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Add-on posted early Wed. a.m.
New CFP Poll
1. Georgia 9-0
2. Ohio State 9-0
3. Michigan 9-0
4. TCU 9-0
5. Tennessee 8-1
6. Oregon 8-1
7. LSU 7-2
8. USC 8-1
9. Alabama 7-2
10. Clemson 8-1
11. Ole Miss 8-1
12. UCLA 8-1
13. Utah 7-2
14. Penn State 7-2
15. North Carolina 8-1
16. N.C. State 7-2
17. Tulane 8-1
18. Texas 6-3
19. Kansas State 6-3
20. Notre Dame 6-3
21. Illinois 7-2
22. UCF 7-2
23. Florida State 6-3
24. Kentucky 6-3
25. Washington 7-2
Not much to say after what I wrote the other day. The SEC will get two of the four playoff spots (and Bama ain’t one of them), Ohio State-Michigan winner, and TCU…but TCU must run the table. Should TCU stumble, like this weekend against Texas, then it really gets fun and it’s a Pac-12 race to the finish.
No, Clemson, if they run the table, should NOT get in….period.
Meanwhile, Liberty, 8-1, should be in the top 25.
Aside from TCU at Texas, 9 Bama at 11 Ole Miss is a biggie Saturday, along with 22 UCF at 17 Tulane in terms of the Group of Five, New Year’s Six berth.
And 15 North Carolina has an important contest at Wake Forest in terms of the New Year’s Six hunt. Should the Tar Heels beat Clemson in the ACC title game, that would be enough for the Orange Bowl, but a win against Wake only helps.
Lastly, this is the first time since the College Football Playoff rankings began in 2014 that neither Clemson nor Alabama have been ranked in the top six.
--I posted last time with the Rams at the Bucs just 7-6 at the half and less than scintillating.
Well it remained so until the last minute of play when Tom Brady did it again, leading Tampa Bay 60 yards for the game-winning drive, going 5-for-6 through the air over 35 seconds, the final pass a 1-yard touchdown toss to Cade Otton with 9 seconds remaining, giving the Bucs a confidence-boosting 16-13 win over the Rams (3-5).
Brady’s game-winning drive was a record 55th of his career as the Bucs moved to 4-5.
“That was awesome,” he said after. “We needed it and we got it.”
He became the first player in NFL history to throw for more than 100,000 yards in a career (including the playoffs).
--Sunday night, the Chiefs (6-2) beat the Titans (5-3) 20-17 in overtime, and when you look at the numbers, it’s shocking K.C. had such a struggle.
The Chiefs outgained the Titans 499-229, Tennessee with just nine first downs to Kansas City’s 29. The Chiefs dominated in time of possession, 41:28 to 26:23.
But kicker Harrison Butker missed an extra point early that almost proved deadly, and a field goal, and the Chiefs needed a late touchdown in the fourth from Patrick Mahomes, and then the 2-point conversion, just to send it into OT.
I mentioned beforehand that Tennessee had won five in a row with a proven formula. Run Derrick Henry at least 20 times and let the defense do the rest.
But Henry only had 17 carries, though for 115 yards and two touchdowns, while Mahomes was throwing it 68 times, completing 43 for 446 yards, which really isn’t that great, 80.9 PR.
--For the record, forgot to mention that Joe Mixon not only had four rushing TDs for the Bengals in their 42-21 win over the Panthers Sunday, but he also had one receiving, thus becoming the sixth player since 1950 with four rushing touchdowns and a receiving TD in a game.
Gale Sayers is one of the six, in a game in 1965, his rookie season when he had 14 rushing touchdowns, six receiving, and both a punt and kickoff return for scores…22 touchdowns in all.
--The Colts fired head coach Frank Reich after Sunday’s offensive disaster, a 26-3 loss to New England. Reich was 40-33-1 in the regular season, 3-5-1 this season, and 1-2 in two playoff appearances.
The offense has been historically bad, including the failure to convert any of their 14 third-down attempts Sunday, tied for the worst single-game mark in the NFL in the past 30 years. The 121 yards of total offense was the team’s lowest output since 1997.
But owner Jim Irsay made waves, to say the least, in naming Jeff Saturday interim coach. The 47-year-old Saturday, a former six-time Pro-Bowl center who played 13 seasons for the Colts and is currently an ESPN analyst, has been a consultant for the team.
Saturday has no NFL or college coaching experience. His only previous coaching experience is a 20-16 stint as head coach of Hebron Christian Academy, a high school in Georgia.
Irsay held a bizarre press conference Monday night and said Saturday is the coach for the next eight games and “hopefully more.”
The hiring of Saturday looks awful for the league.
Mike Freeman / USA TODAY
“If you want to truly understand why the hiring of Jeff Saturday…is an insult, a huge one, to every Black coach in the NFL, and every potential Black coach who might someday hope to become one….
“This is nothing against Saturday…but the idea that he’s qualified is ludicrous. He isn’t close to it. This is a joke.
“There is no Black NFL equivalent of Jeff Saturday. Black ex-players with zero coaching experience can’t just walk off the street and get head coaching jobs, and this is what makes this situation so angering, frustrating and embarrassing.”
--Jets fans are fired up after the stirring win over the Bills, 20-17, at MetLife Stadium to move to 6-3.
The thing is the Jets have a legitimately solid defense, which should keep them competitive the rest of the way. I’m excited over how many unknown players are coming through, clearly because of good coaching and the players knowing their roles, which makes execution easier.
And it’s just a whole different attitude, perhaps best summed up by new acquisition James Robinson.
When exciting rookie Breece Hall went down at running back for the season, we were depressed for all of 24 hours as the team went out and obtained Robinson, who doesn’t have the explosiveness of Hall, but is a proven pro.
So all last week we heard Robinson was a no-go due to an injury, yet there he was on the field contributing, including a touchdown receiving. That’s what I’m talking about.
