Archive for the ‘football’ Category

Weekly Links … Pretty sure I will win national Work Ethic of the Year honors for 2018.

I wrote nine previews on Tuesday — one shy of my personal best — in addition to writing seven or eight breaking news stories and editing eight to 10 more articles.

That is more work than many print reporters do all week. Check that, 16 or 17 articles would be a heavy month’s work for some of those dudes.

I can recall how a competitor would whine when his newspaper would ask him to write a second story. Geez, so overworked having to write TWO stories in one day.

Most sportswriters wouldn’t last two weeks in the online world. I can do their job, they can’t do mine.

Of course, one of the drawbacks in my work life is having to occasionally write about the C-word. Yep, drew the Spanos buffoons again this week.

How about the ticket situation for those clowns? Pretty embarrassing that they can’t get fans into their 27,000-seat children’s playground. Of course, nobody in Los Angeles cares that they are around. And nobody ever will.

All their fans are 100 miles away and they are enjoying what a joke the franchise is becoming.

So keep me up for Work Ethic of the Year honors and let’s nominate Dean Spanos for dumbest decision by a sports owner in NFL history.

Here is the stellar preview of Titans vs. Chargers in London —

https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/titans-vs-chargers-preview-and-predictions/324717/

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Oregon-Washington State — The Pac-12 is pretty much a joke of a conference for a second straight season. Oregon somehow is about the best team the conference has to offer. Until the Ducks lose to Washington State and the team coached by nutty Mike Leach is the best. Yeah, not a good year for the Pac-12.

http://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories?storyId=20531

Ohio State-Purdue — Everyone seems to have forgotten Urban Meyer’s unethical nonsense. Everybody except for the football Gods. You don’t think this Nick Bosa injury and ensuing departure just happened? The Buckeyes aren’t winning the national crown without Bosa and that means the rest of us win.

https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/ohio-state-buckeyes-vs-purdue-boilermakers-preview-and-predictions/324082/

Alabama-Tennessee — The Crimson Tide seem on their way to another national title. The boring run-based offense of earlier this decade is now a wide-open attack with speedy wideouts everywhere. Give Tennessee credit for showing up on Saturday and then watch the deluge of points from Alabama.

https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/alabama-crimson-tide-vs-tennessee-volunteers-preview-and-predictions/323779/

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Weekly links …

My research showed me that the Milwaukee Brewers haven’t played in the World Series since 1982.

Then it sinks in — I have co-workers who weren’t alive in 1982.

That doesn’t feel so good. Where the heck did the last 36 years go?

Hopefully the Brewers will return to the World Series this year. Because that will mean that the Dodgers won’t.

Doesn’t seem all that long ago that a powerful Milwaukee offensive team — think Cecil Cooper, Paul Molitor, Ben Oglivie, Ted Simmons, Gorman Thomas and Robin Yount — lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in a stellar seven-game  series.

Yikes, that was so long ago that the Brewers were in the American League.

Milwaukee has another great offensive team this season — led by probable MVP Christian Yelich — but the Dodgers probably have a more complete team. Should be a good National League Championship Series.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/baseball/MLB/dodgers-vs-brewers-preview-and-predictions/320805/

 

NFL

Rams at Broncos — The Los Angeles Rams are fun and exciting and one of two remaining undefeated teams in the NFL. This after being a boring lifeless team just two seasons ago under Jeff Fisher. And even better, “Los Angeles” fits nicely with their team nickname. The Broncos are on their way to a fourth straight loss.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/rams-vs-broncos-preview-and-predictions/320864/

Steelers at Bengals — Perhaps they ought to put these two teams in the octagon and let them go wild on one another. Some recent meetings have been more vicious than a UFC bout. Who can forget the way Pittsburgh wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster laid out Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict last season on Monday Night Football? Seems the Steelers always win the game and Cincinnati claims the penalty yards’ title.

