Charge, Chalk & Changes

November 7, 2023

By: Carlos Alvarez

Good Morning 

The 2023-24 college basketball season began by knocking two top-5 teams off their pedestal, and the beginning of baseball’s offseason featured a stunning twist of its own. But first, some pick ‘em bragging rights and a Monday night lightning strike.

Letter Rip!


L.A. Goes Full Charge

Photo: Elsa / Getty Images

Chargers Ground Jets (27-6) in Monday Night Blowout That Muddies Up the AFC

As if the AFC wasn’t already packed in a mid-tier standings war, two middle-of-the-pack teams delivered a laugher on Monday Night Football. The Chargers stomped the Jets into oblivion at MetLife Stadium thanks to an insatiable pass rush. Los Angeles house-called a punt return TD from Derius Davis to open the scoring. The Chargers scored again to make it 14-0 by the end of the first quarter, and they didn’t need much offense after that. L.A. forced four fumbles, including three sack-fumbles on Jets QB Zach Wilson, setting the stage for short fields and a clock management game. New York failed to reach the end zone, settling for just two field goals over 60 minutes. The Jets actually out-gained the Chargers (270-191 yards) and held possession for 10 more minutes, but the turnover margin (3-0) told the story. Both teams are now 4-4 and right in the mix for a late playoff push.

Ekeler in the End Zone

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (70 yards, 2 TDs) was the only offensive player to find the end zone from scrimmage in this game (not a field goal or return TD).

Charging the Quarterback

The Chargers pass rush earned the game ball. Five different players recorded sacks (8 total), including multiple from Tuli Tuipolotu (2), Khalil Mack (2) and Joey Bosa (2.5). 

Records: Chargers (4-4) / Jets (4-4)

Watch: Chargers Stomp Jets on MNF (27-6)

Can\’t-Miss Highlight: Chargers WR Keenan Allen Makes Spectacular 1-Handed Catch

Read More

Yahoo! Sports: Chargers Shut Down Zach Wilson, Jets to Grab 27-6 Win

NBC Sports: Jets QB Aaron Rodgers Walking & Throwing Without Limp 8 Weeks After Achilles Tear



Chalk Dust: Top-Ranked Teams Upset in Openers

Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

How #1 LSU (Women) & #4 Michigan State (Men) Got Upset on Opening Night

Down go the champs! The opening night of college basketball was full of surprises across 300-plus Division I games, but none were bigger than a pair of top-5 upsets. LSU, the defending champions and No. 1 team in women’s college hoops — with two of the game’s best players in Angel Reese and Hailey Van Lith — were stunned in a season-opening home upset against #20 Colorado. Up in Lansing, #4 Michigan State (men) took an ‘L’ to unranked James Madison in an overtime shocker at the Breslin Center. An unreal tip-off to college basketball immediately served up some humility. Here’s a look at those upsets and a lengthy list of the best highlights from Monday’s games.

WOMEN: #20 Colorado def. #1 LSU (92-78)

Did this really happen?! LSU was the reigning national champion, and they had just reloaded (and then some) with the addition of Hailey Van Lith. Kim Mulkey’s juggernaut squad were a potential threat to run the table this season, and they flopped in Game 1. The Lady Buffaloes took the lead in the second quarter and never surrendered it. Not just an upset, but a 14-point road win against the top team in the country. Yikes.

MEN: James Madison def. #4 Michigan State (79-76, OT)

A historic upset at the Breslin Center had Spartan fans stunned in what was expected to be an early-season tune-up game. It took 35 points from MSU’s Tyson Walker just to keep the Spartans alive and force OT, but a gritty win from James Madison marked the first monumental upset of the year in men’s ball. It was the first home loss for Michigan State in the month of November since Tom Izzo took over the program in 1995 (previously 73-0).

