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Shots at the Piñata (1-3-23)

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
January 3, 2023 6:17 pm

Shots at the Piñata (1-3-23)

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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January 3, 2023 6:17 pm

On the first Drive of 2023, Josh tells why he thinks this coming matchup against the Saints is a must-win for Steve Wilks, in order for him to get the Carolina Panthers head coaching job, reacts to what happened to Damar Hamlin in last night's Bills-Bengals game, moves UNC down a few spots in Critically ACClaimed, grades the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers weekend in Graham's Grades, discusses the news of the possibility of an NCAA Tournament expansion, and Will Kunkel, of Queen City News, joins the show to break down David Tepper speaking with Jim Harbaugh about the Carolina Panthers head coaching position and whether or not Steve Wilks would still be the best hire for the Panthers.

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On his cryptocurrency trading platform, Bankman-Fried was released from custody with electronic monitoring two weeks ago to await trial. Stocks remain lower now. The Dow is down 93 points.

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Connect with me at or give me a call at 817-912-1569. 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, what you scheduled this game.

He's interviewed Matthew McConaughey and he's taken on Big Blue Nation. He's just completely taken the wind out of my city. It's time for the drive with Josh Graham.

Happy New Year. You are on a Tuesday drive WSJS news, top sports for the Triad, where we will, of course, share updates on Bill safety, Damar Hamlin during today's show as information becomes more and more available. Damar played his college ball in the ACC at Pittsburgh, and you could argue his career highlight in college might have been right here in the Triad in Winston-Salem, where back in 2018, he picked off Sam Hartman to help the Panthers clench their first ever ACC championship game appearance. That was just a few years before Wake and Pitt would meet in the ACC title game in Charlotte. As for Charlotte's NFL team, the Panthers are officially eliminated from the playoffs. The playoffs are off the table. So the conversation has shifted a bit, almost exclusively to one thing, asking whether or not Steve Wilks is going to be the next head coach of the Panthers.

Will he have that interim tag removed? I said after the Lions win that regardless of what happened the rest of the way, Wilks deserve to be the guy. Unfortunately, though, I'm not the one that makes the hire.

David Tepper is the guy who does that. And this isn't based on any inside info. It's just a hunch. It feels like Steve Wilks needs to beat New Orleans this week to have a strong shot at getting the job. This isn't right, but it is reality that Wilks would not be a sexy hire. When you fire a coach, generally you want to completely turn the page.

You don't want to have any holdovers. Usually there's a reason why you are the interim. There's a reason why you're an assistant coach and not a head coach. And Steve Wilks, as good of a job as he's done, does not have a proven track record as a head coach in the league. He didn't really get a real shot in Arizona, but be that as it may, he hasn't proven he can be an NFL head coach. And Tepper, he likes to go big. You might not think of Matt Rule being a big swing, but when you look at the contract that he gave Matt Rule, it bothered a lot of coaches or a lot of owners across the NFL. This guy's never coached as an NFL head coach before and you gave him this kind of money, you're setting the new market. David Tepper was a bit of a maverick in that way.

He likes taking big swings. He is one of the richest men on planet Earth, one of the richest owners in the National Football League. And there are some sexy names that he's going to be interested in, such as Jim Harbaugh.

Already seeing those reports and rumors that they've been in touch. A loss on Sunday to New Orleans would give Tepper enough reason to justify going elsewhere. Wilkes would be two games under 500 as a coach this year. He'd have just one road win. He'd have loss, the most important game on the schedule, when leading by 11 points going into the fourth quarter. You can make excuses.

You could spell out all the context that you want. These are all things that matter that Steve Wilkes has working against him, that David Tepper can easily use to justify a decision to hire another coach. A win on Sunday, though, would make it very difficult on Tepper. 6-6 after taking over a 1-4 team with a roster you didn't choose and a coaching staff you didn't choose largely? That's an incredible job. And he's a Charlotte guy. This organization loves Steve Wilkes, specifically the players. He's been a part of this team. He wants the job. But Steve Wilkes wasn't interested in talking much about those types of stakes going into Sunday.

This was Wilkes yesterday. That's not my call. To be quite honest, I'm not focused on that. As I told you guys from day one, I have 13 weeks and my focus is just trying to win today. My focus right now is trying to make sure that we finish the right way. And as I told those guys, men, you know, they're going to find a way to finish. And that's what we have in that locker room. We have men in there. So I'm very positive that we're going to bounce back. And that's where my focus is. Yeah. That's what you got to say if you're Steve Wilkes. But behind the scenes, you know, that's something he's definitely talking about. You know, he's not going to play younger players if he has the choice to do so, because he knows that if he loses this game, it might be hurt.

