Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bengals Turning Up The Pace?

If the Bengals decide now to go uptempo I might take my Marvin bobblehead to the driving range and take a few whacks at it.  I've been clamoring for more uptempo, or no huddle, or whatever you want to call it, since the preseason.  It always seems to work.  They run better out of it, they throw better out of it, and they seem to find a way to keep opposing defenses from loading up and being overly aggressive.  I would love to see them use more of it this week against a Miami defense that is very good.  I saw Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com had a quote from Andrew Whitworth that the Bengals might go to a faster-paced, 3 wide receiver look.  That may not necessarily mean no-huddle, but anything faster paced is fine by me.  Especially at this point in the season.  There's nothing wrong with what the Bengals did running the ball last season, it worked.  If it's working, then keep using it.  But it became apparent at the end of last season and the beginning of this one that the Bengals offense wasn't at its best anymore as a plodder.  So keep it moving Bengals and do it soon so I have a reason to get back on the practice range.  (but I would never risk damaging my taylormade r9 driver on anyone's bobblehead)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Midweek Silliness

Don't ask me why I'm posting this, other than I just love mascots.  I'm constantly getting pictures with Mr. Redlegs, Rosie, Gapper, the Bearcat, Who Dey, and anyone else designed to make me laugh.  So imagine my delight when I was at Western Bowl when the Cincinnati Christian University Eagle shows up, trades his claws for bowling shoes, and takes to the lanes.  I'm guessing someone lost a bet, but it was hilarious.  The Eagle just shows up with a group of guys and takes to the lanes.  I just missed him getting a strike, but I did get another good roll, then a couple of classic gutter balls.
First the good...
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Now the ugly...
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The Eagle and I...  (the way I've been bowling lately the Eagle would probably beat me)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Season Quickly Slipping Away

The Bengals are just about out of time.  That first half in Atlanta was flat-out brutal.  But after the comeback in the third quarter, I was scratching my head on the decision to go for 2 points after the Shipley TD.  Sure, the 2 points would have pulled the Bengals within 3, but it was too early to start playing that game.  In the end, it didn't matter.  What sunk the Bengals were the mistakes in the first half, and the fumble by Benson in the fourth quarter.  Plus, the inability to make a defensive stop when needed bit the Bengals once again.  A 2 and 4 record with the slate of games coming their way doesn't bode well.  So will there be an ugly meltdown?  Maybe the question is when does the ugly meltdown happen?

The fumble call in the Pittsburgh game was crazy.  Is there a rule that says if you can't figure out who recovered the ball, you give it back to the offensive team at the line of scrimmage?  I've been watching football for a long time.  Every time they separate a pile and a guy hands the ref the ball, that team is deemed to have recovered the fumble.  A Dolphin handed the ball to an official.  So what gives?  This needs to be addressed.

I don't know how U.C. went from playing solid football to having a defensive meltdown against South Florida.  Yes, the Bearcats are very young on defense.  But I don't like the penalties this team is accruing.  The Bearcats lead the Big East in penalty yards.  They are also dead last in total defense and pass defense.  Not good.  The game against Syracuse will be a crap-shoot.  Also, as of Sunday night the status of quarterback Zach Collaros is up in the air.

You have to love fans who don't take themselves too seriously.  At the Hamilton high school game the other night, some Big Blue fans, student we presume, hung this banner.  The "L" makes it beautiful!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Is It Better To Be Lucky Than Good?

In my case, yes, when it comes to golf.  I've been hacking for 30 plus years and Monday afternoon I picked up my first legitimate hole-in-one.  Hole 4 on the Neumann Blue course on the west side of town.  It's a hole I usually come up short on, so I decided to pull out a 5-wood and let it rip.  198 yards from the blues.  It felt like I didn't hit it square, but I got enough of it and it was right on target.  I was playing by myself (I know, I'm a loser) but fortunately there was a foursome nearby to go check the cup while I stood on the tee-box.  A special thanks to Greg Schoenling for verifying that my scuffed up Nike was "In the Hole!"  Also thanks to Neumann Golf Course and the Cincinnati Recreation Commission for the cool trophy.
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The Whacky BCS Is Back

I'm convinced it usually works out in the end, but the first edition of the BCS standings show what kind of parity we have in college football.  I like TCU, but do the Frogs really deserve to be ranked ahead of Missouri?  Maybe, but by 6 spots?  Take a look at the two schedules and tell me who has played the tougher teams.  Another curious thing about the BCS is Wisconsin.  The Badgers just beat Ohio State on the field of play, but the Buckeyes are 10th in the standings while the Badgers are 13th.  Huh?  So why even play the games?  The coaches poll did the same thing.  Ohio State is 10th and Wisconsin 11th.  What?  Did the 31-18 win by Wisconsin mean that little?  It's maddening.  By the way, the coaches poll is routinely a joke, with coaches favoring teams from their own conferences when they vote.  That way, their own strength of schedule goes up.  No conflict of interest there, eh?  I really hope it comes down to TCU vs Boise State.  Then maybe we finally get our little 4 to 8 team playoff to really get the best teams on the field for the championship game.

