Harbaugh Bolts Michigan for L.A.


By: Jeff Yoder

Good Morning,

Yours truly was riding the caffeine caravan overnight. Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff squared off for a major clash in Melbourne. Sports over sleep, am I right? Taking one for the team today. Plus, the whirlwind winter of Jim Harbaugh continues, and a healthy Phoenix lineup is a terrifying sight for the NBA. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s NFL Championship Weekend preview.

Spoiler Alert: Today’s edition includes coverage of this morning’s Sabalenka-Gauff match that recently ended. If you’re a tennis fan who planned to watch a tape-delayed broadcast, you’ve been warned.

Letter Rip!


Harbaugh Bolts Michigan for L.A.

Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Big Blue to Powder Blue: Jim Harbaugh to Become Next Head Coach of the Los Angeles Chargers

He actually did it. Jim Harbaugh delivered a championship to his alma mater two weeks ago, and now he’s heading back to the NFL. The ever-changing college-pro coach returns to the league and another one of his former teams for a new challenge. Harbaugh is trading Big Blue for Powder Blue, and it makes a lot of sense. In many ways, Harbaugh is the perfect fit for the Bolts. He played for the franchise in 1999-2000, but Michigan — and the NCAA — are left in the wake with a lot of questions.

 Looking Back: Harbaugh’s Michigan Exit

Harbaugh’s coaching career has taken him all over the place — from college to pro and Stanford (2007-2010) to the 49ers (2011-2014). He had success at every stop, but the former Michigan quarterback eventually found his way home to Ann Arbor in 2015. Upon his return to Michigan, the Wolverines became instant winners and amassed three 10-win seasons in four years, but they didn’t reach the promised land until 2021. In the last three seasons of Harbaugh’s tenure, Michigan went 40-3 with three straight trips to the College Football Playoff. Just two weeks ago, his Wolverines completed a perfect season (15-0) en route to the school’s first national title in 26 years. But that final season was marred with controversy. Harbaugh served two three-game suspensions, including one for recruiting violations and another for the sign-stealing scandal. He might have faced penalties or more suspensions had he stayed.

 Looking Forward: Harbaugh & Herbert

Harbaugh’s departure leaves a mess for Michigan and the NCAA to clean up, but his next stop could be his best yet. He takes over an under-performing Chargers squad that’s ripe with talent and a should-be all-pro quarterback in Justin Herbert. It’s hard to blame Harbaugh for seeing the upside in the Chargers gig. Herbert has been exceptional in his first few NFL seasons, and the Chargers have the pieces to start winning right away. Their defense is loaded with talent in Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack and Derwin James, and Harbaugh could replicate his Michigan championship formula — a commanding defense with a smart and savvy quarterback.

From Big Blue to Powder Blue… The AFC West just gained a new challenger.

Read More

B/R: Jim Harbaugh Agrees to 5-Year Contract to be Chargers Head Coach

USA Today: Twitter Reacts to Jim Harbaugh Becoming Next Chargers Coach

SI: Welcome, Chargers, to the Big Show With Jim Harbaugh



Sabalenka Sweeps Coco Overnight

Photo: Martin Keep / Getty Images

#2 Aryna Sabalenka Slams the Door on #4 Coco Gauff’s Australian Open Run

A stunner down under in the overnight hours! No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka and No. 4 Coco Gauff put on a show in Melbourne with another epic battle, but it was the defending champion who took down the American in straight sets. Sabalenka controlled the majority of the opening set, but Gauff hung around and nearly stole it with a late push to a tiebreaker. Sabalenka showed a ton of grit to win 11 of the last 13 points. That laid the groundwork in Set 2 where Sabalenka maintained her momentum. Gauff constantly fought off game points and made every play she could. She even staved off a late match-point, but Sabalenka fired one of her many second-set aces to slam the door. Gauff’s latest major run has come to an end, but the gritty Sabalenka hasn’t dropped a set en route to her second straight Australian Open final. She awaits the winner of this morning’s active match.

Women’s Singles (Semifinals)

#2 A. Sabalenka def. #4 C. Gauff (7-6, 6-4)

In Action This Morning (Semifinals)

#12 Q. Zheng vs. D. Yastremska (4:45 am ET)

Check Live Updates

#6 Zverev Packs Up #2 Alcaraz

The No. 2 seed in the men’s draw, Carlos Alcaraz, got rolled by No. 6 Alexander Zverev in four quick sets yesterday morning. Alcaraz pulled off one set victory via tiebreaker, but the match was all Zverev. Despite 11 victories in the past two years, alongside two majors at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, Alcaraz still hasn’t cracked the code at Melbourne. Meanwhile, Zverev’s storybook run could be unfolding. The 26-year-old German is still hunting his first major, and he’s within striking distance down under.