Here is the stellar preview — http://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories?storyId=20122

Chargers at Browns — Who can forget the last time the Chargers visited Cleveland on Christmas Eve during the 2016 season? The lowly Browns defeated the Chargers for their lone win over a two-season span. That was the type of embarrassment owner Dean Spanos deserved on his way out of San Diego. The Browns are much better now so perhaps there will be a repeat.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/chargers-vs-browns-preview-and-predictions/320846/

 

College football

Missouri at Alabama — The Crimson Tide have looked so good you have to wonder if anyone can beat them. The offense has been explosive and the defense keeps scoring touchdowns (four off interceptions). Missouri is one of those programs that might stun a Top 20 program but has little chance to beat a powerful top-ranked team. And yeah, the Tigers are 0-14 all-time against No. 1 teams.

Here is the traditional stellar preview — https://www.gwinnettprepsports.com/sportsxchange/no-alabama-rolls-into-second-half-with-mizzou-up-next/article_eeb9eec7-5583-55b9-9c20-6f02090b3219.html

Here is the broken into team sections stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/missouri-tigers-vs-alabama-crimson-tide-preview-and-predictions/320276/

Minnesota at Ohio State — Urban Meyer feels great now because he no longer is facing questions about his questionable handling of the situation in which assistant coach Zach Smith was accused of domestic violence. He won’t face much distress this Saturday when his team faces Minnesota either. The Golden Gophers have no chance of beating the Buckeyes.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/minnesota-golden-gophers-vs-ohio-state-buckeyes-preview-and-predictions/320279/

Weekly links …

Raiders versus Chargers no longer sounds so fun these days. Oops, I just used the C-word.

Still, the future Las Vegas team against the squad playing in a small soccer stadium doesn’t pack any luster.

Oakland visiting San Diego is a rivalry. Oakland visiting Carson, Calif. means absolutely nothing.

This isn’t Don Coryell’s offense rolling up 55 points on the Raiders and it surely isn’t Ken Stabler to Cliff Branch while picking apart soft Chargers’ defenses.

Both teams have superb quarterbacks — Philip Rivers for the Chargers, Derek Carr for the Raiders — but even a shootout won’t make this feel like an important game.

Not when the Chargers are playing in a miniature stadium with a populace that doesn’t care they are in town.

The Chargers aren’t even the most popular team playing in the StubHub Center. Ever heard of the L.A. Galaxy?

Here is the stellar preview — http://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories?storyId=19657 

Rams at Seahawks

The Rams are way more popular in Los Angeles than the Chargers and for good reason. The team is way more exciting and is one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL. They also belong in Los Angeles. Now they get a chance to remind the Seattle Seahawks there is a new king in the NFC West. Oh yeah, how did it go last December? Try Rams 42, Seahawks 7.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/rams-vs-seahawks-preview-and-predictions/317119/ 

Packers at Lions

Aaron Rodgers takes shots at coach Mike McCarthy after his team won by 22 points. Who is he taking advice from — Danica Patrick? Hey, I wonder if Rodgers’ family is on speaking terms with him again now that he has a new girlfriend. The Lions will try to silence Rodgers this weekend.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/packers-vs-lions-preview-and-predictions/317109/

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Washington at UCLA

Something has to give here — Washington hasn’t won at the Rose Bowl since 1995 and Chip Kelly has a horrible team. Check out UCLA’s schedule and see if you find two wins. May turn out to be zero. The Huskies shouldn’t encounter much difficult winning in Pasadena for the first time in 23 years.

Here is the stellar preview — http://fieldlevelmedia.com/washington-rewire-history-ucla

Alabama-Arkansas

Nick Saban complained that the student section was lackluster for last week’s drubbing against Louisiana. Um yeah, then don’t schedule a lackluster opponent. Sounds like Alabama students are pretty smart by not showing up. As for this week, there is zero chance of Arkansas pulling an upset.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/alabama-crimson-tide-vs-arkansas-razorbacks-preview-and-predictions/316216/ 

Indiana-Ohio State

Ohio State is now the third-ranked team in the country and everybody has forgotten Urban Meyer’s embarrassing antics when it came to former assistant coach Zach Smith using his wife as a punching bag. That is exactly what the school administration was hoping. Hopefully, there are two losses to come to keep the school out of the College Football Playoff. Not seeing the Hoosiers delivering one of those setback.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/indiana-hoosiers-vs-ohio-state-buckeyes-preview-and-predictions/316231/

 

BASEBALL

Yankees-Red Sox, Game 2

Don’t usually include baseball due to the short shelf life of a preview but this one needs to be included. Boston left-hander David Price is 0-8 in nine postseason starts and it will be fun to see that zero in the win column remain. Can he break the drought Saturday? Perhaps, but know this: He went 0-3 with a 10.34 ERA in four starts against the Yankees this season.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/baseball/MLB/yankees-vs-red-sox-preview-and-predictions/317683/

Weekly links …

Sometimes I have to write about the “C word.”

