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O Holy Night

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
December 16, 2022 6:46 pm

O Holy Night

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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December 16, 2022 6:46 pm

On a Friday Drive, Josh explains why he thinks the Panthers are due a reality check, why the 49ers are not yet Super Bowl contenders, hosts a holiday sing off, Brooke Pryor, of ESPN, joins the show to discuss the quarterback situation the Panthers will face, against the Steelers, and Wes Durham, of ACC Network and the Atlanta Falcons Radio Network, joins the show to discuss his read on the growing pains of Wake Forest and UNC Basketball.


He's amused Cam Newton. He's been insulted by Charles Barkley. When some idiot in the press asked him, if you know what you know now, would you schedule this game? He's interviewed Matthew McConaughey. And he's taken on Big Blue Nation. He's just completely taking the wind out of myself. It's time for The Drive with Josh Graham.

We've made it to a Friday Drive WSJS NewsTalk Sports for the Triad. Where in the NFL, it always finds a way to humble you. It being the league.

The way that it's designed. With the way the salary cap and the draft and the waiver wire all work. It's a league that pushes everybody to the middle. Try to lift up the bad teams and push the teams that are winning a little bit too much back towards the bottom. And rarely does it let teams win too much without being brought back down. The Carolina Panthers are a team currently that's due a reality check. After winning three of the last four games, seems like it's about time that they get brought back down the earth a little bit and the Pittsburgh Steelers are a team more than capable of doing just that. Oh, but what if Kenny Pickett doesn't play?

He was downgraded to doubtful earlier and Mike Tomlin wouldn't say who will start if Kenny Pickett's not able to go. But regardless of who's playing quarterback, a position that we tend to pay too much attention to anyway, Pittsburgh's a better team than Carolina is. Pittsburgh lost to Baltimore last week because Baltimore was a better team than Pittsburgh was, even though everybody paid attention to the quarterback and the quarterback alone. Oh, surely without Lamar Jackson, they're not going to be able to beat the Steelers.

Turns out Baltimore has a lot of really good players not named Lamar Jackson and they won that game. Even with that loss, Pittsburgh's won two of the last three games and both of the games they won were on the road. So this is not a bad Pittsburgh team by any means. And the reality is the Steelers don't really change all that much if Kenny Pickett's running the offense versus Mitch Trubisky or Mason Rudolph.

Not all five and eights are made the same. Carolina and Pittsburgh are both five and eight. Carolina got there with four wins against the NFC, which is pretty clearly inferior to the AFC. Carolina's in the worst division in the NFL.

We know that. Three of Carolina's wins this year out of five have been against division opponents. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is in the AFC and they're in a division with Cincinnati and Baltimore. Carolina, by the way, is 0-3 against Pittsburgh's fellow AFC North members this year, including their worst loss of the season in Cincinnati by a million, where starters were being taken out of the game at the end of the third quarter. Steve Wilks understands this. Here's Steve Wilks diffusing any notion that Pittsburgh is going to be an easy win for Carolina.

When you look at the record, I would say throw that out the window. This is going to be a football team that's going to be well prepared and coached. And these guys have known to show up each and every Sunday. So when you look at their situation offensively, I know we're talking about the quarterback being in the protocol. When you look at Rudolph, as well as Stravinsky, they both are more than capable of going out and executing and running this offense. So that's the Panthers coach. How about we talk about the Steelers coach? Mike Tomlin is one of the best NFL coaches around and he has a defensive background. Usually when you deal with great defensive coaches, they do a good job at taking away one of your best things and forcing you to try and win a way that you don't want to win, that you haven't won that way most times during the season. Mike Tomlin's going to make Sam Darnold have to beat him.

He's a defensive guy. This is not a great run defense that they have. Carolina wants to run the football, we know that. And they've run for over 400 plus yards the last two games against Denver and Seattle. But Denver and Seattle are two of the worst rush defenses in the league.

Pittsburgh's rush defense is better than that. And you know Mike Tomlin's going to load up the box and stop Carolina from winning the game by running the ball. This is going to be the first time since Sam Darnold has played this season, this being his third start of the year, that he's going to have to win a football game.

He's going to be asked to do more. And if you're a Panther fan listening to the sound of my voice right now, how comfortable do you feel with Sam Darnold having to put the ball in the air more? With Sam Darnold having to win this game? This goes back to the league humbling you a bit.

You being brought down the earth, you're great one week and things look bad the week after that. Sam Darnold has not thrown an interception yet. He's going to have to win an interception yet.

This is his third start. His last two, two in a row, has not thrown a pick. In his career, Sam Darnold has played in 52 games. He has 52 interceptions. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is tied for second in the league, an interceptions game this season with 14.

So if Sam puts the ball in the air more and he hasn't thrown interceptions and Pittsburgh's pretty good at turning teams over, that seems to be a bad recipe for Carolina. Yes, they've won three out of four. Four and four under Steve Wilks on the season. 3-0 at home, all double-digit wins.