It might be used against him and his chances to get the head coaching job moving forward. 3-3-6-7-7-7-1-600 if you want. Will Dalton, the executive producer of this show. Will, happy 2023 to you. Happy 2023 to you. And let's get to the first caller of 2023. That's our guy, Dave and Clemons, who wants in on the topic. Happy 2023 to you, Dave. What do you have on the Panthers coaching hire? What's up, JG and WD.

Happy 2023, guys. Hey, Jim Harbaugh. That's the guy we need. He will bring a championship to the Carolinas.

Josh, I called in several weeks ago and I threw his name out during TopCat. This is the guy we need. He's a culture changer. Look what he did in San Francisco with Alex Smith.

He changed that. Alex Smith was a bust until Harbaugh got ahold of him. He might be able to do some good things with Darnold. He turned Colin Kaepernick a second round draft pick, a baseball player, worked with his mechanic, and ultimately turned him into a star, got him to a Super Bowl game. Jim Harbaugh is the guy we need. And I got one other thing I just wanted to ask you. If we get Harbaugh, what about keeping Wilks on as the defensive coordinator?

I don't know. Thank you for the call. I don't know if Harbaugh would go for that, especially if the locker room has been so partial towards Wilks and Harbaugh so plugged in in the coaching community that I think he'd have a list of guys. There have been rumors that Sean Payton is trying to put together a coaching staff in case he gets a job. Fick Fangio might be a part of that staff for Sean Payton. If not, he's worked with Jim Harbaugh.

There are a handful of other guys. I think Denver's current defensive coordinator was Harbaugh's DC in San Francisco, and the staff in Denver just got fired. So assuming that that DC doesn't get retained, which is a pretty strong shot that's the case, maybe that's the place that Harbaugh goes.

I venture to say if Wilks isn't the head coach, he's not going to be in Charlotte next year. On Twitter at WSJS Radio, if you'd like to chime in that way. Getting back to the Damar Hamlin situation in Cincinnati, we saw some of the good of humanity come out last night in a scary situation, and that's always good to see. The toy drive, he was looking for $2,500 or $25,000 maybe.

And last I checked, that's raised $3.5 million. The way that ESPN handled its coverage with Van Pelt and Lisa Salters and Ryan Clark, the way that they were so careful and not speculative and respectful, a lot of lessons can be learned from that. A lot of journalism schools should probably be taking the way that they handled that and using that in classes moving forward. But we also saw many of the same people that were expressing the importance of empathy and the importance of humanity completely lambasting and trashing the NFL too.

And this is what's interesting. There are a few institutions and there are few people in sports and politics and culture that nobody has anything good to say about ever. People can only do wrong in the eyes of the public. Joe Biden, Donald Trump, depending on what side of the political aisle you're on, Roger Goodell in sports is one of those people. He could do the greatest job ever at this point. And nobody's going to give him credit for it because people have already made up their mind.

Oh, I'm supposed to hate that guy, so I'm just going to go ahead and keep doing that. That's why he doesn't do press conferences. What's the point? If nothing positive is going to come out of it because everyone's already made up their mind and there's going to be a negative slant, why am I going to keep talking to the media? And I say that as somebody who's in the media. The reason I'm taking this side of it is because I felt the NFL did everything right last night. They suspended the game temporarily, then they pulled the plug when it became pretty clear that it was untenable to play any longer, yet most of the reaction I've seen, like legit stories, they've been negative towards the NFL.

Oh, it took so long. For whom? Us? Who gives a rip about when we find out? Did the players look like they were out of the dark? Did the coaches? Did the people that matter look like they were in the dark?

No. Then who really gives a rip about when we find out about it? Why is that factored into how well the NFL did the type of job they did last night? Oh, they were going to make them play. They had the five-minute warm-up thing thrown in there. The NFL says that's completely false, and they didn't just try to skate past it and sidestep it. This is NFL VP Troy Vincent pretty forcefully pushing back on that. I'm not sure where that came from, five minutes warm-up. It never crossed my mind personally, and I was the one saying hi, not to be selfish, but the one that was communicating with the commissioner. We never, frankly, it never crossed our mind to talk about warming up to resume play. That's ridiculous.

That's insensitive, and that's not a place that we should ever be in. Oh, but Joe Buck and Troy Aikman said. And then they did the right thing today. They said that they're not going to play Cincinnati Buffalo this week. What's interesting about that release is that they didn't say that the game was outright canceled. They said that it was not going to be played this week, and they wouldn't comment on whether or not it would be made up. I don't see any way at this point you can play the game since week 18 is next week, and I don't think you're going to push things back, or else you might have to move some playoff dates and potentially even move the date of the Super Bowl. I don't think all of that is worth it.