Mike Rosenstein had some of the following in his column for NJ.com:
“NBC Sports NFL analysts Rodney Harrison, Jason Garrett and Tony Dungy were all-in on the Jets after Sunday’s win.
Harrison: “I thought the Jets’ defense was outstanding. Five sacks today and Sauce Gardner continues to prove why he’s one of the best young playmakers in all of football.”
Garrett: “They made Josh Allen’s life miserable, and they made the critical plays when they needed to. A huge win for the Jets. …He looked out of sync, he looked uncomfortable. (The Jets) create an uncomfortable environment for you, but as a quarterback you have to take care of the football. He just looked out of sorts all day. Give the Jets credit.”
Dungy: “The Jets defense made things happen. They really confused Allen in the second half… Big plays by the Jets secondary all day.”
Meanwhile, Allen was being evaluated for a right elbow injury to the ulnar collateral ligament and related nerves after being sacked by Bryce Huff, and his status is uncertain for the Bills’ game against the Vikings on Sunday.
--Matthew McConaughey has long been seen at Washington Commanders games over the years and is friendly with owner Daniel Snyder.
So now McConaughey is reportedly joining the team of Jeff Bezos and Jay-Z in their planned bid for the team.
Jay Glazer of FOX Sports first reported that the NFL wanted to fast-track Washington’s sale and believed it could be wrapped up in six months or by the NFL owner’s meetings in March.
--With free agency underway, Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian said the club has no plans to trade Shohei Ohtani during the offseason.
“Because he’s obviously such a good player, we’re not moving him. Ohtani is not getting moved,” Minasian said at the GM meetings in Las Vegas. “He’ll be here to start the season. I know there’s been rumors and all types of things, but he will be part of the club. We love the player and I think the goal is for him to be here for a long time.”
Ohtani avoided arbitration this winter by signing a one-year, $30 million contract for the 2023 season. However, the 28-year-old is slated for free agency after next season.
Ohtani said last month that he was left with a “negative impression” following the Angels’ third-place finish in 2022.
And in a recent interview published in a Japanese sports magazine, Ohtani said the ideal moment to trade him was at this year’s deadline in terms of maximum value. He also made it clear he wouldn’t mind getting traded.
But it ain’t gonna happen this winter.
Meanwhile, as expected, Jacob deGrom opted out of his contract and will explore his options.
--The Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday revealed the eight finalists on this year’s Contemporary Era Committee ballot, which features candidates whose primary contribution to the game came since 1980.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Albert Belle, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy and Rafael Palmeiro.
Players must receive 75% support from the Hall’s 16 electors, who will meet to discuss the candidacies and cast their votes at MLB’s Winter Meetings in San Diego on Dec. 4.
This will be interesting. But Mets fans are unhappy that Keith Hernandez isn’t on the ballot.
And we’re off….no upsets in the top 25 yet.
Monday, Atlanta handed Milwaukee its first loss, now 9-1, 117-98 on Monday.
For the Hawks (7-3), the offseason trade with the Spurs for Dejounte Murray is paying immediate dividends and they should be making a big run in the posteason.
--As you can guess, on Sunday’s I’m flipping all over the place to catch the major sports events and the other day, thinks got busy…between catching the end of golf and NASCAR, let alone writing this up and watching football.
So I caught the final laps of the Cup finale, and didn’t know the awful story until the race was over, that Coy Gibbs, the vice chairman of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and son of NFL and NASCAR Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, died Sunday morning. He was just 49.
“It is with great sorrow that Joe Gibbs Racing confirms that Coy Gibbs went to be with the Lord in his sleep last night,” the team said in a statement released shortly before the start of the NASCAR season finale. “The family appreciates all the thoughts and prayers and asks for privacy at this time.”
Understand, Joe Gibbs has now lost both of his sons. J.D. Gibbs died in 2019 of degenerative neurological disease; he was also 49 at the time of his death. Coy Gibbs succeeded his older brother as vice chairman of the family-run organization.
NASCAR held a moment of silence before the Cup championship Sunday, which I missed. One of the final four drivers, Christopher Bell, is part of JGR.
Ty Gibbs, Coy’s son, had been scheduled to drive for 23XI Racing, but was replaced by Daniel Hemric for what 23XI called “a family emergency.” Jackson Gibbs, son of the late J.D. Gibbs, was on Bell’s pit crew Sunday and worked the race.
The death (cause unknown as of now) was so shocking because Ty, just 20, won the Xfinity title Saturday and is expected to be named Kyle Busch’s replacement at JGR, Busch leaving the team.
Ty Gibbs, though, has been criticized for aggressive driving this year. And it turns out there was a lot of turmoil on the team, driver Denny Hamlin saying they missed J.D. Gibbs and his leadership and that Ty had created a lot of ill will.
So in the days leading up to the weekend, Joe and Coy Gibbs spent a lot of time defending their young driver, who was resoundingly booed after his back-to-back wins, last week at Martinsville, for crashing out his teammate, and then in Phoenix Saturday following his title win.
Coy Gibbs was last seen publicly at Saturday’s postrace news conference, where he addressed the difficulty of the days leading up to his son’s championship clincher.
Coy Gibbs played linebacker at Stanford from 1991 to 1994 and served on his father’s staff during Joe Gibbs’ second stint as Washington’s coach.
Just an awful, very complicated, very sad story. Joe Gibbs is a great man, and very religious, and we hope somehow he is able to cope with this extraordinary loss.
--The U.S. owners of Liverpool are considering a sale of the Premiere League club, in what could be one of the most valuable sports deals of all time.
Fenway Sports Group Holdings LLC is working with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as it gauges buyer interest.
Fenway Sports owns the Red Sox and took over Liverpool for about $344 million in 2010, which raises the prospect of one of the biggest ever returns on an investment in a sports asset, with GlobalData analyst Conrad Wiacek estimating that Liverpool could fetch more than $5 billion, or more than the Denver Broncos went for.
