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.
I do say go target. And he's taken on Big Blue Nation. He's just completely taking the wind out of my city. It's time for The Drive with Josh Graham.
Hello, it is a Monday Drive. WSJS News Talk Sports for the Triad, where the Carolina Panthers won yesterday, which puts their record at 4-8 heading into the bye week and heading into the month of December. Now, regardless of when your bye week is, the bye is a time for reflection.
It allows a team to remove itself from the rigors and the tunnel vision of a game week and focusing on a specific team and instead do some self scouting, some self reflection. It's also a time to look ahead and attach some meaning to what's left on the schedule. And with four games left to go, a playoff spot still unrealistic for the Panthers. But it's not unrealistic for Steve Wilks to get that interim tag removed.
No, that's still very much at play. That makes December meaningful, not just to Steve, but for the players who want to see him remain the coach. And after his start yesterday, December is also a real audition for Sam Darnold at quarterback because in his season debut, he played well enough to win, sure, but he also played well enough to earn another start against Seattle coming out of the bye. Steve Wilks said that at the end of his press conference.
And it'll be intriguing to see what Sam does, because the reality is this. This is easily the best offensive line Sam's ever played behind. Just consider this stat. Yesterday was Sam Darnold's 51st NFL football game. He's in his fifth year in the league. And it was just the third time out of those 51 games he was not sacked. His record in the three games he's not sacked?
3-0. Carolina invested in the offensive line. They improved the offensive line. And Darnold in stretches yesterday looked like the quarterback we thought he would be coming out of USC when he was actually protected. Here was Steve Wilks when I asked him about how the quality of offensive line impacts the way he views Sam as a quarterback. With Sam back there trying to operate, it just gives him a lot of confidence as you just alluded to. I can't speak for him, but he may feel the same way, you know, that this may be the best he's had since he's been in the league.
So hopefully he can continue to go out there and operate in a good fashion. To be clear though, this is not going to prevent them from drafting a quarterback. Scott Fitterer is at college games every weekend keeping an eye on quarterbacks. He's probably looking ahead to the 2024 class already. In fact, he told me yesterday he's going to be at the ACC championship this weekend at the Panther Stadium probably to keep an eye on that Drake Mayfella. I'd say to maybe draft some Clemson Tigers, but Carolina, still an amazing stat, has never in their history drafted someone from Clemson.
Not in any realm. They've never drafted somebody from Clemson. So they're still likely going to take a quarterback. But are you sure if you take one you're going to want him to start right out of the gate? Who's a better option to be the veteran quarterback, the veteran bridge quarterback to your franchise guy than Sam Darnold is? You got this quarterback coming in, he feels like he's going to be an MVP, he's going to be the next Mahomes, going to be the next Brady. You got to have that level of confidence if you're going to be the guy coming in, whether you're Bryce Young or CJ Stroud. Who better to humble a quarterback, to level with the quarterback than a guy who was exactly in their shoes five years ago. Top three pick coming out of USC. I know exactly what you're going through. Sam's been a consummate professional since arriving in Charlotte.
He was, you know, he went through the meat grinder of the New York media scene. And when I look at contracts, the quarterbacks that are under contract beyond this year, the only one Carolina has for 2023 under contract is Matt Corral. PJ Walker's up, Baker Mayfield's up, Sam Darnold is up. These last four games will decide whether or not you want Darnold back in case the quarterback you draft isn't ready to go for game one. Or if you don't get the quarterback you want in the draft for whatever reason, and this is a guy you might feel comfortable enough competing in camp for a starting job with Matt Corral next year. Also, if your concern is draft position today, if you're that guy, oh Carolina won a meaningless game yesterday, it's going to hurt their draft position. Look around the NFL, Jacksonville won yesterday, the Raiders won yesterday, Cleveland won yesterday, it's going to be fine.
Carolina's going into their buy, so they're not going to win a game next week. Some of this stuff's going to level itself out, but what I liked from Sam, some steadiness and flashes of talent, it stood out. He never put the ball in danger. The numbers aren't flashy, 11 of 19 didn't even throw for 200 yards in the game, but he never put the ball in danger except for the time where he was tasked with running the football on the goal line and fumbled the ball, then jumped on the ball, and then stopped dropped and roll. He does seem like he's 25 years old, so I think he is of the stop, drop, and roll generation. That is something he was taught, and it might have helped him get into the end zone. Will Dalton, the executive producer of this show, was at the game with me yesterday in Charlotte.
Yes, Will. I'm 26. He's 25. I learned that in kindergarten when I was five years old.
Stop, drop, and roll. Yeah. What elementary school did you go to?
Shining Light Academy in Greensboro. Shout out. Yeah.