There is just no avoiding it unless I want to get a boring, mundane job doing something else.

Objectivity always wins out since I am paid well to be a professional.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this tweet that came across my Twitter feed.

Oh yeah, the C word. … Chargers.

What a C word it is. A poor one when San Diego isn’t in front of the team name.

The Chargers are 1-2 but get the good fortune of facing C.J. Beathard at quarterback this Sunday after the San Francisco 49ers lost starter Jimmy Garoppolo last week. But hey, we all know how often that franchise has lost games it should win over the years.

Tight end Antonio Gates says they don’t select Super Bowl teams in the first four weeks of the season. True. They select them in mid-January.

And think, the Chargers were selected all of ONE time. And certainly won’t be this season either.

So yeah, let’s talk about the “C word.”

Here is the stellar preview — http://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories?storyId=19137

Seahawks at Cardinals — Josh Rosen has done a lot of bragging about how he is the best quarterback of the 2018 draft class. Only time and results determine that, not someone’s mouth. But know this — the Cardinals have scored 20 total points in three games. Rosen can’t be worse than Sam Bradford. Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/seahawks-vs-cardinals-preview-and-predictions/313133/

Lions at Cowboys — Ezekiel Elliott wants more carries. Hard to argue when he is getting only 16 per game but is tied for the NFL rushing lead with 274 yards. Plus, quarterback Dak Prescott isn’t as good as his strong start to his NFL career. Hasn’t reached 200 yards this season and has cracked the mark just twice in the past 11 games. Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/lions-vs-cowboys-preview-and-predictions/313103/

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Louisiana-Alabama — The Crimson Tide are once again playing the biggest cupcake available. The only suspense is whether coach Nick Saban calls off the dogs when his team leads by six touchdowns or waits until the advantage moves over 50. The coach at Louisiana — Billy Napier — used to be the receivers coach at Alabama so you can see the payday favor is in play. No other reason the Ragin’ Cajuns would show up. Here is the stellar preview — http://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories?storyId=19050

Or if you prefer the type of preview that breaks it down into team forms, here is your stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/ul-lafayette-ragin-cajuns-vs-alabama-crimson-tide-preview-and-predictions/312440/

Boise State at Wyoming — It was pretty humorous Wednesday afternoon when I was out getting exercise that Boise State was pumping crowd noise into practice. Even more hilarious when I got back in the area 75 minutes later and it was still going on. Thought they must have been playing an opponent with an 80,000-seat stadium. Nope, playing at Wyoming and its cozy 29,181-seat stadium. I covered five games at Wyoming and only once was the attendance more than 20,000. The lowest three were 15,661, 14,012 and 13,757. Sorry, crowd noise isn’t deciding this game. Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/boise-state-broncos-vs-wyoming-cowboys-preview-and-predictions/312446/

 

Weekly links …

Going to be hard-pressed to write a sadder story all year long.

The murder of Celia Barquin Arozamena while she was playing a round of golf in Ames, Iowa is one of the most irritating things that can occur. The 22-year-old loved being on the golf course more than anywhere else and a homeless clown decided to stab her to death and dump her in the pond near the ninth hole.

I should have been writing her name at some point during my career. But it should have been for her golf exploits, and not because she was victim of a heinous crime.

Barquin Arozamena played in the most recent U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek, missing the cut by three strokes. She was the Big 12 champion and Iowa State’s female athlete of the year.

The native of Spain appeared to have a real promising future. But one moron has left that chapter unwritten.

