Thursday, December 31, 2009

Catching you up....

Thanks to all of our authors for keeping the blog up and running while I was out on vacation.

Here are some tidbits of information from the past week to catch you up on some local stories:

- The Bengals Clinch the AFC North Division Championship
Kansas City Chiefs v Cincinnati Bengals

With their win over the Kansas City Chiefs, and a Pittsburgh win over Baltimore, the Cincinnati Bengals locked up the Division championship and are currently sitting in the #4 seed spot. They will be playing on Wild Card weekend at home but their opponent is yet to be determined. There are a number of scenarios that can play out, they could see Baltimore, Denver, or New York Jets in the most likely of scenarios.

- Kentucky Wildcats continue to Roll
Hartford v Kentucky

John Wall broke the record for assists in a game against Hartford on Tuesday with 16 assists, Wall had 14 in a game against UNC Asheville earlier in the season. The Wildcats improve to 14-0 on the season and are currently ranked #3 in the country only behind Texas and Kansas. The Cat's have a big game this weekend against the Louisville Cardinals then begin SEC play. More on that later.

- UC Basketball scores a big win over UConn
Cincinnati v UNLV

Freshman sensation Lance Stephenson hit two free throws with .7 left on the clock to secure the Big East victory for Cincinnat. Big East wins for Cincinnati have not been easy to come by. But they play considerably better at home and can mark this as a big victory on the season. Cincinnati has some firepower with Stephenson and that could help them in the Big East.

- Xavier dismantles LSU at home

Another strong non-conference game for Xavier results in another big win for the Musketeers. Xavier pulled out the W 89-65 behind Terrell Holloway's 20 points. Xavier is now 8-4 on the season with key wins over Cincinnati and LSU. The Muskies will have another tough non conference matchup against Wake Forest on Saturday before beginngin their cupcake A-10 play.

- Bengals are snubbed for the Pro Bowl

The AFC North Champion Bengals do not have a single representative on this years AFC Pro Bowl team. There is only one other team in the AFC, the Chiefs, who do not have a representative on the team. Many feel that the Bengals were snubbed. Cedric Benson has Pro Bowl type numbers but the injury certainly didn't help. The two biggest cases you can make are for Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall. Either way we are still playing in the playoffs, I would rather do that than watch some Bengals play in a meaningless game.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kentucky first to reach 2000 wins!

Drexel v Kentucky

The Kentucky Wildcats have become the first NCAA Division I program to reach the 2000 win mark with a dominating win Monday night against Drexel. It was a great night for Kentucky Basketball and a great telecast by ESPNU to highlight one of college basketball's most storied programs. Former UK great Jamal Mashburn offered color commentary and the sideline reporter did interviews with former coach Joe B. Hall, former players Kyle Macy and Kenny "Sky" Walker. They also had clips from top moments in Kentucky Basketball history.

The fact that Kentucky got to 2,000 first is not really a huge accomplishment to me. But it is a point that Kentucky is one of the greatest college basketball programs in the history of the NCAA. They have had up years and down but for the most part has been consistently one of the best. Last night was a true celebration of the Kentucky Wildcats, one that made me proud to be a UK fan.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bengals Notes

-This week against the Chiefs is a must win scenario for the Bengals. Their playoff chances are in their hands, win and your in. You now have only two chances left the Chiefs and home and the Jets on the road. The Cardiac Cats need to at once make things easy on themselves and take care of business against Kansas City. We are the heavy favorite in this game and should be able to make easy work of the Chiefs. But Cincinnati has a history this year of playing down to their competition. So I hope that does not happen.

- I don't think Chad Ochocinco had any "antics" yesterday in San Diego. Some say his tears were all for show. I disagree completely with that statement. All indications were that Ochocinco and Henry were close friends and I think Chad acted as a friend. Chad is an emotional guy and those emotions came out on Sunday.

- While I agree with most things Mike Zimmer does I just don't agree with blitzing Rivers on that last pass. Sure putting heat on Rivers could cause him to make a mistake, but the heat didn't come hot enough and Rivers was able to find a seam over a lineman who dropped back in coverage. That one back fired.

- How big will Sunday's game be for Larry Johnson? Cedric will still get the most carries for the Bengals but I can see Marvin giving LJ a shot a redemption. Look what it did for Benson. When Benson had the opportunity to show up his former employer he rushed for 189 yards and a TD. I look for LJ to have a big day.

- What a huge step up for Quan Cosby. Cosby had not caught a ball all year and comes into a very rowdy San Diego crowd and catches 3 for 47 yards. I know at least two were on third down.

