Vegas. Trust me on this. Huge public favorites in Green Bay and New England were thrashed. The college juggernauts/covering machines that have been LSU and THE Ohio State were idle. Plus, there's this extra tidbit: All of the players who bet the prop bets for New England to go perfect and Miami to go perfectly imperfect, tore up those tickets. How big is that, according to David Purdum of ESPN, of the 148 bets on the Pats prop at SuperBookUSA, 143 were on 'Yes.' CHA-Ching.
Kirby Smart. Hey, Kirby was going to make this list one way or the other, right? Either in the first section or the second. (Could say the same about his QB too, but I think there was more pressure on Kirby than just about anyone still employed in college football last weekend.) The Bulldogs were physical. They dictated play. Defensively, they were salty and looked like the five-star-laden roster we know them to be. Simply put, the Bulldogs were ready to play and Kirby made sure of it. (Side note: While we are here, if your entertainment broker lets you wet your beak a couple of weeks out, put the house on the Dawgs vs. Auburn. Seriously. Get that booger before the line starts to climb, and believe you me, it will. Right now, it's Georgia minus-less-than-a-FG. That's a gift friends.) Here's more from TFP college football guru David Paschall.
MMA and Jorge Masvidal. Masvidal whipped Nate Diaz in a one-sided fight for the coveted — and completely awesome (and made-up) — "Baddest Mother (Bleeper)" title belt. He is a bad dude and he's the kind of lightning-rod star individual sports like MMA and golf and auto racing need. If his next fight is with Conor McGregor, look out and let's rewrite the MMA pay-per-view records.
Everything Ravens last night. Wow. Lamar Jackson was the best player on the field, even with the best cover corner, the best interior linebacker, and the most accomplished quarterback ever on the other sideline. Jackson's demolition of the Patriots made him the youngest QB to beat Bill Belichick since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004; it ended a run of 21 straight games in which a Belichick defense has toppled a first- or second-year QB. It also opens up the conversation about whether Jackson — and Baltimore coach John Harbaugh's faith to turn the offense over to a run-first QB — will be the Bill Walsh-moment for philosophical overhaul and acceptance to offense in the NFL.
Bonus pick: Cincinnati Bengals. Hey, the Bengals took a giant step forward in the Tank for Tua race by being idle. Jets over Dolphins. Who knew?
Bonus pick, II: Everything Nationals baseball. The celebration in Washington was awesome and Brian Dozier was living his best life — up to and including uttering the universal grown man realization that he had two too many CoColas. "My wife is going to kill me." Also of note: If you are in the 'where's the loyalty' from the players camp after Stephen Strasburg opted out of a $100-million deal for more money on the free agent market, then ask the Nationals why they did not pick up the option on Ryan Zimmerman, who was the franchise's first first-round pick.
Bonus pick III: The Lakers. Wow, after the opening loss to the Clippers, the LeBrakers are now 5-1 after James' triple-double pushed them by San Antonio on Sunday.
NBA TV schedulers. Speaking of the LeBrakers, and maybe this is personal preference, but how is a Sunday evening game between the Lakers and Spurs not on TV somewhere. Every Lakers game that starts before 10 p.m. should be on TV somewhere. Period, end of chat.
Bears offense. I wish I was making this stat up. Chicago averaged 16 inches per snap in the first half in Sunday's loss to Philadelphia. Not to pile on and be the 12th million person to note it, but now feels like the time to remind everyone that Chicago moved up in the draft to take Mitchell Trubisky ahead of a couple of dudes named Mahomes and Watson. Bears coach Matt Nagy is in a terrible spot: He plays Trubisky and he loses a locker room built around a defense that is good enough to win now; make a change and go with Chase Daniel, who may give the Bears a better chance to win, and lose your 'franchise' quarterback. (Side note: If there was a good thing, it was all of the NFC North lost, including the Packers, who looked wicked overconfident in the egg they laid in L.A.)
Everything involved with the Browns right now. Oh my, there are raging fires in commercial trash containers looking at Cleveland and gasping, "Wow, what a dumpster fire." Overmatched head coach. A quarterback struggling with the place between swagger and carelessness. A couple of wide receivers who were forced to change 'non-conforming' shoes by the NFL during a game or be forced to sit out. Letting Brandon Allen look better in his first NFL start than he did in his last five at Arkansas. And then there's the entire deal with Jermaine Whitehead, a former Auburn standout who is a strong safety nicknamed Peanut. His story — undrafted, work through practice squads, finds a starting spot in the NFL — is admirable. His reaction to criticism on Twitter Sunday after a disastrous game that included missing a tackle on TE Noah Fant 75-yard TD that was downright disastrous. How bad? His Twitter account was suspended before he left the locker room because he answered criticisms about his play with threats of violence and calling people 'cracker.' (Breaking news: Whitehead was released Monday morning.)
Loyal readers looking for college hoops conversation today, and the 5-at-10 for disappointing you. Meant to have some in Friday's mailbag; had intentions of doing some today. We will be locked and loaded with some hoops preview Tuesday. Deal? Deal.
OK, we mentioned the Lamar Jackson revolution, and we all know that football is a cyclical sport.
(Side note: Is there anyway to copyright video game references when Lamar is being described? Cheat code. Video-game Numbers. Dude is crushing it right now, but let's be more creative in our descriptions. And while we are talking about football and video games, when will NFL coaches down by two scores realize that you take the field goal first and leave yourself more than 90 seconds and try the onside kick rather than the other way around? Ask any 14-year-old who has a Madden handle to explain it to you. Seriously.)
As for football, everyone will look for the next Jackson and that's hardly surprising. In fact, it's predictable. When the wishbone became the range, everyone was rushing to Tuscaloosa to learn how to run.
