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Merry Christmas Eve, friends! For those of you who celebrate, I hope you enjoy yourselves over the next couple of days. If you're spending time with loved ones, be safe and cherish those memories. For those of you who will be away from loved ones because of the pandemic or other reasons, find a way to treat yourself! I love each and every one of you and I want to thank you for spending time and putting up with me day-in and day-out.

I'll try not to take up too much of your morning today but I do want to let you know that I won't be in your inbox tomorrow thanks to the holiday. You know what that means ... your boy will be tapping into the eggnog HARD tonight and then probably eating all of Santa's cookies. 

Let's get this party started right.


📰 What you need to know

1. The NBA season is already being affected by COVID-19 🏀

We knew that the NBA would inevitably be forced to deal with COVID-19 complications this season but I'd imagine most of us didn't expect it to happen this quickly. On just the second day of the season, the league was forced to postpone Wednesday's game between the Rockets and Thunder as a result of coronavirus precautions.

  • The Rockets did not have eight eligible players (the league minimum required to play a game) for several different reasons
  • Three Rockets players returned COVID-19 tests that were either positive or inconclusive, and four other players were quarantined because of contact tracing protocols
  • James Harden was made unavailable due to violation of the league's Health and Safety Protocols. He attended a birthday party for a friend and admitted to interacting with numerous people without wearing a mask (he tested negative but was still made unavailable for the game due to the violation)

Obviously, this is not the start to the season the Rockets (or the Thunder, by proxy) were hoping for, and our Bill Reiter says it paints an ominous picture for what's ahead in this unpredictable season.

  • Reiter: "As the Rockets story spread Wednesday, already soiling the start of an otherwise exciting NBA season, many around the league had a knew-it-was-going-to-happen fatalism. Few believe this season will proceed outside of a bubble without a wave of problems similar to what the Rockets are experiencing. Many believe strongly that things could get bad enough that the season, if not postponed, will at least face the likelihood it will be paused and the calendar pushed back."

If it wasn't already clear, the success and smoothness of this NBA season will very likely hinge on the individual behavior of everyone involved. One selfish or reckless player could contribute to delaying or derailing the season for everyone -- think Rudy Gobert the first time around. Apathy could be a major issue this season, and a disgruntled Harden is off to a red hot start in Houston, huh?

2. Every NFL team's 2021 QB situation 🏈

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Remember how wild the 2020 NFL offseason was in terms of the quarterback carousel? Yeah, there's a good chance it's going to get pretty wild again this upcoming offseason. Our Jason La Canfora has taken a look at every team's quarterback situation heading into 2021 and determined which are set, which could be in for change and which might have some serious drama.

Fun, right? Let's look at the tiers:

It's worth noting that these tiers take numerous factors into account -- including turmoil, performance, potential for change, contract issues or pending negotiations. JLC also considered coaching and managerial changes, as those could contribute to a team looking in another direction. 

Some of the names that could be on the market this offseason, you ask? Well, there are some familiar names from last offseason -- like Cam Newton, Philip Rivers and Jameis Winston. But there's also some newcomers who could be on the move, like Dwayne Haskins, Jimmy Garoppolo and Carson Wentz. Will Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger retire? Maybe!

All I know is that the QB craziness made this past offseason quite a riveting experience -- it also helped that nothing else was really going on at the time -- so I'm here for doubling down on the chaos. 

3. The 2020 CBS Sports All-America team 🏈

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CBS Sports

The 2020 college football regular season is in the books, which doesn't just mean that Bowl Season is here -- it also means it's time to hand out regular season awards, including All-America selections. I'm not part of the All-America selection process but I'd have to imagine that said process was a little more challenging this year given the pandemic and the way that it affected college football.

Nevertheless, our panel of college football experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports teamed up to deliver their All-America selections. You can find the first team offense picks below:

You can find the defensive and special teams honorees, as well as all the second team selections, right here.

In total, 32 programs are represented across the two teams of 54 total selections. Alabama has the most total selections (10) and the most first-teamers (8), which probably won't come as a gigantic shock to anyone. But, on a more surprising note, there were just two unanimous first-team selections (DeVonta Smith and Kyle Pitts) from our experts, so that just proves how wide open the discussion was this year.

4. Latest MLB rumors: Yu Darvish on the move? ⚾

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It may be cold outside this Christmas Eve, but the MLB hot stove is still ... well, hot. Come on, it's right there in the name. 

Of course, there hasn't been a ton of actual action so far this offseason (thanks in large part to the uncertainty of the pandemic) but the rumors still continue to fly. Let's check in with one of the juicier rumors to surface as of late:

  • The Padres are reportedly interested in trading for Cubs starter Yu Darvish 
  • Padres general manager A.J. Preller was assistant GM of the Rangers when Darvish was in Texas
  • San Diego has plenty of high-end prospect depth available in a potential trade and they could use another top starter with Mike Clevinger out in 2021 due to Tommy John surgery  
  • Darvish is coming off a runner-up Cy Young finish after going 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 76 innings. He has three years and $59 million left on his deal with the Cubs

And if you're looking to get into the holiday spirit, our Matt Snyder celebrated Festivus yesterday by airing his grievances about the past year in baseball and it's quite a fun read. OK, I must be going now since it's time for me and Snyder to wrestle in the feats of strength at the Festivus pole. 


📝 Odds & Ends

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USATSI


📺 What to watch today

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🏈 New Mexico Bowl: Hawaii vs. Houston, 3:30 p.m.. | HOU -10 | TV: ESPN


📝 Top scores from last night

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🏀 Celtics 122, Bucks 121

Jayson Tatum hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left. Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the would-be game-tying free throw to lose the game for Milwaukee.
💵 Winning wagers: BOS +161, Over (223.5)

🏀 Suns 106, Mavericks 102

Devin Booker had 22 points and came up clutch down the stretch to give Phoenix the W. 
💵 Winning wagers: PHX -1, Under (232.5)

🏀 Kings 124, Nuggets 122 (OT)

Nikola Jokic went 29-15-14 but it was the Kings who stunned Denver thanks to a wild overtime finish. Buddy Hield delivered a game-winning tip-in at the buzzer to seal the victory.
💵 Winning wagers: SAC +256, Over (226.5)