Here is the stellar article (accurate through Tuesday) — https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sports-barquin-arozamena-death/man-charged-in-death-of-former-iowa-state-womens-golfer-idUSKCN1LY2X4

 

NFL

Steelers at Buccaneers — FitzMagic is everywhere and a lot of people near Tampa hope Ryan Fitzpatrick’s roll will continue. That would mean Uber crotch grabber Jameis Winston would be on the sidelines watching. And what is with Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown? Can someone get him a pacifier? Here is the stellar preview — http://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories?storyId=18624

Cowboys at Seahawks — How great would it be to see Seattle start 0-3 for the first time since 2002? Around where I live, those bandwagoners who were suddenly Seattle fans when the team made the Super Bowl will be shedding their gear soon. Then again, who wants to see Dallas win? Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/cowboys-vs-seahawks-preview-and-predictions/308991/

Bills at Vikings — Cornerback Vontae Davis quit football at halftime of the Bills’ last game and I think that means he suddenly realized he had signed with Buffalo. Minnesota safety Andrew Sendejo got fined $53,482 for a hit in last week’s game against Green Bay. I hear there are people who don’t make that much money in a year. Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/bills-vs-vikings-preview-and-predictions/308981/

 

College football

Texas A&M at Alabama — Nick Saban is 12-0 against former assistants and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher is going to try to end this streak. He wasn’t able to do it last year when he was at Florida State and I surely don’t give him much chance this season against an Alabama team that looks like it can go undefeated. Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/texas-am-aggies-vs-alabama-crimson-tide-preview-and-predictions/308384/

Arizona State at Washington — How silly is it that the Sun Devils have won 11 of their past 12 meetings with the Huskies? Perhaps Washington coach Chris Petersen should spend less time engaging in his silly feud with the ESPN (silly on ESPN’s part too) and prepare his team a little better. Washington was supposed to trample Arizona State last season and scored seven measly points. Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/arizona-state-sun-devils-vs-washington-huskies-preview-and-predictions/308380/

Tulane at Ohio State — Urban Meyer is back coaching and that means it is time for a lightweight opponent. The Buckeyes sure didn’t miss the Urban Liar while routing their first three game opponents. And now that we know he has a faulty memory, it is 50-50 that he knows how to find the stadium. Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/tulane-green-wave-vs-ohio-state-buckeyes-preview-and-predictions/308388/

Penn State at Illinois — The Nittany Lions have a showdown with Ohio State next week so maybe they come out sluggish against Illinois. Actually, the Fighting Illini will fold at some point regardless of Penn State’s effort. How about giving up 18 straight fourth-quarter points to lose to South Florida? Bad stuff. Here is the stellar preview — http://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories?storyId=18495

Boston College at Purdue — Boston College is ranked for the first time in 10 years. Almost makes you think college football on the whole is in decline mode for that to happen. Purdue quarterback David Blough passed for 572 yards last week. Not even school legend Drew Brees did that. Here is the stellar preview — http://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories?storyId=18507

Weekly links is here …

Jalen Ramsey is part of a defense that allowed two fourth-quarter touchdown passes in last season’s AFC Championship Game to watch a Super Bowl berth evaporate.

He apparently isn’t the least bit embarrassed that his Jacksonville Jaguars sank like the Titanic with such a huge accomplishment on the line.

The Jaguars and New England Patriots meet Sunday in the rematch and there figures to be plenty of tension in the stadium. A lot of it stemming from Ramsey, whose most recent verbal shots at the Patriots included his declaration that all-everything tight end Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots isn’t all that good.

Yeah, OK Jalen.

Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash doesn’t agree with the assessment and said anyone that thinks Gronkowski is overrated is crazy.

Ramsey is a fantastic cornerback but the evidence is starting to grow — he’s truly crazy.

Here is the stellar preview — http://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories?storyId=18049

Texans at Titans — Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson helped Houston roll up 57 points in his lone outing against Tennessee last season. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is bothered by a sore throwing elbow, which means Blaine Gabbert might need to play. You never want to see Gabbert in the game if you are trying to win.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.gwinnettprepsports.com/sportsxchange/watson-hopeful-for-better-results-as-texans-visit-titans/article_b744a8e6-2fd4-578e-ad56-377655963c2b.html

Vikings at Packers — Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers delivered a superb opening performance when he injured his left knee in the first half and returned at the start of the second half to rally Green Bay past the Chicago Bears. The Vikings are expecting Rodgers to play no matter how often the Packers say that he might not. And hey, isn’t Minnesota’s Harrison Smith a great safety?