Well, there are some ground-breaking and trends becoming very evident in terms of long-standing accepted tradition in terms of coaching.
There was a time when a contract was the length of time a head coach got.
That time is as dated as the T-Rex. Or the T-Rex Ryan.
Look at the NFL. Midway through a disastrous first season in Cleveland and New York, Freddie Kitchens and Adam Gase are in dire straights right now.
This started a year ago, when Steve Somebody was fired after one season in Arizona. In fact, if I had to bet, I'd say that Kitchens for sure is going to be one-and-done considering how poorly they are managed and prepared and how badly they operate with a great collection of skill-position talent.
Gase? Well, as bad as Sunday's loss to the Dolphins was, the dysfunction of the Jets entire organization with the series of events of hiring a coach, letting the former GM make the personnel moves then firing said GM and leaving Gase with a collection of players that do not fit his system. (Odds still have him getting whacked, if I had to guess though.)
That leads us to college.
FSU sacked Willie Taggert on Sunday. It comes after a disastrous Saturday loss to Miami.
How bad as FSU been against teams it used to compete with/at times dominate under Tagger? Check these numbers:
Miami 2018: blew 20 point lead; Clemson 2018: lost by 49 at home; Florida 2018: lost by 26 at home; Clemson 2019: lost by 31; Miami 2019: lost by 17 at home.
Taggert was midway through season two. Yes, season two. And a state-supported university is now paying Taggert $17 million not to coach. (He finished 9-12 through 21 games; Bobby Bowden had a stretch of 111 games in which he lost all of 11 times.)
Debate that all you want, but I have long said two things: Power programs can afford buyouts more than they can afford being bad at football. That's what got Gene Chizik sacked two years after winning a Natty. Secondly, I think there is a time and a place where you just know if the guy you got is never going to be the guy to do it, right?
So, while 50 is the new 35 in our age of aging with grace and a pocket full of rationalizations, two years in college coaching circles is the new five.
Which brings Arkansas football. The Razorbacks got housed by Mississippi State on Saturday — a very pedestrian Mississippi State team that is no better than the 12th-best team in the SEC, by the way — and the images of what appeared to be a barely half-full stadium are the things that get coaches fired.
If Taggert got got on Sunday — which allows FSU to start kicking tires now on bona fide replacements — how much longer before Arkansas coach Chad Morris gets a similar sit down?
This and that
— Solid win for Jeremy Pruitt and the boys Saturday in Knoxville. Yes, UT haters will say "It's only UAB." To that, I counter, well, it was only Georgia State, and at least Pruitt did not make the same mistake twice. Here's more from the TFP tandem of Gene of Many Hats Henley and Mark Wiedmer.
— Here's a story on a high school football coach in the Northeast getting suspended for 'running up the score.' Yes, I clicked on it expecting that the finals was going to be 156-2 or something. Final score: 61-13. Huh? Apparently that county in New York has a rule that if a team wins by 42 or more, the winning coach has some splainin' to do. Which is REEEEEd-diculous. Granted the winning coach played his starters well into the second half, but even the opposing coach did not have a problem with the outcome. Also of note: Vic Grider will never get a job in that county. So there's that.
— Speaking of gambling, mixed bag this weekend. College picks went 5-3 and after speaking with Will Healy on Friday on Press Row, I knew that MTSU was a losing side. (Side note: Healy is doing work. Dude is going to have Charlotte in a bowl game. Read that again.) College hits were UT minus-12, UGA minus-6.5, Memphis minus-5.5, Bowling Green minus-6 over the Akron Arths, and Indiana minus-11.5 over Northwestern; College misses were MTSU minus-3 and over 64 and Baylor last Thursday. NFL hits were Texans minus-2 and Bills-Redskins under 38; NFL misses were Colts even vs. Steelers (yes, sometimes the difference between 40 percent and 60 percent is the best kicker ever missing a 43-yard field-goal try in the waning seconds of a 26-24 loss), and the public train crashes that were the Packers and the Patriots getting worked as 3-point road favorites. We're now 33-34-2 (49.3 percent) against the number in college and 35-23-2 (61.4 percent) in the NFL. Total that's 68-57-4 (54.4 percent), which is only slightly entertaining when you factor in the entertainment brokerage fee.
— OK, friends, we do this occasionally, and we know that you can't just ask, you have to offer to pitch in too. We are always open to interesting TV binge-viewing options. Well, we are neck-deep in "The Godfather of Harlem" with Forest Whitaker on Epix is excellent.
— This is a dreadful personal foul call friends. Yes, I am exhausted about all the complaining about officiating too, but some of these are downright REEEEEEEE-diculous.
— TFP ace sports columnist Mark Wiedmer was a contender for winning the weekend. Dude has a touch like Kyle Macy and verbal charisma that make typewriters swoon. After a very good effort from Saturday's UT win in Sunday's paper, Weeds penned this gem on on the McCallie cross country bunch. Kudos — to them and to Weeds.
— We have a capitalism theory question on this one. That's the story of a Minnesota college student who would drive 270 miles roundtrip to a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts shop in Iowa, take the hundreds of boxes back with him and resell them for $17-$20 per box. Krispy Kreme has sent a cease letter to the young entrepreneur. If anything, KK should send this dude a finder's fee for the intel that a KK somewhere in Minnesota is going to be profitable, right?
— Army football is reeling — one of the many predictions on which I have whiffed this season — and now they are blocking Air Force on Twitter. Seriously.
We'll ask it again, any white people out there upset at being called a 'cracker' these days? Just wondering. Does 'honkey' offend? Again, just curious.
Weekend winners and losers Go.
On this day, Barack Obama was elected president 11 years ago.
On this day 18 years ago, the first Harry Potter movie debuted.
Also, Matthew McConaughey is 50 today. Rushmore of McConaughey movies. Go.