NFL Pick 'Em, Week 12: Inadvertent Whistle Edition: The NFL week begins on Thanksgiving with three games in one day -- something our forefathers only could dream about. Philadelphia visits Detroit, Carolina visits Dallas and Chicago visits Green Bay. In our competition, Tommytrump continues to lead the rest of us turkeys. Make your picks, lock your lock and don't bogart the gravy bowl.
College Football Belt Backlog: The definitive (I believe) trail from Rutgers-Princeton 1869 to Nebraska-Alabama 1972, this proves that the College Football Belt site starts with the right team. This is how bored I was at work today. Starting at the first recognized college football game (Rutgers vs. Princeton, November 6th, 1869) and using the nearly complete records on SportsReference.com, I traced the lineal College Football Belt through the 1972 Orange Bowl, after which point the good people at College Football Belt start up.
Baylor Takes College Football Belt from Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State didn't hold on long to the College Football Belt, the sport's always-on-the-field championship game. In their second defense, the Cowboys lost 45-35 to the Baylor Bears, who hadn't won in Stillwater since 1939. Third-string quarterback Chris Johnson came off the bench and contributed two long TD passes and a TD run with under 3 minutes left. This is the fifth time the Bears have hoisted the Belt. They play at TCU and home against Texas to finish the regular season.
Jacksonville: The Happiest 4-6 Fans in the NFL: The Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Tennessee Titans 19-13 Thursday night, the third win in four games for the woebegone franchise. Blake Bortles and the offense went nowhere until 4:13 remained in the fourth, when fresh-off-the-IR rookie Rashad Greene ran a punt 63 yards to the 5 and set up the first Jaguars touchdown. A sack of Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota as time expired secured the win.
Bill Belichick Refuses to Be NFL's Fashion Model: NFL coaches in recent weeks have been wearing military-drab versions of team gear, complete with camouflage and muted logos that are for sale in the NFL Shop in a Salute to Service (But Mostly Commerce!). One NFL coach isn't playing along. New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick hasn't even worn a military version of his Hoodie.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week 11: Nobody Knows Anything Edition: The NFL week begins Thursday night as the Tennessee Titans visit the Jacksonville Jaguars for another Nike Color Rush uni-palooza. Tommytrump continues to lead our contest after a week in which three of us scored 0 points! Make your picks, lock your lock and do the opposite of what you did last week.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week 10: David Tyree Edition: This week's NFL games kick off Thursday with Buffalo visiting the New York Football Jets. On Sunday, undefeated New England plays the team that kills its dreams, the New York Football Giants. Tommytrump leads the SportsFilter league by 10. Make your picks, lock your lock and don't knock out your brother at a Cowboys game.
Racism Between the Goal Posts: New research finds black quarterbacks are benched far more often than their white counterparts. "Volz found that, once all the variables were factored in, "black starting quarterbacks are 1.98 to 2.46 times more likely to be benched the next week [after a poor performance]" than white quarterbacks with approximately equivalent skills."
Colts Out of Luck as QB Suffers Lacerated Kidney: During Sunday's win over the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck suffered a lacerated kidney and partial abdominal muscle tear, injuries that won't require surgery but will keep him out as many as six weeks. USA Today scribe Lindsay H. Jones blames Colts GM Ryan Grigson for Luck taking a beating this season behind a poor offensive line. "Long-term, Grigson can't keep living this dangerously with his quarterback," Jones fulminates.
Oklahoma State Takes College Football Belt From TCU: After 371 days, the College Football Belt has changed hands. Oklahoma State defeated TCU 49-29 Saturday night, ending the Horned Frogs' title reign after 14 consecutive victories. Both teams were undefeated leading into their sport's real championship game, which has been decided on the field since 1972. The Cowboys have twice been the Belt holder, for two games in 2008 and one in 2013. They visit Iowa State next week, then play at home against Baylor and Oklahoma. TCU's 14-game run was the longest for a champion since Miami's 32 straight from 2000 to 2003.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week Nine: Blaine Gabbert Edition: Week nine of the NFL season begins Thursday night with Cleveland going on the road against Cincinnati in the battle of Ohio. On Sunday, 6-2 Atlanta visits 2-6 San Francisco and the hometown heroes start Blaine Gabbert at QB and bench Colin Kaepernick. In our SportsFilter Pick 'Em, Tommytrump takes an eight-point lead as we near the halfway mark. Make your picks, lock your lock and watch out for errant Gabbert passes.
