Darren Rovell had the hottest take for Sept 21-27.

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes, this time looking at the hottest sports media takes from Sept. 21-27.

5. Mike Bianchi writes there’s “no doubt about it” that Scott Frost regrets leaving UCF for Nebraska: Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi has been known for plenty of bold takes promoting UCF over the years, and he’s back on that bandwagon again. Some highlights from Bianchi’s “No doubt about it, Scott Frost regrets leaving UCF for Nebraska” column:

The questions have been asked a zillion times over the last couple of weeks regarding Scott Frost and his decision last season to leave UCF for Nebraska?

  • Do you think he regrets it?
  • Do you think he is having second thoughts?
  • Do you think if he had it to do over again, he would still take the Nebraska job?

Yes.

Yes.

And yes.

…I believe his regrets and second thoughts come because the Nebraska job opened when it did. It’s no secret Frost wanted former coach Mike Riley to survive and win enough games to hang on to his job at least for a couple of more seasons.

You see, Frost wasn’t ready to leave UCF after last year’s perfect season. He was having too much fun coaching a bunch of kids he loved and living in a place he adored. He was a new husband and new father who wasn’t ready to uproot his family just yet.

…Does Scott Frost regret leaving UCF?

Absolutely, he does.

And you know what?

He’s going to regret it even more when winter comes to Lincoln.

Yes, things aren’t going so well for Frost at Nebraska so far (and Bianchi actually acknowledges that it will likely take time to turn that program around), but it’s still a bold claim that he “regrets” the move. Yes, Bianchi softens this a bit by saying Frost would still take the Nebraska job if he had to do it all over again given his loyalty to that school (making this argument really more about second thoughts than regrets, and not very strong ones at that), and he seems to understand why Frost made that move, but still, the “no doubt about it” argument that Frost regrets leaving is a pretty hot take.

Sure, Frost and Nebraska aren’t doing so well yet, but rebuilds often take time. And Nebraska has advantages over UCF that could apply in the long run, including money and power-conference status. Maybe Frost’s move there won’t wind up working out at all, or maybe it will, but it’s far too early to try and get inside his head and insist that he “regrets” the decision.

Rating: 🔥🔥

4. Wally Hall writes that Arkansas “was as good as Auburn”…in a game they lost 34-3: Arguing that the local team deserved better than the final result is far from unheard of, but it’s a little unusual to do that after a game where they lost by 31 points. That’s what Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Wally Hall did, though, and the paper’s tweet emphasizing that part of his column got ratioed hard:

Some highlights from the column:

On Saturday night, for the first time this season, the Arkansas Razorbacks showed improvement.

The Hogs were better everywhere but on special teams, which were un-special enough to handcuff the Hogs start to finish. The 34-3 score was not indicative of how well the Razorbacks played. Special-teams play dictated that final score.

…Some, mostly Auburn fans, will say the Tigers were hungover from the 22-21 loss to LSU the previous week.

The truth was Arkansas was as good as Auburn. The defense played well enough to win, and the offense was better.

The overall thrust of Hall’s column is that Arkansas improved significantly across the board from their loss to North Texas (which there’s an argument for) except for special teams mistakes. And yes, the special teams miscues were largely responsible for Auburn’s 17-0 halftime lead, which came from a 29-yard touchdown drive after a big kick return, a one-yard field goal drive after a fumble returned to the Razorbacks’ 2 (which really does speak to an impressive goal-line stand from the Arkansas defense) and a nine-yard touchdown drive after a deflected eight-yard punt led to a 11-yard return. A second-half 96-yard kick return made it 24-3. But special teams plays are part of the game, and you can’t really say that Arkansas “was as good as Auburn” when they were so lacking on that front. And also, an offense that only scores three points is not going to be good enough to win you many games.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

3. Jason McIntyre blasts Baker Mayfield for pulling out his phone: In the take heard around the world, Fox Sports’ Jason McIntyre went on Colin Cowherd’s show and criticized Baker Mayfield after Mayfield led the Browns to their first win in 635 days…because Mayfield had his phone out after the victory.

