Matthews: Dabo Will Take Orange Seriously

DABO SURE TO TAKE DINO’S ORANGE VERY SERIOUSLY

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney outcoached Saint Nick Saban Monday night in a 44-16 romp over mighty Alabama in the CFP national championship game.

After the game, Swinney boasted that his Tigers deserve a spot in any discussion regarding the all-time greatest single season in college football history.

With a 15-0 record and a 28-point victory over the previously undefeated and 6-pointfasvored Crimson Tide, he has a strong case.

Clemson will be the popular 2019 pre-season favorite to repeat as national champion, but one coach and opponent Swinney is sure to worry about facing is Dino Babers and Syracuse.

Syracuse upset visiting Clemson 27-24 in 2017 and had the lead until late in the fourth quarter before losing 27-23 at Clemson last fall. They’ll play at the Carrier Dome this fall (50,000-plus?).

The  scoring margins for Clemson’s 15 victories this season were 41-2 (at Texas A&M Week 2)—31—28-4 (vs. Syracuse)—60—34—49—61—20—29—21—32—27—28.

RED WINGS FAVORITE WILLIANS ASTUDILLO STRIKES AGAIN!

Rochester Red Wings fan favorite Willians Astudillo made ESPN’s SportsCenter Tuesday night for a theatric clutch home run in a Venezuelan League playoff game.

He hit a towering long fly ball down the left-field line and dropped to one knee, with his elbow resting on his bat and rooting for the ball to stay fair. It did and Astudillo jumped up and danced around the bases as the capacity crowd went wild. In Latin America, home run “shenanigans” are encouraged. Giving the fans a fun show is more important that retaliating with brushbacks or hit-by-pitches.

In 55 games this winter regular season, Astudillo hit .316 with 8 HRs and only 4 strikeouts in 236 plate appearances.

Astudillo has signed with Minnesota and will be a Red Wing again if he doesn’t stick with the Twins out of spring training.

Last season with Minnesota, in 30 games between stints in Rochester, he batted .355 (33-for-93) with 3 HRs, 21 RBI and only 3 strikeouts in 93 at-bats. He’s one of a kind. A good kind.

HOW THE NFL’S ELITE EIGHT MEASURE UP – BEST (CHIEFS) TO WORST (EAGLES)

The wide-open National Football League’s post-season tournament is down to eight teams. Here’s how they compare:

Scoring offense – 1-Kansas City Chiefs 1 (35.3 points per game)...2-Los Angeles Rams (32.9)...3-New Orleans Saints...4-New England Patriots (27.3)...5-Indianapolis Colts 5th (27.1)...6-Los Angeles Chargers (26.6)...7-Philadelphia Eagles 22.9...8-Dallas Cowboys 21.2

Scoring defense – 1-Cowboys (20.3 points allowed per game)...2-Patriots (20.3)...3-Chargers (20.6)...4-Colts (21.5)...5-Eagles (21.8)...6-Saints (22.1)...7-Rams (24.0)...8-Chiefs (26.3)

Total offense – 1-Chiefs (425.6 yards per game)...2-Rams (421.1)...3-Patriots (393.4)...4-Colts (386.2)...5-Saints (379.2)...6-Chargers (372.6)...7-Eagles (365.3)...8-Cowboys (343.8)

Total defense – 1-Cowboys (329.3)...2-Chargers (333.7)...3-Colts (339.4)...4-Saints (349.1)...5-Rams (358.6)...6-Patriots (359.1)...7-Eagles (366.2)...8-Chiefs (405.5)

Turnover differential – 1-Rams (+11)...2-Patriots (+10)...3-Chiefs (+9)...4-Saints (+8)...5-Cowboys (+3)...6-Colts (+2)...7-Chargers (+1)...8-Eagles (-6)

Sack differential – 1-Saints (+29)...2-Chiefs (+26)...3-Colts (+20)...4-Patriots (+9)...5-Rams (+8)...t6-Chargers (+4)...t6-Eagles (+4)...8-Cowboys (-1)

Won-lost record – t1 Rams (13-3)...t1 Saints (13-3)...t3-Chargers t3 (12-4)...t3 Chiefs (12-4)...5-Patriots (11-5)...t6 Dallas (10-6)...Colts t6 (10-6)...8-Eagles (9 -7)

Penalty yardage differential – 1-Eagles (-143)...2-Patriots (-94)...3-Colts (-62)...4-Rams (+26)...5-Saints (+64)...6-Chargers (+139)...7-Cowboys (+204)...8-Chiefs (+271)

Quarterbacks (subjective) – 1-Chiefs...2-Colts...3-Saints...4-Patriots...5-Chargers...6-Rams...7-Cowboys...8-Eagles.

