Matthews: Rooting For S.U and Notre Dame



Saturday, November 17, could be a huge football game for Syracuse and Notre Dame. They’ll be squaring off at Yankee Stadium in the latest chapter of the “Shamrock Series”.

If both teams keep winning, the Orange would enter the game with a 9-1 record, the only blemish a narrow loss at Clemson. Notre Dame would be 10-0.

Win or lose vs. Notre Dame before a sold-out crowd in the Bronx and a huge TV audience, the game would be tremendous national exposure for SU coach Dino Babers’ improving program. Potential recruits would have to be impressed.

 Notre Dame would remain in contention for a spot in the field for the FBS national championship.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Syracuse is down to a 3 ½-point favorite at the Pittsburgh Panthers Saturday afternoon.

Notre Dame is favored by only 7 points on the road Saturday night against the dangerous Virginia Tech Hokies.


The Kansas City Chiefs are an offensive machine – particularly at Arrowhead Stadium – and probably have too much firepower for even Jacksonville to handle.

Jags quarterback Blake Bortles usually plays much better at home than on the road.

This week’s “Best Bet”: KANSAS CITY (-3) 35, Jacksonville 20.

Sunday’s other games

(home teams in CAPS)

Tennessee 24, BUFFALO (+3 ½) 13 – The Titans 3-1 Titans have three straight 3=point upset wins against better teams than the Bills. Buffalo’s best chance is to catch Tennessee flat coming off an overtime win over Philadelphia and before a big game against Baltimore.

Atlanta 30, PITTSBURGH (-3) 27 -- Are the Steelers overrated? They’re 0-6 against the point spread in their last six games as home favorites. The Falcons are 1-3 and due for a top effort and a few breaks.

Denver 20, NEW YORK JETS (-1) 17 – The Broncos have the pass rush to frustrate Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold , who has 2 TD passes and 4 INTs since his game-winning debut at Detroit.

Baltimore 30, CLEVELAND (+3) 20 – The Browns are getting better but the Ravens continue to be among the NFL’s most underrated teams with rejuvenated QB Joe Flacco.

Green Bay 27, DETROIT (-1) 15 – Packers QB Aaron Rodgers can take it easy and let his running backs chew up Detroit’s porous rush defense.

CAROLINA (-7) 28, New York Giants 17 – The Giants on defense figure to be no match for Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey and QB Cam Newton.

CINCINNATI (-6 ½) 33, Miami 24 – The Bengals have more weapons on offense and the return of LB Vontaze Burfict should help the defense.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (--6) 37, Oakland 27 – Chargers running backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler should have fun running up their numbers against a shabby rush defense.

Los Angeles Rams 40, SEATTLE (-7) 27 – The well-rested Rams might be the best all-around team in the NFL. The Seahawks seldom get shellacked at home. This could be an exception.

Arizona 20, SAN FRANCISCO (-4) 17 – Can the Cardinals be 0-16 bad? A decent game by rookie QB Josh Rosen could be the difference against the 49ers minus Jimmy Garoppolo.

Minesota 35, PHILADELPHIA (-3) 30 – The well-rested Vikings desperately need a victory and have the offensive weapons in what should be an entertaining high-scoring game.

HOUSTON (-3) 28, Dallas 20 – The winning differences for the Texans should be a stony rush defense and QB Deshaun Watson’s deep passing. Houston is 1-3 but the losses were by 7, 3 and 5 points.

Monday night’s game

NEW ORLEANS (-6 ½) 31, Washington 20 – The Saints have a lot going for them. QB Drew Brees needs 201 passing yards to break Peyton  Manning’s NFL record and has a 75.8 pass completion percentage this season...Mark Ingram’s returns from suspension to team up with fellow RB Alvin Kamara...they have a bye next week...and they’re at home.

Last week’s results: 11-4 picking winners straight up (35-26-2 this season)...4-9-2 against the point spread (24-37-2 for the season)...the “Best Bet: is 2-2 after 4-point favored Philadelphia lost 26-23 to Tennessee.


