Rod Watson led This Week In Hot Takes for Dec. 28-Jan 4.

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes, this time featuring the hottest sports media takes from Dec. 29-Jan.4.

5. Dan Dakich wonders if Andrew Luck likes football: Many of the worst takes out there center on if an athlete likes their sport enough, such as J.P. Ricciardi’s still-mocked 2008 take that Adam Dunn “doesn’t really like baseball that much.” Dakich, the ESPN college basketball analyst and Indianapolis radio host, decided to bring that take to football this week:

An athlete’s passion for a sport is something that can never really be proven from the outside, so of course media personalities decide to debate and question it. But they shouldn’t. And if Andrew Luck doesn’t like Indianapolis (quite the statement in its own right), bad media takes like this one might be part of the reason why.

Rating: ??

4. Dan Wolken calls UCF “a punchline” for their parade:  The University of Central Florida Knights won every game they played this year, but were passed over for a shot at the FBS national championship thanks to the CFP committee. So they decided to claim their own national championship, complete with a parade, a banner and coaching bonuses, and it was a fun idea, one that fits with the long college football history of differently-claimed titles. Enter super-serious USA Today college football columnist Dan Wolken to pour water on the parade and bash UCF AD Danny White in the process:

Nah, I don’t think it’s UCF that’s the punchline here.

Rating: ???

3. Skip Bayless declares the Cavaliers are “now Isaiah Thomas’ team”: Bayless has made a lot of money off of ridiculous takes bashing Cleveland Cavaliers’ superstar LeBron James, and he offered another one this week, saying that the Cavs  are “now Isaiah Thomas’ team” (in Thomas’ first game for them, no less).

Yes, Thomas had a good start, scoring 17 points in 19 minutes off the bench. But saying the Cavs are “now his team” is insane. It’s also right on course for Bayless, though.

Rating: ????

2. Stephen A. Smith goes in on Marvin Lewis again, says “Marvin Lewis and Cincinnati are taking black folks back”: For some reason, Smith seems to really have it in for Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis. He’s complained extensively about Lewis over the years, calling for his firing in 2016, again this September, and saying in October that Lewis would already have been fired if he was white. With this week’s news that the Bengals are giving Lewis a two-year extension, Smith first reacted on Twitter:

And ESPN then brought in Smith to blast Lewis on its platforms, first on SportsCenter Tuesday night:

It’s always good when SportsCenter opts for incoherent yelling over news and highlights. “The fact is, Marvin Lewis deserves to be fired. …For the city of Cincinnati, this is a disgrace! …You can’t win Super Bowls, at least have the DECENCY to win a playoff game!”

Smith then followed that up with a rant on Lewis on First Take Wednesday, saying it’s a “damn shame” Lewis hasn’t been fired and that the Bengals’ organization “does not give a damn about its fan base.” And his rant gets really notable about 2:28, where he brings race into it:

“I’m going to say something that’s going to be very, very controversial, and I know it, but damn it, it’s on my heart, it’s in my soul! Marvin Lewis’ continued employment by Cincinnati…I’m not talking about a NFL coach at another franchise, I’m talking about for this franchise in this city where you’ve been for 15 years, Marvin Lewis is taking black folks back. I’m going to say it again, Marvin Lewis and Cincinnati are taking black folks back. You know why? Because when you allow him to remain gainfully employed as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, who doesn’t have an excuse to do the same for their franchise?”

Even Chad Johnson thought this Smith rant was over the top:

Rating: ????

1. Rod Watson is mad people are talking about the Bills instead of Frank Lloyd Wright: The most delightfully deluded local news column in some time comes from Watson in The Buffalo News this week. With many excited about the Bills’ first playoff appearance since 1999, Watson decided to…pour cold water on that, and argue that locals should be debating national news and celebrating Buffalo’s historic buildings instead?

Does the phrase “Get a life!” mean anything around here?

…We can’t possibly be so psychologically pathetic that having a football team make the playoffs for the first time in 18 seasons becomes the most important thing in town.

…In the meantime, what’s going on in the real world?

We have a president well on his way to becoming America’s first dictator, while he and “rocket man” threaten to blow up the planet. We have environmental and civil rights protections being shredded, agency heads neutering their agencies and a tax bill that expands the massive gap between the haves and have-nots.

We have Albany bracing for trials of former officials and contractors that will lay bare the buying and selling of state government.

And we have a school system that, despite glimmers of hope and change, still graduates too few and fails too many.

But is anybody rallying, partying or waving banners about any of that? No, it’s all Bills, all the time.

Buffalo needs help. At the inevitable watch parties, we should use halftime for mass therapy sessions to reaffirm what should be obvious: There are things more important than Tyrod Taylor’s quarterback rating. A city with Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan masterpieces, Underground Railroad sites and a burgeoning medical campus should not have to fixate on LeSean McCoy’s all-purpose yardage.

Won’t someone please think of the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings? (Thanks to @OldTakesExposed for the submission here.)

Rating: ?????

Notable absences: Phil Mushnick, Colin Cowherd.

Hot Take Standings:

Stephen A. Smith – 163
Skip Bayless – 130
Phil Mushnick – 108
Colin Cowherd – 43
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Rob Parker – 23
Doug Gottlieb – 22
Charles Barkley – 19
JT The Brick – 17
Albert Breer – 16
Don Cherry – 15
Ray Lewis – 14
Rick Morrissey – 13
Berry Tramel – 10
Kristine Leahy – 10
Chris Broussard – 10
Dan Dakich – 9
Ryen Russillo – 9
Garth Crooks – 9
C.J. Nitkowski – 9
Bill Plaschke – 9
Michael Rapaport – 8
Tony Massarotti – 8
Jason McIntyre – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
Pat Forde – 7
Danny Kanell – 7
Pat Leonard – 6
Mike Francesa – 6
Keith Olbermann – 6
Michael DeCourcy – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
Rod Watson  – 5
Dan Wolken – 5
Britt McHenry – 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
John Middlekauff – 5
Bill Plaschke – 5
Ameer Hasan Loggins – 5
Jesse Watters – 5
Jeremy Roenick – 5
John McGrath – 5
Ross Tucker – 5
Mike Sielski – 5
Gordon Monson – 5
Scott Fowler – 5
Bob Brookover – 5
Mike Bianchi – 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
Frank Isola – 5
Andy Benoit – 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
The Sporting News – 4
Jeff Pearlman – 4
Tony Grossi – 4
FanSided – 4
Cris Carter – 4
Kirk Herbstreit – 4
Tony Kornheiser – 4
Mike Felger – 4
USA Today op-eds – 4
Nathan Ruiz – 4
David Bahnsen – 3
Kevin Reynolds – 3
Mike Sheahan – 3
Bob Ford – 3
Dan Shaughnessy – 3
Steve Greenberg – 3
Matt Burke – 3
Malcolm Gladwell – 3
Mike Milbury – 3
Mac Engel – 3
Nick Kypreos – 3
Jason Smith – 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
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 has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.