But they're not a world beater here. And this is the Pittsburgh Steelers. The same Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Tomlin, the same Mike Tomlin who's never had a losing season with the Steelers. They need to win this game in order for that to still be a possibility going down the stretch. Give me the road team playing spoiler and pulling off the upset Sunday.

Pittsburgh 23, Carolina 20. On Twitter, at wsjsradio if you want in 336-777-1600 is the phone number. Will Dalton is the executive producer of this show. W.D., how many Wake Forest Duke tickets, how many pairs of tickets do we have to give away today? We have three pairs. Okay, so over the span of the show today, three hours, we got three pairs of tickets that we're gonna give away and two of those pair we'll be giving away in about five minutes from now. So make sure you stick around.

If you want to see Wake Forest Duke next Tuesday night in Winston-Salem, stick around. Save the phone number now at 336-777-1600 and we'll tell you how to win in just a little bit. Last night, much to my dragoon, the San Francisco 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks. Man, it always stings when you start the weekend with an L with the picks. Still no losing weeks in two months though. Still nine over 500, no big deal.

Tell them to bring me my money. But even though the 49ers won again, gosh that's seven straight for them now and given that they've clinched the NFC West, it feels like everybody's just accepted now. This is a Super Bowl contender.

Calling them that still feels like an overreaction to me though. They don't belong in that discussion yet because, I kind of talked about this with Carolina a second ago, they're largely a product of their schedule. They look the part because they're in the NFC and this is what I mean. They've played 10 NFC teams this year, they've played four in the AFC. Their record in the NFC games, eight and two. Against the AFC, two and two. The losses to the Denver Broncos, woof. And by 20 plus to Kansas City.

So their 10 wins right now, their 10-4 record might be a bit misleading. Especially when you consider that out of the 10 NFC teams that they've played this year, the 10 NFC games, none of them have been against the two teams that matter in that conference, Philadelphia or Dallas. What do Philly and Dallas do really well?

What do they have in common? Awesome pass rushes, really good defenses. To get to the Super Bowl, San Francisco is going to have to beat at least one of them, maybe even both, in order to get to that game. Neither of those teams are a good matchup for a rookie quarterback to have who's never played in a playoff game before and has only started two games to this point in Brock Purdy.

It's a great story, it's easy to root for them, there are a lot of talented players on this team. We root for Christian McCaffrey too. But Brock Purdy going to Dallas, Brock Purdy going to Philadelphia, just don't see it. So as of right now, there are six teams that can win it all. The two in the NFC are Dallas and Philadelphia and the AFC, the obvious ones are Kansas City, Cincinnati and Buffalo. Baltimore, I can't write off yet. We'll see when Lamar Jackson comes back, but that's a team that has a lot of talent and experience that I can't write off yet, but they're hanging on by a threat.

The big five of Philly, Dallas, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Buffalo, those are the teams that are in all likelihood going to get to the Super Bowl or win the Super Bowl as of now. This will be fun. Brooke Pryor going to be back in her old stomping grounds this weekend. She is ESPN's Pittsburgh Steelers reporter and the Steelers, of course, play the Panthers on Sunday. Brooke saw today that Kenny Pickett listed is doubtful, but Mike Tomlin wouldn't reveal or Mitch Trubisky starting for Pickett if he's unable to go. What's your lean, assuming that Pickett isn't going to play? Well, first of all, I feel like Mitch Trubisky is probably like, oh my gosh, we're going through this again because this is how his whole college career started at UNC when Larry Fodor was like, maybe it's Cleese, maybe it's Mitch, we'll find out when the game starts.

Like that's what I felt like I was immediately taken back to. But you know, when I read between the lines of what guys like offensive coordinator, Matt Canada are saying this week, I think Mitch Trubisky gets the start, but I do think that he has a short leash. And that's because Matt Canada said, you know, we gave Mason Rudolph first team reps because we don't want to get into a situation like last week, where our starting quarterback went out on the fifth play of the game. To me, I hear that and I think, okay, it seems like you want to start Mitch Trubisky, but you want Mason to be ready in case something happens to Mitch. But, you know, it's something of an indictment of Mitch Trubisky that he came in, he threw three interceptions and now he's having to split first team reps all week in practice with Mason Rudolph.

But I do think this one ends up being Mitch. Now, I had to ask that question. I felt obligated to, it was just a headline and it's like the radio equivalent to clickbait. But let me ask a question that I think is just as important to ask than the one I just did a second ago. How much differently are the Pittsburgh Steelers with Kenny Pickett on the field versus Mitch Trubisky slash Mason Rudolph? How much of a difference does this actually make you think? You know, I think it does make somewhat of a significant difference and that's because Kenny Pickett isn't turning the ball over right now. He's attempted 129 passes without throwing an interception versus Mitch Trubisky, I think attempted maybe less than 10, less than 15 before he threw his first pick.