Men’s Singles (Quarterfinals)

#6 A. Zverev def. #2 C. Alcaraz (6-1, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4)

Read More

NBC Sports: Aryna Sabalenka Sweeps Coco Gauff to Reach Australian Open Final

ESPN: What Went Wrong for Carlos Alcaraz at the Australian Open



Suns Rising Through Winter Grind

Photo: Sam Hodde / Getty Images

Phoenix Suns Win 7th Straight & The ‘Big 3’ Finally Look Like the Juggernaut Everyone Expected

The ‘Big 3’ in Phoenix is finally putting it together after a sluggish start. They were riddled with injuries through the first few months of the NBA season, but the Suns are rising again. Phoenix torched the Mavericks on Wednesday night (132-109) with a 46-point outing from Devin Booker. That’s their seventh consecutive win, and Booker’s 46 comes on the heels of back-to-back 40-point games from Kevin Durant. Durant only had 12 last night, but he took just ten shots in recognition of Booker’s moment. It appears to be a “feed-the-hot-hand” scenario in Phoenix, and it’s working. The trio of Booker, Durant and Bradley Beal are all finally healthy, consistently, and that firepower appears lethal. The Suns (26-18) now hold the NBA’s longest active win streak, and they’re within five games of the West lead after once falling below .500 on Christmas Day (14-15). What a turnaround. Those white-hot uniforms are clean, too.

Watch: Devin Booker’s 46 Fuels Suns to 7th Straight

Other NBA Highlights

Thunder Keep Rumbling: Who would’ve guessed the Oklahoma City Thunder would be the No. 1 team in the West towards the end of January? Not us. OKC won their fourth straight last night, besting Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs (140-114). Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (32-6-10) poured in another top-notch performance. SGA could be submitting his name for MVP consideration.

The Doc Is In For Milwaukee: Though he’s not yet on the sideline. The Bucks officially made Doc Rivers their next head coach on Wednesday as expected, and then Giannis Antetokounmpo hung a triple-double (35-18-10) on the visiting Cavs in a statement win (126-116). Rivers’ first game is expected to be Friday night.

Pistons Win No. 5: It’s taken the Detroit Pistons 44 games to win five, but hey, a win is a win. The Pistons beat the Hornets on Wednesday (113-106) thanks to Bojan Bogdanovic catching fire (34 points). Detroit needs to win 10 games by season’s end to avoid joining the 1973 Sixers (9-73) as the only teams with single-digit wins in an 82-game season.

*Check tomorrow’s edition for our mid-season NBA awards and a pre-trade deadline standings update.



NHL: Avs’ MacKinnon Nets 4

Nathan MacKinnon tallied his second four-goal game of the season on Wednesday as the Avalanche buried the Capitals (6-2). He also had an assist. The Avs are just one win back of the Canucks for the most wins in the NHL.

NHL: Schenn Sinks Canucks in OT

Pius Suter had a hat trick, but the Blues stole a win in Vancouver on Brayden Schenn’s overtime winner (4-3, OT). The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Canucks.

PGA: Yu Goes Low at Farmers Open

This week’s Farmers Insurance Open started early on the PGA Tour with action running from Wednesday-Saturday. Kevin Yu (-8) fired a spectacular first-round 64. He leads Patrick Cantlay (-7) and Hideki Matsuyama (-6) on the early leaderboard.

NCAA Upsets

M: Alabama def. #8 Auburn (79-75)

M: Northwestern def. #10 Illinois (96-91)

W: Oklahoma def. #10 Texas (91-87)



Players Who Would Make Great Coaches

One game short of their first-ever Super Bowl trip, the Dan Campbell-coached Detroit Lions are all the rage. It wasn’t long ago that Campbell was an NFL tight end. So which current players might be great eventual head coaches? (Bleacher Report)

What Went Wrong for Adrian Griffin?

The Milwaukee Bucks fired a head coach who won 70 percent of his games, but Adrian Griffin and his veteran players were never on the same page. Now, Doc Rivers is in charge in Milwaukee. So what went wrong? (CBS Sports)

Hall of Fame 2024 Winners & Losers

The 2024 Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote is in — and Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer and Todd Helton are the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. But the ballots speak volumes. So who won (and lost) among the rest? (ESPN)





Today’s Must-Watch List

Australian Open (Semi-Finals)

W: #12 Q. Zheng vs. D. Yastremska (Live Now)

M: #1 N. Djokovic vs. #4 J. Sinner (Thurs. 10:30 pm ET)

M: #3 D. Medvedev vs. #6 A. Zverev (Fri. 3:30 am ET)


76ers at Pacers (7:00 pm ET)

Celtics at Heat (7:30 pm ET)
Nuggets at Knicks (7:30 pm ET)

Kings at Warriors (10:00 pm ET)

Bulls at Lakers (10:30 pm ET)


Flyers at Red Wings (7:00 pm ET)

Devils at Hurricanes (7:30 pm ET)

Blackhawks at Oilers (9:00 pm ET)

PGA Tour

Farmers Insurance Open (All Weekend)

College Basketball

W: #1 South Carolina at #9 LSU (8:00 pm ET)