Wednesday, November 24, 2010

U.C. Hoops Attendance and Gordon Gee, Put A Sock In It!

Ohio State president Gordon Gee was asked about the possibility of Boise State and TCU playing in the BCS championship game. He arrogantly responded according to this article,
"I do know, having been both a Southeastern Conference president and a Big Ten president, that it's like murderer's row every week for these schools. We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day."
Gordon, babe, do you remember September 25th? Eastern Michigan? Does a 2-9 record ring a bell? Or what about October 9th? The Indiana team that has an 0-7 record in the conference and was steamrolled for an embarrassing 83 points by Wisconsin? In fact, counting the Hoosiers, you've played the bottom 3 teams in the Big Ten with a whopping three conference wins between them. You didn't leave your home stadium for one non-conference game. Not one! Yet you feel the need to sneer down your nose at Boise and TCU? Really? Look, I feel your Buckeyes should be in the conversation and certainly would give any team in the country as much as they can handle. Your defense is unbelievable. I would love to see Boise and TCU get their shots against your Buckeyes. But you and the mighty BCS keep holding these teams down by excluding their conferences from the big party, and then you're going to blame them for it? Gordon, stick to what you do best by making sure all of the drones keep putting that annoying "Thee" in front of Ohio State University. Unless, of course, you are willing to play a game on that annoying blue turf.

The attendance at U.C.'s first three basketball games has been frightening. A total of 12,690 fans have made it to Fifth Third arena for the first three games. Not enough to declare a sellout if they all showed up at the same time. Last season UC had 13,787 for the first two games. Granted, the opponents have been less than intriguing, but last year began with Prairie View A & M and almost 7-thousand were on hand. Obviously winning will cure that, but the lack of enthusiasm by the base to support the team by just showing up is sad. I have some friends, and some from out of town, who consider Cincinnati a great sports town, but they say the fans are mediocre. I can't argue. They'll come out in droves for the winners. I saw close to 30-thousand fans running the streets of New Orleans last year before the Sugar Bowl. Yet, it's been impossible to get those same people to Nippert Stadium unless the team is winning big. It's not just U.C. fans. You look at the Reds attendance figures from this past season when they were clearly in the race and it was almost impossible to get a big crowd. But give those same fans a cheap bobblehead made in China and they start lining up at 4:30 in the afternoon. The only exception to the rule seems to be the Bengals, and this year it's even starting to catch up to them, like it did in the early part of the decade. Fans should not be asked to accpet inferior products, and that's what they're getting at PBS. I understand that. Same way with the Reds from 2001 to 2009. Same with UC football in certain years. And we know how far basketball has fallen. But Mick or no Mick, it seems to me there are more than 4 to 5-thousand people in this city who would really like to see the Bearcats bounce back and experience a resurgence in basketball. It's tough to recruit to an empty gym. I know UC just landed what appears to be a good recruiting class "on paper." I just hope those kids don't see the same thing I've seen through the first three games of this season.

All of that being said, I'm guessing 5-thousand or so for the game against Savannah State tonight, even though it's not a school night.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mike Brown's Coaching Problem, and Jimmie!

The signs point to Marvin Lewis leaving, one way or the other.  So when does it happen?  With Sunday's smaller than usual crowd leading to a local blackout, and expensive luxury suites coming up for renewal, Mike Brown and the Bengals management team face a crisis.  Renewals will no doubt go down after a season like this, unless Mike can create some buzz with a big-time hire.  But I don't think Mike's going to get one of the big names to come here under the current structure of the organization.  And no offense to Mike Zimmer, a wonderful guy and by all accounts an excellent defensive coordinator, but I don't think elevating Zimmer to head coach in the off-season is going to sell tickets and suites.  So Mike may have to move up the timetable and hand the keys to Zimmer soon.  If Zimmer has a good December and wins a few games, maybe the masses will start to say "In Zimmer We Trust".  Maybe they buy enough tickets and suites to keep the cash running through the Bengals pipelines.  If Zimmer fails, then Mike will have to hire someone after the season, and the list of qualified head coaches that will take the bengals bait begin and end with this: desperate.  Mike will have to go with a guy on the rebound, or a college coach looking to make a splash in the NFL.   The latter option might sell the tickets, but in no way does it ensure success.  But under the current management structure, will there ever be success?

There was once a time in the 70's when the Big Red Machine was trailing the Dodgers by a couple of games in early Spetember.  Pete Rose was asked about catching the Dodgers in the division race, and Pete said something to the effect of  "The Dodgers don't know it yet, but they're chasing us."   The Reds went on to win the division.  What does this have to do with anything in this day and age?  I feel it was the exact same situation in NASCAR with Jimmie Johnson.  Denny Hamlin looked like a guy who knew he was meat after last weekend's race.  Sure, he still led the points standings, but Jimmie had the edge.  Hamlin looked like a mental mess and Jimmie looked like a guy who knew he and his team would cruise home with the win.  Five championships in a row.  In this day of tight racing, similar teams, a precision and talent up and down the starting grid, Jimmie's fifth in a row is a huge accomplishment.  It makes him and his team at Hendrick Motorsports one of the top dynasties of all time!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

You Know It, I Know It, And We Can't Do A Thing About It

You want to fix the Bengals?  There's only one way. You know it, I know it, and we can't do a thing about it.  Sure, the Bengals will have a season here and there when they make a run at the playoffs, but their current structure allows no chance to win year in and year out.  The Bengals need a system.  Hire a guy (Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, someone from a winner who's "been there-done that") as your Director of Football Operations.  That guy has a system and hires a head coach who believes in the system.  The head coach is allowed to hire assistant coaches who believe in the same vision.  Not just some assistants, but all of the assistants.  If some of the current assistants fit the bill, fine.  If not, move on.  The Director of Football Operations is also allowed to hire a Scouting Director who knows the kind of guys who fit the system.  The Scouting Director is allowed to hire scouts who know how to find the kind of guys who fit the system.  If some of the current scouts fit the bill, fine.  If not, move on.  But everyone from the top down knows the system, knows who fits the system, and is willing to discard those who don't fit the system.  From office personnel, to water boys, to star players, to heck, the cheerleaders and mascot, everyone fits the system.  Does anyone envision that happening any time soon at PBS?   No.  Instead, a new coach will come in behind Marvin, that coach will have assistants forced on him, and the dysfunction will continue on.  Meanwhile, we're stuck with an occasional run to the playoffs with a first round exit.  But more often than not, we'll be stuck with six game losing streaks.

By the way, I hate to see Andre Smith's season come to an end because the guy needs the work.  Now it's pretty much another wasted season.  A few weeks back I did a story on Andre and needed to find some video of him making some good blocks.  That was a chore.  I'm not an offensive line coach, but I didn't see a whole lot happening.  I saw some real issues with outside speed rushers.  So, I'm thinking his future is going to be inside when he comes back.  A 6th overall pick in the 2009 draft is a steep price to pay for a guard, but that might be the best option.  A steeper price comes if he is a flat-out bust because of the foot problems.  One thing is for sure, no way I pick up the option to extend his deal for two more seasons.