Tag: Alabama

New Patriots Training Camp: Will Cam Newton Win The Starting Job?

Cam Newton enters the New England Patriots’ 2021 training camp as the favorite to start at quarterback. (PHOTO COURTESY: AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

By Matt Noonan

A brand new season of New England Patriots football is quickly approaching — are you ready for some football?

I am — I have been counting the days, weeks, and months since the Patriots concluded their 2020 campaign with a two-touchdown victory over the New York Jets in January at Gillette Stadium.

Like many, I am excited to see how some of the team’s offseason signings mesh with members of last year’s squad, including quarterback Cam Newton, who will enter the team’s 2021 training camp on Wednesday, July 28 as the favorite to be spotted under center in week one against the Miami Dolphins.

Newton did not have a great 2020 season — I think many know that or are aware of how he performed last fall. But coach Bill Belichick has acquired some solid pieces for the offense over the past few months, including tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Both players should certainly help Newton, as well as the offense, perform even better than they did last season — New England won just seven games in 2020 but had a chance to squeak out a few more victories had things gone their way down the stretch, especially against the Buffalo Bills in New York.

With a full year under his belt, along with some offseason practices (and meetings, of course), Newton enters training camp more prepared than he was last year, however, he certainly will be challenged by Mac Jones, who the Patriots selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft in April.

Like Newton, Jones competed in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) — Jones played at Alabama while Newton competed at Auburn — and should be ready to take the reigns from the league’s most valuable player in 2015.

Jones led the Crimson Tide to a national championship in January — Alabama rolled past Ohio State, 52-24, in the College Football Playoff National Championship contest, which was held in Miami Gardens, Florida — and recorded career-highs in completions (311), passing yards (4,500), and touchdowns (41). And despite seeing limited action in 2018 and 2019, Jones should be able to translate his junior season’s success to the NFL this summer and fall.

Jones certainly has what it takes to challenge Newton for the starting quarterback spot — I am unsure if Jarrett Stidham is ready to slide up the depth chart considering he will begin his team’s camp Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Stidham has competed in eight games since becoming a member of the Patriots organization, including five contests last season. The former Auburn signal-caller completed 22 of 44 passes for a career and season-high 250 yards and two touchdowns. He did, however, throw three interceptions compared to one in 2019.

Numerous talking heads, along with various analysts believe Mac Jones could be the starter in the opening week, but it will all depend on how he handles himself during in-game situations. As Patriots.com’s Mike Dussault explains, “Every throw of 11-on-11 work will be dissected ad nauseam, but the bottom line is whether or not Jones or Stidham do enough to dethrone Newton, and can Newton hold them off by taking significant strides in his second year in the offense.”

For now, my bet is Cam Newton will be the starter in the opening week, but I do think Patriots fans will see Mac Jones under center at some point this fall — maybe against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week four? I am not sure if week four is when Jones will be thrusted into the lineup, but we’ll certainly learn more about his readiness when the Patriots scrimmage the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles later this summer. Those inter-squad practices will help us identify which quarterback(s) is ready to lead the hometown team to hopefully a postseason appearance next January.

Let The Countdown Begin For The 2021 College Football Season

The 2021 College Football season is slowly approaching — yes, we advise you to enjoy your summer, but as of today, we’re less than 100 days away from the first set of games. (PHOTO COURTESY: Pilot MKN on Visualhunt / CC BY)

By Matt Noonan

Sure, we’re just a day (or two) away from Memorial Day Weekend, but we’re also another day closer to a brand new season of college football.

Of course, we want everyone to enjoy their summer, especially after a tumultuous year for many, but countdowns have begun to emerge through social media — some teams and coaches are counting the days until their first contest, which will most likely occur on either Friday, September 3 or Saturday, September 4.

According to ESPN.com, ten teams, including Hawaii and UCLA are slated to compete one week earlier on Saturday, August 28 while more matchups will follow on Wednesday, September 1, and Thursday, September 2.

Alabama, which captured the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title in January, will begin its campaign on Saturday, September 4 against Miami — the game is one of many to watch on the first official weekend of the season — while Clemson will entertain Georgia that evening at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be televised on ABC.

Notre Dame and Florida State will square off on Sunday, September 5 at 7:30 p.m. before Louisville and Ole Miss cap the weekend on Monday, September 6.

While we’ll be keeping our eyes on various teams from the northeast to the west coast (and other pockets of the country this fall), there will be a few local games to watch (and yes, follow!) during the opening weekend, including Colgate at Boston College (Sept. 4), UMass at Pittsburgh (Sept. 4), and Holy Cross at UConn (Sept. 4).

September 4 will also be a busy day for numerous NCAA Division II and III teams — it will certainly be an exciting moment for many that are eager to return to the field as most teams did not play last fall or this spring due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

All in all, we’re excited about the upcoming college football season — be on the lookout for more content over the next few weeks and months as we get closer to kickoff — but also eager to produce some additional content on the pros and high schools.

