Good morning sports fans, it's Chris Bengel back with you on this Tuesday. The amount of sports insanity that we have going on right now is at an all-time high.
As if the NFL season season chugging along isn't enough, the college football world has enough drama for the entire sports world and it's not even all taking place on the field. I'm still trying to process the fact that Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma to take the USC head coaching job. We obviously knew that the Trojans were going to swing for the fences, but I didn't actually think that they'd be able to land Riley. Kudos to the USC football program for an impressive pull.
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We've got plenty more college football head coaching news, along with some address changes on the baseball diamond to get to.
Let's dive right into the news.
Good morning to everyone, but especially to...
The Mets have been the subject of quite a bit of ridicule since Steve Cohen purchased the team. Well, they got the last laugh yesterday.
They continue to be one of the most active teams in free agency thus far and on Monday finalized a three-year, $130 million deal with starting pitcher Max Scherzer.
- With this new contract, Scherzer owns the largest average annual value of any MLB player with a $43.3 million price tag per season. The annual value beats out New York Yankees starter Gerrit Cole, who makes $36 million per season
- Scherzer also has an opt-out clause after the 2023 season along with a full no-trade clause
- It's the fifth-largest deal in Mets history when it comes to guaranteed money
As for the Mets, this means that assuming Jacob deGrom is back to full health, it's possible they'll have the two best pitchers in baseball in the same rotation. At the least, they have a pair of aces atop the rotation.
That's not bad for a team that was impressive early and led the NL East for most of the first half of last season before fading down the stretch. If they can build on that -- and having made multiple other moves already this offseason there's no reason the shouldn't be able to -- the Mets will likely be the most dangerous squad in the NL East.
- The Washington Football Team edged the Seattle Seahawks 17-15 on Monday behind 146 scrimmage yards from running back Antonio Gibson
And not such a good morning for...
NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL
Round and round the college football coaching carousel goes, where it stops, nobody knows! On Sunday, shockwaves were sent throughout the college football landscape when Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma to become the next head coach at USC. This came just hours after he had made it clear that he wouldn't be leaving Oklahoma to take the LSU head coaching job.
Well speaking of LSU, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has decided to make the move to Baton Rouge and become the Tigers new head coach. Kelly had provided a ton of stability in South Bend and turned the Notre Dame program completely around. The Fighting Irish have gone to the College Football Playoff in two of the past three seasons under Kelly -- who leaves South Bend as the winningest coach in school history.
Now Notre Dame will have to decide who will fill Kelly's spot at head coach. Could it be Notre Dame defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman? It's possible. Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell has also been a very popular name in recent years when it comes to head coaching vacancies.
For a deep dive by our Dennis Dodd on who Notre Dame will likely be looking at to take over, click here.
... AND THE CAROLINA PANTHERS
While nobody is having a worse morning than Notre Dame, the Carolina Panthers are close. As if Sunday's 33-10 loss at the hands of the Miami Dolphins wasn't bad enough, the Panthers also lost Christian McCaffrey for the remainder of the 2021 season with an ankle injury.
- After playing in all 16 regular season games in each of his first three NFL campaigns, McCaffrey has played in a grand total of 10 games over the past two seasons
- McCaffrey only appeared in three games last season and also missed time with a hamstring injury earlier this season.
- Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand was suspended three games by the NHL for slew-footing Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson
MLB free agency continues to be crazy 💰
Well, the Major League Baseball offseason is definitely in full swing as the lockout nears. High-profile stars (not just Scherzer) are starting to fly off the board.
The Seattle Mariners also made a splash on Monday as they signed reigning American League Cy Young winner Robbie Ray to a five-year, $115 million deal. Ray just put together the best year of his career with the Blue Jays, but chose to take his talents to the Pacific Northwest. The Mariners also traded for infielder Adam Frazier over the weekend. Seattle is making big moves after recording a 90-win season in 2021.
Here are a few of the other deals that went down on Monday:
- The Miami Marlins acquired catcher Jacob Stallings from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a four-player trade
- Reliever Kirby Yates signed a two-year, $8.25 million contract with the Atlanta Braves
- Reliever Daniel Hudson signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers
NFL winners and losers: Tua Tagovailoa may be QB of future for Miami 🏈
Expect the unexpected. That seems to be the mantra of the NFL throughout the 2021 season and it continued to be the case in Week 12.