Shout out. Sam Darnold did not go to that school, but he seemed like he learned stop, drop, and roll, and that pass that he had to DJ Moore down the right sideline, it's about as good as it gets. And the cool part is, if you look at the replay of that throw, this is my favorite part of what I saw yesterday. He kept his arm up as if he was Michael Jordan following through on a shot, or Steph Curry. He knew it was a great ball as soon as it left his hand. He just left the follow through. He dragged out the follow through on the throw, which... A little bit of confidence from him. December's a real audition for Sam Darnold.
Some added meaning for the Carolina Panthers. On Twitter, at wsjsradio if you want in. That's also where we're streaming video on YouTube and Twitch as well. 336-777-1600 if you want in. Thanksgiving holiday, great time for both of us. A busy time for both of us. It's also a busy time for college basketball. So now that we're past Thanksgiving, we will check in with Wake basketball coach Steve Forbes in about five minutes.
Make sure you're around when coach Forbes drops by. Speaking of basketball, boy, it wasn't a great weekend to be a Tar Heel fan. And Hoops, they lost twice in Portland, and they dropped to number 18 in the AP poll today. But I actually want to talk about their football team first right now. The Tar Heels lost their second consecutive home game.
Friday night at Keenan, another game that I was at. But as easy as it would be to focus solely on them, that would be ignoring the bigger story from this game. Carolina should not be shamed today. Instead, NC State should be applauded. The Tar Heels weren't the story from this game. NC State was, and that's how it should be framed, because the pack was the right side this entire game. They took it to Carolina right out of the gate, just like they did against Wake Forest. And Carolina did a better job of taking care of the ball. Ben Finley was outstanding, made some great throws.
Devin Carter made some contested catches. NC State, it was not a fluke. They deserve to win this football game. And the reason I was so impressed with their ability to do all that, it became clear to me watching it, you know, on the field, field level as the final minutes were playing out, this game clearly mattered more to NC State.
And I thought it would be completely flipped. That is a huge testament to Dave Doran and motivating his team. Because there are many points where it would have been easy for NC State to quit. Oh, the pack struggled against Virginia Tech. They're just not going to come back after trailing by double digits at home on that Thursday night or against Wake Forest at points or Florida State when Devin Leary goes out.
Dave Doran keeps his guys playing till the very end and playing hard. And they played a lot harder than Carolina when it should have been the exact opposite. Carolina should have wanted to bounce back from the Georgia Tech game, should have wanted to get back at NC State after last year.
But no, the more motivated side without question was the Wolf Pack. And as a result, I think this season is a success for State. 4-0 against the State of North Carolina, 3 in the ACC and the East Carolina win in the opener. 8 wins, that's never a bad season for State in my opinion. And counting the FSU game in which Devin Leary went down, State is 4-3 without Devin Leary.
So far this season. Okay, after Will and I wrapped up our work in Charlotte yesterday, this is around 5.45, 6 o'clock in the evening, we saw there was about a minute to go in the North Carolina-Alabama game. So we would do what you would expect. We decided to stick it out to the end of regulation.
Then we looked at each other and thought, maybe we grab another plate of some of these Bojangles tenders they have for us. We can watch the end of overtime. Then the first overtime ends, we look at ourselves again and think, look at each other and think, maybe we can knock out some work while doing the basketball thing and paying attention. Then the second overtime ends, we're in the third overtime. And at that point, I'm wondering, should we just go? And the guy who runs the PR for the Panthers, who's a friend of mine and a North Carolina grad and all, at this point, his jacket's off, the day's over for him too.
He looks at me and said, you're already in this deep man, just watch till the end. So we stayed put in the Panthers press box for another hour, concerned that we might just get kicked out eventually. And in the end, in four overtimes, Alabama won the game. And while Caleb Love had a career high 34, he somehow attempted more shots than he had points. He was 13 for 36.
13 or 36. Now I've heard a lot of Carolina fans compare him to Russell Westbrook. I could see that. A lot of spotty shooting, a kamikaze-like effort that he gives on the offensive end. He always seems to empty the bucket.
It's something to admire about him. But even at UCLA, Russ was a triple-double machine and that's not who Caleb Love is. So I've got a better comp for him, but I guarantee you Carolina fans aren't going to like, but hear me out on it. Caleb Love is Carolina's Austin Rivers. Really good college players. So if Rivers stayed at Duke for three seasons, this is how I'd imagine it would look because they're almost the exact same player.
Think about this. Austin Rivers at Duke, 6'4", 200 pounds. Caleb Love at North Carolina, 6'4", 200 pounds. Caleb Love last year, which was his best season.
