England v USA: Group B - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Hope you're well.

Let's get right to it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to...


I remember watching these big USMNT moments in my life so far:

  • Oct. 10, 2017, when the United States lost to Trinidad and Tobago to miss the 2018 World Cup.
  • July 1, 2014, when the United States lost to Belgium in the Round of 16 after Chris Wondolowski skyed a would-be winner over the bar in added time and the Stars and Stripes gave up two goals in extra time. 
  • June 23, 2010, when Landon Donovan's epic 90th-minute winner against Algeria put the United States into the Round of 16. And then three days later when Asamoah Gyan broke my -- and plenty of other Americans' -- heart.

I'm certainly going to remember Nov. 29, 2022, no matter how it turns out. The United States men's national team takes on Iran in a win-or-go-home match at 2 p.m..

This is a game that will define U.S. soccer. Advancement would be a huge victory, especially for a team this young, while going home would be a deflating failure, especially for a team this talented. The talent at striker, though, is relatively weak, and our soccer analyst Grant Wahl wonders if major changes should be made.

  • Wahl: "My lineup: Matt Turner; Sergiño Dest, Walker Zimmerman, Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson; Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie; Gio Reyna, Tim Weah, Christian Pulisic. ... Moving Weah up top would give Reyna the chance to come in and be the difference-maker that he hasn't been allowed to be yet in this World Cup. When you need goals, you have to maximize the goal-producing creativity you possess (at least within reason)."

Our soccer guru Chuck Booth, meanwhile, advocates for a different approach up top. But regardless of what Gregg Berhalter decides, today's match is the most anticipated one I can remember. It's absolutely there for the taking, and the U.S. has more than enough to get it done if it plays to its potential. As a fan, what more could you want?

As for Monday's World Cup action...

Remember to sign up for our Golazo Starting XI newsletter.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...



Tiger Woods withdrew from this week's Hero World Challenge due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Woods, 46, has not played since The Open Championship in July.

Not so honorable mentions

Pickett impresses, Steelers get late stop to beat Colts 🏈

Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts
Getty Images

The Steelers might not be headed for the postseason, but the rest of the year is going to be crucial for evaluating their roster. And in that case, they must be encouraged with what they saw from Kenny Pickett in a 24-17 win over the Colts.

He completed over 70 percent of his passes, threw for 174 yards, rushed for 32 more and committed no turnovers. It's his third straight turnover-free game after he had nine turnovers in the first five games of his career. The running game helped, as the Steelers rushed for 172 yards -- their second-most this season -- with Najee Harris and Benny Snell both finding pay dirt.

On the other end, Colts interim head coach Jeff Saturday displayed horrible clock management on their final offensive drive.

  • The most glaring mistake came on 2nd-and-17 with 59 seconds left. Matt Ryan scrambled for 14 yards, and the Colts didn't take a timeout despite having all three.
  • With 35 seconds left, Jonathan Taylor went nowhere on a head-scratching 3rd-and-3 run.
  • One incompletion later, the game was over.

Ryan had an interception and a fumble, raising his turnover tally this season to 14, which is tied with Josh Allen for most in the NFL.

Auburn hires Hugh Freeze as head coach 🐯


Make it a third coach in four years for the Auburn Tigers and a second chance in the SEC for Hugh Freeze. Auburn hired Freeze on Monday, with the two sides agreeing on a six-year, $39-million contract.

Freeze, 53, racked up a 34-15 record in four seasons at Liberty. Prior to that, he went 39-25 (including vacated wins) at Ole Miss from 2012-16. He beat Alabama in consecutive years (2014-15) and led the Rebels to the Sugar Bowl in 2015.

However, he comes with significant baggage:

  • In 2017, it was discovered that Freeze made inappropriate calls from his school-issued mobile phone to a phone number for an escort service. He resigned in July.
  • Furthermore, an NCAA investigation uncovered a lack of institutional control and an unconstrained culture of booster involvement in football recruiting. There were 15 Level I violations, including unauthorized cash payments, use of automobiles, unauthorized lodging and unapproved meals. Ole Miss was hit with a two-year bowl ban.
  • Nick Saban attempted to hire Freeze in 2018, but SEC commissioner Greg Sankey pressured the program not to hire him. Ultimately, Freeze didn't coach in 2017 or 2018 before being hired by Liberty.

On the field, Freeze has the chops to help Auburn rebound after the disastrous Bryan Harsin era, and, crucially Freeze will get the "politics" at Auburn, writes college football reporter Barrett Sallee.

  • Sallee: "Auburn is widely known to have too many chefs in the kitchen. Whether it's boosters, alumni, former players or administrators, the sphere of influence is quite large... Freeze has to have the autonomy to do the same. He has done it before in what was a fairly significant pressure-cooker at Ole Miss in its fierce rivalry with Mississippi State, which was led by Dan Mullen at the time. It remains to be seen if he can do it again."

NFL QB corner: Watson set to return, time to bench Rodgers? 🏈


After officially being added to the Browns' roster Monday, Deshaun Watson is set to return to the field in Week 13 against the Texans following an 11-game suspension for allegations of sexual misconduct. Watson will take all first-team reps in practice this week, according to our NFL insider Jonathan Jones.

The answer to who will take first-team reps for the Packers is less clear. After leaving against the Eagles on Sunday with a rib injury, Aaron Rodgers is "feeling better," according to head coach Matt LaFleur, and as long as Rodgers is healthy and Green Bay (4-8) is mathematically in playoff contention, he will play.

But the Packers only have a 1.2% chance to make the playoffs, according to SportsLine. Both Jonathan and NFL reporter Cody Benjamin believe the Packers should consider going with Jordan Love the rest of the way.

  • Benjamin: "Love is under contract through at least 2023, but without additional experience, he'll remain an unknown at the most important position on the roster. ... Even if Rodgers decides to return in 2023, Green Bay's struggles on both sides of the ball suggest Gutekunst could be motivated -- and maybe even smart -- to auction the QB as part of a true rebuild."

What we're watching Tuesday 📺

⚽ We're watching the World Cup. Here's the schedule.
🏀 No. 15 UCLA at No. 1 South Carolina, 7 p.m. on SEC Network
🏀 Warriors at Mavericks, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 No. 6 Baylor at Marquette, 8:30 p.m. on FS1
🏀 No. 3 Virginia at Michigan, 9:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Clippers at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. on TNT