So this is me doing the impossible. Nobody, it's almost unheard of on sports radio to defend the NFL in any type of way, but they should not have gotten ripped for the way they handled things last night. There are probably more logistics that we can see at face value in trying to get a game canceled or suspended the way that it was, than meets the eye. Just have a little bit more patience and grace. Let's go to Lynn in Greensboro. Lynn, are you with me on this? Yeah, I think so.

Yeah, I just want to talk about the humanity, and I think they handled it the right way with compassion and a lot of empathy, and that's number one. One thing I don't like about the NFL is I think the guy's name was Chuck Hughes. Do you know who that is?

No. He is the only player that's died on the field. I was watching it in 1971, I'm much older than you, and he played for the Detroit Lions. He was a receiver coming, jogging back to the huddle, and he just fell over and he died. The remainder of that year, that was 1971, on a Monday night football game, and NFL, they never talk about it. They just sweep it under the rug, and that really bothers me, and I think every ten years they should have a tribute to him or something, but they never did.

The remainder of that year, the Lions wore black armbands. Ever since then, I watch a ton of pregame shows and a ton of football games. Never hear anybody talk about it.

I've never heard anybody talk about it one time, and that really bothers me. I'm glad that they canceled the game, and I'm glad that they postponed it. I'm glad they're wearing pads on the helmet in practice. I'm glad they're protecting the quarterback. Roger Goodell, I think they're trying to make inroads.

They need to do more, but he's made a lot of big progress there as well. Look at us, Lynn. Look at us, Lynn.

Thank you so much for the call. We're saying nice things about Roger Goodell to open up 2023. That just warms my heart that, hey, it's new year, new us.

Maybe we're not going to be as mean-spirited towards people, and you bring up a great point. I didn't know who that was, and it probably speaks to the point that you're trying to make that his name's not brought up as much as it probably should be. As we mentioned, it is now 2023, which means rankings and resumes are about to matter a great deal more in college basketball very soon. So I'll reveal my first ACC basketball ranking of 2023 and critically acclaimed next. Introducing the world's greatest entertainer, the hardest working man in show business.

Ladies and gentlemen, the star of the show. Now back to the drive with Josh Flamm. Off and rolling in 2023. We'll get to the college football playoff national championship matchup that we have next week in about 10 minutes. Josh W.D.

and I were ringing in the new year together at my place, and that's a moment that I'll remember for a very long time. Having to whip out a second screen really quickly on the iPad so that way we could see the ball dropping. As the ball dropped in Atlanta, wide left former North Carolina kicker Noah Ruggles was Ohio State's kicker that missed at the very end there. And it all happened within a span of 10 seconds. The kick missed and then it's six, five, four.

Never seen anything like that. And we were pretty excited. We debated all night, like, is this thing going to end by midnight or is it going to go into the new year?

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Contour Brands at, Maker of Lee and Wrangler Jeans. Since the calendar slipped to 2023, college basketball is going to start mattering a great deal over the next few months. So let's get to critically acclaimed this week, my first ACC basketball rankings of 2023. We'll do 10 through one, starting with number 10, the Syracuse Orange. Syracuse has been a weird case study this year. Nine and five so far this season. They've had some decent wins. Winning on the road at Notre Dame, for example, beating down Georgetown. I think they won five in a row at one point, but beaten at home last week by the Pitt Panthers. Syracuse bounced back against Boston College on New Year's Eve, but can't really rank them higher than 10th because...

Number nine. NC State is 11 and four still. Now, the pack hasn't had the most impressive of wins. They beat Louisville in ACC play, took care of Vanderbilt, took care of Furman. But when they had an opportunity at something that could become a quad one at Clemson, they lose by 14. When they're leading in the second half at Miami, they don't get that done. The Kansas game comes to mind, too, where they had an opportunity. So you have some good wins, Dayton, Butler, the ones that I mentioned a second ago, but nothing great. Don't be fooled by the fact that they have 11 wins, which is more than most teams across the ACC. I think the only team with more than 11 is the Miami Hurricanes.

Don't be fooled by all of that. Look at the teams they've actually beaten. Number eight.

This might surprise you. The North Carolina Tar Heels are at eight. They lose to Pittsburgh and the Heels, while they're 6-0 at home, they're 0-3 on the road. It's hard to really trust this basketball team when they're playing true road games. This goes back to last year. I do think there aren't 10 teams in college basketball more talented than North Carolina, but there comes a point where you have to prove it.

