats…and as much as we all love Cinderella stories, Cincy just doesn’t deserve to get into the CFP. Every football fan knows that.
6 Michigan (9-1) stayed very relevant with a gutty 21-17 win at Penn State (6-4), as Hassan Haskins rumbled for 156 yards on 31 carries and Cade McNamara threw for three touchdowns, the clincher on a 47-yard pass play to Erick All with 3:29 to play.
For James Franklin’s Nittany Lions, it was their fourth loss in five games. Franklin has gone from probable next-up at USC to possibly coaching at Bowling Green next season. I mean Penn State’s Sean Clifford needed 43 pass attempts to get all of 205 yards.
7 Michigan State (9-1) said, ‘Hey, don’t forgot about us!’ with a 40-21 win over Maryland (5-5), Kenneth Walker III keeping his Heisman hopes alive, 30 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
In the big upset of the day, especially in terms of the CFP, 8 Oklahoma showed why the CFP committee has treated them with zero respect, the Sooners falling to 13 Baylor (8-2) 27-14, OU now 9-1 and irrelevant.
9 Notre Dame (9-1) stays in the conversation, but I really don’t see a path for them to the CFP after a nice 28-3 win at Virginia (6-4) last night. The Cavs were playing without star quarterback Brennan Armstrong and it showed.
10 Oklahoma State (9-1) is furious with rival Oklahoma for losing to Baylor, because now their contest Nov. 27 is nowhere near as important, the Cowboys nonetheless remaining in New Year’s Six contention with a dominating 63-17 win over TCU (4-6).
11 Texas A&M (7-3) was looking like New Year’s Six material until they lost yesterday to 15 Ole Miss (8-2) in Oxford, 29-19. I was shocked Rebels coach Lane Kiffin was the celebrity picker on ESPN’s “College Game Day,” hours before his boys took on the Aggies. I thought, ‘Gee, I hope he wins after this.’ But good on him. It was the first time ever that a coach did that.
In other games, 17 Auburn (6-4) further proved it won’t be a problem for Alabama in their upcoming tussle, falling to Mississippi State (6-4) 43-34, as Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers put down his pen for a few hours to have himself quite a day, 44/55, 415, 6-0. It was the sophomore’s fourth 400-yard game of the season.
18 Wisconsin (7-3) has been playing terrific football of late and is headed towards a solid bowl game after a 35-7 win over Northwestern (3-7), Braelon Allen with 173 yards rushing and three touchdowns. The freshman back is having a helluva season after being inserted into the starting lineup, and he’s averaging 7 yards a carry.
20 Iowa (8-2) beat Minnesota (6-4) 27-22.
Thursday night, 21 Pitt (8-2) took control of the ACC Coastal Division (5-1) with a 30-23 overtime win over North Carolina (5-5), the Panthers surviving a key Kenny Pickett interception near the end of regulation that allowed Carolina to force overtime and could have blown up the season, Pickett finishing 25/43, 346, 3-1.
So Pitt is on a collision course for the ACC Championship with Wake Forest!
In an absolutely crazy game, that had everything, including some awful play on the part of the Wake offense, the 12-ranked Demon Deacons still put up 45 points and barely survived at home against 16 North Carolina State (7-3), 45-42.
Wake, after a very slow start, quickly found itself in control, up 21-6 with 2:05 left in the first half, when the Deacs gave up a long kickoff return, and before you knew it, the Wolfpack had two touchdowns, cutting the lead to 21-20.
Only the Deacs then found time for a field goal before the half, 24-20.
And then it was a nail-biter the rest of the way, as virtually every Wake game has been this year.
But, hey, we’re 9-1, 6-0 in the ACC Atlantic division, and just needing to beat either Clemson or Boston College (both on the road) to make it to the title game.
I am not going to be nervous this coming week like I was the past two. Whatever happens, happens at Clemson, but it would be terrific to win both. And then if they beat Pitt, a Power Five champion not making the CFP?
Just two game notes I can’t help but add. Wake receiver A.T. Perry was targeted 23 times and had just five receptions. When it hit 20 times, that was the most in FBS play since 2016 for an individual receiver. It was a combination of Hartman being way off on his throws much of the game, and Perry dropping a slew of them.
And for those watching, I’ve never seen so many go off the field with seeming game-ending injuries like State had, only for the players to keep coming back (Zonovan Knight the poster boy for his gutty play).
