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“With Ohio State sitting out this bowl season, the topic of early entries for the NFL draft is getting more attention than it typically would. The Buckeyes have a trio of talented underclassmen that may test the NFL waters and while they have until Jan. 15 to declare for the draft, we’re starting to hear things with regards to running back Carlos Hyde, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, and cornerback Bradley Roby.” [Priestas/Eleven Warriors]
“It was a game-winning drive from a team who has struggled to simply win this season. Better now than never. Twelve games have been played and there is noticeable improvement from certain areas of this team. It showed on that drive, which the Browns manufactured when they needed it the most. Now, the easy thing is to compare this late-season surge in victories to what happened in 2009.
That season, the Browns’ 1-11 start finished with four victories against bad teams. These Browns aren’t beating the league’s best, but these games are just the confidence booster a young team needs.” [Delco/The OBR]
“The GM said the recent knee surgery for righty Corey Kluber did make starting pitching more of a priority than it already was this winter. Kluber should be ready to compete for a job in the spring. Antonetti said, “It remains a goal of ours to add alternatives to our starting rotation.”
Asked if the team absolutely needs to add a new first baseman, Antonetti replied: “We feel we have some internal options with the guys currently on our roster and in the organization, but we’re not going to limit ourselves in the way we can potentially improve. So if there’s the right first baseman that makes sense, that we think can improve the team, we’ll look to do it.”
Matt LaPorta isn’t on the 40-man roster, but he will be in spring trying to earn a job. Antonetti said, “It’s an important offseason for Matt to make sure he first accomplishes his [hip] rehabilitation goals and comes into Spring Training ready to earn a spot. And we’ll continue to commit the resources necessary to help him along the way.” [Bastian/MLB.com]
Wow. Just get there. “Northern Illinois is going to do whatever it can to fill seats at the Orange Bowl, including giving a free ticket to any student who can get down to Miami for the game. Tickets to the Orange Bowl are being sold through Northern Illinois at between $75 and $225, but NIU students can reserve their one free ticket starting Monday morning. NIU has about 22,000 students. The ticket must be picked up in Miami, but the school also planned to unveil “fan and student bus packages” to the site of the game.
That is a nice gesture, but it’s also a glimpse at the tough truth for schools. Even though the excitement about getting an improbable BCS berth hasn’t even started to wear off, the school and its athletic department has a potential financial issue with going to a game like the Orange Bowl.” [Schwab/Dr. Saturday]
Finally, the guys at The Basetball Jones discuss Andy’s case for the all-star game. They’re on board with #Andy4AllStar. [TBJ Podcast]