by John Walters

Tweet Me Right


Starting Five


Poor Mike Pence. As President Trump scolds Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi for not funding his border wall (We thought the Mexi—never mind) and threatens to not only shut down the government but insists on taking credit for that, the Veep goes full-Lloyd Braun. Festivus can’t come soon enough this year.

2. Filial Foley?

His name is Ed Foley, and he’s the interim coach at Temple, which will take part in the Independence Bowl on December 27 versus Duke. So he flies down to the Port du Shreve for a rubber-chicken lunch speaking engagement and damned if he doesn’t do an impersonation of Matt Foley (Chris Farley), who famously lived in a van down by the river.

Long lost twins? You decide.

3. Alabama, Sweet Home-and-Home?

Seven years ago, the last time Alabama played an OOC game on their opponents’ turf

College football’s pre-Christmas early signing period (the best idea it’s had in a few years), now in its second year, is December 19-21. For the third time in four years, Alabama appears to have signed the No. 1 class.

And that’s good for Bama. The Tide are the top program in the nation and as Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (who’s helmed the second-best program in the country the past four years) says, “The rest of us are on the ROY (Rest Of Y’all) bus.” There’s no debate here: Nick Saban has built college football’s flagship program of the past decade as the Tide chase their sixth national championship since 2009.

So wouldn’t it be great, somewhat for them but more so for the sport, if the Tide demonstrated a little leadership and scheduled better OOC opponents? Alabama plays 8 SEC games and four OOC (Out-Of-Conference) games per season. Here’s what the Tide does with one-third of its schedule every season, dating back seven years (or four national championships) ago…

Since September 10, 2011, when Alabama defeated No. 23 Penn State 27-11 in State College, here’s what they’ve done:

–Played 30 OOC games and finished with a record of 30-0.

–Of those 30 games, 23 have been played on campus in Tuscaloosa. The remaining seven have been played at a neutral site, either in Arlington, Texas, Atlanta or Orlando. The Dallas Metroplex, a 9-hourish drive from Birmingham, is by far the farthest the Tide have ventured OOC. Alabama has played zero OOC games at an opponent’s on-campus stadium.

–Of those 30 opponents, seven have been from Power 5 programs. Each of those opponents, from No. 3 Florida State in 2017 to No. 20 Wisconsin in 2015, have been met in the season-opener (read: max preparation time) at a neutral site.

–Of those 30 opponents, four have been FCS schools. The remaining 19 have been Group of Five programs.

The Bama apologists who litter my Twitter will say, “So what? It’s obviously working for them.” And it is. But it’s not working for the good of the sport.

And, yeah, I’ll get political here. President Trump only does rallies in states where he won the popular vote in 2016. States such as West Virginia or Pennsylvania or Mississippi. But the country as a whole is much larger and most of us don’t live in those states. He’s doing what’s good for him, not what’s good for the nation.

We’ll never argue with Bama’s excellence. We just would love it if they were a little less parochial. Outside of the bowls and the playoff, they haven’t ventured beyond the South since 2011. And Bama fans (and Greg Sankey and ESPN) may not want to hear this, but this type of scheduling means they’ll remain a regional brand. Yes, those of us on the coasts appreciate their talent, but contrast the Tide with ’80s and ’90s Miami, who ventured anywhere and everywhere (Ann Arbor, Seattle, South Bend, Norman) to take on the biggest challengers. That’s how The U became The U.

Miami was Mike Tyson. Alabama is Floyd Mayweather, doing the least he has to do to retain his crown. There’s nothing admirable in that and it’s not healthy for the sport.

To the Tide’s credit, they’ve announced future home-and-home series with Texas (022-2023) and Notre Dame (2028-2029). Will Nick Saban even be around for the Longhorns? For us this is the only blemish on his time in Tuscaloosa. His flat-out unwillingness to travel to another school’s campus. You’ve got all the best talent, Nick. Why not put it to the test?

4. Bowlen For Dollars

Beth Broncos?

Longtime Denver Bronco owner Pat Bowlen is suffering from Alzheimer’s, leaving the future leadership of his successful franchise in flux. Arguably the leading contender to (metaphor alert!) take the reins of the Broncos is daughter Beth Bowlen Wallace, 48, who earned a law degree two years ago.

But as this New York Times story stipulates, it isn’t that simple. Bowlen, who bought the franchise in 1984, established a three-person trust to determine who should be the next controlling owner to run the Broncos and stipulated that it did not have to be one of his seven children from two marriages.