Tough to really use the COVID season as a measure, especially when you're a freshman. Not enough sample this year thus far for Caleb. So if we're using last year as the sample, 15.9 points a game, three and a half rebounds, three and a half assists, 36% from three-point range. Austin Rivers season at Duke, 15.5 points, three and a half rebounds, a little more than two assists, 36% from three-point range. Neither are known for their defense.
Neither are really setting screens. Both have been known to be ball-stoppers, especially towards the end of games. Caleb Love has become North Carolina's Austin Rivers. And in both cases, one shot against your rival will outweigh all the bad things that I just mentioned. The bad things about not screening, not passing, late game possessions, ball-stopping, one shot against your rival outweighs the rest of that. When I say Austin Rivers name, you don't think about Lehigh and Greensboro. You don't think about that. You think about that shot he hit in Chapel Hill.
It triggers immediately memories for you. And I imagine, see this year's the 10-year anniversary of Austin River shot. I imagine 10 years from now, when people say Caleb Love's name, they're not going to be talking about the time he put up 36 shots and a loss to Alabama. They're going to be talking about that shot he hit in New Orleans to extinguish Coach K's career. Caleb Love has become North Carolina's Austin Rivers.
Yesterday was tough to watch, not just because I was trying to go home, but that's just not what I know Carolina basketball to be. The last time somebody attempted more shots in a Carolina uniform than Caleb Love attempted was Lenny Rosenbluth in the 50s. Which makes sense, because in no way, no way would you ever see 36 shots attempted by one player on Dean Smith's watch or Roy Williams' watch.
You just wouldn't see it. So it doesn't surprise me the last time that happened was Lenny Rosenbluth all those years ago. He shouldn't be celebrated for it.
Some are celebrating it. Oh, he dropped 34, man. Other guys need to step up. Or here's a thought, maybe, maybe, and this is not just on Caleb, this is on Hubert too, late game, maybe just don't have Caleb Love dribble it in his left hand for 25 seconds and then attempt a step back jumper. When I think of Carolina basketball, I think about moving the ball around. I think about getting the bigs involved in things.
Maybe mixing a pass the same way my wife tells me to mix in a salad every now and then. No, end of possession, shots going up, Caleb Love. I thought maybe because I was paying attention to the Panthers, something had happened to R.J. Davis. No, there's R.J. there too. Oh, no, we're just going to dribble this thing out.
That's what we're going to do and take a shot. Well, what we thought was interesting was the fact that ESPN kept flashing the amount of points he had, but not the amount of shots. No, it's frustrating. Several times they did that.
Got this text from Des. Dammit, I hate it when you're right. Love and Rivers are the exact same. I mean, it's a great comparison.
I said Westbrook yesterday. A lot of people have said that. Yeah, but the part that's missing is the rebounding and the assist. Sure, yeah. And the fact that that guy's a tank. Yeah. I don't see that with Caleb.
It reminds me a lot of Austin Rivers. 3-3-6-7-7-7-7-1-600. Now we'll open up the phone lines. Let some of you get in here. Let's go to Ed in Winston-Salem who wants in. Ed, first off, see, you're a Carolina guy. Caleb Love, Austin Rivers. Is it a good comparison?
Yeah, yeah. It has an excellent analysis you give and I cannot argue it one bit. Here's a couple of statistics and then I'm going to get back to Love and Davis here. In those three games that they had in Portland, Carolina gave up 12 three-point shots for the other team. They made 12, an average of 12. They also turned it over, an average of 15 a game.
I mean, if they're going to continue on down that path, it's going to be a long, long season. Now getting back to Love and Davis, they put up 60 shots between them. They hit 35. The remainder of the team only shot 31 times and hit 17, 55%. If I'm a reporter in there, I'm on a grill here with Davis on now.
I mean, that is totally ridiculous. And it looks like your prophecy on Virginia may come true. To me, they're the best team in the ACC right now and they moved up to number three and congrats to Virginia and hopefully Carolina will bounce back Wednesday against Indiana.
I think they will and thanks for the call, Ed. See, you brought up the part about my Virginia pick. This is not a I was right type of situation here because my pick of Virginia was just to win the ACC. No one wants to listen to the part where I said that North Carolina is a team that probably will be better in the NCAA tournament than Virginia is just because of how tight the games they play are given the style of play they have. I just think over a longer span of the season, Virginia has less to figure out and less of an identity problem than North Carolina does trying to replace Brady Manick.
I had less questions about Virginia than I did North Carolina. I think probably them dropping as far as they did today is a little bit too far. I don't see 15 teams in college basketball better than North Carolina is. So I'm not even willing to go as far as some people are today.