And I think that the Steelers cannot afford to turn the ball over right now. I mean, I like the explosion that Mitch plays with his ability to get chunk plays. I liked his connection with George Pickens, but I still think that Pickett was starting to play better. He looked like a more mature quarterback. He was also getting some of those chunk plays and he wasn't turning the ball over and that was having a huge impact on the outcome of these games. ESPN NFL Nation reporter Brooke Pryor, covering the Steelers, joining us here on Twitter at beprior and somebody that knows this area very well.

I want to get to some of the fun stuff in a second, but one more thing. The Panthers have run roughshod, run the ball roughshod, if you want to get into some of the specific language of it. The last couple of weeks when you look at the 400 plus yards they had against Denver and Seattle combined, Pittsburgh's rush defense isn't great, but it seems like they're better than those two. How surprised would you be if Mike Tomlin isn't able to figure out a way to stop the Carolina run and force Sam Darnold to put the ball in the air more? You know, I would not, honestly, I wouldn't be shocked if the Panthers are able to run the ball and Mike Tomlin can't stop them because as TJ Watt said last week, everyone in the building knew that the Ravens were going to run the ball on the last possession, maybe last two possessions, when Anthony Brown took over at quarterback and they still couldn't stop it. And the other thing is Miles Jack is doubtful with the groin injury.

I saw him struggle to get dressed the other day in the locker room after practice, you know, he tried to stand up and put a sock on and he had to sit down to do it and he kind of hobbled out of there, so I know that he's going to give it everything he has, but the Steelers run defense has not looked good over the last six quarters or so, and so unless they've come up with a better scheme, I'm concerned about their health and I'm just, I don't know that they're going to be able to stop this Panthers ground attack. I know you were watching your Tar Heels at Bank of America Stadium in the championship game a few weeks ago. What's at the top of your list when you're back in the area, things you have to do immediately when you land? Well, I mean, the first one has to be go to get Bojangles, right? I mean, I don't know if I'll make it out of the airport. I may at least make it to the rental car center and then hit the Bojangles that's right outside the airport that's nearby. It's a better Bo, it's a better Bo. The airport Bo's isn't as good as that Bo's. Exactly, because the airport one, sometimes they just have tenders and I am not here for the tenders. I want a biscuit or I want a Supreme.

A tender is not a thing that I recognize at Bojangles. But yeah, I'm doing that. I'm going to cook out. Basically, when I come home, I just want food. But this time I also get to go see my parents and actually celebrate Christmas near Christmas.

They live about an hour and a half from Charlotte, so I am really excited for that. What's your tray? Oh, my tray.

I usually have some combination of the chicken quesadilla, a ranch chicken wrap, and then maybe tots, fried okra if it's in season, and then a watermelon milkshake if it's in season. I've got a confession to make, Brooke. You and I both love The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, but I've told you this before, I don't watch Bachelor in Paradise. But now that I'm married and me and my wife live together, my wife loves Bachelor in Paradise, which means she still invited people over for this season for Bachelor in Paradise, which means I watched Bachelor in Paradise for the first time this year. Do you have any Bachelor in Paradise thoughts or are you out on that as well?

I'm out on it as well. And I hate to say it, but I've been out on the franchise maybe the last season, two seasons. I got caught up in too many other things and it's like one of those things like once the roller coaster started I couldn't jump on mid-ride and so I was like I'll catch the next one. I'll catch the next train and then the next train came into the station and I missed it and then Bachelor in Paradise happened and I was like well I don't know who any of these people are.

So unfortunately I'm so far out of the cycle, but I'm hoping that that means that soon I can hit a refresh and start over and start over fresh and maybe then I'll get back into all of it. We'll bring you back on for some Bachelor analysis, some NFL analysis, maybe even your heels are going to be back and running back online in basketball when January rolls around. But I can't wait to see you this weekend Brooke. Thank you so much for making the time for us. I know you've been busy. Absolutely. Thanks for having me. See you soon.

No doubt. That's Brooke Pryor on Twitter at B E Pryor P R Y O R. Our friend from ESPN. Speaking of homecomings, last night the Phoenix Suns beat the LA Clippers and Chris Paul in the game had 15 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds. The only reason I'm telling you about a random Suns Clippers game in Los Angeles is that it ended around 1 a.m eastern time and at around 8 or 9 this morning in Winston-Salem, Chris Paul walked across this, walked across the stage, I think it was at the annex this morning, and graduated from Winston-Salem State University. What a big day for CP3 and for Winston-Salem State. Turned on first take and saw that Stephen A was wearing Winston-Salem State garb. One of the greatest Ram athletes of all time, if not the greatest, is Earl the Pearl Monroe who tweeted out, congratulations CP3, now a fellow Rams alum, proud of you.