Titans Fire Ken Whisenhunt, Make Mike Mularkey Interim Coach: The Tennessee Titans have fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt. He was 3-20 leading the team, which has begun this season 1-6. The team's defense has improved to 5th this season after being 27th last year, but the offense has been abysmal, scoring one touchdown and 13 points the past nine quarters. "There's not much I can say," he told reporters after Sunday's loss. Former Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey becomes the interim head coach.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week Eight: Waitin' All Week for Sunday Night: We're nearing the halfway point in the regular season and the NFL Pick 'Em contest. The eighth week begins with the suddenly feisty Miami Dolphins going to New England on Thursday night. London draws another sub-par American export as 2-5 San Diego faces 1-6 Detroit. On Sunday night, Green Bay visits Denver for only the fourth meeting of 6-0 (or better) teams in NFL history. Make your picks and lock your lock.
Al Golden Out at Miami: After suffering the worst loss in school history, the University of Miami has relieved head coach Al Golden of duties, effective immediately.
Chargers Will Apply to Move to L.A.: The San Diego Chargers have declared their intention to relocate to Los Angeles for the 2016 season, expressly to get the jump on a potential Raiders or Rams move.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week Seven: Don't Snap It, Griff Edition: The seventh week of the NFL season begins Thursday when Seattle battles San Francisco for the chance to fall to 2-5. On Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, Buffalo and Jacksonville give London the NFL's version of West Brom vs. Sunderland. Pick this week's winners, the spread and up to one lead pipe lock, May all your gates be swinging.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week 6: Mike Tomlin/Tom Osborne Edition: Week six of the NFL season starts Thursday night when Atlanta takes its 5-0 record to New Orleans, but the most anticipated game of the weekend has to be Sunday night when Tom Brady and the 4-0 New England Patriots go to Indianapolis with a chance to deflate the 3-2 Colts. Pick the winners and spreads with one optional stone cold lead pipe lock.
Matthew Stafford: the $53m mistake costing the Detroit Lions dearly: The former No1 overall pick has been in decline for years, and has wasted his access to a strong defense and one of the game’s great receivers. Stafford is destined to replace Scott Mitchell in the hearts of Lions fans everywhere, if he hasn't already.
Tom Brady Calls Coca Cola 'Poison for Kids': New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady called Coke "poison for kids" during a radio interview Monday. While defending his personal exercise and diet guru Alex Guerrero, who has been called a "glorified snake-oil salesman" in the media, Brady said, "You'll probably go out and drink Coca-Cola and think,'Oh yeah, that's no problem.' Why? Because they pay lots of money for advertisements to think that you should drink Coca-Cola for a living? No, I totally disagree with that. And when people do that, I think that's quackery. And the fact that they can sell that to kids? I mean, that's poison for kids. But they keep doing it." (Pepsi is the official soft drink of the NFL.)
The Hot Seat: The college football head coach carousel is starting to claim victims, with Maryland's Randy Edsall getting the boot after a 2-4 start (and losing that fourth one after it was already an open secret that he was gone), North Texas's Dan McCarney getting the boot after the worst FBS loss to an FCS team in history, Rutgers' Kyle Flood's three-game suspension probably going permanent at some point, and USC's Steve Sarkisian very likely gone pending a temporary leave of absence to deal with alcohol issues.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week 5: Batted Ball Edition: The fifth week of the NFL season sees Indianapolis in Houston for Thursday night action, four teams on bye and Joe Philbin updating his resume. Make your picks, including up to one stone cold lead pipe lock.
Miami Dolphins Fire Coach Joe Philbin: A 1-3 start was enough for the Miami Dolphins to decide they've had enough of head coach Joe Philbin. He was fired Monday after going 24-28 since taking over the team in 2012. The team ranks last in the NFL in rushing defense despite signing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh for six years and $114 million in free agency.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week 4: First-Place Jacksonville Edition: Week IV of the NFL season begins Thursday night with Baltimore looking for its first win at Pittsburgh against backup QB Michael Vick. Sunday games begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern as the New York Jets play Miami in London. Make your picks and select one stone cold lead pipe lock to win (or not).
NFL Source: 'No Doubt' Brady Will Sit 4 Games This Season: An NFL source told WFAN radio host Craig Carton "there’s no doubt in his mind" that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will serve a four-game suspension this season over DeflateGate after the league's court appeal is heard. The source was not named, but it rhymes with Codger Whosmell.
Ole Miss Fan's Jaw Broken After Win at Alabama: A 22-year-old Ole Miss fan leaving the team's 43-37 victory over Alabama was walking in downtown Tuscaloosa when he was punched by a Bama fan who broke his jaw in two places. A commenter claiming to have witnessed the incident said the fan, Ryan Moore, was drunk and saying taunting remarks until a man "turned around and walked back and stood right in front of Ryan and said something like ... you need to shut your mouth and hit him. It made a horrible breaking noise." Police are looking for the assailant, a man in his 30s who was walking with a woman and two children.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week 3: Indy's Bad Luck Edition: Week three of the NFL season begins Thursday night with Washington at New York Football Giants. Make your picks and select one stone cold lead pipe lock to win, if you dare. Results are being tabulated now.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week 2: Teddy Bridgewater Fail Mary Edition: This week's games begin Thursday night with Denver at Kansas City, so it's time to make your picks for a chance to win an official NFL game football signed by Roger Goodell or his successor (fingers crossed). NoMich is in first with 22 points, scoring 6 on a stone cold lead pipe lock of Carolina over Jacksonville by 10 (1 off the actual margin). Holden had the game of the week by picking Miami over Washington by 7 as a stone cold lead pipe lock (worth 9 points!). New players are welcome to join.
