1. It is Ohio State/Michigan week and for the first time since the days of Rich Rod, there is almost zero anticipation for this game outside of the local fan bases. Remember, this was supposed to be the one “tough” game post-Wisconsin on the Buckeyes charmin-soft schedule. Instead, they might as well be playing Illinois, Iowa, or Indiana. It isn’t “if” Ohio State will win, rather by “how many.” This game has taken on that kind of feel.
Michigan’s offense has been, well, offensive to say the least. They literally cannot run the ball or protect QB Devin Gardner, who has become a complete shell of himself after being destroyed all year long. The “rivalry” thing can only take you so far. Michigan may be at home, but they literally have no shot pulling off this upset. The talent and coaching disparity is just too great, especially in the trenches. Back in September, the early line on this game was Ohio State -4.5 (h/t to my man @ClevTA). Today, they sit a 14 point road favorite. It won’t even be that close.
One of my closest friends, a die hard Michigan fan, turns 40 that day. The good news for him is that it is now basketball season.
2. Speaking of college basketball, last night the Cleveland State Vikings traveled to Rupp Arena to take on the third ranked Kentucky Wildcats in what was supposed to be a laugher for John Calipari’s highly touted Freshman and Sophomore-laden team. Instead, they got all they wanted for a veteran Vikings club who held the lead for most of the game. They came out loose and unfazed by the big stage inside one of College Basketball’s top venues.
The three guard attack of Trey Lewis, Sebastian Douglas, and Bryn Forbes controlled the game and outplayed three top 10 Freshman in Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, and James Young. Anton Grady battled foul trouble, but more than he his own against future top two pick Julius Randle, with help from Twinsburg native Jon Harris.Waters defensive scheme flustered Randle all night, as he was consistently seeing double teams. While Randle finished with 15 points, he shot just 3-10 from the field.
It was not even as if CSU was chucking up lucky threes either; they hit just five of 15. The Vikings just flat out controlled the tempo. They held a 54-44 lead with just under eight minutes to go when Kentucky went on their run. They would tie the game at 54 with 3:55 to play. But CSU still had a chance to pull the monster upset.
To say that CSU was playing against more than five players was an understatement. Ask anyone not bleeding blue who watched that game; the officiating over the last seven minutes was a complete and utter abomination. UK players drove to the hole, would get breathed on, and the whistle would blow. Loose ball, two players go for it, whistle. Foul on CSU. A Viking would get mugged in the paint, no call.
Now I get the home cooking the big boys sometimes receive in these spots, but last night at Rupp was particularly egregious. Waters said after his team’s 66-61 loss “New rules and all that crap. I don’t want to get into all of that. It’s disappointing. It’s really hurting the game of basketball.”
Taking it one step further was CSU assistant Jermaine Kimbrough who took to Twitter after the game with his disgust.
College Basketball is at an all time low. I have never been cheated the way we got cheated in Rupp Arena tonight. Let the kids play.
Don’t take away hard work from kids deserved it and give it to kids who did not want it. Refs gave away what College Basketball is all about.
Those tweets, and Kimbrough’s twitter account have since been deleted.
One thing we did learn last night is that CSU will be a tough out in the Horizon League this season. Don’t forget they almost beat Kentucky last night without starting PG Charles Lee.
3. Who else is excited to potentially see Brandon Weeden start this Sunday at QB for the Browns? (…..crickets…..)
There was a lot of disgust on the WFNY email chain regarding this latest Browns debacle Sunday at the Lakefront. This is not a good Steelers team that came in here and completely controlled the game in a 27-11 win. There was one gigantic disparity that was all the difference in this and seemingly in every Browns game we see – the Quarterback position.
I’ve said this before many times and I will repeat myself – the NFL is a Quarterback league and the Browns continue to not even field a halfway decent one. The Steelers have Ben Roethlisberger, who is now 16-1 lifetime against the Browns. Last year, when the Browns actually beat the Steelers in Cleveland, Big Ben was on the bench nursing an injury and our boys needed eight turnovers just to beat the ancient and now retired Charlie Batch by six.
The Quarterback position means everything in the NFL. You don’t have a competent one, you don’t win. I don’t care what else your team has. No QB, no W. Don’t believe me? Take a look at how the Packers have faired since Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone. They have Eddie Lacy, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, and company, yet put Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien, and Matt Flynn in there and they have three losses and a tie.
So no matter how nicely you dress up this pig, it is still a pig.
4. The St. Louis Cardinals, widely regarded as one of the smartest franchises in baseball, perhaps in all of major pro sports, gave Jhonny Peralta a four-year deal worth $52 million. Go ahead and tell me it doesn’t pay to cheat. Jhon did his time, yet kept on hitting, and has cashed in big time. Good for him. Bad for the Indians.
If you ever had any illusions that the Cardinals would want to use Asdrubal Cabrera as their one year bridge at shortstop, you can forget it now. They decided they would rather give Peralta $52 million for four years than potentially trade any of their deep stable of young arms to get Asdrubal for one year at $10 million.
Asdrubal’s trade value is as low as it is going to be, so I think you all need to prepare yourself for another year Cabrera at short. He is in his contract year and the Indians brass has to hope he shows he has something left and isn’t turning into the second coming of Carlos Baerga, circa 1996 and beyond.
5. Remember at the NBA Draft Lottery when the Cavaliers won again? Dan Gilbert, his son Nick, and that sideshow Machine Gun Kelly were all smiles, acting as if they had hit the jackpot on a $25,000 slot machine? Well, as we know, winning this was the equivalent of being voted the hottest Omega Moo. But Gilbert told the entire world watching that night that his Cavaliers would not be back there next year, vying for another top pick.
GM Chris Grant, in his infinite wisdom, took a chance of UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, a kid who was far from dominant in his one year in college, had defensive issues, and was coming off of shoulder surgery.
So far, the Bennett experience has been close to an abject disaster. The kid looks completely lost, has fallen out of the rotation, and is struggling to find himself as a basketball player all over again.
Wait, didn’t the all mighty owner tell us that the Cavs wouldn’t be lottery bound again? If that was the case then why would Grant, who has to be on the hot seat with this team looking as bad as it has, draft someone who was clearly not ready to be a contributor for a couple of years? If the plan was to “win now,” then wouldn’t Indiana’s Victor Oladipo have been the obvious pick? The 6’4 shooting guard would have easily been an instant rotation player in Cleveland who is a lockdown defender, an underrated ball handler, and one of the better athletes you will see in a league full of them. In case you were wondering, Victor is averaging 27.5 minutes per game in Orlando, scoring 12.3 points, 3.4 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.7 steals,
Meanwhile, Bennett may become the first overall top pick to spend time in the D League if he doesn’t pick things up soon.