REMEMBER WHEN ROCHESTER HAD “TOO MANY PRO TEAMS”?...
RAZORSHARKS GO DORMANT FOR 2009...HOPE TO RETURN
The Rochester RazorSharks – the most successful team in Rochester’s pro sports history in terms of winning percentage and championships -- officially announced on Monday that they’ll take a leave of absence from the newly-branded The Basketball League for 2019 and hope to return for the following season.
The 10-team The Basketball League released a 10-team schedule last week and Rochester was not included. The Sharks are in the process of refunding money to season-ticketholders.
The RazorSharks were founded by Rochester native and Chicago resident Dr. Severko Hrywnak in 2005 as a member of the American Basketball Association. They left the ABA to form the Premier Basketball League in 2007.
The Sharks won eight championships (ABA 2006 and PBL 2008-09-11-14-15-16-17). Original coach Rod Baker was 130-29 (.818) from 2005 through 2012 and 18-7 in the postseason,
The team’s impressive overall record – regular season plus playoffs – is 225-54 (.806). Last season was the team’s only losing record (11-18).
The team’s record announced home crowd was 9,717 on March 20, 2008 at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. The Sharks won 142-112 that night over the Arkansas Impact for their first PBL title.
Prominent/noteworthy players have included Chris Carawell, Lazarus Sims, Demond Stewart, Keith Friel, James “Mook” Reaves, Sammy Monroe, 7-foot-8 Bob Wagner (primarily to sign autographs) and Jerice Crouch, who announced his retirement as a player last month. Coaches included Cliff Levingston, Lawrence Moten and Chris Iversen. The Lady Shark cheerleaders/dancers and mascot Finley were other popular mainstays.
2018 HEISMAN TROPHY IS A TWO-QB ARMS RACE
The 84th Heisman Trophy will be announced Saturday night (8 p.m., ESPN). We know it will be another quarterback because all three finalists play the position.
The big question is whether Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray will upset Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, the clear Heisman front-runner until an untimely ankle injury hampered his play in the SEC Championship Game December 1 and backup–turned-hero Jalen Hurts sparked the 35-28 win over Georgia.
Meanwhile, earlier that day, Murray was customarily terrific for Oklahoma in a 39-27 victory over Texas in the Big !2 Championship Game.
Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins surely will finish third.
Here are the 2018 performance lines for the three finalists (FBS rankings in parentheses):
Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) – 13 games (13-0 record)...199 completed passes out of 294 attempts (.677) for 3,353 yards (14th)...11.41 yards per attempt (2nd)...37 TD passes (t4th)...4 INTs...202.03 passer efficiency (2nd)...48 carries for 190 yards and 5 YDs .
The Crimson Tide was so strong and had such comfortable early leads that Tua seldom played in the fourth quarter and couldn’t pad his stats. He probably would be a cinch for the Heisman if not for the ankle injury that hampered his performance in the SEC championship game.
Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) – 13 games (12-1 record)...241 of 340 (.709) for 4,053 yards (3rd)...11.92 yards per attempt (1st)...40 TD passes (2nd)...7 INTs...205.7 passer efficiency (1st)...123 carries for 892 yards and 11 TDs.
Murray took advantage of porous defenses throughout the Big 12 all season but he also had to be consistently sharp to offset his own team’s awful defense.
Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State) – 13 games (12-1 record)...348 of 496 (.702) for 4,580 yards (1st)...9.23 yards per attempt (8th)...47 TD passes (1st)...8 INTs...175.9 passer efficiency (4th)...73 carries for 122 yards and 4 TDs.
After 20-plus years of being a Heisman Trophy voter, I bowed out this year. If I had voted, my ballot would’ve been 1-Murray, 2-Tagovailoa, 3-Haskins.
TUA VS. MURRAY HEAD-TO-HEAD IN THE ORANGE BOWL – BUT NOT FOR THE HEISMAN TROPHY
I’ve long advocated that the Heisman Trophy balloting should be conducted after the bowl games.
For example, Alabama (Tagovailoa) and Oklahoma (Murray) will meet Dec. 29 in the Orange Bowl. Shouldn’t that be a major consideration to decide the Heisman Trophy winner?
(The old argument is that not every team qualifies for a bowl game and that players on poor teams wouldn’t get a fair shake...I counter by pointing out that every team with a .500 record now qualifies for a bowl game and it is extremely unlikely that a non-bowl team would have a genuine Heisman Trophy candidate).
For the record, here’s how Alabama and Oklahoma compare entering the Orange Bowl (rankings among the 129 BCS teams in parentheses):
Scoring – Oklahoma 49.5 points per game (1st)...Alabama 47.9 (2nd)
Scoring defense – Alabama 14.8 points allowed per game (4th)....Oklahoma 32.4 (96th)
Total offense – Oklahoma 577.9 yards per game (1st)...Alabama 527.6 (7th)
Total defense – Alabama 295.4 yards allowed per game (9th)...Oklahoma 448.1 (108th).
