While We’re Waiting … Time for Buffalo and Bad Big Ten

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While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

A final preview of today’s home game against the Buffalo Bills: “While the Bills exploded last week, they were terrible in Week 1 against the Jets. Cleveland hasn’t exactly strung together two consistent games on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball either. I think Cleveland’s offensive line will have a little bit of difficulty at some points with the Bills’ front four, leading to a more lackluster offensive performance than we saw last week. On the same note, I expect the defense to improve — after seeing where the secondary failed last week, Dick Jauron will make the appropriate adjustments. Fitzpatrick is an inconsistent quarterback, and he’ll turn the ball over one too many times against Cleveland.” [Steve DiMatteo/Dawg Pound Daily]

Is this a must-win game though? Well, I guess so in terms of finding a way to finish with more than 4 wins in 2012, as they don’t come much easier than this. “Last Sunday’s game was another loss for the Cleveland Browns. But it kinda felt like a win. Hey, at least it was a positive performance considering the debacle that was the season opener. Now, at 0-2, the Browns need a win as they play host to the Buffalo Bills (0-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday. Pat Shurmur said what we’re all thinking a day after his team lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 34-27. ‘We have to win this game,’ he said. Agreed. For all the good the offense did last Sunday, it was another loss, which was the team’s 48th loss in their last 68 games dating back to the beginning of the 2008 season.” [Don Delco/The OBR]

Rare stats, penalties and replacement referees all in one post? Yup, you’ve got check out this theory on how home teams might be benefiting from this chaos: “Last week, I hinted that there may be a bias by the officials in favor of the home team, as these less-experienced referees may be more likely to side with the voices of the crowd. That hypotheses certainly wasn’t disproved this week, as 14 of the 16 home teams won, the first time 14 home teams have won in a week since the league expanded to 32 teams. So far this season, there have been 231 penalties against visiting teams and only 188 penalties against the hosts. That ratio — road teams having to deal with 23% more penalties — is far out of line with historical data, which informs us that road teams had 7% more penalties enforced against them than home teams from 2000 to 2011.” [Chase Stuart/Football Perspective]

I wrote about it yesterday, but here’s the first of a couple of posts I’m going to share that lament the sadness that is the Big Ten in 2012: “The overall OOC record for the Big Ten is not terrible, but what the conference has shown us thus far is that every week is Mighty Ducks week. Because apparently any band of misfits from crappy conferences can unite under the auspices of a drunken has-been coach and give a team from the ol’ Bee One Gee a run for their money. This week was no different.” [Johnny Ginter/Eleven Warriors]

So really, why is the conference so bad? It’s not like their NFL Draft losses were that much more significant than others: “After almost four weeks of games, which Big Ten teams have impressed you? The list has to be painfully short. At one point in the early games Saturday, Ohio State led UAB 21-15, Wisconsin led Texas-El Paso 23-16 and Iowa led Central Michigan 24-23, with all three of the Big Ten’s opponents holding the ball with a chance to take a fourth-quarter lead. Ohio State and Wisconsin escaped with victories. Iowa wasn’t so lucky. It shouldn’t be surprising that the Big Ten struggled early Saturday, because the conference has underwhelmed all season.” [Frank Schwab/Dr. Saturday]

Love Paul’s point here about how the Indians starters might just always have been overrated, and this decline isn’t really a drop-off, but simply their actual, depressing talent level: “As frustrating as it is to watch the Indians in terms of stalled development and regression, the appearance of a team that’s going through the motions and is either ill-prepared or ill-equipped to compete at the MLB level is what gnaws at most of the fanbase…at least those that are still watching. Whether that goes back to the coaching staff or the Front Office that assembled the ‘talent’ for said coaching staff to put into the lineup and into the pitching staff is a question that’s been asked before in this space (and in others); but it’s the MAIN question facing this organization going forward. Because it goes back to the “’Nature vs.Nurture’ argument from a month ago in that it has to be asked whether these players are simply flawed and were overrated in expectations for them or if the players (seemingly the whole lot of them) can regress this quickly and this profoundly.” [Paul Cousineau/The DiaTribe]