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#pounditSaturday, October 16, 2021


Nebraska fans sound off after Scott Frost’s latest 1-score loss

Scott Frost

The Nebraska Cornhuskers remain a program in turmoil after another 1-score loss Saturday, this time to Minnesota.

The score is slightly deceptive, as it took a late touchdown to get Nebraska to within 30-23. However, it was more fodder for coach Scott Frost’s growing critics. Frost is now a remarkable 5-17 in 1-score games since taking over at Nebraska in 2018.

While some would point to that number of tight losses as evidence that Nebraska is close to getting over the hump, a number of national observers and even Nebraska fans do not see it that way.

Frost is 15-25 at Nebraska and 10-21 in Big Ten play. The losses are close, but they are still losses. The fact that they’re still happening in the fourth year of Frost’s tenure means it’s harder and harder to make excuses.

The buyout for Frost is roughly $20 million, which gives him some job security he might not otherwise have. It may not matter if things don’t improve, especially with other problems that may be lurking around the football program.

Arch Manning watched Texas lose to Oklahoma State

Arch Manning wearing a Georgia hat

Texas had some high-profile recruits in attendance for their game on Saturday against Oklahoma State. The plan did not work out too well.

Arch Manning was among the recruits taking in the Longhorns’ game in Austin. Jalen Hale, a fellow 5-star recruit, shared a photo on Twitter of the two of them.

Arch is the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the 2023 recruiting class. Not only is he a top recruit, but he also brings tons of attention thanks to his lineage. His grandfather is Archie Manning, and his uncles are Peyton and Eli, who both won two Super Bowls. Arch’s father Cooper also played wide receiver at Ole Miss before suffering a serious injury.

Arch has two more visits planned this fall. Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Ole Miss and Clemson appear to be his top five schools in consideration currently. He previously offered a nice compliment for Texas.

Video: LSU somehow botches Hail Mary defense against Florida

LSU bad Hail Mary defense

The LSU Tigers had been impressively competitive against the Florida Gators in the first half of Saturday’s game. Some of that work was undone, however, just before the half.

The Tigers led 21-6 with five seconds to go in the first half. Florida had the ball at the LSU 42-yard line, and it was obvious to everyone that a Hail Mary was coming. LSU even looked prepared for it, starting the play with three defenders at the goal line to prevent any big play.

Somehow, they failed to do that. Florida receiver Justin Shorter had three LSU defenders around him, but wound up making a largely uncontested touchdown catch anyway.

You can bet there will be questions asked about how this possibly could have happened. It wasn’t as if LSU was caught off-guard. Somehow, a whole trio of players just managed to lose Shorter. None of them seemed to try to make a play on the ball, either.

It’s plays like this that have landed Ed Orgeron on the hot seat. This one won’t help his job security much.

Christian McCaffrey placed on IR due to lingering hamstring injury

Christian McCaffrey

The Carolina Panthers will be without running back Christian McCaffrey for at least three more weeks due to his lingering hamstring injury.

The Panthers announced Saturday that they have placed McCaffrey on injured reserve, meaning he will be sidelined for at least three weeks. The team’s medical staff felt this was the best way to ensure that McCaffrey would be fully healthy going forward.

This will definitely be frustrating for the Panthers, especially after the optimism they had been projecting the last two weeks. McCaffrey himself was optimistic about playing last week, but that didn’t happen. The signs only got worse this week, as McCaffrey had already been ruled out for Sunday’s game against Minnesota. It appears McCaffrey simply has not healed as quickly as anticipated.

By placing McCaffrey on injured reserve Saturday, it ensures this will count as one of his three weeks out. That means he will be eligible to return in Week 9.

Billy Beane appears to have made decision on Mets job

Billy Beane

The New York Mets’ search for a new team president looks to have missed out on all of its top targets.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network first reported Friday that the Mets were receiving “no encouraging signs” from Oakland’s Billy Beane about taking on the role of Mets president. That came alongside news that Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns was also unlikely.

SNY’s Andy Martino reported Saturday that Beane had told industry friends he was “intrigued” by the Mets job, but simply appears unlikely to leave Oakland. There had been lingering questions about whether Beane is interested in uprooting his family or running a team on a day-to-day level again.

The Mets seemed to have a three-man shortlist for the position, but it now appears all three are out. It now looks likely that they will have to target a younger, less-experienced front office figure, perhaps an assistant GM on another team.

Mel Tucker could be head coach target for SEC powerhouse?

Mel Tucker before a game

One of the more prestigious jobs in college football could be opening up in the near future, and may already have a target in mind.