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/vikings-vs-packers-preview-and-predictions/305106/

Lions at 49ers — The Detroit coaching debut of Matt Patricia was an outright disaster. Look, he got the gig because of the New England stint (Lions general manager Bob Quinn is a former Patriots executive). If he had been a Buffalo Bills assistant, he wouldn’t be a head coach.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/lions-vs-49ers-preview-and-predictions/305113/

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Boise State at Oklahoma State — Playing a Big 12 team rates as a big deal for the Broncos — sure beats playing Miami (Ohio) or Idaho State — and a victory in Stillwater would make Boise State the favorite to earn a New Year’s Six bowl. Nobody truly knows if Oklahoma State is any good or will end up being a four-loss team.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/boise-state-broncos-vs-oklahoma-state-cowboys-preview-and-predictions/304118/

Ohio State vs. TCU — Thought it was a typo — Ohio State is actually playing a tough team outside Columbus, Ohio. Yes, they really are playing the Horned Frogs. Guessing Urban Meyer’s faulty memory is at play — he probably said “schedule VCU” and didn’t realize that school doesn’t field a program, just a club team.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/ohio-state-buckeyes-vs-texas-christian-horned-frogs-preview-and-predictions/304121/

Alabama at Ole Miss — Nick Saban says the real season starts when his powerful Alabama squad opens SEC play against Ole Miss. Makes me wonder why the SEC doesn’t play nine conference games if the nonconference games aren’t “real.” And yeah, makes me laugh even more that The Citadel is on the schedule in November.

https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/alabama-crimson-tide-vs-mississippi-rebels-preview-and-predictions/304408/

Washington at Utah — The Huskies scored 10 points in the final 58 seconds to steal last season’s game against the Utes. That was the game when Kyle Whittingham displayed that your local pharmacist might be better at clock management than him. Utah is just 1-10 all-time against Washington.

http://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories?storyId=17974

Kent State at Penn State — The coach at Kent State is 32 years old. Youngest in FBS. That is the only thing remotely interesting about this matchup. The 40-point win will create more happiness in Happy Valley.

http://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories?storyId=17958

We received a spectacular Super Bowl to enjoy and the ending was even better.

We saw Tom Brady and Bill Belichick walking off the field as losers.

Oh yeah, if a “football expert” tells you a guy can’t play, just assume that he actually can.

On a day when not much defense was played, it was a huge strip-sack by Philadelphia defensive end Brandon Graham that was the biggest play as the Eagles recorded a 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.

Now we only hope that the city of Philadelphia still exists once the celebrating ends — or at least dies down.

The title is the Eagles’ first since 1960 — before the Super Bowl era — and quarterback Nick Foles gets to go through the rest of his life as a Super Bowl hero and Philadelphia sports legend.

Foles — you know, the guy that can’t play — was named Super Bowl MVP after passing for 373 yards and three touchdowns and also CATCHING one.

Remember that infamous time when Brady’s supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen, complained that her husband can’t throw and catch the ball?

Wow, did she turn out right.

Brady dropped a big gainer when he went out for a pass in the right flat. So point made — he can’t both throw and catch.

But Foles can as he caught a scoring pass from tight end Trey Burton on a play that was superbly designed by the Philadelphia offensive coaches. It even included Foles wandering to his right guard and right tackle as if he is about to audible or adjust a blocking call as the ball gets snapped to running back Corey Clement who pitches it to Burton, who expertly hits Foles for the score.

That play will be the signature moment of the Eagles’ victory as time goes on. But the most important one was Graham forcing Brady to fumble with 2:09 left. That allowed the Eagles to kill time and tack on a field goal with 58 seconds left to leave Brady a lot less time to operate.

The Patriots helped out by calling for a poorly devised kickoff reverse that cost them both yards and time. And eventually Brady’s final last-second heave into the end zone came up empty and it seemed like 90 percent of the nation was happy.