“Five minutes later, he comes out of the locker room to go on the NFL Network set, and he had his phone in his hand. That was the number-one thing I looked at! When you look at NFL quarterbacks after the game, they don’t have their phone! Baker Mayfield’s first thought after that win was ‘I’ve got to get on social media and see what people are saying about me!'”

Joy Taylor smartly points out that it’s more likely Mayfield was looking at texts, including from his family, and McIntyre ignores that logic, saying ‘Oh, come on, Joy, don’t defend him! He’s a social media guy, who, like, favorites all the negative stuff you say about him!” Taylor asks “Did you fact-check this? Did you find if he was on social media?” And McIntyre goes “Uh, I did not look, because he, I think, blocked me for stuff I said last year.” (What, Jason, even with all those low seven figures, you can’t figure out how to open an incognito tab?) Taylor asks “What else was he supposed to do?” and McIntyre goes “Joy, that’s a very Le’Veon Bell move, and we know where he is right now.” Cowherd then says he doesn’t check his phone until after his shows, and that he would just shower and do interviews in Mayfield’s place (which, uh, is what Mayfield did, just looking at his phone while he was waiting), and McIntyre then goes “Sam Darnold isn’t looking at his phone!” And Taylor rightly notes that Darnold lost.

This is a stupid and absurd take, but it adds to the stupid and absurd takes that Fox has perpetuated about Mayfield. And Cowherd’s been the worst offender there, so it’s not surprising that this happened on his show. Remember when Cowherd criticized Mayfield to his face for celebrating one touchdown with fans instead of with teammates, and Mayfield promptly pointed out just how dumb Cowherd looked for caring about that? Mayfield wasn’t present to defend himself this time, but at least Taylor did, bringing some actual logic to the situation. And former NFL players like Martellus Bennett also pointed out how ridiculous this criticism was:

Indeed.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

2. Bill James runs a poll on “the likelihood Kavanaugh’s accuser is telling the truth”: The two hottest takes this week weren’t on sports, but were from members of the sports media on Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. First, noted baseball statistics writer (and current Boston Red Sox senior baseball operations adviser) Bill James decided to run a Twitter poll to see the level of belief of Blasey Ford’s accusations. He deleted it after a lot of backlash, but even the way he framed it was troubling:

First, James can be criticized for diving into those waters at all, and doing so not just with his own beliefs, but with an attempt to show off public votes. And as a stats writer, James is presumably very aware of the impact question framing has on results; this particular question has all its options implying some chance of a lie, which is a bold, problematic and non-neutral stance to take.

Moreover, while James is far from the only one running polls on the level of belief of Blasey Ford’s accusations (stats firms have done that, but with much more rigor than a Twitter poll), “likelihood” is a curious way to frame this; that’s asking not for belief or not of the claims (which is really the only thing people on the outside of this case can offer), but for an evaluation of the chances of a lie (which would be very difficult to impossible for even a seasoned psychologist to predict precisely, and which is a completely ridiculous question to pose to a general Twitter audience). This was not a great way for James to wade into this discussion.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

1. Darren Rovell says Coke gained $3.14 million from a bottle visible during Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony: At least James’ take was on the actually relevant part of this situation, though. ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell is notorious for reducing everything to dollars, cents, and benefits to corporations, and boy, did he do that Thursday with a tweet during Blasey Ford’s Senate Judiciary Committee testimony, discussing…the value Coke gained from Blasey Ford drinking a Coke during testimony.