And that's why you just got to read things sometimes, WD, and stay on it a little bit. Don't overreact one way or the other. Hey, after the guys come back to the greatest team, the greatest thing since sliced bread. And then on the other end, when things go wrong at some point, say, oh, this team's not any good. Oh, they're not even a top 20 team.
Just kind of stay steady a little bit. Yeah. I mean, everybody's bummed out today now. I mean, football and basketball losses for Tar Heel fans, but everybody's bummed out about basketball like when in reality, I still feel like this last weekend might've been what Carolina needed to get the target off their back. Yeah. This weekend does do that a little bit.
So that'll remain to be seen. Shifting things to football for a second. We've got Monday night football tonight here on WSJS and the coaches are going to be front and center for Steelers colds. On one side, you've got Mike Tomlin, but that's not really the more interesting coach on that staff. Brian Flores is one of the assistants for Pittsburgh. Perhaps he's going to be an NFL head coach next year.
Maybe the Carolina Panthers even give him a look. He's also a guy who's currently suing the national football league for its practices on hiring coaches. Opportunities available to people of color versus white coaches. A coach who's a part of that suit, Steve Wilks and Charlotte.
So that's one side of the ledger. On the other end, you've got Jeff Saturday and it's been pointed out by a lot of people. He's being used as the example of the antithesis of what the NFL wants. He's white, no coaching experience, and he's getting an opportunity that many believe if he was black, he would not have gotten, which I would push back on because of this one thing. Jeff Saturday was a great player for that organization. You know, you know, we see it in college. You know, Cadillac Williams, Carnell Williams gets the opportunity at Auburn because he's a great player.
You know, it doesn't matter if you're white or black. If you're a great player for the organization, you're going to be treated with some preferential treatment. And also for some who are really hung up on the coaching experience piece of this, sorry, that happens everywhere in sports.
That's not different to the NFL. Oh, this guy, we never see this happen. What about Aaron Boone getting the job from the TV booth straight into being the manager of the Yankees? What about Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors?
Stuff happens. Steve Nash, what experience did he have? Penny Hardaway, what college experience did he have? Jerry Stackhouse, the same way at Vanderbilt. You know, you're a great former player.
You're going to get opportunities. You know, we work in the media. How many times do former players step into the booth with no experience at all? Tom Brady is going to be the highest paid broadcaster in the history of sports broadcasting.
He has never been a broadcaster, but we understand why it is. You're great. You're a former great player.
You get some opportunities, even if you don't have a lot of experience in it. We also, Dave Pulaski just announced for us this morning that we're going to be carrying Grimsley again this week. What a game that was. Three overtimes on Friday night? Three OTs.
Yeah. Grimsley getting it done. They've got Weddington in the 3A regional final, so Dave Pulaski and Drew Brackett will be on the call for that regional final in 3A later on this week. We've got Duke Ohio State on Wednesday night in the ACC Big Ten Challenge. Let's get into Carolina Panthers locker room sound. It's always a lot more fun after a win, and we've been known to ask what's been described as silly questions, unusual questions, funny questions. That's a text that I got last night from somebody in the ACC, but I feel like as a liaison from the general sports fan who might be listening to my voice right now, you and your car, I feel obligated, I feel obligated not to just do ask the questions I'm air quote supposed to ask.
Hey, how about you tell me about how the running game did the day? You got the beat reporters who are going to do that and do their thing. We work in radio, we dabble in having some fun, maybe making things more pop culture centric, but more than anything else, I feel it's our responsibility to help you understand who some of these people are. We are giving this access and W.D. was with me for the first time. He had never been into the Panthers locker room before.
We're given this great access and I don't take it lightly. I feel it is an opportunity to tell you what it's like to be there so that we're all going in together and we're having fun and getting to know some of these players and starting to learn more about their personalities. But that doesn't mean we don't talk football. Brian Burns, for example, that's the first locker I always head to after games. He's good after losses. He's great after wins. He's an interesting guy and he's the best player on the team. He's a great locker to go to, especially after he got the 10 sacks for the first time in his career. And it was after his Florida State Seminoles beat the Florida Gators, all of which we covered.
Here's how it sounded. What does 10 sacks mean to you? Damn, that's such a big deal, huh?
It means a lot. It's long overdue. I should have had that my second year, but anybody counting.
But I'm blessed and grateful to have it now. So hey, here's what it is. Let's keep on stacking them. I got five more games to keep going. A few weeks ago, I was wrong. I couldn't recognize the Spider-Man celebration that you did.
Spider-Man 3. Was that the Ronaldo celebration? On the sideline? Yeah, I don't know why I did that. I guess the World Cup stuff going on right now? Okay, because I don't watch soccer. You're not a soccer guy? No, I'm not.