Next Bar Chat, Sunday p.m.
[Posted Sun. p.m., prior to late football action]
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.
Baseball Gold Glove Quiz: They awarded the Gold Gloves last week and St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado became the fourth infielder to win 10 consecutive awards. Name the other three with 10 or more consecutively. Answer below.
After a 7-0 Game 3 win on five home runs, Philadelphia was riding high up 2-1 over Houston, the next two at home.
Then, Wednesday, the Phils were no-hit by Christian Javier and three members of the Astros’ pen in Game 4, only the second no-hitter in World Series history, the other Don Larsen’s 1956 gem, and on Thursday, Game 5, Justin Verlander finally got his first World Series victory as the Astros won it 3-2, helped in no small part by a spectacular catch up against the outfield fence by Chas McCormick in the ninth inning off the bat of J.T. Realmuto. Backup first baseman Trey Mancini had made an equally clutch, run-saving play in the eighth inning to help preserve the victory.
So with an off-day Friday, we headed to Game 6 in Houston, the Astros looking for their second World Series title in six years, and an untainted one, and they did it, 4-1, behind a titanic 450-foot 3-run homer for the ages, especially given the stage, by Yordan Alvarez in the sixth, as the Phils meekly fell, 4-1, getting all of 3 hits.
So three runs total in the last three games for Bryce Harper and Crew.
Houston, and Dusty Baker, deserved the title, no doubt, but Phillies fans can’t help but question manager Rob Thomson taking starter Zack Wheeler out in the bottom of the sixth after just 70 pitches, though with runners at the corner and the Phils up 1-0 on a Kyle Schwarber home in the top of the frame.
In came lefty reliever Jose Alvarado, Alvarez hit the bomb.
The Series MVP was rookie Jeremy Pena, who had 10 hits, five runs, in the six games, while the Baseball World cheered for 73-year-old Dusty Baker, a likeable sort who finally picked up his first Series title as manager, with his plaque for Cooperstown engraved overnight, or so you imagine.
Baker is the oldest championship manager in any of the four major North American sports.
The Astros went 11-2 in the postseason, after winning an American League-best 106 games, as they reached the ALCS for a sixth season in a row.
Meanwhile, “Mattress Mack” earned himself the largest legal payout in U.S. sports betting history, collecting $75 million, after putting $3 million on the Astros to win the World Series at Caesar at 10/1 along with another million at WynnBet.
He placed other bets later in the season at 5/1.
So now it’s all about the Hot Stove League, and this is going to be a memorable one, especially for New York area fans of the Mets and Yankees. It’s about Aaron Judge, Jacob deGrom and scores of others. Lots to talk about coming up.
And Holy Toledo! The Mets acted quickly and reportedly are in agreement on a five-year, $102 million deal with closer Edwin Diaz, which bodes well for us Mets fans in terms of other deals this offseason, one would think.
We love our Uncle Stevie!
[Uncle Stevie has a huge art collection and there is an auction going on now of Paul Allen’s collection that supposedly will bring in record #s…which would make Cohen’s more valuable, as I muse out loud…thus he could be even more aggressive, Mets fans!]
College Football Review
[Comments written prior to release of new AP poll, rankings are CFP’s]
Quite a shakeup looms…and two teams can kiss their CFP hopes goodbye, while fans of TCU, Oregon, USC and LSU (out of nowhere) know their teams remain in the conversation.
But despite No. 1 Tennessee’s (8-1) loss at 3 Georgia (9-0), 27-13, the Vols remain in the picture, but they need to win their last three impressively (Missouri, South Carolina and Vanderbilt).
This ‘Game of the Decade’ was over early. Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, whose NFL profile soared further, had a 13-yard TD run to make it 7-3, and then we had one of the plays of the year, a punt.
No ordinary punt, the greatest non-championship title game punt I ever saw, as the Bulldogs’ Brett Thorson nailed a 75-yarder that went out at the one. The Georgia defense then forced what should have been ruled a safety, only to get the ball back on the Tennessee 37 and one play later, Bennett hooked up with Ladd McConkey for the score, 14-3, and it was essentially game over.
Georgia led 24-6 at the half, Bennett 15/21, 226, 2-0, while the defense bottled up Heisman candidate Hendon Hooker, just 23/33, 195, 0-1 for the game. The second half was a snoozer, Georgia having accomplished its mission as it will become No. 1 again.
Meanwhile, No.2 Ohio State (9-0) stayed undefeated but in highly unimpressive fashion, 21-7 at lowly Northwestern (1-8). Yes, the weather was rather atrocious, but the Wildcats held the presumed Heisman favorite, C.J. Stroud, to a pathetic 10/26, 76…seventy-six…performance through the air, though he picked up 79 on the ground.
So Ohio State’s shot at No. 1 in the CFP this week went out the window.
Then there was 4 Clemson at Notre Dame. We knew this one could be trouble for the Tigers as the Fighting Irish were playing much better thanks to discovering a powerful ground game, and, sure enough, Notre Dame (6-3) pulled off the upset, in dominating fashion, 35-14, with 263 yards on the ground.
With Navy, Boston College and a finale at USC on the schedule, should the Fighting Irish run the table, literally, they will probably find themselves in a New Year’s Six game…it sure isn’t out of the question.
They’ve now rushed for 200 yards in five of their last six.
As for Clemson (8-1), bye-bye CFP, even if they win the ACC title game, which will be against No. 17 North Carolina, who will move up another few notches after a tight 31-28 win at Virginia (3-6).
5 Michigan (9-0) will be 4, or 3, in the next CFP after a 52-17 win at Rutgers (4-5), the Scarlet Knights teasing their fans with a 17-14 halftime lead before reality set in.
