7/23 Notes and Nuggets

The NBA held its first scrimmages in Orlando on Wednesday, the first MLB Opening Day in late July is today, NASCAR and the PGA have events starting today, the UFC has a 15-fight card in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night and some college football teams are moving to Phase 2 of mandatory workouts tomorrow.

Loyal readers know that I almost always stay in my lane, which is bets, ballgames, the Gators and maybe some conversation about the beach, Budweisers, my favorite watering holes and gorgeous ladies.

I guess these next few paragraphs delve into politics a little bit, but that’s a rarity for me and won’t happen again anytime soon (if ever). So here it goes…

We had March, April and May to be mad, sad or glad about this global pandemic. At this point, however, it’s (way past) time to get on with it. For those of you with underlying health conditions, take every precaution like wearing a mask, practicing social distancing or stay at home until we get a vaccine. For athletes understandably concerned about being infected with COVID-19 (and more importantly, then spreading it to family members), you don’t have to play whether you are a professional or a collegiate player.

Nobody has to do anything, nor should they be shamed by not wanting to participate in sports or even go to the grocery store. But I’m of the opinion that most people — especially the ones that are younger and healthy (like college athletes!) — are beyond sick of the media, the coronabros and coronagals and the Negative Nancy’s and Nathan’s spreading gloom and doom into the minds of Americans on an daily hourly basis.

I’m not into politics — never have been and never will be. For starters, I’m not passionate or knowledgeable enough about it to have many intelligent opinions. However, I’m smart enough to know that the majority of politicians are either liars, hypocrites, epic ass-kissers, corrupt dirtbags or blatant d-bags. (And in some cases, all of the above.)

I could care less if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. I certainly understand why many people dislike President Donald Trump, especially women and minorities. On the flip side, I get why many people fear Joe Biden potentially winning this upcoming election when he’s clearly dealing with cognitive decline at his age.

What I can’t understand and what really pisses me off is that whether we get college football or not this fall seemingly depends on how the mostly anti-Trump media (and I’m talking sports media folks, too) portrays the dangers of a 2020 season and relentlessly harps on the potential negatives.

Seriously, how can anyone think that elite athletes between the ages of 18-23 are safer and better off being back home with their parents instead of with their college football teams? Back in their hometowns, they’re probably going to local gyms, where they’re more likely to potentially catch COVID-19 and then take it home to their families.

On campus with their football teams, they aren’t going home to their families. They’re going back to their living situations with other young and elite athletes. They have access to top medical care from their football program’s medical staffs that are available to them 24 hours a day (for free, which is key).

They have nutritionists, free food and stay in great physical condition so that they can pimpslap the virus if they’re infected. The chances of healthy athletes in the 18-23 age range surviving COVID-19 is better than 99 percent. Hell, out of hundreds of players who have already tested positive, I haven’t heard of the first one that’s even needed to be hospitalized (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that?).

The obvious argument against college football is that these guys aren’t being paid, making the situation for players much different than those that are drawing paychecks in the NFL and other pro leagues. But again, I go back to what I mentioned earlier. Nobody has to play, but the media refuses to inform the public that nearly all college football players are dying to buckle their chinstraps and lace ’em up.

If we don’t have college football in 2020, it’s going to be a shame and it’ll have a negative impact on the futures of many college football players. Sure, it’ll be a campaign that will always have an asterisk next to it. It’ll be a wild one with some teams missing out on key players (and perhaps lots of them) for 2-3 weeks stretches when/if they test positive, but it is what it is. And it’s better and safer than the alternative of not having college football on Saturdays in 2020.

Enough with that convo, let’s get to some Notes and Nuggets:

–The NBA held its first scrimmages yesterday. Denver center Bol Bol has missed his entire rookie season to date to injuries. However, he flashed his potential Wednesday by leading the Nuggets to an 89-82 win over Washington by producing 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots.

–Like Montrezl Harrell did several days ago, Patrick Beverley left the NBA bubble late Tuesday to deal with a family matter. Harrell, Beverley and Zion Williamson must test negative for COVID-19 several times and spend four days in quarantine when they return to Orlando in order to get back into the bubble. Therefore, all three players will have to be back in Orlando by Sunday if they want to play in Thursday’s first restart games. Williamson’s Pelicans are 2.5-point favorites vs. Utah on July 30. Harrell and Beverley’s Clippers are short underdogs vs. the Lakers on Thursday.

–With Harrell gone and Ivica Zubac‘s status unknown (he’s yet to be seen in the NBA bubble), Joakim Noah started at center for the Clippers in Wednesday’s 99-92 win over Washington. It was Noah’s first action since he played well during a 42-game stretch for Memphis last season. Noah had four points, five rebounds and three assists without a turnover in 15 minutes of playing time.

–Brooklyn won’t have eight players during the NBA restart: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Michael Beasley, Spencer Dinwiddie, Nicolas Claxton, Wilson Chandler, Taurean Prince and DeAndre Jordan. In Wednesday’s scrimmage, the Pelicans trounced the Nets, 99-68.

–Sacramento’s Marvin Bagley is out for the rest of the season due to the foot injury sustained earlier this week.

–VegasInsider has all the NBA lines for July 30-Aug. 1 right here.

–Air Force is going to have issues at QB in 2020 since it appears the Falcons won’t have Donald Hammond, who led them to an 11-2 record last year.

Gary Patterson‘s TCU Horned Frogs have scored another big transfer in former Nebraska star WR JD Spielman.

–As our Blake Von Hagen explained Wednesday, the KBO parlay controversy has been settled. Blake also went through today’s MLB odds, season win totals, futures and some baseball promotions being offered on Opening Day.

–West Virginia parted ways with defensive coordinator Vic Koenning after allegations surfaced several weeks ago of his mistreatment of players in the past.

–Florida’s Dan Mullen is itching to get his squad into Phase 2 of workouts tomorrow.

–Ex-Florida WR Dionte Marks is transferring to Ole Miss. Marks had initially tweeted that he’d be leaving UF for Central Florida back on July 17.

–New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has asked the Lobos and Aggies to suspend their football seasons this fall due to spikes in the state’s COVID-19 cases. If this happens, the Gators will lose a home game vs. New Mexico State on Nov. 21. Mississippi State would lose its opener at Scott Field vs. New Mexico on Sept. 5.

–Toledo head coach Jason Candle has tested positive for COVID-19.

–Michigan State has paused workouts after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19.

–Nothing is official yet, but a lot of people in Alabama think the Crimson Tide is going to open up at home vs. BYU.

Outkick’s Jason Whitlock penned this column Wednesday on ESPN’s Sage Steele, who told the Wall Street Journal that she complained to ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro “that her black colleagues excluded her from a recently-aired television special exploring race.

–Next Saturday’s main event between women’s bantamweights Holly Holm and Irene Aldana has been nixed after Aldana tested positive for COVID-19. The new headliner for the Aug. 1 card at the UFC APEX Facility is a middleweight clash between eighth-ranked Derek Brunson and undefeated ninth-ranked Edmen Shahbazyan. This will be a three-round scrap instead of the standard five-rounder for main events due to the short notice.

–Thursday’s Nuggette is the great Emily Ratajkowski, who has gone blondie on us in recent weeks:

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