I don't know why I did that. Just happened. Hey, how you doing, buddy? How do you feel about your Florida State Seminoles? Oh, amazing. Amazing. That was a little shaky game, but they pulled it out. I'm proud of them boys.
We can't ever let Florida beat us, ever. Okay, there are a number of things we need to hit on there, starting with who he was yelling at in the middle of that conversation. So we're standing at his locker, and then some guy walks by right behind me and says, hey, Brian. And how does Brian Burns react to that? Hey, how you doing, buddy? Then what you can't hear in that clip is Brian Burns looking right back at me with a face as if he did not know who it was that just said, hey, Brian.
So Burns just did the move that you all and myself have done. Somebody you probably should recognize knows your name and says hi. And rather than saying hey back in their name, you do sport, you do champ, or in Brian Burns's case, you do. Hey, how you doing, buddy? Hey, buddy. What's up, buddy?
Hey, how you doing, buddy? And then gets right back into the conversation. Also, do we have the sound that Brian Burns made when just thinking about Florida State blowing out Florida? That's the sound that he made there, just recalling it.
I guess he didn't blow. This is coincidentally, it's the same sound I make when I see the Thanksgiving feast right before I'm about to munch. It's the same sound. This is the sound that I think Carolina fans think I make whenever they lose a basketball game. He also did the chef's kiss.
That was the sound of him doing the chef's kiss for those who couldn't make that out there. Also, get your mind out of the gutter, all of you. Now, let's go to Brian Burns' neighbor. His locker is right next to JC Horns, who when we walked up to talk to him, was right at the end of the locker room. He was right at the end of the locker room.
When we walked up to talk to him, was right at the end of trash-talking Etor Gross-Matos about what you might wonder? Let's find out together. So who do you want next in ping-pong? It don't matter.
It don't matter. I only saw like five or six names on there. Like, who doesn't play? I low-key wish C-Mac was here because he was the top dog before he left.
That's what he said. Yeah, when I see him, I've been working on my skills, we're gonna play. How much did you enjoy watching South Carolina yesterday? My birthday was yesterday, so that was like the best birthday gift. I was in the house going crazy. I'm glad they got that win. It was two back-to-back top 10 teams we beat, so I'm just glad Coach Beamer turned it around. I saw that you have Sir Tan's jersey. You switched back and forth. You guys were both top 10 picks.
What type of relationship is that? Me, I'm cool. You know, cornerbacks. You know, we talk ball sometimes. He's actually one of my favorite corners to watch.
You're a real good corner. We just had a couple weeks ago, we was gonna swap jerseys. Yeah, I'm a big fan of his game. How much Panther gear does your dad wear? He got a good bit of gear.
He got a good bit of gear, and he be asking me for more. He a big Panther fan. He don't say much about the Saints no more. He a big, big Panther fan.
Joe Horn's his dad, who crushed the Panthers back in the day, so apparently he wears a lot of Panther gear. Going back to the beginning of that, though, the ping pong piece, you might be a little confused at why JC Horn walked away. What JC did, he wanted to prove that he ran bleep, to quote him, in ping pong. So we went to Brian Burns' locker, and you can hear Burns trying to defend himself as he was pulling at this item at his locker, saying, but wait, but wait, I've been out for a few weeks.
I've been down. I've been a little banged up, because this was perfect evidence. This was a scoreboard that showed how things went in ping pong in the locker room, and what it was. This is still amazing to me. It's a portrait. It's a painted picture of Spider-Man, because Brian Burns is a huge Spider-Man fan, and on the back of it, on the wood of the back of this painting, they have written in dry erase marker the records facing each other in ping pong. Like, there's a scoreboard. There's four or five, as I said, written down there, and JC Horn, as he pointed out to us, had gotten the best of Brian Burns head to head. But I had always heard Christian McCaffrey is the best in the locker room at ping pong. So even JC there, swaggering all, without Christian McCaffrey on the team to even defend himself anymore, still paying that respect to C-Mac as the guy who was best at ping pong in the Panthers' locker room.
Can we go back to what he said at the beginning, though? That W.D. is now nudging me, saying should be a drop for Graham's Gamblin'.
See me that cash out, fam. That's pretty good. Listen, no disrespect to Sam Washington. Mike Houston put some money on it.
Yeah. Sam Washington. Tell him to bring me my money. That was against my alma mater, ECU.
And now we got JC Horn saying what? See me that cash out, fam. Do you use the cash app? I use Venmo. I have it. I use PayPal more than anything.
It also doesn't really work when you're talking about, hey, it's the casino doesn't use cash app. No. I don't think.
See me that cash out, fam. I don't know. That's a good drop. There is something there. Yeah. I guarantee you, if nothing else, it's going to be on Keep It Simple later on in the week. No.