As speculation grows about the future of coach Ed Orgeron at LSU, other names are being linked to the post. One of them is Michigan State coach Mel Tucker, who some LSU officials are “really, really high on,” according to FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman.

As Feldman points out, Tucker was an assistant on Nick Saban’s staff at LSU, so there are preexisting ties there. What isn’t clear is whether Tucker would be eager to move again, having just joined Michigan State prior to the 2020 season. Tucker has overseen a remarkably quick turnaround with the Spartans, who entered play Saturday 6-0 and ranked No. 10 in the country.

The fact that there are already rumored replacements can’t be good news for Orgeron, whose job appears to be increasingly under threat. It seems he’ll need to win some games fast to remain in Baton Rouge.

Photo: Sep 3, 2021; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Mel Tucker walks on the field during warmups before the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson has awesome reaction to Louisville jersey retirement

Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson was treated to an awesome surprise when he learned that Louisville will retire his No. 8.

Louisville coach Scott Satterfield and athletic director Vince Tyra surprised Jackson with the announcement. Jackson himself was told he was meeting with the media, making it a surprise. The quarterback did get a little emotional upon discovering what was really going on.

The honor definitely means a great deal to Jackson. He also seems genuinely surprised by it, which makes it even better.

Few could argue Jackson isn’t worthy of the honor. He won the Heisman Trophy with the Cardinals, and it only helps that he’s carried his excellence to the NFL with him. He just has to make sure he’s careful about those flip celebrations, but Louisville might not be the only place his number is retired at this rate.

JD Martinez hosed by umpire David Rackley in Game 1 at-bat

JD Martinez called strike

Home plate umpire David Rackley heard plenty of complaints about his strike zone during Game 1 of the ALCS between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros. There were several pitches that were well off the plate but called strikes, and three of them came in the same at-bat for J.D. Martinez.

Martinez was called out on strikes in the top of the fifth inning with the Red Sox trailing 3-1. The slugger took the first pitch for a ball before looking at a slider and two fastballs that were called strikes. All three strikes missed the outside corner, as you can see below:

Here’s the video of the called third strike:

Rackley appeared to be doing his best Angel Hernandez impersonation throughout much of the game, which the Astros won 5-4.

There were also several pitches that missed the strike zone high but were called strikes by Rackley. Typically, umpires won’t hear as many complains if their strike zone is consistent. However, there were a few pitches from Chris Sale in the first inning that appeared to catch the corner, but Rackley called them balls.

Overall, it was not a good night for Rackley. You won’t see him roasted as badly as Gabe Morales was for his controversial check swing call in the NLDS, but both teams had every right to be frustrated.

Justin Verlander had message for Astros after big Carlos Correa hit

Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander may not be able to help the Houston Astros in their quest for another World Series title, but the star pitcher had some advice for the team during the first game of the ALCS.

Carlos Correa helped the Houston Astros come from behind to beat the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 on Friday night with his go-ahead home run in the bottom of seventh inning. After Correa’s solo shot, Verlander delivered a message to Houston in GIF form.

Those who are familiar with the movie “Rounders” know the deal.

Correa, who will be a free agent after the season, has been a postseason hero for the Astros. His clutch homer in Game 1 was the 18th of his playoff career. Correa immediately pointed to his watch after he swung (video here), which has become his way of saying October is his time.

One of Correa’s former teammates shared the same message as Verlander, who has been out after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Jon Gruden’s email comment about Colin Kaepernick draws attention

Jon Gruden in a Raiders hat

Jon Gruden was forced to resign as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders this week after numerous offensive remarks he made in private emails were leaked to the media. A strong opinion Gruden expressed about Colin Kaepernick has also drawn attention.

The topic of Kaepernick’s national anthem protest came up in the emails Gruden exchanged with former Washington team executive Bruce Allen. Both expressed anger over Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem to call attention to police brutality. In an email that was sent on Aug. 28, 2016, Gruden said Kaepernick should be cut.

“They suspend people for taking amino acids they should cut this f—,” Gruden wrote to Allen, via Henry Bushnell and Jason Owens of Yahoo Sports.

Allen responded that he had already “expressed my OUTRAGE” over the Kaepernick protests. Gruden then sent back, “Good for you.”

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers following the 2016 season and has not played since. Most people believe that the protests played a role in him not finding another job in the NFL, though his overall on-field performance was mediocre at best.

Kaepernick reached a confidential settlement with the NFL in 2019 after accusing the league of collusion in a lawsuit.

You can read more about the Gruden email leaks here.

Photo: Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden takes the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports