With Ohio State off this weekend, Ohio had a chance to focus on its pro football teams, and the Browns and Bengals certainly delivered plenty of storylines to get us through. Some thoughts on the men in stripes…
OK, so it wasn’t all bad. And it isn’t all bad. But it sure felt bad. And a day later it really hasn’t started feeling better.
The Bengals did some good things Sunday against the Panthers. They also did some bad things. The latter could have been erased with one kick by Mike Nugent, but the home-state hero didn’t come through.
The result was a 37-all final score that left the Bengals in first place in the AFC North but lots of questions about the rest of the season.
The way the Browns whipped the fading Steelers made the result all the more meaningful, leaving the division lead feeling more precarious, but the tie was not really the top story in Cincinnati.
So, anything interesting happening in the world of Ohio sports today?
Yeah, I know it was a long holiday weekend and now there are some major rumblings that a huge homecoming could give folks even more to celebrate than America’s birthday, so how about we get all caught up on what happened while you were out watching fireworks and grilling, shall we?
The Heart of It All:
How could this be anything but the ever-moving free agency of one LeBron James, the best basketball player to come out of Ohio in the past 50 years and and probably ever?
Sam Amico at FoxSportsOhio.com did his best to round up the rumors and reports that emerged over the weekend while adding his own reporting, while Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and Fox Sports 1 and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, experts on the NBA and LeBron, respectively, brought even more to the table this morning, painting a rosy picture for the Cavaliers’ outlook in bringing James back to the club he began his career playing for then backhanded on his way out the door four years ago. Continue reading
Justin Hilliard of Cincinnati St. Xavier is the 11th verbal commitment for Ohio State’s 2015 recruiting class and the second linebacker, joining Nick Connor of Dublin Scioto.
He is the seventh recruit from southwestern Ohio in Urban Meyer’s three-plus years as head coach of the Buckeyes and the third from Cincinnati, joining Adolphus Washington (Taft) and Sam Hubbard (Moeller). That makes a pair of Greater Catholic League pickups for Meyer in as many years with Hubbard having been the top-rated player in the state last year. Continue reading
The second weekend in May was no ordinary one as the NFL draft brought nearly nonstop news beginning Thursday night.
The biggest news in Ohio was, of course, the Browns’ decision to draft Johnny Manziel in the first round on Thursday night. Manziel is a lightning rod who has excited the fanbase, but he probably won’t be handed the starting job by new head coach Mike Pettine. The Texas tornado will arrive in town to find a potential hometown hero in Cleveland’s own Brian Hoyer, who energized the fanbase himself for a few briefs weeks last season before blowing out his knee. What does the former Cleveland St. Ignatius Wildcat have to say? “Bring it on.” Continue reading
If you’ve recently run out of ways to brag about old alma mater, Pro Football Reference has just the tool for you: a database of high schools for the 22,000+ NFL players in the site’s database.
It’s not perfect as there are some duplicate schools and typos that need to be cleaned up, but it’s still awesome if you’re a nerd who wants to know where the best players come from (And if there was any doubt, I’ve proved I fall into that category with previous pieces on the recruiting of Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel and John Cooper at Ohio State for Buckeye Sports Bulletin).
And speaking of bragging rights, the Ohio schools at the top have one of if not the premier rivalry in the state: Canton McKinley and Massillon Washington.
Stanford’s win over North Carolina in the second regional final game played Tuesday night means a fourth Final Four in five years for Beavercreek’s Mikaela Ruef, who redshirted because of a foot injury early in her career.
Ruef joins Malina Howard (Twinsburg) and Chloe Pavlich (Cincinnati Sycamore) of Maryland as the three players from Ohio to earn a trip to Nashville.
Meanwhile, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer is headed to her 11th Final Four with the Cardinal since leaving Ohio State after the 1985 season, when she led the Buckeyes to the Elite 8.
VanDerveer coached Ohio State as women’s basketball became an officially sponsored Big Ten sport and led the Buckeyes to the first conference title.
Her top assistant at Stanford is Amy Tucker, the captain of the 1982 Ohio State squad that played in the first NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
Ohio State came in second for Ruef, who has family on the West Coast and was also swayed by the opportunity to get a Stanford education. Interestingly, back then Ruef’s father told me VanDerveer talked to them about what great memories she had of her time at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes also went hard after Howard, who was ESPN’s No. 1 center prospect in her class two years ago, but she did not have Ohio State among her finalists when she chose the Terrapins.
I have to agree with a piece earlier this week from BSB editor Jeff Svoboda regarding the dearth of in-state schools on Ohio State’s basketball schedule in the past decade-plus.
Scout.com: SvoNotes: Its Time For More In-State Battles.
As he mentioned, we have in the past discussed an idea for an All-Ohio tournament that could take on one of several forms and drive interest in roundball throughout “the heart of it all” early in the season.
Some will argue Ohio State has more to lose than to gain from changing the way it does business now, but I’m not sure there is much evidence to support that claim.
If you really get down to it, the Ohio State basketball brand is still underdeveloped. Considering the success both recently and historically, fan support should probably be much more intense. Continue reading
In his “10 players to watch at the 2014 NFL Combine” for the National Football Post, Dave Miller compares former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron to Andy Dalton, saying that he has a chance to have a beginning of a career similar to the Bengals quarterback. That’s an interesting way to put it I would say because Dalton’s early career has been very admirable. The big question now is where he and the Bengals go from here.
Better quarterbacks have had great careers that didn’t start off as well as Andy Dalton, although there are other good quarterbacks especially recently who have had as good or better starts than him from a numbers perspective.
Dalton is an interesting case because he doesn’t have the physical tools that create high early expectations for somebody like a Matthew Stafford or a Cam Newton, but now he’s won enough, in part because of him and in part because the situation created by the Bengals suddenly learning now to draft over the past five years or so, that the expectations are very high just the same.
Ohio State, Cincinnati, Xavier and Cleveland State are all included in this edition of “Vegas Bracketology” published by Fox Sports and Don Best Sports gaming analyst Todd Furhman.
He has the Buckeyes highest at at No. 4 in a killer region with No. 1 seed Louisville, No. 2 Arizona and No. 3 Kentucky.
Cincinnati gets a six seed in another region while Xavier is rated as a No. 11 seed, Cleveland State is a 12 and Toledo a 13.
As Furhman freely admits, this bracket projection has some unique and surprising entires topped by Iowa receiving a top seed, but he explains the differences are a result of using the power numbers generated by Vegas oddsmakers.
Check it out: Vegas Bracketology : Outkick The Coverage.
This morning Jerry Crasnick reported former Reds catcher Joe Oliver will be named manager of the Lowell Spinners, a Single-A club in the Boston Red Sox organization.
I spoke to Oliver for Reds alumni feature for Reds Report late last year and he shared his desire to get back into pro ball after devoting much of his time raising his family in Orlando (kids are all now nearly grown) over the past decade, so I’m happy to hear that an opportunity has arrived.
Oliver had a very solid 13-year career in the majors after the Reds chose him with a second round pick in the 1983 draft, and the finest moment is pretty certainly his game-winning hit against the Athletics in Game 2 of the 1990 World Series.
Joe Buck’s call is fantastic, and he notes the Reds beat stud Oakland pitchers Dave Stewart and then Dennis Eckersley to establish their 2-game lead in the series.
via 1990 WS Gm2: Olivers single off Eckersley wins game – YouTube.