By Marc Lawrence — CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd called it the best Group of 5 hire ever. Auburn fired Gus Malzahn in December, paying a $21.5 million contract buyout to the coach, after the Tigers went 6-4 in 2020. Then the UCF job opened up. “I truly believe that this is a program of the future in college football,” Malzahn said. “The reason I believe that is the foundation has been built.” Oh, and let’s not forget he received a five-year deal with an annual salary of $2.3 million. The 55-year-old Malzahn was 68-35 SU and 50-43-3 ATS in eight years with the Tigers, never having a losing season and going 39-27 SU and 36-29-3 ATS in the Southeastern Conference. He led Auburn to the BCS title game in his first season as head coach in 2013, and promised UCF fans the Knights would continue to light up the scoreboard. “We’ll continue to build on the high-flying offense that we have and our goal to be in the top 10,” Malzahn said. The countdown – and the bank deposits – begin now. Click here to read more.
Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has a message to NBA fans thinking abut coming to her city for the NBA All Star game on March 7: “People should not travel to Atlanta… ,” she said in a statement. “Under normal circumstances, we would be extremely grateful for the opportunity to host the NBA All-Star game, but this is not a typical year,” Bottoms said. “I have shared my concerns related to public health and safety with the NBA and the Atlanta Hawks. We are in agreement that this is a made-for-TV event only, and people should not travel to Atlanta,” concluded the mayor. To which we say why even have the event in the first place? Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, two-time reigning NBA MVP Giannis Anteokounmpo, two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and others have spoken out in recent days to express their unhappiness about the idea of playing an All-Star Game during a pandemic – and wedging it into an already jam-packed and truncated season. Are you listening, NBA?
Grinding Out The Profits
From the Playbook Basketball Newsletter: Travel back with us now, back to bygone days – Jan. 31 to be exact. East Carolina had not won a game in more than a month, plus they were hauling around a 33-game losing streak to AP Top 25 foes when they stunned Houston, 82-73, in Greenville on that fateful night. Rest assured, a payback looks to be in order tonight as the real strength of the Cougars is their ferocious defense: they rank No. 1 in Defensive Field Goal Percentage (36.1) and No. 2 in overall Scoring Defense. In addition, they crash boards, ranking No. 6 in overall Rebound Margin. And we’ll betcha didn’t know that Houston is 47-15-3 ATS in SU wins as a favorite when seeking revenge. Don’t get in the way of this this bounty. Heck, the Pirates might need two eye-patches when this one’s over.