Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday afternoon roundup

On Sunday, The BBC will celebrate it's first anniversary. I started the blog in the middle of the night prior to the Penn State game, and have never regretted it. I'll write up an in-depth entry and post it on Sunday.

Let's start off with the professional sports, shall we?

Cleveland Indians

I didn't want this series to be quite so important to Tigers fans, but you've gotta hand it to them. They have refused to surrender, and the Kitties have put together a nice run recently. Heading into the game at The Jake tonight, Cleveland leads the division by 4.5 games. This series is MUCH more important to Detroit than it is to us, but we HAVE to take it seriously.

By the end of the series, we're still going to lead the AL Central. We get swept, we're up 1.5 games. Win only one game, we lead by 3.5. Win two games or sweep the Tigers, and wrap up the title for us. 5.5 or 7.5 game leads with 10 games to play is too much to over come.

The story is the same as it was a couple of weeks ago....if we win or split every series we have the rest of the way, we're in. It's now a mathematical certainty.

Freakin' Sweet stat of the day - In the Indians last 11 series, they are unbeaten. They won 9, split two, lost none. Freakin' sweet!

Cleveland Browns

Holy crap wow! I am SO thrilled about yesterday's offensive explosion, and I am truly amazed at how quickly the Browns turned it around.

I had the day off yesterday, so I decided to drive to Columbus to visit my daughter for a few hours. She's 8 and hasn't seen her daddy in a couple of weeks (Girl Scouts, softball tryouts have eaten up my weekends with her). So I leave at 1pm and listen to the game on the drive down. I arrive at halftime and send out an alert to my family and friends to NOT inform me of the game's results, as I will be placing myself in a bubble temporarily. No sports news so I can concentrate on having fun with Munchkin.

She takes me to see her elementary school, and wants to show me a vintage shop just off OSU campus. Silly me, I didn't think that driving through campus, I'd end up at a stoplight next to Buffalo Wild Wings, where I'd see a bunch of Browns fans celebrating and people in Bengals uniforms with angry expressions.

Dammit. Now I'm too curious. Had to turn the game on the radio. "The Bubble" burst, but we listened to the last 3 minutes of the game, and I watched the entire thing when I got home late last night. Total time lost by asking Charlotte to read in the back seat while I made sure the Browns won - 15 minutes. I think it was worth it, and I'm the one paying her future therapy bills anyway. But before you get all upset with me, the kid loves college football...and here's where I took her later in the day....

I got in the building cause I know the guy behind the guy behind the guy......

Anyway, analysis of the game - whatever deity you subscribe to, I'd like to thank them. I'm a fan of getting Brady Quinn in there at the right time, but I don't want to rush the kid. Let's not ruin him. And to achieve that goal, I know we might have to eat a lot of losses while we prepare Quinn for the field of play.

Yesterday, Derek Andersen made it possible to delay Quinn's first start. I do NOT expect Andersen to play that well every week (or ever again, for that matter), but he did it, and the team has more confidence now to carry on. We don't have to play the waiting game, we can go out and win NOW. And when Quinn gets his shot, we'll be an even better team for it. By the way, I'm still setting my sights on giving the kid a shot in Week 8 at St. Louis (right after the bye week), or Week 9 at home against Seattle. Plenty of time to get settled in, and just in time to go after the Steelers in Week 10.

College football (much to discuss)

As I posted yesterday, Ohio State is ranked 8th and 9th by the two most widely known polls (AP and Coaches).

The following is NOT an endorsement of Ohio State's National-Championship possibilities for 2007.

In 2002, the Buckeyes started the season ranked at #13/#12 (AP/Coaches). After three weeks, they were up to #6/#8. They needed other teams in front of them to lose to climb the charts that year, and they'll need that help again in 2007. But they are getting that assistance so far (Kentucky over Louisville, LSU over Virginia Tech, everybody over Michigan), so it's starting off similar.

I'm just sayin'.....


One other similarity to 2002 is the way the Buckeyes have played down (or up) to the level of their opponent. Akron and YSU will not be confused with upper-level squads, and we struggled with them at times, scaring thousands of fans. But when facing a challenge on the road, they stepped up and made the key plays..James Laurinaitis' two INTs were huge, as were Brian Hartline's several key 3rd-down receptions.

Now comes an easy opponent at home. Northwestern looked like they had something going for themselves, until they lost at home to Duke. It can't do much for the Wildcats' confidence.

It gets worse for Northwestern.

- They have the 50th-ranked defense against the run, giving up more yards per game than Washington (and we ran for 218 against UW).
- They have the 79th-ranked defense against the pass, surrendering just under 250 yards per game.
- Their rushing attack is ranked 48th in the NCAA (OSU's run defense is ranked 16th, giving up only 76 yards per game)
- Their offensive power is the passing game, throwing for 283 yards per game, 27th best in Division 1-A. Alas, Ohio State is 9th against the pass, allowing only 120 per game.

It ain't pretty for Wildcat fans. Expect the Buckeyes to win 35-6.


Big Ten Blogger Pick-em wasn't as good to me last weekend. I led the pack for two weeks, and now I'm one win back.

The Big Ten season starts now, so there's only six games to select this week (you get 3 points for picking a conference game correctly, though). My picks are in bold for Saturday's matchups;

Penn State at Michigan
Northwestern at Ohio State
Illinois at Indiana
Michigan State at Notre Dame
Iowa at Wisconsin
Purdue at Minnesota

It's kind of strange to think that the toughest game to pick is Indiana-Illinois.

I think Michigan will expose the weaknesses in Penn State that haven't been seen yet....who would have thought that FIU, Buffalo, and Notre Dame (three of EPSN's worst ten teams) would roll over so easily? Penn State will win the game, but it'll be costly after the rest of the Big Ten discovers how to attack the Lions.

Purdue's 6th-ranked offense against Minnesota's 116th-ranked defense? I'm not sure the Boilermakers are worried, and I'll bet they close the playbook so as not to give Ohio State any game film to look at. Still, the basic plays will amount to about 45-50 points.

Iowa-Wisconsin (sigh)......two teams that have a bevy of talented players, none of which have shown that they want to win.

Expect to see Michigan State plant their green flag in the middle of Notre Dame's field. Both Irish fans still in attendance at that point will be outraged by it.


If you get the chance tomorrow morning, turn on the Big Ten Network. At 10am, they're showing the replay of 1990's Ohio State game at Iowa. It's got the best ending to any Ohio State game I can recall (2002 season not included).


West Virginia players managed to accidentally say what the rest of the nation thinks about them....

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