And in the other biggie of the day, 6 Alabama is out of the CFP picture following a thrilling 32-31 overtime loss at 10 LSU (7-2), as Brian Kelly opted to go for the two in OT, after Bama scored first, and Jayden Daniels pulled it off, the rapidly improving QB with two touchdowns passing, and one on the ground, as he rushed for 95 yards.
Hate to say it, because few football fans like Brian Kelly (like seventeen, outside of LSU today), but it was a great win and for one week, at least, validated his massive contract.
It’s now going to be Georgia-LSU in the SEC title game, barring a Tigers collapse down the stretch, with Tennessee in the CFP conversation and Bama out.
So two teams, still, from the SEC is a likely scenario, among the final four.
Ohio State-Michigan winner the third.
And then there is No. 7 TCU (9-0) and the Pac-12 boys, for the fourth spot, as I see it today.
The Horned Frogs won an exciting contest against Texas Tech (4-5), for three quarters at least, 34-24, as the electrifying Derius Davis had an 82-yard punt return to open things up, and then a touchdown reception from Max Duggan, while Kendre Miller rushed for 158 and a score for TCU.
These guys are good, entertaining and moving up to 4 or 5 in the next CFP. Well-deserved.
8 Oregon (8-1), whose only loss was a season-opening one to Georgia, remains highly relevant with a 49-10 win at godawful Colorado (1-8), as Bo Nix threw for 226 yards, 15 of 17, in just the first half to put this one away early.
9 USC is 8-1 and in the conversation, but their defense has been awful the last few weeks, including in last night’s 41-35 win over Cal (3-6).
12 UCLA (8-1) beat Arizona State (3-6) 50-36, as Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another two (120 yards on the ground), the Bruins playing without the Pac-12’s leading rusher, Zach Charbonnet, out with an injury.
24 Texas (6-3) had a big 34-27 road win at 13 Kansas State (6-3), the Longhorns’ stud, Bijan Robinson, with 209 yards on 30 carries and a touchdown.
14 Utah (7-2) beat Arizona (3-6) 45-20. Boy, if you’re an Arizona football fan, you’ve had one lousy fall. The Wildcats and Sun Devils blow.
15 Penn State is 7-2 after a 45-14 win at Indiana (3-6).
16 Illinois (7-2) saw its bubble burst with a bad home defeat to the thugs of Michigan State (4-5), 23-15. Well how else should I describe the Spartans after their post-game actions against Michigan last week…the Gentlemen from East Lansing?
Kansas (6-3) is bowl eligible for the first time since 2008 following a 37-16 upset of 18 Oklahoma State (6-3), the Cowboys, in losing 3 of 4, going from CFP contenders to the outhouse.
For the Jayhawks, running back Devin Neal had himself a career day…32 carries for 224 yards and a touchdown, plus six receptions for another 110 yards.
19 Tulane (8-1) is very much in the Group of Five, New Year’s Six conversation following a 27-13 win over Tulsa (3-6).
But the Green Wave will have to beat 25 UCF next week, the 7-2 Knights a 35-28 winner over Memphis (4-5).
20 Syracuse (6-3) will fall out of the top 25 with its third straight loss, the latest to Pitt (5-4), 19-9. The Panthers defense held star running back Sean Tucker to 19 yards on ten carries, while their own star RB, Israel Abanikanda, was out with an injury. No problem. Rodney Hammond stepped up with 124 yards in his place.
Which brings me to 21 Wake Forest at 22 North Carolina State in Raleigh on Saturday night. After the Deacs’ rough loss at Louisville last week, Wake needed this one in the worst way but instead, quarterback Sam Hartman threw another three interceptions (29/47, 397, 2-3), and despite the gaudy yardage, this is a second straight defeat on him. Period. And the O-Line.
Wake’s defense has actually been solid the last few weeks, but when your supposed star quarterback, onetime legitimate Heisman candidate, turns the ball over nine times in two games, you are going to lose, and lose the Deacs did, 30-21, as Wolfpack freshman quarterback MJ Morris was solid, NC State now 7-2, Wake falling to 6-3.
Yes, our dreams of a “special season” are out the window in a big way, with North Carolina coming up next week.
It was early this year, when Sports Illustrated released a preseason top ten and had Wake No. 8.
After all, we were returning Hartman, a slew of offensive talent, including a very experienced offensive line, and for good reason Wake fans were dreaming all summer and early this fall.
Then we had the crushing loss to Clemson in overtime at home, though we rallied for three straight and a No. 10 AP ranking, only to have Hartman and our O-Line forget how to play the game of football the last two weeks.
It sucks. We will end up 8-4, 7-5, which is great for Wake Forest football overall…year in and year out…but this year was the one shot at greatness.
Hey, but the men’s Cross Country team won the ACC championship! Good for them.
[I do have to note for Wake that last night, A.T. Perry, a surefire NFL prospect, was heroic in defeat, 12 receptions for 159 yards and a score.]
One more in the top 25…Friday night, Washington (7-2) beat No. 23 Oregon State (6-3) 24-21. The Beaverware in my sports drawer was particularly unruly as the Duckware climbed back on top.
A few others of note….
Liberty (8-1) will again be in the AP top 25, and probably crack the CFP, with a 21-19 win at Arkansas (5-4), the Flames’ lone loss to Wake Forest.
Boise State (6-3) saw any hopes of a Group of Five, New Year’s Six berth fade away with a 31-28 home loss to BYU (5-5).
And Johnny Mac’s Coastal Carolina (9-1) is in the Group of Five conversation as the Chants’ 35-28 win over a stumbling Appalachian State (5-5 after their rousing start) means they are Sun Belt title game bound, and depending on Tulane and UCF, ya never know.
Coastal Carolina’s defense has not been up to snuff, but they find a way to win.
SMU’s Tanner Mordecai set school and American Athletic Conference records with nine touchdown passes – an NCAA-record tying seven coming in the first half – and SMU’s offense exploded for a 77-63 win over Houston.
The combined 140 points set the NCAA single-game scoring record for two teams in regulation.