- Andre Caldwell cost us the win again. Sorry kids, he did. The Bengals were rolling and if Caldwell doesn't cough that ball up we could still grind out first downs and grind down that clock. Caldwell has been big all year, but now has two big blunders on his record.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tweet of the Week

From OGOchoCinco:

"Grandma just called and we talked for a while, at the end before we hung up she said go get em TIGER --should I be offended"

Top Sports Moments of the Decade

Everyone seems to be doing these so I felt obliged to put together some of the top moments or accomplishments of the last decade in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati Sports. These are just a few that came to mind for me. If you have some that you would like to add please add them to the comments. (If your an author add them to the post)

Cincinnati Reds acquire Ken Griffey Jr. - February 12th 2000

Cincinnati Reds vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Ken Griffey Jr. was one of the best players of the 90’s. Junior captivated America while playing for Seattle with his trademark swing, towering home runs, and acrobatic defense in centerfield. In February of 2000 the Cincinnati Reds signed Griffey, at that time the richest package in baseball history. “Well, I’m finally home,” he said at the press conference announcing him. His time for the Reds would become a little tumultuous with injuries slowing him down considerably. But Griffey hit milestone home runs number 500 and 600 with the Reds.

Bengals win the AFC North Division- 2005

Cincinnati Bengals v Detroit Lions
Prior to the 2005 season the Cincinnati Bengals had not made the playoffs since 1990. They finished the season 11-5 behind pro bowlers Willie Anderson, Shayne Graham, Chad Johnson, Carson Palmer, and Deltha O’Neal. Palmer had the offense rolling throughout the season but was knocked out of the game with a knee injury early in the first game against Pittsburgh. The Bengals have not made the playoffs since.

Cincinnati Cyclones win the ECHL Kelly Cup- 2008

There was a standing room only crowd at US Bank arena to see the Cincinnati Cyclones win their first ever Kelly Cup Championship. There were a number of records set that night including the 71 combined wins for the Cyclones and the third 100 point team to win the title. Cincinnati was led by Cedrick Desjardins in the goal and rookie David Desharnais who won the MVP and Rookie of the Year awards that season.

Cincinnati Bearcats finish season undefeated and head to the Sugar Bowl- 2009

Cincinnati v Pittsburgh
Perhaps an unexpected Orange Bowl appearance in 2008 is a bigger moment. But after graduating a number of seniors Brian Kelly was able to bring his high powered offense back in 2009 to lead Cincinnati to a perfect 12-0 ranking and a final regular season ranking of #3 in the country. Cincinnati will now compete in the Sugar Bowl against Florida. Consider this, prior to appearing in the Orange Bowl in January of 2009 the Bearcats competed in the Motor City Bowl, New Orleans Bowl, PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl, International Bowl, and Bowl.

Corey Dillon breaks Walter Payton’s single game rushing record- October 22, 2000

Corey Dillon #28
There wasn’t much to hang your hat on with the Bengals during the 1990’s. Then in 1997 came Corey Dillon. Dillon ran for 246 yards in a game his rookie season and we thought we would never see anything like it. Not until a game in 2000 at the brand new Paul Brown Stadium against the Denver Broncos. Corey Dillon rushed for 278 yards breaking the single game record that was previously held by Walter Payton. (The record has since been broken by Jamal Lewis and Adrian Peterson.)

Brandon Phillips goes 30/30- 2007

The Reds did not make the playoffs in the decade of 2000 so we have to focus more on what they accomplished individually. One of those accomplishments was completed in 2007 by second baseman Brandon Phillips. Phillips became the third player in Reds history to hit more than 30 home runs and steal more than 30 bases. The other two players to accomplish this feat were Eric Davis and Barry Larkin.

Cinderella Xavier Musketeers make their first Elite Eight- 2004

2004 NCAA Round 4: Xavier v Duke
Xavier wasn’t even the best team in their conference that year, St. Joe’s had their best team in school history and after beating Xavier at the Cintas that year Xavier had fallen to 10-9 and in danger of missing post season play. But things turned around for the Musketeers that season after a 21 point loss at George Washington Xavier began to rally. When they met the #1 team in the country undefeated St. Joseph again in the A-10 tournament X drilled them 87-67. Xavier went on to win the A-10 tournament and clinch a tournament berth. Seeded seventh in the region, the Musketeers rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to defeat 10th-seeded Louisville, 80-70, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. They then earned their second trip to the Sweet 16 by upsetting second-seeded Mississippi State, 89-74. Third ranked Texas was their next victim falling 79-71 to the Musketeers. Their Cinderella run ended in their first ever Elite Eight appearance losing to #1 ranked Duke 66-63.

Kentucky defeats #1 ranked LSU- 2007

LSU v Kentucky
There are not too many Kentucky Football Highlights of the past decade or even the past century, but on a night in Commonwealth Stadium in 2007 they were able to knock off one of the top dogs in the SEC. LSU was coming into the game undefeated and coming off of a win against #7 Florida. LSU was the heavy favorite in the contest but the high powered Kentucky offense just would not go away. The Tigers had a 13 point lead in the third quarter but could not hang on as Kentucky would go on to win in a triple overtime thriller.

Meeks scores a record 54 points- January 13, 2009

Dan Issel held the Kentucky scoring record for 39 years until one night in Knoxville when sharp shooter Jodie Meeks had the best individual game ever by a man in blue. Meeks went 15-22 from the floor, 10-15 from 3 point line, and 14-14 on free throws for a total of 54 points, just one more than Dan Issel. Unranked Kentucky defeated the #24 Volunteers 90-72 that night. Kentucky was mired in the middle of one of their worst seasons since Eddie Sutton and Meeks magical night reignited the Big Blue Nation.

