Random acts of senseless sporting - 9/27/10
September 26, 2010 - B.J. Lisko
The Cleveland Browns could very well go zero for the season. That’s a hard feat to accomplish, but after another squandered chance Sunday and given the team’s upcoming schedule, things are looking extremely bleak for Eric Mangini. Next week the Browns have probably their most winnable game of what remains of the first half of the season — a home contest vs. Cincinnati. Carson Palmer looked terrible in a Sunday win over Carolina, and the Cleveland defense should fare better against the Bengals than the Ravens. Then again, the Ravens don’t have Terrelle Owens or Chad Ochocinco and the Browns defensive secondary got burnt big time.
Someone please tell defensive coordinator Rex Ryan he’s not coaching the Steel Curtain. You can’t blitz every other down with Joe Haden and Eric Wright as your cornerbacks, and with literally one go-to player on offense in Joshua Cribbs, you can’t afford to trail. Not ever.
And you can add Peyton Hillis to the list of obscure Browns to put up a great game that means nothing other than surprise stats for a fantasy football picker.
If I was Charlie Batch, I would be pretty angry with the Pittsburgh Steelers. After the team picked up Dennis Dixon and Byron Leftwich, it was almost a certainty the squad would dump Batch when Ben Roethlisberger returned from his suspension. Give Batch a week to work with the first-team in practice and you see what he’s capable of. Batch went 12-of-17 for 186 yards and threw three touchdown passes. He’s as mobile as Roethlisberger, he’s a lot smarter than Roethlisberger, and the team was set to dump him and keep a party-hard egomaniac, an immobile, injury-prone Leftwich, and an unproven shaky at best youngster in Dixon.
Honestly, and I ask this directly to Steelers fans. When Charlie Batch has had to come into the contest for Pittsburgh, have you ever been seriously worried that he was going to lose the game for you, or that the Steelers suddenly were at that big of a disadvantage? It’s not like they’re throwing in Bubby Brister. Batch deserves a raise or a shot to lead a squad somewhere else. There are plenty of teams in the NFL who could use his services right about now.
Arkansas choked. Hard. With a chance to knock off the No. 1 team in the country, Alabama, and a chance to legitimately put themselves into the national title conversation, the Razorbacks got complacent and got smoked by the Crimson Tide in the fourth quarter Saturday. The SEC is still arguably the strongest conference in the country, but it’s not dominant as it was just a few years ago, or even last year for that matter. Tennessee is rebuilding, Florida is sketchy, LSU has no offense, and really I’m not sure that anyone had as good of a chance to knock off Alabama as Arkansas did, which is bad news for third-ranked Boise State.
The Broncos can play with any team in the country, and truly I think they are the only team that could even come close to beating Ohio State because they aren’t a conventional team. If the Buckeyes play Alabama in the title contest, Ohio State will deliver, and big. If you are a regular reader of this column, you know how I feel about Ohio State. This year isn’t one of those years where they’re going to win games ugly (aka “Yuckeyes”). They should dominate opponents all season and are clearly a major cut above the rest in the Big Ten. The disparity between Ohio State and the rest of their conference is eerily similar to that of Boise State and the WAC. I still say Boise/OSU is the best bang for your buck title game, but it only happens if the SEC beats itself and allows them to sneak in.
...’til next time.
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