Of course, we couldn’t get through the Super Bowl without some controversial ‘Is that a catch?’ moments and both went the way of the Eagles — one involving Clement and the other being the go-ahead score to tight end Zach Ertz with 2:21 left.

But the right team won this game, no question about that.

If you recall, the Eagles’ chances of winning a Super Bowl ended when star quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury. The football experts — a term that should be used loosely as ever — said no way a guy like Foles could guide a team to a Super Bowl.

But there was Foles competing with Brady (503 yards, three touchdowns) and coming up with the clutch throws and displaying incredible poise.

Hey football experts, there is a reason why they play the games. And there is also a reason why most regular people around the country have little regard for “experts.”

So the Eagles are Super Bowl champions and now we wonder what happens to the Patriots. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is off to coach the Detroit Lions, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is expected to become coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Brady will turn 41 before next season starts.

Bill Belichick, who turns 66 in April, doesn’t seem like a guy who wants to go through breaking in a new quarterback. So let’s say Brady plays two more seasons, I say Belichick coaches two more seasons.

If Brady plays just one more, I say Belichick coaches just one more.

So we are close to the end of the Patriots’ dynasty and that can only come as great news to most of the nation. New England has won five Super Bowl crowns in the Belichick/Brady era but the franchise is strongly disliked by outsiders.

That is kind of what makes Sunday’s outcome so delightful — a journeyman like Foles shot down the big bad Patriots and shut the mouths of the annoying experts.

Super day indeed.

So I haven’t done Weekly Links in a while but the night before Thanksgiving seems like a perfect time.

It is a little bit foggy outside and I sure have no interest in hitting up any retail stores that think “Black Friday” started two, three or four days before FRIDAY.

Plus, it is also a good time to talk about turkeys.

Oh, I think I spelled Chargers wrong … um, yeah, turkeys equal Chargers.

You can upgrade that to buffoon if we bring Dean Spanos into the conversation.

But bad news for all San Diegans, I see the Turkeys defeating the Dallas Cowboys in their first Thanksgiving game since 1969.

People knew Dallas would miss Ezekiel Elliott during his girl-punching (allegedly) suspension but it appears that the team’s true MVP is left tackle Tyron Smith. The Cowboys have allowed 12 sacks during his two-game injury absence and Smith might sit out Thursday too.

Since you can’t double-team both Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, common sense dictates that Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott will be running for his life a few times.

Don’t tell anyone I picked the Chargers … of course, the proof is in the stellar preview: https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/-chargers-vs-cowboys-preview-and-predictions/220578/

 

I had one goal when I got the national preview assignment for the Apple Cup showdown and that was this: To get into print that Washington State and Washington played to a 5-5 tie in 1900.

No typos there … a 5-5 football game. Now that is crazy.

Of course, I’m the same guy who covered the first 11-10 score in NFL history in 2008 when the Pittsburgh Steelers kicked a late field to defeat the Chargers.

But who has ever seen a 5-5 football score?

Funny thing about this game is that it is Washington State playing for a berth in the Pac-12 title game. Washington can only be spoilers. If the Huskies win, Stanford gets the berth.

That means Washington is currently only the third-best team in its division and fourth best overall in the Pac-12. And coach Chris Peterson is getting a bit touchy that some people aren’t thrilled that the very well-paid coach isn’t going to have his team in the conference title game.

But there was a moment in a press conference this week that defies all logic and it pertained to the Huskies scoring 10 points in the final minute to defeat Utah.

Q: Was that finish Saturday as exciting a finish as you’ve been a part of?

ME: Apparently, the media person never heard of the Fiesta Bowl between Boise State and Oklahoma.

Wow … here is the stellar preview:    http://www.espn.com/ncf/preview/_/id/400935330

 

The Iron Bowl is Saturday and Auburn needs a victory over Alabama to keep alive its College Football Playoff hopes.

Seems odd that a two-loss team can still have an opportunity to be one of the last four teams standing but there are different rules for SEC teams than the other leagues.

Kind of like nobody wants to make SEC commissioner Craig Sankey mad in case they want to take an athletic director’s job at an SEC school sometime. Or risk receiving a phone call from an irate Nick Saban.