Bobby Knight takes shot at Calipari

Gonzaga v Texas Tech
The General apparently doesn't like what is going on in College Basketball these days and has taken particular exception to Kentucky coach John Calipari. During a fundraiser for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, Knight made the following statement.

"We’ve gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that’s why I’m glad I’m not coaching. You see we’ve got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he’s still coaching. I really don’t understand that.”

Okay Mr. Knight. You are right this game is lacking integrity, while we are at it lets discuss a few integrity issues like the following instances:

- In 1983, Knight threw a chair across the court to protest a call during a game against Purdue. Unfortunately coaches today do not show this same type of integrity while roaming the sidelines.

- In 1994 Bobby Knight headbutted Sherron Wilkerson after pulling Wilkerson from the game for making a mistake. Maybe thats what Calipari needs to do, next time Cousins misses a free throw pull him off to the sidelines and just give him a good shot to the face.

- During a 1997 practice Bobby Knight choked IU player Neil Reed. Perhaps this is what John Wall needs to stop turning the ball over.

- In September 2000, Knight grabbed IU freshman Kent Harvey and demanded that Harvey show "respect" after Harvey greeted the coach by saying "Hey Knight." I wish Calipari would have done this during his visit to students camping out for Big Blue Madness tickets.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The most important picture of the day

Now there are three kids growing up without their daddy.
Simply tragic.

RIP Chris Henry

Mulitple news sources including TMZ and ESPN are reporting that Chris Henry has died from injuries suffered on Wednesday. What a damn shame. Henry, 26, was the father of three children by his fiance Loleini Tonga. More on this later, but this is just an awful sad story about a troubled young man who's life ended way too soon. Prayers to the Henry family.

Cincinnati Bengals v Indianapolis Colts
Cincinnati Bengals v Indianapolis ColtsTennessee Titans v Cincinnati Bengals

Fire Mick Cronin

2009 Big East Men's Basketball Championship in New York
Sorry Bearcat fans, if you want to be a basketball contender again and if you want to compete in the Big East, you must fire Mick Cronin. After losing a battle in the crosstown shootout on Sunday the pussycats traveled down to UAB where they were smacked by the Blazers 64-47. That takes Cronin's record on the road to 7-29 (.241) You cannot be a Big East coach and have that poor of a road record. Cronin, who is in his fourth season as Bearcats head coach is only 4-14 against ranked opponents, 18-34 against the Big East, and 0-1 in the Big East Tournament.

I just don't think that Cronin is a Big East coach. Any thoughts?

Chris Henry

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals
I am not a news source so I don't have any updates on the situation but I can offer a quick synopisis of what I know and offer opinion on the situation. As you may know by now Bengals Wide Receiver Chris Henry was involved in an accident in Charlotte, NC yesterday afternoon. Allegedly Henry was having a domestic dispute with his fiance Loleini Tonga. Tonga was pulling away in Henry's truck when Henry jumped into the bed of the pickup. Chris was thrown from the truck and has suffered severe life threatening injuries. Henry is currently on life support at the Carolinas Medical Center.

Football is on the back burner right now for Henry as he is just fighting to stay alive. He has suffered major head trauma and if he can hold on and come out of this I would venture to speculate that he would never be able to play football again. Henry of course has led a tragic life, most at the hands of his own doing. But it seemed as if Chris had turned the corner and cleaned himself up. I think most in the city were cautiously optimistic that Henry had made a good life for himself and battled through adversity. We may never know the details or what caused this tragic accident. But I will say a couple of extra prayers for him as I hope he is able to walk away from this situation.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Big Hands I know your the One"

Cincinnati Bengals Mini Camp
Could we finally see Jerome "Big Hands" Simpson? The pride of Coastal Carolina. The second round stunner with talent so huge he is selected in front of All-Pro reciever DeSean Jackson. The Bengals have released former Nebraska reciever Maurice Purify and signed Shaun Smith back to the team, after releasing him just a couple of days after signing him last week. With Purify gone this opens up a reciever spot on the roster that could result in Simpson being pulled up. Lets hope!

Reports: Butch Jones to accept Cincinnati Football Position

CFB: Central Michigan vs Northern Illinois 12 November
There are several news media outlets including ESPN that are reporting that the Cincinnati Bearcats and Central Michigan coach Butch Jones are working on contract terms and are expected to officially announce Jones as head coach sometime on Wednesday. As most of you probably know Central Michigan is the school where Brian Kelly came from prior to coming to Cincinnati, it looks like Mike Thomas is hoping that lightning will strike twice. Jones, in three seasons at Central Michigan, compiled a 27-12 record and three bowl games.

Jones brings the same high powered offense that Brian Kelly ran at Central Michigan and would expect to try to implement the same system for Cincinnati. So we should expect to continue to see the spread offense at Nippert.

