BOB MATTHEWS SPORTS TALK
Weeknights 6:00PM - 8:00PM
on WHAM 1180
Email Bob here.
For over 25 years, Bob Matthews has held the title of Rochester's most popular sports writer/commentator. For over 20 years, Bob has hosted WHAM's nightly sports talk program...consistently ranked at the top of his time slot!
From 1978 to 2012, Bob Matthews was a sports columnist for the Times-Union and Democrat and Chronicle and a regular "As the Sports World Turns" contributor to the Gannett News Service. He is the only person to be selected Press-Radio Club Sportswriter of the Year (five times) and Sportscaster of the Year, and was a pioneer inductee into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame.
A Rochester native, Bob graduated from Brighton High School where he played varsity baseball, basketball and served as student council V-P. Bob is also a veteran, serving his country in Vietnam.
Always opinionated and outspoken, Bob's proudest accomplishment is advocating for Frontier Field. His all-time favorite athlete...former Red Wing Luke Easter. One of his sports regrets……not being around for the glory year of the Rochester Royals.
SAINTS OVER BILLS IS THE “BEST BET”
HEISMAN TROPHY LOOKS LIKE A TWO-MAN RACE
HOW ABOUT KHALIL MACK AS FIRST-ROUND PICK FOR BILLS?
COWBOYS LEAD POINTSPREAD STANDINGS
ABBY LEADING U.S. WOMEN’S TEAM SCORER AGAIN
The Buffalo Bills have been surprisingly (to many of us) competitive this season. They’ve scored and allowed at least 20 points in every game. They have a 3-4 record and three of the four losses were by a total of 12 points. They’re a profitable 5-2 against the Las Vegas point spread.
But Sunday’s trip to New Orleans does not figure to be a pleasant one. The Bills vs. the high-powered Saints is not a good matchup. New Orleans is 5-1 and should be primed for a top effort coming off an unfortunate 30-27 road loss at New England, followed by a bye week.
This week’s “Best Bet” is NEW ORLEANS (-12) 30, Buffalo 13.
Sunday’s other games
(home team in CAPS)
NEW ENGLAND (-7) 23, Miami 20 – The return of star tight end Rob Gronkowski boosts New England’s offense but key injuries have taken a toll on defense. The Dolphins are coming off narrow losses to Baltimore and Buffalo and could be competitive here.
KANSAS CITY (-9) 24, Cleveland 7 – The QB switch from Brandon Weeden to Jason Campbell probably can’t hurt the Browns but probably won’t help them either. The undefeated Chiefs aren’t the best team in the NFL but they’re much the best team in this matchup.
San Francisco 35, JACKSONVILLE (+17) 10 – The fans in London don’t figure to get a competitive game. The “host” Jaguars are 0-7 and the 49ers have won four straight by a combined 132-51 since their sluggish 1-2 start.
Dallas 30, DETROIT (-3) 24 – It always is dangerous to count on the Cowboys to win three straight games, but I’m buying how the team’s defense played in wins over the Redskins and Eagles. The 3-point spot is a bonus.
Pittsburgh 23, OAKLAND (+2 ½) 13 – The Steelers are feeling good about themselves coming off two straight victories after a 0-4 start. Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor has the talent to engineer upsets but is wildly inconsistent.
CINCINNATI (-7) 24, New York Jets 13 – Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is in top form and Jets rookie QB Geno Smith figures to struggle against Cincinnati’s rugged front seven.
ARIZONA (-2) 27, Atlanta 20 – The Falcons have a long injury list and are much better at home than on the road.
PHILADELPHIA (-5) 31, New York Giants 17 – The Giants can’t feast on Josh Freeman every week. The Eagles need a win to stay within hailing distance of Dallas in the NFC East.
DENVER (-13) 40, Washington 23 – Peyton Manning will be able to focus on playing after last week’s homecoming trip to Indianapolis.
Green Bay 33, MINNESOTA (+10) 15 – The Vikings are 1-0 in England and soon will be 0-6 in the United States. At least Christian Ponder should be an improvement over Josh Freeman at QB.
Monday night’s pick
Seattle 28, ST. LOUIS (+12) 13 – The Rams are the only team without a rushing TD and have lost QB Sam Bradford to a season-ending knee injury. The Seahawks will show no mercy.
Thursday night’s pick was Carolina to beat host Tampa Bay by more than the 6 ½-point spot. The Panthers won 31-13.
Last week’s “Best Bet” results – 8-7 picking winners outright (70-37 this season)...7-8 picking winners against the Las Vegas point spread (52-52-3 this season)...the “Best Bet” is 5-2 outright and 3-4 against the spread after San Francisco, picked to beat Tennessee by more than the 4 ½-point spot, won 31-17.
MARIOTA, WINSTON LEAD THE HEISMAN TROPHY PACK
The Heisman Trophy currently is a two-man race between quarterbacks Marcus Mariota (Oregon) and Jameis Winston (Florida State).
They both benefit from playing for undefeated teams and offensive machines. The Ducks are 7-0 and outscoring opponents 403-121. The Seminoles are outscoring opponents 319-74.
Mariota is a redshirt sophomore and expected to enter the 2014 NFL draft. Winston is a redshirt freshman. Mariota might have an edge in seniority, though it won’t mean anything when I fill in my ballot.
Here’s how they measure up this season:
Mariota – 123x197 (.624) for 2,051 yards, 10.41 yards per pass attempt, 19 TD passes, 0 INTs, 181.7 passer rating, 49 rushes for 493 yards (10.1-yard average), 0 TDs.
Winston – 112x157 (.713) for 1,885 yards, 12.01 yards per pass attempt, 20 TD passes, 3 INTs, 210.4 passer rating, 43 rushes for 137 yards and 3 TDs.