Noontime’s Sunday Thoughts (Jan. 17, 2021)

By Matt Noonan

Happy Sunday, everyone – I can use the word “happy” in front of what day it is, right?

Well, no matter what, I hope everyone is doing well while having a wonderful weekend. And of course, I do hope this post – well, more my weekly column, to be exact – finds everyone thinking optimistically because better days are ahead, I believe it.

Similar to last week’s Sunday Thoughts, I am going to share ten quick thoughts heading into what I hope will be a wonderful week for everyone.

So, without further ado, here is this week’s Noontime’s Sunday Thoughts!


Make sure to stay connected with Noontime Sports on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube. Additionally, don’t forget to subscribe and listen to our podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.


Thought No. 1: The Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers are the real deal. Yes, I know Ben Volin of the Boston Globe shared similar thoughts with his readers, but I think both teams could see each other early next week in Tampa, Florida to compete for the ultimate prize: the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Thought No. 2: Kudos to members of Bills Mafia, which performed a good deed last night after Lamar Jackson exited the game with what appeared to be a concussion. According to several outlets, following the conclusion of last night’s Buffalo-Baltimore Ravens game, members of Bills Mafia donated to Jackson’ favorite charity: Louisville’s chapter of Blessings in a Backpack. While its unknown how much money Buffalo fans donated, this is certainly an amazing story, as well as one of the many reasons why we ALL love sports, right?

Thought No. 3: I think the Cleveland Browns can beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Yep, I do. Cleveland has been a great story this season – they’re the underdog this afternoon – and it would be great to see Baker Mayfield and the Browns back in the conference title game for the first time since 1989.

Thought No. 4: Bold prediction: Tom Brady will throw three – maybe four? – touchdowns today and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will beat the New Orleans Saints in what will be Drew Brees‘ final contest in the National Football League (NFL).

Thought No. 5: Why does Cris Collinsworth always refer to a coach, player or someone within the NFL (or outside the league?) by starting his sentences with “here’s a guy?” Does anyone know?

Thought No. 6: Is it just me or was the 2020 college football season a disaster? I think this past fall was a horrible display of leadership, as well as a bad product. Sure, Alabama looked like world beaters compared to everyone else, but that was because of so many cancelations and postponements last summer and fall.

Thought No. 7: Cooper Manning, who is Peyton and Eli’s brother, called what appears to be his first high school basketball game last week. And he shared some unique thoughts on broadcasting – I think he also offered to give away a car, which seems like a strange thing to do at a high school game. But what do I know?

Thought No. 8: Sarah Fuller, who became the first female kicker to compete and score a point in a Power 5 college football game earlier this school year, will take part in Joe Biden‘s presidential inauguration this week. As noted in Pete Thamel‘s story on Yahoo! Sports, she considers this opportunity “an honor to be invited to participate in one of America’s great traditions.” Indeed, this is quite the honor for Fuller that I hope will continue to stay involved with football so she can continue to inspire more young women to pursue and accomplish their dreams, both on and off the field.

Thought No. 9: Call me crazy, but why are we playing high school sports during a pandemic? While the initial month of 2021 is far from over, it seems both this weekend (and the past few days) are an ideal time to crown high school football champions in both Michigan and Texas. Alright, good for them – yay, they finished their respective seasons – but maybe other states can do what Connecticut did and punt to next school year. Do the right thing and keep all the student-athletes safe and healthy.

Thought No. 10: I am a social media nerd and have really enjoyed following the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League (NHL), specifically their TikTok account. The content they have produced for TikTok is funny, which it should be. And I loved their recent video of waking up in the sunshine state: so peaceful.

Noontime’s Sunday Thoughts (Jan. 10, 2021)

By Matt Noonan

Happy Sunday, everyone – I hope this post finds everyone doing well, staying safe, and enjoying a busy weekend of football.

I am back for my second-straight ‘Noontime’s Sunday Thoughts’ column – thank you to everyone that stopped by last week, and I hope you enjoyed my thoughts and opinions on a few sports items, along with some podcast suggestions, too.

As mentioned last week, I am excited to produce some new content and look forward to writing this post every week. Additionally, I hope you look forward to reading this column, too – any suggestions or ideas are welcome!

So, without further ado, here is my thoughts and ideas on sports, life, and more for Sunday, January 10 – be well, stay safe, and think positive thoughts, everyone!


Make sure to stay connected with Noontime Sports on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Additionally, don’t forget to subscribe and listen to our podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.