So what do you think? I know a lot of people were looking for a "big name" coach but remember when Kelly came here three years ago he was not a big name. Personally I would have liked to see them hire Skip Holtz, but I think you will see some continuity with Jones carry over from BK's system.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thought of the Day

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
And now more words of wisdom from Seattle Seahawks wide receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh.

When asked about the recent publicity surrounding Tiger Woods, Housh gave the following gem to

"I don't see the big deal about it. The president cheated on his wife. We're all human. Human beings are the only ones that have just one partner. You watch National Geographic and the lions, they have like five or six partners. The human race is the only being that is monogamous with partners."

Thank you T.J., you will no doubt go down in history not as a mediocre receiver but as a great philosopher of our time.

Stats of the Day

Did you know?

(1) The Cincinnati Bengals are now 9-4 and the 9 wins have come against teams that are a combined 46-71. The only teams the Bengals have beat with winning records are the Green Bay Packers and the Baltimore Ravens, both of which are fighting to get a spot in the playoffs.

(2) The Xavier Musketeers have now won all 4 Crosstown Shootouts at the Cintas Center and are also 10-4 in the Shootout since the 1996-97 season.

(3) The Cincinnati Bearcats are 7-28 in road games under Cronin. That's just not getting it done.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Who is the next Cincinnati Football Coach?

Okay Brian Kelly, clean up your office and hit the road. Now we have to figure out who will be next to take over this program. Here is a short list of names that could potentially be roaming the sidelines of Nippert next year.

Kevin Sumlin

Sumlin, the coach of the surging Houston Cougars was the 2009 coach of the year in the Conference USA and has an 18-8 record with two bowl apperances for Houston. Sumlin is one of the hottest coaches in college football right now and would be a great hire for the Bearcats.

Skip Holtz

The son of former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, Skip has been the head coach for East Carolina. Holtz took a program in East Carolina that could barely win a game and directed them to three straight bowl games. He has had East Carolina ranked as high as 14 in the country during his time there.

Jeff Quinn

Quinn is currently the Cincinnati offensive coordinator and has coached every season with Brian Kelly during his time as a head coach. Quinn served as the offensive coordinator for Kelly during his last years at Central Michigan and has been once of Kell's top recruiters. Chances are Quinn will follow Kelly to Notre Dame but a hire of Jeff Quinn would potentially keep the same offensive system in Cincinnati.

Chris Petersen

Petersen, the head coach at Boise State, also let his team to an undefeated season. In his four years leading the Broncos Petersen has quickly risen as one of the top offensive coaches in the country. He has twice led Boise to a BCS game as an at-large bid. Petersen has a pretty big contract currently with Boise and I wonder if Cincinnati could lure him away? This would be a big time hire in my opinion, but I think they have an outside chance to land him.

Butch Jones

Jones took over for Brian Kelly at Central Michigan in 2007. After taking over the program the Chippewas didn't miss a beat winning their conference this year and landing in the GMAC bowl. Jones has coached before in the Big East, as a Wide Receivers coach for West Virginia in 2005 and 2006.

Kerry Coombs

Personally I think this would be a terrible hire for Cincinnati. Coombs was the head coach at Colerain for 16 seasons leading the Cardinals to one state championship. But he only has three years of college coaching experience all as the secondary coach for Cincinnati. Coombs has led the recruiting attack for Cincinnati but I think lacks the experience to take over a Big East program.

Turner Gill

If I were making decisions this would be the guy that I would go after. Gill has a lot of great experience coaching for Nebraska, Green Bay Packers, and currently head coach and offensive coordinator at Buffalo. Gill has currently been linked to interviews with Kansas, and I think Cincinnati would be a better place for him.

Phillip Fulmer

Phil Fulmer has been poking around different program trying to find a right fit to get himself back into coaching. After years at Tennessee, and winning a National Championship in 1998, I am not sure that Cincinnati would be a good fit for Fulmer.

Tommy Tuberville

The former Auburn coach is a former Walter Camp and Bear Bryant coach of the year award winner. Tuberville experienced ups and downs at Auburn and after finishing 2008 5-7 was fired from his position. He is currently working as an analyst for ESPN. I am not sure that Cincinnati would be able lure him away from the broadcast booth but he is out there.

Don't hate the player, hate the game....

