Okay, I have GOT to say this….what the “devil” were the Predators thinking in hiring John Hynes to replace Peter Laviolette as their coach? I don’t understand the thinking that goes into replacing Laviolette with a coach was was fired in December from the New Jersey Devils who was in last place. I was expecting something more. I thought they would go with one of the remaining assistant coaches or even ask Mike Fisher to come in to coach the team. If Hynes was the only option, I think I would have stayed with Laviolette. Not a good move. I would be surprised if the Predators even make the playoffs this season.
TITANS ARE ON A ROLL
The Titans did the unthinkable last week, they took down the mighty New England Patriots in the wildcard round last week. Derrick Henry is a beast and punished the Patriots with a huge game on the ground. Now the Titans move on to face Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens this Saturday in the divisional round. It doesn’t get any easier as they play the top team in the National Football League (NFL). The Titans haven’t done so well with mobile quarterbacks and Baltimore’s Jackson is about as mobile as it gets. Certainly the Titans could win but they are going to have to play another great game. I think it’s going to come down to how they are able to defend against Jackson.
NFL COACHING CHANGES
The Dallas Cowboys have hired former Green Bay Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy to replace Jason Garrett. I think that’s a good match….I don’t think the same about the Carolina Panthers hiring Matt Rhule from Baylor. His overall coaching record in college is 47-43. His only previous NFL experience was in 2012 as the assistant offensive line coach for the New York Giants….I’m not sure who is going to go the Cleveland Browns. I keep reading that Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh Daniels is in the running but, personally, I wouldn’t bother with pursuing him. Others still on the Browns’ list are Kevin Stefanski and Jim Schwartz. Not looking good for the Browns.
MLS SET TO KICKOFF IN NASHVILLE
Believe it or not, the season opener for Major League Soccer (MLS) in Nashville is February 29th when Nashville SC hosts Atlanta United. (Yes, I’m still trying to get used to these soccer team names). It’s going to be a challenging start to the Nashville expansion team. Nashville is set to play Atlanta (2018 champion), Portland (2015) and Toronto (2017) in its first three matches before hosting Columbus Crew SC at Nissan Stadium. The fifth match is a nationally-televised game against Seattle Sounders FC, which won the 2016 and 2019 titles. Nashville SC has a 34-game schedule and will play in the Western Conference in 2020, with two matches against each of those 12 other teams. The club is scheduled to play eight of its 10 games against Eastern Conference opponents by May 30.Nashville SC will have no home matches between May 13 and July 5, playing seven road games during that time. But there are five consecutive home matches between July 18 and Aug. 5.
XFL SET TO RETURN IN FEBRUARY
Training camp is underway for the eight XFL teams. The season will kickoff on February 8th with the Seattle Dragons taking on the DC Defenders and the Los Angeles Wildcats play the Houston Roughnecks.
The XFL has announced some interesting rule changes.
During punts, players can’t leave the line of scrimmage until after the punter kicks the ball away, so there will won’t be any blocks.
Punts that go into the end zone or out of play will be spotted at the 35-yard line or wherever the ball lands out of bounds. The concept of fair catches and pinning the opposition down deep are being eliminated with this type of rule.
On point-after attempts following a touchdown a team will have three options: a one-point play from the 2-yard line, a two-point play from the 3-yard line, or a three-point play from the 10-yard line.
Like college football, players will only be required to have one foot in bounds to establish possession on catches. The XFL believes that will make the game easier to officiate and won’t lead to long reviews.
Finally, a shootout-style overtime period will be put in place where each team will get five single-play possessions from the 5-yard line. If the game remains tied, teams will rotate possessions until someone comes away victorious.
HAVEN’T THEY PLAYED THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP YET?
This morning I wondered if the game had been played already. Unless you are a Tiger fan (LSU or Clemson) then it isn’t exactly on your radar. Apparently it wasn’t on mine. The answer is that the title game will be played Monday in New Orleans. The 16-day gap from the semifinals was a result of scheduling the Superdome for the game. Planning for the matchup next week has been underway for years, but not as currently arranged. The playoff organizers selected New Orleans for this season’s championship game in November 2015. Before New Orleans was chosen, Superdome officials and the local host committee said the stadium was available for Jan. 6 or Jan. 13. Playoff officials selected the later date, expecting that this season’s semifinals would be played on Dec. 31. They hoped to avoid a gap of less than a week between rounds. Personally, I don’t really care. Just play the damn game already.