RUN JOSH, RUN...ALLEN SHOWING CLEATS TO OTHER NHL QUARTERBACKS
Twelve of the 60 top current rushers in the NFL are quarterbacks...and Buffalo’s Josh Allen has by far the most impressive performance line. The top 5:
(31st in rushing) Cam Newton (Carolina) – 91 carries for 450 yards; 4.7 yards per carry; 4 TDs; 37.5 yards rushing per game
(37th) Lamar Jackson (Baltimore) – 82 carries for 404 yards; 4.9 yards per carry; 3 TDs; 33.7 yards rushing per game
(41st) Josh Allen (Buffalo) – 57 carries for 389 yards; 6.8 yards per carry; 4 TDs; 48.6 yards rushing per game
(46th) Deshaun Watson (Houston) – 69 carries for 375 yards; 5.4 yards per carry; 2 TDs; 31.3 yards rushing per game
(49th) Mitch Trubisky (Chicago) – 51 carries for 363 yards; 7.1 yards per carry; 3 TDs; 36.3 yards rushing per game.
SOME MORE JUICY BUFFALO BILLS STATS
The numbers on defense continue to be very good (rank in the 32-team NFL in parentheses):
Total defense 2nd (294.2 yards allowed per game, behind only Baltimore (281.7)
Pass defense 1st (187.2 yards allowed per game)....rush defense 14th (107.0)...1st in lowest opposing passer rating (85.5)
Scoring defense – 18th (22.4 points allowed per game)
Fewest first downs allowed – 227 (8th)
The numbers on offense continue to be embarrassing:
31st in total offense (285.7 yards per game), pass offense (164.6) and scoring (14.8 points per game). Thank goodness for Arizona.
Second-most penalties (100) for the second-most yards (872). Only Kansas City is worse and the Chiefs offset many of the penalties with an awesome offense.
Average time of possession is fine: 30:41 (11th-best)
Minus-7 in turnover differential (25th), with 18 takeaways and 25 giveaways
Outsacked by 5 (31 by and 3 against).
BOB’S THURSDAY NIGHT “BEST BET”: JAGUARS TO UPSET TITANS
The Tennessee Titans beat host Jacksonville 9-6 in September and are 5-1 straight up and 4-1-1 against the spread in the last six meetings.
But the disappointing Jaguars showed some life last week in a 6-0 upset over the Indianapolis Colts. Running back Leonard Fournette should be primed for a top effort after a one-game suspension and Cody Kessler will try to protect the football again.
Bob’s “Best Bet”: Jacksonville 13, TENNESSEE (-4) 10.
SABRES LIVING ON THE EDGE...AND IT SURE IS FUN
The first 29 games of this NHL season have been super exciting for Buffalo Sabres fans.
Of those 29 games, 16 were decided by one goal.
Here are the margins of victory (in chronological order): Lost by 4...Won by 2...W2...L5...W3...L3...L4..W4....W2...W1...L1(in overtime)...L1(OT)...L2...W7...L2...W1(OT)...W1(in shootout)...W1...W1(SO)...W1)...W1(OT)...W3...W1(OT)...W1(SO)...W1(OT)...L1...L1(OT)...L1...L1(OT).
After Saturday night, 16 of the last 19 Heisman Trophy winners will have been quarterbacks...A Heisman Trophy-winning QB became the first overall pick in the NFL draft nine times...The only Heisman Trophy-winning QB to be selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame was Roger Staubach.
The newest Rochester Knighthawk is 29-year-old forward Pat Saunders. He has played for five National Lacrosse teams, including one game with Rochester. His best season was 2016, when he had 44 goals and 32 assists in 18 games with the New England Black Wolves. Last season, in 14 games with Vancouver and Buffalo he had 14 goals and 18 assists.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...
Wednesday, December 5
Christian Yelich 27..Cam Fowler 27....Jurrell Casey 29...A.J. Pollock 30...Justin Smoak 32...LaGarrette Blount 32...Josh Smith 33...Eddy Curry 36...Olli Jokinen 40...Charlie Batch 44...Cliff Floyd 46...Kevin Haller 48...Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards 55...Shirley Furlong 59...Dynamite Kid 60...Art Monk 61...Bill Swaggerty 62...Art Still 63...Steve Furness 68....Lanny Wadkins 69. Gen. George Armstrong Custer was born on this date 179 years ago (1829) and died in 1876 at age 36.
Thursday, December 6
Giannis Antetokounmpo 24...Johnny Maziel 26...Amam Eaton 30...Matt Niskanen 32...Darrell Jackson 40...Elmore Spencer 49...Kein Appier 51...Larry Sheets 59...Mike Baab 59...Bill Hanzlik 61...Mike Parrott 64...Larry Bowa 73. Andrew Cuomo 61 is invited to the birthday party.