Well Cincinnati fans Brian Kelly is gone. Despite all of their recent success Cincinnati continues to be a stepping stone program for college head coaches. But lets take a step back and think about it and really look at the situation. You have a coach who came from Central Michigan to Cincinnati, that's a pretty big jump. He is able to have three incredible seasons with a program who was on the rise but not nearly close to the level where they are today. And after those three seasons one of the most storied college football programs comes calling and rolling out the golden carpet. What would you do? Now we can get into all of the issues surrounding Notre Dame right now but think about it Cincinnati Football or Notre Dame football? Just 5 years ago Cincinnati had a hard time filling Nippert Field. They forced Cincinnati basketball fans to buy football tickets if they wanted basketball tickets. They got scrap heap recruits and played a cupcake schedule.
Cincinnati Bearcats v University of South Florida Bulls
Now look at them, they were a field goal away from a National Championship game and will now play Florida in the Sugar Bowl. You have to be happy with what Brian Kelly has done for your program.
Now, if you read this blog long enough you will know that I am a Kentucky fan. However, I have really enjoyed watching Kelly's offense and I have been watching and cheering for UC football for the past two years. So I will miss him. But as a Kentucky fan I can kind of relate to how you are feeling today. Rick Pitino took over the Kentucky basketball program when we were at our all time low. Eddie Sutton had just sent an envelope full of cash to Shawn Kemp and Kentucky was now at the bottom of the food chain in college basketball. In steps Pitino and within a few years he has Kentucky fighting for national titles. At the pinnacle of that success Pitino bolts for the NBA. Was I initially mad, yes, but now after time I realize what he did for Kentucky and I thank him for that. I think once this all settles down that is what Brian Kelly will be for the Bearcats. But right now its just not there.
I have also said many times on this blog that I think the system in the NCAA is flawed. And many of those flaws were exposed in this situation. The NCAA should create a rule stating that no coach can interview or discuss a position until his teams season has ended. Because its really not fair that the Cincinnati Bearcats will take their undefeated team into New Orleans to face one of the top programs in the country without their head coach. But unfortunately that is the system and not even a coach as hot as Brian Kelly can change the system. There are a lot of people who get screwed in this situation but think of it this way. If Brian Kelly coaches a kid who is a junior, and that junior leads his team to the Sugar Bowl. Then that junior decides that I am going to make a jump to the NFL and leave early what is the difference?
This whole situation with Brian Kelly exposes one of the many flaws of college football, but wake up people. Brian Kelly did not stab Cincinnati in the back. Brian Kelly did what any college football coach would do in that situation. Good luck to Coach Kelly in South Bend, I will continue to follow him and root for him. And good luck to Cincinnati. I really hope they can build on this and continue to compete for BCS bowls.

Thanks Brian Kelly for Bringing College Football to Cincinnati... Who's Next in Line?

Syracuse Orange v Cincinnati Bearcats

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Official. The Pittsburgh Steelers suck!

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Cleveland Browns 13-6 tonight. Brady Quinn was 6-19 for 90 yards, but still won the game. I did not get to watch this, but by looking at the box score, it was a pretty miserable game to watch. The Steelers are now 6-7. They have lost 5 straight to teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, and Cleveland Browns. It's official now, the Pittsburgh Steelers cannot win the AFC North. The Ravens are 6-6. They would have to win out and the Bengals would have to lose all 4 of their remaining games to miss the playoffs.

It's a strange feeling as a Bengals fan to be in this position, but I could get used it.

Kentucky Wildcats: Are you for real?

I still can't tell about this Kentucky Wildcat team. Coming off of back to back wins against ranked teams (North Carolina and UCONN) I still cannot get a good feel for how far this Kentucky team can go. But here are some observations I have had so far:
Big East/SEC Invitational

This is a much better team with John Wall on the Floor. Thank you captain obvious, but Wall is able to kick this team up into a higher gear. Kentucky struggled last night while Wall was on the bench and struggled against UNC in the second half while he was out with cramps. The kid is good. I hesitate to put him up with some of the company that broadcasters are but he is very very good.

Kentucky needs to find some other offensive options. Look, I understand Calipari's offense and the most popular offense in the state now the dribble drive. But what happens when you play a good athletic defensive team who keeps you from getting to the rim? We have seen that with both North Carolina and UCONN. They are winning games so I am not going to be "that guy" but I would like to see some more options utilized out of this offense.
North Carolina v Kentucky

Patrick Patterson is the heart of this team. Sure John Wall gets all of the highlights and is a stat sheet stuffer but anyone who watches this team and most importantly watches the interaction on the court knows that Patterson is the leader. P-Pat is the extension of Calipari on the floor and is constantly getting these young freshman in their places. He put the Cats on his shoulders for the UNC game.

Kentucky will need to find some more depth if they want to make a run. Right now they are getting good production out of their starters but have a big drop off from there. Dodson, Stevenson, and Harris are getting some minutes but not putting up the offense while they are out on the floor. Freshman Daniel Orton has been huge for a defensive pickup but I would like to see some of these guards step up for Kentucky.

They will need to sustain a level of intensity for the whole game. This team is the epitome of a team of runs. They will jump up on a team early then sit back and try to make ESPN highlight reel. Coach Calipari has said it numerous times this year but if they want to be in the upper echelon they will need to sustain that level of intensity for a full game and put teams away when the opportunity is there.

I am not complaining about this team at all. Coach Calipari has come in here and in a very short period of time brought Kentucky back from the trash heap to the top. But when you watch this team they look like a group of young talented kids who are skating their way through the competition. Last years team would not have been able to compete with the likes of UNC or UCONN so they have improved a great deal. But I hope to see them very late in the contention in March and I think in order to do so they have a lot to clean up.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Should I stay or should I go?