The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox square off Friday night at Fenway Park in Game 1 of their best-of-five American League Division Series.

Both teams hit mucu beyter at home than on the road this season:


Home -- .260 batting average; 453 runs; 144 home runs; .345 on-base percentage; .474 slugging per4centage; .810 OPS.

Road -- .238; 398 runs; 123 HRs; .314/.430/.744.


Home -- ,282; 468 runs; 102 HRs; .348/.482/.829.

Road -- .255; 408 runs; 106 HRs; .330; .426/.756.


The 2018 Rochester Red Wings led the International League in pitching for the first time since 1976.

But they finished below .500 for the first time since the disastrous 2011 (53=91) and 2010 (49-95) seasons under unfortunate manager Tom Nieto.

The Red Wings finished with a 64-76 record this past season because they were by far the worst-hitting team in the 14-team league:

Batting average –IL-worst. worst .245 (Charlotte)

Runs -- IL-fewest 533 (Charlotte)

OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) – IL-worst worst .685 (Pawtucket)

The Red Wings had 97 home runs, topping only Syracuse (79).

It was a near-total team season-long slump. Players with strong Triple-A resumes’ failed to approach past production. Top prospects promoted from AA Chattanooga struggled. Veteran in-season imports from other organizations were terrible. Jake Cave and Willians Astudillo did OK here, were promoted, and hit better with the Twins.

It certainly wasn’t 43-year-old third-year batting coach Chad Allen’s fault. No complaints in his first two summers in Rochester or his first five seasons in the organization. But the team’s hitting stats were too freakishly poor to ignore. The Twins let him go this week.


Tyrod Taylor with Cleveland – 41-of-84 (.488) for 462 yards; 5.50 yards per attempt; 2 TD passes; 2 INT; sacked 13 times for 116 yards lost; 63.7 passer rating; 27 carries for team-best 116 yards (4.3-yard average) and 2 TDs.

Josh Allen with Buffalo – 55-of-103 (.534) for 666 yards; 6.47 yards per attempt; 2 TD passes; 4 INTs; sacked 18 times for 81 yards lost; 63.8 passer rating; 16 carries for 125 yards (7.8-yard average) and 1 TD.

A big difference: Allen figures to get many more touchers than Taylor for the rest of this season.


Home teams are 38-23-2 outright and 30-30-3 against the point spread (those oddsmakers are pretty sharp.

Las Vegas favorites are 37-024-2 outright and 32-27-4 ATS.

Team scoring first are 37-24-4.

Teams leading at halftime are 45-14-3.

Teams leading after three quarters are 49-10-4.

Teams winning the turnover battle are 35-11-7.

Teams with the better record entering the game are 17-15.

Teams with the most rushing yards are 48-13-2.

Teams with the most passing yards are 30-31-2.

Teams with the fewest penalties are 28-26-2.

Teams with the fewest yards penalized are 31-30-2.

Teams leading in Time of Possession are 44-17-2.

17 of 63 games were decided by 3 points or less.

31 of 63 games were decided by 7 points or less.

The AFCF leads the NFC 10-8 in inter-league play.

There have been six overtime games and 2 shutouts.

There have been 3,030 points in 63 games (48.1 points per game).

There have been 21 100-yard rushing performances. Their team’s record in those games was 17-3-1.

There have been 71 100-yard receiving games. Their teams are 35-32-4 in those games.

There have been 42 300-yard passing games. Their teams were 19-21-2 in those games.


Conor McGregor is a big underdog ($100 to win $130) against Khabib Numagomedov ($160 to win $100) in the lightweight championship main event of Saturday night’s UFC 229 m=pay-per-view. McGregor is coming off a two-year MMA layoff.

Outfielder Alex Kirilloff is the winner of the Sherry Robertson Award as the Minnesota Twins Minor League Player of the Year.  At Class A this season, he batted .348 with 20 HRs, 101 RBI and a .970 OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage). He’s expected to be wearing a Rochester Red Wings uniform by Opening Day 2020 at the latest. On the season-ending Top 100 Prospects list, he was No. 10 – up from No. 30 in June. Shortstop Royce Lewis, a former No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft, is No. 7 on the season-ending Top Prospect 100.

