OK, so at what point is doing nothing going to be considered not enough?

Coach Dave Hakstol chastised, criticized, defended, protected, called out, and propped up his players. He has alternated goaltenders and shifted lines.

Yet, tonight when the Flyers play the San Jose Sharks at 7 at the Wells Fargo Center (TV: NBCSP; radio: 97.5 The Fanatic), they'll bring along an eight-game losing streak.

What's worse is that it's a futility streak that isn't necessarily connected to a shabby roster.

The Flyers record is what it is, 8-9-7, so there is definitely a deficit in talent. There is no question that they don't have enough elite players to be an impact team in the NHL.

Still, when a losing streak involves three straight in overtime plus blown two-goal leads in four of the last six games, it speaks to more subjective factors such as heart, drive and determination.

If a team has been outscored by 14-2 after the second periods during a losing streak but only two of those eight losses have been by more than one goal, it hints more to a lack of intangibles than a lack of underwhelming talent.

Coaches are hired for their strategies and systems, but they are also hired to motivate the team. If Hakstol doesn't have the ability to do that, how long is doing nothing about that not doing enough?

Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett (5) shoots past Hampton’s Greg Heckstall (4) in the second half Nov. 20 in Cincinnati. Xavier won, 96-60.
John Minchillo / AP
Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett (5) shoots past Hampton’s Greg Heckstall (4) in the second half Nov. 20 in Cincinnati. Xavier won, 96-60.

Lots of college hoops to pick from

Once college basketball goes into full swing, it's difficult to find a night when there is not some game being televised on some network.

From 6:30 to 10, seven games will tip off across three ESPN channels and FS1.

The best national matchup would be the 6:30 game on FS1 between 16th-ranked Baylor and No. 21 Xavier. Xavier, along with Seton Hall, was picked as one of the top challengers to Villanova in the preseason Big East poll, so Wildcats fans might want to get a look at the competition against another high-quality team.

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge continues with five games, but it speaks to the overall depth of two typically strong conferences that the only game involving a ranked team is No.17 Louisville at Purdue at 8 on ESPN.

UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, left, and new football coach Chip Kelly hold up a Bruins jersey with Kelly’s name on it during a press conference Monday at Pauley Pavilion in Westwood, Calif.
Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, left, and new football coach Chip Kelly hold up a Bruins jersey with Kelly’s name on it during a press conference Monday at Pauley Pavilion in Westwood, Calif.

What I’m reading

Chip Kelly is back in college football, and Dennis Dodd at cbssports.com says UCLA provides the perfect atmosphere for Kelly to regain his luster.

The Eagles are 10-1 and rolling. Staff writer Jeff McLane tells us what we learned from the Birds' beatdown of the Bears.

The schedule dictates whom a team plays and when they play them. Staff writer Zach Berman writes that the Eagles face a tough challenge with back-to-back games on the West Coast.

Columnist Bob Ford writes that the Sixers and Ben Simmons got a measuring stick after going against LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

I know that, because he played there, Central Florida coach Scott Frost would obviously have interest in the Nebraska job, but dang, dog, your team is about to play for the AAC championship and a possible New Year's Day Bowl on Saturday. Show some loyalty until you leave.

Tiger Woods is again making a comeback from the slew of injuries that has plagued the second half of his career. Kyle Porter at cbssports.com reviews the many failed comebacks by Woods.

I guess fired Louisville coach Rick Pitino thought he had nothing to lose by suing Adidas for defamation of character. The sneaker giant is striking back, and Pitino's dirty laundry is fair game.

Sixers guard Ben Simmons defends Cavaliers forward LeBron James during the first quarter Monday.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Sixers guard Ben Simmons defends Cavaliers forward LeBron James during the first quarter Monday.

The riff

It was never fair to promote Ben Simmons out there as the next LeBron James, just as it wasn't fair to promote a young James as the next Michael Jordan.

In our rush to always find the "next big thing," we forget it is a title that has to be earned over time, not just presented on potential.

It's not surprising that James overshadowed Simmons by scoring 30 points and adding 13 rebounds and six assists in Cleveland's rout of the Sixers on Monday night. James is in his 14th NBA season and, for much of the past decade, has been considered the best player in the world. Still, he wasn't an All-Star as a rookie and didn't win his first MVP award until his sixth season.

Simmons just played his 18th NBA game. It might not take him long, but it will take him more than 18 games to begin to figure this all out.

Let's let Simmons become the first Ben Simmons before we start looking at him in comparison to James.

Today’s schedule

TV/Radio

NHL
Sharks at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NBCSP; WPEN-FM 97.5)
Blackhawks at Predators, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

NBA
Heat at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
Nuggets at Jazz, 10 p.m. (ESPN)

Men's College Basketball
Baylor at Xavier, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
Northwestern at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Florida State at Rutgers, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Louisville at Purdue, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Maine at Georgetown, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
Iowa at Virginia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Illinois at Wake Forest, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

Soccer
Premier League: Leicester City vs. Tottenham, 3 p.m. (NBCSN)

Women's College Basketball
Connecticut at Nevada, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)

Local Events

NHL
Flyers vs. Sharks, 7:05 p.m., Wells Fargo Center

Horse Racing
Parx Racing, 12:25 p.m., Bensalem