Winston’s Heisman stock climbed with his brilliant performance in a 51-14 road romp over Clemson last week. Oregon and Mariota have yet to be tested.
Obviously, Mariota or Winston would be tough to beat for the Heisman if one of the two teams finishes the regular season undefeated. Here are the remaining schedules for Oregon and Florida State (both face a few stiff challenges):
Oregon – UCLA Saturday...at Stanford Nov. 7 (a huge Thursday night TV audience)...Utah Nov. 16...at Arizona Nov.23...Oregon State Nov. 29.
Florida State – North Carolina State Saturday...Miami Nov. 2...at Wake Forest Nov. 9...Syracuse Nov. 16...Idaho Nov. 23...at Florida Nov. 31.
KHALIL MACK COULD BE A LOGICAL PICK FOR BILLS
Who is the best senior college football NFL prospect from a non-BCS conference?
That was the question Daniel Jeremiah, an NFL media analyst for nfl.com, asked five NFL personnel executives. They all had the same reply: University of Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack.
They mentioned his size, long arms, speed, power, instincts and versatility. One described him as “the ideal 3-4 outside linebacker.” They all mentioned his performance in a season-opening loss at Ohio State, calling him “the best player on the field.”
Mack currently is projected as a mid-first round pick. That could be Buffalo Bills territory.
Mack could be a timely addition to the Bills’ improving young defensive unit.
Mack and the rest of the Bulls will get some national TV exposure with three straight Tuesday night games: Nov. 5 home vs. Ohio University, 8 p.m., on ESPN2...Nov. 12 at Toledo, 7:30 p.m., on ESPNU...Nov. 19, at Miami (Ohio), 8 p.m., on ESPN2.
COWBOYS TOPS IN NFL POINTSPREAD STANDINGS...BILLS ARE 5-2
Here are the records of NFL teams against the Las Vegas point spread entering Week 8:
AFC East – Bills 5-2...Jets 5-2...Dolphins 3-3...Patriots 3-4
AFC North – Bengals 4-2-1...Ravens 3-3-1...Browns 3-4...Steelers 2-4
AFC South – Titans 4-2-1...Colts 4-3...Titans 1-6...Jaguars 1-6
AFC West – Chargers 5-1-1...Chiefs 5-2...Raiders 3-2-1...Broncos 3-3-1
NFC East – Cowboys 6-1...Eagles 3-4...Redskins 2-4...Giants 2-5
NFC North – Packers 3-2-1...Lions 4-3...Vikings 2-4...Bears 1-5-1
NFC South – Saints 4-2...Panthers 3-3...Falcons 2-4...Buccaneers 1-5
NFC West – Seahawks 5-2...49ers 5-2...Cardinals 4-3...Rams 2-5
WAMBACH TOP 2013 U.S. GOAL SCORER WITH THREE GAMES LEFT
The undefeated U.S. women’s national soccer game is 11-0-2 (outscoring opponents 43-8) this year with three games remaining (Sunday vs. New Zealand in San Francisco; Oct. 30 vs. New Zealand in Columbus, Ohio; Nov. 10 vs. Brazil in Orlando, Fla.). The game in the Citrus Bowl is sold out and assures that every U.S. home game this year drew 10,000-plus fans.
Here are the leading scorers this year: Abby Wambach 26 points (10 goals and 6 assists) in 11 games; Sydney Laroux 18 points (7 goals and 4 assists) in 12 games; Alex Morgan 16 points (6 goals and 4 assists) in 11 games.
Wambach now has 162 goals in 209 caps (international matches). Morgan has 44 goals in 44 caps and Leroux has 21 goals in 39 caps. They started together for the first time in last week’s 4-0 win over Australia. Laroux dropped back to midfield in the 4-4-2 formation.
The U.S. team has a 36-game unbeaten streak (last loss was March 5, 2012, 1-0 to Japan in the Algarve Cup in Portugal) and a 74-game home unbeaten streak (65-0-9).
Between-innings commercial breaks for Major League Baseball games: regular season 2:05...nationally-televised regular season 2:25...postseason 2:55.
NHL career scoring line for 6-foot-8, 270-pound Buffalo Sabres “left wing” John Scott: 187 games...1 goal...4 assists...324 penalty minutes in very limited action.
Bernard Hopkins, 49 years old and still going strong, will defend his IBF light heavyweight title against Karo Murat Saturday in Atlantic City (bet $900 to win $100 on Hopkins; bet $100 to win $600 on Murat). Hopkins has floated the thought of fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr.
New York City broadcasting legend Bill Mazer, who spent 16 years talking sports in Buffalo en route to the Big Apple, died Wednesday at age 92. He was a walking sports encyclopedia and one of the early big-time sport talk hosts.
Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel suffered a concussion and a broken fibula in a race Wednesday at Keeneland Race Course and will be sidelined indefinitely.
World Series player payrolls: Boston $174.1 million (third in the majors) and St. Louis $119.3 million (11th).
Former Rochester Knighthawks superstar John Grant Jr., this week signed a four-year contract through 2017 with the Colorado Mammoth. In the three seasons since he was traded by Rochester to Colorado for goaltender Matt Vinc, Grant leads the National Lacrosse League in goals (129) and points (290). Grant and his family recently moved permanently from Peterborough, Ont., to Denver. Grant is 38 years old.
Jose Abreu, the 26-yrar-old Cuban slugger recently signed by the Chicago White Sox (six years for $68 million), had even better numbers in Cuba than fellow defectors Yoenis Cespedes (Oakland) and Yasiel Puig (Los Angeles Dodgers). In the 2010-11 season in Cuba, he batted .453, with 33 HRs and 93 RBI in 63 games. The previous season, he hit .399 with 30 HRs and 76 RBI. He is expected to replace free agent Paul Konerko at first base.