Other College Basketball Highlights

W: #3 Iowa def. Fairleigh Dickinson (102-46)

W: #4 UCLA def. Purdue (92-49)

W: #6 South Carolina def. #10 Notre Dame (100-71)

W: #21 USC def. #7 Ohio State (83-74)
#1 Kansas def. NC Central (99-56)

M: #2 Duke def. Dartmouth (92-54)

M: #3 Purdue def. Samford (98-45)

M: #5 Marquette def. N. Illinois (92-70)

Must-See Highlight: South Carolina Freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley Dazzles With Behind-the-Back Finish



Coaching Carousel: Counsell Joins Cubs

Photo: Daniel Shirey / Getty Images

MLB Coaching Changes: Cubs Hire Craig Counsell Away From Brewers in Stunning Move

Didn\’t see that coming… In a stunning twist to open the MLB offseason, Brewers manager Craig Counsell left to become the new manager of the division rival Cubs. That news was the first of many to break on Monday — the official beginning to MLB free agency and the offseason. Counsell spent nine seasons with Milwaukee, but he’ll become the highest-paid manager in MLB with a 5-year, $40 million deal. He was one of three coaches to find a new home on Monday. Four total manager jobs have been filled, and four vacancies remain.

MLB Coaching Changes

Craig Counsell (Brewers)  Cubs

Counsell’s move to Chicago is even more shocking considering he played for Milwaukee at the end of his playing career. He’s beloved by Brewers fans, but he’ll now coach the rival Cubs south of Wisconsin. Counsell was regarded as the top managerial candidate available this offseason, and many speculated he would land with the Mets.

Stephen Vogt (Retired Player)  Guardians

Terry Francona’s retirement left a void in Cleveland, and the Guardians are stepping into a new era by taking a bit of a risk. Vogt, a two-time all-star catcher, retired from playing in 2022. He spent last season as a bullpen coach in Seattle, and he has no primary managerial experience. His outgoing personality leads many to believe this is a player-friendly hire.

Carlos Mendoza (Yankees)  Mets

Many thought the Mets would land Counsell, but they hired Mendoza shortly after the news that Counsell was heading to Chicago. The 44-year-old Mendoza was the Yankees bench coach under Aaron Boone — who surprisingly still has his job. It’s Mendoza’s first stint as a head skipper, and he inherits a job with no shortage of pressure.

Bob Melvin (Padres)  Giants

The ex-Padres skipper moved up the California coast to take over the Giants following their release of Gabe Kapler in late September. This move was announced weeks ago.

Remaining MLB Coaching Vacancies: Angels, Astros, Brewers & Padres

Read More

CBS Sports: Cubs Hire Craig Counsell: Brewers Players ‘Shocked’ After Manager Joins Division Rival

NY Post: Who is New Mets Manager Carlos Mendoza? Meet the Ex-Yankees Coach Hired by David Stearns








 Best Fits for Top 2023 MLB Free Agents

The day after the Texas Rangers won their first World Series title, 130 players became free agents. While this year’s free-agent class isn\’t as strong as last year, it includes the most coveted player in the game — Shohei Ohtani. (ESPN)

 Updated NFL Coaching Hot Seats

In-season firings aren\’t uncommon in the NFL, but they usually occur late in the regular season or before the playoffs. The first dominoes fell last week when the Las Vegas Raiders fired head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler. (Bleacher Report)

 James Harden Can’t Win His Legacy Back

There’s no denying Harden is one of the greatest players of his generation. But after forcing three trades in less than three years, and burning everything down along the way, it’s unlikely people will remember him best for what he did on the floor. (The Ringer)





Today\’s Must-Watch List


Red Wings at Rangers (7:30 pm ET, TNT)

Devils at Avalanche (10:00 pm ET, TNT)

 Champions League

Dortmund vs. Newcastle (12:45 pm ET)

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Barcelona (12:45 pm ET)

AC Milan vs. Paris Saint-Germain (3:00 pm ET)

Atletico Madrid vs. Celtic (3:00 pm ET)

 MLS Playoffs

Gm 2: Atlanta Utd. vs. Columbus Crew (7:00 pm ET)

Gm 2: Nashville SC vs. Orlando City SC (9:00 pm ET)

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