SMU reached school records with 77 points in a game (tying the AAC record), 11 total touchdowns, nine passing scores and 433 total yards in the first half.
The Mustangs are 5-4, ditto the Cougars.
David Klingler once threw 11 touchdown passes for Houston in 1990.
Lastly, Duke is bowl eligible, 6-3, with a 38-31 at Boston College (2-7). The Wake Forest-Duke regular season finale is suddenly setting up to be an important contest for both programs.
--And now…the new AP Poll!
1. Georgia (62) 9-0
2. Ohio State (1) 9-0
3. Michigan 9-0
4. TCU 9-0
5. Tennessee 8-1
6. Oregon 8-1
7. LSU 7-2
8. USC 8-1
9. UCLA 8-1
10. Alabama 7-2
11. Ole Miss 8-1
12. Clemson 8-1
13. Utah 7-2
14. Penn State 7-2
15. North Carolina 8-1
16. Tulane 8-1
17. N.C. State 7-2
18. Texas 6-3
19. Liberty 8-1
20. Notre Dame 6-3
21. Illinois 7-2
22. UCF 7-2
23. Kansas State 6-3
24. Washington 7-2
25. Florida State 6-3
Clemson and Bama tumbled. It’s the Crimson Tide’s worst ranking since 2015!
And for the first time this season, no Wake Forest.
The biggies this coming weekend, 10 Alabama at 11 Ole Miss, 4 TCU at 18 Texas (huge), and 22 UCF at 16 Tulane.
--As bad as the Jets looked a week ago against the Patriots, specifically Zach Wilson, it was a total turnaround against the Bills (6-2) at MetLife Stadium, New York shocking Buffalo 20-17 to get to 6-3.
Wilson was under control, 18/25, 154, 1-0, 101.1, while superstar Josh Allen looked like, err, Zach Wilson of last week, 18/34, 205, 0-2, 46.8.
The Jets rushed for 174 yards, but the key was the defense, just outstanding, while at the same time, the draftees of 2022 like Garrett Wilson, Sauce Gardner, Jermaine Johnson…all came through at critical moments.
And near the end on a super play by designated pass rusher Bryce Huff, if you’re a Bills fan, you are worried sick about the status of Josh Allen’s throwing arm that Huff hit in forcing a fumble.
With the Jets’ ‘D’, who the heck knows. All us fans wanted was to be competitive this season, and we are!
--The Dolphins are 6-3 as they held on to beat the Bears (3-6) in Chicago, 35-32.
For Miami, Tua was 21/30, 302, 3-0, 135.7, with Tyreek Hill having another monster game, seven receptions for 143 and a score.
But the Bears are showing life as QB Justin Fields is coming of age. Fields threw for three touchdowns but ran for 178 yards and a TD.
--The Bengals are 5-4 after a 42-21 win over the lowly Panthers, as Joe Mixon starred…22 carries, 153 yards and four touchdowns.
--The Chargers advanced to 5-3 with a 20-17 win at Atlanta (4-5).
--Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are now a rather stunning 3-6 after losing at Detroit (2-6), Rodgers sucking wind, 23/43, 291, 1-3, 53.5.
--The surprising Vikings are 7-1 after a 20-17 win at Washington, the Red Clouds with a 17-7 lead in the fourth, only to see Kirk Cousins and Co. score on three drives, aided by an interception of Washington QB Taylor Heinicke that resulted in the tying touchdown, Greg Joseph then kicking the winning field goal with 0:12 left.
--In one of the worst games in NFL history, New England improved to 5-4 with a 26-3 win over Indianapolis (3-5-1), as the Pats outgained the Colts 201-121.
201-121! And people paid like $75 or more, just for starters, to sit in a stadium and watch this?! Real people? Not farm animals?
OK, to be fair, the Pats had nine sacks of Sam Ehlinger, three each by Josh Uche and Matthew Judon, so that would have kind of been exciting.
--And in a game I wasn’t going to mention because I really couldn’t give a s---, but my good friend Steve G. is one of fourteen Jaguars fans in the country, the Jags (3-6) snapped a five-game losing streak in beating the Raiders (2-6) 27-20.
As in for all the hype about the NFL, half the games are unwatchable. That’s the truth.
And the networks don’t even show the cheerleaders anymore, which sucks.
And that’s a memo….
--Thursday, the Eagles moved to 8-0 as there is all kinds of talk of them going undefeated, 29-17 over the pathetic Texans (1-6-1).
But I’ll say they lose three times.
--As for the late games, I’m moving on. Rams 7-6 over the Bucs at the half is hardly scintillating.
But Titans-Chiefs is intriguing, both 5-2, Tennessee having won five straight for one reason alone. Derrick Henry has carried it 20 times in all five…and he’s the Derrick Henry of old.
--With Daniel Snyder putting the Washington Commanders up for sale, at least the exploration of a sale, the partnership of Jeff Bezos and Jay-Z will put in an official joint bid to purchase the team in January, according to various sources.
Bezos and Jay-Z are longtime friends.
Media mogul Byron Allen is also said to be preparing a bid, after previously trying to buy the Broncos.
Snyder has owned the team since 1999, when he purchased it for $800 million. Forbes currently values the Commanders at $5.6 billion, which would break the record for most expensive NFL team. The Broncos’ $4.65 billion sale over the summer currently holds the mark.
--We note the passing of All-Pro defensive lineman and two-time Redskins Super Bowl champion Dave Butz, 72. There was no immediate cause of death.
Butz spent 14 of his 16 NFL seasons with Washington after breaking into the league with St. Louis, where he played his first two (1973 and 1974). At 6-foot-8, 300 pounds, he was one of the league’s biggest defensive players at the time and was a key part of the Redskins’ first two Super Bowl-winning teams in the 1982 and 1987 seasons.
