Connect with us


Luke Fickell set to lead Cincinnati into an exciting future | Way-too-early 2023 Super Bowl odds



Happy Tuesday morning, all!

Let’s get right to it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

Getty Images



Big results. Big (12) future. Big payday for Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell.

The Bearcats’ leader agreed to a massive extension that will pay him $5 million per year through 2028. 

Fickell is fresh off leading the Bearcats to a 13-1 season in which they became the first Group of Five team to make the College Football Playoff. It’s an extremely well-deserved raise, writes college football expert Shehan Jeyarajah:

  • Jeyarajah: “When Cincinnati hired Fickell, the program had not earned a national ranking since Butch Jones was head coach in 2012. The Bearcats had just one top-10 finish in program history… Fickell has brought unmatched consistency to the program, which has enjoyed four straight ranked finishes in the AP Top 25 and back-to-back AAC titles.


Obviously this is a great deal for Fickell, but this is a great deal for Cincinnati, too. It’s no coincidence that it comes ahead of the school’s move to the Big 12, which is expected to take place by 2023. Last year, just three Big 12 coaches made more than $5 million

  • Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley ($7.8 million)
  • TCU’s Gary Patterson ($6.1 million)
  • Texas’ Steve Sarkisian ($5.4 million)

Fickell is 48-15 in five seasons at Cincinnati and will likely pass Rick Minter‘s school-record 53 career victories this season. Minter needed a decade to reach that; Fickell will get there in just over half that time.

Another key part of this extension is that Fickell’s assistant coach salary pool grows from $3.9 million to $5.2 million. That’s a huge boost as Fickell will need to restock his staff should his team continue to have success and his assistants get hired away.


Long story short, Cincinnati is entering a new era, and there’s no one better to lead that new era than Fickell. Now, he’s a sure thing to do just that, in the immediate future and beyond.

Honorable mentions:

And not such a good morning for…

Getty Images


Brian Flores‘ lawsuit may not be the top piece of sports news any more, but it’s not going anywhere in the NFL‘s eyes. And that could mean bad news for Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.

In his lawsuit, Flores had several allegations against the NFL as well as the Dolphins, Giants and Broncos, but when it comes to Miami, two things stood out:

  • Flores says Ross offered him $100,000 per loss in 2019, as part of an effort to tank
  • Flores says Ross tampered with a “prominent quarterback” two offseasons ago, and when Flores didn’t join in, Ross turned on him

That first allegation, if proven true, could result in Ross losing the team. According to reports, last week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, “I do believe that clubs do have the authority to remove an owner from the league.” Our NFL expert Patrik Walker explains:

  • Walker: “It would require a three-fourths vote among ownership, but given the accusations, it is entirely possible. That is, of course, if the NFL can prove an offer to Flores occurred, which would also lead to sanctions by the league itself against the organization and not simply against Ross. That could come in the form of a massive fine and/or lost future draft picks, and anything else Goodell feels is justified, although the commissioner won’t speculate on what the punishment(s) would be, other than to intimate they’d match the extreme severity of the possible violation.”

Ross has denied Flores’ claims, and the NFL is investigating the matter.

Not so honorable mentions:

Looking at 2023 Super Bowl odds; which team presents the best value? 🏈

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JANUARY 24: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs throws a pass in the first half against the Buffalo Bills during the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 24, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Well the NFL season is officially over, which means (1) I’m sad and (2) it’s time to look forward to next season. Our friends at Caesars Sportsbook have already released the odds for next year’s championship, and the top tier includes the usual suspects. As of Monday night…

  • Chiefs +700
  • Bills +750
  • Rams +1000
  • 49ers +1400
  • Bengals +1400
  • Packers +1500

Last year, NFL expert Jordan Dajani named the Rams as the best value pick, and I’m not saying you should have followed his advice, but if you had, you’d be rich right now.

So who does Dajani like for next year? One of his favorites shares a division with this season’s Super Bowl champs:

  • Dajani: “It’s time for Kyle Shanahan to win a Super Bowl after watching his buddy Sean McVay get one. … Everyone understood that the 49ers‘ plan for victory included running the ball, playing great defense and special teams and then Jimmy Garoppolo just not turning the ball over. Trey Lance will be the quarterback in 2022, and if he’s even a small upgrade, the 49ers are going to have a chance to compete for the Super Bowl.

I love that pick. Want another from yours truly? How about the Ravens, who will get Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey and plenty of others back and healthy? Baltimore checks in at +2000 currently, tied for the ninth-shortest odds.

Gonzaga back on top of AP Poll; Bracketology heating up 🏀

Getty Images

Gonzaga is back on top of the latest AP Poll, the third different time the ‘Zags have reached No. 1 this season.

Previous No. 1 Auburn lost last week at Arkansas (the Tigers fell to No. 2 this week), and Gonzaga took full advantage. Mark Few‘s team is currently steamrolling the West Coast Conference and is coming off a 74-58 win over a ranked St. Mary’s team. That’s tied for the ‘Zags “smallest” conference win this season.

Anyway, that sort of dominance makes Gonzaga a thoroughly deserving No. 1, writes college basketball reporter Gary Parrish:

  • Parrish: “They have, once again, clearly established themselves as the favorite to win the national championship by doing enough in the non-league portion of their schedule before completely overwhelming the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga beat Texas by 12 points and UCLA by 20 points in November, beat Texas Tech by 14 points in December — and the Zags have spent January and February destroying everybody in their path.”

That dominance is coinciding with freshman Chet Holmgren‘s rise to stardom, and Matt Norlander’s feature on him is a must-read.