This is the question I have WD. He's got a degree from Winston-Salem State. Can Winston-Salem State claim Chris Paul? Can we, the same way Wake Forest claims Chris Paul because he played basketball at Wake for two years, can Winston-Salem State do the same thing? They can't claim him in the same way.

Why? Well because there's a more depth of a history with Wake Forest and Chris Paul. Sure, but really he, they can claim him. He talked about wanting to go to an HBCU even back then and when he was at Lake Forest he'd hang out with a lot of folks at Winston-Salem State. That's what BDOT would tell us. But in order to make it to the NBA he felt he had to play in ACC basketball or play in Division One basketball and that's what he did.

It was a totally different time 20 years ago but I'm just asking the question. Wake Forest, we're not saying Wake Forest can't claim him. No one's suggesting that. Yeah. But can Winston-Salem State claim him the same way and say, up Ram alum, Winston-Salem. Because again, he is a Ram alum now. He has a degree at Winston-Salem State. They can claim him but I just don't think they can claim him in the same way that Wake Forest claims him.

It's not as intimate if that makes sense. Did Chris ever get his degree from Wake? I honestly don't know the answer to that. I don't either. See if you can find that real quick. Not that that really matters in the context of your ability to claim him.

I genuinely just don't know the answer. I would assume he does but Chris Paul, he is the greatest athlete that our area has produced. This isn't recency bias either. I don't think he ever got his degree from Wake. He started it but that's what he just did at Winston-Salem.

He finished that. If we're talking about the greatest athlete the Triads ever produced, I think it's Chris Paul. Because it's not just how great you are as a player, it's how great you are as a person, as an ambassador.

What you do with the skills that you develop, the things that you learned growing up here. The fact that he led, and still does, the MBPA. The fact that he led Phoenix at a later age to the NBA Finals and every team he's been on he's made better. And that he's still playing at a high level right now. And that he's never forgotten where he's come from.

Getting a degree from Winston-Salem State after playing at Wake Forest. That again, it reminds me of a conversation I had with him about five, ten years ago when we had him on a show and I noticed that his phone number was a 336 number. And I said to him, hey that's interesting you still have a 336 number.

He was playing for the Clippers at the time. He said, until the day I die, my number is gonna start with a 336. That is who I am.

That's where I'm from. So congratulations to Chris. Congratulations to Winston-Salem State.

A really, really cool thing from earlier today. That's a Christmas carol. 336-777-1600. We're lining up phone callers for Wake Forest Duke tickets Tuesday night. We got a pair to go see the Blue Devils play Wake Tuesday night. All you got to do is compete and win in our Christmas carol sing-off. We only have one more pair of tickets remaining. I wish you all could be winners but we have three pairs of tickets.

We've already given away two earlier in the show. Reese Builders celebrates Wake Basketball. They're proud to sponsor this ticket giveaway. 50 years.

That's a long time and that's how long they've been making homes beautiful in the Triad. Pay them a visit. Tell them that we sent you. Appreciate them helping us give away Wake Basketball tickets. So 336-777-1600 if you want to play along. I have noticed that the lines flooded immediately last hour when you just had to answer one of my bad trivia questions or one of the ones that tend to be easier than you thought. Easier than I think they are. But when it requires singing, it doesn't really flood as quickly.

WD's been able to pace himself getting to all the colors. So we'll see how this goes. We've got three that are lined up and we're gonna go one by one acapella and see who is the best Christmas carol singer. Tim in High Point is up first. Tim, take it away. Alright.

Put him on hold. That's really good right out of the box. He's got just these sweet dulcet tones, a deeper voice.

He does. Pretty good start. You got a high bar to clear Chuck. Chuck in Winston-Salem is up next. Chuck, let's go. Turn down your radio first.

Turn down your radio and then sing along. Hey Chuck. Chuck or is this Travis? Who am I speaking to?

Who am I speaking to right now? This is Chuck. Chuck? Alright. Alright. Turn down your radio. Okay. Chuck. Oh my gosh. It's gonna be hard to beat too.

Put him on hold. We need to figure out a way to make everybody winners because unless Travis is terrible. But Travis is in Greensboro. So we have Winston represented. We got High Point represented. Travis, you're representing all of Greensboro.

Go right ahead. Oh, holy night. The stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Savior's birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining.

Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices. A yonder so a new and glorious morn. Take us home Travis.

Fall on your knees. Oh hear the angel voice. Let's go Travis. Let's go. Oh night divine. Oh night when Christ was born. Oh night. Oh holy night.

Oh night divine. We got to make a decision here. We got to find something for all of them. Yeah.

Okay. We got to choose one and they're all great. Shouts to Tim and High Point. Chuck and Winston and Travis. WD, where are you leaning? I got to go Travis.