Totals (lower the number the better; intangibles not included, and they mean a lot) – Chiefs 28.5...Saints 31.5...Patriots 33.5...Rams 34.5...Colts 35.5...Chargers 41.5...Cowboys 42.5...Eagles 57 (could these rankings be curses, Foles-d again?).

HASKINS LIKELY FIRST-ROUND PICK – BUT NOT A TOP-3 PICK -- IN 2019 NFL DRAFT

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins this week declared for the 2019 NFL college draft. Considering how weak this season’s NFL draft appears at the QB position, his timing looks right.

Arizona, San Francisco and the New York Jets have the top three picks and also have young supposed “franchise quarterbacks” in Josh Rosen, Jimmy Garoppolo and Sam Darnold. The best chance for Haskins to become a top-three pick could be via trade.

NFL teams often overrate quarterbacks as potential franchise saviors as early first-round picks. At least one was selected in the top three picks in 17 of the last 18 college drafts:

2000 – none in top three

2001 – Michael Vick 1

2002 – David Carr 1...Joey Harrington 3

2003 – Carson Palmer 1

2004 – Eli Manning 1

2005 – Alex Smith 1

2006 – Vince Young 3

2007 – JaMarcus Russell 1

2007 – Matt Ryan 3

2009 – Matthew Stafford 1

2010 – Sam Bradford 1

2011 – Cam Newton 1

2012 – Andrew Luck 1...Robert Griffin III 2

2013 – none in top three...first QB selected was EJ Manuel 16th by Buffalo

2014 – Blake Bortles 3

2015 – Jameis Winston 1...Marcus Mariota 2

2016 – Jared Goff 1...Carson Wentz 2

2017 – Mitchell Trubisky 2

2018 – Baker Mayfield 1...Sam Darnold 3.

SHORT SHOTS

Syracuse is getting some love in the assorted “way-too-early” college football 2019 pre-season polls: SB Nation 16th...The Sporting News 20th...Yahoo Sports 21st...USA Today 22nd...Dallas News 23rd.

Syracuse’s men’s basketball team plays at Duke Monday night. Duke freshman RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson are likely to be the two top picks in the 2019 NBA draft. Barrett is averaging 22.8 points and Williamson is averaging 20.9 points, with a 67.9 field-goal percentage, and 9.5 rebounds in 26.3 minutes per game.

SU hosts Clemson Wednesday night (the Orange are favored by only 3 points) and Georgia Tech Saturday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Wednesday, January 9

Marcus Peters 26...Terrence Jones 27...Michael Beasley 30...Sergio Garcia 39...Chad Johnson 41...Radek Bonk 43...Scott Thornton 48..Bill Schoeder 48....Rob McClanahan 51...Jamie Huscroft 52...Mark Martin 60...Bruce Boudreau 64...Jim Wiemer 58...M. L. Carr 68...Bart Starr 85. Dave Matthews 52, J,K. Simmons 64 and Joan Baez 78 are invited to the birthday party.

Thursday, January 10

Landon Collins 25...Tamina Snuka 31...Max Starks 37...Henrik Tallinder 40...Glenn Robinson 46...Bobby Rahal 66...George Foreman 70...Bill Toomey 80.  Pat Benatar 66 and Rod Stewart 74 are invited to the birthday party.

ON THIS DATE IN SPORTS

January 9

116 years ago (1903), Frank Farrell and Bill Devery bought the American League’s Baltimore baseball franchise for $18,000 and moved it to New York City, where it later became the Yankees...77 years ago (1942), Joe Louis KOd Buddy Baer at Madison Square Garden in the first round of their rematch for his 20th heavyweight title defense...68 years ago (1951), the NBA Washington Capitals folded during the season...66 years ago (1953), Bevo Francis of Rio Grande College scored 116 points in a basketball game against Ashland, Ky., Junior College...61 years ago (1958), University of Cincinnati Oscar Robertson outscored opponent Seton Hall 56-54...57 years ago (1962), the NFL prohibited the grabbling of facemasks...47 years ago (1972),  the Milwaukee Bucks ended the NBA-record 33-game winning streak of the Los Angeles Lakers...30 years ago (1989), Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame...21 years ago (1998), Hockey News selected Wayne Gretzky the best NFL player ever.

January 10

37 years ago (1982), the Cincinnati Bengals beat the visiting San Diego Chargers 27-7 to win the “Freeze Bowl” AFC championship in minus-59-degree weather. The players on both sides were very happy when the game ended...23 years ago (1996), Jimmy Johnson was announced as coach of the Miami Dolphins...8 years ago (2011), No. 1 Auburn beat No. 2 Oregon 22-19 in the 13th BSC National Championship game.

Bob Matthews' Column

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