Wake finished 10 of 19 on third down, N.C. State just 3 of 14.
Phil W., let me know if you see anything on Roberson’s status for next week.
Just a few more games of note.
22 San Diego State is 9-1 after a 23-21 win over Nevada (7-3), the Aztecs stopping a last-minute Wolf Pack drive. [Yes, it’s N.C. State Wolfpack, and Nevada Wolf Pack.]
23 UTSA stays undefeated, though in unimpressive fashion, 27-17 over Southern Miss (1-9).
Rutgers is back to .500 (5-5) and a win from being bowl eligible with a 38-3 triumph at Indiana (2-9). The Hoosiers committed six turnovers!
Recall, when Cincinnati beat IU 38-24 in Week 3, that was deemed a signature win for the Bearcats.
Clemson improved to 7-3 with a 44-7 win over pathetic UConn (1-9). Picture this. The Huskies opened with a 99-yard kickoff return for their lone score, and then had six…SIX…first downs the rest of the way, 99 yards of offense in all.
And Johnny Mac’s Coastal Carolina fell to 8-2, upset at home by Georgia State (5-5) 42-40. Unfortunately, the Chants were again without star quarterback Grayson McCall and his backup just isn’t that good.
But Johnny said it was a gorgeous weather day in the stands.
Lastly, Texas (4-6) lost to Kansas (2-8) 57-56 in overtime in Austin. Read that again.
It was the fifth straight loss for Steve Sarkisian’s Longhorns, the first 5-game losing streak for the program since 1956, and Texas wants to go to the SEC?! As one scribe put it this morning, giving Vanderbilt a patsy on its schedule.
Kansas, bless their souls, had lost 56 straight Big 12 road games. The Jayhawks were 31-point underdogs. Since the FBS/FCS split in 1978, they were 0-100 in games when the opponent was favored by at least 24.
One more…Florida (5-5), gave up 530 yards of offense and 52 points to Samford…not Stanford. Samford, the Gators winning 70-52.
Yes, Florida coach Dan Mullen can start packing his bags. [Boy, this would be a perfect landing spot for Wake’s Dave Clawson, come to think of it, but thankfully, Clawson seems very happy.]
With Miami’s 31-28 loss at Florida State, this is the state of Florida big-time football this year.
Florida State 4-6
And now the new AP Poll!
1. Georgia (62) 10-0
2. Alabama 9-1
3. Cincinnati 10-0
4. Oregon 9-1
5. Ohio State 9-1
6. Notre Dame 9-1
7. Michigan State 9-1
8. Michigan 9-1
9. Oklahoma State 9-1
10. Ole Miss 8-2
11. Baylor 8-2
12. Oklahoma 9-1
13. Wake Forest 9-1
14. BYU 8-2
15. UTSA 10-0…huh…ya know, if Cincy stumbles…Group of Five/New Year’s Six? Why not?
16. Texas A&M 7-3
17. Houston 9-1
18. Iowa 8-2
19. Wisconsin 7-3
20. Pitt 8-2
21. Arkansas 7-3
22. Louisiana-Lafayette 9-1
23. San Diego State 9-1
24. Utah 7-3
25. North Carolina State 7-3
So we know the CFP rankings won’t have Cincinnati in the top four.
Next week, Michigan State at Ohio State.
Oregon will need to win convincingly at Utah, and that won’t be easy.
--Pity us Jets fans, the team now 2-7 after a dreadful 45-17 loss to the Bills (6-3) who cured their ills at our expense. Josh Allen threw for 366 yards and two touchdowns, while Mike White is no longer the King of New York, throwing four interceptions in a godawful performance.
--But Washington (3-6) shocked Tampa Bay (6-3) as Tom Brady threw two interceptions.
--And the Patriots (6-4) are looking like Super Bowl contenders all over again, with their fourth straight win over the Browns (5-5), 45-7, as Mac Jones threw for three TDs and Rhamondre Stevenson, the rookie out of Oklahoma, rushed for 100 yards and two scores.
New England outgained the Brownies and Baker Mayfield 452-217. Yuck. Sorry, Trader George.
We await word on Browns DB Troy Hill who was taken to a local hospital with a neck injury, though the team said he had movement in his extremities. We pray he’s OK.
--Dallas got rid of the stench of last week’s ass-whupping administered by the Broncos by picking on the Falcons (4-5) 43-3, the Cowboys (7-2) outgaining Denver by 431-214, Dak Prescott solid (24/31, 296, 2-0, 127.9.