That's my favorite Christmas song. Travis, you are a winner. Chuck and Tim, we're going to get your information and we're going to give you something.

That's what we're going to do. We're going to give you something. But Duke, Wake tickets belong to Travis. Let me talk to Travis. Travis, congratulations. You're going to Duke and Wake Forest on Tuesday. How's that sound? That's awesome. Thank you so much.

Stay on hold. We'll get you the tickets and all that. But man, what a way. I thought he might have passed out because he just gave all he had. That's it.

Hey, are you okay over there? I just did my best Carrie Underwood. But we'll find a way to make everybody winners. But Travis is going to Duke and Wake Forest next week. Now let's get to some keys for the Carolina Panthers Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Usually keys to the game segments are pretty boring.

Not as fun as hearing callers sing from High Point, Winston and Greensboro. But there are three benchmarks we have here that are really dialed in specific marks that if you're following Panthers Steelers Sunday and you keep these three things written down, odds are this is what's going to decide the game. And it's not as simple as score more points than the other team. Win the turnover battle.

Those type of things. First thing I look at, 110 rushing yards. That is the number. Carolina has had 400 combined over the last two games. Steelers allowed 200 rushing yards against the Ravens last Sunday. Carolina, 110 rushing yards. That's where they need to get at a minimum. Pittsburgh, 2-6 in games. They allow more than 110 yards on the ground. If Carolina gets to 150, they probably should win Pittsburgh 0-2 when allowing that many rushing yards.

That's the first thing. Secondly, no interceptions for Sam Darnold. Two starts, no interceptions, two wins for Carolina.

I don't think that's a coincidence. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers, they're tied for second in the NFL and interceptions gained with 14. This has been a career-long weakness for Sam. 52 games, 52 interceptions in his NFL career. This is his fifth season and he hasn't had three games in a row without any picks since the 2020 season and he's only done it twice in his five-year career.

So that's the second thing. No interceptions for Sam. And lastly, no missed field goals for Eddie Pinero.

This is a crazy stat to me. He has not missed any field goals since that Atlanta debacle, you know, where he missed the extra point and he missed the field goal in overtime. No missed field goals for Eddie Pinero in all five Carolina wins. He's had at least three made field goals for Carolina. No misses in any of those. So if you want to boil it down and make it really simple, Carolina wins the game if they have 110 rushing yards.

Sam Darnold does not throw a pick and Eddie Pinero does not miss a field goal. Those are the three benchmarks for a Carolina victory against Pittsburgh. We had to give it to Travis for how he finished there. But man, rapping is such a great move on Christmas carols.

Rapping is a great move by Chuck. Shout out to all of them though. Tim and High Point, Chuck and Winston, Travis and Greensboro. Now a visit with our guy Wes Durham, who joins us from the Cartersville, Georgia compound that he has that I imagine you haven't spent a heck of a lot of time at the last couple of months.

I'd like to know where the singers came from for the jingle coming back out of commercial break. That's good, isn't it? W.D. Really kind of spiced the place up, haven't you? Yes, we have.

The Josh Graham singers. A little bit, yeah. I know W.D. thinks about the Sandlot, probably every time that's played. Probably that's where you go, W.D.? 100%. Yeah, that's funny.

Yeah, funny how that works. See, I remember Mike Patrick when he used to do NFL in college a long time ago. He told me that between November and December, he spent more time on the road than he did in his house, in his home during the months of November and December. Since you do Falcons and you do college football, college basketball, the whole deal, what have the last month and a half been like? Well, if you start in November and get through the end of the college football regular season, so that would have been the Saturday after Thanksgiving when I had Wake at Duke, right?

I was home for nine days in the month, maybe eight days, nine days in the month of November, which is normal. I mean, to be honest with you, Josh, when I came to TV, you can manipulate a little bit more of the schedule than you think you can, okay? So I didn't take but one basketball game a week in November, except for a couple of weeks.

So that helped me, right? Like when I was doing the Falcons and Georgia Tech together, back in the early, early years of doing the Falcons and Georgia Tech together, I was on the road or had a game seven out of 10 days type thing. So that was a lot more cumbersome from the workload. The tricky part in TV, and look, these are all, you know, not real dire problems in life. The trickier part now is that commercial air travel, you have to be benevolent to that schedule, right? So that part of it can get, you know, a little troublesome at times. It did for me, obviously, in October when I missed a Falcons game because of commercial airlines.

But at the same time, too, I think you also have to make judicious decisions, hypothetically. Roddy and I hosted ACC honors in Charlotte the night before the championship game. I drove to Durham from Charlotte after that event, did the Duke BC game on TV prior to the championship football game. And I drove back to my home in Georgia that night.

Wow. Because I didn't want to fly Sunday morning at 645. I just felt like if I could get home and then, you know, I'll sleep at home and then go do the ball game the next day.