The good news on Buffalo Bills new defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, who was claimed off waivers from the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday, is that he was the No. 52 overall pick in the 2-15 NFL draft out of Oklahoma and was expected to be a big-time player. He started until this season when he became a part of the DL rotation. He didn’t like it and had a heated sideline argument with a coach in a recent game. Pro Football Focus rates him No. 94 among the 98 DL qualifiers this season. That doesn’t mean he can’t help the Bills.

Top candidates to succeed Paul Molitor as manager of the Twins included Derek Shelton, who was Molitor’s bench coach this season, and Cleveland Indians bench coach Brad Mills.

Batavia Downs has a special 4:45 p.m., first aice pastime Saturday after noon. Post time Monday will be 1:15 p.m., with the annual Columbus Day chicken BBQ for $10.95.



Friday, October 5

Zack Littell 23...Travis Kelce 29...Brandon Tate 31...Tanner Roark 32...Trent Cole 36...Grant Hill 46...Rex Chapman 51...Mario Lemieux 53...Patrick Roy 53...Trace Armstrong 53...Laura Davies 55...Michael Andretti 56...Bill James 59...Drew Hill 63 Kate Winslet 43 is invited to the birthday party.

Saturday, October 6

Quincy Acy 28...Tyler Ennis 29...Richard Seymour 39...Daniel Briere 41...Freddy Garcia 42...Rebecca Lobo 45...J.J. Stokes 46...Ruben Sierra 53...Albert Lewis 58...Tony Dungy 63...Sherman White 70. Elisabeth Shue 55 is invited to the birthday party.

Sunday, October 7

Nik Stauskas 21...Kohl Stewart 24...Mookie Betts 26...Olivier Vernon 28...Russell Okung 31...Chase Daniel 32...Evan Longoria 33...Jairus Byrd 32...Charles Woodson 42...Priest Holmes 45...Johnnie Morton 47...Mike Hurlbut 52..Jayne Torvill 61....Brian Sutter 62...Jacques Richard 66...Dick Jauron 68...Gary Bergman 80. Felicity Jones 35, Toni Braxton, Vladimir Putin 66,m John Mellencamp 67 and Desmond Tutu 87 are invited to the birthday party.


The U.S. men’s national soccer team, with Brighton product Dave Sarachan as :caretaker manager”, will play Colobia October 11 in Tampa and Peru October 16 in East Hartford in friendlies. Young star Christian Pulisic and veterans Michael Bradley and Brad Guzan are on the 24-man roster.


October 5

97 years ago (1921), the Yankees beat the Giants 3-0 in the first radio broadcast of a World Series game...71 years ago (1947), Al Gionfriddo of the Dodgers made his great catch off Joe DiMaggio in the World Series...65 years ago (1953), Billy Martin had 12 hits  as the Yankees beat the Dodgers, 4 games to 2, in the World Series...48 years ago (1970), the Baltimore Orioles beat Minnesota in the ALCS...43 years ago (1975), Niki Lauda won his 46th Formula One WDC...17 years ago (2001), Barry Bonds hit his 71st and 72nd home runs to break Mark McGwire’s single-season HR record.

October 6

92 years ago (1926), Babe Ruth hit three HRs in a 10-5 Yankees World Series win over the St. Louis Cardinals...1928 (90 years ago), Leo Diegel won his second consecutive PGA Championship...55 years ago (1963), the Los Angeles Dodgers swept the Yankees in the 60th World Series...last year (2017), the Vegas Golden Knights won their first NHL game, 2-1 over the Dallas Stars.

October 7

102 years ago (1916), Georgia Tech beat Cumberland 222-0 in the most-lopsided college football game...85 years ago (1933), the New York Giants beat the Washington Senators 4-1 in the 30th World Series...68 years ago (1950), the Yankees swept the Philadelphhia Phillies 4-0 for their 13th world championship...34 years ago (1984), Walter Payton passed Jim Brown as the NFL’s career rushing leader.

Bob Matthews' Column

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