You have to prove it with what you do on the floor, and North Carolina hasn't done that so far. It reminds me of an old joke. I think it might have been John Mulaney or Gary Goldman that pulled it, where he said, there are people out there that say, I just don't test well. Oh, you mean when you tell us what you know? You mean you're stupid. There are people who say, that person's really smart. They just don't test well. It's something you hear people say.

Oh, you mean when you tell us what you know? Well, that's North Carolina. I think they're really good. They're really good. They just don't play well during the games.

Huh? Number seven. The Pitt Panthers. They beat North Carolina, and they are 3-0 in the ACC. And there are 10-4 so far this year, and they have road wins, nearly winning by 30 at Northwestern, winning, as I mentioned, at Syracuse. They beat NC State on the road, so they have to be ranked in front of North Carolina and NC State at Syracuse just by that logic of the games having to matter and what your record is. They've been the biggest surprise of the ACC so far this year.

Number six. Virginia Tech. Some tough losses. You lose to Wake Forest. Granted, they didn't have Hunter Couture in the game last Saturday. You lose to Boston College the week before that.

Boston College? The Hokies, they're not in a bad position. This is an NCAA tournament team. They are 11-3, and they have some good wins, including against North Carolina.

But they've hit a bit of a lull of late. Number five. Wake Forest beat Virginia Tech. They're at number five. They also beat Duke as well. They have the win at Wisconsin.

Kind of surprised that I read Joe Leonardi's stuff for the first time this year today, admittedly. Wake Forest is not in the field as of right now, not one of the last or first four out. They're in the next four out lane. I'd love for Joey Brackett to explain that to me.

Maybe we can have Joey on sometime soon. Number four. Clemson Tigers beat State, beat Wake. They're 11-3 and 3-0 in the ACC. And they got an all-ACC player in P.J. Hall and a really good coach at Brad Brownell. And guys who have been around really like the makeup of this team, and they're off to a tremendous start.

Number three. Duke. Duke is Duke.

They're on TV more than Leave It to Viva reruns. Duke. You were at the game on Saturday against FSU. Anything stick out? Yeah. Ryan Young and Jalen Blake's.

That's what stuck out. Ryan Young near the very top in college basketball in field goal percentage. And you mentioned Jalen Blake's. He had 17 to lead Duke against Wake Forest, and then he had 17 again in 30 minutes.

He's really emerged in his second season. Number two. Got to be the Virginia Cavaliers here.

The Hoos. They lost two in a row. That was their first two losses of the season, including two Miami. But they bounce back, blow out Albany, then go on the road, handle Georgia Tech by 18. I believe Virginia is the best team in the ACC, but their resume isn't as good as.

Number one. Miami. Miami is 12 and one in the country. 12th ranked in the country. 12 and one overall record, and they're ranked 12th in the country. And they went on the road and beat Notre Dame by nine. After beating Virginia. After beating NC State, which is not a bad win by any means. They beat Rutgers, who's, I think, beaten Purdue twice already this year.

Think I read that right? Love this Miami basketball team. I am worried about their size a little bit, but they're number one right now.

And that's been critically acclaimed. We'll get back to the Carolina Panthers in about 15 minutes. Later in the show, the guy who has broken a lot of the Jim Harbaugh news we've seen the last 24 hours, Will Kunkel, will join the show.

Make sure you're around for that. But this is a Panther-less segment here, because at times I feel like we talk too much about a team that's not going to make the playoffs, even though they're local and we get all that. A lot of you root for teams that are not named the Carolina Panthers. So to recap the rest of what we saw in week 17, the good, the bad, the eh. It's time for Graham's Grades.

A through F, starting with the very good first. A, the Green Bay Packers. They blow out the Minnesota Vikings, meaning they still have a shot at making the playoffs going into week 18.

That is quite a job well done by Aaron Rodgers and company. However, no chance that Minnesota is a Super Bowl contender. With their record, you would think, oh, Josh, come on, they're 12-4. How many teams in the league have a better record than 12-4 right now? And the answer to that, not many.

Kansas City, Philadelphia, the only few. But when you dive deep into what they have done, it's not that impressive. Same team that fell behind at home, 33-0 against Jeff Saturday. Let's not act like that didn't happen, even though they rallied all the way back. I was listening to Ryan Rosillo, who compared them to Tim Tebow in 2011, where, yeah, you're winning all these games, but nobody buys that you're any good. That's the Minnesota Vikings. Shout out to Rosillo, that was a really good analogy that he made.