First, it’s completely tone-deaf to discuss marketing value during testimony reiterating sexual assault allegations against a proposed Supreme Court nominee. Rovell later tried to defend himself, but that didn’t go so well either:

Moreover, these kinds of value estimates are often hokey anyways, especially when it comes to a highly unusual event like this; the idea is that product placement in front of certain numbers of viewers has value (and in this case, it’s a ton of viewers), which of course is the basis of advertising, but those valuations fail to take into account the connotations around the appearance. This is not a Coke commercial with a controlled message; it’s someone happening to choose that drink (and someone who’s highly criticized from one side of the political spectrum) during very serious testimony.

And it’s hard to see Coke actually reaping millions in benefits from this. Yes, they would have had to pay millions to reach a similar audience with ads, but that’s incredibly different from having their product show up during a controversial Senate hearing. But beyond that, even discussing the marketing value is so far from the actual point of the hearing, and it’s just the latest example of Rovell trying to reduce everything to money, and doing so at the exact wrong time.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Hot Take Standings: 

Jason Whitlock – Hall of Fame
Stephen A. Smith – 211
Skip Bayless – 191
Phil Mushnick – 147
Colin Cowherd – 74
Rob Parker – 44
Doug Gottlieb – 41
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Ray Lewis – 25
Dan Shaughnessy – 24
Albert Breer – 23
Britt McHenry – 20
JT The Brick – 20
Charles Barkley – 19
Darren Rovell – 17
Jason McIntyre – 16
Ben Maller – 15
Don Cherry – 15
Danny Kanell – 14
Bill Plaschke – 14
The Sporting News – 13
Andy Benoit – 13
Chris Broussard – 13
Dan Dakich – 13
Rick Morrissey – 13
John Middlekauff – 11
Tony Massarotti – 11
Michael DeCourcy – 11
Keith Olbermann – 11
Jason Smith – 10
Joe Simpson – 10
Bob Brookover – 10
Jeremy Roenick – 10
Berry Tramel – 10
Kristine Leahy – 10
Michael Wilbon – 9
Mike Francesa – 9
Ross Tucker – 9
Ryen Russillo – 9
Garth Crooks – 9
C.J. Nitkowski – 9
Steve Simmons – 8
Frank Isola – 8
Michael Rapaport – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
Mike Bianchi – 7
Kirk Herbstreit – 7
Cris Carter – 7
Pat Forde – 7
Pat Leonard – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
Bill James – 5
Aaron Murray – 5
Chris Childers – 5
Mark Knight – 5
The Herald Sun – 5
David Booth – 5
Tom Nichols – 5
Keith Hernandez – 5
Bill O’Reilly – 5
Brandel Chamblee – 5
Michael McCarthy – 5
Mike “The Reputation Doctor®”  Paul – 5
Dennis Dodd – 5
Rich Lowry – 5
Chris Reed – 5
San Diego Union-Tribune – 5
David Hookstead – 5
Tomm Looney – 5
Alex Shaw – 5
Rick Reilly – 5
Randall Mell – 5
Ian O’Connor – 5
Michael Bamberger – 5
Bob Bubka – 5
Cathal Kelly – 5
Pete Prisco – 5
Damien Cox – 5
Bill Simons – 5
Christine Flowers – 5
Jason Lieser – 5
John Steigerwald – 5