Everyone around town is now buzzing about Cincinnati head football coach Brian Kelly and the future of the Cincinnati program. Kelly has not denied at all any interest in the Notre Dame coaching job, in fact he has expressed interest in talking with Notre Dame. Many would go ahead and say that it is a foregone conclusion that he will be coaching the Irish next season. But I am not sure if that is the case. Sure, there are an awful lot of signs that would point him north to South Bend. But have
Cincinnati v Pittsburgh
you ever considered this scenario. Is BK entertaining these offers and even interviewing with the Irish (which is speculated to occur on Tuesday) to use this as leverage for a contract extension with Cincinnati. What would it be that brought you to Notre Dame? Prestige? Money? Facilities? Notre Dame will always have more national prestige than Cincinnati, although I wonder how much a kid cares what Notre Dame did in the past? Right now Notre Dame has more money to offer. And as far as facilities right now Notre Dame would have Cincinnati beat. But what if Cincinnati could match or come close to the money that Notre Dame is offering. Cincinnati is a second away from playing for a National title so we know that can happen here. Is it that far out of the realm of possibility that he would decide to stay?

One Second!

One second is all that separated the undefeated Big East Champion Cincinnati Bearcats from the National Title game. Just one second. The Bearcats finished the season with a #3 BCS ranking and a matchup with the Florida Gators in the 71st Sugar Bowl.
Nebraska vs. Texas

The Bearcats did everything that they could this season to bring their program into national prominence but it all came down to the Nebraska Huskers vs. the Texas Longhorns. How bad is Nebraska's offense? Wow, just terrible. Which is such a shame because their defense was really dominating that game. Nebraska only managed 5 first downs in that game and 106 yards of total offense. Texas didn't do much better on offensive yards but got them when they needed. After Nebraska went up 12-10 in the 4th quarter with 1:44 to go Nebraska did the unthinkable and kicked the kickoff out of bounds. That gave Texas the ball on the 40 yard line. After a horsecollar penalty the Longhorns were now in field goal range with time counting down. Texas lined up with the clock running and snapped the ball and scrambled with time running. McCoy released the ball and the ball hit a luxury box railing with 1 second left. The rule states the clock runs until it hits something. So Texas drilled the field goal and drilled the Bearcats chances of a National Title shot.
Cincinnati v Pittsburgh

Despite falling short of a National Title shot the Cincinnati football program has come such a long way since the days of empty stadiums and mediocre scheduling. Everyone felt like last year was a shock with the Bearcats playing an a BCS bowl, the result of a talented group of seniors and a down conference year. But I think they proved their critics wrong by coming back this year with a new defense and a fairly new team and running the table. Now they can really prove something by defeated defending champ Florida Gators. The Gators held the #1 spot in the polls for most of the season, if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. And I kind of think they can do it!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Reds Announcing Team

The Reds announced this week that longtime TV play by play man George Grande is being replaced. Thom Brenemann is taking over the TV gig. He will occassionally be covered by Jim Kelch, voice of the Louisville Bats, when Brenemann has FOX work. Grande and Chris Welsh have worked on the TV side together since 1993. Jeff Brantley, Marty Brenemann and Jim Kelch and on occassion Thom Brenemann will split time on the radio.

I think the writing was probably on the wall for George last year. The Reds obviously wanted to see how Chris Welsh and Thom Brenemann worked together and apparently liked what they saw.

George Grande is known throughout baseball as a nice guy but he always lacked a certain flair. We heard a lot of conversations about Jessie Jackson (Reds producer) and his mom. We heard a lot about Marty's grandkids or Chris's daugthers or what a great guy Ron Kittle was. Alot of times, we didn't hear a lot about baseball. And if we did, we didn't get the real story. He was too nice to be critical when the game called for it. I think it will be a refreshing change.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

This weekend in Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati Sports

Friday, December 4th: Highlands Bluebirds vs. John Hardin in the Class 5A KHSAA State Championship Game 7:00pm at Western Kentucky University.

The storied high school football program at Highlands will chase their 19th state title. Their opponent, John Hardin, comes into the contest with a matching 14-0 record. They have not had any common opponents this year but both teams have been winning their games in dominating fashion. Highlands is favored in the contest but expect a tough battle. This senior class hope to wrap up their high school careers by going 54-1 with three state championships.

Friday, December 4th: Cincinnati Winton Woods vs. Maple Heights in the Ohio Division II Football Championship- 7:00pm at Massillon Paul Brown Stadium.

Winton Woods has charged into their first State Championship game behind two 2,000 yard rushers. Running back Jeremiah Goins and senior quarterback Dominique Brown have led Winton Woods all season and earned Co-Players of the Year in Ohio Division II. They will face Cleveland area Maple Heights who enters the contest with an identical 12-2 record. Both teams will be playing for their first state title.