So you make some personal choices along the way too. But at the same time, you know, yeah, it's, but this is Bob Raffman has a great line. He calls it harvest time where it's November, November and December when all three are going. It's harvest time because, you know, in Bob's case, he's doing a ton of NBA games.

He's doing college basketball, in my case, college football, college football, college basketball, and certainly the Falcons on Sunday. So we saw you earlier this week in Winston-Salem. You had the call of Andrew Carr's game-winning shot against Appalachian State alongside Dan Bonner.

So you had a chance to see the Deacs up close. When you look at now their resume, they have the win against Wisconsin. They have one more non-conference game.

It's a quad one. Their next four are quad ones. When you count the Tar Heels, Virginia Tech, and Duke on the schedule right in front of them here, obviously Ty Appleby's health going to be a big piece of what happens tomorrow at Rutgers. But what's your read on the Demon Deacons? I think they are, they're good. I think they're still like many teams I've seen so far this year. I still think they're putting it together. I think they're trying to sort out their best plan in terms of, you know, regardless of the five that start, you know, the eight or nine guys he's going to play on a regular basis. And I would also say this to listeners of you or Wake fans, but maybe Carolina, Duke, and State fans, those schools are going through the same thing. They're still trying to figure it out. And that is new to college football now.

Okay. This is new to college football, I mean college basketball rather. The reason this is new to college basketball is because we no longer have a lot of three and four-year guys. We have this transfer portal situation. We have all these guys that move around during the off season and coaches can get them maybe in the summer.

And if they take a summer trip like Wake did to the UK, then it works out maybe a little bit to help. But realistically, Josh, I think we get into games and then games become a different dynamic. And therefore these coaches really do have to kind of plot and plan and find out their playing identity. It used to be the ball could go in the air in late November.

That's another change. We play earlier every year, seemingly. And I'm not saying that coaches and teams aren't prepared, but what they have to do is they have to find out what their team is.

And the only way to do that sometimes is playing games. And I think Wake's probably invested a lot in that concept. I can tell you that I think it's happened at Carolina for sure. I think it's happened a little bit at NC State. I know it's happened maybe not with as much success probably at Louisville and Florida State. Boston College has had to do it because of injury. I think Duke's had to do it because of certainly the injury with Dereek Whitehead and having Derek Lively banged up the first couple of games as well. So I think it's the new Norman College basketball, unfortunately, but I think Wake's okay. Applebee's health obviously is a critical component, but I think Applebee, Williamson, and Hildreth play great together. I think the real question is going to be how do you play Carr, Monsanto?

If you're going to play Marsh, what's that look like? I mean, there are just so many different combinations that Steve can go to. I think that's a good thing, but I think you also have to narrow it down a little bit. The bigger philosophical thing that you're talking about, though, of how college basketball has changed reminds me of something Terrence Oglesby was telling us a couple of days ago, that this is also a difference between the ACC historically and say the Big Ten Conference, where the Big Ten tends to have a lot more of two, three, four-year guys, where the ACC has a lot more freshmen that are being worked in and such. It seems to me this might be a flaw in the way that things are evaluated with the net and what we saw this past basketball season, where games in November are weighed just as heavily as games in January, February, and then March.

No question. I think there's a lot of things about college basketball we've got to address and that the measurement of a basketball team based on some abstract ranking that the NCAA certifies is one of them. I think you have to, it goes back to the old, how many times have you heard, we got to have basketball people on the basketball committee, right?

I think you, and if we're going to hold that three weeks, three and a half weeks out to be the Holy Grail of college basketball every year, and that's the only time America pays attention to it, then we probably ought to invest a little bit more into it, but I'm sure Governor Baker has plenty more on his list he'll have to deal with when he takes over on March 1 after we've had 12 years of abdication of leadership. Interesting time for him to take over too, March 1. Yeah, and an interesting person to take it over. Look, I don't know a thing about the man other than what I heard yesterday, but I would say this to you. I think there are, I mean, I'd hate to see the laundry list, wouldn't you?

Hey, by the way, we've got these 39 things you're going to have to kind of get your arm around. Well, for those who don't know, Charlie Baker's going to replace Mark Emmert as you're talking about March 1. And he can't get there quick enough, by the way. I'm just waiting. I would still like to hear from Chancellor Woodson at NC State, who is among the folks that gave a unanimous vote for Mark Emmert's extension.

We still haven't heard from anybody on that. There's a lot of gray in that, Josh. There is, there is.

There's a lot of gray in the unanimous that was released and who was unanimous. Which is why I would like to hear. Yeah. I'm not quite sure. I'm not going to hold my WSJS. I'm not holding my breath on that one. Good.