The Tigers are currently No. 6 and if they beat Saban’s Crimson Tide, they would face No. 7 Georgia (one loss) in the SEC title game. You can kind of see what is on the horizon.

An Auburn win in the SEC title game gets the Tigers in as the No. 4 seed in the CFP. And a Georgia win just may get the Bulldogs in at No. 4 because then they split two games with Auburn.

That means the loser of the ACC title game between Clemson and Miami is in line to get shafted. So is Wisconsin unless it is 13-0. Being 12-1 with the loss to Ohio State isn’t going to do it for the Badgers.

Anyway, Alabama and Auburn should be a good game and here is the stellar preview: https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/-alabama-vs-auburn-preview-and-predictions/220799/

 

Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox squared off for the first time as NBA players on Wednesday night and their matchup was a draw.

Fox got to walk off the floor with a smile as the Sacramento Kings posted a 113-102 victory over Ball’s Los Angeles Lakers. But the statistical matchup favored Ball.

Ball had 11 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds and four turnovers, while Fox had 13 points, three assists and five turnovers.

Their first matchup received a lot of attention because of the way Fox terrorized Ball in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament last March when he scored a career-best 39 points. That performance paved the way for Fox to rise all the way up to the fifth overall pick. Ball, of course, was selected second.

I have a sneaky suspicion that Fox will be the better NBA player. Check back with me in 2023.

Anyway, this was the stellar preview that was published before the game was played: https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/basketball/NBA/-lakers-vs-kings-preview-and-predictions/220583/

 

Can’t do a weekly links without this quick mention. Kansas is playing Oakland on Friday — that’s the Golden Grizzlies, not the Raiders — and a player named Jalen Hayes will be making his season debut for Oakland.

You see, Hayes received a four-game academic suspension from the NCAA for not making “satisfactory progress toward a degree” after he received a 2.5 in a class in his major last spring when Oakland requires a 2.8.

Oh, but Hayes is slated to graduate in December. Sounds like he is making a lot of progress toward his degree, doesn’t it?

But the same group of people who closed their eyes to academic fraud at North Carolina — a money-making school — penalized the star player from a lower-echelon university. Quite the joke — and count Kansas coach Bill Self among the folks who think the situation was poorly handled.

“They get him back,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said of Hayes. “He was ineligible the first four games for a screwy academic rule.”

Screwy academic rule says it all. Thanks, Coach.

Here is the stellar preview:    https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/basketball/ncaab/oakland-vs-kansas-preview-and-predictions/220737/

Well, hey, Weekly Links is making a surprise appearance. So busy with the paid work this time of year that it is hard to fit in free ventures (sure hope you don’t think I am making millions on my cozy website!)

So here goes … a little baseball, a little more NFL and a little college football. Sorry, not posting NBA as the preview shelf life is limited and who knows where you might end up after you click.

 

The World Series starts on Tuesday and the main storyline will revolve around perhaps the greatest pitcher of this era.

But as we all know, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw hasn’t stood up well under the playoff pressure during his career.

So will be it regular season Kershaw or “Postseason Kershaw” when the Dodgers play in the World Series for the first time since 1988?

Kershaw was seven months old and sleeping in a crib the last time the Dodgers were part of the Fall Classic.

How long has it been since the Dodgers played in the World Series? Well, consider the San Diego Padres’ drought was 10 years shorter.

That’s pretty sad when you consider all the money the Dodgers spend.

But this is their time with a team that won 104 regular-season games … and they definitely need “Regular Season Kershaw” taking the mound … see stellar story here — http://hosted.stats.com/mlb/story.asp?i=20171020172054085065710&ref=rec&tm=&src=MLB

 

Tom Brady might get the most praise but I feel Aaron Rodgers is the most “valuable” quarterback in the NFL.

We start to see if that is assessment is correct when the Green Bay Packers host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Rodgers is out for at least eight weeks due to a broken collarbone and former UCLA star Brett Hundley will start in his place. Hundley has excelled in each of the past three preseasons but he wasn’t so hot when replacing Rodgers last Sunday as he threw three interceptions in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Hundley is a stellar athlete so it will be interesting to see how he fares. But no matter how he performs, we know this: He’s no Aaron Rodgers.

