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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Stories by Grey Papke:

Report: Yankees have offered Gerrit Cole record $245 million deal

Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees are ready to go big in their pursuit of free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole.

According to Bob Klapisch of the New York Times, the Yankees have made a seven-year, $245 million offer to Cole. That would break the record for the highest AAV on a pitcher’s contract, a mark that is currently held by Zack Greinke.

As impressive as the offer is, it’s not a done deal. The Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers are still involved, and could win Cole over with nine- or ten-year offers.

It is no secret that the Yankees have made Cole their primary target of the offseason, and they look like they’ll do anything to beat the competition and land their man. Whether that means adding a couple extra years if someone else does remains to be seen, but the Yankees want Cole, and appear determined to get him at any cost.

To be clear, it’s easy to understand why — Cole posted a 2.50 ERA with 326 strikeouts in 212.1 innings in 2019.

Chiefs’ equipment accidentally sent to New Jersey ahead of Patriots game

Andy Reid

The Kansas City Chiefs suffered something of an equipment fiasco ahead of Sunday afternoon’s game against the New England Patriots.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, bags containing shoulder pads, helmets, and footballs for roughly 35 players were mistakenly sent to Newark, New Jersey instead of Foxboro. The Chiefs were responsible by failing to remove the equipment from the plane, and it is now being rushed to Gillette Stadium.

The Chiefs’ equipment did arrive before the game:

We’ve heard of equipment malfunctions and even thievery, but this is pretty ridiculous. It’s certainly quite the hassle for the Chiefs, especially when you consider the consequences if they can’t get the bags to Foxboro in time. It sounds like they have things under control, but this was a pretty close call.

Dabo Swinney admits he has a motive with his disrespect narrative

Dabo Swinney

No college football coach has leaned harder into the narrative that his team is getting disrespected by the national media than Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, who makes it sound like the entire college football reporting world has a huge vendetta against his squad.

Clemson made the College Football Playoff as the No. 3 seed when it was announced on Sunday, as most expected after their win over Virginia on Saturday night. Once it was official that Clemson was in, Swinney admitted he has a motive, and knows that the selection committee isn’t influenced by what the media says.

Swinney is after bulletin board material. He’s trying to rile his team up and make them feel like the world is against them, putting a chip on their collective shoulders. That’s why he engaged one national media member who called him out for his narrative, and it’s why you can safely expect him to complain at some point that nobody thinks they’ll beat Ohio State.

Watch: Cincinnati benefits from two potential missed calls against Memphis

The Cincinnati Bearcats might be feeling a bit lucky Saturday after a couple key moments went their way against the Memphis Tigers.

The first instance came early in the fourth quarter, when it appeared they might have escaped a safety when the kickoff looked to be fielded at the one-yard line before taking a knee for a touchback. The play was not reviewed, and could have been a Memphis safety if overturned.

The Bearcats also may have gotten away with having an extra man on the field on a key fourth down play. Facing 4th and 1 with 6:24 left down two, Cincinnati went for it at the Memphis 26 and got the first down. However, though it appeared Cincinnati may have had a 12th man on the field, there was no camera angle wide enough to allow for all the players to be on the field, and thus it could not be overturned on replay. The drive ultimately ended with Cincinnati kicking a field goal to take a 24-23 lead.

Memphis must be wondering what they’ve done to get such terrible treatment from the replay booth this season. This is not the first time things haven’t gone their way on that front.

Lane Kiffin dodges Ole Miss question just before officially being hired

Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin was refusing to talk about Ole Miss right up until the last moment before his hiring was made official.

The Florida Atlantic coach led his team to a blowout 49-6 win in the Conference USA title game on Saturday. During the postgame celebration, Kiffin was asked if he’d just coached his final games with the Owls. Kiffin refused to answer the question, shifting the attention back to the school and players.

Less than a half hour after that, Ole Miss officially confirmed that Kiffin had been hired as the new coach — with a rather dramatic video.

Kiffin obviously knew the answer — the deal was essentially done as of Friday, and Ole Miss was merely waiting for Kiffin to coach in the C-USA title game to announce it. It’s an awkward and uncomfortable spot to be in, and he obviously wasn’t going to go in depth on the situation on a stage with his celebrating players. It’s still a rather strange note for Kiffin’s FAU career to end on, though.

Notre Dame-Texas could be possibility for Camping World Bowl

Tom Herman

The Camping World Bowl isn’t normally one of the marquee games on the late December bowl schedule, but they may be trying to set up a very intriguing matchup in 2019.

According to Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman, Camping World Bowl officials are pushing to set up a matchup between Texas and Notre Dame in Orlando on Dec. 28.

The game typically matches up foes from the Big 12 and ACC, but with no New Year’s Six bowl in store for Notre Dame, they’re likely to land here. Texas as the Big 12 foe would make for a scintillating matchup between two prestigious schools, albeit on the back of two disappointing seasons that have led to significant changes in Austin. It would certainly be a game worth watching.

Lions given hefty fine for failure to report Matthew Stafford injury

Matthew Stafford

The Detroit Lions have become the latest team to be fined for violating the NFL’s injury report policy.

The league fined the Lions organization $75,000 for their failure to properly update Matthew Stafford’s status prior to a Nov. 10 game against the Chicago Bears. Coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn were also fined.

The Lions listed Stafford as questionable in the leadup to that game, and he was reported to be out on Sunday morning. Inconsistencies ultimately emerged in the handling of the injury. Some players said at the time they were aware as of Saturday that Stafford was unlikely to play, which, at best, should have led to a designation of doubtful. The result is a pretty severe financial fine for the Lions in the context of other penalties for the same policy violation.

Rick Carlisle ‘happy’ David Fizdale is ‘out of that terrible mess’ with Knicks

Rick Carlisle’s response to David Fizdale being fired by the New York Knicks is probably not what you would expect.

Carlisle, head coach of the Dallas Mavericks and president of the NBA Coaches Association, would be expected to sympathize with Fizdale after his firing. But Carlisle took a different approach — stating he’s “happy” that Fizdale escaped a horrible situation that wasn’t his fault.

There’s a large degree of truth to this. The Knicks have a horrible roster that Fizdale didn’t build, and there’s only so much he can do with that. Ultimately, he didn’t win enough games, and that was always going to cost him his job, but Fizdale might be better off now that he’s out of that situation — nobody else is going to do any better, and he can set himself to finding a job that gives him a better chance to succeed.

As for the Knicks, there are only 30 NBA coaching jobs, and they’re hard to get, so someone will step up and take New York’s. Still, it’s not exactly a quality advertisement for the position, especially when Carlisle’s beliefs are being echoed by other big-name coaches in the business.