December 9, 2023

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Hope you’re well.

Let’s get right to it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…



The preseason Coaches Poll is out, and a familiar name is at the top: Alabama. The Crimson Tide garnered first-place votes from 54 of the 66 FBS coaches who participate. Here’s the top five:

  • 1. Alabama (54 first-place votes)
  • 2. Ohio State (5)
  • 3. Georgia (6)
  • 4. Clemson
  • 5. Notre Dame

The Crimson Tide return Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young, potential 2023 NFL Draft No. 1 overall pick linebacker Will Anderson and, of course, legendary head coach Nick Saban.

You’ll notice that Alabama’s 54 votes plus Ohio State’s five plus Georgia’s six only adds up to 65 first-place votes. But 66 coaches voted. That other first-place vote? It belongs to Texas, which came in 18th in the poll overall. Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian doesn’t have a vote, so someone, somewhere is ridiculously high on the Longhorns (not like that’s anything new, though).

Another big reaction to the poll? Notre Dame is way too high, writes our college football reporter Barrett Sallee.

  • Sallee: “Look, I love Marcus Freeman. The first-year coach of the Fighting Irish has injected new energy into the program and it’s paying off — particularly on the recruiting trail. This year, however, a preseason top-five ranking is a little absurd. The absence of running back Kyren Williams, safety Kyle Hamilton and quarterback Jack Coan are all issues that need to be resolved before anointing the Fighting Irish as legit playoff contenders.”

Man, if I had a dollar every time Texas or Notre Dame was overhyped, I’d have, well, a lot of dollars.

In fact, Barrett and fellow CBS Sports college football expert Shehan Jeyarajah released their picks for best college football team in every state entering this season, and Texas isn’t even the best team in its own state. That honor belongs to Baylor. This is always a fun exercise — and surely everyone will agree with every pick [insert sarcasm here] — so make sure to check it out.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for…


Disgruntled superstar Kevin Durant has given the Nets two options: Trade him, or fire head coach Steve Nash and GM Sean Marks.

While Durant’s first preference is still to be traded, his my-way-or-the-highway approach has thrown a wrench into things, writes NBA expert Jasmyn Wimbish.

  • Wimbish: “Nash… initially received support from Durant in the hiring process due to the time the two spent together in Golden State. … As it pertains to Marks, it’s difficult to see exactly what issues Durant has with Brooklyn’s general manager, who is a well-respected front-office executive around the league. Just this offseason alone the Nets have made moves that have upgraded their supporting cast around Durant and Kyrie Irving — should the two stay in Brooklyn — by adding Royce O’Neale, TJ Warren and re-signing Patty Mills.”

For more on Durant’s trade prospects, I highly suggest you read about the history of unfulfilled trade requests from James Herbert and some perspective on the drama from Colin Ward-Heninger.

Not so honorable mentions

MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers stay on top, but a new No. 2 ⚾

The Dodgers have firmly entrenched themselves as baseball’s best team. They have MLB’s best record, best run differential and longest active winning streak (eight games).

Most important, they own the top spot in our MLB expert Matt Snyder’s Power Rankings.There’s not much left for the Dodgers to prove until October, Matt writes.

  • Snyder: “There is no question who the best team in baseball is. There’s no question who would be the best pick to be the powerhouse champion of this season. Can they get it done in October and November, though? If not, they are failures. That’s the deal. A raw one? Maybe, but also one 29 other teams would love to make.”

There is a new No. 2 behind the Dodgers, though. Here’s the entire top five.

  • 1. Dodgers (previous: 1)
  • 2. Mets (previous: 3)
  • 3. Astros (previous: 2)
  • 4. Yankees (previous: 4)
  • 5. Braves (previous: 5)

The biggest riser, however, lies just outside the top five at No. 6. That honor belongs to the Cardinals, winners of seven straight. Their division rival Brewers were the biggest fallers, going from seventh to 13th.

Will Aaron Judge break Roger Maris’ home run record? 👀

With 44 home runs so far this season, Aaron Judge is on pace to break Roger Maris‘ AL record of 61 home runs in a season, set back in 1961. But being on pace to do something with two months left in the season and actually doing it are two very different things.

So, will he get there? Our MLB expert Mike Axisa took a look at a variety of factors that could influence the answer, including…

  • Axisa: What about his workload? My guess — and I emphasize this is just a guess — is the Yankees will revise their rest schedule a bit, and rather than give Judge full days off down the stretch, they’ll give him more (potentially much more) time at DH. Judge’s rest schedule is definitely a thing to monitor, particularly as we get into September and have a better idea of whether Judge really has a shot at Maris’ AL record.”

For what it’s worth, Maris’ son, Kevin, said he hopes Judge doesn’t break the record, which, to be honest, is completely fair.

How South Carolina women’s basketball built itself into a champion 🏀

South Carolina Athletics

College basketball may still be a few months away, but there’s no offseason when it comes to great college basketball stories. We have one of those for you with our college basketball reporter Isabel Gonzalez’s inside look at how South Carolina women’s basketball’s “Final Four Fridays” fueled last year’s championship run.

Here’s one of my favorite parts:

  • Gonzalez: “One of the challenges is biking the number of miles it will take to travel from Columbia to whichever city the Final Four will be held next. Binetti sets up four bicycles, and the players take turns to register the specific amount of miles needed. Sometimes the miles relate to the number of games they’ll play in a season. Other times, the challenge is based on the opponents, which means the difficulty is based on teams they will be playing.”

You can read the entire story here.

What we’re watching Tuesday 📺

Braves at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. on TBS
🏀 Storm at Sky, 8 p.m. on NBA TV
🏀 Dream at Aces, 10 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

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