Why would you think that? See me that cash out, fam. Anytime there's a bet made on the shell. Guarantee you this is something that we're going to draw back on.
So we'll find an opportunity to use that. It wasn't just Burns and JC, though, who had great weekends watching their college teams win. Burns watching FSU, JC watching South Carolina against Clemson. How about the weekend Icky Iquanu had? The O-line playing great.
He's an NC State guy, a top 10 pick. Here's how our conversation sounded, starting with, yes, the overtime win for NC State and Chapel Hill. So first, I got to ask you, Friday, where you were when that kick went wide left? Ah, shoot, I was right at home, right at home, watching it in my room.
So I went wide left. I was excited, excited to know that the boys pulled through. And then you get the win today, and the O-line gave Sam a lot of protection. What gives you satisfaction, aside from the obvious, that you guys won the game?
Shoot, I mean, that's the biggest thing for me. Anytime you get that win column, obviously rushing the ball, you did a very good job on the ground today. So that's something that you take a lot of pride in as an offensive line. But most importantly is the win, you know, rushing the ball, passing well, it doesn't matter if you don't get that W in the column. So that's the biggest thing I'm excited for. How much do you enjoy it when the referee turns on the mic and says, number 64 is eligible and we've got a big lineup in there, Irving as well? I love it. I love when O-line will get the shot off the versatility a little bit, you know what I mean?
Just doing everything they can, you know, blocking on the line, blocking in the backfield, going out and catching passes if you need to, just everything. So definitely great seeing someone that's got to get to work in. A lot of people generally go home on the bye week. This is home. So what do you do?
Shoot, I'm already here. You know, I'm about to go home. I'm about to just chill here, get some treatment, you know, get my body back up to 100%. You know, I'm about to just live it up.
Be excited. How is your body holding up? This is, you're used to playing in college season.
You get the byes or whatever. This is 12 straight weeks. And now you guys, how is your body feeling relative to what you've experienced in the past? Honestly, your body feels great. You know, not having class gives you a lot more time for, you know, taking care of your body. So I'm in that general all the time.
So my body's feeling great. He's saying shoot at the beginning of every single one of those answers. I know. Just pointing that out, dating back to his days at NC State, he would start answers by saying shoot. That's what he was saying there. Transitioning thing. Let's pour some out for the ACC Big Ten Challenge.
RIP. Here's the part that really bothers me about the ACC Big Ten Challenge. Maryland joined the Big Ten in 2014. We didn't get one Maryland Duke game. This thing's been going on for a decade. W.D.
This seemed like a gift from God. To ESPN and to this event, the ACC Big Ten Challenge, that a founding member of the ACC had joined the Big Ten. Let's have that school play all the other founding members.
Let's do that. This event's been around since 1999 and this will be the last year of it. Tonight is the start of the ACC Big Ten Challenge this week.
This will be the last year of it. Next year, it's going to be the ACC Big Ten Challenge. Next year, it's going to be the ACC SEC Challenge.
A lot of that having to do with television. No Big Ten basketball will be on ESPN. SEC basketball is on ESPN. So that's going to be the new challenge moving forward, just from a television rights perspective. But since 2014, with Maryland joining the league, they've played just as many new members of the Atlantic Coast Conference than the founding members that they played every year dating back to the 50s.
Somebody make that make sense to me. Yes, they played Virginia a few times. But 2015, who did Maryland face? They played Pittsburgh. Oh, that's a great rivalry. Maryland and Pittsburgh.
Let's line that one up. The year after that, they played Syracuse. The year after that, maybe they get Virginia again? Maybe?
No, no, no, no, no. We got to we got to line up Maryland against Notre Dame. That's what we're going to do. So, yes, they played North Carolina. Yeah, they played Virginia. OK, but explain to me why, like I'm five, why every single year you don't have Maryland playing one of its old rivals.
It just bothers me. You have this event and you have this perfect opportunity. Here's this rivalry that doesn't exist anymore. Maryland versus Duke.
Make it happen. You don't have to send Duke to College Park. Send College Park to Duke. Do that just so that game will happen again.
But now it's not. We're never going to see that game again. And we're not going to see North Carolina, Maryland again either, I bet.
If I had to guess. Maybe this is just the Maryland roots coming out, where my dad rooted for Maryland. I have a lot of family roots for Maryland. I miss them in the league secretly.
I do. Their fan base is passionate and there's just so much history there. But that's the part that I'm not going to forget. That Maryland was in the Big Ten for eight years before this news happened. Before things changed up here, nearly a decade, and they never played Maryland and Duke. They never made Maryland play Duke with this event.
They never did it. And this year would have been the perfect opportunity. Coach K is not even there anymore. He could have done it. Go out with the bad guys.