Eli Manning Told Running Back Not to Score: When the New York Giants had a first-and-4 with under two minutes remaining and a three-point lead over Dallas, Eli Manning told running back Rashad Jennings on consecutive plays not to score. "I thought that they may let us score to get the ball back, so that’s why I informed Rashad if they let you score, just go down at the 1-inch line. Don’t score," Manning said. "I was wrong on that." New York kicked a field goal but lost 27-26 on a Dallas touchdown in the final seconds.
Kent State's April Goss becomes 2nd woman to score in college game: “April deserved it,” Haynes said. “She is the first player out there every day at practice and the last one to leave. She didn’t get this because she is a female. It’s because she has worked hard. Everyone on the sideline was excited for her.”
Super Bowl Ditches Roman Numerals: Suspending an XLV-year tradition that I've been mocking for years by numbering the game in hexadecimal, the NFL has dropped the use of Roman numerals on this season's Super Bowl. There will be no Super Bowl L. Instead, Super Bowl 50 will be held on Feb. 7, 2016, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. But next year will be Super Bowl LI, the league says. Reaching 50 also is being marked by the new gold 50-yard line numbers.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week 1: Win One for the Duke: The NFL season starts Thursday, so it's time to channel your inner Norman Chad and make picks each week. Choose the winners of each game, the margin of victory and up to one stone cold lead pipe lock. The winner will receive a prize (details inside).
Who Has College Football's Biggest Home-Field Advantage?: From the Wall Street Journal: "The best college football programs typically have the most intimidating home environments. Few teams enjoy the experience of visiting venues such as Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium or Oregon's Autzen Stadium. But, according to one study, the biggest home-field advantage in college football belongs to a much less-heralded program: North Texas."
2 High School Players Intentionally Hit Referee: Two high school players in San Antonio, Texas, intentionally slammed into a referee during a play as the clock was running down Friday night. After a controversial call that enabled Marble Falls to run out the clock on a 15-9 victory, two Jay defensive backs struck the official -- one from behind and the other while he was down on the ground. Both players were ejected.
Surprise military reunions at NFL games reach peak Bullsh*t: one might wonder why no headline writer went with “Husband Surprises Military Wife At Her Job”
Federal Judge Tosses Brady's 4-Game NFL Suspension: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady won a court victory over the NFL as U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman nullified the league's four-game suspension Thursday morning. Berman said in the decision that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell exceeded his authority in the punishment. Brady will be eligible to play next week, though the NFL may appeal.
If You See Bart Starr at Brett Favre's Number Retirement Ceremony ...: ... it will be a special moment over a year in the making. The 81-year-old Starr suffered two strokes and a heart attack last year and often suffers from confusion, but his family says it has been a priority for him to be there on Thanksgiving night to stand alongside Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Favre delayed it a year to make Starr's attendance possible. "Now, we can't sit back and say, 'Dad, we're going to try to get you there,'" his son Bart Jr. said. "Every comment from us has to be along the lines of, 'Dad, we know you will make it there on Thanksgiving. We are certain of it.'"
Only 1 Game Apart, But Brady/NFL Negotiations Fail: Tom Brady was willing to serve a one-game suspension and the NFL was willing to accept two, Ian Rapoport of NFL.Com reports citing unnamed sources. But negotiations have failed, federal Judge Richard M. Berman announced, so he'll rule this week.
UNT Has Put 32 Football Walk-Ons On Scholarship in 4 Seasons: Since Dan McCarney became the head coach of the North Texas Mean Green in 2011, my alma mater has done one thing more often than any other in the FBS: Give scholarships to walk-ons. USA Today reports, "Along a wall inside the football program's offices is a display of 32 faces and names, all former or current North Texas players of varying success, from backup defensive backs through starting offensive linemen, each with a shared starting point: As a former walk-on who 'through effort and dedication,' the display reads, was awarded a scholarship." Those players have contributed 146 starts, nearly 400 tackles, 4,500 yards of total offense and 32 touchdowns.
Peyton Manning Has No Feeling In His Fingertips: Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning told Peter King of Sports Illustrated that he's had no feeling in the fingertips of his right hand for years. "I've talked to a doctor recently who said, 'Don't count on the feeling coming back.' It was hard for me for about two years, because one doctor told me I could wake up any morning and it might come back," Manning said. "So you wake up every day thinking, Today's the day! Then it's not."