Butz was the fifth overall selection in the 1973 draft out of Purdue. He was also the nephew of former Agriculture Secretary, Earl Butz, who served in the position under presidents Nixon and Ford. [Earl Butz is infamous for some rather racist, and insensitive remarks.]
--And Ray Guy died, also 72.
The former University of Southern Mississippi punter was the first at his position to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, after becoming the first punter ever taken in the first round of the NFL draft, selected 23rd by Al Davis’ Raiders in 1973.
Guy played his entire 14-year career with the team and was a three-time All-Pro selection. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.
Guy also played defensive back at Southern Miss and still shares the school single-season record for most interceptions, with eight in 1972, and his 61-yard field goal at Utah State set an NCAA record at the time.
Guy ended his NFL career in 1986 with a streak of 619 punts without having one blocked.
Kyrie and the NBA
Last Sunday I wrote: “This is going to be an ugly NBA season.”
I was referring to the quality of play and disinterest if high-profile teams like the Knicks and Lakers couldn’t generate any excitement.
Little did I know the statement hit the mark for a very different reason…Kyrie Irving and all the damage he has done to the league.
The Nets star told reporters on Thursday that he took responsibility for tweeting a link to the Amazon page of the film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which is based on a book of the same name that is filled with antisemitic tropes.
Irving had previously defended his decision to share the link and pushed back on the idea that he was promoting the film or book, though he later deleted the tweet.
But Irving stopped short of apologizing.
Irving then released a joint statement with the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League announcing Irving and the team would each donate $500,000 toward “causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.” Irving declined to specify whether he had directly spoken to members of the ADL.
Irving then made himself available to the media, and in six minutes blew himself up. As veteran New York sports broadcaster Bruce Beck put it, he had never seen anything like it, a shambolic, bizarre performance for the ages.
Question: Do you have any antisemitic beliefs?
Irving: Again, I’m gonna repeat. I don’t know how the label becomes justified because you guys asked me the same questions over and over again, but this is not gonna turn into a spin-around cycle, questions upon questions. I told you guys how I felt. I respect all walks of life and embrace all walks of life. That’s where I sit.
Question: I think what people want to hear, though, is a yes or no on that question. Yes or no?
Irving: I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.
Question: What does that mean?
Irving: I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.
The Nets then suspended Irving at least five games (it’s ‘indefinite’) after he stopped short of fully disavowing the documentary on two occasions, saying he needed to undergo a series of unspecified “remedial measures.”
The ADL then made the decision to turn down Irving’s money, pointing to his sidestepping the question whether he holds any anti-Semitic beliefs.
Irving later issued a bit more fulsome apology late on Thursday, after the suspension, for promoting a project he said contained “false anti-Semitic statements.”
But the apology was not enough to stop Nike from suspending ties with Irving Friday and the company canceled its next Irving-branded shoe release in the aftermath of the controversy.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism. To that end, we’ve made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will not longer launch the Kyrie 8,” Nike said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
The shoe deal was worth a reported $11 million. The Nets will also not pay him during his suspension. He is on a $36.9 million contract this season, after having earned nearly $195 million in his previous 11 seasons with the Cavs, Celtics, and Nets.
Jerry Brewer / Washington Post
“Kyrie Irving, who is nothing more than a contrarian with a crossover, cannot be trusted to lead a pedestrian across the street, much less an NBA franchise in a borough of the nation’s largest city. Yet there he stood – noted anti-vaxxer, suspected antisemite, overexposed anti-logic windbag – in a position to hijack attention and humiliate a league that has gone to great lengths to promote social equality.
“For nearly a week, he failed to muster the humility to quell his latest controversy, and this time he stirred something far more dangerous than the usual Kyrie nonsense. Given ample time, Irving wouldn’t apologize for posting a link on Twitter to a movie and a book that contains atrocious misinformation about Jewish people. He dared his employer, the Brooklyn Nets, to show him that he’s not his own boss. On Thursday night, the Nets finally ended the ludicrous standoff and suspended Irving.
“He will be gone for at least five games without pay. The Nets prolonged the pain and shame of this incident with their indecision, but in the end they were forceful in declaring Irving ‘currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.’
“After several days of defiance and silence, Irving had accepted ‘responsibility’ for his actions in an interview with reporters, talked in generalities about his respect for all people and released a joint statement with the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League in which he and the team each pledged $500,000 (the ADL later said it would not accept Irving’s donation). But he danced around direct questions about whether he held antisemitic beliefs.
“Just minutes before Irving spoke Thursday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver strongly expressed his disappointment that Irving had yet to make an ‘unqualified apology.’ Still, as Irving stood in front of microphones, cameras and recorders, he stopped short of saying sorry. The Nets realized they had given him enough chances to state his sincere remorse.
“ ‘We were dismayed today, when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film,’ the team said in a statement. ‘This was not the first time he had the opportunity – but failed – to clarify. Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and detrimental to the team. Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.’
“Irving didn’t relent until late Thursday night – after the Nets had announced the punishment. At last, Irving posted an apology on Instagram. All along, Brooklyn had wanted to slap Irving on the wrist. He was too stubborn to extend his hand until it was too late.
“A man who takes so long to apologize – especially in this climate, when hatred of Jews is reinfecting society at an alarming level – is a troubling public figure. Irving has spent the past five years ruining the teams he has played for, espousing conspiracy theories and drifting into a narcissistic bubble. He has gone from a seemingly innocuous flat-Earther to a troubling coronavirus vaccine critic to a promoter of antisemitic tropes. Kanye West just got canceled for making vicious antisemitic remarks, yet Irving didn’t have the awareness to steer clear of posting that link. His behavior couldn’t go unchecked. He was sabotaging his team and the integrity of the entire NBA….
