What if quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had stepped off the plane in Los Angeles, instead of continuing east to Tuscaloosa, when he left high school in Hawaii?,At the end of the regular season, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart accepted the head coaching job at Georgia, which prompted blue-chip recruit Jake Fromm to flip from the Crimson Tide to the Bulldogs.,But Tagovailoa later told a Hawaiian television crew that he might have left if not for the 2018 championship game, when Alabama coach Nick Saban pulled him off the bench and he ended up leading the team to victory over Georgia with a long touchdown pass in overtime.,The way Tagovailoa quickly changed things at Alabama, taking command of an offense that had played second-fiddle to the defense, transforming it into a juggernaut that averages more than 527 yards and 47 points.,In his first season as a starter — albeit surrounded by a better team — Tagovailoa just missed winning the Heisman Trophy, passing for 3,671 yards and 41 touchdowns while limiting his interceptions to four.
In their first season in Indianapolis, head coach Frank Reich, left, and offensive coordinator and Jamestown native Nick Sirianni have guided the Colts into the playoffs.,Father Fran, a member of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, coached Southwestern High School from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s; brother Mike is the head coach at Washington & Jefferson College where he has compiled one of the best winning percentages in the NCAA; and brother Jay coached Southwestern to a pair of New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships in 2008 and 2009.,Once the youngest Sirianni arrived at the University of Mount Union, he played for Larry Kehres, who guided the Purple Raiders to 11 national championships in his career.,Upon his graduation, Sirianni began his climb up the coaching ranks with stops at Mount Union, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the Kansas Chiefs and the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, before joining Reich’s staff in Indianapolis last February.,“One of the reasons I’m in the position I’m in now is because of the successful coaches I’ve been around, starting with growing up in a coach’s house, learning how to coach with my brothers, and then, obviously, playing for the most successful coach in NCAA football history in Larry Kehres,” he told The Post-Journal last October.
With that in mind, time for some reckless speculation about where Brown could possibly fit both within cap requirements and team needs.,Brown will have a cap hold of $22.1 million next season and if the Steelers were to trade him prior to June 1st, they would have over $21 million in dead money on the cap next year.,New York Jets
The Jets also had a player immediately begin “recruiting” Brown with safety Jamal Adams tweeting at the wide receiver after all of the news broke.,Indianapolis Colts
And it should serve as a reminder to the rest of the AFC playoff field that even though the Patriots may have looked vulnerable at times this season, and even though Brady himself may not be the MVP quarterback he was a year ago, and even though New England has some shaky losses on its record, the fact is that Bill Belichick’s team is back where it always is: playing meaningful football in January.,Over the past seven seasons, the Patriots have gone 7-0 in the divisional round, winning by an average of 17 points per game.,But if the Texans can come up with a timely interception or two — the way they did in Foxboro during a playoff game two years ago — then it could lead to some tense moments in Foxboro for the home team.,They led the AFC with over 150 rushing yards per game and 19 rushing touchdowns on the season.,They ranked first in the NFL in yards allowed (293/game), second in points allowed (17.9/game), fourth in rushing yards allowed, fifth in passing yards allowed, third in third-down defense and second in opponent passer rating.
• OU is making its 20th consecutive bowl bid, by far the longest streak in school history (the previous record was eight from through the 1982 seasons under Barry Switzer).,• This marks the fourth straight season Oklahoma has won at least seven consecutive games heading into its bowl contest (seven in 2015, nine in 2016, eight in 2017 and seven this year).,• Only one OU team (51.1 in 2008) averaged more points per game for a season than this year's squad is averaging (49.5).,• Oklahoma has rushed for at least 300 yards and passed for at least 300 in a game a school-record five times this year (the previous record was two times in 2012), including in four of the last six contests.,• Brooks has carried the rushing load for OU over the last four games, running 71 times for 546 yards (7.7 per rush) and six touchdowns.
SALT LAKE CITY — As impressive as Donovan Mitchell has been so far with the Utah Jazz — his sophomore shooting slump notwithstanding — what the young NBA player has done off the court might be even more impressive.,It's one thing to enjoy watching sports figures and teams compete, especially when they do things we can't (see any dunk Mitchell has ever done), pile up the fun statistics and wins and provide hours of entertainment.,Mitchell has made as much of a name for the way he donates his time and Jazz merchandise to the community — from spending hours each month with students at Kearns High School, showing up at random Fourth of July barbecues, buying groceries and phones to help people out, attending local high school and college games to, as one writer on our staff described it, "bringing joy to thousands of people in the community.",And that just scratches the surface of an organization that makes sure its players visit hospitals, donate to charitable causes, give people in need gifts and tickets, and speak to students and other groups, among many other kind acts befitting of the late Larry H. Miller's mantra that suggested people, "Go about doing good until there's too much good in the world.",The former BYU star quarterback has become a legendary sports figure in New Orleans — he was already considered a saint in Provo for leaping over Texas — and, as Brandon Judd described, "has turned into one of the most intriguing players in the NFL."
• In Big 12 play, Oklahoma leads the conference with its 596.5 yards of offense per game, which is 125.5 more yards per outing than the team with the second-best average (Texas Tech; 471.0) and 145.7 more yards than Oklahoma State averages.,• Despite losing preseason All-Big 12 running back Rodney Anderson for the season due to an injury against UCLA in the second game of the year, Oklahoma leads the Big 12 and ranks 12th nationally with its 246.8 rushing yards per game (Oklahoma State ranks second in the league at 200.1).,• Oklahoma has rushed for at least 300 yards and passed for at least 300 yards in a game three times already this year, a single-season school record (vs. Florida Atlantic in the season opener and each of the last two weeks against Kansas State and Texas Tech).,• Through nine games, quarterback Kyler Murray leads the nation in passing efficiency rating (216.6; the NCAA single-season record of 198.9 was set by Baker Mayfield last year) and yards per pass attempt (12.3), and ranks second in yards per completion (17.5) and points responsible for per game (25.3), third in passing touchdowns per game (3.4) and total offense per game (362.6 yards), and fifth in completion percentage (.706).,• In Big 12 play, Murray owns healthy statistical leads in total offense at 403.3 yards per game (next most is 302.0 by Oklahoma State's Taylor Cornelius), passing yards at 336.3 per contest (next most is 309.5 by West Virginia's Will Grier) and passing efficiency rating with his 222.9 mark (next best
The Times salutes a San Francisco pass-rusher, disappointedly shakes its head at the Los Angeles defensive line and previews the best (and worst) games of the week in the NFC West.,Least valuable player: Tie, Los Angeles Rams entire defensive line.,Sure, Donald and Fowler each had a tackle for loss, but those were the only two TFLs Los Angeles compiled.,But those are the games a renowned defensive line needs to show up for, and the Rams didn’t show up last weekend.,Spotlight statistic: Quarterback Nick Mullens had a quarterback rating of 151.9 in the 49ers’ 34-3 win over the Raiders last week, the highest rating for a player with at least 15 attempts in an NFL debut since the 1970 merger.