Saturday, June 22, 2024
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The 49ers’ bizarre QB controversy, plus there’s an undisputed No. 1 in men’s college basketball

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

THE PURDUE BOILERMAKERS

Led by the shoo-in player of the year? Check. First team to be unanimous No. 1 in the AP Poll this season? Also check.

No. 1 Purdue received all 62 first-place votes in Monday’s AP Top 25 after beating Michigan and Michigan State last week while then-No. 2 Alabama get blown out by Oklahoma. Here’s the entire top five:

  • 1. Purdue (prev. 1)
  • 2. Tennessee (prev. 4)
  • 3. Houston (prev. 3)
  • 4. Alabama (prev. 2)
  • 5. Arizona (prev. 6)

The Boilermakers are also atop the Coaches Poll and our Gary Parrish’s Top 25 And 1, thanks in large (like, 7-foot-4 large) part to dominant center Zach Edey. Our Matt Norlander got to see Edey go for 38 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Michigan State and came away impressed, to say the least.

Purdue also occupies the top spot in our Jerry Palm’s latest Bracketology, and Jerry says that gap is growing. Also on his 1-line currently are Alabama, Kansas State and Arizona. You can see his full field of 68 here.

Purdue’s eight-game winning streak is the longest active of any major-conference squad, but the Boilermakers will have to be on top of their game this week. They host a solid Penn State team tomorrow and then head to No. 21 Indiana over the weekend in a can’t-miss game. If you want a preview of all of the can’t-miss games this week from yours truly, click here.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for…

BROCK PURDY AND THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

The dreaded back-to-back “not such a good morning” strikes the 49ers. One day after getting crushed, 31-7, by the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, San Francisco found out Brock Purdy has a torn UCL in his throwing elbow, an injury suffered in the first quarter Sunday. He will be out at least six months.

  • Purdy, the seventh-round rookie revelation who went 7-1 (including playoffs) as starter, got hurt when Haason Reddick came bursting through and jostled Purdy’s arm as he looked to throw, resulting in a fumble.
  • Josh Johnson replaced Purdy but then suffered a head injury, forcing Purdy back in the game even though he couldn’t throw the ball more than a few yards downfield.
  • The six-month timeline is an estimate for now, as Purdy is getting a second opinion on if he needs surgery. The 49ers reportedly want him to go through with the surgery, and both parties are hoping he can avoid reconstructive surgery (aka Tommy John).

This is a brutal blow for the 49ers, who are about to embark on a very odd offseason, as we talked about Monday. Trey Lance had to undergo a second surgery for his ankle, and the most established quarterback on the roster, Jimmy Garoppolo, is set to become a free agent, meaning there are no healthy, active-roster quarterbacks under contract.

All three are expected to be ready for next season, but this is still far from ideal. The 49ers probably won’t (or at least don’t want to) re-sign Garoppolo considering the resources they invested in Lance and the success Purdy had. But now they have very little margin for error. What if Lance struggles again and Purdy — who will miss much of the offseason at least — isn’t quite right? Just hours after their season ended, the 49ers already have major uncertainty regarding next season.

Not so honorable mentions

Ranking NFL playoff losers and how they can reach next step 🏈

NFL: JAN 15 AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Ravens at Bengals

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Making the playoffs is an impressive accomplishment, but not every playoff team is created equal. Some entered the postseason with legitimate Super Bowl hopes and others (though they’d never admit it), were playing with house money.

So, which of the 12 teams to lose this postseason is best positioned to make next year’s Super Bowl? Our Cody Benjamin examined that exact question, ranking them 12 to 1, and the top spot is no surprise.

  • Benjamin: 1. Bengals They’re the boring pick since they’ve now been to two straight AFC title games, but it’s hard not to trust Joe Burrow and Co. to return to the big stage at some point. … If they can finally assemble a sturdier front, and presumably have Ja’Marr Chase healthier for the course of a full season, they should remain in control atop the AFC North.”

Each of the top three and four of the top five are AFC teams, but to find out who’s who, you’ll have to read the story here.

Chargers hire Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator 🏈

kellen-moore-us.jpg

USATSI

Speaking of teams who made the playoffs but didn’t make the Super Bowl, the Chargers took a big step in building next year’s team by hiring former Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore to the same role.

This is a very strong hire for the Chargers. In four years under Moore (2019-22), the Cowboys’ offense ranked top-10 in several major categories, including…

  • Second in points per game
  • Second in yards per game
  • Fourth in offensive expected points added per game

That, of course, was despite Dak Prescott missing significant time in two of those four seasons. Basically, there’s a reason Moore’s been a head-coaching candidate over the past few offseasons. Now, he gets to work with Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, among others.

Expect more much-needed downfield chances for Herbert. Over the last four seasons, the Cowboys ranked 11th in air yards per target. Last season, Herbert was 31st in that category.

Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull dies at 84 🏒

NHL: OCT 07 Maple Leafs at Blackhawks

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Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull died Monday at the age of 84. The official cause of death is not known. Hull was a 12-time NHL All-Star during his 15 seasons with the Blackhawks from 1957-58 to 1971-72, and he led Chicago to a Stanley Cup title in 1961. His 604 career goals remain a franchise record.

  • He won the Art Ross Trophy (leading scorer) three times and the Hart Memorial Trophy (most valuable player) twice.

  • After his time with the Blackhawks, he joined the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association, where he’d play until 1978-79. After the NHL and WHA merged, he played one final season with the Jets and the Hartford Whalers.
  • Hull, nicknamed “The Golden Jet” for his blonde hair and skating speed, entered the Hall of Fame in 1983, the same year the Blackhawks retired his number.
  • Bobby Hull’s son, Brett, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. They are the only father-son duo to both win the Hart Trophy.

Off the ice, Bobby Hull faced domestic abuse allegations from two of his three wives. His third wife, Deborah, filed charges over a 1984 incident but eventually dropped them. Hull also pleaded guilty to attempting to punch a police officer during his arrest. In 1998, Hull faced criticism for saying the Black population was growing too fast in America and that “Hitler had some good ideas” but “just went a bit too far” in an interview with The Moscow Times.

In 2008, Hull was named a Chicago team ambassador. The team cut ties with him in 2022.

What we’re watching Tuesday 📺

Inter Milan vs. Atalanta, 2:30 p.m. on Paramount+

🏀 Lakers at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. on TNT

🏀 No. 21 Indiana at Maryland, 9 p.m. on ESPN 2

🏀 Pelicans at Nuggets, 10 p.m. on TNT

🏀 No. 22 San Diego State at Nevada, 11 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

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