“For most of the week, there was a leadership void throughout the sport when it was clear he needed to be held accountable. The players association sent out a boilerplate statement, but it didn’t bother to mention the name of Irving, who is a vice president in the union. Silver waited for Brooklyn to make a sufficient in-house resolution before coming with strong words. Everyone trusted Irving could be reasoned with; everyone looks foolish now. The league Silver oversees – in which players regularly declare ‘there is no place’ for hate when other issues, particularly pertaining to race, arise – has tiptoed around Irving and watched him smear the NBA’s image.
“The issue now isn’t the exploration of a star’s intentions. It isn’t about who Irving is or who he is perceived to be. The focus has shifted to what he is allowed to be. With Irving bringing a storm with him everywhere he goes, Silver seemed prepared to protect the league. The commissioner, who is Jewish, had announced he would visit with Irving in person soon.
“If the two still have that meeting, the conversation will be different now. The Nets stepped forward and admitted they’ve had enough. Irving kept telling them and the entire world, ‘I’m going to be me.’ At last, the Nets had the guts to show Irving who they are….
“(Irving’s) belief that he has nourished society in some lasting way is as ridiculous as his intimation two years ago that the Nets could be coached by committee. He has unintentionally fueled extremists, who now can manipulate his fame for their diabolical interests.
“Now, the coddling of Kyrie has ceased. He has devolved from an eccentric to a detrimental star. He challenged the NBA to pick a side, and when the Nets had to prove that they stand for something, they could not allow their anti-everything, confused franchise player to carry on uninhibited.
“The celebrity nuisance is gone – for now. His redemption may depend on whether he learns from this mistake. With Irving, sadly, you can’t be certain that will happen.”
The Nets have apparently given Kyrie six benchmarks to meet before returning to the court, according to The Athletic, including sensitivity training, and antisemitic/anti-hate training, both created by the Nets.
Brooklyn has won its first two games without Kyrie to improve to 4-6.
Friday, they beat Washington on the road, 128-86, and Saturday they won at Charlotte, 98-94.
Yes, it’s been a good time to get out of town for the Nets.
--I watched the entire Knicks-Sixers game from Philadelphia on Friday night and the Knicks hung on, 106-104, to even their record at 4-4.
But Philly (4-6) was without Joel Embiid, who was out with the flu, which gave Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau the opportunity to finally play Julius Randle and Obi Toppin together, something Knicks fans have been clamoring for, and Toppin finished with a season-high 17 in just 20 minutes; Randle with 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
But the Knicks fell back below .500 Saturday, 133-118 losers to the Celtics at the Garden, Boston 6-3.
--At least the Milwaukee Bucks, at 9-0, are a fun story in the NBA thus far.
The Breeders’ Cup Classic
I hope you saw it…if not you must YouTube it…a historic run for the ages…Flightline coming through as hoped for by countless fans of the sport…an 8 ¼ length winner of the Classic at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky.
It was electric…and the comparisons to Secretariat are deserved.
Joe Drape / New York Times
“No one was coming for Flightline, and (jockey) Flavien Prat knew it. He looked over his shoulder on the far turn.
“Six horses were struggling to keep up. Life is Good was ahead of him by a couple of lengths. So what?
“Prat and his colt looked like a couple of Secret Service agents jogging alongside ‘The Beast,’ as the presidential limousine is known, barely breaking a sweat.
“ ‘We were going very, very, fast,’ said a surprised Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode Life is Good in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday. Ortiz was hoping to run the undefeated Flightline off his feet early to make him uncomfortable.
“But his colt was not fast enough. In the far turn, Prat hadn’t even asked Flightline to turn on the jets. The first glance behind him was to make sure no horse was picking up steam. Nope, they were struggling to keep up.
“At the quarter pole, Prat let Flightline loose. He got parallel with the fastest horse in the world as the duo shot past Life is Good like a torpedo. Now, Ortiz and his colt were discouraged.
“Two lengths became four, four lengths became eight. Prat took one last peek behind him and saw more dirt than horses. He raised slightly in the saddle, relaxed his hands and enjoyed the feeling of Flightline parting the clouds for what may have been the last time.
“ ‘I felt like I was in control the whole race,’ Prat said.
“The record books say Flightline is undefeated in six starts, dispatching the most accomplished horses in America by a combined 71 lengths….
“(There) were not many souls here rooting against the colt. Flightline was treated like the heavyweight champion of the world as he sauntered onto the track, sending roars echoing from Keeneland’s limestone grandstands into the bluegrass….
“Junior Alvarado rallied Olympiad to finish second and could not have been more thrilled to merely share the same racetrack as Flightline.
“ ‘That was a race like you might see in 60 or 70 years, once in a lifetime. Period,’ he said. ‘I am happy that I will forever be known as the guy who finished second to Flightline in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.’”
Yes, Flightline deserves to be in the conversation along with Secretariat, Man o’ War, Seattle Slew and just a few others.
But now the ownership group has a tough decision to make…which really isn’t tough at all. As much as all racing fans would love to see Flightline at least one more time next year, the owners are looking at a minimum $60 million payday. They will meet in the coming days to make their decision. But it’s a no-brainer.
For trainer John Sadler, Flightline has nothing more to prove.
“This is one of the great horses of all time. Most trainers don’t get a horse like this, so I’m just feeling very blessed.”
I’m just happy I got to see it.
--We had the finale in Phoenix today…Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Ross Chastain and Christopher Bell gunning for the Cup Series title.
And Logano was winning going to the final laps, only Chastain in contention at third, 5 to go.
Four…three…two…one…and Logano takes his second Cup title!
--So much for that…Jimmie Johnson’s retirement from NASCAR. His experiment with IndyCar lasted all of two seasons.
Friday, Johnson announced he is returning to NASCAR and the series that made him a global motorsports star as the part-owner of Petty GMS. He’ll also enter about five Cup races, including the season-opening Daytona 500, where he’s a two-time winner. That’ll juice the race more than a bit.
Johnson said he had been observing the changes within NASCAR and the business structure and “I want to be part of it,” he said. “We certainly watched Michael Jordan join, what the Trackhouse Racing folks have done, and there’s all these rumors of people who want to get into the sport.