Cause you'd suffocate. Yeah. Getting to West Irms here with us, getting to North Carolina, we were bringing this up going into the break, but it's been 12 years since they played MSG. Now I know they were at Brooklyn for a regular season game in 2015 and they had some ACC tournaments there, but from 68 to 2010, 40 games North Carolina has played there. And we know of the history with Maguire and Rosenbluth and all that, Doug Moe and Jimmy Black and Kenny Smith, all these guys who have come from New York and modern day guys like Cole Anthony and now RJ Davis on the team. Does it surprise you at all that Carolina hasn't been there in a dozen years?

Well, you have to look at it a couple of different ways. Number one, coach Smith from the time he took over in what 61 to 97 coach Smith valued New York city. Okay.

Because it was, and this was again, ahead of its time in terms of the television, right? There were per capita, more basketball players in New York city. Right. And you got to remember Sam Perkins was from Latham, New York.

Yes. Later, you know, he grew up in Brooklyn, but was from suburban Albany. Um, as a high schooler when he lived with, uh, uh, Crossman.

And, uh, I think you have to, you have to remember kind of the players they were getting. You mentioned Jimmy Black, who played at Cardinal Hayes and Kenny Smith who played at archbishop Malloy. And you know, the Bill Chamberlain was a dynamic star of the early 1970s at North Carolina. Billy Cunningham was a New York guy too, right?

Billy Cunningham, who lived on the same hall with my dad and Larry Brown at Stacy, uh, didn't know that. Yeah. So, uh, Wow. Didn't know that. Oh yeah.

Yeah. Um, so you get all those guys well in Carolina became a national brand in basketball. And so when coach Smith retired in the nineties, Matt Daugherty, I think had a couple of handful of trips up there. And then when, um, Bill Guthridge was also involved in that after obviously replacing coach Smith and Matt Daugherty went there into his short tenure. And then when Roy Williams became the head coach, and this is an important piece to your question, I'm sorry.

It's taken me long to get to it. Roy Williams always liked to let his teams be at home around the holidays. Okay. So the CBS sports classic, which is the reason they're playing in the garden this weekend is a made for television event, very similar to the champions classic. Right. And that event has been moved around the country.

You know, it's been in Chicago, it's been in Cleveland, Vegas, all those things. Well, Roy Williams subscribed to that event when it wasn't this close to the holiday. It it's always been kind of this weekend, that weekend of the 16th or mid December, if you will, but Roy Williams, not long after this would play one more home game and then the players would be allowed to go home for Christmas. Right.

They wouldn't travel. So Hubert is playing it now in MSG, but you'll notice too, that he's adopted coach Williams philosophy of kind of letting teams go home, letting players go home, I should say. So I think that's something that coaches think about because I'll go back to my original statement, the season so long now it starts in early November and you play to April if you successful. And so I think there is something about that where the New York trips that Carolina traditionally took it were Christmas trips. They play in the old ECAC classic at the garden. They played in, you know, a St. John's single game up there. They've done things like that. The holiday festival was the name of the event at garden at the garden in the late 90s because Georgia Tech played in it one year.

But that's the reason I don't think you've seen Carolina is as many times in the garden as you have traditionally. One week from today, Wake Forest is going to be playing in its bowl game against Missouri and Sam Hartman is going to be a story in that. He's one touchdown away from passing Taj Boyd.

I've seen some folks try to cheapen it by saying, well, it's the COVID year. No, no, no. He has one more year after this. He's played exactly. This is going to be one game more than Taj Boyd played his entire career.

So it is level. And it's going to be a record if he has a touchdown pass in the game. And Dave Claussen has already set this up that he might, if he doesn't like the feedback he's getting from NFL folks, he might transfer to go play somewhere else. But if we're focusing on the Wake side of this, how far are you willing to go in qualifying Sam Hartman's Wake Forest career? Well, Riley Skinner's a friend of mine.

And I'll tell you what I've told Riley. I think that Sam Hartman is, in my opinion, statistically the greatest quarterback in Wake history. I mean, Riley Skinner may be the winningest quarterback in Wake history.

Okay. But Sam Hartman is statistically the greatest quarterback in Wake history. And Riley should never have to apologize for the orange bowl and the ACC championship. Right.

I believe that. Nor should he apologize for the success they have with Grobee and seven, eight and nine. Right, Josh.

Of course. But statistically, Sam Hartman's the greatest quarterback in Wake Forest history. I mean, how many records does he not have? And let's not forget, you know, being top 10 in the country back to back years, which never happened in the history of the people.

So yeah, I mean, statistically is a winning perspective. There are all sorts of things about Sam Hartman and I'm a huge fan of his. I mean, I hold no bones about the fact that one of the blessings of being in television now for 10 years has been the ability to connect with some of these student athletes during their college careers.

And, you know, Sam and I have developed a really nice relationship and I had a chance to spend some time with his mom and dad in Charlotte last week or two weeks ago, rather. And I'm a big fan. I've been a big fan of his for a long time because I love the toughness. I want to see him get a fair chance in the National Football League. And I hope he gets that. Do you think it gives him the best shot? I was hopeful Kenny Pickett would get one too.