I was jealous I didn't think of it. Green Bay rolled over them, they have a shot at making the playoffs. The way that they won that game, it is an A in my book.

B, the Pittsburgh Steelers. A little bit similar to what we were just talking about, a team that was written off that now has a shot at winning nine games, at potentially making the playoffs. Actually, I don't know if they can make the playoffs. Oh, there's three teams that currently have eight wins right now in the AFC, so I do think they're in the hunt.

Pittsburgh, Miami, and New England, but Pittsburgh would still need some help in order to make it. It's just a stat that we continue to throw out there. He's been around Tomlin for over 15 years in Pittsburgh, and he still hasn't had a losing season. And you've got one more game to go. If he wins it or ties it, that streak will be continued. No losing seasons as they've won a handful in a row now. They're on a bit of a run. Eight-and-eight football team, they win in the last second in Baltimore. The only reason it's not an A is because Tyler Huntley was out there and Pittsburgh's offense, once again, not all that impressive.

C, the New York Giants. They're going to make the playoffs in Brian Dabble's first year, 9-6-1, and Daniel Jones. 19 of 24 for 177, two TDs, no picks, and running it, 11 carries for 91 yards and two touchdowns.

Four touchdowns in the game, over 250 yards you've accounted for, both in the air and on the ground. You blow out the Colts, who aren't any good. That's why it's a C. Come on, it's the Colts who should do that. But if you would have told me at the start of the year that in week 17 the Giants would be beating the Colts by 28 points and Daniel Jones would be doing this and the Giants would be making the playoffs in Dabble's first year, I'd probably say it's an A, not a C. D, the Philadelphia Eagles. Philly still has to lock this thing up.

They haven't quite done that yet. They've glitched a playoff appearance, but without one Jalen Hurts, it's been a bit of a rocky ride, and you play the Saints at home and you lose 20 to 10? Sheesh, that was your opportunity there.

You don't capitalize on it. Gardner Minshew wasn't very good. 18 of 32, a touchdown and a pick.

You couldn't run it at all on New Orleans either. Oy vey, losing it home to Andy Dalton by double digits. That's a D, especially when you still have something to play for in the regular season. F, Bengals-Bills, just how scary that was and the fact it happened on national TV with Damar Hamlin and company.

That's an F for obvious reasons, and that's been Graham's Graves for this week. I wasn't watching live, and then I went downstairs, turned on the TV, and my plan was, you know, I'm going to have the game on the big screen, and then I'm going to pull out my iPad, probably flip on a movie. I think I was going to watch the Jake Gyllenhaal, MMA movie, Warrior. Hadn't seen that before. I wasn't going to watch that. So I was going to have the NFL game on mute and was going to have the game on, and I was going to knock out some work, start prepping the show for today, and immediately saw that things were a little bit different but didn't think it was something super severe because, all right, unfortunately, if you've watched football enough, you've seen an ambulance come on the field.

You've seen guys who are having to be carried off, and you never want to become desanitized to that. You never want to be that way, but you just kind of are if you cover it as long as we have, but there was an image of Josh Allen with his hands on his head and then an immediate cut to Stefan Diggs, who was crying, that made me think, I might need to turn the audio on here and see what's happening, and I never turned on the movie. I never got to my work. I sat there for two and a half, close to three hours, and watched all of it, which wasn't much of anything, but trying to get every morsel of information you possibly can and seeing the way that ESPN handled that, it was compelling TV. Yeah, I didn't watch it live either. I was at my parents' house, and they just had something else on TV, but I got one of those notifications on my phone that you hate so much.

I hate notifications on my phone. And all I saw, didn't see any else in the headline. All I saw was CPR, and I immediately went to the TV on my phone, and that's when I knew. We never saw video of CPR being administrated.

No. Because ESPN was respectful to Tamar Hamlin. I'm not saying I wanted to see it. Part of me was surprised that the same company that once had Rune Artilage who was big on, oh, if it bleeds, it leads, and hey, this guy's injured, zoom in on it and such. ESPN and ABC showed restraint.

They crushed it last night in every way. They didn't show replays of what happened to Tamar Hamlin, and I am on the fence about some of that, just because, okay, you didn't show it for the next three hours, and it almost seems like the assumption is if you want to find it, you can go find it, but if everybody thought the way that ESPN and ABC did, well, then nobody would know exactly what it was. How do you strike that line between showing something while also being sensitive, and I guess the answer would be I thought at some point Van Pelt or whoever would be like, this is sensitive, just going to let you guys know. If you haven't seen it yet, we're spending our entire show talking about this thing that we have video of that happened. If you are sensitive to it, you don't have to watch, but this is exactly what happened.