Saturday December 5th: #5 Cincinnati Bearcats vs. #13 Pittsburgh Panthers for the Big East Title at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh
Illinois v Cincinnati

Brian Kelly looks to wrap up an undefeated season for the Bearcats that would lock up a BCS berth and keep National Championship hopes alive. Standing in their way are the Pitt Panthers. The 9-2 Panthers are coming off a loss at West Virginia and hoping to avenge 28-21 loss to the Bearcats last season at Nippert Stadium.

Saturday December 5th: #5 Kentucky Wildcats vs. #10 North Carolina Tarheels at Rupp Arena

The Kentucky Wildcats bring their all-time NCAA record 1,994 wins up against the 2nd most winning program North Carolina Tar Heels. UNC will be the Cat's first real test this season in Head Coach John Calipari's first season for Kentucky. This game will serve as a good test for Calipari to get a real feel for what these freshman can do. Expect this game to be a high energy and high scoring affair as both teams like to push the floor.

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday Decemeber 6th: Detroit Lions vs. Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium

In most years a matchup against the Lions would not be a big event for the city. But this Bengals season is not like any other we have seen in quite some time. The Bengals are coming off a week where they finished an undefeated season in Division play and are three wins away from locking up the playoffs and securing of the Conference's top positions.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


With the news of Tiger Woods surfacing lets take a look at some noteable sports celebrities who have been caught with their pants down!

Tiger Woods
California v Stanford

The bizarre "car accident" is what finally brought this whole ugly situation into the limelight for Tiger. The previously unblemished golden child of golf has just today admitted his "transgressions" after reports of a 31-month affair with a Los Angeles cocktail waitress.

Rick Pitino
Morgan State v Louisville

Old Slick Rick finally got busted in 2009 when he had to involve the FBI because Karen Sypher was trying to extort money from Pitino. Rick confirmed that he had sex with the woman at Porcini's restraunt in Louisville. Sypher allegedly had an abortion in Cincinnati shortly after the affair. Despite having a morality clause in his contract Pitino remained the head coach at Louisville.

Kobe Bryant
Jury Selection In Kobe Bryant Trial Continues

In the summer of 2003 Bryant was arrested for sexual assualt of a woman in Eagle, Colorado. The woman involved had indicated that Bryant raped her but Bryant later confessed to having a sexual encounter with the woman. The charges would later be dropped against Bryant but the encounter brought Bryant's indescrestion to the public.

The Love Boat
Minnesota Vikings v Atlanta Falcons

In 2005 seventeen key members of the Minnesota Vikings football team; including quarterback Daunte Culpepper, Fred Smoot, Mewelde Moore, Pat Williams, Bryant McKinnie, Nate Burleson, Ralph Brown, Troy Williamson, Travis Taylor, Kevin Williams, Jermaine Wiggins, Lance Johnstone, Moe Williams, Ken Irvin, and Willie Offord were accused of having a sex party with prostitutes in two boats on Lake Minnetonka. I am not sure as to how many were married but apparently there was some crazy stuff on that boat.

Steve Phillips

In September of 2009 the former Mets general manager and current ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips admitting to having an affair with a 22 year old production assistant. Based on his choice in women Phillips was engaging in what my fraternity brothers would call "hogging." After Phillips attempted to break off the relationship the woman began harrasing his family which brought this story to the public.

Alex Rodriguez
Tickertape parade held in honor of New York Yankees' World Series win in New York

In 2004 a Boston area stripper reported to the tabloids that she and Rodriguez had consensual sex on more than one occasion when Rodriguez was in town to play the Red Sox. In 2007 the New York Post spotted Alex with another exotic dancer this time in Toronoto. The Daily News then reported that A-Rod had used the services of a high end call girl service. These events all eventually led to his wife filing for divorce in 2008.

Charles Barkley
Robert Guerrero v Orlando Salido

On December 31, 2008, Barkley was pulled over and charged with a DUI after running a stop sign in Scottsdale, Arizona. Barkley admitted to drinking and advised officers that he was un a hurry to recieve oral sex from his female passenger which caused him to run a stop sign. Barkley, a TNT analyst, was suspended from duty for two months but later returned to TNT where he still works today.

Frank Gifford
The Gifford Family Celebrates The 10th Anniversary Of Cassidy's Place

In 1997 Frank Gifford was discovered to have had an affair with a Trans World Airlines flight attendant. Apparently the whole situation was set up by a tabloid but Gifford dropped the charges against them and allegedly admitted previous trangressions to his wife, Kathie Lee Gifford.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nancy Winstel: Coach of the Decade

From NKU Press Release
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Northern Kentucky University’s Nancy Winstel has been named the national coach of the decade by Women’s Division II Bulletin, and her basketball program is tabbed the best during the past decade by that same publication.

Winstel has guided NKU to a pair of national championships (2000 and ’08) and four regional titles (2000, ’02, ’03 and ’08) since 2000. In addition, the Norse have played in the national championship game three times (2000, ’03 and ’08).

