▪ Here’s hoping Rick Pitino’s 45-minute appearance on John Calipari’s podcast signals détente between the two Hall of Fame coaches. Just because the fan bases dislike each other, that doesn’t mean the coaches at Kentucky and Louisville are required to be sworn enemies. Older now, Calipari and Pitino are entering a new friendlier stage in their relationship.
▪ Only Nick Saban could abruptly send his offensive coordinator out the door a week before the national championship game and probably get away with it. The expiration date for Lane Kiffin on any job is probably about three years. All any boss, including Saban, could take.
▪ Yes, Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough destroyed the Washington defense, rushing for 180 yards on 19 carries. But fellow Bama back and former Madison Southern star Damien Harris passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season. Harris has gained 1,013 yards on 141 carries for a 7.2 yards-per-attempt average.
▪ As my wife tells me when we’re watching “Jeopardy,” “Hey, look, you got one right.” I wrote in preseason that Alabama and Clemson would meet in a rematch of the College Football Playoff national title game. Picked Alabama before the season. Sticking with the Crimson Tide now. Alabama’s defense is just too good.
▪ Boom Williams made the smart choice giving up his senior year to enter the NFL Draft. Williams is a running back. In the NFL, running backs have short shelf lives. Better for Williams to start the pro clock now rather than return to school and risk injury.
▪ Speaking of which, as Dave Hogg tweeted over the weekend, Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh earned a $200,000 bonus for the Wolverines making the Orange Bowl. The Big Ten received $4 million. Michigan tight end Jake Butt, a projected first-round draft pick who suffered a torn ACL in the game, probably lost millions.
▪ For all the talk about the Big Ten being the best football conference this season, it went 3-7 in bowl games. The SEC was 6-6. The ACC was 8-3.
▪ Maybe there’s something in Durham’s drinking water. Freshmen Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden suffer preseason injuries. Grayson Allen is suspended indefinitely after his third tripping episode in two years. Now Mike Krzyzewski will undergo back surgery and miss four weeks. If the Blue Devils win the national title this year, they’ll have earned it.
▪ Michigan State is expected to get a big lift Wednesday when star freshman Miles Bridges returns. Bridges hasn’t played since Michigan State’s 78-69 loss at Duke on Nov. 29.
▪ The most popular bet in Las Vegas for the Super Bowl? The Green Bay Packers.
▪ There were a few bright spots in the Bengals’ 6-9-1 season. Quarterback Andy Dalton produced his best year, by way of numbers, as a pro. Wide receiver Tyler Boyd proved he could be a future star. And given the opportunity, running back Rex Burkhead, son of former Clark County and EKU star Rick Burkhead, proved he could be a factor in the Cincinnati backfield.
▪ Virginia and Virginia Tech are in the AP college basketball poll at the same time for the first time since 1995.
▪ Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim may have a new appreciation for John Calipari. After suffering heavy losses from last year’s Final Four team, Syracuse is 8-6 after a 96-81 loss at Boston College on Sunday. Boston College did not win an ACC game last year.
▪ If it’s January, then Rajon Rondo must be asking for a trade.
▪ Two weeks ago, as coach of the 49ers, Chip Kelly said he had no interest in returning to college football. Now that Kelly’s been fired, he says he’s not ruling out a return to college football. Things change.