Alabama. No, this is not about the cakewalk FCS win. This is about the carnage around the Tide heading into the final weekend of the regular season. For those of us who wrote of Bama and Saban in terms of the playoff, well, the King is dead, long live the King.
The 5-at-10 picks. No-Pay November who knew all we needed was a catch phrase to catch fire. College picks went 7-2, which made us 9-3 last week — MACtion — and pushes us to 53-43-2. The NFL picks were 2-2 with the Ravens at minus-2.5 (bought the half, and that line's from last week) on the board tonight.
San Francisco. The 49ers welcomed a Packers bunch coming off a bye and D-stroyed them with a defensive effort that leaves little doubt that San Fran is for real. Pats-49ers Super Bowl over/under 17.5.
Luka Doncic. Wow, that foreign dude can hoop. He's second in the NBA in scoring and second in the NBA in assists.
Patriots. Yes, they could be here almost every week. They are the Patriots, and you can easily say that the Cowboys lost Sunday's centerpiece game as much as the Pats won it. But look at the consistent greatness of Belichick and dem boys. This is the 17th consecutive season with 10 or more wins. Read that again and realize that we will never see consistency like this ever again in the NFL.
Bonus pick: How bout Frank Gore? Yes, Frank Gore, who passed Barry Sanders for third all-time in rushing Sunday. Gore trails only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton.
Bonus pick II: Your Tennessee Vols, who clinched a bowl bid with Saturday night's win at Missouri. Gang, these Vols have morphed from a team that lost to Georgia State to a team that is a three-TD favorite Saturday vs. Vandy to go 7-5. And as Weeds notes here, the future looks much more promising than even the most cheery UT backer could have believed.
Bonus pick III: Charlotte head coach and former Boyd-Buchanan QB Will Healy and his 49ers clinched bowl eligibility by upsetting Marshall on Saturday. Kudos Coach, who has been quite kind with his time for us on Press Row the last few weeks.
Dallas. Jason Garrett, Mr. Jones would like a word.
Speaking of NFC East stinkiness, uh, Carson Wentz, what was that?
Your Atlanta Falcons. Dear Lord, that was terrible. And did anyone notice how many die-hard Falcons fans were dressed as red seats? Wasn't Halloween last month?
Oregon. Ouch-standing. And there are a lot of Johnny Ducks Fans who love the bone-structure Mario Cristobal has crafted in Eugene but loathe his in-game decision making in big spots.
Mason Rudolph. He was benched for being really bad against a really bad Bengals bunch. Forget the accusations made by Myles Garrett against the Steelers QB, the dude is struggling so much the Steelers likely will be in the QB market sooner rather than later. He threw four picks against Garrett and the Browns last week before the brawl at the end overshadowed everything. He was benched Sunday after going 8-for-16 for 85 yards and a pick in the red zone.
No, this is not about how much better the Lakers are than any of us could have guessed. Or how much better Luka is than even thought. Or even how awkward the fit with Russell Westbrook and James Harden trying to play with only one ball has become.
No, this was the eye-popping announcement of the NBA and the players union considering some significant schedule changes.
Here were some of the possibilities:
> Fewer regular-season games (from 82 to 78);
> Reseeding the four conference finalists based on regular-season record;
> An in-season tournament for compensation;
> A postseason play-in tournament in which seeds 7-through-10 play four-team tourneys for the final two playoff spots in each conference.
Wow. You can understand most of the changes, especially the need to juggle the conference finals to make sure the best two teams are playing in the Finals. In truth, with the cost of showing championship games and series, you can bet that the other sports folks are watching to see how this plays out.
No sport wants its best game/series to be a semifinal rather than a championship.
(Side note: Not sure why the NBA released this on a monster football weekend. This could have owned a slower news cycle.)
Not sure if this is going to pass or what it may lead to, but I am all for these leagues trying to seek out ways to be better products for the viewers and consumers.
This and that
— Deontay Wilder could have made the winner's list, too. Dude was losing for much of his heavyweight title against Luis Ortiz before landing a monster right that KO-ed his opponent in the seventh round Saturday night.
— Braves added another piece, signing catcher Travis d'Arnaud to a two-year, $16 million deal.
— Tyler Duncan won the PGA Tour event at St. Simon's Island. He got a lot of money. Baylor School grad Keith Mitchell finished tied for 14th and made $110,550. That, too, is a lot of money. Luke List tied for 53rd ($15,494).
— Enjoyed this story on the 30th birthday of the Reebok Pump sneaker. I thought those shoes were awesome back in the day, friends.
Weekend winners and losers.
On this day, Nov. 25, 40 years ago, Pat Summerall and John Madden did a game together for the first time.
We've done the best sports broadcasters who were former players. So let's do the best announcers who were coaches, because Madden is far left, right? (Also, we think if he ever wanted to do it, Saban would be so money in that role. Who else currently coaching would be Madden-esque?)