I'm sorry, I'm surprised we didn't get that at any point. It just seemed like there was an assumption that we all kind of saw it. Just interesting of how things have moved and our sensibilities of these things have shifted so much, and I wonder because it happens on Monday Night Football, and the fact they didn't finish the game, if that's something we're going to see more of in sports. I remember I was at a Duke basketball game last month, not last month, last year, and the Citadel's coach, he fell out like two minutes into the game, and they wheeled them off.

That's their coach, their head coach, and there were some saying they shouldn't play on social media, but they just kept playing, and they played actually pretty well and hung with Duke, and there was the Tua situation, obviously, where he left and he was carted off. Is this because of how prominent the NFL is and how everybody kind of follows their lead on how they handle things? Are we going to see now so much emphasis on the mental health of the players who are out there that if somebody gets carted off that type, maybe not that type of way where CPR's being administered, where it's so obvious that you shouldn't be playing football and that his life is in danger, but something like your teammate having to leave in an ambulance for a broken leg or something of that sort, or like a head injury, like what happened to Tua, are there going to be, is this going to lead to some of that happening?

I don't know, and I'm not advocating either way. It's just something that I thought of as I watched last night, that in past years, I think we still play that football game, and I think in recent years, we've become more sensitive to the mental health of the guys who are out there, and I think overall, that's a good thing. Coming up, we'll push things forward, push things ahead for the Carolina Panthers and for the college football playoff.

Keep it here on The Drive. It's The Drive with Josh Graham, WSJS. A lot of new here in 2023. We've got a new sponsor for Take it to the House that we'll tell you about in just a bit.

And how about a first-time visitor to the show, a guest here on The Drive, and that's because he broke some news in the last 24 hours. Will Kunkel joining us. Queen City News, Charlotte Sports Live. My man does it all in the Queen City, and yesterday, he had the first tidbit that isn't getting as much attention today, but I thought was significant, that Harbaugh, he had sincere interest in the Carolina Panthers and even had, you know, he had a positive look at the Panthers' roster. And then today, what everybody's confirmed and now is talking about across the league, Will had first that the Panthers and Jim Harbaugh have had contact, specifically Panthers owner David Tepper, but you made sure to point out this is not a job interview.

That's not going to happen until after the season ends. Your time is appreciated, Will. Let's start in the obvious place. Who contacted whom based on what you're hearing?

Probably can't go into all of that. I will just say that there was a conversation about the fact that Jim Harbaugh wants to get back into the NFL and the Panthers have a job opening. So right now, if anybody wants a job in the NFL and they're a viable candidate, they're probably going to contact the Panthers.

I mean, and yeah, you're right. Like, Jim likes this roster. It's a young roster. They're on rookie deals. Derek Brown, Brian Burns is getting a new one. J.C. Horn, he obviously will come back healthy next year. He's on his rookie deal. Ikyakwondo, rookie deal. And you have draft picks. You have capital in order to get this team.

Where you want it to go and it's a bad division right now, which is also appealing. How soon after the national title game or even was it before the national title game? Did you begin to hear these or the college football playoff semifinals? Excuse me. Did you first start to hear these rumblings?

I reported it when I was able to report it. Let's say that and that, you know, people are always talking. Yeah.

Don't want to put you in a bad spot. Will Kunkel joining us here from Charlotte Sports Live and also Queen City News out there in the Queen City. Getting to the piece about his sincere interest, there seems to be, I think that's significant based on the reaction from some specifically at Michigan and in the college football world that, oh, with having JJ McCarthy coming back and Ohio State looking to replace a quarterback and having to go to Ann Arbor. Oh, he's just trying to get a pay bump. He's just leveraging the NFL here.

You're reporting. It's important to note that he has sincere interest in the league. What would you say to those who are suggesting that this is just an attempt to try and get more money out of Michigan?

I can't tell them that wrong. I don't know the motives behind Jim's heart. I will say that he had sincere interest in the Vikings last year that obviously fell apart at the last minute for whatever reason.

I think a big part of Jim is not his ability to coach. Is it a good fit? Is that culture work in that room?

Is it work in that building? I don't know the answer to the Panthers, whether it works or not. I know his on-field product probably works. He's Bo Schembechler. He likes two tight ends. He likes to run the ball, play action, let his quarterback cook when he's hot and smash mouth defense. That's what Panther fans love.