Nice win for U.C. Friday night in Louisville.  I really believe if the Bearcats stay healthy, they have a shot at the Big East.  It will take a win on the road at West Virginia, but that's a better shot than I gave them three weeks ago.  The coaches and players really deserve a lot of credit for keeping it together and not going off the farm after a rough start.
 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Exciting Offseason Ahead

So what will the Reds do with all of their time in the offseason?  Probably make things very interesting.
First-Bronson Arroyo says he not only will return for his option year, he fully expects a long-term contract with the Reds before he reports to spring training.  This makes a few guys expendable in trades.  So who is going to go from the pool of young pitchers?  Leake, Cueto, Wood, Volquez, Bailey, and Chapman all have the potential to be mainstays.  No way the Reds would entertain the thought of moving Chapman.  Everyone else might be fair game and one or two of the young pitchers might bring a bat or a shortstop.
Second-What happens with Cabrera, Hernandez, and Gomes.  All three were starting players.  I have to believe the Reds exercise the option on Gomes since they can bring him back at a decent rate.  But it will be interesting, since the Reds might be able to deal for a left fielder.  Plus there's the promise of Chris Heisey.  Hernandez might be an even more interesting case.  Do the Reds want to shell out $3 million for Ramon when Devin Mesoraco might force his way into Cincinnati by midseason?  If the Reds are convinced about Mesoraco's 2010 breakout, it might make sense to go a cheaper route to pair with Ryan Hanigan to start 2011.  Ramon has value as a veteran influence, but I'm not convinced he's back.  Same with Cabrera.  This could depend on the trade market.  Cabrera and Ramon brought valuable experience and leadership to this team, but the kids grew up some this past season and Rolen is still around.
Bottom Line-There's a lot of options that allow the Reds to take a good, young, growing club and make it better.  They can deal from a position of strength, too.  The Reds are not desperate to make a move.  We don't know what the rest of the division looks like yet, but I expect the 2011 Reds will be positioned to make a run in the division again.

How this for funny?  Early in the week my 85 year old mother calls me, and somehow the conversation turns to the Bengals game.  She asked me why the Bengals would throw the ball with under 3 minutes to go and a 7 point lead?  My mom doesn't know a whole lot about football strategy, but she knew enough that it makes no sense to put yourself in a position where you just might give the game away.                         

How much longer will everyone continue to say there's nothing wrong with Carson Palmer?  I may be crazy, but is it possible some days his arm feels better than others?  There has to be something amiss.  His career is sliding badly, along with his quarterback rating.  His rating has basically declined every season since 2005.  He appears to stare down receivers, and the critical mistakes at critical times in games is something that should not be happening to a guy who has been in the league since 2004.

I shot my mouth off on Sport Rock last week and said I thought U.C. had a great chance at winning the Big East football title again since West Virginia is the only team playing well enough to scare me.  I should have mentioned Louisville.  I know it's only one game, and it was Memphis, but any team able to administer a 56-0 butt whipping the week before should get your attention.  I say the Cats win, but Louisville is better than I gave the Cardinals credit for on last week's show.

This is what happens when you play in the SEC.  You are Kentucky.  You start the conference season at Florida, then you go to Mississippi, then you get 8th ranked Auburn at home, followed by 12th ranked South Carolina.  Oh yeah, and the old ball coach and the Gamecocks just knocked off the top ranked team in the country.  Why is it all of these Kentucky fans keep telling me they want to stay in the SEC?  I still say the northernmost school in that conference is at a disadvantage when it comes to football.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Are They A Fraud?

Heck no.  I can only laugh at any suggestion that the Reds don't belong and are lucky to be in the playoffs.  Luck doesn't figure into a 162 game schedule.  However, it can figure into a five game series.  It's funny you never hear anyone talk about that.  So don't give me this jazz about the Reds' luck.  However, they have faltered all season against winning teams.  That's not luck either.  The Reds are a team that was good enough to win a bad division.  The Cardinals had major flaws, and those flaws were magnified once Ryan Ludwick was sent packing and the St. Lou lineup became even weaker.  Disappointing, sure.  But hey, the Reds are still alive and still playing.  Can you imagine how electric it would have been Sunday night if they had held onto Friday night's 4-0 lead.  Unbelievable that it was defense that cost the Reds a win.  That was a shocker.  But the youngsters are getting some serious experience playing in the bright glare of the postseason spotlight.  And it ain't over 'til it's over.

I feel horrible for Jay Bruce.  But he will grow from this.  You could tell he had little chance of making the play, and it was clear he didn't see the ball.  The odds of that happening again in this big of a game are slim and none.

Scott Rolen appears to be worn to the nub.  I don't think he would ever admit to it, but I think he's hurting. 

Should the Reds win Sunday night and get to game four, it better be Travis Wood on the mound Monday night.  Not to exaggerate but if it's not Wood, and I'm Bob Castellini, I'm burning a certain contract extension that was just given to a certain manager.