The Carlos Correa saga is finally over, plus John Calipari’s seat is hotter than ever at Kentucky

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

CARLOS CORREA AND THE MINNESOTA TWINS

For a week, he was a Giant. Then, for about three weeks, he was a Met. Now, Carlos Correa is a twin — again — after agreeing to a six-year, $200-million deal(likely) ending one of the strangest free agency sagas we’ve ever seen.

Here’s a quick rundown of Correa’s busy offseason:

There are, obviously, major questions to answerand the first is: Can Correa pass a physical? The Twins’ deal is for fewer years and less money compared to the others, and the Twins medically cleared him last year, so that seems like a good start.

Next: What does this mean for the Mets? Our Dayn Perry has answers.

  • Perry: “Correa had been poised to shift to third base in deference to Francisco Lindor, so there will be no upheaval at the shortstop position. … The larger matter is whether this changes the outlook in the NL East. The margins are tight between the Mets and Bravesjust as they were last season, and subtracting Correa from the Mets’ outlook may be enough to flip things back to Atlanta.

It’s important to remember just how good Correa is, even if the shine has worn off a bit over the last month. Correa, 28, is in his prime, ranked as our third-best free agent this offseason and, as RJ Anderson notesis on track to be a Hall of Famer according to his WAR production. He has dealt with injuries as a Major Leaguer, but the lower leg/ankle hasn’t been an issue.

Correa and agent Scott Boras have seemingly salvaged a perilous situation, and the Twins have somehow retained a highly sought after star.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for…

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THE KENTUCKY WILDCATS

South Carolina lost 85-42 at home against then-No. 8Tennessees on Saturday. Last night, the Gamecocks went to Kentucky and won for just the third time ever at Rupp Arena, beating the woeful Wildcats, 71-68.

Things were already dire in Lexington. They are now worse following that loss.

  • Kentucky is 1-3 in the SEC for the first time since 1986-87. The Wildcats’ 28-game home winning streak — the second-longest active streak in the nation — is over.
  • Kentucky was a 20-point favorite. For reference, Kentucky was “only” an 18.5-point favorite in last year’s shocking NCAA Tournament loss to Saint Peter’s.
  • The loss comes days after to 78-52 embarrassment at the hands of then-No. 7 AlabamaKentucky’s largest loss ever in the series’ modern era.

Kentucky’s offense is downright archaic: Say what you will about analytics, but Kentucky is 340th out of 363 teams in “rim and three” rate, the two most efficient shots in basketball. The Wildcats’ starters attempted one 3-pointer last night (and missed). The heat is on John Calipariwrites our Kyle Boone.

  • Boone: Big Blue Nation has been Big Mad Nation aimed at Calipari… It’d be one thing if the talent wasn’t there, but this roster has plenty of pieces. The effort, though, seems to wax and wane intermittently and the system — the spacing, the pacing, the 3-point attempts — seem to be off, too.”

Not so honorable mentions

Roquan Smith, Ravens agree to massive extension ahead of playoffs 🏈

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Roquan Smith was looking for a contract extension. the Ravens were looking for a star middle linebacker. On Halloween, the Ravens got their wish, acquiring Smith from the Bearsand on Tuesday, Smith got his reward: a five-year, $100-million extension that makes him the Highest paid linebacker in NFL history.

  • Smith, 25, finished the season with 169 tackles, 4.5 sacks and three interceptions. He became the second player in NFL history to have at least 150 tackles, four sacks and three interceptions in a seasonalong with Patrick Willis in 2009.
  • This season, the Ravens allowed nearly a yard per play less (4.8 vs. 5.7) when Smith was on the lineeld compared to when he wasn’t.
  • After Smith joined the Ravens in Week 9, Baltimore’s yards per game allowed (364 vs. 289) and points per game allowed (22.9 vs. 14.7) improved significantly.

This trade ended up being a win-win-win. Months after Smith requested a trade, the Bears got second- and fifth-round picks to aid their rebuild, the Ravens got what will be the centerpiece of their defense for years to come and Smith got paid. Now, he’ll try to slow down Joe Burrow and the Bengals hon Super Wild Card Weekend to begin what he and Baltimore hope will be a deep playoff run.

Way-too-early top 25 for the 2023 college football season 🏈

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By now, you know the drill: It’s never, ever too early to talk about next season. After Georgia dismantled TCU extension65-7, in the title game, No. 1 in Dennis Dodd’s way-too-early top 25 for 2023 was an easy call.

  • Dodd: 1. Georgia –The post-Stetson Bennet IV era begins with either Carson Beck or Brock Vandagriff at quarterback. Standouts Chris Smith and Kelee Ringo depart the secondary, but the possibility exists that all five starters on the offensive line return. That’s a great place to start both in the SEC and with UGA’s goal of dominating the nation again. … Can you say three peat?”

No team has three-peated in the AP Poll Era (since 1936), and, as Dennis mentioned, figuring out quarterback will be the top task for Kirby Smart. Shehan Jeyarajah previewed what should be an intriguing QB battle.

Here’s the top five of the rankings:

  • 1. Georgia
  • 2. Michigan“Harbaugh holds the entire program in his sway.”
  • 3. Ohio State“Despite the loss of CJ Stroud to the NFL, the QB room is stocked…”
  • 4.Alabama“The best offense (Bryce Young) and defensive (Will Anderson Jr.) players of 2022 depart.”
  • 5.Washington“The Huskies are poised to dominate the Pac-12. Michael Penix Jr. is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate…”

NFL Power Rankings: What changed between first, last editions? 🏈

In the NFL, expect the unexpected. This past regular season was a great example why. the Giants and Seahawks made the playoffs. the titans — symbols of stability in an ever-changing league — went from midseason Super Bowl contender to GM-less and postseason-less by season’s end. the Broncos were among the league’s worst teams, as were the reigning Super Bowl-champion rams.

Comparing season-opening Power Rankings to season-ending Power Rankings is not for the faint of heart, but that’s exactly what Pete Prisco did in this week’s edition.

  • Prisco: “The worst misses were having the Green Bay Packers at No. 2, the Los Angeles Rams at No. 4, the New Orleans Saints at No. 6 and the Indianapolis Colts at No. 11. … Teams that made me look bad the other way were the Jacksonville Jaguarswho were 25th to start, the New York Giantswho were 28th and the Seattle Seahawkswho opened in the 31st spot.”

But Pete can hold his head up high: His No. 1 entering the season — the Bills — finished No. 1, and eight of his top 10 entering the season finished in his top 10.

Here’s where everyone ended up:

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You can read Pete’s reasonings and takeaways here.

What we’re watching Wednesday 📺

🏀 No. 4 Alabama at No. 15 Arkansas7 pm on ESPN2
🏀 No. 6 UConn at No. 25 Marquette7 pm on CBS Sports Network
🏀 Bucks at Hawks7:30pm on ESPN
🏒 Predators at Maple Leafs7:30pm on TNT
🏀 No. 17 TCU at No. 10 Texas9 pm on ESPN2
🏀 Suns at Nuggets10 pm on ESPN
🏒 Sharks at Kings10 pm on TNT

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