Go out with the bang. That would have been great. No, we got to send Ohio State to Duke, even though Duke played Ohio State last year. Cool. That's awesome.
Glad you're doing that. But the challenge begins tonight with two games. Pitt, Northwestern, Hard Pass, even though you're talking about two former Duke players and two former Duke assistants coaching those teams. Minnesota, Virginia Tech is actually interesting. I think Virginia Tech is really good. Right now, I think they're the second best team in the ACC behind Virginia.
That isn't to say they will be that way at the end of the year. I just feel like if Virginia played North Carolina right now, I think they're actually supposed to play this weekend. I think Virginia Tech probably wins that game.
And that's in the castle, too. Yeah, Virginia Tech is really good right now. Let's go to Michael and Clemons, who wants in. From Baltimore? You're from Baltimore, Michael? Yes, I went to Morgan State and I also went to UB Law School. Shout out to Morgan State. So are you with me on this?
Yeah, I am. It seems like since Maryland left, they don't want to play the old rival. Even Wake in Maryland was a great rivalry back in the day. I don't think the they is Maryland, though. The important they that you're talking about sounds like the ACC schools and the traditional members who did not want it and probably John Swofford that didn't want the traditional members playing Maryland, if I had to guess. Well, the Maryland coaches, they always seem to be on a hot seat. And I don't think that the ACC, like you're saying, wants them to lose because a lot of those games, they're going to take an L. Well, I appreciate the call, Michael. You know, glad to know there are more folks from Baltimore around here. Someone writes in, don't forget, Maryland chose to leave.
We got that. Here's the question I would have to you, Deacon 2009, given where things are at with the Big Ten and the SEC, if it wasn't for the grant of rights, how many schools would have taken that deal now that Maryland got? I'd venture to say three quarters of the school in the ACC would do that. Thank goodness for the grant of rights. But if you think North Carolina and Duke, unencumbered, would not jump at the deal that Maryland got in 2014 today.
I think you might be a bit naive. Couple college football notes. It's official. Q. Freeze leaves Liberty, become the new head coach of the Auburn Tigers. Makes sense for Auburn. A big part of that job is beating Nick Saban.
Q. Freeze did that a couple of times in the SEC at Ole Miss. He's been a head coach for a dozen years, and only one time has he had a losing season. So that's the next head coach at Auburn, Matt Ruhl.
A week after, there were headlines saying maybe the two have broken off talks. Matt might have turned down the Nebraska job. He becomes Nebraska's coach, and he's introduced earlier today. We've got two parts to critically acclaim this week, WD. I will have the final ACC football rankings on tomorrow's show.
Today, I've got the second ACC basketball rankings after a frenetic, chaotic Thanksgiving week. We don't do the full 1 through 15 because 11 through 15 has got to earn it. It's got to earn to be a part of critically acclaim. Also, we're just too lazy to tell our voice guy to do 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15. So we just made him say 1 through 10.
And you can decide how much weight is on the first reason versus the second reason. Critically acclaimed, the top 10 for ACC basketball. Let's go. And we start with number 10, which is Boston College. He telegraphed that one. Boston College is 5 and 2 thus far.
That's pretty good, right? You look at the two losses they've had, though, to Maine and something called Tarleton State. I don't know what Tarleton State is, but they beat Boston College.
The Eagles, though, have a couple of nice wins. Including one against Rhode Island yesterday, which I learned last week. Last week, Archie Miller is now the head coach of URI. Didn't know that, former NC State coach.
BC. And at number 10. Wake Forest. The Deacs still have only lost one game. Cam Hildriff, as we were talking about with Steve Forbes last hour, did something that only two other Demon Deacons have done in the history of the program. He booked a triple-double. Messed around got a triple-double. I think you're contractually obligated when someone gets a triple-double to say they messed around and got a triple-double. Gotta say it was a good day for Cam Hildriff. The other two guys to do that in program history, Tim Duncan and Alondis Williams, who went on to win ACC Player of the Year in each of those seasons. Cam Hildriff has taken a big leap from his freshman season to his sophomore year.
He's from the UK. Scrappy player, plays really hard. The Deacs took care of business last Wednesday night against South Carolina State and against another HBCU in Hampton on Saturday. We'll see what they do as the competition now stiffens. Their next three, tomorrow night at Wisconsin, at Clemson on Friday, then they go to LSU. Those are their next three games. We'll see what the Deacs have, but right now they only have one loss and they probably should still be undefeated as the schedule gets more difficult for them. Number eight.
