4 Up

1. The black cat

In the Monday Night Football game between the Giants and Cowboys, a black cat raced onto the field, and stadium staffers spent minutes trying to chase it down. For a few moments, social media was enraptured by the cat, which apparently couldn’t find its way home four days after Halloween, perhaps suffering from a wicked hangover.

2. AAC

The American Athletic Conference had four football teams ranked this week — No. 24 Navy, No. 17 Cincinnati, No. 19 Memphis and No. 23 SMU. That’s more schools than every conference except the Big Ten and SEC. Meanwhile Clemson is out of the top four in the College Football Playoff standings, and the ACC is back to trying to convince the world that its football teams are relevant.

3. College basketball

College basketball returned this week, and UVA’s defense was typically stifling; VCU brushed off Saint Francis; Virginia Tech got a solid win in coach Mike Young’s debut; and Richmond won its season opener, something it hasn’t done the past two years. Is it too early to breakout the Richmond “Hoopstown, USA” T-shirts?

4. James Wiseman

The Memphis freshman basketball player had been ruled ineligible by the NCAA because his coach, Penny Hardaway, had given Wiseman’s family $11,500 to move to the Memphis area two years ago, before Hardaway had been hired by Memphis. A judge issued an emergency temporary restraining order, allowing Wiseman to play, and he scored 17 points Friday. We’re starting to see a trend here: If you don’t like an NCAA ruling, get the government to side with you.

4 DOWN

1. Load management

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard, who has dealt with persisting knee problems, needed a day off against the Milwaukee Bucks. But rest days aren’t allowed on nationally televised games, so the Clippers called it a “load management” day. The NBA fined the Clippers $50,000 anyway. Critics of the league say modern players simply can’t sustain the rigors of an 82-game season. It’s just another thing millennials can’t handle.

2. Redskins

Offensive lineman Trent Williams, who has sat out the season so far, was placed on the non-football injury list, meaning he won’t play at all this year, and the Redskins won’t pay his $5.1 million salary. Williams says the team misdiagnosed a growth on his head. And by not trading Williams, the team misdiagnosed the other thing on his head — his brain. Williams is too smart to play for this train wreck of an organization.

3. Florida State

Florida State fired football coach Willie Taggart as the team risks missing a bowl game for a second straight year. In a surprising move, Florida State alumnus Deion Sanders is being considered for the job, which we imagine means the whole team will be required to wear bright gold cleats every game.

4. Baker Mayfield

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield took the field Sunday against the Broncos wearing a bold handlebar mustache but trimmed it immediately after the Browns lost, saying he didn’t deserve the mustache. Mayfield’s appearance at the postgame press conference — scraggly hair and a frumpy overcoat — was derided by observers. Give the guy a break. There are days we come home from work looking like Mayfield, and we’re lucky not to have cameras in our faces.

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— Eric Kolenich

Sports reporter

Eric Kolenich writes sports stories for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, focusing on local athletes and teams. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2008 with a BA in English and joined the paper in 2009. (804) 649-6109

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