--Tennessee is 8-2 with a 23-21 win over New Orleans (5-4). A lot of these early games don’t merit anything more than the score, frankly.
--Indianapolis evened its record at 5-5 and is very much in the wildcard conversation after a 23-17 victory over the Jaguars (2-7). Summit’s Michael Badgley hit all three field goal attempts, albeit short ones, and he’s now 7 of 7 FGs, 19 of 19 XPs for the Colts.
Bazooka Joe says: “Michael is 35 of 35 from inside 40 for his career!”
--But with Ben Roethlisberger sitting out after testing positive for Covid-19, the Steelers took on the winless Lions.
Mason Rudolph, who is signed through next season and is still thought to be the heir apparent, replaced Big Ben and sucked, ditto Lions QB Jared Goff, and this one ended up in an interminable 16-16 tie.
--With quarterback Sam Darnold potentially out for the season with a shoulder injury, certainly multiple weeks, the Panthers took a gamble, left with little choice, and signed former star Cam Newton to a contract for the remainder of the season.
Newton has been out of the league since being released by the Patriots before the season.
Carolina is convinced the 32-year-old still has a lot of football left. Newton should be psyched to get another opportunity in a city where he was king, “Superman,” and the 2015 league MVP.
And today the Panthers got back to .500 (5-5) with a 34-10 win at Kyle Murray-less Arizona (8-2), Murray out with an ankle injury. P.J. Walker assumed most of the snaps at QB, but Cam Newton came in early and threw a TD pass and ran for one.
--The Vikings are 4-5 with a 27-20 win at the Chargers’ (5-4) palace, Kirk Cousins outplaying Justin Herbert, Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson with nine receptions for 143 yards.
--Philadelphia (4-6) stayed relevant for a wildcard slot with a 30-13 win at Denver (5-5).
--And Aaron Rodgers cleared Covid protocols and hit the frozen tundra as Green Bay (8-2) beat Seattle (3-6) in Russel Wilson’s return, 17-0. Both QBs sucked, though it was all about the Packers’ ‘D’.
--In an awful break for the Los Angeles Rams, receiver Robert Woods suffered a torn ACL in practice this week and will miss the remainder of the season. Coach Sean McVay said it was just a freak accident. He was running a route and simply stepped awkwardly.
So this boom-or-bust team, that has been making all kind of moves, giving up draft picks galore, to win a Super Bowl this season, suffered a huge blow, Woods with 86, 90 and 90 receptions the past three seasons, and 55 through nine games this year.
Ironically, word of Woods’ injury came shortly before new star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. practiced with the team for the first time.
It’s not known as yet if Beckham will be available for the Rams’ game against the 49ers on Monday night.
As for why the Rams would sign the ‘human distraction,’ OBJ, a lot of folks in Los Angeles are shaking their heads. But now with the Woods injury, we’ll see if Beckham has the right attitude, and the skills to be a positive factor. His past history shows he won’t be.
--Thursday night, the Dolphins (3-7) shocked the Ravens (6-3) 22-10, as Tua Tagovailoa, subbing for the injured starter Jacoby Brissett, was 8 of 13 for 158 yards, the Miami defense doing the rest and holding Lamar Jackson to just 277 yards of total offense.
--Former Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden filed a lawsuit against the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell, accusing the league and Goodell of seeking “to destroy the career and reputation” of Gruden through “a malicious and orchestrated campaign.”
“The complaint alleges that the defendants selectively leaked Gruden’s private correspondence to the Wall Street Journal and New York Times in order to harm Gruden’s reputation and force him out of his job,” Gruden’s attorney, Adam Hosmer-Henner, said in a written statement. “There is no explanation or justification for why Gruden’s emails were the only ones made public out of the 650,000 emails collected in the NFL’s investigation of the Washington Football Team or for why the emails were held for months before being released in the middle of the Raiders’ season.”
The NFL denied the allegations.
The emails were gathered as part of the NFL’s investigation, led by attorney Beth Wilkinson, into the Washington Football Team’s workplace. The NFL previously has said that it did not release any of the emails.
--Finally, we note the passing of Hall of Fame linebacker Sam Huff, who revolutionized the position during the 1950s and 1960s, playing for the Giants and Redskins over 13 seasons, a beloved figure in both cities.