That's what the Panthers have been good at when they were good. If it's a fit, this is just my opinion. My opinion has always been of the ilk that I like structure in an organization that goes owner, general manager, head coach. I don't love the I control everything, yet there's a general manager that kind of makes calls on my behalf or sometimes on the same page, not always on the same page. I don't love that.

I love structure. I think Federer has done a great job building this roster to be good sooner than later. I'd like to know where Steve Wilks fits into all this. Do you believe he needs to win against New Orleans in order to have strong consideration or is that going to happen regardless?

I think he's going to get a strong consideration no matter what. I don't think that he even needs to win, but I think it's more important that you watch the product on the field and how they play for Steve Wilks. That's what's turned around this franchise in such a short period of time. They were one and four when he came in, throw the Rams game out the window. He made this team a contender when they haven't been a contender in a better half of a decade, especially under Matt Ruhl, and he did it in a very short period of time in a roster that he didn't necessarily love.

They lost Christian McCaffrey, which I think actually made them better because they ran more north-south behind Bradley Bozeman in that offensive line. But I think Steve Wilks deserves an opportunity to coach in the NFL. I don't know if it will be with the Panthers. I definitely don't think he has to win on Sunday.

I think it's more about watch how his team plays for him because they will play hard for him because they do love this man. Will Kunkel's with us here, broken a lot of news on the Panthers front the last 24 hours. So once Sunday's game ends and the Panthers' season is over, walk me through how you think the next step looks. Some are saying, why not just hire Steve Wilks if you want him to be the guy already? Well, you got to comply with the Rooney rule and there are a lot of things you have to go through even just to hire an interim coach. But Shane Steichen, assuming that the Eagles do win and get that number one seed, well, you can interview him before they play their first playoff game because the Eagles would have a bye, assuming that he's a guy that the Panthers are interested in. How quickly do you think this process goes and what do you think it looks like?

I think it goes quicker than slower because there's no harm in having conversations. And I think David Tebbe would do the fans a disservice if he didn't interview as many people as he thinks are qualified for this job. And he may circle back to Steve Wilks, fine. You want to hire the best person for the job and you want to do your due diligence. And then to your point to the Rooney rule, Steve Wilks does not count as a minority interview under that rule because you have to interview somebody that's not in your building already on your payroll. So however you want to describe it, he might get scooped because of the Rooney rule and might lose out on this job, unfortunately. I think Steve would be a great hire. I don't know if he's the best hire or not. You know, anybody telling you that they know is a liar because you have no idea what's actually going to happen. But I think it's going to happen quickly, rapidly, and we'll kind of see because remember what happened in that rule is I don't know what David Tepper went out there in regards to his mindset, but he went out there and said he was wowed and all of a sudden instead of pitching Matt, instead of Matt pitching them, it turned into them pitching Matt.

Who knows how this works out? But Steve Wilks' biggest test, he has to tell Scott Fitterer and David Tepper how he's going to turn this offense around. Who is he going to bring in to be his offensive coordinator and what is the plan going forward to get a quarterback? They know that he can run defense. They know he can be a leader of Matt and he can do his job. However, can he turn around the offense?

What's his plan for that? Will, great work the last 24 hours. Great to have you on the show for the first time. Hope to see you sometime soon.

Happy 24 hours. My man. Appreciate you, brother, for having me. No doubt. There he goes. Will Kunkel on Twitter at WillKunkelFox. Shoot him a follow. He's the one that's been leading the charge today with a lot of the breaking news that we've seen regarding the Carolina Panthers and I'd imagine there's a lot more that's going to be breaking over the coming weeks.

W.D., now to the NCAA tournament. Yeah, you're feeling some type of way about this. We were talking about patience when it comes to the NFL. Oh, they're just this pinata. It's easy to swing at and take shots at and that's something that bothers me.

I never liked being the guy that takes shots at the pinata, the easy target, but it's hard. It's really hard for me to not take some swings here now that the transformation committee that has been looking at stuff for the last year or so has now recommended that in all NCAA sanctioned championships, which again does not apply to football, college football. Football is not under the NCAA umbrella when it comes to their championship. There should be 25% of the sport represented in the postseason.

25%. And since there are 350, close to 60 Division I schools now in college basketball, that would mean they're recommending expanding the field from 68, where it is right now, to 90. That would be their recommendation.