And he has gotten one. Do you think it would give him the best shot to validate what he did kind of like Russell Wilson and go somewhere that might be one of these air quote, like national title contender types. And especially in Sam's case, the knock is always going to be on him. The type of offense that he runs, even though he is, if you look at advanced analytics and things of that nature, one of the more accurate quarterbacks there is in the country, it almost seems like to me that you might want to use Russell Wilson as the playbook or someone like that to jump into jump to another place, improve it in a more conventional offense.

Well, there's no doubt about that. The problem and the trick for Sam is going to be that Sam is going to have to figure that out in about a nine day window. And he's going to have to get, and I'm optimistic that I think I know him well enough to know that he's not going to take shade information. He's going to only take legitimate information. I remember when Matt Harpering went through, not only going to the NBA, but coming back for his senior year at Georgia Tech and the guy that swayed him was Jerry West.

Okay. So for me, the question becomes, if Sam Hartman doesn't think he's a draftable candidate at this point, then where does he go? I mean, you just mentioned Russell Wilson and I'll tell you one of the places I think he could end up would be at, in fact, would be at Wisconsin. With Phil Longo. Well, with Phil Longo and with Luke Fickle, because Luke Fickle, don't forget, had Desmond Ritter who's a lot like Sam Hartman.

And going to start for the Falcons this week. Yeah. Look at how West tied that together. Yeah.

Look how you did on the way out. I want to talk about the guy that Phil Longo used to coach. What if Cara, if the ABC crowd, as they're called, had any issues with the Sam Howe treatment and the hype that was with Carolina football going into a couple of... What do you imagine that hype is going to look like with the Drake-May train next year? Well, look, there's going to be a couple of weird storylines that play out.

And here's the shameless plug for Roddy and I. We do a show on Sirius XM that airs throughout the week on 371 called the ACC Breakdown. And we've done some bowl previews last week, and we'll have more next week. And one of the segments we're transitioning to is the portal.

Positives are negatives, right? So Drake-May elects to stay at Carolina, but we've still got quarterbacks that are scattered all over the building, right, in terms of ACC absences and vacancies. Who's going to be the first quarterback besides Phil Jokovic to transfer from one ACC school to another one next year? Interesting. Maybe that guy that we were just talking about a second ago might want to throw that out there, too. What about the cat at Virginia? That's an interesting one. Because his old offensive coordinator who made him a star is in Raleigh.

Love that hire. Yeah, I mean, see, this is what we've gotten ourselves into, Governor Baker. And by the way, when he becomes the president, do we still refer to him as governor? And I'm not asking that.

I'm not trying to be cynical or sarcastic. No! Do we call him governor? I don't know. Seems to me we've finally gotten the czar of everything we needed if we hired a governor, right?

Because back in the old days, that's what you use. Well, that's the governor. NCAA governor Charlie Baker rather than NCAA president? I think that has a ring to it. I might get behind that, Wes. Well, there you go. Just take it. I tell you what, Josh, I'll let you have that as your own and you can sell it off.

All right. On the way out, where might we see you on the television calling basketball and or football in the near future? Ironically, I was supposed to have Duke in Wake Forest next Tuesday night at the Joel. I will not be there because I will be at the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Wednesday night at 910 Eastern Time for Western Kentucky from Conference USA and South Alabama out of the Sundial. Ironically, those two leagues are playing right now in the Cure Bowl in Orlando. It's a heck of a game, by the way, with Troy and two really good teams.

Yeah, Troy's fun and UTSA is hilarious. And, you know, it's been a good ballgame. So you're going to see me in New Orleans next Wednesday. And then you will see me on December the 29th at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Oh, wow. For Syracuse and Minnesota in the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl. Yeah, we'll see if there's any John Sterling nods.

There won't be. Red Sox guy. Oh, spoiler. Yeah. And then I will tell you that that is a sentimental venue for Roddy Jones and I because Roddy was on the sidelines at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg for the very first ever sponsored postseason bowl game by Bad Boy Mowers.

Oh, OK. So we feel like that people have really paid attention. Last year we had the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. And this year we're having the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl.

So we're hopeful that in like three to five years, it'll be the Bad Boy Mowers Rose Bowl and we'll be going there. Yeah, I think I want to hold your breath on that as well or you might suffocate. Much like you holding your breath.

Yeah, exactly. Wes, I hope I hope you and the family have a merry Christmas and hope to see you soon. Same to you, Josh. Enjoy. We'll see you down the road in the league, OK? No doubt. That's Wes Durham. There he goes joining us from the Cartersville, Georgia compound and talking some ACC football and basketball with us.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-17 16:52:27 / 2022-12-17 17:12:29 / 20

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