Huff was 87 and dealing with dementia since 2013.
Born and raised in a West Virginia coal mining camp, Huff attended West Virginia University, where he was an all-American offensive lineman and a star catcher on the baseball team.
The Giants drafted him in the third round of 1956 (having also inked a deal with the Cleveland Indians), and at 6-1, 230, he was deemed a “tweener,” without a true position. Legend has it Vince Lombardi convinced Huff to stick out his first training camp and the Giants eventually found a home for him at middle linebacker. He took over the position during his rookie season, and the Giants won the NFL championship that year.
Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry was the Giants defensive coordinator at the time, and Huff would say Landry designed his 4-3 defensive scheme around him.
Huff led the Giants defense in the 1958 championship game against the Colts, the so-called “Greatest Game Ever Played,” a 23-17 overtime loss for the Giants.
Huff became a national figure, gracing the cover of Time magazine at 24. In the television show “The Violent World of Sam Huff,” CBS News wired microphones in his pads to pick up the natural sound of him playing football in 1960.
“You play as hard and as tough as you can, but you play clean,” Huff said, according to his Hall of Fame bio. “We hit each other hard, sure. But this is a man’s game and any guy who doesn’t want to hit hard doesn’t belong in it.”
He’s also known for one of the sport’s most famous quips, when asked to describe how he stopped the great Jim Brown… “All you can do is grab hold, hang on and wait for help.”
[In a division title game on Dec. 21, 1958, Huff and his teammates held Brown to 8 yards on seven carries in a 10-0 Giants win over Cleveland. Frank Gifford rushed for 95 in the game.]
Huff made five Pro Bowls (four with the Giants) and was one of the first defensive superstars in league history.
Huff began a radio broadcasting career in 1972 for Giants games and in 1975 joined the Washington booth, calling the team’s games – including three Super Bowl victories – until his retirement prior to the 2013 season.
“Anyone who knew Sam knew what an amazing person he was,” Washington owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “He represented the franchise with honor and respect on the field and in the booth and was beloved by our fans.”
Not a lot going on the first week, save for Friday night’s contest in Los Angeles, where the No. 2 UCLA Bruins defeated 4 Villanova, 86-77 in overtime, as Johnny Juzang had 25 points for UCLA.
Importantly for the Bruins, big man Cody Riley, who it was feared had suffered a season-ending knee injury, ‘only’ sprained it and will be out just weeks.
Yesterday, No. 1 Gonzaga defeated 5 Texas 86-74; Drew Timme with a career-high 37 for the Zags.
I’ve been pretty impressed with Wake Forest, which won its first two against William & Mary and Western Carolina. I watched the entire two contests to get a sense of this team with the total makeover…kids transferring out, new blood transferring in, and Oklahoma grad transfer Alondes Williams has been an instant hit for the Deacs with 22 and 32 points in the two games. If we can shoot the three with some consistency, we’ll surprise a few folks.
Today, I was following 23 St. Bonaventure’s game against Canisius, and the Bonnies were trailing 55-48 with 7:20 to go, at which point I focused on other stuff, and then I went back to the contest and the Bonnies won, 69-60, despite hitting only 2 of 15 from three.
So get used to it…until they flop (which I sure hope they don’t), Bar Chat will be Bonnies Nation for 2021-2022. It’s our adopted team, just like in the past, San Diego State and Murray State were. I mean they have these five seniors leading the way.
Heck, I may have to take a trip up there like I did with the other two. [Except I can’t drive in the snow, for those of you who know where St. Bonaventure is located, near Buffalo.]
--I’ll have some NBA notes in my mid-week update, Warriors and the Knicks, for starters. Huge game for Knicks Monday night at the Garden. An early-season must-win.
--In the next to last event of the calendar year, the Houston Open, Scottie Scheffler took a one-shot lead over five others, including Matthew Wolff, but in the end Jason Kokrak, firing a 5-under 65, won the tournament by two over Scheffler (still seeking his first win) and Kevin Tway (big finish for him).
For the 36-year-old Kokrak, all three of his tour wins are now in the last 13 months. As in we shouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he breaks through with a major this coming year.
I also can’t help but mention the performance of Martin Trainer, who finished T-5. This is a guy who over the last three years had made just six of 54 cuts! And no top 25s. I mean the dude had to be scrounging for beers in the local pubs. [As I often do. “Please Sir, can you spare a Coors Light?”]