If you missed that conversation with Steve Forbes, you can find it on our podcast channel already and on our social media by just searching The Drive of Josh Graham and on Twitter at WSJS Radio. Eight, it's Clemson, the Tigers, five and two. And listen, Ken Palm loves them. And I love what I see from this team when P.J. Hall is healthy. A lot of familiar names on this Clemson team if you've been following ACC basketball the last few years. Hunter Tyson is still around and Chase Hunter is on this team. They still haven't gotten P.J.
Hall completely up to speed. He's still coming off the bench, but he had 10 against Cal a couple of days ago and they almost knocked off ranked Iowa. The only two losses they have are by two to South Carolina and by three to ranked Iowa. So I think Clemson has something here. They're going to be a borderline NCAA tournament team.
Number seven. Notre Dame. The Irish just haven't really impressed it all yet. They've only lost one game, but the game they lost was by a pretty wide margin against St. Bonaventure.
Sixty three fifty one. We haven't seen them play a lot of games. They've only played six, five and one so far this year. They've played a lot of close games. I'm concerned about them trying to replace Paul Atkinson in the post.
I want to talk about familiar names. Nate Luschewski, Trey Wertz, Dane Goodwin, Ryan Kermack or Cormac Ryan, excuse me. Seems like they've been around forever in South Bend. And Mike Bray has been for the last two decades.
Just need them to prove something to me. And an ACC Big Ten Challenge play. They've got 20th ranked Michigan coming to South Bend. So there's your opportunity on Wednesday night.
Number six. We'll put NC State here. The pack has lost one game and that game was against Kansas last week. And NC State very well could have won that if they had a more efficient effort from Taquavion Smith.
How do you bounce back from that, though? You emptied the bucket against Kansas. Do you bounce back the right way against Dayton or against Butler?
State did. And they beat Dayton by double digits. And then they beat Butler by 15 points.
Mandy Bates had to be thinking, I made a great mistake as he was playing his former team in Bahamas. It's a really good showing for NC State. I said that this was the this was what we saw from last year's Wake Forest. Reminds me a lot of NC State this year.
Number five. The Miami Hurricanes. I really wanted to put NC State here, but if the question is, who do you trust more, NC State or Miami right now? It's still going to be the Miami Hurricanes.
The samples still so small. The Canes. They eked one out against UCF yesterday. Blasted by Maryland a week ago, but then beat St. Francis. They have a win against Providence, too, which is a decent win. This is an elite 18 that deserves some benefit of the doubt, and that's why they're at five. Number four.
Going to take some heat for this. North Carolina. I have North Carolina at four because they've looked like a good basketball team once this year, once against James Madison. Now, I'm not saying you have to be the number one team in the country.
I never felt that that's what they were like everybody else did. But right now, it's about looking like a good basketball team and figuring out what your identity is, because are you a team that wants to be free flowing and run the second break and get in transition and share the ball or have Caleb Love just dribble it out for 25 seconds and take a step back shot like he seemed like he did 20 times yesterday? Got to figure out what that is and how you replace Brady Manning and how you properly get Pete Nance involved. Those are questions that Carolina has to answer, and they're real serious questions from an identity standpoint moving forward. That's why they're at four.
Number three. Duke. Just because, yeah, Duke shot terribly against Purdue, but Purdue's ranked in the top five for a reason right now. And Xavier was a pretty good win for Duke a couple nights before that. And their other loss, they got tested against Kansas in a game that Duke probably should have won. And when they played at home against teams they should beat, Duke beat those teams and beat those teams handedly, like against Bellarmine, for example. So Duke's looked a little bit more the part than North Carolina has so far.
Number two. Virginia Tech. I got the Hokies at number two right now because, frankly, out of those three teams, Duke, Carolina, Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech is the most secure in who they are and understanding and who they are than anybody out of that group.
They just are. Like Sean Padula, he knows exactly what to do, and that's get buckets. Hunter Couture, who you remember, from giving North Carolina buckets in the, or Duke buckets in the ACC Championship game. He's bad. Justin Mutts is bad. This Virginia Tech team's lost one game.
They're six and one. And that game was against Charleston in a true road game. And that was a battle that came down to the very end. I really like this Virginia Tech team. Darius Maddox is back and they got this transfer, Basile, that's really good. Watch out for the Hokies. They're second and critically acclaimed.
Number one. It's Virginia. When I think of the best teams in college basketball right now, the list is three teams long for just paying respect to Houston, the Houston, Virginia, Texas, and Purdue. This is the four best basketball teams I've seen thus far. And I need to see a little bit more from Purdue and need to see more from Houston. I think Virginia and Texas are the ones I feel the best about. And I've watched the most of thus far. So I haven't wilted on the Virginia train at all. And I am not suspecting to wilt anytime soon. Those are the ACC rankings this week in critically acclaimed.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-29 21:20:35 / 2022-11-29 21:40:31 / 20