As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, one of the biggest shocks was the Eagles laying an absolute egg against the lowly New York Giants. The Giants defense put together an impressive performance and forced Eagle turnovers. Quarterback Jalen Hurts certainly did them quite a few favors by tossing several ill-advised throws. But still, the Eagles did have a chance to win the game in the final seconds and couldn't get it done.
In addition, the Los Angeles Chargers also shocked me. I doubt that many people thought that the Denver Broncos would wipe the floor with them. Quarterback Justin Herbert did throw for 303 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but all of that came from playing from behind against a Broncos team that didn't even have Teddy Bridgewater for half of the game. Herbert also threw two interceptions to Patrick Surtain and struggled all game long.
So with another crazy NFL week in the books, I'll shut up and let the CBS Sports Pick Six crew hand out their nominations for winners and losers:
- Ryan Wilson's Winner - Mac Jones: "After 12 weeks, not only does Jones look like the best QB from the 2021 NFL Draft, but he's also arguably the front-runner for the rookie of the year award. Bill Belichick is on the verge of starting another dynasty."
- John Breech's Winner - Tua Tagovailoa: "One month ago, the Dolphins were basically trying to give Tua away so they could get Deshaun Watson, but they failed get a deal done, which has turned out to be a good thing. With the distraction of a potential trade out of his way, all Tua has done is go 4-0 since the trade deadline. He's also looking more and more like he might end up being the Dolphins' QB of the future."
- Will Brinson's Loser - Jalen Hurts: "The loss to the Giants is going to 'hurts' for awhile. OK, that was a bad joke, but it wasn't as bad as the way Hurts played on Sunday, The Eagles QB threw three interceptions, which ended up being a big reason why Philadelphia didn't win."
Our latest college football power rankings 🏈
Let's take a break from the college football coaching carousel and focus on the action that is taking place on the gridiron. As we talked about on Monday, this past weekend provided some stellar theatrics in college football.
It all makes this coming weekend's conference championship games crazier. These games are certainly going to go a long way towards deciding who will get into the College Football Playoff. All season, we've been waiting for Georgia and Alabama to tussle in the SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs haven't been challenged very much and their defense has absolutely made life difficult for their opponents. On the other hand, Alabama is probably on the fringe of qualifying for the College Football Playoff but have looked shaky at times.
CBS Sports college football scribe Dennis Dodd has put out his power rankings so let's take a look at the top four in his words:
- No. 1 Georgia: "The preliminaries are over for the nation's No 1 team. The Dawgs skunked Georgia Tech. Now they seek to add on to their first 12-0 season since 1980. Back then that record was good enough a national championship. Now, it just gets you a No. 1 ranking heading to the SEC Championship Game. Perhaps the biggest news from Saturday: a George Pickens sighting. Georgia's best receiver had one catch for 5 yards following a lengthy rehab from knee surgery."
- No. 2 Cincinnati: "With only two undefeated teams left, Cincinnati is safely in the top four. Win (vs. Houston the AAC title game) and the Bearcats are in the CFP. Cincinnati overwhelmed East Carolina to go to 12-0 for the first time since somebody named Brian Kelly won the Big East in 2009. Beat the Cougars, and the first Group of Five team in history will play for a national title."
- No. 3 Michigan: "Snow, tears and Jim Harbaugh. No, that's not a bad country song. That's setting the scene as the points and emotions piled up like the white stuff at The Big House. Michigan broke an eight-game losing streak against Ohio State in style. The 42 points were the most scored by Michigan against the Buckeyes since 1946! The celebration winds down the Wolverines will realize they still have to win the Big Ten to keep the buzz going."
- No. 4 Oklahoma State: "The Cowboys rallied for 13 fourth-quarter points to keep alive the playoff dream. For only the third time in Mike Gundy's 17 seasons, OSU won Bedlam. Now, there is an inevitable Big 12 rematch with Baylor for what might be a playoff berth."
It's going to be very interesting to see what the College Football Playoff rankings look like when they're released tonight. I'll give us a better idea of how the committee sees these teams heading into championship weekend.
What we're watching on Tuesday 📺
🏀Warriors vs. Suns (-2.5), 10 p.m. on TNT | The NBA's top teams are in action. This one should be a blast.