Josh Peter – 5
Alexi Lalas  – 5
Greg Gabriel  – 5
John Moody  – 5
Marni Soupcoff – 5
Ryan Rishaug – 5
Kurtis Larson  – 5
Rod Watson  – 5
Dan Wolken – 5
Chuck Modiano – 5
Joel Klatt – 5
Steve Buffery – 5
Joe Morgan – 5
Michael Felger – 5
Howard Eskin – 5
Nancy Armour – 5
Richard Justice – 5
Ameer Hasan Loggins – 5
Jesse Watters – 5
John McGrath – 5
Mike Sielski – 5
Gordon Monson – 5
Scott Fowler – 5
Terry Frei – 5
David Jones – 5
Sabrina Parr – 5
Abbey Mastracco – 5
Terry Cushman – 5
Rob Rossi – 5
Rick Bozich – 5
Michael O’Doherty – 5
Simon Briggs – 5
Dan Wetzel – 5
Mike Parry – 5
Bob Ryan – 5
Robert Reed – 5
Pete Dougherty – 5
Dan Le Batard – 5
Marcus Hayes – 5
Kyle Turley – 5
Mike Ditka – 5
Erril Laborde – 5
Lowell Cohn – 5
Rosie DiManno – 5
Jeff Diamond – 4
Marc Berman – 4
Evan Roberts – 4
Corbin Smith  – 4
DJ Siddiqi  – 4
The Express  – 4
Mark Kiszla – 4
Greg Witter – 4
Myron Medcalf  – 4
Bill Polian – 4
MJ Franklin – 4
Alex Reimer – 4
Joan Vennochi – 4
Graham Couch – 4
Matt Yglesias – 4
Bill Livingston – 4
Michael Irvin – 4
Shawn Windsor – 4
Brock Huard – 4
Byron Tau – 4
Maggie Gray – 4
Michael Powell – 4
Mark Spector – 4
Chad Forbes – 4
Gary Myers – 4
Mark Schlereth – 4
Andy Gray – 4
David Fleming – 4
Jeff Pearlman – 4
Tony Grossi – 4
FanSided – 4
Tony Kornheiser – 4
Mike Felger – 4
USA Today op-eds – 4
Nathan Ruiz – 4
Wally Hall – 3
Damien Woody – 3
Victor Cruz – 3
Andrew Walker – 3
Jim Kaat – 3
Jason Gay – 3
The Wall Street Journal – 3
Steven J. Brams – 3
Aaron Isaksen – 3
Will Muschamp – 3
Buck Lanford – 3
John Feinstein – 3
Stan Fischler – 3
Sonnie Wooden – 3
Chris Jones – 3
Kelly Smith – 3
Reggie Miller – 3
Mark Madden – 3
Larry Brooks – 3
Dan Canova – 3
Steve Rosenbloom – 3
Stephen Jackson – 3
Mike Sando – 3
Walt Borla – 3
Chris Russo  – 3
Nick Cafardo – 3
Ice Cube – 3
Justin Peters – 3
Elise Finch – 3
Kevin Skiver  – 3
David Bahnsen – 3
Harold Reynolds – 3
Kevin Reynolds – 3
Mike Sheahan – 3
Bob Ford – 3
Steve Greenberg – 3
Matt Burke – 3
Malcolm Gladwell – 3
Mike Milbury – 3
Mac Engel – 3
Nick Kypreos – 3
Caron Butler – 3
Don Brennan – 3
Robert Tychkowski – 3
Mike Johnston – 3
Jeff Mans – 3
Joe Browne – 3
Mike Harrington – 3
Greg Mitchell – 3
Jeff Ermann – 2
Ed Werder  – 2
Ben Mulroney – 2
Ron Cook – 2
Brian Kenny – 2
Barrett Sallee – 2
Craig Calcaterra – 2
Max Kellerman – 2
Gareth Wheeler – 2
John Cornyn – 2
Tony Dungy – 2
Bruce Jenkins – 2
Chris Wesseling – 2
Seth Greenberg – 2
Doug Smith – 2
Newsweek – 2
Teddy Cutler – 2
Will Cain – 2
Bill Cowher – 2
Paul Finebaum – 2
Charley Casserly – 2
Amin Elhassan – 2
Jim Henneman – 2
Mitch Lawrence – 2
Nick Wright – 2
Domonique Foxworth – 2
Gary Parrish – 2
Michael Farber – 2
Andy Furman – 2
Donovan McNabb – 2
Seth Davis – 2
Jon Heyman – 2
Jason La Canfora – 2
Booger McFarland – 2
Joe Schad – 2
Cork Gaines – 2

Thanks for reading! Tune in next week for more This Week In Hot Takes. As always, you can send submissions to me via e-mail or on Twitter.

 

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.