Meanwhile, in Jerry Palm’s latest Bracketology, Wisconsin finds itself skidding down to the 3 line. You can see Palm’s full field here.


The Phoenix Open provided what no other professional league can ⛳

Getty Images

If you missed it this weekend, the Phoenix Open was awesome. Rising star Scottie Scheffler won in a playoff and the crowd at the famous 16th hole got to celebrate two hole-in-ones. And, boy, did it celebrate.

As some big-name golfers consider moving to the Saudi Arabia-funded Super Golf League (where the payouts would be gigantic), the Phoenix Open was another reminder that the PGA Tour supplies fun that no other tour — especially the Super Golf League — could, opines golf reporter Kyle Porter:

  • Porter: “It is easy to envision a future in which Super Golf League participants, with little to no fanfare surrounding them, are globetrotting for sums of money that seem miscalculated by factors of 100. … We have done a bad thing in our capitalistic society where we have made personal experience and financial earnings equivalent with one another. We might not say it, but we believe that experiences have a price tag (often an exorbitant one); the reality is that they do not.”

I thought this column was strong, balanced and informative, and it gave me an insightful look into a potentially major rupture in the golf world.

What we’re watching Tuesday 📺

🏀 Celtics at 76ers, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 No. 10 Villanova at No. 8 Providence, 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
🏀 No. 4 Kentucky at No. 16 Tennessee, 9 p.m. on ESPN

Source link



Dwight Howard’s Taiwan Team Reportedly Wants Him To Take A Pay Cut



(Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix)


Since leaving the NBA, Dwight Howard has become one of the biggest athletes playing international basketball.

Howard is a sensation in Taiwan and has brought his skill, size, and status to the country’s budding league.


But his new contract might force him to make quite a bit less than he’s used to.

According to, Howard’s team wants him to take a 65% pay cut on his next contract.

The team’s CEO said this is all part of the team’s new calculations and incentive package and will hopefully encourage Howard to play more.

The news agency says that Howard played 30 out of 30 games last season, missing those other ten games due to injury.

The new payment program proposed by the team would provide bonuses for winning and non-bonuses for not playing, “combined with a fixed base salary.”

According to FTV News, Howard’s monthly salary was around $200,000.

Howard is allegedly not very happy with this new plan and has spoken out against it to the media in Taiwan.

All of this has created more speculation that he will try to return to the NBA.


Just days ago, Howard said he’d play in the association again if given the chance.

He has kept his profile high since departing for Taiwan, doing many interviews and giving his insight into the league via multiple media outlets and social media.

Now that he is arguing with his team about his salary, Howard might try even harder to play in America again.

Howard hasn’t been hesitant about sharing his opinions on a number of subjects so you can bet he will continue to publicly talk about this too.

The post Dwight Howard’s Taiwan Team Reportedly Wants Him To Take A Pay Cut appeared first on The Cold Wire.


Source link

Continue Reading


Jamal Murray Has Passed Steph Curry In Finals History



(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


The Denver Nuggets are — obviously — Nikola Jokic’s team, and they’ll only go as far as their superstar can take them.

But Jamal Murray is no Robin to his Batman, at least not in the playoffs, as he’s been more of a 1B than a second-scoring option for Mike Malone’s teams.


As a matter of fact, the Canadian combo guard has been so spectacular in the NBA Finals, that he’s already passed Stephen Curry in career averages through their first three games at this stage.

According to StatMuse, Murray has averaged 26.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 10.0 assists per game on 51/38/91 shooting splits, while Curry averaged 24.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.3 dimes a game on 40/32/92 splits.

Moreover, Murray is now a year younger than Curry was in those NBA Finals, so maybe this could be the beginning of a new dynasty.

Of course, Murray isn’t on Steph Curry’s level yet — and chances are he never will be.

He’s very good in the regular season, but he hasn’t posted these kinds of numbers throughout his career; he’s more of a playoff performer than anything else.

Even so, it’s worth noting that the Denver Nuggets have now reached at least the Western Conference Finals twice with Murray and Jokic healthy and on the court, and they couldn’t find that same success when Murray was out with injuries.

Jokic and Murray have definitely made a case for being the best duo in the NBA right now, and the best part is that neither of them have reached their prime yet,


The post Jamal Murray Has Passed Steph Curry In Finals History appeared first on The Cold Wire.

Source link

Continue Reading


Joe Burrow Continues To Dominate The NFL In Elite Category



(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)


Not so long ago, the Cincinnati Bengals were far from a Super Bowl contender.

It all changed when they landed that No. 1 pick and got Joe Burrow, who didn’t need a lot of time to prove that he was special.


Burrow missed most of his rookie season after suffering a major knee injury, but he came back the next year to lead the franchise to the ultimate stage in his first full campaign under center.

Moreover, he’s led the league in passer rating since that 2021 season with a grade of 104.2, even better than Patrick Mahomes (101.8) and Aaron Rodgers (101.4).

The Bengals have done a great job of putting together a winning roster and fixing their issues every year since Burrow entered the league, but he’s the main reason behind that impressive culture turnaround.

He’s the most efficient and accurate passer in the league right now, and it’s not even close.


His ability to make reads in real-time and pickup defenses, extend plays, and hit his receivers in stride when the play is broken are second to none in today’s game.

Burrow was close to leading the Bengals to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, and he’s next in line to sign a massive contract extension.

He hasn’t been in the league for that long, but he’s already established himself as a top-5 passer in the game, and he might not be fourth or fifth, and the scariest part is that he’s still years away from reaching his prime and will only keep getting better.

The post Joe Burrow Continues To Dominate The NFL In Elite Category appeared first on The Cold Wire.

Source link


Continue Reading