NKU's Nancy Winstel has been named national coach of the decade by Women's Division II Bulletin.“The 2000s were proof that she is one of the elite coaches,” said Gary Rubin, editor and publisher of Division II Women’s Bulletin. “Two national titles, (being named) WBCA and Great Lakes Valley Conference coach of the year many times and surpassing the 600-win milestone earn her the coach of the decade honor.”

Winstel is currently 619-229 in 30 seasons as a head coach. She has 580 wins on the Norse sideline.

NKU was also named the program of the decade by Women’s Division II Bulletin. NKU has won at least 20 games eight times the past 10 years and earned NCAA Division II Tournament berths nine times.

The Norse posted a 29-3 record last season and earned the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional Tournament. NKU has also won GLVC Tournament titles in 2000, ’06 and ’09.

“NKU has consistently been a Division II power was has been on top when it counted most – on the national stage,” Rubin said of NKU, which has played four times before a national television audience on ESPN2.

The 2008 national championship game between NKU and South Dakota drew the highest rating for a women’s Division II finals contest in ESPN2 history with more than 693,000 viewers and 272,000 households watching.

In addition, NKU three-time All-American Michelle Cottrell twice was named Division II National Player of the Year. Cottrell was also named the most outstanding player of the 2000 Elite Eight.

2009 NFL Playoff Picture

If the season were to end today here is how it would stack up.

Division Leaders
Indianapolis Colts 11-0
Cincinnati Bengals 8-3
San Diego Chargers 8-3
New England Patriots 7-4

Wild Card Teams
Denver Broncos 7-4
Jacksonville Jaguars 6-5

In the Hunt
Baltimore Ravens 6-5
Pittsburgh Steelers 6-5
Miami Dolphins 5-6
Tennessee Titans 5-6
New York Jets 5-6
Houston Texans 5-6

Division Leaders

New Orleans Saints 11-0
Minnesota Vikings 10-1
Dallas Cowboys 8-3
Arizona Cardinals 7-4

Wild Card Teams
Philadelphia Eagles 7-4
Green Bay Packers 7-4

In the Hunt
New York Giants 6-5
Atlanta Falcons 6-5
San Francisco 49ers 5-6

Bengals News and Notes

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals
* The magic number is 3, if the Bengals can win 3 more games they will lock up the AFC North Division Title. I am not concerned with what any other teams are doing or even at this point concerned about a first round playoff bye (which is still a possibility) We need three games. Period. With the remaining schedule being Detroit, @ Minnesota, @ San Diego, Kansas City, and @ New York Jets. If you look at that remaining schedule you have to find three wins, I can see three easy wins there. But I also counted Oakland as an easy win.
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals

* I am still not sure how this whole Bengals running back situation will pan out. I do know that we should be able to run on any team in the NFL right now with this group. But will a possible rift between Benson and Johnson tear this team apart? I don't know. If we were losing I would say yes, but winning cures everything. It is not time for either guy to get an attitude they were both tossed to the trash heap. Benson is getting the start this week and he should, its his job for now. But don't be shocked to see Johnson get a fair share of carries against Detroit.

Rutgers v Cincinnati
* The Bengals signed Mike Mickens to the practice squad. The star cornerback out of the University of Cincinnati was drafted by the Cowboys and signed to their practice squad. From there is was signed by Tampa Bay to their 53 man roster but was inactive for three games. To make room for Mickens the Bengals released CB Antonio Smith out of Ohio State. Smith was only with the team for a week.

* Who has been the star of the team so far for me this season? The offensive line. The offensive line for this team has been very strong despite being one of the major concerns of the preseason. Kyle Cook as stepped into a huge role at center and has finally replaced a void that was left by Rich Braham nearly four years ago. With the addition of Andre Smith this line should only get better. The unsung hero's of the NFL are the offensive line. I am one of those strange football fans who spend a great deal of time watching the line, and we have been solid.

Cincinnati Bengals v Miami Dolphins
* Speaking of offensive line it pains me a great deal to see Andre Smith wearing #71. The Bengals #71 should be retired for Willie Anderson. It is very strange to see another Bengal in that number. If Smith wants to wear it he will have big shoes to fill. I have tackled this on there before but the Bengals need to honor their past players. Anderson obviously feels the lack of love from the Bengals. I read this tweet from him last week that was interesting. @WillAnderson79 "Congrats to Scott Studwell being placed on Vikings Ring of Honor. I remember him. Players lucky to be on team that does that"

* Who can step up for this team to be a deep threat? With losing Henry there is no one on this team who can stretch the field. Chad Ochocino has been facing a lot of double coverage. Caldwell and Coles are essentially the same receiver being a possession receiver who works best in the slot. Purify is a big body but doesn't seem to have the skills. And Jerome Simpson is terrible. Where does that leave us? I really don't know.

USC v Notre Dame
* Would anyone else really love to see Charlie Weis as the Bengals offensive coordinator? I have said for a long time I don't like Bob Bratkowski and I still don't like Bob Bratkowski. I have been watching his offense for years and it is just a little too conservative for my taste. Weis would be a huge pickup for the staff. Don't hold your breath though, just a thought!