Brittany Broncos?

Complicating matters for Beth, her half-sister (from marriage No. 2) Brittany Bowlen is about 20 years younger, earned a degree in finance from Notre Dame with a 3.8 GPA and followed that up with an MBA from Duke, and SHE wants to run the team. She’s also worked at NFL HQ and for McKinsey. 

Advantage, Brittany.

5. Duff Stuff

We just finished former Guns ‘n Roses bassist Duff McKagan‘s a-year-in-the-life memoir How To Be A Man (And Other Illusions), about his 50th year on the planet and you know, even if he’d never co-written “Welcome To The Jungle” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” we’d still consider him an incredibly cool dude with whom to hang.

Anyway, reading is cool because it allows you to connect so many dots. Here’s a vignette we found fascinating. A Seattle native and resident, McKagan is a recovering addict (his pancreas burst when he was 30 and he asked the nurse to let him die) and a huge Seahawks fan. So when the Seahawks advanced to the Super Bowl in 2014 in New Jersey, he and two pals (one from Seattle band Alice In Chains) made the trek east. McKagan would turn 50 three days after the Birds destroyed the Broncos.

So McKagan is sharing this story of fandom and casually mentions that he and his friends had use of an apartment in the West Village and then we ascertain, Oh, I think I know where this story is going. Sure enough, and though McKagan never mentions him by name, the trio ran into actor Philip Seymour Hoffman three times on the final day of his life.

The first time, they just nodded hello and one of them noted that they’d heard PSH had recently, after two decades of living clean, fallen off. Then they saw him early that evening as they were headed out to a Foo Fighters concert and it clearly looked as if he was trying to score drugs. The last time they saw him, on the sidewalk right next to their apartment, was as they were returning home, after 1 a.m. McKagan said he thought of inviting PSH in to their place for a pot of coffee and just to chat, knowing what he was up to. Because they’d all been in that figurative place before; but they also knew an addict only gets sober if he or she wants to.

They opted not to reach out to him. Less than 10 hours later, Hoffman was dead.

A note: McKagan never mentions PSH by name and says he doesn’t want to out another member of the “fraternity.” He doesn’t stipulate if he means the addict fraternity or the celebrity fraternity, but it’s more than clear to whom he’s referring.

All of this aside, it’s a terrific book. McKagan is basically a suburban husband and father of two daughters (one of whom is making her own way in the rock world) and, quite admirably, enrolled at Seattle University AFTER the monster success of GnR and earned his college degree. Super-cool dude who gets it.

Music 101 

Ace Of Spades

If Beavis & Butthead had a house band, it would probably be Motorhead. Founded by Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, a former roadie for Jimi Hendrix, the British trio became indistinguishable from the term “heavy metal” and sold more than 15 million albums. Lemmy was the real deal, a hard-living Brit with big mutton chops who spent the last 25 years of his life in Los Angeles, most recently living in an apartment just two blocks from his favorite Hollywood haunt, the Rainbow Bar & Grill. He died in 2016 at age 70.

This song, arguably the band’s best-known, was released in 1980 at the dawn of the MTV age.

Remote Patrol

Raptors at Warriors

10:30 p.m. ESPN

Didn’t these two just play one another? Yes, less than two weeks ago (Nov. 29) and the Raptors won in overtime in Toronto (no Steph, no Draymond). Guess the NBA schedule dudes underestimated the Canadians, as not only are they putting this potential NBA Finals showdown on the second night of a back-to-back for Toronto (weirdly, the Raptors are 5-0 on the second nights of back-to-backs this season), but it’s December 12 and this is the last time these two will meet unless/until June.

The Raptors (22-7) have the league’s best record, while the Dubs are second in the West and have won four in a row since Curry’s return. Kawhi Leonard sat out last night’s 24-point win at the Clips, but he should be back for this one. Kyle Lowry leads the NBA in assists.

One thought on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. A little blast to the past:

    One year to this day, one of the items in IAH! detailed someone’s ignorant comparison of Bitcoin to Baker Mayfied (

    With talk on the other side a little quiet (I wonder why?), let’s check in on how Baker is performing this year.

    Record as a starter: 4-6

    How many games did the Browns win in the combined three years prior to his arrival? Four.

    He also leads all NFl rookie quarterbacks in any relevant stat, with the exception of interceptions. He’s been the NFL Rookie of the Week four times and was the NFL Rookie of the Month in November.

    Not bad. Not bad at all.

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