“I’m honored and thankful that I’m going to be part of it.”
Johnson, 47, said on his bucket list are the Coca-Cola 600, a race he’s won four time, and he’d love if NASCAR made him eligible for the 2023 All-Star race at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina.
Johnson had talked of doing “The Double” of the Indy 500 and Coke 600 on the same day, but there would be scheduling conflicts involving Indy qualifying, as well as ownership conflicts with his Indy car.
--At the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Russell Henley, who hadn’t won since 2017 at the Houston Open, held a six-shot lead over Will Gordon heading into today’s final round.
And Henley, with a history of poor fourth rounds, saw his lead shrink to three shots early before rallying for a four-shot win over Brian Harman, No. 4 for an emotional Russell. Good for him.
--On the Champions Tour, in the next to last event of their season, the amazing Bernhard Langer did it.
A day after shooting two strokes below his age, Langer, 65, broke his own record as the oldest player to win on PGA Tour Champions and in doing so closed within one victory of Hale Irwin’s all-time Champions Tour record of 45.
Langer won the TimberTech Championship at Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida by six strokes over Paul Goydos and Thongchai Jaidee.
--We note the passing of golfer Dow Finsterwald, the 1958 P.G.A. Championship winner. He was 93.
Finsterwald won 11 PGA tour events and finished in the money in 72 consecutive tournaments in the 1950s, a streak that was second all time to Byron Nelson’s 113 consecutive tournament cuts in the 1940s.
Finsterwald, who played on four Ryder Cup-winning teams, was a close friend of Arnold Palmer and finished second and third to Arnie at the Masters.
The first close call was 1960, a shattering experience. Finsterwald, unaware of a prohibition on practice putts after holing out, was advised by Billy Casper, his playing partner in the second round, that it was prohibited by the course rules, which were printed on the back of the scorecards. Finsterwald had just put his ball down for a practice putt when Casper told him it would be prohibited, but Finsterwald then told Casper he had done so in the first round.
Finsterwald then reported his transgression to the officials, who retroactively assessed a two-shot penalty for his first-round practice putt. But they did not invoke the usual automatic disqualification of a golfer who turns in an incorrect scorecard, which Finsterwald had done for the first round.
He finished third to Palmer, two back, Ken Venturi a stroke behind in second.
In games of import this weekend, Manchester City beat Fulham 2-1, Arsenal had a big 1-0 win at Chelsea, Aston Villa whipped Manchester United 3-1, surging Newcastle won 4-1 at Southampton, and Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-1.
One more week until the big World Cup and we’ll check the standings then.
--In the MLS Cup yesterday, LAFC defeated Philadelphia Union in a shootout.
--The Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin scored his seventh goal of the season Saturday in a 3-2 loss to Arizona.
But it was career goal No. 787 to break Gordie Howe’s record for scoring with one team.
Ovechkin is now 14 goals away from tying Howe for second on the NHL’s all-time goals list and 107 from Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record.
--The college basketball season gets underway Monday! Yippee!
Sports Illustrated has the following top ten:
1. North Carolina
Overall, another weak season for the ACC coming up.
Kansas suspended head coach Bill Self and top assistant Kurtis Townsend for the first four games of the season and self-imposed recruiting restrictions amid an ongoing investigation from the Independent Accountability Resolution Process.
This dates all the way back to 2017, when the NCAA started investigating Kansas after the Jayhawks were mentioned in the FBI’s investigation of bribery and corruption in college basketball. KU has received its Notice of Allegations from the NCAA in September 2019 that included Level I violations – the harshest in the NCAA rulebook.
So by taking the measures it did, Kansas is trying to avoid a penalty that would include a postseason ban.
--Evans Chebet of Kenya won the New York City Men’s Marathon and Sharon Lokedi of Kenya won the women’s race today, both of them winning in their debuts.
Daniel Do Nascimento, who had been leading the men’s race, collapsed at the 21-mile mark, right before he got back into Manhattan, and was attended to by medical professionals.
There was record, or near-record, heat and humidity for this race.
Chebet won the Boston Marathon earlier this year.
Actually, the guy has won five of his past six marathons, including Valencia, Spain; Lake Biwa, Japan; and Buenos Aires.
For Lokedi, it was her first-ever marathon.
50,000 competed in the race. Something positive in an otherwise shitty world.
--The World Cup ski season is off to a lousy start…as in no snow in Europe! Like Zermatt, Switzerland, which saw its events canceled this week. [One of my favorite places in the world…but bring lots of cash, sports fans.]
Top 3 songs for the week 11/2/63: #1 “Sugar Shack” (Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs) #2 “Deep Purple” (Nino Tempo & April Stevens) #3 “Washington Square” (The Village Stompers)…and…#4 “Busted” (Ray Charles) #5 “Mean Woman Blues” (Roy Orbison) #6 “Donna The Prima Donna” (Dion) #7 “I Can’t Stay Mad At You” (Skeeter Davis) #8 “Be My Baby” (The Ronettes…best rock ‘n’ roll tune ever, according to Brian Wilson…) #9 “It’s All Right” (The Impressions…another good one…) #10 “Maria Elena” (Los Indios Tabajaras…B week…three months from the Beatles making their debut on Ed Sullivan and the world would be changed forever…we were also three weeks from JFK’s assassination, speaking of changing the world…)
Baseball Gold Glove Quiz Answer: Aside from Nolan Arenado, the other three infielders with 10 or more consecutive Gold Gloves are Brooks Robinson (third base, 16 straight), Ozzie Smith (shortstop, 13 straight) and Keith Hernandez (first base, 11 straight).
A record 14 players won their first Gold Gloves this year, including Houston shortstop Jeremy Pena and right fielder Kyle Tucker.
J.T. Realmuto won his second at catcher for Philly, while Mookie Betts won his sixth for the Dodgers.
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.