Here is the stellar preview — http://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/saints-vs-packers-preview-and-predictions/212295/

 

It was pretty fun to have the Week 1 assignment when the Chargers and Broncos played in Denver.

It was even more entertaining to watch the Chargers have their game-tying field-goal attempt blocked in the final seconds.

The Chargers lost their first four games after relocating from San Diego and their running defense is so poor that I’m thinking Terrell Davis could suit up this Sunday and threaten the 100-yard mark.

The Broncos haven’t played well lately — what a gag job that was against the woeful New York Giants last Sunday night — so that unfortunately means the Chargers have a chance to win a third straight game.

Sure don’t want that … seeing the Chargers fall to 2-5 and on the way to their consecutive double-digit loss season would be much more fun.

Here is the stellar preview — http://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/nfl/broncos-vs-chargers-preview-and-predictions/212300/

 

I’ve been kind of wondering why we have to continue playing the college football season and having all this debate about which four teams should be part of the College Football Playoff.

Can you find three teams in the nation that can beat Alabama? How about two? OK, one?

Penn State, Georgia and TCU are the teams ranked 2, 3 and 4. How about we take the best players off those three teams and see if they can give Alabama a game?

None of those three teams will win the national championship. The list of teams that can ends at one: Alabama.

The Crimson Tide get to pound Tennessee this Saturday. Apparently, people around Tennessee have finally figured out Butch Jones isn’t an SEC-caliber coach. Things could really get ugly against the Crimson Tide.

Here is the stellar preview — http://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/-tennessee-vs-alabama-preview-and-predictions/212112/

Monday is that dreaded night for San Diegans who vociferously supported the Chargers for the past 56 seasons.

Friday was the rough day for me because I happened to draw the preview assignment for the Chargers’ opener against the Denver Broncos on Monday night.

I took that vow of journalistic objectivity a quarter century ago and play no favorites – or enemies – when being paid to produce work. Whatever needs to be written is done so and always in a professional manner.

But this preview was a different assignment in many ways.

It is the Chargers’ first game since abandoning a city that cheered them unconditionally, never more evident than the night 75,000 people filled the stadium on a Sunday night to welcome the team home after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.

It is the same city that was treated rudely by Dean Spanos the past few years, never more so than 2016 when the club had to play in San Diego because NFL owners didn’t vote for the team’s Los Angeles relocation proposal. Spanos was crushed not to gain approval and imagine all the fake at-chance conversations he had with fans of the team he encountered (you know, on the days he actually wasn’t afraid to leave his La Jolla house).

So when it came to the sentence that needed to be written in the preview, I swallowed hard and said it in the proper journalistic way even though the most honest way would have been to write that “spineless Dean Spanos picked up his longtime squad of losers and will now mis-manage it in smoggy Los Angeles, where they don’t even care about his miserable organization.”

Instead, the professional way won out and rings out soundly as the wording reminds the reader of the travesty without bordering on a cheap shot … “while the Chargers play their initial game since unceremoniously ditching San Diego after 56 seasons.”

Read the stellar preview here: http://sltrib.sportsdirectinc.com/football/nfl-preview.aspx?page=/data/NFL/matchups/g1_preview_44.html

I went to dozens of Chargers’ games as a kid and later covered the team as a professional for seven seasons. Once you cover a team and are around that type of nonsense – lots of petty things that fans don’t see and can’t wrap their heads around – you really could care less about the team.

But yeah, remember last September when I said the Chargers would lose to the Cleveland Browns? And they came through in December when they visited Cleveland, being the ONLY NFL team to lose to the horrific Browns.

That is the memory that sticks with me as Spineless Spanos took his sorry team to Smogville. Losing to the truly lousy Browns.

Spanos failed to land a new stadium, he signed off on the move to hire Norv Turner as coach, he was fired up about the drafting of Ryan Leaf, and he promoted his own kids to top-level positions in the organization to run it for basically the next 30-to-40 years.

Who wants a guy like that polluting the San Diego sports scene any longer?

So instead of ignoring the Chargers on Monday night, I will turn on the game because it will be fun to see the Chargers do what they do best: Come up short just like their so-called leader.

Dang, imagine if I could write THAT type of stuff in the preview.