In an instant classic, Alabama proved its dynasty is still strong with a comeback 26-23 win over Georgia in the College Football National Championship. ‘Bama was down 13-0 at intermission and trailed 20-7 midway through the second half.
Nick Saban benched starting QB Jalen Hurts for freshman Tua Tagovailoa, who more than delivered. The future of the program was 14-24 for 166 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. It culminated with this game-winning pass on 2nd and 26 after taking a 16-yard sack:
TRUE FRESHMAN TO TRUE FRESHMAN
BAMA WINS pic.twitter.com/3Jei32dMVn
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 9, 2018
President Donald Trump attended the first half of the game and was on the field for the national anthem ceremony:
The college football season is officially over. Now full focus on the NFL and the Eagles’ road to the Super Bowl.
The Phillies announced the replacement for Larry Andersen in the radio booth this season for road games, they’ll use a revolving door of Kevins:
Phillies hire Kevin Frandsen, Kevin Jordan and Kevin Stocker to their radio broadcast team. They will rotate working road games alongside Scott Franzke.
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) January 8, 2018
Coming off a miserable year in which posted a disturbing .230/.409/.690 slash line, the optimism and hype once surrounding Franco has been replaced with varying degrees of disappointment and disgust.
His inability to adapt to the frequently utilized game plan of opposing pitchers working him with off-speed stuff low, away, and often out of the strike zone, has earned him the reputation of an impatient and undisciplined hitter–one who either lacks the intelligence to understand how he’s being attacked, or, worse, the concern. Is either characterization fair for a 25-year-old who’s logged a relatively small sample of just over 1,600 plate appearances?
On the ice, the Flyers are back on the up-swing, winners of three straight heading into this bye week of sorts. The team is off from game-action until a Saturday night showdown against the New Jersey Devils.
Everything may be looking good for the Fly Guys, but Anthony SanFilippo wants you to take off those rose-colored glasses:
- There’s a long way to go. Forty games in fact. To say you are “feeling” close to the playoffs is a little disingenuous. A lot has to happen for the Flyers to be a playoff team. I’ll explain why after this short list.
- Not sure anyone suggested “blowing the team up” but there were several of us – and my hand is raised here too – who thought a coaching change could be in order. And frankly Jake, even when you guys are winning, there are systemic things that we see watching a game where we have to wonder what the heck is going on? Why do you sit back in your 1-2-2 trap with a one goal lead? If pressuring the puck and creating turnovers is how you got the lead to begin with, why not stick with it? Lineup decisions are troubling. The penalty kill is way too passive. There are myriad reasons to question the process and the implementation of strategy, even in wins.
Tyrell Goulbourne was sent down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms after his successful NHL debut.
Not only do the Flyers have a bye, the Sixers have somewhat of a respite from game action as they try to get acclimated to a new time zone. The team flew to London last night to prepare for its Thursday afternoon battle against the Boston Celtics. CB’s Sixers reporter Kevin Kinkead was at the team’s last stateside practice before boarding the plane.
His Markelle Fultz update:
We got a small nugget from Joel Embiid, who said the rookie guard practiced with the Sixers second team. JJ Redick said Fultz has “looked great” since jumping into five-on-five activities.
“He was just able to do a little bit more,” head coach Brett Brown added. “I thought he looked a little bit better and he’s a little bit further along.”
Brown was asked what he and the team are looking for from Fultz in day-to-day improvement.
“It’s the stuff where he’s not feeling any resistance with shoulder discomfort as much as anything,” he replied. “That’s the area we’re all really zoomed in on and the thing that affected his shot the most. With the medical team sort of leading the way, I’m sort of more of a recipient of the news, rather than saying, ‘oh, it looks like discomfort.’ It’s not that. I learn in retrospect, after he’s done stuff, of where he’s at. But I think he’s moving forward. And, to me, the compass is going to be that, the discomfort in his shoulder as it affects his shot.”
Check out the rest of his piece for the team’s thoughts on going internationally for a game in the middle of the season.
Before boarding the plane, the team put its British knowledge to the test:
✅ British or Not? 🚫
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 8, 2018
That Sixers-Celtics tilt tips at 3 p.m. on Thursday and serves as the perfect prequel for the Live Crossing Broadcast podcast at Carlino’s Market in Ardmore on Thursday night from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Good food and the good people from CB (not the scrubs like me) will be on hand. Details here.
The latest episode of the podcast dropped on Monday. Kyle, Adam and Russ discuss the Sixers’ recent success, Eagles-Falcons, and NFL playoff action. Give it a listen.
Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy is so pissed at ESPN for its LaVar Ball coverage, he is threatening to boycott the network during its upcoming broadcast of a Detroit game.
To the gridiron, and Wild Card Weekend is behind us, but was it good? Kinkead has takeaways from the opening round of the postseason:
Andy Reid has now lost 13 playoff games.
He’s 1-7 in his last eight postseason games.
Saturday, his team blew an 18-point first half lead.
I’m not a guy who cheers against Andy. I appreciate what he did in Philadelphia, even if he never won the Super Bowl.
Yeah, Alex Smith could have made a few second half plays. Yeah, the drops hurt the offense. Yeah, Travis Kelce was sorely missed. And the defense was not the same in the 3rd and 4th quarters.
But when you’re winning by multiple scores and Kareem Hunt finishes with 11 carries, it’s indefensible.
P!nk will sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl next month.
The second head coaching hire of the 2018 offseason, which hasn’t officially started yet, occurred on Monday as the Chicago Bears announced the hiring of Matt Nagy, the Chiefs offensive coordinator.
Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo interviewed for the opening and was thought by some to be the favorite for the job. So the birds dodged a bullet there. He is still in the running for other openings as is defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
However, according to Coggin Toboggan, if he knew what was good for him, he wouldn’t go anywhere:
But here’s the thing….Jim Schwartz is not head coaching material and hopefully he’s smart enough to know it.
Schwartz has a good thing going with the Eagles. The media loves him, he gets to coach an extraordinarily young and talented group of defenders, and he doesn’t have to worry about ANYTHING on the other side of the ball. All of his energy can be used to cook up new and intricate defensive schemes to terrorize NFC East opponents and administer vast amounts of head trauma to opposing quarterbacks.
It’s perfect for him, and at the same time it’s what made him such an abject failure as a head coach in Detroit.
Jon Gruden was of course the biggest hire so far this off-season, and the first. MMQB’s Robert Klemko has a great story on Gruden’s final days before getting back into coaching:
Eight seasons and six Sports Emmy award nominations later, Gruden sat at a conference table at the Raphael Hotel with about 30 MNF staffers to run down the plan for the upcoming broadcast, his last. At the end of the meeting, Rothman asked those who wanted to speak to talk about their time with Gruden. They paid tribute to the color commentator’s work ethic, devotion to family, and leadership of the broadcast. Then it was Gruden’s turn.
“I have a calling,” Gruden said as he fought back tears, according to those in the room, “and the football Gods are calling me one last time. I don’t want to have any regrets.”
A Rivals reporter who was reported missing over the weekend was found safe on Monday and the story is weird.
North and South Korea are in talks about the Olympics.
In non-sports news…
Toyota and Pizza Hut are working on self-driving cars that deliver pizza.
Oprah is reportedly considering a run for the presidency in 2020, although others refute the reporting.
Advil could be keeping your little ‘swimmers’ from ‘swimming.’