Last week, I went into a bit more depth on my thoughts, but today, I am going to dish out a few more thoughts – 10, to be exact – and get right to the point, so here we go:

  • Thought No. 1: Is it just me or is watching Tom Brady in the postseason with another team difficult to watch? To be honest, I found myself rooting for the Washington Football Team last night because of Taylor Heinicke, but deep down, I knew the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going to win. And last night’s win proved that Brady can win a postseason game without Bill Belichick.
  • Thought No. 2: I give Taylor Heinicke a lot of credit – that was a crazy spot to be put in last night against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, but the former Old Dominion quarterback deserves an opportunity to compete for the starting quarterback job this summer with the Washington Football Team.
  • Thought No. 3: Josh Allen is hands down the best quarterback taken in the 2018 National Football League (NFL) Draft. Yes, I know that is an opinion, but he found a way to lead his team to its first postseason win yesterday since 1995. Allen has played great this season and deserves more credit for his improvement under Brian Daboll.
  • Thought No. 4: Due to Covid-19 protocols, NBC’s Mike Tirico was forced to call last night’s Tampa Bay-Washington contest from his house. And to be honest, he sounded great – I mean, he always sounds good, right? Tirico will be heard more over the next few weeks with the National Hockey League (NHL) starting-up its season later this week, but I think what we witnessed last night is the opportunity more networks (and maybe streaming services?) to allow their broadcasters to call games remotely. Of course, there is nothing better than calling a game in an actual arena or stadium – you do miss certain things when you’re not in the building – but if there is one thing we have learned these last few months it is that broadcasts (and other work) can be done from homes and apartments, along with studios, too.
  • Thought No. 5: A few days ago, I saw a great tweet – well, more some amazing career advice from Imry Halevi, who is the assistant director of athletics, multimedia, and production at Harvard University, about finding your way in this very competitive (and yes, crowded) sports world: “There is no ‘right way’ to get that perfect job. No straight line from A to Z.” I encourage everyone to read this tweet and share some thoughts (below!). Imry is someone I admire – he is innovative, as well as a great follow with tons of tremendous advice on the field.
  • Thought No. 6: The National Basketball Association (NBA) has a Covid-19 problem. And they need to do something about it as soon as possible. I am not saying this because of the Boston Celtics injury report, which was released last night – is that game still happening later? – but because it is extremely hard to play basketball in a different city three or four nights each week. But as Austin Rivers of the New York Knicks explained, “If we do our job and remain available, it gives us a chance to win every night.”
  • Thought No. 7: Literally one week after leaving ESPN, Dan Le Batard is teaming-up with his former boss John Skipper for a new venture that will certainly be worth keeping your eyes on.
  • Thought No. 8: Baker Mayfield and his wife, Emily, are my heroes for what they did for a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan that is “terminally ill with kidney cancer and is currently in hospice care.” I am rooting for Mayfield and the Browns this evening against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Thought No. 9: Toss a follow to Emerson Lotzia, Jr. – you will enjoy the content this guys is pumping out on a daily basis, including his thoughts on tonight’s Boston Celtics-Miami Heat contest.
  • Thought No. 10: I’ll take Alabama over Ohio State tomorrow night in the College Football Playoff National Championship. Go Tide!

Podcast Interview Suggestion: Listen to Paul Liberman, who is the co-founder of DraftKings, on The VentureFizz Podcast, which is hosted by Keith Cline. It is a great interview that tells the story of DraftKings – you also gain some tremendous insight on starting your own venture, too.

Daily Noontime (Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020)

By Matt Noonan

Good morning, everyone!

The sun is shining, the temperature is climbing, and I have a good feeling that today will be a great day for everyone.

And we know it will be a good day because we woke up to a New England Patriots victory last night. Yes, I know it was not the most impressive win as the Patriots needed Nick Folk to kick a game-winning field goal to beat the winless New York Jets, but perhaps this victory means the hometown team will not be “tanking” for Trevor Lawrence.

As for the Jets, they remain the favorite to land Trevor Lawrence in next year’s National Football League (NFL) Draft, but who knows if they will really select the best college football player in the country?

Later today, we’ll unveil our Noontime Sports Top 10 NFL teams heading into the tenth week of the season, so stay tuned to see who makes our list. But I can promise you that neither the Jets or Patriots will appear on the list.

Sticking with football, it appears as if the coronavirus is impacting a few college programs, including Louisiana State University (LSU), which is dealing with a “number of positive test results for COVID-19 this week.” The uptick in cases at LSU means their weekend meeting with the University of Alabama is up in the air, so stay tuned as I am sure we’ll learn more about this marquee matchup either later today or tomorrow.

The University of Notre Dame is another college in the spotlight with one journalist asking an important question: do we really need fans in the stands, especially during a pandemic? I don’t think we need fans – I am fine with watching games on my television or laptop, so my advice: stay home!

One last story to highlight: the National Basketball Association (NBA) and player union have reached an agreement “in principle on the start of the 2020-21 season.” Free agency will begin two days after the NBA Draft – that would be Friday, November 20 followed by training camp on Tuesday, December 1.

The 2020-21 NBA season is scheduled to tip-off Tuesday, December 22 with each team competing in 72 contests compared to the usual 82.

Have a great day, everyone, and remember to smile and think happy thoughts!