--On the Champions Tour, Phil Mickelson won today’s season finale for the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, his fourth win in six starts on the tour, tying Jack Nicklaus for being the quickest to four Ws, but Bernhard Langer won the season-long title, which due to Covid, spread out over two years.
Amazing, the 64-year-old’s sixth Schwab Cup.
--According to Justin Thomas, who is in constant contact with Tiger Woods, JT is as curious as anyone about Woods’ future in golf.
“I don’t know. I mean, I know that he’s going to try,” Thomas said on a podcast. “I don’t see him ever playing if he can’t play well. He doesn’t strike me as a guy who’s played at home and he’s shooting a bunch of 75s and 76s and he’s like ‘OK, I’m gonna give Augusta a try this year.’ That’s not really gonna be him, at least from my understanding, what I know of him.”
Thomas said he tries to visit Woods a couple of times a week at his South Florida home and that he is doing well, “all things considered.”
It is unclear if Tiger will be in attendance at his charity tournament, the Hero World Challenge, next month in the Bahamas. If so, that would mark his first public appearance since last February’s car crash.
--This weekend in European football was all about World Cup qualifying matches.
Friday night in Cincinnati, the U.S. took a big step in qualifying for the Cup itself with a 2-0 win over Mexico, Christian Pulisic with the first tally, in his first action since suffering an ankle injury in September. He’s critical to any long-term success for the Americans.
Both the U.S. (4-1-2) and Mexico (4-1-2) stand atop the CONCACAF World Cup standings, the U.S. ahead on goal differential, halfway through the 14-game qualifying tournament. After two wins last summer, it also marked the first time the Americans have beaten Mexico three times in the same year.
--Erin Jackson became the first Black American woman to win a World Cup speedskating race.
She won the 500 meters Friday at the season opener in Poland, finishing in 37.613 seconds. Defending Olympic champion Nao Kodaira of Japan was 0.13 seconds behind. The field included all three medalists from the world championships in February, when Jackson didn’t compete.
The 29-year-old Jackson from Ocala, Florida, didn’t compete internationally last season after she suffered an eye injury and multiple people around her got the coronavirus.
So this could be a cool story for Beijing next February.
--Scorpions in Egypt stung three people to death in the southern city of Aswan after heavy storms brought them into the streets and homes. Some 450 more people were injured by scorpion stings, a health ministry official said. It’s gotten so bad, doctors have been pulled away from giving vaccinations to treat scorpion stings, the official added.
Scorpions are regularly washed into the streets by heavy rain, while snakes have also been disturbed in the violent hail and thunder storms in the area the past week.
People have been urged to stay at home and avoid places with many trees.
Egypt is home to fat-tailed scorpions that are among the most deadly in the world. Venom from a black fat-tail can kill humans in under an hour! Good gawd. Talk about a pain in the Asswan.
--Chris Stapleton cleaned up at Wednesday’s Country Music Association Awards, taking home six trophies including for song and album of the year.
Stapleton won song and single of the year for “Starting Over” and album of the year for his record of the same name.
He also won male vocalist of the year for the fifth time, but Luke Combs claimed the biggest prize with entertainer of the year.
“I don’t deserve to win it,” an emotional Combs said as he accepted the trophy, “but I’m sure as hell glad that I did.”
Top 3 songs for the week 11/15/69: #1 “Wedding Bell Blues” (The 5th Dimension) #2 “Come Together” (The Beatles) #3 “Something” (The Beatles)…and…#4 “And When I Die” (Blood, Sweat & Tears) #5 “Baby It’s You” (Smith) #6 “I Can’t Get Next To You” (The Temptations) #7 “Suspicious Minds” (Elvis Presley) #8 “Smile A Little Smile For Me” (The Flying Machine) #9 “Sugar, Sugar” (The Archies) #10 “Take A Letter Maria” (R.B. Greaves…so-so week for this era…B….but Mets fans were still celebrating!)
Baseball Quiz Answer: 11 or more Gold Glove Awards….
Greg Madduz, 18, P
Jim Kaat, 16, P
Ivan Rodriguez, 13, C
Keith Hernandez, 11, 1B
Brooks Robinson, 16, 3B
Ozzie Smith, 13, SS
Omar Vizquel, 11, SS
Roberto Clemente, 12 OF
Willie Mays, 12, OF
Add-On up top by Wed. noon. New CFP Rankings and more….