And you're seeing reaction all over the place. Gary Parrish, who I like a lot, tweeting out, facing an argument in favor of the NCAA tournament expansion on the idea that you need to include 25% of 363 teams is super lame, especially when around a third of those teams don't matter. Hopefully the smart people with power understand this as much. I'm not as confident, because I asked Jim Phillips about this in the fall at ACC Media Day back in October, and he said he was in favor of it. He said that it's time to take a look at that, is what he said. And we know what that means, W.D., when he says it's time to look at something rather than saying whether or not he's in favor, it means he's in favor of it. Because remember when he said it's time to look at ACC headquarters?

I do remember that. That's what I'm thinking about. It's time we look at ACC headquarters. And we were right to all think, oh no, they're going to move ACC headquarters now. And you have the SEC committee, Greg Sankey, after A&M got left out, saying, well, we got to look at expanding the field here, because A&M belonged, even though they lost every game for a month of last conference season. Maybe don't do that and you'll make the NCAA tournament.

Just a thought. Coaches, they're in favor of it. Remember when the ACC coaches all agreed during COVID that every team in college basketball should make the NCAA tournament? All of them, they all should be rewarded. They're going to watch.

People are going to watch. No, this has nothing to do with the incentive in my contract that says I make more money when I make the NCAA tournament. Why would you even suggest such a thing?

My argument against is the most practical argument there is. What makes college basketball great in March is that it cuts through the regionality of the sport. College basketball is such a regional sport at this point. It's not a national sport. Super regional.

Matters a lot where we talk to you right now, and we respect that. That's why we talk college basketball year-round. But the regionality is such that the nation doesn't really take hold of the sport until March, and it's because of one thing. The bracket. You've got to fill out your bracket, and you've got to do your office pool and all that.

What does a 90 team bracket look like? Can you fit that on a standard 12x8 piece of paper? Probably not. I don't think you can. No, and if you can't do that, then I'm against it. If I can't get my grandma interested in it or Sarah Bradford interested in it, even though she is a big college basketball fan, actually.

She's a bad example of this, but you get the point I'm trying to make. If I can't get them interested in it, because, wait, we're talking 90 teams now? Then I think it's counterintuitive, and I already know what the other argument's going to be. On the other side, you're going to hear folks saying, they said that expanding the college football playoffs is a bad idea. Did you watch those games on Saturday? You don't want to watch more of those games? You don't want them to be on campus?

And to that I will say, pretty simply, it's a little bit different when everybody isn't represented. My issue with the college football playoff and why expansion needed to happen is because the sport is regional in the sense of it's played differently depending on what conference you're in, and all of them should be represented, or at least the five power conferences and then some representation of the little guy should be involved in this tournament some way, somehow. And I think that's a good thing. Like when Tulane beats USC like they did yesterday. Right?

That stuff's good. That's not a problem in the college basketball field. In the current bracket that we have, who isn't represented? You have automatic bids from all the D1 conferences. Some of those mid-major conferences get multiple teams in.

The big boys you get several in. So who really is feeling left out, honestly, that has a good case for why they should be in the tournament? The only ones that I would listen to are the mid-majors that are better in the regular season but lose in the conference tournament.

Those are the only folks I'd listen to. But I got a feeling that's not what this expansion's about. I don't think this expansion's about getting more UNCGs in the tournament. I think it's more about getting your 10th or 11th or 12th best team in the ACC or the SEC yet. Getting more Texas A&M's. Getting more Boston Colleges into the NCAA tournament.

Boston College? I don't know if that's a good thing. Those are the only folks I'd want to hear about and if you talk to those folks, they don't want expansion. They don't want it at all.

I said I was going to be nice, WD. A lot of the stuff that they found in this exploration, this transformational group that they put together, actually really good things. When you talk about individual sports getting to govern themselves, good, you need to have a basket. Somebody that's sole interest and responsibility is college basketball.

But somebody's sole interest is whatever sport you're talking about. And that was recommended in the report. Some stuff when it comes to the healthcare that students get and important stuff like that. I don't want to completely lambast the NCAA and this committee by saying everything that they came up with is garbage just because of this one thing that I didn't like. So I do want to spell that out. But all that can be true. All those things can be good for college sports and the NCAA while also acknowledging stay away from the NCAA tournament and do not touch the format, please.

I think both those things could be true. I mean, 68 teams is a lot already. Yeah.

Like, it's not a small number. Who feels robbed? Wake Forest? Texas A&M? And to that, they know what they should have done. They know what they could have done. Don't lose for a month, Texas A&M. Wake, schedule a better out-of-conference schedule, which they've done this year. And I think that's why I think they're going to get the benefit of the doubt because they're in the same position this year. We need more teams in the tournament so that this doesn't happen again is a bad way to look at it. Okay.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-08 05:56:56 / 2023-01-08 06:17:23 / 20

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